This story takes place shortly after Jaye's return to Xavier's. She just completed her freshman year at Star City University. Jaye kept herpromise to Logan to come home to the nest. However, things are not as smooth as she would like. She finds that emotional angst makes stragne alliances..
Rated PG-13/ Angst & Romance
[Bracketed words indicate thoughts or telepathic transmissions]
Pride Doth Go Before The Fall Into Love
(X & The Single Woman Part III)
Logan sheathed his adamantium claws. He cast his dark gaze upon his winded opponent lying on the ground. He casually took a cigar out of his duffel bag and bit off the end. He lit it and inhaled slowly to savor the flavor of the Cuban tobacco.
"Had enough, Frail?"
"Who in the hell are calling 'Frail', Furball." Came the defiant young woman's response. Logan eyed the young woman's T-shirt. The logo on it read "Diva." It also bore three perfect slashes across the front. He had to give the girl credit; she had spunk.
He looked intently at her. Her pride refused to give quarter. She said nothing as she rose to her feet and dusted off herself. Proud and unyielding, she lived up to her motto "Never give up and never give in." Young, saucy, and impassioned, she was a formidable person. Jet black hair, emerald eyes, and enough fire to burn a man alive where he stood with just a look.
Logan offered his hand to help her to her feet. The stare she gave scorched and froze him in his tracks. She batted his hand away. "Don't you think you've done enough damage for one day, Logan don't need your help, I'm fine." She put her hand to her shoulder and quickly turned away.
"Computer end program." She stated in a curt voice. The scene of a post-apocalyptic New York vanished to be replaced by for gray adamantium walls.
"You're bleeding." Concern cut across the gravely edge of his voice. Logan saw scarlet stains seeping past the edge of her fingers and soiling her shirt. Damn Frail has too much pride for her own good.
"No shit, Sherlock. The boy is observant. Give him a gold star." Jaye snapped as she walked past him. Logan gently stayed her with a tender touch on her arm.
"Let me see your shoulder, Sunshine." His worry revealed itself with his special endearment for Jaye.
Don't get touchy-feely on me. I'm fine, Logan. It's just a scratch. Chalk it up to you getting lucky." She pulled away from him and headed for the Danger Room entrance. She felt a rough hand on her shoulder. He abruptly spun her around to face him. A harsh dominance clouded his ruggedly handsome features. Jaye felt his hold of absolute possession take hold of her psyche. She tried to shrink away, but, Logan held her captive with their intense psionic bond.
"Don't ever walk away from me, Frail. Now let me see that shoulder. " He ripped away the remaining scraps of the torn shirt to reveal three deep gashes across her shoulder and upper chest. The breeze from the air conditioner drifted acros the fresh wounds causing them to sting. Jaye remained motionless with barely contained fury blazing in those verdant green eyes.
He stood amazed. " I didn't mean to get ya that hard. I'm sorry. Darlin', you need to let Hank look at that. That's pretty bad."
"You never mean to do a lot of things." She retorted as she turned once more to leave him alone. "I learned that a long time ago!"
"Don't give me that line of shit, Sunshine." He barked. His strong grasp on her arm caused her to pause. Logan knew it was a mistake to have grabbed her when Jay languidly turned around to face him with a sardonic brow raised in question. He knew he was in trouble the moment that her human looking eyes lost their pupils and glowed with an unnaturally bright green glare. He felt an intense force of cold, dark hit him in the gut with the force of semi-truck. He flew across the room and landed with a heavy thud against the adamantium wall.
"Don't ever touch me. Don't ever threaten me. Don't ever call me Frail, you blood savage beast." She said in a quiet, controlled tone. "And just remember, Wolverine. You can't tame me. And if I wanted to, I could kick your ass any day of the week!" Without another world or a backward glance, Jaye left the Danger Room.
A savage beast she had called him. Logan had been called a lot worse by scumbuckets, but, it hurt to the bone when she said that. He hated the fact that she was sometimes corrosive and scathing with her words. He knew all too well those same lips could bring a man to tears with tender words to soothe his broken soul. He remembered that night in Linoma. She had moved over him like a sandstorm on the desert. His heart cried out for a lifemate and she had answered his call. she claimed Logan as hers for all time with that primal emathic link. It brought together their minds, bodies, hearts and souls into one divine union. He was marked.
