Lightning Rarely Strikes Twice – By Darlin
Summary – A little nonsensical idea that came to me while writing new material for Dreaming of a Day, all in line with recent events in the comics and the season.
Disclaimer - Obviously I don't own any of the Marvel characters depicted herein and make zilch as far as profit.
When Ororo met Remy she hadn't trusted him for a minute. Those strange eyes, eyes she'd never known a person could have before, were reason enough but that he had broken into the same house she had broken into, obviously after the same treasures she was after, had shown her he wasn't to be trusted. Not that he could have known that was her mark of course, it was rather that he was a thief – a criminal and a criminal couldn't be trusted.
It had never occurred to Ororo that she too would have been considered a criminal. She was young and naive and running scared but still full of righteous morals although where she'd learned those morals she didn't know. There was no harm in stealing from bad guys and one had to survive after all. Of course they had ended up helping each other escape from the hounds of the Shadow King and they had formed a begrudging friendship that had lasted until this day when she was no longer a child but a full grown woman, leader of the XSE.
Though they had remained together after she grew into her womanhood once again, so to speak, they'd never considered themselves more than friends. Remy had too much of a stray eye and Ororo had been slowly regaining her lost memories which left her unsure of her past relationships particularly regarding Forge who had shown up with the proverbial cavalry determined to find her. She gave men little thought back then because there had been so much madness around them and then after Xavier had been saved she would have told you she was waiting for Mr. Right.
Of course there was no such thing as Mr. Right. How could there be? Secretly she envied her best friend Jean for her stable and long term relationship with Scott. She too wanted stability and romance and dedication but realistically she knew as a member and then leader of the X-Men that that could never be. Scott could come and go and lead and forsake the team to take care of his personal life but Ororo found Forge had been right; she could not separate the two as Scott did. She would never abandon them, not willingly. She needed the X-Men. The X-Men were not only her family but her life.
She supposed that made it easier for her and Remy to slip into a comfortable relationship without any demands. It had been an accident really. Neither had thought about it, neither had planned it. It, as they say, just happened. One moment Remy was storming out of the danger room muttering broken French under his breath and the next he was almost plowing over her as she turned a corner. He caught her before she fell, she laughed and without thought he'd kissed her.
One kiss. Small at first but the pent up frustration Remy felt couldn't be stopped and he had led her to her attic loft where he had kissed her again and again – thrilling in the conquest, loving the act as much as he loved her and satisfied that it was him holding her and making love to her not the Wolverine whom he had just gone a round or two with in the danger room. Perhaps if Logan had left him alone he might have never been so impetuous with Ororo but the fights he and Wolverine had challenged each other so frequently had brought to light the older man's attraction towards Ororo. The thought of that short, hairy, old man touching Ororo had sickened Remy. But he had never thought to take Wolverine's place. He'd known his Stormy wasn't interested in the Wolverine any more than he was interested in Jean or Jubilee. But that moment when he'd held her in the hall knowing that the Wolverine was just a shout away, all the dams had burst inside him – his reservations, his need, and his love had all rushed out and there was no going back.
After that they began a secret life. No one knew, no one guessed. By day they were best friends, by night they had wonderful no strings sex. It had been a lot of fun for a while but that was before Remy had fallen completely for Rogue. When Remy fell hard for Rogue and couldn't deny it any longer Ororo and Remy agreed to stop their casual relationship and he had begun to court Rogue in that odd and unpredictable way of his that worked so well with every woman he laid eyes on.
Ordinarily Ororo was not a jealous woman. She was secure within herself but with Remy there had been a small touch of jealousy though she knew she had no right. It was hard to see her beloved friend with a girl like Rogue who was sweet and kind but still finding herself and most of all unable to be touched. At first Ororo had thought he was joking when he'd starting going on about how wonderful Rogue was. She'd laughed it off but in the end she saw he was trapped. Love had struck him as deeply as she longed for it to strike her.
It had taken some time for the small band of outlaw X-Men to accept Rogue into their midst but Ororo had seen the girl was genuinely trying. She'd renounced her evil past and worked hard to redeem herself in their eyes. And then she had been there for Logan whom Ororo often thought was the rock of their team. If Logan could trust her then Ororo could.
The last thing Ororo wanted to do was to hurt Rogue or Remy. So she accepted their flirtatious relationship. But she couldn't help missing the closeness she'd had with her best friend, her Remy, and every day she wondered how he could abstain from her, from that pleasure he needed so much as sensual as she knew him to be. But it was none of her business. That is until Rogue actually turned rogue and deserted Remy in Antarctica. That had broken Ororo's heart. That had sealed Rogue's fate in Ororo's eyes and perhaps in Remy's eyes as well.
