Letting Them Lie or Putting the Damage On

Putting the Damage On

This is a sequel to Chemicals Between Us.  I suggest reading that story first, unless you're psychic like me.  It an AU, but I prefer to picture the people from the movieverse, because, well, THEY ARE SEXY BITCHES!

DISCLAIMER: I own everything, and I'm suing all your asses for copyright infringements.  Umm, yeah.

Please, please, please review the story.  You have no idea how much it really means to me.  That, and I also promised Satan my firstborn if I didn't get any reviews.

DO IT FOR LIL' HUGH JACKMAN JR.!  Also, I'm considering turning this into a kind of series, so feedback is necessary.

Rays of sunlight streamed through her window, attempting to brighten the room a little, to try and alleviate the mood of the sole person who occupied it.  That was a fact that often struck in Ororo's mind, that she was the sole person who lived in her room.  Alone.  Like a hermit, she thought bitterly as she waved her hand in front of her face, trying to shoo that damned optimistic light away.  It tried to say to her, "look on the brighter side of things", but it only found a deaf audience.

Storm sighed as she sunk back into her cotton comforter and stared blatantly at the ceiling.  It had been a little over a year since, since the incident, as she preferred to think of it.  She preferred not to think of it at all, but the thought always crept back into her mind, branding her thoughts along with her body.  She glanced down at the two vertical scars she had running down her wrists, now a permanent reminder of what had happened.  What the incident had been all about. 

Even though it had occurred a year ago, when she closed her eyes, she had little trouble conjuring every detail about the incident.  What she had been wearing, what he had been wearing, how his lips felt against hers… "Oh, stop being foolish.  Move on with your life," she said to herself, standing up to stretch her back.  Her back had been increasingly sore lately, due to all the extra sleeping she'd been doing. 

It's not that she was physically tired; it had just been that the year anniversary of it all had been…tough.  A whole lot tougher than Storm had expected it to be.  Until a year had passed, she hadn't really realized how much it had changed her life, how much it had changed her.  She still had the same friends as before, Jean, Cyclops, Beast, but they all seemed different upon reflection.  Her memories of her friends clashed with how she knew them now.  Granted, Jean still treated her the same and loved her as much as ever, even though she had been seeing less and less of her lately.  The others, though, looked at her as if through a veil, like it was she that was different.  Scott seemed more pulled away from the group than ever lately, and he and Ororo had not even exchanged more than five pages of dialogue among themselves since last year.  Beast, well, he was still kind-hearted and whimsical, but he now looked upon her as if she were a child, not capable of handling certain information.  Like she was an invalid who was more of an obligation than a person. 

Stop your nonsense, Ororo.  You've still got to get ready for tonight, and it's nearly seven.  They'll be expecting you. 

Tonight was New Year's Eve, and as was tradition, there was a party going on in the east wing of the mansion.  Even though it was a tradition, Storm had scarcely remembered it: it had only been brought to her attention earlier that morning by Jean. 

Ororo had been helping herself to the vegetable crisper when Jean came bustling down from her room, wearing an oversized flannel shirt and fuzzy brown bear-feet slippers.

"Ororo!  I didn't expect you to be up so early," Jean exclaimed, her face turning a shade redder as she remembered what she was wearing.  It was about 6:30, and Ororo had just come back from her jog. 

"I'm always up this early.  I didn't know Scott had flannel shirts," she remarked nonchalantly as she reached for an orange. 

"Oh, well, he does."  Storm looked at Jean again. 

"Oh, come, come, Jean.  No need to be modest.  You're talking to a nudist who's seen you more natural than this." 

Jean gave a goofy grin.  "I guess you're right," she responded, as she began fumbling around to pour herself a cup of coffee.  "So, Storm, what are you wearing to the New Year's party tonight?" 

"What?"  Storm dropped her fruit on the counter.  It couldn't be New Year's yet.  She had just gotten out of the infirmary yesterday, and her stitches hadn't even been removed yet-that was last year.  Get a grip of yourself. 

"The party.  It's tonight.  You couldn't have forgotten!  Storm, it's NEW YEAR'S!" 

"Oh, no, of course not.  I just, I-I'm not sure what I'm going to wear yet." 

"Well, surprise us then.  I'm gonna head back upstairs and get dressed.  I'll see you at seven." 

"At seven," Storm whispered under her breath, as Jean bounded up the stairs.