Dammit, he had let his own anger control his actions. He had wanted to figuratively strike at Jaye and he had literally done it. He wanted to bring her impertinent bravado down a few notches. He'd never meant to hurt her.
He'd just been playing with her to get her juices flowing. He was afraid she had been going soft.
[Yeah, right. Tell another lie to y'self, Logan.] His self-derision didn't make the situation any easier or the tension less tangible. He had wanted them to move to the next level in their relationship.
Now he was afraid she hated him.
Jaye returned to her room. She took off the last bloody remains of her T-shirt and threw it angrily into the trash. She looked at her shoulder in the mirror. The jagged gashes were already a soft pink rather than blood red as they had been in the Danger Room. In a few minutes, they would be scabbed over. In an hour, they would be gone. Jaye secretly thanked the Powers-That-Be for her metamorphic abilities. They also allowed her a unique form of generation.
[Ass-hole.] Jaye screamed silently at his image in her mind. She had been fine until he said that she had lost her edge. She had been all right until he said she was getting soft. What had hurt and outraged her the most was when he said that she needed a few lessons from Phoenix in the good-looks department. She wasn't Kitty Pryde or his little sidekick Jubilation Lee or his unrequited lover Jean Gray Summers. She was Jaye Morgan! She was his student, she was his equal. She was his teammate. She was in love.
She went to the medicine cabinet and applied antiseptic to the wound. The stinging of the wound subsided upon application. She dressed the gashes and bandaged them carefully. Then, she put on a fresh tee-shirt and brushed her hair.
[Damn him!] She still fumed over how he had thought he could forbid her to leave. She wasn't a child. She was a sophomore in college. Upon his request, she had returned home after her freshman year at Star City University in Linoma Bluffs Metroplex. Yet, he had been cold and distant since her return.. No warmth in his greeting, no loving words upon his lips as she had stepped out of the taxi the day she had returned home. He had whispered tender words in the heat of desire.
[Jessica, I'm going to make love to you and discard all others. I'm not going to be with anyone else but you. There will never be another woman in my heart or my bed; only you. You are Only One. I'm going to love you for the rest of our lives…..]
Those words had worked their intended magic on her. With those sweet nothings, he had lulled her right over the edge into bed with him.
"What complete and utter bullshit and I fell for it harder than a stone." She berated herself. She knew that Scott thought her a dangerous, unstable individual that needed to be monitored and controlled.
She wasn't that way anymore. She had learned how to deal with her pain and anger in more positive ways. Or had she?
[That telekinetic punch that Logan felt wasn't exactly a love tap. Then again, I don't go around using people as scratching posts either.]
She needed a fresh perspective unfettered by anger and hurt feelings. A breath of fresh air in the belltower had always been the cured for whatever ailed Jaye. It was where she found focus and serenity. Sometimes, she felt like it was the one safe haven untouched by the rest of the world. First, however, a glass of juice sounded like the right remedy to soothe her parched throat.
Teleportation makes life so much easier. She smiled to herself as she stood in front of the fridge. She opened the door and spotted the orange juice. The clean, crisp smell of ivory soap and pert shampoo mingled with a light scent of Polo teased her nostrils.
"Hi, Scott." She said without a backward glance. She knew that restrained, repressed mental signature anywhere. She half-expected the anal-retentive Boy Scout to break into some lecture.
"Hi, yourself." He peered over her shoulder and noticed the near-empty fridge. "No one has went shopping in a while."
"I noticed." She sensed no animosity from him. Instead, she felt his mind full only with friendship and concern. Usually, he was quick with a morality speech where she was concerned. She shrugged. Maybe he was in the mood for conversation. "There's some O.J. …Want some?"
"Sure. Sounds like a winner."
He grabbed two glasses from the cupboard and sat at the breakfast bar. She poured the orange juice and replaced it in the fridge. Her eyebrows rose in surprise when Scott raised his glass.
"I propose a toast: to old friends, family, and new beginnings." He flashed that All-American perfect pearly smile. Jaye couldn't help smiling back when she felt his warmth and sincerity flooding her senses.
[What the hell? Getting along with Scott would definitely be a step in the right direction. The day wouldn't be a total loss. And it would piss Logan off to no end. This could be a good thing!]
