Comics » X-Men » Run Run
Rated: T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Reviews: 18 - Published: 12-07-08 - Updated: 12-07-08
Run Run – by Darlin
Disclaimer – I own no recognizable characters and make no profit from this.
A/N – Well after nearly six years since I wrote this story in 2014 I wrote a little prelude so if you'd like to read that first you can find it in my short collection of epis and preludes called Snippets, Preludes, Epilogues, Bits and Pieces.
How I happened to write the prelude is simple, I just really love this story. And how I happened to write Run Run is equally simple, I missed a flight to California in 2007, got stuck in Chicago, decided to catch the bus back to Cincy when we couldn't rent a car and was inspired to write a RoLo. Used to think it odd that when I traveled I sometimes saw a story in the making and I wondered when I wouldn't any more but I'm less and less enthusiastic with RoLo nowadays. Anyway I hope you enjoy both stories.
The bus stop was the least obvious choice. No one would suspect. Flight by car, his motorcycle yes, by plane possibly, but the bus stop? Not very likely.
After Logan, best known as the Wolverine, paid for his ticket from a very disinterested young woman he heaved his duffel bag onto his shoulder and looked around the crowded terminal for an empty seat. It was swarming with people, young, old, quite a few armed service members, and all a rainbow of colors. Many were standing around, some in line, other's lounging against walls and some were even stretched out on the floor, a few having made themselves right at home and sleeping soundly using a backpack or a partner for a pillow.
How anyone could sleep in the confusion of lights and noises Logan wasn't sure. He stood there silently wondering if he should seek a faster mode of transportation, turn around get a refund and rethink his escape route. Just then an announcement was made over the loud speaker, broken and barely legible. Either a bus was arriving or departing and though he wasn't sure which it was a smattering of people got up to join those already in line with their luggage. He gave a sigh but whether of relief or regret it was hard to tell.
An out of the way bench near him was now free and he made an immediate beeline for it. He glanced at his watch once he was settled, his duffel bag on the floor beside him. One hour before his bus came. One hour and this place would be yet another memory soon to be forgotten. His stomach twisted uncomfortably as he thought of the friends he was leaving behind and the one in particular that was the reason he was fleeing New York.
With nothing to do and no inclination to dwell upon memories he wished only to forget and no desire to read the paperback western he'd stuck in his bag before leaving his dark eyes surveyed the room warily. The station was a melting pot of people clutching blankets and pillows and little children's grubby hands, children who looked as if they were weary beyond their years. He felt for them. It was almost midnight and they should be home in bed snug and warm.
Logan was a perceptive man and every face there told a story. Aged women, the lines on their faces showing a life of joy or of anger, old men with twinkling eyes as they watched the younger women proving they were still full of life. Few were complacent though many were youthful and paired together holding hands like islands in the sea of people but many looked plain unfriendly. He knew he was of the latter group and was glad of it.
He didn't feel like talking or being friendly. And he easily ignored the middle aged black woman and a larger yet younger version of her that shared the bench with him. He sat ramrod straight, his back pressed against the hard wire mesh seat, unapproachable. It was cold in their little area but he knew it was warmer there than where the passenger boarding doors were. There was a stuffy warmness flowing off to one side though and he saw it was from a small restaurant nearby. The grill was putting out enough heat to warm that section but all the seats there were taken.
Bored and impatient, he removed his beat up brown Stetson, ran a finger along the stained insides of the hat then twirled it on his finger for a few minutes. The lady next to him glared at him. He'd thought her pretty till he saw her scowling at him. Did she think he was going to accidentally hit her with his hat? But after a hushed conversation between the mother and the daughter which he heard very clearly – yes she did think he could accidentally hit her with it – he stuffed the hat back onto his head. He didn't think it rude to play with his hat but apparently she did when he was sitting so close to her.
His eyes raked over the crowed room again. From where he sat he had a fair view of anyone coming or going which meant if he was found out he could probably make a hasty exit without being seen. A tall heavy man was pacing up and down now, occasionally blocking Logan from sight entirely. A baby cried and Logan found the source, a man holding the tiny culprit who fussed only a few seconds before settling down. The man nuzzled the child's brow making soft cooing sounds and the baby gurgled with contentment. A smile almost graced Logan's face but he looked away quickly. He wanted nothing to do with family.