And now here Storm was, scrying through her closet in a desperate attempt to find something to wear.  Her deft fingers easily slid hanger by hanger back, pushing and shoving aside the cotton fabrics that smelled of the earth, all in search of that one outfit, that one, beautiful outfit that would make her forget her memories, at least for the night, that would let her break out of the hard shell she had created for herself over the past year. 

"Aha."  Storm's eyes gleamed as she pulled out The Outfit, for surely it deserved an article before it.  Even though she knew it was wrong for her to put so much meaning and emotion into a materialistic possession, a clothing item nonetheless, she somehow felt that if she wore this dress, she would make it through the evening. 

I should look upon this like, like a baptism.  Ororo giggled at her own analogy as she quickly shucked off the clothes she had been wearing, stripping down to her familiar black bra and matching panties.  With this, this magnificent dress being placed over my head, all my sins are anointed and forgiven.  My bad memories will simply be a part of the past.  With this dress on, nothing bad can happen to me.  

"No more nightmares anymore," she whispered to herself, as she slid it over her head.  She hooked the yellow straps over her shoulders and examined herself in the full length mirror attached to her closet door.  In her opinion, she was looking pretty good.  She really did love this dress.  It was a dress that she had spent years searching for.  Of the few photographs that Ororo had of her parents, one of them was of her mother, wearing this dress.  Ororo smiled as she twirled a bit and watched the soft hem spin just above her knees. 

"Look at me now, mom."

                                                                        ***

The loud thwamping of a bass in an unrecognizable techno song pulsated through Ororo's entire body, making her hands involuntary jerk up with each downbeat.  It had been like this for hours. 

"Bobby, for God's sake, turn the music down!" Scott yelled through the thronging groups of student swaying back and forth. 

"Quite a party," Ororo nearly shouted as she approached Scott.  He hurriedly turned around to greet her. 

"I guess you could say that.  I've had my hands full confiscating alcohol from students.  What a way to bring in the New Year, eh?" he replied, lowering a ladle into the punch bowl to serve himself.  There was a relative silence between the two as they groped for something to talk about. I really haven't been talking with Scott lately.  I hardly know him anymore.

 "I saw that new flannel shirt you got.  It was quite nice." 

"What?  I can't hear you."

Ororo bit her lip and tried again, speaking louder.  "I saw your new flannel shirt that Jean was wearing this morning.  It was very nice." 

"My shirt?" 

"The one Jean had on when she woke up." 

Scott's face fell as he looked Storm over.  "Thanks a lot," he said, in a tone that was less than appreciative. 

He walked off into the crowd of students swaying with the music, and Ororo was almost going to follow him, but the students looked so close together, she feared her claustrophobia might kick in.  Some party this is turning out to be. 

She stole a peak her wrist, expecting her wristwatch to be there.  Of course, it wasn't, since Ororo had stopped wearing watches since the incident.  Instead, she wore ribbons that were color-coordinated with her outfits, and it didn't look like the yellow ribbons knew what time it was.  She looked around on the wall until she found a clock.   Only 10:30.  I've still got a long way to go. 

"All right, ladies and gents, settle down, settle down.  It's your DJ for the evening, The Iceman."  Bobby paused for applause, but finding none, he cleared his throat and continued.  "And now, under the order, err, request of Mr. Summers, us youngin's have to move the party outside, due to, wait, why the hell are you making us go outside?"  There was slight mumbling as Scott and Bobby grumbled at each other.  Bobby continued after a long pause.  "Hey folks, we're going outside!" 

"Hey, dumbass, it's cold outside," someone shouted from the crowd.  A few of the younger girls giggled and whispered, "he said dumbass! He he he."

 "Yes, yes, that, too, has come to my attention where it has failed to come to the attention of others, Mr. Summer, so I suggest that we all nicely grovel and beg Miss Munroe to solve our problem." 

The gaze of the room shifted to Ororo, who suddenly felt very on the spot. 

"Why, sure, I, uh, sure.  Hold on."  Storm's eyes whited over as she concentrated on heating up the areas immediately surrounding the mansion.  In no time, the snow that had once lay freshly fallen was gone, and it was a delightful 75 degrees. 

"Let's hear it for Miss Munroe!"  The student began applauding wildly, all the while being herded through the oversized French doors.  When the last of the remaining student were outside, where, suspiciously, there were prearranged makings for an instant party, Ororo looked around. 

"Somehow, I feel like the adults planned all this without telling me." 

"Of course we did, my dear" Beast interjected.  "Did you really think we could stand a full five hours of Mr. Drake's musical preferences?" 