"Here, here!" She clinked her juice glass to his. "To old friends, family, and new beginnings."
"So what's wrong with Logan?" Scott asked.
Jaye almost dropped her glass in dumfoundment. "I haven't a clue. Maybe something crawled up his ass and died. You know Logan, he always probably found his new theme of the week for his sorry, tortured soul.'
"Ouch." Scott winced. "That's cold."
"Well, yeah." She said as though he were a small child. "But, it's the truth."
"Logan stormed past me a few moments ago cursing a blue streake about 'black-haired frails that need to be put over someone's knee and spanked." She heard a barely conceived chuckle.
"That, my dear friend Scott, was probably about me." She gingerly sipped her juice. [And Logan would love to spank me, too, I bet.]
"You're the only one who works him up like that." Scott gulped the last of his juice and leaned towards her. "Are you okay?"
"As well as can be expected." She replied honestly. It was so refreshing to just sit and talk with Scott without the anger and animosity that usually hung between them. "I think Logan's just having a bad hair day."
"That's every day, Jaye." Scott kept a perfectly expressionless face.
"True." [What is the world coming to? Scott just cracked a joke. Maybe there's hope after all.]
"He and I had it out in the Danger Room…and he wounded me. I just wanted to leave and tried to stop me. I promptly told him where he could stick it."
"I see." She sensed Scott's mirth over antagonizing old Wolverine. They both loved to rile the old k'nucklehead.
"He seems so remote at times. Earlier in the year, he begged me to come home. Now, that I'm here, he barely gives me the time of day. It's as if I am less than nothing to him. It hurts like hell." She slammed her glass down on the counter. "Dammit, Scott, I think I need something a hell of a lot stronger than O.J."
"Jaye, Logan would like to believe that he is an island unto himself. When he's emotionally attached to someone, he doesn't like it because he isn't alone. It makes him uncomfortable. Sometimes, people deal with their fears through humor, anger, and arrogance. Some simply enter a state of denial."
"Thank-you, Dr. Laura." She smiled. "I'll just deal with it and get over it. It's not like I can't stand rejection."
"Don't write Logan off so quickly." Scott put his arm around her. "For days before you arrived, he smiled. He joked. He'd mention you in conversation any chance he had. Jean thinks he's nervous and unsure."
"Okay, the world's smallest violin is playing 'My Heart Bleeds for You' just for ol' Shaggy." She scoffed.
"Logan needs reassurance just like you did when you were younger."
"I never needed-"
"Jaye, c'mon. This is Scott. I've know you since you were nine."
"Okay, you're right. A little reassurance…MAYBE." She begrudged him that.
"Talk to him."
"I don't think so! He wants to mend fences, he can come to me. I did my part I came home for him." She declared.
"I know, Pumpkin."
[What is it with you people and your sappy pet names???]
Pumpkin, how that pet name brought back memories of her childhood. She watched that first day that Xavier's five original students began their schooling in the mansion. Slim Summers was the eighteen year old shy recluse that had pinned that name on her from day one. It defined her relationship with the original X-Men. They were her big brothers and sisters. Now, a decade later, so little had changed. Scott was still her big brother.
She rinsed her glass and placed it in the sink. Scott was wise. That was why he was team leader. "Thanks Scott."
"Oh, and Scott?"
"Don't you think that I'm just a tad bit old to be called Pumpkin?"
Jaye left the kitchen and slowly ascended the stairs to the second floor. She walked the course of the corridor until she stood in front of Logan's door. [What am I going to say? What if he doesn't want to talk to me? Oh hell, I'll never know until I try.]
She felt her palms become sweaty with increased agitation. Her stomach felt as if it had been bundled into tiny little knots. She needed a cigarette. [That's it, I'll have a cigarette and then I'll apologize. No, I quite three months ago. I'm not going to start up just because of Logan.]
"Who is it?" A gruff voice came from beyond the door.
"It sure as hell ain't the tooth fairy." Flippancy had always been of one Jaye's more obvious traits.
"Well, that's going to be rather difficult to explain with you on the other side of the door." She answered.
The door opened. The sight that greeted her eyes almost sent Jaye into a swoon. There stood Logan in front of her without a shirt. His muscular body barely contained in a pair of rough looking denim shorts.