Though they never discussed his feelings towards Rogue after that eventually Remy returned to Ororo's bed and she did not sent him away. He truly felt he loved Rogue but he was plagued by self doubt knowing that all that he was Rogue had seen. And then there was always the fact that he could never touch her and after Antarctica he needed to be touched, he needed to feel needed, needed to feel love and warmth. It wasn't the best arrangement perhaps but neither Remy nor Ororo felt what they were doing was wrong. Silently they assured themselves that it was nothing serious, nothing more than physical pleasure, nothing more than two friends sharing their love for each other. And they whispered vows to each other promising they would never let Rogue know, to essentially protect her from themselves. For Ororo it was easy, convenient and undeniably delicious. He understood her better than any of the men she'd been with and there were no complications. He was a part of X-Men just as much as she was, he stayed for the same reason she stayed – he would never expect her to leave the team and he would never expect more than what they had.
For Remy, who could seduce any woman he wanted with a mere grin, a look from his demonic eyes, and an elegant French phrase, being with Ororo was different. She was undemanding; she loved him unconditionally without the use of his charms and knowing what he had done. He was comfortable with her. Their relationship was worry free and above all else it was enjoyable. But mostly he knew she would never betray him. She would never reveal their intimacy to the woman he still couldn't get out of his system. Though Ororo and Rogue were good friends he knew their secret would always be safe and thus Rogue would never be hurt.
And still, above all else, Remy wanted to be faithful to the woman he loved. Rogue meant normalcy, Rogue was hope of a better future, maybe even children one day. Rogue meant permanency. She was everything to him. To his way of thinking if he couldn't be with her until they could touch then he wouldn't be with anyone, that is except his best friend. It wasn't as if he were out searching for women or having one night stands as he had in the past. To his way of thinking being with Ororo wasn't cheating. He was able to justify himself in his eyes and with Ororo's assurances.
Remy simply wasn't the type of man who could abstain from sex for years. Being intimate with his partner in crime and his best friend took care of that need yet at the same time didn't count. It was the mindset of many men who flirt or have a one night stand or are on the down low as they say. What he did with Ororo wasn't cheating; it was just an extension of what they had been long before he fell for Rogue and now it was simply what they were. They were so close, had been together for so long she was like an old habit that you didn't think about, that you couldn't stop even if you wanted to. And he wanted both women to be happy. He loved them both though Rogue had his heart completely. It was selfish and a tad immature but it was Remy in a nutshell.
Oddly neither had ever considered that Rogue might be aware of their extracurricular activities, if you will, despite the fact that she had gone into Remy's head. Maybe they just didn't want to think about it because she never said anything to them not even when Remy and Ororo resumed their relationship, as discreet as it was. And perhaps when Rogue, now calling herself Anna, lost her powers and was able to touch that was why she seemed to gloat and throw her relationship with Remy in everyone's face, especially Ororo's.
For Ororo that had been hard to take especially when Remy still wouldn't leave Ororo alone. That left her in a tricky spot. She loved Remy, loved making love to him and if he held her in his arms, her naked skin against his fully clothed body, hard and eager; she felt he was leading her on, playing with her. To tell her his heart was Rogue's and yet kiss her as if they were still lovers, his hands on her bare flesh was just too much.
She told him later that he was a tease. He denied it. She accused him of wanting to keep her attached despite his new relationship with Rogue which he denied as well. When she brought up the night when she had been skinny dipping and he had held her nude body in his arms and pressed a passionate kiss on her eager lips he reminded her now that even then he had told her his heart belonged to Rogue. Ororo had exploded.
It had been an awful fight, the first they'd ever had and not overlooked by those few who caught the stray word or two coming from the attic loft. But their friendship had survived. Remy just didn't let himself kiss her anymore. And it worked. Ororo moved on. Remy was content with Rogue and she was happier than she'd ever been before. And then almost as quickly as she'd lost her powers Rogue's powers came back leaving them both hurting and unsure of each other as well as the future and Remy was back where he'd started.
Ororo did not go to Remy and he did not seek her out but Mystique went to Remy. Tempting and luring using her changeling abilities to woo him in the shape of his beloved Rogue. No one knew if he had given into her seduction not even Rogue but Ororo knew. And it was because she knew that she made it a point of visiting him at his private townhouse when things were quiet in the X-Men's world.
Whether or not Rogue knew about the townhouse Ororo didn't know but it was a place she and Remy had shared many nights together. He liked to live well and no expense had been spared in setting himself up like a prince. Ororo no longer questioned him about his activities, suspecting they weren't always above board but he had taken a job at the school and was even mentoring some of the students, something that had impressed her although she was sure it paid miserably compared to what Remy was used to as a thief extraordinaire.
The lights were off when she arrived and no one answered when she rang the doorbell. He was out and probably with Rogue she mused – fighting as usual. She had come to really care for Rogue though it still bothered her how Rogue treated Remy. Sometimes. She could understand the uncertainties Rogue felt and could see her insecurities were justified but she felt Remy deserved better. It had been a relief to Ororo when Rogue had regained her powers and couldn't be with Remy any more. There was much guilt in that relief but it was something she couldn't change no matter how much she tried and why lie to herself?