The small open area of the restaurant caught his attention again. He watched a young man with bright white blonde hair stuff nachos into his mouth, chewing with gusto for all to see. Food must be good, he thought, but he didn't budge. A woman beside the man picked delicately at the cheese and jalapeños and beef covered tortilla chips as she swung her blond hair over one shoulder every so often trying to keep it out of her way. Another couple sitting across from them made a nice contrast with their deep tans and black hair, the male talking and waving his arms elaborately while the woman massaged his shoulders nodding occasionally in agreement with whatever he was saying.
Only ten minutes had passed Logan saw as he checked his watch again. He fought back a momentarily and unaccustomed feeling of panic. Time was never on his side. Maybe that's how everyone there felt too. They were going somewhere, trying to get away maybe even running like him. He was man enough to admit it too. He was a coward and so he was running because that's what cowards did. He wasn't ashamed either. It was run or be caught. Sometimes you had to know when to take the offensive.
She'd never said she wanted to get married. Which was true but all indications were otherwise especially since she'd forced him to watch some inane reality show with a beautiful woman dating a huge collection of muscled men in a desperate attempt to find a husband. He couldn't understand why a woman that beautiful had to go on television to find a man. He thought the show was stupid; he'd only wanted to spend some time with her. But if he wanted to see her after the weekend he had to sit through a full two hours of that nonsense. Her enthusiasm for the show had disturbed him.
He hated reality shows. She loved them, was intrigued with how normal humans lived, especially American's.
She was probably thinking she didn't know him at all now, if she'd discovered he'd run. He did know her, too well in fact. She was Ororo Munroe, his X-Men teammate for years now. Over the years he'd grown accustomed to her, her strengths, her moods, so subtle they were seldom noticed by the others. He understood why she kept her emotions in check. She was very much like him, if she let herself feel too freely chaos ensued. But he liked that, liked a controlled woman who wasn't emotional with foolish dreams left over from watching too many Disney movies when they were little girls.
He believed he had learned to read her easily. He could always tell when she was upset or worried though she usually fought hard to hide it from anyone. And he knew her happier moods though she didn't often verbalize them and he'd thought he'd known her secret longings.
He'd seen the eagerness in her eyes after he'd kissed her the first few times years before they'd started seeing each other. It was subdued passion that called to him more than any forthright desire could ever stir him. He'd wanted to stoke the flames inside her whenever she looked at him like that but it was also that same eagerness gleaming in her eyes whenever Monday rolled around and that T.V. show came on. It was most prominent when the promo for the show announced that the final two contestants were to pick out wedding rings for the beautiful bachelorette.
Ororo could try to fool herself, try to fool him but he knew better. The only reason he could see that she insisted on spending their Monday nights watching that show was to subconsciously persuade him into changing his beliefs about marriage. She'd tried to pull one over on him but he'd seen through her little scheme and so he'd run.
The discovery was too late though, he mused now. He was crazy about her, couldn't stop thinking about her. So he'd run. As far as he could see he had no other option. He couldn't take a chance that he might weaken. She meant too much to him, more than she should, more than he wanted. Too often the feel of her in his arms had made him burn with unexplainable emotions, just too deep and troubling. Too often she had confused him, twisted his feelings, his beliefs, his desires so that he didn't know himself. He knew his weaknesses just as well as he knew his strengths and she was a serious weak link in his bachelor chain of armor. It made perfect sense to run.
The two couples in the small restaurant that had caught Logan's attention earlier were laughing and the deep outburst brought him back to the present. The dark haired man wrapped burly arms around the woman who'd been his masseuse and they sat there looking too intimate, too content. Logan looked away. He checked his watch again. Only five minutes had passed. Forty-five minutes, forty-five long miserable minutes to go before he'd be safe. He could hear the slow agonizing tick, tick of the battery powered clock on the far wall, a loud, invariably, ticking, taunting, maddening sound blasting even over the TV blaring, all the different languages being spoken and the sporadic bursts of laughter. Ticking, ticking, ticking, ticking. A slow countdown to his freedom.
