The Beginning of Wisdom
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Men, but if I did I would make Kurt Wagner my pool boy.
Inspiration for this fic comes from one of my coolest fans, Deity of Death. Logan is a bit OC, but it was unavoidable.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Kurt repeated the verse to himself once more, taking a deep breath. He let it out slowly, stretching out a three-fingered hand to clasp the doorknob. Just before he could grasp it, it turned under him and opened. There in the doorway, like a vision right of out his fantasies, stood one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. Ororo Munroe smiled widely and Kurt could feel his knees weaken. She opened her mouth to speak and everything disappeared.
Reappearing in a cloud of his trademark brimstone-scented smoke, Kurt clasped his head in his hands and sank onto his bed. "Mein Gott, what is wrong with me?" he asked aloud, hitting his bed in frustration. Every time he tried to talk to her he became suddenly mute, unable to do anything but stare at her in wonderment. Every time she spoke to him he got tongue-tied and shy, blushing so hard he almost fainted from the redirected blood flow. She probably thought he had some kind of mental defect the way he stammered and stuttered around her. Who knows, maybe he did.
"I am an idiot," he muttered, running hands distractedly through his hair as he replayed the most recent scene in his head again. At least no one had seen him this time. Two days ago she had been helping the children wash one of the cars and he had heard them laughing and generally having a good time. His curiosity needled him until he walked outside and came upon Ororo, clad in jean shorts and a dark tank top, spraying the children in turn with the water hose. He had nearly tripped over his own tail and had quickly averted his eyes. That was when he had caught Logan smirking humorously at him from where he was working on a motorcycle. Kurt had quickly retreated to the roof and, to his shame, watched the rest of the scene from his lofty vantage point.
He wanted to know if there was more to it than a simple attraction. He wanted to talk to her, find out how she thought, and figure out if she could ever see him as anything more than a friend.
"Friend?" he asked, rhetorically, shaking his head in frustration. "That's jumping the gun a bit. How can you be her friend when you can barely talk to her?" He rolled off the bed, grasping his Bible as he stood and moving towards his small hanging cross mounted on the wall. He knelt, gripping his rosary and prayed.
"God, forgive me for my sins, of which there have been plenty. Help me to follow the path you have laid out for my life and help me to understand and fill the needs of those around me. Help me to live each day under the teachings of your son, Jesus Christ. Bless Professor Xavier, Logan, Scott, Ororo, Bobby, Marie, and the children. And also, if I am worthy, bless me. You know my difficulties and I know there is no problem too small to bring to you. If you could spare a little courage, it would be greatly appreciated. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen." Kurt crossed himself and rose, tucking his rosary into his pocket.
Staring in confusion at the space Kurt had so recently vacated, Ororo didn't bother to turn when Frieda tugged lightly on her shirt. Instead she obediently moved aside so her fifth through seventh grade students could file out. Sometimes she didn't understand their newest faculty member.
"'Ro?" Logan asked, following her perplexed gaze and seeing nothing but the wall. "Something wrong?"
"What?" she asked, blinking. "Oh, no, it's just Kurt." She gestured helplessly, giving Logan a rueful look. "He almost seems afraid of me. Whenever I so much as glance at him he tenses up and gets this strange look on his face, then escapes as quickly as he can." She looked up at Wolverine. "I can't imagine what I did to him."
Logan grinned, leaning against the doorpost. "He's just nervous. You're an intelligent, beautiful woman, who happens to be a mutant, unlike most of the women he's been in contact with." He raised his eyebrows suggestively, "You just might be the answer to his prayers."
Ororo's eyes widened in disbelief. "You're saying he's got a crush on me?" she asked, honestly surprised. Now that she thought about it though, it did make an odd sort of sense.
"I can't believe you didn't notice it yourself. He practically stalks you all over the mansion," Logan confirmed, crossing his arms.
"Really…" Almost without her knowledge, a smile stretched across her face.
"You seem happy about that," Logan noted.
Her grin turned into a defensive look. "What girl isn't happy when she's made a conquest?"
"Do I take that to mean you're interested?" he asked, leaning towards her. Despite himself he was curious as to whether this potential relationship would take.
She frowned suddenly. "I don't know. I mean, I like him. I've always felt like we understood each other; I know it sounds trite, but I felt like we were connected. Plus he's cute and sweet, a little shy but I can work with that." Her worried expression deepened, "What if you're wrong? There could be a lot of reasons for him to follow me around. I'd hate to ask him and find out that he was just lost in the mansion and tracking me until he found an exit."
"Yes, most likely because his spatial awareness was on the fritz," Logan suggested, obviously mocking her attempt at logic.
Ororo made a face. "I may have just the tiniest bit of a fear of rejection," she admitted.
