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Cecilia tends to Jean after she wakes up post-Shadow King battle.

After their conversation, Haller had left Jean to go get Cecilia. He had other things to take care of after getting her, so Jean stared at the ceiling while she waited. Everything was on fire, but not in the way she fought the Shadow King.

It hurt to move and breathe. It almost hurt to think.

This was not the best week ever.

"Well, good news." Cecilia's voice arrived before she appeared in the doorway, where she was rubbing hand sanitizer on her hands. "You're not dead."

It was probably too soon. But Cece figured if anyone would understand her hardened sense of humor, it'd be Jean.

"How are you feeling? Don't turn your head just yet." A beat. "If you can't speak and you'd rather..." Cece gestured from her brain to Jean's, "I'll overcome my... you know, whatever. Aversion."

One of Jean's eyes had swollen shut, so she tried hard not to move, just listen to Cece's voice. Her entire body was covered in bruises, cuts or gashes, and burns, which she'd come to discover after waking up earlier. But since Haller had left the room, before Cece had arrived she'd become keenly aware just how extensive they were. Not having a distraction would do that.

"I've been better," she said, her voice slightly hoarse. .

"Could've fooled me, though. I feel pretty dead." She reached up to touch gently touch her swollen eye, then winced.

"Yeah, don't do that either," Cecilia said. She grabbed a stool and rolled over to the side of Jean's bed. "Hold on." She adjusted it until Jean was sitting slightly more upright. Then she took Jean's hand, shifting into friend mode for a minute. "I'm glad you're okay," she said quietly, "and I'm sorry that you're in so much pain."

She was quiet for a few more seconds, then she grabbed Jean's chart. "Doctor hat on for a second. You're in for a long road of pain." She glanced at the notes she'd taken, though at this point, she hadn't really needed to, since she'd had to . "You fractured a few ribs. That's usually a month of recovery if you're lucky, probably closer to two. Good news is nothing seems to have totally broken, so no risk of ruptures or punctures. But, you know, we'll need to do more scans."

Cece sighed and her eyes scanned the chart. "The eye you know, obviously. But it probably hurts even more than it should because you've got a broken nose. I can get a plastic or an ENT consult if you want. Not an area I know a ton about. And there's a ZMC fracture too, so you're going to want to keep a pretty neutral expression these days. The burns and cuts we'll keep watching for infection. Had to do some stitches, obviously, but I did them myself, so I doubt you'll have any lasting scars or anything."

"Thanks," Jean said with honest appreciation.

"Probably explains why I keep tearing up," she said, resting her head against the wall with faint frown.

"I can't decide if I would've preferred being awake when Haller and Emma fought Shadow King using my body or locked away like I was."

She closed her eyes.

"If I wake up feeling like hell, I'd at least like to know why, I guess."

Rubbing her forehead, she tried to focus on something other burning pain that ripped through not only her body, but what felt like her soul. Her edges felt raw.

"I'll take whatever consult you think is best on the nose. Parker--" she let out a breath, finding herself unconsciously choking back a sob. Eyes fluttering, she shook her head.

"He broke it. That one I remember."

"Oh Jean," Cecilia sighed, "I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine what — like, I mean, the physical injuries are bad enough. It must have been so hard."

Jean glanced away, a flash of Parker's hands grasping her throat flickering across her memory. That initial moment of surprise. She drew in a breath.

"Better me than someone else. If he'd gotten to the children---" She let out the breath.

"I would never have forgiven myself."

She sighed.

"I don't know what I'm going to do about work. There are only so many times I can say I've been mugged."

"Car accident's a better lie," Cecilia offered, in a rather unhelpful attempt to be helpful. "Lets you take as much time as you need. Nobody will ask, and nobody will blame you for not wanting to talk about it."

"Hand shaped bruises around my throat? Burns and cuts? I don't know...This doesn't look like it'd be from a car." She made a face...then immediately regretted it, grimacing. If she'd been given pain medication, it had worn off by now.

"Actually, I have no idea what this would look like to them. Probably domestic violence."

Shaking her head, she shrugged.

"Hopefully by the time I come back it will have healed enough not to notice as much."

She shifted positions.

"You know, when I thought it might be a good idea for the Medlab staff to hang out more, this isn't what I meant."

