|Jean Grey/Marvel Girl: When David Haller tries to apologise to Jean for an incident during a mission, he discovers just how much damage he did.
Jean put the broom away and kept her distance, leaning against a nearby desk.
"You were thinking of vengeance. And you didn't care who got hurt, or the consequences. God, it must be nice to not give a damn rather than deal with your problems in a constructive way that doesn't involve maiming. Because this is not the boy I knew back at Muir. But then again....maybe I didn't know you at all." She shook her head. "But this isn't my problem. I promised myself I would back off," she said, rubbing her eyes. "Anyway, your apology is accepted. You can go now." She really didn't feel like dealing with him or anyone else anymore for awhile.
Now what had been only a suggestion of expression became a true frown. "Was it vengeance?" Haller wondered. There was genuine puzzlement in the question, as if this was the first time the possibility had occurred to him. "I didn't think so. I wasn't angry, and I wasn't thinking about causing pain. I just reacted to a threat." He folded his arms and contemplated the floor tiles, finally relieving Jean of his unnerving gaze. "But you're right, I didn't care that people got hurt when I did. Charles agrees with you there, too. David didn't use to be like that. Caution informed our reactions, even the instinctive ones."
Jean glanced away. "No, that wasn't a normal reaction to a threat. What you said, what you did, that level of destruction....You could've done 15 different things to stop that man that didn't involve damage. But instead your put lives at risk, including the people on your team. I think you're letting your---," she said. She let out a breath, holding up her hands. "Nevermind. I'm sorry. Can we please stop talking about this? I'll want to help and I can't help you. I'm not Scott. Or Charles. This isn't my place. I can't fix anyone except patch people up or...clean up the mess."
"You're right to be upset. I don't need to feel it to understand that. But I also think you're selling yourself short." Haller removed his gaze from the floor and returned his attention to Jean. "Someone who does the things you're describing doesn't belong on the team. That's not what the X-Men are about. Whatever I can bring to the team, it's not a trade Charles is willing to make. But you've done everything you've been asked to do. Sometimes, like with the crowd, it's even been more than could reasonably be expected of someone so new at this. And more importantly, you care." He shook his head. "Charles is right when he says the team doesn't need someone like me. But it does need people like you."
Shaking her head, Jean folded her arms. "Like me?" she said, laughing softly at the notion. Her eyes were momentarily distant and skeptical. "I don't think I'm making a difference at all."
Haller shrugged. "We can claim the X-Men represents all the high ideals we like, but what does that mean if the people on it don't represent them? Intent matters." He added, with faint irony, "You could say it's the difference between a real apology and just saying things people expect you to say."
Jean glanced down. She didn't know how to respond to that. Not to someone who she barely knew, who seemed to choose to bottle up his emotions rather than deal with them, who might not understand. They were all so beaten down, so broken. All she saw was pain. She didn't want their pain. It was too much to bear sometimes. He seemed to think caring was a good thing, sometimes it wasn't.
Without telepathy there was no literal way to read her mind, but David had never used it in his counseling, and Haller didn't need it now to have some sense of Jean's state of mind. "Are you close to anyone at the hospital?" he asked. "People you can do things with, I mean . . . things that aren't just work, things outside the mansion."
Silent for a few moments, Jean let out a breath and glanced up. "Look...I know you're trying to help. Because that's your job as a counselor. But I'm going to be honest: I don't feel comfortable around you right now, Haller. Yes, you scare me. No matter how much you try to apologize or go through the motions because that's what you expect people to do. Something's wrong. That's painfully obvious. But I barely know you enough for us to be having this conversation about either of our problems when I keep thinking I'm going to say something that will make you try to break my leg or...maybe even my neck. Maybe it's irrational but...I just....I need time."