Like A Woman

By Princess Alexandria

Author's note: This is another experimental story, where I play with flashbacks. Lemme know if it's too confusing. Also this is very comic focused and will make a lot more sense to those that followed the comic during the time I'm writing about. Not a part of any other storyline I have going, this is a stand alone.

I sat back on the couch and watched the light from the television flicker on the walls. "Beer?" Shan offered and even though we'd had a few already, I nodded. The quiet of her apartment was in sharp contrast to the loud bar we'd just left. Laziness seeped into my bones as I waited for her, thinking that the trip back to my own apartment in the cold wasn't something I was eager to do.

"I was asked again why I like women." Shan moved to sit across from me and handed the beer from me. "Was a work study student in the library. I asked him why he liked women." Shan grinned. "He had a good answer, I just said me too."

"Well, what's not to like right?" I grinned and raised my beer, before taking a deep drink.

"You ever like a woman Kitty?" Shan asked and I looked up, a little surprised she'd ask. It was no secret I'd dated Doug, or Peter, or Pete. Men. My eyebrow raised at the question and I tried to not think about it too deeply.

"Why, you interested?" She blushed a little, before sitting up a little straighter.

"Why are you dodging the question Pryde?" A wicked smile started to cross her face, "You have a secret?"

"Well, maybe," I blushed and tried to hide it by taking another deep sip of my drink.

"Okay, you can't tell a girl something like that and just leave it there." Shan was leaning in eager for details I wasn't sure I could or would share. I'd been so young then, and at the time I didn't even understand my own feelings. I'd only been fourteen and I'd never heard much about women loving women, or that it was a possibility. Hell, Ororo was the first black person I'd ever met, it wasn't like I came from a diverse background with a hell of a lot of understanding about the world. That all changed.

…………………

She had blue eyes, Kitty thought with a grin, that was different, a black woman with blue eyes. She'd asked, they were as natural as that white hair. She was so tall, she made Kitty feel like a child standing next to her, a plain ordinary awkward child next to a goddess. Her smile faded at that thought as she put her bag down in what was to be her new room at the school.

"Are you almost ready?" Storm's calming voice asked and Kitty looked up to see the older woman standing in her doorway. "I thought I'd give you a tour of the mansion so you didn't get lost."

"You don't have to. I'm sure you must have better things to do." Kitty said with a sigh as she dropped her bags on the bed.

"Other things, yes, better no." Ororo smiled at her and that was all it took to chase away Kitty's doubts and insecurity. "We could start our tour in the kitchen. I believe we have some ice cream."

"I believe this is the start of a beautiful friendship." Kitty grinned and moved towards the door.

"I believe it is." Ororo just smiled and moved out of the way so Kitty could follow her down the hall.

………………..

"So tell me who it was. Do I know her?" Shan was grinning like the Cheshire cat. I didn't like how red my face must have been turning, answering questions I didn't want to answer. "I do don't I? Lemme guess, was it Illyana?"

I only winced a little at the thought. Illyana, I'd loved her, but not like that. She was like a sister and her dying had left a hole in me. Shan looked guiltily at me and I knew she'd just remembered how dead I was after Illyana died, how disconnected.

"No it wasn't Illyana." I spoke softly, trying to head off Shan's guilt about bringing her up. Really, talking about her wasn't a curse, she was someone I still loved. Just not like I loved…
…………………

"Storm!" Kitty yelled out as she saw the white hair and knew who this virtual stranger was. Her feet reluctantly took her closer as her eyes widened. The tight clinging leather pants were bad enough, but the chains as a belt made a real statement, not a good one but a statement. The leather vest, the studs, the, was that a dog collar? Kitty's mouth dropped as she stared at it, then her eyes trailed over Storm's ruined hair. A Mohawk, women didn't wear Mohawks.