Cecilia responded with a kind of half-snort. "The grand irony of my life at Xavier's. I spend the most time with people when they'd rather be anywhere else." She fell quiet and stared at her hands for a second. "I should get you something for the pain."

Jean glanced her over.

"Hey...Are you okay?" she said. It was that tiny moment of silence that spoke decibels.

"What? Yeah?" Cecilia looked up, a little surprised. "I'm fine. You're the one with broken bones and bruises. I'm just peachy."

Jean started to fold her arms but that really didn't work, so she took to staring skeptically.

"Somehow I have never really pictured you as saying 'just peachy.' Even if you are. It's kind of weird," she said, then tilted her head.

"I dunno, I got a vibe, just then."

"A vibe." Cecilia sounded a little weary as she stood to grab a pair of gloves. Jean had always been perceptive, and Cecilia's mental shields had never been particularly strong. "It just — I don't know. It's been, what, 3 years? And I still haven't gotten used to having it always be a friend or a housemate on the table or the bed or whatever. I didn't — I never really prepared for that."

She took the last pair of disposable gloves out of their box and tossed the box at the trash. "I don't know. I'm babbling. This isn't about me. Doctor mode, right?"

Jean smiled softly. "You're not babbling. You're right, it never gets easier," she said. She shook her head.

"Every time someone walks through that door," she said, nodding toward the doorway.

"Even if it's just to say hi, it still makes my stomach flutter at first. Because they could be hurt." She shrugged.

"But...even if it breaks my heart, I still can't stop doing it. And I'm guessing it's the same for you too." She stared down at her hands.

"Because they're our people. And they need us."

"Well, right now, you're 'our people.'" Cecilia turned back around. "Which is its own kind of thing. So I should be focusing on that. And how you need to take it easy for a while, despite all your impulses to the contrary."

Jean narrowed her eyes. "You're changing the subject again," she said, then sighed at the look she got.

"Fine, I'm changing the subject again too. I can't take it easy."

"Sweetie, that's bullshit." Cecilia grabbed some gauze and antibiotic ointment, then plopped down on a stool next to Jean's bed. "We have more people here than we ever have - maybe even then when I first got here. The X-folks know if they force you to do anything, they'll have to deal with my wrath. And if you think I can't work my contacts in the world of medicine to get your patient load reduced, you are sorely mistaken." She shrugged and gave Jean her best sorry-not-sorry smile.

"And," she added as she removed the dressing on a wound from Jean's arm, "I wasn't changing the subject. I'm happy to have this conversation when your bones aren't fractured, and you're able to make your full range of judgmental expressions."

Jean glanced away. "It's....not that," she said quietly.

"I can't take it easy because...then I'll have to think about it," she admitted, watching Cecilia as she worked.

"I already do. Over and over and over again. If I'm alone, doing nothing...I need the distraction." She closed her eyes, resting her head against the wall.

"Something to take my mind off of it I need to be doing something. Research. Anything. I need to find him."

Cecilia furrowed her brow as she re-dressed a few of Jean's wounds. It wasn't about concentrating on what she was doing; she was trying her best to keep her thoughts from leaking out. She understood. After everything that happened when she'd gone to Honduras, she kept her head down and plowed forward. This was probably an unhealthy behavior, and if it weren't hypocritical, she'd probably have said as much to Jean.

But Cecilia was no psychologist. "I get that," she said after just enough time had passed to make it seem like she'd been considering Jean's words over and over again. "But you're not in a position to exert yourself like that right now. Not physically, anyway. Can't speak to your psyche or your powers or whatever."

Jean's eyes (well eye) looked clouded by frustration, and she shook her head.

"I know," she said. Everything hurt. Literally everything. Even her soul. And her mind raced. She just wished she had brakes to slow it down.

"It's the waiting to heal that's the hard part. I feel...powerless."

"I know," Cecilia stopped what she was doing and looked up at Jean. "That's awful. There's very little way around that. I can treat the pain, and we can do everything we can to get you back to form as fast as possible... but it's going to take time."

Jean smiled faintly.

"We have this conversation every time. And every time, I wish I'd heal a little faster," she said. She reached out and gently squeezed Cece's hand.

"I'm glad you're here."

Cecilia gently squeezed Jean's right back. "I'd say the same, if you weren't, you know..." She used her other hand to make a faint circle encompassing Jean's current predicament. "But thank you."


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