It had been a long time since she'd gone to his town home. She used her key to let herself in, calling out his name. Silence. She made herself at home in his beautifully furnished apartment. The place was decorated as if Remy had hired an interior designer which she knew he hadn't. Very simple, with understated elegance. By the window near the front door there was a small black dining room table, the top shining as if it had just been waxed, along with four matching parson chairs all of black leather. The chairs complimented the large couch and two comfy chairs, also in black leather, that surrounded a squat black and red oriental lacquered coffee table resting on an expensive oriental rug also in shades of red and black. A few silk throw pillows matching the colors in the carpet added to the pulled together effect.
All faced the larger window to the other side of the door. The area rugs in the dining room and the kitchen were Persians both in black and reds that went well with the oriental rug. The few knickknacks, all odd looking abstract creations that were supposed to be actual things one should recognize but you couldn't, were worth a fortune and the paintings on the walls matched the décor as if he'd designed the room around them. She knew they were all originals, probably worth more than an entire teacher's salary for several years. He was in his modernist phase and she was pretty sure he'd swiped them but again she refrained from asking. With Remy it was just better not to ask.
She tried calling him on her phone, waited for him to pick up but the call went into voice mail. She left a quick message as she browsed through his refrigerator. Finding her favorite wine she retrieved a crystal wine goblet and a corkscrew from a drawer. Shortly she was sprawled out on his king-sized bed in her lacy bra and thong, both in blood red – a fascinating contrast against the black silk comforter she thought when she eyed herself in the mirrored ceiling above the bed.
His room was all in black and red as well, the black comforter, silk sheets a blood red. A set of red shams without ruffles rested against a simple black wrought iron headboard and a set of king-size pillows in black silk cases finished the look. The large bed sat on another Persian rug in reds and black. A large black armoire faced the bed and two bedside tables that held black lamps and matching black shades. The windows were covered in a thick deep black velvet held apart by red velvet cords, a little too gothic for Ororo's taste but still tastefully done.
"Stormy, what's up, chère?" Remy greeted her in his lazy Cajun drawl thirty minutes later.
"Do not call me that," she snapped already feeling the wine's affects.
"Remy didn't expect to be seein' you here any time soon," Remy said as he took off his trench coat and tossed it at the foot of the bed. He stood admiring her for a few seconds before joining her.
"I am not here for that and well you know it," she said smiling at him wistfully.
"I know chère, you see I just took off my coat, oui?"
His wicked grin as he unbuttoned his shirt made her laugh and she pulled him over to her so she could lean against him. He settled back against the pillows and draped his arm around her.
"Remy knew you couldn't hold out long, chère," he said before he kissed her.
The kiss was soft, almost tentative as if he wasn't quite as sure as he pretended to be. She wanted his kiss and more but she pulled back.
"That is not funny, Remy LeBeau, to tempt me like you do," Ororo said and her face took on a look of bitterness that Remy had never been witness to before. A sudden gale pounded the windows, thunder and lightning both sounded, so loud it hurt his ears. They were in the eye of a sudden tempest.
"You go on t'inkin' like dat but you come here for de truth an' Remy never lie to you – you want dis as much as I do, Ororo," he said softly though he did not try to embrace her again.
"You are not even close to the truth this time, chère. Did you think I wouldn't know?"
"Am I supposed to know what you talkin' 'bout, chère?"
Remy's face noticeably paled. And then he was dead even before the gun's explosive discharge could be heard.
Ororo wiped blood and gore from her, unaware her hands were trembling. Outside thunder rumbled in the sky and lightning crashed as if echoing the retort of the gun. In truth they served to camouflage her shot. Now she slowly stripped her clothes off then took a long hot shower. Afterward she searched through Remy's closet and found what she was looking for. A tight red dress. The color of blood. There were no shoes there; she had always brought those with her but the dress served its purpose now. She browsed through the closet again to make sure nothing else of hers was left behind all the while glad to see there were none of Rogue's clothes there.
Later she opened a window and peered at the thick fog that had gathered after the storm. She felt ill. Her head ached. It was too much to control, the fog now, the thunderstorm before and . . . But she would not think of Remy. Never again would she think of Remy. When the fog was thick enough she soared from the window like a bird seeking freedom but she did not go far. She could not leave until she had finished what she'd come to do. And though her head still ached she flung lightning at the town home and directly into Remy's heart exactly where she had shot him. Exhausted both physically and mentally the strain of ensuring the lightning struck unerringly was almost unbearable. She could see him through the open window, his dead body lying on the bed, eyes open and lifeless – ghastly, unbearable and yet . . . yet hadn't this always been inevitable? She never once hesitated. His body and home would soon be ashes.
Remy had broken her heart once. She would never allow him to break it twice.