Black Panther and Storm

Author: NWHS


Part 1


T'Challa lay in bed waiting for the sun to rise, another sleepless night-the fourth one in a row. He wanted and needed rest, but he knew from experience sleep wouldn't find him this morning. He looked at the clock which read 4:45 a.m., he sighed heavily and pulled himself out of bed. Another day had passed and he couldn't shake the tension that was slowly growing in his body. Perhaps a good workout will do the trick, T'Challa thought to himself. Unconsciously, he knew this wasn't truly the answer to his situation, for the last three morning workout routines yielded little results other than the passing of time and a temporary diversion. But off he went for another rigorous workout in his oversized gym located on the first floor of his palace.

His palatial gym would've made Michael Phelps, Joe Louis, Mary Lou Retton, and Bruce Lee envious. He worked up an ever growing sweat over the next three hours. Jumping, kicking, punching, swimming, running, all done in an attempt to rid his mind of the most annoying and nagging tension headache that had steadily developed over the last two weeks. T'Challa worked himself to near exhaustion, but he was still wound up in knots. After such a workout he would usually feel invigorated and ready to begin his day, but not today, nor yesterday, or the day before.

As he dropped to the mat, he realized he was in for another day of meetings with his political advisors as well as the research and development team. And his sister Shuri had been nagging him all week to accompany her to the new children's hospital recently built to accommodate the Wakandans living in the rural farmlands on the eastern region of the country. Yes, another day of business as usual with no end in sight.

Such days usually never bothered T'Challa, for he was king and such tasks were his responsibility and duty to the citizens of Wakanda. He enjoyed being king and worked hard to serve his people with respect, honor, and dignity. But today, like the previous days, his mind was simply not as sharp and focused as it usually was. He wasn't as spirited or energetic.

If he really wanted to be honest with himself, he had been more than a little cranky and short tempered as of late. Had others noticed, he thought to himself? Does anyone suspect? He knew the answer to both of those questions. As much as he tried to hide his feelings or bury them under a pile of work, his family knew him too well. One only had to track his mood swings with his wife's visits to San Francisco to work with the X-Men, to New York to visit her father's parents, or to Kenya to visit her mother's ancestral home, and they would have him. He was a king, the Black Panther, the spiritual leader of his country. How then could he be so undone by the mere absence of his wife? He had to laugh at himself and the state he found himself. Is this what it means to be a 'fool in love'? How can I possibly miss her this much, mused T'Challa? It has only been two weeks. Am I that weak of flesh and mind that I can't go without seeing or touching her for such a short period of time?

Of course, T'Challa had spoken with his wife every night for the past two weeks, and had looked forward to every call, enjoying their long talks. But by the end of each call, he found himself yearning for more and yet another restless night would follow. He wondered if Ororo felt the same.

San Francisco

"Come on Logan, you can do better than that," laughed Ororo. "It has only been 5 miles and you're breathing heavier than Scott after a long night with Emma." This made Ororo laugh even harder. She needed the release; she had so much energy, she didn't know what to do with herself.

"Slow down Ro," called Logan. "This isn't a marathon or a mission. Besides, it's way too early in the morning for so much running. I should be sleep somewhere or drunk, or better yet, sleeping off a night of drinking. I swear, if you weren't so damn cute in that jogging suit of yours. I would gut you just for being so damn energetic and health conscious."

Ororo slowed her pace to a standstill to wait for her friend. "Thank you," gasped Logan when he caught up with her.

"Do you want to spar or go for a swim?" asked Ororo.

"No!" yelled Logan. "Are you out of your mind? I can barely breath; I feel as if my lungs are about to explode."

"So, what do you want to do?"

"Go back home and go to bed," stated Logan. "You might consider doing the same thing yourself 'Ro. You've been going at it pretty hard this last week. Between these early morning workouts, the training sessions, and the missions, you've been going full throttle. And damn woman, you've been eatin' up a storm lately, no pun intended."

Logan started to walk back the way they came. "Do you want a ride back?" asked Ororo.

"That would be nice, considerin you're the reason I'm out here on this beach before the sun has fully risen in the sky. Honestly Ro, what kind of Wakandan herbs are you takin' because whatever it is that has got you so wound up should be boxed and marketed to all those crazy health nuts? You'll be filthy rich. Oh right, you got that covered. But feel free to share the proceeds with your friends."

Ororo simply smiled and lifted herself and Logan into the air and headed for home.

She dropped Logan off at the X-Men's new home and proceeded to leave. "Where are you going?" asked Logan. "Don't you want to stay for breakfast? You have to be hungry after all of that running."

"No thanks Logan. I'm expected back at the Wakandan embassy," stated Ororo.