He shifted uncomfortably on the wire mesh seat glancing involuntarily at the two couples again. The pair eating nachos were smiling at each other; the other two were silent, swaying together to some rhythm they alone could hear. Unbidden, a memory flashed in Logan's mind of him and Ororo laughing in a similar place. They'd never frequented fast food places because she preferred healthy food but sometimes he'd talk her into going with him and she'd eat sloppy hamburgers and greasy fries with relish all while he teased her. She'd pretend to be irritated but he knew she really wasn't. And afterwards they'd . . . He wrenched his thoughts back to the here and now, looked elsewhere, shoving the memory of holding her, of kissing her far, far away.
Another couple crowded his view for a moment before sitting on the floor almost exactly across from him, their backs against the wall. The man wrapped a blanket around the woman who cuddled close. Beside him was a baby rocker which he kept gently moving with one finger. The rocker was covered with a blanket with a design of romping puppies. Whatever was inside was quiet, probably sleeping, probably a baby and a boy at that, Logan guessed feeling slightly curious at the thought of the hidden child.
They were an interracial couple, the man white, the woman black. What did the child look like he wondered? The woman yawned suddenly, her hand coming up from under the blanket and she pat at her mouth. The man looked down at the woman, brushing aside her long black bangs from her pretty brown face. She readjusted the blanket then pressed closer to him, to her husband Logan assumed. Maybe they weren't married though. Logan didn't know and it didn't matter. Why did people have to get married anyway? Marriage was little more than a poorly concealed trap and only saps and romantic idiots wanted to be caught. He'd tried once and lost a woman he loved deeply; he'd never try again.
He watched the baby rocker sway slowly back and forth. The easy rhythm was almost comforting but the thought of the unseen child kept eating at him. Did it look like the parents? Would he be brown, favoring the mother, or pale like his father or somewhere in between? He tried to look away but couldn't. He wanted to see.
A sudden whoop further away from him caused him to start. He gazed around the room remembering where he was. He didn't look again at the couple with the covered child. Maybe it wasn't even a baby but a puppy or some illegal animal they had sedated and were trying to smuggle somewhere. Briefly amused he snorted. People were crazy, he wouldn't put it past them no matter how normal and decent they looked. And why not smuggle a half wolf pup? Everyone should have a dog. Big half wolf dogs were great or maybe a German shepherd, those were good too. Everyone loved dogs. The thought made him snort again. Love, it was useless – nothing more than a burden – women, and pets, they just tied you down and gave you heartache.
He turned his attention to the boarding area where long crooked lines of luggage weaved their way to various departures. A solider sat against a wall holding his girl securely, his legs stretched out on either side of her. She fit as if she belonged there. Logan stared but he no longer saw the couple, he saw Ororo instead, in the exact same position but with him holding her close, his back against a tree not a wall, the sky pale blue, the sun beating down hot, the air fresh and
contentment saturating his soul. He could almost feel the breeze, smell the honeysuckle and Ororo.
He turned his head abruptly. A woman was standing at the ticket counter waiting for assistance and he stared at her hoping to keep the memories at bay. She was standing with her back to him but he could tell she was elderly. Her white hair fell past her shoulders. She had on black pants that red shoes peeked out from beneath and she wore a black coat with the collar up. The coat was far too lightweight for the cold of New York especially for an elderly lady and despite himself Logan felt the need to protect or aid this woman. No one was helping her. They had taken their time with him too. He fought back the need to stand, to act, to help.
A man in an old black fedora sauntered into Logan's line of vision, momentarily drawing his attention away from the woman. A flicker of annoyance surged through Logan as the man approached the elderly woman. The new arrival looked as ill prepared for the harsh New York winters as the woman did at least from the little Logan could see of the man's face. His nose and cheeks were flushed from the freezing temperature outside. He wore only a faded beat up leather jacket with the collar turned up high but he carried a bright red scarf in one hand. Neither of them had luggage which Logan thought was odd. The man stopped beside the woman who turned towards him and smiled.
