Wishes, Hopes and Dreams – by Darlin

Disclaimer – I neither own the X-Men characters nor make any profit from this.

Summary – A Prelude to X3.

A/N – Dedicated to CeeCee at the Storm-n-Wolverine yahoo group. After being bummed out over present events concerning Storm her request for fan fiction authors to write got me interested in writing again. Thanks, CeeCee.

-xox-

Sometimes he wanted to pull her aside just to talk. Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes he just wanted to sit with her in silence, just be with her, bask in the sensation of her presence.

It wasn't so much her beauty. It wasn't her scent – fresh like flowers and wild like the outdoors, or even her smile, serene and welcoming. Sometimes, most of the time, he didn't know how to explain it. All he really was aware of was that when he was with her everything felt right, as if the bad times were gone and never would return.

If it was storming outside, rain or snow, he never cared as long as he was with her. It didn't matter that he might be trapped inside or forced to cater to the children far longer than his tolerance level could handle – being with her eased those feelings.

Sometimes he wanted to tell her all this but he never found the time, never found the words. And sometimes he wished he never felt this way at all but all the wishing in the world didn't change the way he felt.

He would watch her, ordering the children about, taking charge as usual, always in control. Solemn as she taught, silent as she ate, absorbed as she listened.

She seldom laughed. She was too serious. Sometimes he wanted to make her laugh but usually he only made her scowl. He didn't know why. He wished it wasn't that way yet he didn't know how to change it.

She'd scowl, he'd growl and they wouldn't talk, sometimes for days. Those days were the longest days. The loneliest days. Days he never wanted to repeat but the cycle would begin again, he'd open his mouth, offend her without meaning to and that was all it took.

Sometimes all he wanted was to hold her. Tight. Whisper in her ear one word – "Stay."

Sometimes all he wanted was to forget he knew her. He wished he'd never met her. He wished he'd never come there, never fallen for a woman who could never love him – twice. Sometimes he knew he was less than a man, even a coward, when it came to love. Afraid. Unsure. Never knowing why.

Sometimes he wondered if she smiled for him alone would it make his heart stop. Sometimes as he watched her hoping to see that smile he felt like an intruder. But it never stopped him.

He came to know her schedule; he had to if he wanted to see her. She was so private, seldom mingling, certainly never searching him out. She didn't dislike him he knew this but he wasn't her favorite person either. Why?

Sometimes he wanted her to come to him. He wanted her to come with smiles and laughter and her hopes and dreams. He wanted to know her. Sometimes he thought he was an idiot. Like now.

Intimate moments were reserved for Scott – not him. Standing close together, heads bowed over . . . what? Private conversation. Too close. Touching. Her hand on his arm. His smile rare and brilliant as he tilted his head to look into her eyes. Dark brown eyes, dark and mysterious. He wished he could read those eyes. Could Scott? Did those weird glasses of his give him that ability? Was that why Jean had loved Scott over him?

Or was it that Scott was better than him? He scoffed at the idea but knew it was true to some small extent. As repressed as Scott was he somehow understood women. Sometimes he wished he had that ability. Maybe had he known he could have stopped Marie from having a crush on him. But that was old news. She had moved on.

Sometimes he wished he knew how to move on. But sometimes he wished he could remember just one person who had loved him if only a little. Not only loved him but loved him back, reciprocated his love. Sometimes he wished his heart was black, dead, made of stone. Sometimes it felt as if it were broken, shattered into a million pieces. Sometimes, most times, he believed it would never be whole again. Like now.

"Let's call it a day, maybe get a drink at Harry's – it's been a long time," Scott was saying and a nod from Ororo after a thoughtful look shook Logan more than he could have imagined.

It was one thing to stand so close, touching, conversing, looking so intimate but . . . a date? And there was that smile he always hoped to see. She was happy!

There was no harm in dropping by Harry's Hideaway he considered as he showered. There was no guile in running into them – accidentally – he thought as he put on a clean shirt. There was no harm in joining them for a drink, he deliberated quite seriously as he tugged on jeans. No harm in staying the rest of the night he decided as he thrust his arms into his leather jacket.

