Jean Grey was a mutant, a fact she had known since she was eleven years old. The year previous to that, her telepathic abilities had unexpectedly manifested themselves following the fatal injuring of her best friend in an automobile accident.
The shock of her friend dying in her arms had triggered latent talents at an age where she was unable to handle them. They caused her to become withdrawn and depressed.
It wasn’t until her parents had sought out the aid of Professor Charles Xavier, an expert on mental trauma suggested by her doctor, that she was able to emerge from the introverted state she had retreated into.
Unknown to her parents, Charles Xavier was also a mutant, possibly the most powerful telepath the world had ever known. Using his own abilities, he helped Jean set up psychic shields in her mind. A safeguard until the day when she would be mature enough to handle her powers. Additionally, he taught her to utilize her lesser telekinetic ability, which had also, began to emerge.
Years later, under the cover of Professor Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, Xavier began a top secret program to help other young mutants. A now teenage Jean had become one of his original students. Students who come to be known to the world as the superhero team called the X-Men.
Charles Xavier dreamed of a world where normal people didn’t fear mutants and believed the best way to carry that out was to use their abilities to help mankind. Unfortunately, it was a dream not shared by all mutants.
Erik Magnus Lensherr was also a mutant with great powers. In his case, the total control of magnetic forces. Like Charles Xavier, Magnus, as he was sometimes known, also dreamed of a world where mutants could live without fear. How to achieve that goal was where the two men differed.
Before the emergence of his powers, Erik Lensherr had spent part of his childhood in a Nazi concentration camp. There he watched his family killed for no reason other than the circumstances of their birth. When his awesome magnetic abilities manifested themselves, he swore that he’d prevent a similar fate among his fellow mutants. Safety, he believed, would only be possible when mutants were the ones in control.
To help attain that goal, he had established his own Brotherhood of Mutants. A title quickly changed by the world media, which viewed him and his band as just one more group of terrorists, to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
The battle in progress between the X-Men and the Brotherhood had erupted when the young mutant superhero group had tracked down its counterpart to a new base in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. Aside from stopping whatever new plan of conquest they might have, their secondary mission was always to try if possible, to convince any of the Brotherhood to leave Magneto, as Magnus was known to the world.
One problem with that secondary mission was that, unlike Professor X, the mantle Xavier used as mentor to the heroes, Magneto hadn’t limited his group to newly emerging mutants. The core of the Brotherhood were adult mutants who had already made the decision to use their powers to live outside society. As such, they had little use for the younger mutants idealism.
Clad in the blue and yellow spandex that made up the uniform all the X-Men wore, Jean, used the code name Marvel Girl. The rest of the X-Men consisted of Scott Summers, code named Cyclops, who could project force beams from his eyes. Warren Worthington III, whose natural wings attested to his handle of Angel. A bare footed Hank McCoy earned the name Beast through his seemingly unlimited gymnastic skills, hiding the fact that he was a certified genius beneath his mask as well. The last and youngest member of the group was Bobby Drake, whose ability to become a living snowman and produce constructs made of ice, made his code name of Iceman a natural.
The battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood was winding down, with one of Magneto’s band, The Toad, already having left for safer locales. Thankfully, Magneto hadn’t been at the unfinished base or the fight might be ending very differently. It was enough that their new secret base had been compromised and whatever plan they had for it was done before it started.
Separated from the others, Marvel Girl came across what appeared to be a secondary entrance to the Brotherhood base carved into the mountainside. Moving closer to investigate, she was surprised by the appearance of the Scarlet Witch, a member of the Brotherhood. Only a dozen feet separated the two young women.
Keeping with Professor Xavier’s oft-stated wishes, Marvel Girl decided to try and reason with the so called “evil-mutant”. Before she could say a word, the woman in scarlet raised her hands in a threatening gesture, a glow of phosphorescent energy forming around her fingertips.
Experience had taught Jean what the Scarlet Witch’s hex spheres were capable of, and she had no wish to be on the receiving end of one. Long hours of training in the Danger Room came into play and Marvel Girl automatically defended herself.
Using her telekinesis, she lifted a large mound of dirt off the ground and hurled it at her adversary. A second burst of mental energy shattered the mound, filling the air with a blinding cloud of dust.
Her adversary reacted instinctively. Lifting her arms to protect her eyes, she sent her energy burst almost straight upward, impacting on the side of the mountain. More than a simple energy beam, the hex bolts had the capability to disrupt reality and alter probabilities, making the seemingly impossible, possible. In this case, causing what should’ve been a solid rock face to suddenly age and crumble, causing an avalanche.