Her smile startled Logan. He was surprised at her familiarity with a complete stranger and bothered by it. But she had a beautiful smile. It was brilliant and made her face, which he saw was a soft and nearly unlined pecan brown, look young and full of life. As she smiled a gloved hand came up to rest on the man's forearm. For a peculiar instant Logan felt her touch as if her hand was on his own arm and a jolt almost like electricity went through his body. He felt connected to this woman though he didn't know why. He wanted to get up and go to her, tell her not to be so friendly with strange men but what business was it of his? He was being silly – no, he was being stupid.
The man's back was to Logan who couldn't stop feeling like getting up and telling him to leave the lady the hell alone. He was standing too close to the woman for Logan's liking. But she didn't seem to mind at all. Slowly and very gently the gentleman wove the bright red scarf around her neck carefully tying one length over the other. They were silent, no words of welcome or acknowledgment. They simply stood in that busy bus station wordlessly looking at each other. It was obvious now that they knew each other and intimately at that. The woman didn't smile so much as radiate as she looked at the man. She looked thoroughly content as did Logan in that moment. He couldn't help but be intrigued by this elderly couple.
They were another interracial couple, one that had seemingly withstood the test of time together. The woman was striking even in her older years but it was more than that which captured Logan's attention so completely. She was statuesque and her hair, so white and soft looking, an appealing contrast against the rich color of her brown skin – if she'd had blue eyes . . . but her eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses, as absurd in the dead of winter as her too light coat. And of course they wouldn't – couldn't be blue.
The pair was along in years but still obviously in love and perhaps it was that love that made them look so youthful. Their affection for each other radiated from them drawing one's eye and holding one's attention because what they had was what everyone secretly yearned for. Yet they were more unalike than alike and not only by the difference in their skin tone. The man was shorter than her by a head, whittled by age possibly, but he carried himself as if he had never worried about his height or the difference it made between them. Though Logan couldn't see it the man smiled up at the woman, he did notice the man's skin was as little wrinkled as hers. Only their hair gave away their age, hers that stark white and his, though still a rich black, his sideburns were white.
The man pulled the woman to him, wrapping an arm around her waist, while they waited together. His hand was gnarled – probably arthritic. Diseased and dying but still in love? Logan wondered and doubted. Not many made it to old age without divorce these days. Was it worth it? He believed it was not. Did they fight all day but put on a show when in public? Did she secretly hate the way his hand slid lower and lower as if he were a pubescent boy? Did he hate the way she swatted the offending, playful hand away, a reminder of what life was like at home? She was shaking her head looking annoyed, her lips pursed. And yet those disapproving lips slowly crept upward for all she tried to prevent them and that beautiful smile sprang forth full of unabashed pleasure.
The service here was lousy Logan thought, trying to turn his thoughts from the older lovers. They were the only two in line and no one had come to help them yet. Young kids didn't have any work ethic nowadays. He could see two of them inside the office behind the ticket counter. One girl was laughing and popping gum while she worked on a computer. He was sure she wasn't doing her homework or the work she was supposed to be doing either. Another girl, older and larger was getting up and walking over towards the younger girl laughing at something the younger woman had said. They both peered at the computer screen intent on what he didn't know, didn't care. Didn't they see someone was waiting?
But Logan didn't want to see the old couple either. His eyes roamed over the room again, passing quickly over the interracial couple with the hidden child and the romantic Hispanic couple sitting with the white couple who were still devouring nachos in the restaurant section. The man holding the baby grinned when their eyes met and Logan looked away feeling uncomfortable. But he wasn't grinning at Logan though their eyes held briefly, he was grinning at his child, watchful of the people around him, alert to anything that might be of danger to him and his baby. Now he held the child high above his head laughing as the babe cooed merrily.
Logan looked away again, saw the soldier sitting with his girl glued to him like they didn't want to ever let go of each other. It was disturbing. And what good was it? Their hands were clasped tightly. It had to be a sweaty grasp even clammy he thought with distaste. He didn't need that, not the sweaty hands, not the closeness and not love. These dweebs could keep it. Lost in their pretend happiness. Love never lasted, not for long. They'd learn.