"Hello Kitten." Even Storm's voice was different, harder. Her eyes weren't as gentle. Kitty stared into them, hoping that Storm was possessed but she wasn't was she. Kitty's eyes traveled over the woman again, taking in the tough look. She wasn't the same. Kitty's heart ached as she looked at Storm, feeling like the woman she knew was gone forever, and this stranger sat in her place.

Storm was growing away from her and there was nothing Kitty could do. "How could you?" She yelled at this woman and turned away. Storm left without saying goodbye and came back like this, changed. Kitty loved the old Storm, the gentle one, not whatever this was.

Her hair, her beautiful hair was ruined. The clothes could come off, be changed, but her hair was ruined.

…………..

"If you don't want to talk about this we won't." Shan offered and I felt even worse, like a bad friend, for not telling her.

"It isn't that I'm ashamed of well," There was nothing wrong with being gay, or in my case bi. Shan was gay and I'd hate for her to think I was ashamed of this, "but it isn't something I talk about. It's just private. I don't talk about her."

That sucked the fun out of the air quick. I watched Shan deflate of her joy and felt like I'd single-handedly killed all the joy in the room at Shan's realizing I wasn't as straight as she'd assumed. "I did notice your new neighbor is rather cute though."

"Which one, the man in 3B or the woman in 3D?" Shan gave me a little smirk.

"Um, both?" I gave her a guilty grin back.

"Oh Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, when did you realize you were so greedy?" Shan's voice was a sing song.

"It isn't like I just woke up one day and decided I was bi." I sighed and took another drink of the now half full bottle of beer. "It's just something happened and I realized I always had been."

……………

"We are going to die here." Kitty spoke quietly, even though the urge to panic was barely suppressed. She was too young to die, and like this, out here, it was just wrong. She could very well be the youngest earth person ever in space and this was it.

"We're going to make it Kitten." Storm reached out and pulled Kitty into a hug. "We're Xmen and we always find a way when it seems impossible." Kitty leaned into the hug and took a deep breath, letting Ororo's essence envelope her. The woman even smelled like nature and wind and freedom. After a long hug that started to make Kitty feel more than just calmer, but safer and loved, Kitty looked into Ororo's blue eyes.

"I love you."

"I love you too kitten."

"No." Kitty stared into Ororo's confused eyes and spoke more softly. "I mean I love you." Ororo's eyes widened a bit and Kitty knew she'd been understood. "I wish I wasn't so young." Kitty was alluding to more than just so young to die, but so young and never kissed.

"So do I." Ororo's answer was a bit of a surprised. When the older woman leaned closer Kitty felt her own heart ready to pound out of her chest. Soft lips covered hers and it couldn't be more perfect.

Kitty wrapped her arms around Ororo and pulled her closer, thinking this could be a dream and she wasn't going to let it go. "We shouldn't." Ororo pulled her lips away and gasped out the protest that Kitty was determined to not hear.

Kitty writhed against Ororo. "Please, if I'm going to die here I want to know love." Ororo whimpered just a little, before kissing Kitty breathless again.

It was beautiful, it was amazing, it was more than Kitty ever dreamed as Ororo showed her love.

…………….

"I know you don't want to talk about it, but it's going to drive me crazy until I know." Shan stared at me. "Was it Rachel?" I grimaced as it looked like Shan wasn't going to let that go.

"No, it wasn't Rachel. Her relationship with the Kate of her world pretty much ruined any chance I had." I ran my tongue over the lip of my bottle distractedly as I thought about that. I'd asked Rachel out, but she'd quietly told me that Kate, my older double from her world, was like a big sister and mother figure all in one to her. That ended my nascent interest in her, knowing she'd be thinking of me like I was a mother figure or something.

……………….

"Kitten, I'm sure you'll find someone special, because you are so special yourself, but I'm a bit too much older don't you think?" Ororo spoke so gently.

"No I don't." Kitty answered her voice determined and shaky. "Ororo, I'm not like the other kids my age anyhow. Being mentally gifted, being smarter, is like being older and I just don't fit in with them."

