Characters are Marvel's. No explicit sex but lots of discussion of an m/m relationship. Archive at will, just tell me where.

Making Sense Of It

by Jane of Shadows

You know this, of course, but I feel a need to tell you anyway: I am really, incredibly sorry I walked in on you last night. Not just because it was so embarrassing for the both of us, but because I don't really know if I can handle what I saw. I mean, to you it probably seems perfectly right and natural for the two of you to -- but for me -- well, I can't judge you, but why? Why him, of all people?

I think it would have been bad enough no matter who you'd been with, just because of that stupid atavistic thing that Parents And Teachers Don't Have Sex. One of the very few memories I have from my childhood-- and it's totally incongruous that I'd remember this, when I've lost so much else -- is Alex, giggling to me that he found Mom and Dad having what he called a "naked romance", and me feeling terribly superior because I knew what that meant, and at the same time mortified that Alex would see it, and tell me about it, and for that matter that they were doing it. No one likes to know that their parents are having sex. Or their teachers. Jean told me once when we were teens that she was embarrassed to death to go home again because she'd telepathically overheard her parents making love while she was there for a visit. But, I was 8 when Alex embarrassed me, and Jean was 16 when her parents embarrassed her. I'm almost 30 now, so it would be ridiculous to be too embarrassed. I mean, I do know you're a man like the rest of us, and I never thought you and Lilandra were playing tiddlywinks. So it's not that so much. It really is who.

Part of me always hated Lilandra ever since she tried to kill Jean. Not Jean, Phoenix, but I didn't know that then and neither did she, so it doesn't change the fact that she would have tried to kill Jean if it had truly been Jean. And after Phoenix had saved the universe from her older brother, too. So I never felt warmly toward her. But at the same time I knew that she was right-- I hated admitting it, but I had to acknowledge to myself, after Phoenix killed herself, that it was the correct decision. You don't kill 5 billion people on a whim and then simply go on with your life. I believed Lilandra was doing what she had to do, and the leader part of my soul understood that, though the man could never forgive. I could accept you taking her back after Phoenix's death, largely because I wasn't there when you did and time and distance had blotted a little of the pain, but also because I knew, in my mind if not in my heart, that Lilandra was not evil. She was a leader protecting her people, doing what she had to do. Not a terrorist. Not a murderer.

I could accept you with her. Not him.

I want you to know, too, it's not because he's a man. You did teach me better than that. I'd be a pretty amazing hypocrite if I spend my life fighting prejudice, only to be a bigot when I find out my teacher's bisexual. I don't care what sex your lovers are. I do care what they do with their lives, though, and threatening to kill me on a regular basis throughout my teen years doesn't endear anyone to me, I'm afraid, nor does attacking the entire world, sinking submarines full of people, torturing me and my teammates, betraying and abandoning your newer students, ripping a friend of mine to shreds so he very nearly dies... the list goes on.


Why are you with him?

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. You were always obsessed with him. And your relationship has always been stranger than any enmity I've ever seen before. You spent my teen years telling me how evil he was and how irredeemable and how everything we did had to thwart him and his plans and how he was the most important and dangerous foe we'd ever face, and then you turned around and embraced him the moment he claimed he'd seen the light. Well, he was very convincing; he fooled Lee, and she was never a stupid woman. Who knows, maybe he did see the light and then went blind again, or something. I leave obsessing over him and his motives to you. For myself, all I've ever wanted to do, vis-a-vis him, is make sure he can't hurt me and mine and the world ever again. So you can see I was more than a trifle unnerved to find out that he had gotten through our defenses without anyone but you knowing he was there. If he had come to kill us all in our sleep, we couldn't have stopped him.

Good thing for us he was after something else.

No, I'm not going to be crude. I just don't understand. Hate and love should not be intertwined. I would never hate Jean, no matter what she did; I would never teach my students and teammates she was evil incarnate, and strike her down to core out her brain and leave her alive as a vegetable, no matter what... I don't see how you can hate someone so much you train a strike force specifically to take him down, and love him so much you'll take him to your bed even after he's betrayed you a dozen times over. I could never do that...

...and I think of Dark Phoenix.

What would I have done, if I'd been in charge of training students to take Dark Phoenix down? I didn't know she wasn't truly the woman I loved, and I knew it would be necessary to be utterly ruthless to have a hope against her power. Well, actually there was really no hope against her power, she was all but omnipotent, but let's say there was. Could I have trained students to fight her if I told them she was my lover, that she'd been corrupted by power but she was still a good woman underneath it all? That's why I couldn't take her down, because I knew all that. I'd have to train them to be ruthless, wouldn't I? And that would mean teaching them she was evil...

...Would I take her back? If she came to me, and said she was sorry, and she never wanted to do it again? Well, I did, didn't I? I fought to save her life, because she was sorry she killed 5 billion people...