Ororo tilted her head back and laughed, a pleasing sound of glass bells tinkling.  The adults, or "more mature" people, came out of their dark, nether hiding regions they had been in and quickly filled up the room with chatting and laughter.  There were many people there, mutant and human alike.  Ororo felt herself relaxing as she began to mingle with the crowd.   She had just finished having a nice conversation with Moira and her husband Sean when the oak doors near her burst open.  Jean and Logan stumbled in, their arms all over each other. 

"Sorry we're late.  We got a little held up at the liquor store." 

"Logan!" Jean exclaimed, before bursting into a fit of giggles. 

Ororo tried to smile at the sight of this, but all the while she was wondering how close exactly she should get to Wolverine.  It had been a long time since she had seen him.  A few weeks ago, probably.  Wolverine had kept his promise, to try and keep out of her way, as she had kept hers. 

It hadn't been easy at the beginning. 

The first few weeks after the incident, she had felt a hole in her body, like someone had ripped her in half and scattered it across the earth.  She'd sometimes catch a glimpse of him, and her body would be filled with such longing, a longing almost as intense as the one she thought she saw in his eyes.  But as time went on, their distance grew, although Ororo never really got him out of her mind.  She never really got over him. 

With a blink of the eye, Ororo snapped her consciousness back to the present.  She decided to make her way over to on of the free armchairs in the northeast corner of the room, by the fireplace.  She sunk into the maroon folds of material and watched the room flow past her with her catlike orbs.  There he was, with Jean, over by the refreshment table.  He was pouring her a glass of punch as she giggled, seemingly at her own drunkenness.  There was something different about his stance.  Something almost possessive. 

She shrugged the thought off and turned her gaze into the fire, watching the shriveled log pop and snap as the fire licked its way around it.  "Hey Storm!" Jubilee called out, plunking herself on the armchair next to hers, sprawling her legs over the armrests.  "Are you having a good time?" 

"Yes, my child." 

"Because you seem a little down. And there's no reason why you should be.  I mean, if it's about Wolvie...  So what if he's dating Jean, I say.  It's a big fish in the ocean they say or whateve-" 

"They're dating?" 

"Yeah, didn't you know?" 

"Actual-why, I-"

"Oh yeah, it started about three weeks ago, right after she dumped Cyclops.  They've been pretty serious, I should know, my room's right next to theirs."

"Oh.  I hadn't, I mean, I didn't know.."

"Know it was so serious?  Neither did I.  See, they're trying to keep it a secret for some reason.  I have no idea why.  Ohh, hey, does Bobby have some Jose Cuervo?  Listen, I really gotta go outside.  Bye."  Jubilee sprinted off in her pursuit of liquor as Ororo sat there stunned. 

"They're dating?  And they wanted to keep it a secret from me?"   Ororo's eyes flashed for a moment, recalling memories.  Why then, did Jubilee tell me this?  Oh, she didn't come to the mansion until spring of…that year.

 They're dating.  Those two words seemed to echo in her mind, crushing down every wall of reason she knew.  Wolverine was dating Jean.  Her Wolverine, her wildman.  As if on cue, the two sauntered up to her. 

"Hey 'Ro, just thought we'd stop by and wish you a happy New Year.  Only half an hour to go." 

"Yep," giggled Jean, "half an hour." 

"You two are dating?"  Those words somehow escaped Storm's dry lips as she stood up.  Logan's jaw hung open a bit. 

"Now Storm, it's not like-" 

"Yessiree," a drunk Jean stammered, "What, did you expect that he'd stay single for long with me on the prowl?  He's my man."  Jean threw her arms over his neck, embracing him with her body and with her lips.  Ororo could only watch, shocked, as she definitely saw her tongue slide into his mouth.  Ororo felt the other half other body, the half that she'd been allowed to keep after the incident, being torn from her as well, and flung into the fireplace, where she could never reclaim it. 

The plastic cup that Jean had been holding, full of punch and gin, was precariously thrown from behind Logan's head, for now Jean's hands had better things to do.  The cup gracefully landed on Ororo's chest, spilling the staining liquid down the front of her dress.  The dress. 

"Whoops," she said, breaking the kiss, "I got you a little messy!  Here, just let me take one of your pretty yellow ribbons and clean you up." 

Jean reached for Storm's wrist, but she pulled back.  Not soon enough, though.  The ribbon fell from the mocha skin and floated down onto the floor.  The scar gaped up at Ororo, taunting her even as she pulled it close to her chest. 

"Look," it seemed to be saying, "look at me now, mom."