"Well, then what you need is a little courage," Logan replied, pushing himself into a fully standing position. "Come on." With a bit of a perplexed look, Ororo followed him.
Logan burped softly, covering his mouth. Before she could do more than narrow her eyes disapprovingly he was already giving her the patented 'no, I will not say excuse me' look in return. "One more for the road?" he asked, hoping to distract her.
"I think one is my limit at three o'clock in the afternoon," Ororo replied. "Besides, I'm not really that big a fan of beer."
"Please tell me you aren't one of those fancy, wine-sipping, 'robust bouquet' groups," Logan begged, knocking back the rest of his third beer.
"I'm more of a sea breeze kind of girl," she replied, smiling at his disgusted expression. "Well, one beer is courage. Two is slurring and possibly table dancing for someone with my kind of tolerance for alcohol. Thus I had better see if I can't find 'Zee Incredible Nightcrawler,'" she said, giving her words a special dramatic flourish. "Au revoir."
She exited the kitchen, heading straight for Kurt's room. It was at the very end of the hall in which all the faculty bedrooms were located and was separated from the other's by several unoccupied rooms. Ororo very much suspected that Kurt had requested that. Reaching his door she knocked decisively and stood back, feeling a bit of nervousness creep into her stomach. She inhaled deeply as the door opened swiftly.
"Fraulein Munroe!" he said, sounding surprised.
"In the flesh," she agreed, mentally face-palming. That sounded so cheesy. "Um… may I come in?"
"Ah, of course, please," Kurt replied quickly, standing back from the doorway and gesturing for her to enter.
"Thanks." She said softly, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. Her confidence evaporated as quickly as the ethanol she had just consumed. She entered and looked around for a place to sit. Spotting a chair leg peaking out from beneath a mountain of clothes, she gestured at it. "Do you mind if I-?"
"Oh, I apologize, Fraulein," he said, sounding mortified. "I had just finished the laundry and I haven't put it away yet." He began scooping the clothing up in his arms and tossed it onto the bed. A soft white chair was revealed and Ororo took a seat.
"If you want, Kurt, I can help you fold them. I'm something of an expert," she offered.
"Oh, no, that is not necessary." Kurt said quickly. "You are a guest, I can't put a guest to work."
"In that case, I'm taking your clothing hostage and anything I do to them is completely against your will," Ororo said humorously, standing up and moving towards the stack. She reached for a shirt and in a matter of moments it was perfectly folded.
Kurt gave her a shy smile, also reaching for an piece of laundry. "How do I say no to the weather goddess?" he asked, meeting her eyes for what seemed like the first time in forever.
"I am notoriously hard to refuse," Ororo admitted, turning on the full force of her smile on him. She saw him swallow hard and his eyes seemed fixed on her lips. A small surge of satisfaction spread through her, a sensation akin to sinking into a warm bath. It had been a long time since she had felt appreciated as something more than a friend or teammate.
"I can see why," he stuttered out in a slightly breathy voice, then his face turned a peculiar shade of purple. "Ah, that is, you are, ahem, a very persuasive person," he said, ducking his head and wringing his hands.
"Quite a compliment," Ororo said, trying to keep an amused expression from her face. She didn't want him to think she was laughing at him. "Jean once told me the same thing, after I talked her into giving Scott a chance." A sad smile played about her lips. Jean had been gone only three months and Ororo was still recovering, slowly and painfully, from her loss.
"Fraulein Gray touched many lives," Kurt stated, obviously struggling for something more comforting to say.
"Yes," Ororo agreed, picking up a pair of brightly colored striped pants. She folded them and laid them atop the stack. They didn't speak for a long while as the laundry was completed and set aside on a nearby dresser. "Kurt," Ororo began, trying to look him in the eyes. "I actually wanted to ask you something." She stepped closer, purposely invading his personal space.
His eyes widened but he didn't back away, though she noticed his hands were trembling a bit. With an understanding smile she clasped them in her own, stilling them. He opened his mouth as though to speak but closed it again, looking just a bit dazed. It was incredibly gratifying to have that kind of an effect and Ororo was not immune to it. She closed the distance between them slowly, pressing her lips against his very carefully so as not to startle him.
It was slightly awkward for a moment, as he didn't exactly have an overabundance of experience. In a few seconds he got the knack of it however, and pressed closer. Her hands slid forward to grip his forearms while he grasped her elbows tightly. A warm feeling filled her as Kurt moved his lips slightly and gave a low hum of satisfaction. Tentatively she touched his lip with her tongue and was pleased when he opened his mouth slightly. Delicately tracing his fanged teeth with her tongue, Ororo felt his hands close almost spasmodically on her elbows. When she didn't pull away he finally seemed to gain some courage, reaching out to stroke her tongue with his own. Eventually she pulled away slightly, dipping back once, twice to bestow chaste kisses on the corners of his mouth. When she leaned backwards in his partial embrace to look into his eyes, the bemused, faraway expression on his face was immensely flattering.
