X-Men (Vol 2) #35: Sunset Grace

Scott and Jean are returned to their present timeline by Mother Askani just two hours from when they were taken from their bodies and transplanted to host bodies in the future to raise Scott’s son, Nathan. When they awoke, they discovered themselves on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier. Nick Fury explains that their unconscious bodies were found on St. Barts beach where they were supposed to have spent their honeymoon.

Meanwhile, Fury wants to enlist the help of Scott and Jean to stop an immediate crisis. A local mutant Sunset Grace (Grace Lavreaux, 59, widowed) has caused an “inter-dimensional fissure” which is growing exponentially and would soon “swallow the whole blasted planet” in a matter of hours. Jean requests to seek help from the other X-Men, but Fury tells them they haven’t got the time to do so, and that “Sunset Grace asked for both of [them] to help her”.

The three trek through the jungle to the mobile operations base S.H.I.E.L.D. had set up. Fury informs Scott and Jean that S.H.I.E.L.D. had sent agents into the rift, but had lost them. Before losing contact though, he heard Grace telling the agents “only Charles can help [her]”.

As the couple approach the rift, Jean hears Grace telepathically calling out to her. Jean is simultaneously pulled into the rift. Without a second thought, Scott recklessly jumps into the void after Jean. They find the missing agents, and discover a “world” in the void. The reunited couple embrace.

Jean: “The very air in here feels...charged somehow -- with so much sadness, such an overwhelming loneliness.”

They return the missing agents to the real world. Jean puts them in a telekinetic bubble and while Scott uses his powers to blast them through the rift, he thinks back to the years they spent in the future where Scott had complete control of his powers in his host body. Jean knows he misses that terribly, but Scott tells her “[he’ll] be fine”. She probes deeper, and he tells her it “hurts” in his gut and he needs to learn how to “get through it all again” with Jean’s help. On the other hand, with Jean regaining with the “mental connections opened up again by [her] telepathic powers”, she felt whole again, except that Grace’s “anguish is tearing through [her] heart”.

They finally find Grace. She tells them all this happened because of them.

Grace: “But you children in a way, you made me open up a part of myself...I thought I’d closed under lock and key.”

Grace had encountered Scott and Jean on the beach collecting shells during their honeymoon when their “souls were being wrenched from [their] bodies.”

Grace: “I could feel it, tearing my own heart apart -- And in that instant, as both of you were thinking you were going to die -- All your confusion...all your fear...was focused on the one thought that you were being robbed of a life together -- and that thought...so full of regret and love...opened up feelings, emotions -- inside o’ me --”

Grace hadn’t attempted to use her “gifts” in a long time till she couldn’t use it anymore and thought it gone because she had become “so afraid” of it. She couldn’t hold back her powers anymore and it opened up at the same spot she had last used them.

Grace’s powers enabled her to open up a rift in time, which she dubbed “Neverneverland”. But as she grew up, reality got in the way of fantasy. Marriage and children “have a way of taking from you, as much as they do of giving to you”. When time took away her youth and innocence, Neverneverland disappeared. One fateful night, she and her family met with a car accident. Grace was flung out of the car, but her husband and son went over the cliff in the car. In a moment of desperation she summoned the rift and sent her loved ones to Neverneverland where “things like death couldn’t happen”. But Grace couldn’t find her way back because she didn’t believe in her make believe world anymore. She became a vegetable, and it took a young Charles Xavier to draw her back into the world, but she still couldn’t find Neverneverland.

But it was Grace’s guilt reflected in Scott and Jean’s cause which triggered her powers. When Scott and Jean went to the future to raise Nathan, “it was a chance to give life -- and meaning to Nate -- To provide him with hope that his life has a greater purpose”. Something that Grace couldn’t do for her son and family. Jean urged Grace to look past the guilt, and find them in her heart. And as she did, her husband and son mysteriously appeared.

Jean: “Take them -- Let them back into your heart. Let them in as you let us out...”

And Grace closed the rift behind Scott and Jean as they left, choosing to remain with her family in Neverneverland. Jean later reveals to Scott that Grace’s husband and son had indeed died in that accident, and Grace knew it.

Jean: “Grace didn’t find Neverneverland, Scott, she made it. And when given the chance, she made reality suit her dreams, her hopes. She had her husband and son once more, just as she always hoped they would be. That’s probably why the professor helped her block her powers.”
Scott: “Who knows what kind of things a mutant that powerful, in the grips of a lifelong depression, may have accidentally done? But the life she’s going to lead, Jean, inside that fantasy world --”
Jean: “--Is a life some people could only dream of, Scott...A chance to be safe, happy and whole with the family you love.”

Scott and Jean returned from the future from The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #4.