Moments before the shower of rock could come crashing down on their heads, Marvel Girl dove toward the still open door to the base. As she moved, she paused just long enough to grab the still blinded Scarlet Witch and pull her to safety as well.
Accompanied by a deafening roar, a billowing cloud of dust followed them into the chamber. When the noise and dust finally settled, Marvel Girl could see that the small entrance was totally blocked. The size and weight of the boulders made it evident that her still limited telekinetic powers were not going to be enough to get them out of there.
“You saved my life?” the young woman behind Marvel Girl said, her tone indicating more of a question than a simple statement.
“Yes,” Marvel Girl replied.
“Why would you do that?” the Scarlet Witch asked further.
Marvel Girl seemed dumbfounded by the question. It was such a strange thing for anyone to ask. After thinking about it for a few seconds, she gave the only answer she could think of.
“Because we’re heroes,” she smiled, “that’s what we do.”
The Scarlet Witch stood silent as she tried to understand that answer, giving Marvel Girl perhaps her first real opportunity to observe the other woman. The Mistress of the Hex was younger than Jean had originally imagined. Maybe even younger then her own eighteen years. Her accent was definitely east European, laced with an autocratic flair.
Standing only an inch more than Jean’s five foot six, the black haired woman outweighed the slim X-Man by a good twenty-five pounds. A considerable amount of which seemed concentrated in a considerable and highly visible bustline. Her costume, which in keeping with her name was various shades of scarlet, seemed to consist of a one-piece bathing suit worn over a sheer body stocking. Short boots, arm length gloves and a face framing headgear completed the outfit.
The east European woman also took advantage of the brief pause to look over her rescuer. With Jean’s face covered by a dark blue cowl and her smaller build concealed by the unisex costume that all the X-Men wore, her original belief was that she had been facing a man. Only now did she notice the long red hair that stuck out of the back of Marvel Girl’s mask.
“Thank you,” the Scarlet Witch finally said.
“You’re welcome,” Jean smiled.
Marvel Girl shifted her gaze from the Scarlet Witch to the blocked doorway. Small patches of light were visible, so thankfully fresh air wasn’t going to be a problem.
“It looks like we might be here a little while,” she said to her reluctant companion. “Unless there’s another way out of here that you know about?”
“I believe this was intended to be a storeroom,” came the reply. “It hasn’t been connected to any of the other rooms yet.”
A quick survey of the chamber proved the Scarlet Witch correct. There was no connecting door to the rest of the half completed base. Marvel Girl pulled up an empty crate and sat down on it. Pulling off her cowl, she shook her hair free and tried to make herself as comfortable as possible.
“Since we’re going to be here for a while, we might as well relax,” she said. “Eventually the rest of the X-Men will come looking for me and get us out of here.”
In her mind’s eye she could already imagine Cyclops using his force blasts to surgically cut away the rocky obstructions. What puzzled her was the fact that she hadn’t heard from the Professor since she’d become trapped. Normally he maintained a telepathic rapport with his students when in the field. She had mentally called out to him earlier with no response. Her own telepathic ability was still limited by the psychic dampers he had placed on her years before.
“Perhaps I can move the stones,” the Scarlet Witch suggested as she stepped toward the doorway and raised her hands.
“Wait a second,” Marvel Girl called out as she jumped back to her feet. “How much real control do you have over what happens when you let go once of those hex bursts, or whatever you call them?”
The Scarlet Witch seemed surprised by the question. The others in the Brotherhood always seemed more interested in the destructive value of her chaos bombs rather then the level of her control.
“I can usually control what happens about twenty percent of the time,” she answered.
“Then there’s an eighty percent chance that you might just as easily bring the rest of the roof down on us,” Marvel Girl replied. “I’d just as soon not be crushed to death. It would just ruin the rest of my day.”
When she had envisioned Scott cutting them out, she also pictured Bobby using his ice forming skills to brace the frame at the same time.
The Scarlet Witch paused for a moment, the look on her face indicating that she wasn’t happy with other people giving her orders. Jean could tell that she was considering her words. Then she slowly lowered her hands and agreed to wait.
“So what do we do while we wait?” she asked.
“We could talk,” Jean suggested. “It’s not every day that I get to talk to a super-villain.”
“I am not a villain!” the Scarlet Witch snapped back.
“All right then,” Jean replied, a little surprised at the strength of the other woman’s passionate denial. “Why don’t we just leave all the labels at the door. My name is Jean.”