Sometimes he wished life wasn't so hard. Sometimes, just sometimes why couldn't it be easy, was that too much to ask for? Just a few days out of a month, a year?

They were surprised to see him and he beamed, satisfied he'd ruined their plans. Just what plans did Scott have? He'd never known them to go out together before. Sometimes, during times like this, he wished he could read minds like the professor or . . .

What choice had they but to invite him to join them when he sauntered over, beer in hand? Their mood changed immediately. Her smile as she'd been listening raptly vanished. Scott's lips pressed tight together, pissed.

"What're you two doin' here?" Feigned surprise.

"Having a drink, just like you," Scott said.

Sometimes he wished there was no such thing as an awkward moment and why couldn't happiness last more than a second?

"Do you come here a lot?" she asked.

"Me?" both men asked and she laughed.

He couldn't help leaning closer to hear that laugh. Laughter he'd been dying to hear, laughter that he knew by heart now, though so seldom heard. Laughter that he could identify from all others.

"Dance?"

She was shocked at the proposition.

"It isn't as if I'm askin' for your hand in marriage," he said and then wondered why he'd said something so completely stupid.

Sometimes he wished she could just let go. Now was one of those times. She was looking to Scott for what – approval? And Scott gave it, an inarticulate grunt, reluctant, giving permission. Like they needed his permission? But she sought it. Why? Sometimes he wished he understood women better, could figure out the little things that no man understood – except One Eye apparently.

Never had he wished a song would last forever – until now. She was soft, firm and pliant, surrendering in his arms. Sometimes he wished his imagination didn't run crazy in times like this but he couldn't help it. Everything that he wanted was there in his arms. He couldn't help smelling her hair, her scent, everything that made her her.

"You smell good," he said and was rewarded with a quizzical smile.

Sometimes he wished he'd memorized pick up lines – decent pick up lines that actually worked.

"You do too," she replied – to be polite?

"I'm not wearing anything, Storm."

"Why do you have to call me Storm all the time?" she asked out of the blue.

"I – it's your name."

"My name is Ororo."

"Ororo," he murmured. Stupid.

"Logan," she murmured back, amused.

Sometimes he wished his senses weren't as alert as they were. He could feel her tension lessening even as his arousal grew.

There was nothing else to say. He held her glad for the chance, not thinking of when the song would end, letting her feel him as he wanted to feel her.

"What was that all about?" Scott demanded when they returned to the table hand in hand two songs later, one slow one fast, their easy pace not once changing even when the beat had changed.

Immediately Ororo pulled her hand free but her look was steady, even easy when she replied.

"Dancing," was all she said.

He thought he saw her smile ever so slightly and it made his grin grow.

"Uh, right." It was all Scott could manage.

Sometimes he wished he had powers like the Amazing Nightcrawler only he wouldn't teleport himself he'd teleport Scott, drop him a hundred miles away.

"What's so amusing, Logan?" Scott asked.

"Nothing. Why?"

Sometimes he was glad no one else had the powers he did. It kept his little white lies from being exposed. Sometimes he was thankful his poker face not only won him large amounts of money when he gambled but could keep Scott out of the know like now.

"Feel like dancing again?" Scott asked.

"I'm a little tired," she said. "Maybe later."

Yes! Score!

Sometimes he wished the obvious wasn't the wrong answer so often. And sometimes he wished going home alone wasn't his usual routine, this time following ol' One Eye and the woman he wanted but unfortunately that was his life.

By time they arrived home he knew his life wasn't going to change for the better. Not all the wishes in the world would change his fate. He was unlucky in life, unlucky in love.

Maybe Jean would've chosen him if he'd made a move. Maybe Ororo would've chosen him if he'd made a move but he hadn't – wouldn't, couldn't. Sometimes he wondered why. What was holding him back?

"Goodnight, Scott."

"Goodnight, Ororo. Logan."

They stood in the hallway each looking uneasy. He missed her calm demeanor and not even Scott's hesitant manner could cheer him.

