Somewhere around three am, you finally get Jean to sleep. It’s not necessarily easy; there’s so much to unpack with you both, from the living reality of being two people who’ve come to terms with each other’s existences in a friendly, familial way to the recollection of the Mojodome together and what she really came here for: to talk about losing her boyfriend.

And all of that is without the new additions to your body: the horns, the pink and red skin, the tail that seems easier and easier to control.

Everything is getting stranger and realer every time you wake up. Never in a million years did you imagine that you’d be here, standing in a mirror, looking at your face in the mirror as Jean Grey slept in your bed.

Well, Molly’s bed. But it might as well be yours anyway.

Who would have thought that you could care for her, about her? That you’d share wine with her, let her lean on your shoulder and talk with her about relationships? That you’d want to make her feel better after being abandoned?

This world just kept getting stranger. And better, you think.

Which isn’t to say that it was perfect. You know that you have to read what Molly’s written you back. There’s no way she wouldn’t have anything to say after what you left her. But it’s quiet now, and your thoughts settle around you as you turn the tap water on with an easy telekinetic tug, and you rummage through Molly’s cabinet for anything to wash your face off with.

For everything Jean and Arthur Curry have said you don’t necessarily feel kinder or better or more loving. You know that they’re not the only ones who’ve said so or done things to indicate that. The Mojodome in and of itself was filled with people you’ve hurt, people you’ve hated at one point, people who you might not have given a second chance before. You don’t feel like a hero supposedly does with a lighter heart and a firmer view on the world.

You just feel like there’s room to breathe in ways you’d never had before.

There’s none of the Goblin Force swirling in your head, no literal demons in your shadows pushing you towards your anger, your need for revenge, or despair. You don’t miss them, but you do miss that the eased the loneliness you felt at times; it was a constant in life to have them, to talk to them, to plan. Now, you don’t feel that flicker; just the Pheonix’s spark, keeping you alive.

That could be a good thing. Dying, being resurrected as just yourself in the astral plane had felt odd at the time. You had no name for what it felt like then -- now you do: peaceful. No manipulation to be found at the hands of S’ym or N'astirh. No one maneuvering you to serve their own ends, no Mister Sinister pushing you to fall into Scott Summer’s worthless arms.

It’s almost what this is. Peaceful.

It does make you consider the rest of what to do, though. You don’t feel the need to go out and save people on the same token that going out to harm them feels useless and unrewarding. You feel some sort of kinship with those who’d been trapped in that room with you, and you do miss the tug of the old X-Men family that you had. That you’ve never really forgotten -- just buried under pain and a haze of distress. (And really - maybe you could stop being a coward, too, and talk to them without being thrown into a dangerous situation first. If Jean could forgive you, then maybe there’s hope after all) But that’s different from that urge other people seem so keen to have in their lives to save others, to better themselves, to keep sacrificing themselves, even when it’s thankless.

Just the thought brings you back to arguing with Scott, back to the frustration you felt and anger when he walked out the door. You cradled your head; at least the anger is worth something.

It’s proof that you’re still yourself. You still aren’t keen to be a hero. And you aren’t keen at the idea of outright hurting people like you used to. Now… now you’ve got better choices.

You can choose to be Jean Grey’s sister over an enemy jealous of her existence and the way Scott made you both feel. You can choose to approach everyone you’ve hurt, that you were friends with before and see if you can maybe… not repair things. Maybe not ask for forgiveness, but learn to live together, somehow.. You can even help this stubborn girl whose body you share to live her life better. You can choose to use what you have in a way that suits you better than heroics or villainy -- even if you’re still not sure what that is just yet. Or how to do it in such short amounts of time.

You wash your face, fingers moving up your hair to touch your horns. There’s a memory there, of where these are from. It feels like it’s on the tip of your tongue: a taste of hellfire and power immense enough to swallow you if you let it.

You leave it alone for now; there are other pressing matters to attend to, like ordering wine ice cream, sifting through Molly’s notes and figuring out what she’d been up to. Lord knew that you weren’t expecting anything but more secrets. And maybe, for once, extending a hand to see how everyone was, would also be a start.

You towel your hands off, and shut the lights off. The bed’s warm where you crawl back in, and carefully, settle in beside Jean. You watch her breathe, the movement making you feel sleepy enough all on your own.

Sleep creeps up on you as you watch her breathe, and you think about Scott. If he ever showed up in this world, you wonder if you’d be able to see his face again and not wrap your fingers around his throat. You wonder if he could ever show up and make your peace. If you’d want to tell him you even existed.

Or, better: Nathan. If Nathan were here, you wonder how he’d look, if both of you could talk. The last time the both of you had shared a conversation, it had been to fulfill one thing, and you’d turned him down on the luxury of living. It feels like a mistake now, to have done it. The letdown in his eye hadn’t bothered you then, but as you fall asleep, it tugs at you.

There are no nightmares, no memories. You wake up to Jean beside you, and a taste for blueberry muffins.