“Wanda,” was her reply as she removed her headgear.
“So Wanda, how did you wind up a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants?” Jean asked, being careful to leave Evil out of the title.
Wanda collected her thoughts and then began a tale that soon had Jean spellbound. The young woman, who Jean now learned was indeed a year younger than her, had been born in the tiny East European country of Transia.
Orphaned at an early age, she and her twin brother, Pietro, had wandered the countryside, surviving as best as they could. Then, as what seemed a common story as far as mutants where concerned, their powers appeared soon after puberty.
Pietro discovered that he could move at blinding speeds, sometimes too fast to even be seen. Wanda on the other hand, seemed cursed with the ability to cause disasters. Always overly protective of his twin sister, Pietro had used his newfound speed to protect her as well as steal what they needed.
Then came the day when Wanda accidentally used her powers and set fire to part of the village they were staying in. The angry crowd that attacked them was too much even for Pietro. A leg injury negated his speed and when they were cornered, the mob seemed prepared to inflict far worse on the two of them.
Thinking that the whole thing was like a scene out of an old Frankenstein movie, right down to the torches, Jean couldn’t help but compare it to her own early years. What would her life be like now if not for Professor Xavier? Would she have would up an inmate in some mental institution, driven insane by the thoughts of others?
Then, just as all seemed lost, Magnus appeared. Magnetically he disarmed the mob and rescued the two of them. Explaining that they were mutants, he charged them with their obedience as the price of their rescue.
Driven by a strong sense of honor, Pietro had quickly agreed for both of them. Given the names of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, they had become part of the Brotherhood.
As she listened to Wanda finish her story, Jean couldn’t help but think that if she had been in her place, she would’ve probably followed Magnus as well. She knew from her own experience that she would’ve done just about anything Charles Xavier had asked of her.
Much to Jean’s surprise, Wanda continued to go on after she had finished her story. The redhead got the impression that as the only female member of the Brotherhood, Wanda didn’t get much of a chance to talk to other women. As the only woman in the X-Men, Jean could well sympathize. She, however, at least had girlfriends outside of the school. Wanda, on the other hand, seemed to have no one but her brother. And there were some things she just couldn’t talk to him about.
“Do you fear the other X-Men?” Wanda asked.
“I don’t understand,” Jean replied. “Why would I fear them?”
“They are men, you are a woman,” she went on. “Do they not try and make demands of you?”
Jean suddenly understood. Wanda was talking about sexual demands. Once and a while, she would catch one of the guys checking her out, especially Warren. In fact, he had asked her out more times than she cared to count. But that was just Warren being Warren.
When you’re born rich and good looking, success with women tends to come pretty easy. Still, when she had said no, he had taken that as no. Jean wasn’t a virgin, but she decided that sleeping with one of her teammates might cause too much jealousy among the rest.
“No, they don’t,” Jean finally answered. “But from your question I assume that it’s different in the Brotherhood.”
“The Toad is always looking at me with lustful eyes,” Wanda said, a statement Jean could well understand given the soft curves and generous endowments of the Witch’s body, “but that is something I can deal with.”
“But the others?” Jean asked.
“Mastermind is the worst,” Wanda explained. “When Magnus isn’t around, he makes the most lewd suggestions to me. He describes in graphic terms sexual practices that I could never have imagined on my own. Much less than I would ever do them. If Pietro knew of the things he said to me, I think he would try to kill him.”
Listening to Wanda speak, Jean got the impression that the younger woman had led a very lonely life. As they went on, Jean became aware that Wanda was now looking at her with a strange gleam in her eyes. It was a look Jean had seen before.
Prior to transferring to the Xavier School, Jean had attended one of the most prestigious all girl academies in the state. Among her classmates had been girls looking for a much closer relationship than just friendship. As one of the most attractive girls in the school, Jean had found herself on the receiving end of not a few such offers. Not all of them had been rejected.
Wanda was saying something about how much she liked Jean’s hair, especially the color, but the older woman was only half-listening. Instead, she was pondering a question that, if asked, might just provoke a hostile response from the Scarlet Witch.
Curiosity finally won out and she interrupted Wanda and asked, “Wanda, are you still a virgin?”
There was a long pause and an angry look filled Wanda’s face. For a few brief seconds, Jean worried that the question had indeed provoked the powerful woman and prepared to defend herself if needed. It didn’t come to that as the expression on Wanda’s face softened and her body seemed to ease. In response, Jean’s body relaxed as well.