The lady and her daughter next to him were getting up now, eying a vacant spot in the restaurant though they left a sweater in one chair. He started to call after them but didn't. After scanning the room again, especially all entrances, and checking the time he unwillingly looked back at the older couple. They were still groping each other. That was an overstatement of course but they were too old to be standing so close as if they were the only two in the overcrowded station. Though his heart had been touched by the older woman at first now he resented her – resented them both. They were of the fortunate few who had won in love. They had made it, overcome all obstacles because they had stayed the course. He refused to even try. Love could only bring heartbreak in the end for him.
He shivered but this time from a burst of cold air as if someone had turned on the air conditioning. Too late he caught a familiar scent.
"Going on a trip?" a soft feminine voice queried. The voice was throaty with a tell tale accent, usually heaven to his ears but not this day. He looked into the calm face of the woman he was running away from.
"How'd you find me?" he asked, ignoring the slight jump of his heart.
"I know you rather well I'd like to think," Ororo said, her voice light, pleasant.
He snorted, disgusted with himself for letting his thoughts distract him so easily that she'd caught him off guard. He was just as disgusted with her though. She'd masked her approach by keeping the frequent gusts of cold air as people entered and left just downwind from him so he couldn't detect her scent until she'd wanted him to – something devious and just like a woman.
"What're you doing here, Ororo?"
"Coming to say goodbye."
She sank gracefully into the vacant spot beside him, her eyes roving over the throng of people.
He remembered how she loved to people watch. He always paid attention to people but it wasn't voyeuristic like her but that he was always expecting the unexpected, always prepared for anything. He scooted away from her ever so slightly. Ororo appeared unperturbed. She almost always did. It made him resent her all the more.
"Well, goodbye," he said gruffly.
She glanced his way only a second but he caught a look of bemusement in her eyes.
"Perhaps I should go on holiday too," she remarked.
"Yeah? Where're ya thinkin' of goin'?" Maybe he wouldn't have to leave after all he considered.
"Oh, I don't know. What would be a good place to go this time of year?"
Anywhere but here, he thought.
"I've never been on a bus before. They look large but I think of all those people packed in like sardines and in my mind's eye the space becomes too small for my taste. Are they very crowded? Are they comfortable?"
"Stink, the people? Or do you mean the bus? As in foul odors?"
She murmured something, nothing intelligible. He wished she'd get on a bus right this minute then hoped fervently that she wouldn't try to get on the same bus he was getting on.
"I will miss you," she said.
Those blue eyes of her held him so that he could barely move or think. As much as he wanted to he couldn't look away. He loved those eyes. He loved her face, her voice, the way she laughed and the way she carried herself, even now with complete grace, complete confidence. But he didn't love her. You could love what a person was but not love them. It was possible. He was proof.
She returned his look unwaveringly, the corners of her mouth creeping upward slightly as if she were trying very hard not to laugh. He thought she only did that when she was flirting which she knew and which tickled her all the more because of course it wasn't so. She enjoyed teasing Logan, enjoyed him period. She loved looking into his dark eyes, loved the way the lines crinkled at the corners when he was happy or frustrated like now. She loved his rugged face. It wasn't overly handsome, some might even say it was plain yet it was so manly it could never really be considered plain. It showed character. There was kindness there too beneath the rough veneer, something he tried too often to hide but she'd discovered it and loved that secret part of him. She loved his gravelly voice, that nonchalant tone he strove for when he was upset and didn't want to show it, like now. It amused her. But it also made her love him more. She'd never tell him this though.
There was another announcement, lost in the background, a static laced voice and people began to scurry about. Neither Ororo nor Logan noticed. Her smile bloomed and he found himself smiling back at her. He loved her smile, loved the dimples that flashed so quickly you weren't sure you'd seen them. He felt warm inside with her beside him, he felt drawn to her, helplessly so. What he felt at that moment was something more than love, something much more, something strong and comforting and even reassuring but it was disturbing too.
Someone laughed nearby. Not loud laughter but soft and full, happy and strangely familiar. It was the older couple at the ticket counter sharing some secret joke. They still hadn't been waited on. Neither seemed to mind. The man still had an arm around the woman's waist, leaning against her comfortably. She was looking around idly her sunglasses clutched in one hand now. Logan starred though he didn't mean to. She paused a moment when she met his inquisitive gaze, studied him briefly, a hint of a smile still visible, then she put her sunglasses back on and turned away. Logan's stomach lurched crazily. Her eyes were blue!
