DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Marvel and are used without permission. I am making no money, and have none to begin with, so please don't sue.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story takes place somewhere between Jean's death and Scott's befriending of Lee. The poet he speaks of is Sufi mystic Jelalludin Rumi. Feedback is loved and adored :)

When A Man Loves A Woman

When I remember your love,
I weep, and when I hear people
talking of you,
             something in my chest,
where nothing much happens now,
moves as in sleep.
             ~Jelalludin Rumi

A poet once said that lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.

That was true for you and I.

The first moment I saw you I knew that you were meant for me, and I for you. I felt my soul pulled toward yours, by yours. My heart recognized you. I wish I had known then that you felt the same way.

I was too shy to tell you, too insecure; but most of all, I was too afraid. And so I worshipped you from afar.

I was awed by your beauty, your intelligence, your strength, your kindness. Your laughter made me want to cry. I couldn't though, for I was the stoic, the responsible one. Instead, I watched you, too blind to see you watching me.

I saw you with another man, our friend, and I was jealous; not so much because you were with him, but because he was able to tell you how he felt. No one knew my feelings, no one could possibly know, I kept them hidden so carefully.

I thought it was love; but it wasn't, not yet. I know now that I didn't know the meaning of the word. To call what I felt then love would be a betrayal of what was to come.

Then you left and I thought it was because of something I had done when it was because of something I hadn't done. You thought I didn't care. You couldn't have been more wrong.

I gathered all of my courage and I told you what was in my heart. And a miracle happened when you told me what was in yours. I was so happy that I didn't see that you weren't.

I shut you out, more painfully than before because now you knew that I cared and you didn't understand why I pushed you away, why I only allowed you a peek at my soul while you laid yours bare for me. I couldn't tell you I knew I was going to lose you as I had everyone else I ever cared for; I didn't want to let you get too close, I wanted to protect myself from the hurt, even if it meant hurting you.

Then he came. I knew he wanted you, he made that clear. I also saw that you wanted him, and that terrified me. What frightened me more was that deep inside I knew that he had come to understand you better in a few days than I had in years. His presence allowed me to see all of who you were; but I said nothing. I expected you to go to him, I gave you opportunity. You surprised me by leaving, alone.

I sought you out, I tried to get you to see how much I cared; and fate intervened. You gave your life so that we might live. That was when I began to know what it is to truly love someone.

You came back to me and I thought I would die if I lost you again. I poured out my soul to you, but you didn't hear me. I knew you couldn't, I wasn't ready to have you hear yet.

When you awoke you were different; but still very much the same. I didn't realize it then, what the change was. You had become a woman. You weren't going to wait for me, you weren't going to ask me what to do. You still loved me though, I knew you did; but our roles had been reversed. It was you who shut me out, you who didn't want to share what was in your soul.

I didn't know there was so much pain inside you. I wish I had, things might have been different.

I tried to reach out to you and you pushed me away, then pulled me back. Always keeping me at a safe distance. You didn't know that every time you pulled me near, a part of me was left with you and a little bit of you with me.

Then you were gone and I shut down my heart, refusing to even acknowledge the loss of you. The others thought I was cold, cruel, unfeeling - they thought I had never really loved you. They didn't know I had loved you too much. I didn't even know myself.

Time passed and I started crawling out of my shell, as you had taught me. I didn't feel like I was betraying you when I started seeing another woman, I felt like I was honoring you and the gift of life you had imparted to me. If it hadn't been for you, I would have never learned to live.

I found out that it had all been a mistake. You were alive; but far from well, although I did not know it then. Something was eating away at you, slowly destroying you.

This is when I finally realized what love was and I told you, I opened up to you, and for awhile, you did the same. I have never been happier.

You told me things that were happening to you, things that scared you. I took them seriously, not seriously enough. I never dreamed that something so horrible could happen to you, could have been done to you.

You were twisted by evil, made evil; but I never believed that you were evil. Through it all I could see your soul; and while it became almost completely blackened by the darkness, I never lost sight of the shining center of light, struggling to survive as you drowned. I was desperate to save you and I couldn't. It broke my heart.

They said you had to die. God help me, a part of me agreed. I stood up for you, stood by you, as you would have done for me. They said I was blinded by my love. They were wrong. I have never seen more clearly.

Again, you kept things from me. Why? Why didn't you tell me that you had made up your mind then about what you would do? Why didn't you let me help you from the beginning? I will never understand what made you think you had to hide from me, why you thought you'd disappoint me, what made you think you weren't good enough for me. My love, I was the one who didn't deserve you.

You lost control and the leader part of me reacted, knowing you had to be taken down; but my heart screamed as I tried to destroy you. You never gave me the chance.

Why? I wake in the middle of the night, soaked in sweat, the last images of you before you killed yourself forever branded in my mind, the question 'Why?' on my lips.

Why? I might never know. I hope that one day I can at least understand. I felt what you were going through, how helpless you were, how desperate, how lost; and I cry for you, since I can no longer cry with you.

I promise you that I will do more than cry. I will live. You gave me so much, and I feel as if I gave you nothing; so I will use what you instilled in me, learn to be happy, learn to let others in. You were the first to touch my soul, but you will not be the last. I will be your legacy, I will remind people what was good and true in you by example. You forever changed me; and even if you had lived a thousand years I wouldn't have been able to repay you.

A poet once said that lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.

That was true for you and I.

It still is.

Mail the author, Sequoia Swennes, with comments!