"I wanted to know if you wanted to go out sometime?" Ororo asked in a slightly breathless tone.
Breathing a bit heavily, Kurt's eyes widened as her question sunk in. He had never dreamed that Ororo might consider him, might actually approach him. It was so unexpected. He had no time to think about it and not he felt unable, as intoxicated as he was by the mind-numbing kiss he had just experienced. He began to feel just the slightest bit panicked as Ororo's passionate blue eyes traced his face. This was a beautiful woman, experienced and confident in matters of romance. What did he think he could offer her besides entertainment, for he was sure his inexpert fumbling would be nothing short of amusing? Backed into an emotional corner and with Storm's tempting mouth only a short distance than his, Kurt did the safest thing he could think of. He teleported.
"Dumkoff!" he berated himself, the moment he arrived on top the mansion. Restlessly pacing back and forth across the flat portion of the shingled roof, a million thoughts whirling through his head. Why had she approached him? Did she really want him? Was she just lonely or was it something more than that? He had always felt drawn to her, perhaps the feeling was mutual? She had seemed slightly nervous when she arrived at his door. Was it inconceivable that she honestly wanted him, that she had not known he wanted her in turn? "No, no," his rational mind insisted, bent on having its say. "She must have known how you felt about her, don't pretend you weren't entirely obvious. She either felt sorry for you and decided to give you a taste of what you wanted- And oh, didn't it taste good?- or she honestly wanted you and you completely destroyed any chance you might have had by behaving like the worst kind of coward."
Groaning, Kurt half fell to the ground and propped himself up against the chimney. Whichever way it was, it meant nothing good for him. He fished his rosary out of his pocket and pressed a kiss to it. A whispered prayer helped him to calm his thoughts and think more logically. He would have to apologize of course. There was no getting around that fact even if he wished to. Perhaps God and Ororo would have mercy on his misguided soul and forgive him his embarrassing spinelessness. Either that or he could move back to his old church, perhaps spend the rest of his life scaring vandals and washing graffiti off the walls.
Without preamble the door to the nearby balcony burst open and Logan appeared, cigar clenched in a death grip. He was speaking irritably to someone over his shoulder. "All right, all right, I'm taking it outside. Emphysema takes years to set in anyway!" Logan walking out onto the topmost platform and took a long drag. His eyes narrowed as the wind changed and he turned to stare directly at Kurt. "Geez, what are you doing up here? Did you and 'Ro have a lover's quarrel already?"
Now it was Kurt's turn to narrow his eyes. He leapt gracefully to his feet strode confidently towards the feral mutant across the slanted roof. "How do you know anything about me and Fraulein Sturm?" he asked suspiciously.
"If you're still calling her Fraulein then I guess she hasn't managed to find you yet," Logan replied enigmatically. He took another long puff on the cigar before breathing the smoke out.
"I just finished, ah, speaking to her, actually," he admitted hesitantly, blushing to the roots of his blue-black hair.
Logan waited as patiently as was possible for a man like him as Kurt managed to very slowly step over the railing and onto the balcony. Finally he snapped when Kurt gave no sign of continuing. "Well?" he growled. "What happened?"
"She kissed me," he said in a dreamy tone, automatically beginning to relive the moment. God, it had been fantastic, everything he'd dreamt of and more.
Logan rolled his eyes and snorted. "So why are you here without her instead of in one of your rooms playing doctor?" he asked bluntly.
Although slightly scandalized by Wolverine's blunt terminology, Kurt was too dejected to actually verbalize his objection. Instead he merely dropped to the ground again, this time leaning back against the railing. "After we kissed, she asked if we could go out sometime. I don't know what happened, but I just sort of went to pieces. My mind went somewhere else and my body just…followed," he finished weakly.
"You teleported!" Logan exclaimed. "God, I don't know what is wrong with you. A gorgeous woman asks you out and you run?" He actually dropped his cigar, so agitated he was. A hand came up to run through his oddly-styled hair and he grimaced slightly in a rare moment of empathy. "'Ro must be pissed. I don't know what has kept her from coming after you yet, bub, but you had better get out that rosary and pray that it keeps her distracted long enough to cool off a bit." All of the sudden a deafening crack of thunder sliced through the sky, causing both mutants to wince visibly. "Too late," Logan said resignedly, giving Kurt a pat on the back before walking quickly indoors.
Surprise was the first emotion she felt. That lasted all of five minutes in its various stages. Once she had verified that he had truly gone and apparently wasn't coming back, surprise had given way to embarrassment. She returned to her room slowly, mentally going over all the reasons a man would have for fleeing from her.
