At the end of the day, Jane stumbled into her bedroom exhausted. It was slightly unusual that she should feel this way considering that today had been no different from any other day that week. There had been a mission – nothing too severe like combat – but just that there had been a natural disaster with an oil spill that the X-Men had decided to help contain. Nearly everyone had been involved with the most notable exceptions being Jean and Scott as they were expecting their firstborn. Also, the Professor, Hank, Rogue, and Forge elected to stay behind also as it was a school day and very close to finals. Still, all of the other X-Men were there to minimize both human casualties and damage done to nature. When they returned from the mission, Jane noticed that they were all unaffected by it compared to her. Sure, Wanda and Kitty were foaming at the mouth in anger at the carelessness of the oil company; and sure, Bobby and Kurt were still riding high off of their adrenaline rush from the mission. But no one looked as drained of energy as Jane felt, and not feeling hungry either, she decided to return to her room and go to bed early for the night.
In comparison to how she felt, Jane’s boyfriend Pietro didn’t feel any different from usual. Of course, they assignments on the mission had been different in that while Pietro was on damage control in trying to find just how far the spill spread, Jane was controlling the damage at the source by trying to stop the spill altogether. He used his super-speed and she used her green energy to try and form an effective stopper. Working efficiently with the rest of the team, they minimalized the spillage all together. So, while they both had different tasks due to the vast difference in their genetic mutations and abilities, they both worked just as equally and as much as the other. In the aftermath, though, Jane was wiped out and Pietro was just a little hungry because of how many calories he burned on the mission.
He watched Jane head upstairs, but remained with the others as they assembled their dinner. Pietro wolfed down his food fast, almost too fast, but he was hungry and he wanted to be with Jane. After the first few bites he slowed down, realizing that Jane may need some time to herself after the mission or she may be taking a nap. With that realization, he freely socialized with the others and joked around. All the while, though, in the back of his mind, he had a growing niggling concern on Jane and her wellbeing.
Eventually, he couldn’t stand their separation any longer. Pietro said his polite goodnights to the others, and then he freely went to her. He let himself into her bedroom as they had been sleeping together – in all senses of the word – for a long time by now and he doubted that he would be able to wake her since he was moving at his super speed. Jane had been alone upstairs for over an hour by now, so Pietro honestly expected to find her already asleep. After all it was nearing on midnight, too, and that was usually when they fell asleep after either talking or making love. However, he was distinctly surprised when he came into the room and found Jane still awake. She wasn’t doing anything. In fact, Jane had already changed into her pajamas, which consisted of a pair of The Beatles boxer-shorts and old, vintage band t-shirt from the 90s. Lying on top of the bedcovers and staring at the ceiling (but not really staring at the ceiling), Jane had not yet noticed his entrance as she seemed to be a trance herself judging by the green glow of her eyes.
Hesitating to speak lest he break her concentration, Pietro at first observed her for a moment that last less than a breath for Jane but what felt like an eternity for him. During that moment where he watched the slow, steady, and reassuring rise and fall of her chest as she breathed; Pietro took note of how at a first glance she looked like she was resting. Upon a closer examination, though, he could see the slight bruise-like coloring of dark circles under her eyes that was distinctly too purple to be her eye make-up smudging. Jane had always been pale, but now her pallor was too white as her freckles stood out in full relief on her cheeks. Despite being an immortal, feral mutant, Jane was not supposed to resemble a vampire like this. Her once rosy cheeks looked slightly sunken, her once brilliant eyes too glazed over and vacant. Even her limbs that at first looked relaxed clearly were not as her muscles were tensed almost to the point of cramping. On the soft mattress, she was too rigid. From a distance, Pietro could even see the slight tick of a twitching muscle in the form of the way her fingers slightly trembled, hands ever so slightly shaking.
No longer able to keep his distance, Pietro climbed into the bed with her, shifting around until he had them both comfortably propped up against the fluffy pillows. He cuddled her, brushing her dark black hair out of her eyes and face. “Janie baby, why aren’t you asleep?”
In response to his actions, Jane was placid and pliable to his touch. She curved into him, latching onto his heat and affection as she pushed herself back into the pillows with a deep sigh. The glow left her eyes and they were their normal green luminousness as she focused her gaze on Pietro. “I was meditating I guess. Honestly, I tried to go to sleep Pietro, but I was just too tired to sleep.” Her hand came up and barely brushed against his cheek. Her eyes were hungry as they roved freely over his face, but it wasn’t with the carnal hunger that was borne of lust. The hunger in her gaze was like one would see on an art-connoisseur enjoying the colors of Monet painting. Jane was just drinking him in, in this moment of lassitude, and her thirst and hunger was insatiable as she continued to fully take him in.
Pietro didn’t seem to notice how she looked at him. He was always so oblivious to just how much she could love him as he always felt too simple and ordinary to be worthy of such attention. “I didn’t know that you mediated, Janie baby.” Half-way joking, he continued, “Do you do yoga, too, or something? I wouldn’t have the patience for either of those things, you know.” As they spoke softly to one another, the lights in the room dimmed – probably Jane’s doing. Neither were aware of what was happening, though, as they were too enraptured in each other.