"It isn't like being older. You are still only fifteen Kitty and no matter how smart you are, you are just fifteen. I'm too old for you."

"It isn't like you could be my mother or anything Ororo, at most you'd be a big sister." Kitty argued, "And I never thought of you like a sister."

"Really?"

"I go on missions, and I almost die just like the rest of you. I'm not a kid."

"I never should have kissed you, and I never should have done everything else. I thought we were dying too, but now, Kitten," Ororo's voice softened as Kitty's face took on one of pain, "we can't. You may not be a regular child but you are one, a wonderful, special girl, not yet a woman."

"I love you." Kitty's voice cracked as she pleaded for Ororo to give up the age thing and just accept what Kitty was willing to give her, her heart.

"And I love you, but I can't love you like that." Ororo tried to say it gently, but still Kitty backed away as if she'd been slapped. "I'm sorry Kitten and I should have been stronger sooner, but we cannot continue a relationship."

……………….

"Are you okay?" Shan asked me when I'd been quiet a little too long. Drinking always made my memories so vivid and there were some moments I just didn't want to remember.

"I'm fine." I tilted the last of the bottle into my mouth and swallowed the now a bit too warm and more than slightly nasty tasting beer. After that night when Ororo told me we wouldn't be lovers when I thought we would, well we never were the same again. It was guarded and careful and distant and I missed her. Even when she was in the same room as me I missed her.

Shan looked concerned so I gave her a fake smile. I lost more than a lover that night and I never went back to the Sapphic shore to drink again, because there really wasn't anyone else like Ororo out there.

……………….

"I know what I'm doing out here away from the party, but what are you doing here?" Sage's voice interrupted my staring session with the bushes on Rogue's property. I turned to see the woman walking towards me. I know Ororo trusts her, but I still feel a bit leery about a woman that used to work for the Hellfire club walking among us. At least she isn't Emma Frost, but still, I watch her carefully.

"Just thinking." I sighed and listen to the teasing and party going on not far from us. Ororo's party, so of course I spend it out here thinking about Shan and the things I never said. I don't know who Shan thinks I was talking about that night and I probably don't want to hear any more of her guesses, they were disturbing at times.

"Everyone laughed when you teased her, everyone but her." Sage offered her thoughts as she moved to sit down on the grass next to me. "Or you, your smile wasn't very real."

I just shook my head at my stupidity again. A little alcohol and a running joke at the party about how every villian wants Storm and I go and stuff my foot in my mouth. My offer of undying love was a joke, a very poorly thought out tease to fit with everyone elses teasing about loving Storm and her as of yet undiscovered mutant powers of attraction that were more real than anyone else there realized. I just joined in, but as soon as I said it I could hear it was too real, too serious, and Ororo's expression showed she notice. That was bad enough, but this Sage had to notice as well.

"Is there a point to your little visit?" I turned to glare at Sage before turning my eyes to the sky and the stars.

"I wasn't visiting, I just ran into you on my way to the roses." Sage stood up and the way she seemed to look through me gave me the creeps. The woman just turned and kept walking into the large garden.

I waited about five minutes before I got up and quietly followed where she'd been going. The voices were what stopped me.

"Ah'm not sure this will work." Rogue sounded nervous.

"Trust me, it will." Sage spoke so softly I had to work hard to hear her. I phased my body into the nearest tree, leaving just enough of myself out to hear without being easy to be seen.

"If you can't do this I'll be seeing your memories. Are ya sure yer powers protect ya?"

"I'm sure." There was a pause in the sound of speaking and then a slight moan. I listened harder until I heard another moan and my eyes widened at a possible explanation.

"Sage." Rogue's voice rose just a little. "Oh,"

"See, I'm perfectly safe." A satisfied voice a little deeper than Sage's normal spoke and I phased right through the tree and snuck away before anyone noticed me. My face blazed with embarrassment as I imagined what exactly Rogue and Sage were doing out there.