The kiss had been good; she was sure of it. He had definitely responded, so he must have liked it. Maybe she had had bad breath, or something in her teeth. She discounted that, Kurt wouldn't be so shallow. It had to be emotional then. A fear of commitment, a fear of intimacy, or a combination of the two were all valid options. Perhaps it was because she wasn't Catholic; he was deeply religious. It could have been any or all of those, or it could even have been something she hadn't thought of yet. Maybe he hadn't even liked her at all. Logan had been known to be wrong before. It wasn't impossible. Maybe he had misinterpreted Kurt and then when she had thrown herself at him he had responded as any sex-starved man would respond. Guilt swamped her. After all, only when she pulled back did he freak out. He probably didn't know how to reject someone and saw flight as his only option. She flopped down on her bed, confused and thoughtful.
Guilt began to give way after only fifteen minutes. The next loop on the emotional Roller coaster was of course, anger. Even if he had had problems with her kissing him, or didn't want the kiss at all, it still gave him no right to just run away from her like that. He should have stayed and voiced them, the way any adult would do. He should not have teleported away to hide like some kind of commitment-shy teenager. Why should she make excuses for him? He was a grown man, he was certainly capable of saying "No, thank you." It was entirely his fault. He gave out mixed signals, he kissed her back, and then he fled the room like a criminal.
Cumulonimbus clouds boiled across the sky, creating towering columns that built upon each other. The wind began to pick up speed, whipping the trees into a frenzy. Ororo threw her door open, not caring if she damaged it or the wall and went in search of Kurt. What she found was the next best thing.
"Logan!" Ororo said, her eyes misted over. "Where is he?" The flash of guilt in his eyes was all she needed to let her know she was on the right track.
"Where is who?" Logan asked, eyes nonchalantly shifting left and right as though looking for an exit..
"Don't play stupid with me," she instructed, walking closer. Electricity seeped out of her eyes, though she barely noticed. A group of students came around the corner, saw what was going down and abruptly reversed direction.
"Okay, okay, he's on the roof balcony." Ororo turned towards one of the mansion's windows and opened it, a thought was all that was needed to wrap a gust of wind around her. Logan yelled after her as she flew up into the air, determined to have this out with Kurt come hell or high water. "Don't tell him I told you!"
Staring after Logan for only a minute, Kurt considered taking his advice. He held up his rosary and stared at it contemplatively. He had asked for help from God regarding Ororo and now he had gotten it. It struck him suddenly that while he had prayed for courage, he had never specified exactly who would receive that courage. He was sure it was more than coincidence that Ororo had approached him so soon after his prayer, it was only his fear and stupidity that had prevented him from realizing that earlier. "God moves in not-so-mysterious ways," he muttered, stowing his rosary in a pocket and grinning slightly.
There was nothing left to do but face the music and Kurt knew it would be better if he confronted Ororo, rather than letting her hunt him down like a criminal. At this point he could use all the good will he could managed to generate with the weather witch, if the storm above him were any indication. He sprung to his feet, all hesitation gone now that a decision had been made. He reached out for the doorknob and felt a sense of déjà vu wash over him when it rotated before he could quite close his hand over it. The door swung open revealing a very irate-looking Storm.
Storm had landed on the front balcony first and, upon seeing no sign of the Errol Flynn-worshipping teleporter, made for the door to the attic area. She crossed the storage room she entered and then the hallway, making her way to the door of the back roof terrace. When she opened the door only her quick reflexes let her stop herself from running straight into Kurt on his way out. She met his yellow eyes with a solid white gaze that was completely unreadable to the untrained eye. Kurt's own eyes were not as mysterious. She saw the frisson of fear that flashed across them, followed by an iron resolve.
"You-," she began, but was prevented from continuing what certainly would have been a lengthy tirade by Kurt reached out and yanking her towards him with a forcefulness that surprised and excited her in equal parts. His lips descended on her without hesitation and she responded despite herself. A moment ago she had been half-determined to unleash a lightning bolt on him at the very least and now she could barely remember her own name. He backed her up against the doorframe, hands tightening on her hips and she was sure she heard him growl low in his throat. He pulled back unexpectedly and Ororo actually groaned in protest. Kurt chucked darkly and nuzzled against her neck as Storm valiantly tried to regain her equilibrium. "Ororo, I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me some time," he said, his accent and arousal turning his words into a throaty purr.
"I… okay," Ororo replied, more than slightly dazed.
"Wunderbar," Kurt muttered against her lips, already seeking another kiss. Above them the storm dissipated as quickly as it had been created, revealing sunny skies and leaving fluffy white clouds in its wake. Kurt and Ororo, unsurprisingly did not notice.
In this I use a direct quote from the Bible: Psalms 27:1