...But it's not the same. Dark Phoenix didn't act out of ideology; she was a separate, violent personality. You could excise that personality and still keep Phoenix, still keep her Jean-self intact. If the same could be done to Magneto you would have done it by now. He fights us because he believes he's right. So why? He's still the enemy, he admits it, you admit it, we might have to fight him to the death tomorrow, so why did I find him in your bed?

I admit it, I was shocked. And frightened. You know what my first thought was, what he was doing to you, because you screamed at me telepathically that that was an unbelievably stupid idea and how the hell could Magneto rape you in a house full of your students when your powers were working fine. But what was I supposed to think, seeing my teacher pinned naked under the body of his worst enemy? I mean, most people do not want to sleep with people who have repeatedly tried to kill them and who gloated maniacally at their faked funeral. I know your stepfather abused your mother, but hell, Professor, you're the psychologist, can't you break the cycle? You need to end up with people who'll shred you emotionally and attack you?

No, that's not fair. All your women left you, or you left them-- I'm not sure what happened, between you and Lilandra, or you and Gabrielle Haller. I know Dr. MacTaggert and Amelia Voght both left you. I don't know if that's just bad luck or something about you that makes you hard to live with, or if you drive lovers away, or what. But Magneto... this wasn't an isolated incident, was it? It's been going on for a very long time, hasn't it. And he still hasn't left you. Leaves you for months or years at a time to go conquer the world, and the two of you try to kill each other-- or let's be brutally honest, you send us to try to kill or "stop" him and he tries to kill us-- and then the battle's over and you must reconcile, somewhere behind the scenes. Never letting us know, because that would have compromised our ability to fight him, if we knew you loved him.

Is that why he never really did manage to kill any of us, in all those years? Only Joseph, and that only as a side effect, not any intentional act of his. And he did try damn hard to kill Logan, but then, there still were easier ways. If he could remove the adamantium entire he could have removed an adamantium skull from an adamantium spine and there wouldn't have been any coming back from that. He tortured Logan but it was something Logan could survive. Was there a reason for that?

Was there a reason you broke his mind into pieces but you left him alive? I know you can kill a body with telepathy. You didn't.

Christ, Professor, how long has this been going on?I can't reconcile the hysterical madman we first fought with this. I can't imagine you inviting him into your bed. I don't want to imagine it, anyway. But I do have to admit Magneto has changed. Still just as dangerous, but less psychotic since Mutant Alpha and Dr. MacTaggert have had at him. Less psychotic most of the time, anyway. Has it been going on since then? Since he tried to kill Kitty Pryde, and you said we'd won a great victory because we'd made him rethink his beliefs? Or earlier? Did you sleep with him while you were training us to attack him with no quarter and think of him as the quintessence of evil?

Or maybe it was going on since you first met him, and you put it on hold while he was totally insane. I like to think so, anyway. I'd rather think that, than to think you're sufficiently twisted that you could train your students to want your lover dead.

I can't ask any of this of you. You're going to tell me it's none of my business, and I suppose it wouldn't be, except that this changes everything I knew about you. You're sleeping with the enemy, Professor, and I don't know how long you've been doing it, or what kind of man is capable of coring out someone's mind and then having sex with them after they recover.

Or what kind of man is capable of forgiving that.

I hadn't thought about that. I know that I know no one more forgiving than you, Professor; I know you've tried to help the stepbrother you hate, that you've embraced many of the team's enemies and some of them, like Rogue, turned out to be the best decision you could have made. But Magneto holds grudges. He decided to torture all of us because he was angry at you over the Mutant Alpha thing, which was his fault anyway and not yours. Yet he forgives you, enough to sleep with you anyway. Why?

No, I don't get it. I don't understand any of it. He's going to betray you, because he always has before, every time you've extended a hand to him. Sooner or later his beliefs are going to make him do something we have to stop at any cost, and we'll fight. And your heart will be broken. How many times has this happened before? Did you rip out his mind because of what he did to Logan or because of what he did to you?

I preferred you with Lilandra. Every so often we'd have to go fight the enemies of the Shi'ar, but that's preferable to knowing you're inviting a dread enemy into the house at night while we're asleep so you can have sex with him without any of us knowing you're doing it. What are you thinking, Professor? Why haven't you told anyone about this relationship?

Because you don't think we'll handle it well. Well, sure. I'm not handling it well. Yes, I'll admit, I'm actually handling it very badly but don't you think it would have been easier if you'd told me, and I hadn't had to find out by walking in on the two of you?

We need to have a talk. I don't know what other secrets you're holding and I don't know if they're endangering the X-Men and I don't know to what extent the X-Men need to care about your personal life, but I need to find out. We can't have this kind of thing, Professor. Not after Onslaught. You don't get to stay obsessively secretive about your private life anymore.

We're going to talk. Just as soon as I work up the courage to face you again and tell you so.