"'Ro," he breathed.
"Yes?" Ororo responded beside him.
"No, not you . . ." he said, looking at the older woman and then at Ororo. "Her, over . . . there . . ."
But there was no one at the counter now. No one buying tickets. No older gentleman short in stature, no aged lady with brown skin, white hair and deep blue eyes.
"What is it, Logan?"
"She was just . . . they were both – an old man and an old woman . . ."
"I see no one."
"Never mind, just forget it." He looked around the crowded terminal. But the couple was nowhere to be seen. "Must've been seein' things," he muttered to himself. And possibly he was for there was no detectable scent from the woman that would have made him think she was Ororo and none at all from the man with her – always out of focus, triggering his ire.
As deeply as Ororo loved Logan she would never understand him wholly. She got up and held out her hand. "Then this is goodbye," she said.
Logan looked up at her. She dropped her hand when all he did was stare with his mouth open.
She gave him a small smile then left him. He watched her till she disappeared through the lobby door. Unconsciously his shoulders slumped as the door automatically closed behind her. With her went all the confidence he'd had in his decision. He felt colder than he'd felt before and more alone than ever. He looked over at the ticket counter where a woman and two boys were buying tickets now. It was as if the elderly couple had never been there – gone just as Ororo was gone.
He'd wanted her to leave so desperately, to be rid of her, to be rid of love and commitment and . . . fear. He wanted Ororo to be a memory forgotten in time never to be thought of again. But . . . but – no, there could be no but's, not now. She was gone and he was leaving. And he would go.
He rose slowly and stretched after sitting for so long then looked at his watch. The bus would be loading soon. Time had passed faster than he'd guessed though it no longer mattered. His feet were heavy as if encased in cement but he heaved his duffle bag over his shoulder and started for the line that had begun to form. If the bus didn't hurry up he might be tempted to go after her. But no, he wouldn't do that. How could he after he'd just let her go?
He took two steps forward then paused, took a step backwards and paused again. His mouth was dry, his hands damp with perspiration. Then something in his peripheral vision caught his eye. A bold splash of color on the otherwise drab, tile floor, like a splotch of blood on fresh snow gave evidence that what Logan had seen wasn't just a figment of his imagination.
It was the red scarf that the old man had wrapped around his wife's neck. Logan looked around the bus station again. How had he missed it? Within seconds he had the scarf in his hands. It was soft, a little fuzzy – cashmere. He brought it to his nose, held it there for a long moment. A perfume of rain and snow and sunshine and flowers was still as fresh as if someone had sprayed the scarf just minutes ago with the unique scent. But it wasn't just a unique scent. It was Ororo's scent!
His heart pounded hard. He had seen many things before and knew anything was possible in the world they lived in but this – this was not, could not be. And yet the scarf in his hands proved otherwise. Those blue eyes. The old man, his face half hidden, the animosity Logan had felt towards the old gent who was so solicitous of the woman – could it have been? Was that possible? That the man was him years from now, that the woman was Ororo, aged but still as beautiful?
Suddenly Logan spun around and began to run. People stared, some alarmed, other's just curious. He stopped just as suddenly. There leaning against the wall near the entrance was Ororo, her head tilted ever so slightly, her eyes watching him intently. And his heart flip flopped just as it always did when he saw her, just as he knew it always would. With this woman he would grow old. He didn't know how they'd get to that point he just knew it would be so.
"You really do know me don't you, darlin'?" he said when he stopped in front of her.
"If I knew you as well as I thought I did we never would have watched that TV show," she chuckled.
"I'm not changing," he replied.
"I do not want you to, Logan. Why would I when I love you for who you are, even when you do something as puzzling as this?"
"You're either crazy or I am you know that right, darlin'?"
"I would say you're a touch loonier than me."
With a laugh he dropped his duffel bag then slowly and carefully wound the red scarf around her bare throat. They stood in silence looking at each other, his hands still holding the scarf, hers settling lightly on his. All his doubts and fears left him then. He pulled her close, one arm around her waist, caught the smell of rain and snow and sunshine and flowers and held her even closer.