Once I started moving I kept going until I'd managed to skirt around the party, sneak into the house and work my way to the room I was staying in. It took effort to not envision what Rogue was doing out there and part of me wished I had tried to see.

I showered and was just about to get into bed when I heard a knock. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of visiting, but with a heavy sigh I got back out of bed and went to answer it. I wished I hadn't, because Ororo stood there in her own bathrobe and pajamas staring at me. "Can I come in Kitten?"

Could I say no and make it stick, I thought even as I stepped out of the way and let her in. I was embarrassed and had hoped she would have ignored my stupidity earlier. I guess she wasn't going to.

"Kitty, we need to talk." Ororo started and me and I sighed as I closed the bedroom door, my head shaking slowly from side to side.

"No we don't. No one noticed." My voice was a touch pleading as I told a lie. Sage had, but somehow that was to be expected.

"That isn't it." Ororo sat down on the bed and stared at her, her eyes soft and regretful. . "I thought you were so young that you'd grow beyond us. I was just convenient, a target to give you what you thought you wanted, but I never really believed you loved me. Not like that."

"How can you say that?" I felt the question well out of me, almost against my will. My hand ran through my hair in frustration. We never talked about this, I'd been too embarrassed and hurt to bring it up again.

"And when you dated Doug or Peter, well I thought I did the right thing." Ororo just continued, clearly working up to answering my question in a long drawn out way. "I never saw you with another woman, and I let myself believe that for you it was a phase brought on by our situation. That anyone with you at that time would have been asked for comfort and that it wasn't serious."

"That's bullshit." I spoke quietly but forcefully. "I was with you because I wanted to be with YOU." I shook my head and forced the rest of my thoughts out. "And after you, well, what woman wouldn't be second best? It wasn't worth it to try again."

Ororo seemed to deflate a bit and I didn't know what to think. "That's so different from what I thought was going on. So very very different." A touch of anger entered her voice, but it gave me a touch of hope a light feeling as I noticed it was more self directed. I hadn't even realized that I still held a torch for her that burned so brightly until I stared into her eyes and saw an expression I'd only seen that one night. "I really thought…" Ororo's words trailed off and I moved closer.

"I was old enough to know what I wanted then, and I still know what I want." I spoke gently and felt the flutter of fear as I put my heart on the line again. Years had gone by and neither of us were the same, but while I grew older and more cynical, she grew stronger and more self assured. Maybe this time we could make it work.

I felt nervous and scared as I leaned forward to show my own self confident side, my ability to make the first move. I kissed her and it was slow starting, but the moment she kissed me back I knew my broken heart was starting to heal.

…………………..

"So." Shan raised an eyebrow and grinned at me. "Ororo."

"Yes." I felt a happy blush and a stupid uncontrollable grin cross my face. I turned back to the mirror and stared at the clothes I was wearing. It seemed surreal, it seemed like it was only yesterday that I walked into the mansion for the first time, homesick and with only one real friend who was willing to show me around with a smile on her face.

"Was it always Ororo?"

"Yes." I spoke with conviction as I turned to see Shan looking thoughtful and just a little sad. "Are you okay?"

"Oh yeah." Shan gave me a small smile and shook her head. "It's just I never thought I'd be at your lesbian wedding before my own Pryde." Shan chuckled. "It's the second one at this mansion that wasn't mine and I was the only lesbian that attended here."

"Poor baby." I teased gently, because this was clearly a real issue to her but neither of us wanted to get too serious right now.

"You greedy girls," Shan shook her head. "Just not right that the lesbian is the ONLY woman that doesn't get the girl."

"Well, how are things going with Dani?" I asked as I picked up the bridal bouquet that Ororo had actually made for me. It was an unbelievably sweet gesture.

"She's straight." Shan said and I just turned to stare at her with a what are you thinking you idiot expression on my face. Dani straight, yeah I'd believe that one I thought with a lot of sarcasm. "You think?"

"I think you need to let go of labels and just ask the girl out."