“I have never been intimate with a man,” she said.
The lack of a simple no answer prompted Jean to ask another question, one even more likely to produce a negative reaction. Jean was guessing however that it wouldn’t.
“Have you ever been intimate with another woman?”
This time the pause between question and answer was even longer, but not accompanied by an angry flush in Wanda’s face. She didn’t seem reluctant to answer, just unsure how. Finally a different expression did form, one which Jean could only take as embarrassment.
Wanda finally admitted to having been intimate with a girl her age in one of the villages they lived in before joining Magnus. They had been discovered by Pietro who had undertaken a super-speed search for his sister when she had failed to arrive home before sunset.
Upon finding the two teenage girls both in a state of undress and in each other’s arms, her twin had gone into a rage. One so furious that it had sent Wanda’s friend running into the night, fearful for her safety. Pietro had warned her that if she ever spoke to anyone of what she and his sister had done, she would live to regret it.
As angry as the man who would later be called Quicksilver had been with the scared farm girl, he was even more enraged with the girl who shared his blood. How dare she, he had thundered in a loud, booming voice, how dare she embarrass him by committing such an unnatural act. This was what happened when he let her act on her own. He made her swear that night on the graves of their unknown parents that she would never do such a thing again.
Pietro had always been much more learned in the ways of the world and had looked after his sister for as long as she could remember. Even though Wanda couldn’t understand why it was so wrong for her to find comfort in the arms of a girlfriend, she agreed to do as her brother insisted.
To this day, Wanda had never repeated her indiscretion, not that Pietro ever let her out of his sight long enough to even attempt it. Still, no vow or constant oversight could ever end the memory of that girl’s touch, or the dreams that filled many of Wanda’s lonely nights.
“Wanda,” Jean said with all the sincerity she would have used had the girl sitting across from her been her oldest, dearest friend, “your brother is wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the feelings you had for that girl, or for anyone. No one has the right to tell anyone how to live their life. Not Pietro, not Magnus, not even me. Only you can make that decision.”
Wanda was taken back by Jean’s words. The thought that there was nothing wrong with the feelings that had haunted her for the past few years was only slightly harder to accept than the even more incredible concept that Pietro could be wrong about anything. In her whole life, she would never even have suggested such a thing.
Yet, also in her whole life, she never wanted anything so much as Jean’s last statement to be true. Not so much that Pietro had been wrong, but that her feelings had been right. Those feelings, more than her mutant abilities, had made her feel a stranger in a strange land.
“Have you ever had feelings like that?” Wanda asked hesitantly.
“More than just feelings,” Jean answered without pause. “I’ve had lovers of both sexes.”
Jean’s revelation and the ease with which she admitted it caused a wall to shatter in Wanda’s mind. Pietro had indeed been wrong. There was nothing wrong with what she had so desired.
“Do you think I am pretty?” Wanda asked somewhat unexpectedly.
“No, I don’t think you are pretty,” Jean replied, causing Wanda’s heart to sink for a heartbeat. “I think you are as beautiful as any woman I’ve ever known.”
Wanda’s heart soared twice the distance it had sunk. No one had ever said such a thing to her, at least not with such genuine feeling.
“Can I kiss you?” she asked Jean, her voice filled with a mixture of both excitement and hesitation.
“Oh yes,” Jean replied without pause as she brought her lips to Wanda’s.
The softness of Wanda’s mouth against her own sent a rush of excitement through Jean’s body. They kissed softly at first, then harder as each gave in to a hunger long unsatisfied. Feeling no resistance to the press of her tongue, Jean applied a little more pressure and slipped it into the younger woman’s mouth.
The thrill Jean felt, intense as it was, paled next to the one that filled Wanda. Memories of her first touch of another girl returned to her thoughts, only to be instantly eclipsed by the reality of her second. Eagerly she accepted the touch of Jean’s tongue, reaching out with her own to massage it gently.
The two young women connected in a way neither would have thought possible. The fight a short time ago, which might even still be going on beyond these stone walls, was forgotten. The only world that existed at this moment, was that within the half finished chamber. A world with the two of them the only inhabitants.
Like the teenagers they really were under their public identities, they shared kisses as if they were in the back of a late night double feature. An experience that Jean was quite familiar with, but one totally alien to Wanda. Nevertheless, she took to it with boundless enthusiasm.
Yellow and scarlet gloves were quickly tossed to the floor as searching hands explored firm bodies. Other pieces of their colorful uniforms soon joined the accessories, exposing more and more bare flesh to their touch.