"Well, it's late," she said and turned to the stairs.

Scott opened the door to his room – the room he'd shared with Jean – closed it and they were alone. Sort of. She was retreating up the stairs and he was standing there – like a fool.

Sometimes he wished he wasn't such a fool.

"Logan."

Heart racing, he took a step towards her. She was turning, smiling at him. At him!

"I enjoyed the dance."

"Me too."

Sometimes he wished he was perfect, like he pretended to be. Sometimes he wished he knew how to talk to a woman, to get past the fact that his tongue refused to budge any more than his feet. But all the wishes, hopes and dreams would get him no where. He knew this.

When Scott got it in his head to go back to Alkali Lake he felt compelled to tell him just that. Finding Jean alive was nothing but a sad dream. All the fervent wishes in the world wouldn't bring her back. He knew. He wished he didn't. His wishes hadn't brought her back any more than his dreams had won him the love of Jean's best friend.

He was tired of fantasies. Sometimes a man had to act. A dance a week ago had stirred something. He didn't know what exactly but he found her smiling more now, smiling secretly as if she were amused with something.

Sometimes he would catch her gazing at him then look away when he stared too long. Like now.

"What're you lookin' at, Ororo."

"You."

Those deep dark brown eyes bore into him stilling his heart. He knew she was beautiful – lovely – but there was something more, something he could never quite place.

Perched on a bench outside, sunlight streaming over her she looked fresh and lovely and . . . amused – again.

He sat beside her. His thigh touched hers. She didn't move. He pressed closer.

"What do you think you're doing?" she asked. No smile.

He removed his leg.

"We should stop, Scott," he said suddenly.

"Why? I thought you'd be glad – happy even. If he finds Jean . . ."

"Why would you think that?"

"You're in love with her."

Sometimes he wished she weren't so perceptive.

"I have to go," she said, gathering her papers.

Before he realized it she was up – gone. He'd had no chance to correct her. Could he have? Was he still in love with a woman long dead?

Sometimes he wished he could read minds – his own for starters. Why did he burn for her but couldn't tell her? Why did he yearn to see her, to hear her soft voice? Why did her smile send that feeling almost queasy and half scary throughout his body? Why did he want her so much? Want her, not just her body or because she was beautiful? Why?

"Sometimes you have to make a stand," Ororo said from the doorway of the terrace.

"What?"

"Scott is making that stand. He loves her. He has to do everything he can to make sure the woman he loves isn't dead despite what we saw with our own eyes. Whether he goes tonight or a month from now he has no choice. He can't live with himself if he doesn't. Can you understand that, Logan?"

He was up and before her so fast she was taken by surprise. In his arms, held tight, his lips seeking hers she felt her knees weaken. His mouth warm, demanding. She kissed him back.

"Sometimes you've got to make a stand," he whispered in her ear.

Sometimes that's all you really have to do.

"And this is your stand?" Amusement again?

"I'm crazy about you."

There were no words to answer with.

"Haven't you noticed all this time?"

"Noticed what? You stare at me a lot but . . ."

"You stare at me too," he said, grinning at her.

"You . . . fascinate me."

"Why?"

"I like the way you dance."

"I like the way you dance."

"And Je . . ."

"Ssshh," he said, a finger lightly pressed to her lips.

"I'm crazy about you, Ororo. You. Not someone who's dead and gone."

Sometimes you needed dreams and after hoping and wishing when they seemed to come true how easy it was to deny all else.

Sometimes your emotions smoldered for so long you had to free yourself of the torture.

Sometimes when all the days of your life are full of emptiness and longing you give into love, no questions asked. Logan and Ororo did. With a kiss and a confession soon something blossomed, something neither of them could have anticipated, something more than desire.

What would the future bode? What would happen if months later Scott truly did find Jean alive somewhere? What would they do then? But caught up in themselves they gave no thought to such things. Neither knew their fates were being shaped by unseen hands for neither believed she was still alive. All they knew was love.

-Finis-