"I'm sorry for calling you a savage beast." She said contritely. "It was cruel and I was wrong. You are neither savage or beastly."
"Okay, apology accepted." He stood there inside doorway. He stepped aside. "You comin' in ?"
"Yes, I would." She stepped inside his bedroom for the first time. The room was decorated in an Oriental motif. Jaye saw an antique Katana mounted majestically on the wall. She saw a book of Hiku poetry sitting on his bedside table. The picture of him and her on his bedstand table caused her heart to jump into her mouth.
The picture had been taken on Logan's final day of his vacation in Linoma. He stood there with his arms wrapped around her. She could see that in the photo that his lips were very close to her ear. She had felt bolts of desire when he had stood behind her like that. In the photo, her head was gently cocked towards Wolverine.
Her eyes fell to the floor. It was a picture that reminded her of false hopes and broken promises…
["…..Darlin', I love you. " The words rolled on her like an avalanche. "Feel my heart? You make it feel like this….. "…..Love me with body and soul. I'm yours for the askin', Darlin'. I'm yours for all time…"…..Give me the chance and I'll make you happy…."]
"What's goin' on inside that head of yours, Sunshine?" Logan's cobalt eyes burned a hole into her as the they scrutinized her. "You ain't here just for small talk."
"You've got that right." She dared to meet his gaze.
Logan looked at the wide-eyed minx before him. It shocked him to see true vulnerability in her eyes.
He wanted to kiss those sweet lips like he had so many months before. He had lived for months on the strength of the memory of their one night together. No other woman had shared his bed since that night and now his heart's desire was tempting him into behaving in poor taste.
"…..Let me live my life and I'll come home to you…..Do it, Logan. Become my man. Love me like you promised….I just want to see what life has to offer. Please,…..let me have my chance… ]
Her words of worry were a death march in his ears. How he had hoped against hope that she would take him back into her life once she had returned home. She hadn't said two words about the unclear status of their relationship.
"Look, let's be honest. We haven't exactly been talking to each other this past week. There are too many issues between us. We need to resolve them. I want to do that now. We need that."
"It's not like I'm stoppin' ya, Darlin'."
"Logan…we made love that last night that you were in Linoma. We said things to each other. I meant every word I said. I've come home…to the school, my friends and family…but most of all, to you."
She hated this. She hated putting her heart on the line for him to filet with adamantium claws and rejection. She had been through far worse with Sinister, but, it had never hurt like this….empty aching void that threatened to swallow her alive.
She dared to look Logan in the eye. He was staring at her with a look of raw emotion on his face. He had almost a feral gleam in those baby blues. She expected him to tell her to leave or to push her down on the bed.
He did neither.
He sat on the blood red bedspread never breaking their gaze. His mouth came open to say something but the words never came.
His eyes locked with hers. "So did I , Darlin'. Meant every word I told you."
"Logan?" She whispered.
[Sunshine, do you remember how we used to talk like this? Just you and me inside each other's head? Remember when I accidentally read one of your fanfics?]
"I remember." She said aloud to his telepathic question. "That's when the bond established itself."
"I just wanted to give you some breathin' room till you were ready." He murmured. He took her hand in his rough callused palm and gently brushed the pulse point in her wrist against his lips. She felt the stubble on his unshaven jawline brush lightly against her skin. It sent liquid bolt of desire coursing through her entire body.
"We have this thing brewin' between us, Darlin', and it's been goin' on for some time." He pulled her to him and she sat down beside him. "We got us a long history. This ol' k'nucklehead is a little slow on the uptake. His lips found the gentle curve on the side her neck. As he branded her with a mild bite on the neck, she gasped in ragged breaths. Logan growled with pure masculine exaltation at setting Jaye on the edge.
"I figure," he growled between nips at her neck. "What we got between us is somethin' precious and rare. It ani't just wantin' each other, but that's part of it."
"I could have told you that." Logan was shocked by the sexy, husky register in his lover's voice as she purred out the words.
"I can't say just when it started. But I go where I wanna go and my heart's leadin' me straight to you. We won't have an easy path, Sunshine but, I want ya to got there with me."
"Logan, I think it's love."
"Reckon so, Sunshine."
For the rest of the night, they simple lay close to one another in their lover's embrace. Rather than rushing at mad speeds, Logan and Jaye simply chose to slowly go the road less traveled.