Even though the joke wasn’t that funny and they both knew it, Jane was so tired that she couldn’t help but laugh a little bit under her breath. “No,” she answered as swallowed the rest of her delirious giggles, “Hank told me that I need to meditate now after strenuous missions as a way to replenish my green energy magic. It’s either learn how to meditate or pass out for a couple of hours like Logan does when he maxes out his healing factor.” In a daze, Jane touched her fingers to Pietro’s cheek, gently stroking her fingertips down his face until they came to rest at his collarbone. He was still in regular clothes, and she knew he probably wouldn’t get up to change into his pajamas now. That was okay with her, and she correctly assumed that it was probably okay with him, too. If he got uncomfortable, he’d just take off his jeans and shirt and sleep like that. The more skin to skin touch, the more comfortable they were. As tired as she felt, Jane also felt starved for his touch and continued to run her fingers through his long silver hair for the rest of the conversation.
Basking in her affectionate touch, Pietro only wrapped his arms around her more securely. “I can’t imagine Hank teaching you how to meditate.” He was started to wind down now, not exactly tired like Jane but pleasantly sleepy like a cat about to doze in a patch of sunlight. His eyelids were starting to get heavy, but he was willing to fight sleep off for now as he just simply existed here in this close, intimate proximity with Jane.
Insightfully answering his unspoken question, Jane expounded, “Hank didn’t teach me how to meditate. He simply prescribed it. Darcy was the one who actually came to me and explained it. She said telepaths have to do it a lot.”
“But you’re not a telepath,” Pietro added.
“Yeah, but with the powers I have it requires a lot from me. Manifestation, the manipulation of magic, elemental powers almost – it can be quite extensive on my mind and my body. With as long as I have lived I constantly push the limitations and boundaries and laws of physics with my powers and now I’m doing it more often than ever. I’ve had episodes in the past where I’ve pushed myself too far too quickly and it wasn’t pretty. I’d rather meditate,” Jane patiently explained to him.
At that, Pietro made a neutral noise in his throat in response. For a stretch of time there was silence between them. In that silence their eyes wandered away from each other as they curled tighter around each other, too close for eye contact now. Instead they wound tight and stared out into space, the room now almost too dark to see. The darkness was comfortable, though, and Jane was finally starting to fully relax. After a few heartbeats, Pietro spoke his mind out into the dark to Jane, “You look really tired.”
There was an inelegant snort in response from Jane and she squeezed Pietro tighter to her. “I’ve lived so long, Pietro. Sometimes I’m just tired. You know, I’ve seen so much in the world. That oil spill is not the worst thing that I have ever witnessed today. But I guess I just worked so hard and when I had to meditate I started thinking about my life.”
Taking in her words, Pietro hugged her closer to him, pressing her ear to his sternum so she could hear his strong, steady, young heart. “What if you don’t think of any of that? What if you just think of me and all of the wonderful times we have had? What if you think of the beautiful future that we’ll have together as we make the world a better place for ourselves and others like us to live in?”
Jane wanted to tell him that even if she did think such pretty thoughts that her fears and anxieties would not allow the thoughts to stay pretty for long. She wanted to tell him that some of that was wishful thinking. She wanted to say that she was too tired to think any of that and sometimes these negative thoughts and feelings overtook her despite the fight she put up. She wanted to tell him these things, but she couldn’t. By now she was too tired to talk but also too tired to sleep. It was a godawful combination.
Not knowing what to make of her silence, Pietro continued talking. “Or better yet what if you don’t think at all? What if you just feel? Feel the beat of my heart against my sternum and listen to it closely as it beats for you. Feel the sheets that are soft and my breath that is warm. Smell the detergent used on the comforter from the last time Balto threw up on it. Look out into the dark indistinct shapes of your bedroom and know that there is nothing out there that could hurt us because we are safe in this mansion, in our home, together. Feel the love I have for you in your heart. Just lose yourself in the moment and exist with me. We’re in love. We’re safe. We have a good life. Most of the time we are happy, surrounded by our friends and family and good people. You can never die. All pain is temporary. Just be with me.”
As Pietro, freely rambled, almost thoughtlessly, Jane listened and tried to follow his advice. This is what she had been trying to do while meditating and she could tell it was working. She felt like she was on the verge of sleep, just nearly there, nearly there. Then Pietro softly spoke his words into her hair as if he were confiding a secret to her, “Goodnight, Jane. Sweet dreams. I love you and I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jane wanted to look him in the eyes but she knew by the way his breathing changed that he had already dropped off to sleep. He had worn himself out, his crooned words to her like a lullaby for the both of them. Her voice thick with sleep, she repeated his words back, “Goodnight, Pietro. Sleep well. I will love you forever. See you in the morning.” Then with a suddenness that she wasn’t even aware of, Jane fell asleep.
They slept deeply like that together, both of their sleeps dreamless. Their limbs were entangled with each other and they were content. In the morning, they would wake and decide to brush their teeth before kissing. They would head downstairs and eat breakfast together, laughing. And they would always live out the rest of their days fully loving one another with all of their heart and soul.