"I don't know why you just don't stay here with us instead of flying back and forth everyday. I know you're now a queen, but you're still an X-Man," contended Logan.

"I know Logan, but it's easier for me to keep the two separate if I stay at the embassy. Besides, while I'm in San Francisco, I'm recognized as a head of state and must conduct myself as such, as well as all Wakandan business at the embassy. I cannot engage in such state business here with the X-Men. So, yes Logan, I am and will always be an X-Man, but I'm also Queen of Wakanda and what I do here impacts an entire country. I cannot let sentimentality interfere with my duty as queen."

Logan nodded his head in understanding. Ororo bid him farewell and headed back to the Wakandan Embassy.

Ororo flew fast and furious through the clouds. She floated as far up into the atmosphere as her lungs would allow then bolted back toward the earth, almost spiraling out of control. She did this three times, and on her last descent, she was flushed. She breathed heavily and knew she should be exhausted. She also knew Logan was right. She'd been working overtime for the last week and should be in a deep sleep about now. But she couldn't sleep, she had too much energy.

Why did she have so much restless energy? What kept her mind awake even though her body screamed for rest? She knew the answer. Of course she knew; how could she not. Every time she sought relief through sleep, her mind would wander to a far off land. When sleep finally came, she dreamed of him, his voice, his smile, his touch. Ororo had never had such potent dreams. Her body reacted to the unconscious thoughts and she would awake in a deep sweat panting, needing a release from her desire, but knowing the source of such a release was thousands of miles away. So she ran, swam, flew, and ate. All poor substitutes she knew, for what and who, she was truly missing.

"What is wrong with me?" Ororo questioned aloud. "I'm the Queen of Wakanda, the Princess of Kenya, an X-Man. I have survived the loss of both my parents, the loss of my powers, and the loss of dear friends like Jean and Kitty. I've fought all types of evil known to man and mutants alike, and have survived those as well. How is it then, that I can't seem to survive two weeks without my husband?" Ororo smiled and shook herself out of her fog as she neared the embassy and wondered if T'Challa felt the same.

Part 2

Wakandan Embassy, San Francisco

Ororo entered the master suite of the Wakandan Embassy. The room was large and extravagant. She still couldn't get use to such luxury or take for granted such conveniences. She had known so much poverty as a youth, and made it her mission, as Queen of Wakanda, to do everything in her power to aid and protect all children from the hardships of poverty and its by-products – poor healthcare and education. She knew she'd been fortunate and wished to be an advocate for those whose voices have been drowned out and ignored for far too long. She could be the voice for the voiceless and empower them, the same way Professor X had helped to empower her, so many years ago. But right now, all Ororo could think about was a warm bubble bath, and the relief such a bath would bring to her tired muscles. Yes, she deserved to pamper her body after abusing it so, these last few days. Ororo slipped out of her clothing and pulled on a black silk robe.

She loved the feel of the robe against her body. It made her think back to when T'Challa first gave her the item as a pre-wedding gift. Of all his pre-wedding gifts, the robe was the only item appropriate enough to bring on this trip. She smiled to herself thinking about the other "gifts," which seemed to be more a gift to him than to her. Although the gift he bestowed on her after she wore one of the more revealing items made her not so judgmental at his choice of presents.

As she started to run the water for her bath, she heard footsteps in the outer room. Ororo knew none of the embassy workers would enter her quarters unannounced, or without knocking. She tensed as the footsteps got closer and closer to the bedroom door.

Ororo's pupils turned white, electricity formed at the tip of her fingers, as she prepared to defend herself against the advancing intruder. As the intruder reached the bedroom door, Ororo lifted herself towards the faulted ceiling, to get the drop on her unannounced visitor, and cursed herself for having not turned the light on in the room when she first entered.

The door creaked open, and a large figure entered the room. The intruder looked around and heard the water running in the bath tub, and followed the sound. Ororo waited impatiently for the intruder to return to her sight of view, so she could get a good look before attacking. Her heart pounded faster as adrenalin surged through her veins.

After having turned off the water, the intruder started to walk out of the bathroom, but stopped. Ororo knew this was her moment to strike. She started to focus a bolt of lightning in her right hand when a familiar voice said, "I didn't fly half way around the world to be struck by a bolt of lightning from the very woman I came to see." T'Challa looked up and right at a stunned Ororo still holding the now dwindling lightning in her hand.

"How did you know where I was?" Ororo asked, as she floated down and next to her husband.

T'Challa smiled at his wife knowingly, and said "I can smell your fragrance a mile away, as well as hear the pounding of your heart. I was wondering how long you were going to hover above before you realized it was me. Who else, but your husband, would dare enter the queen's bed chamber unannounced? " T'Challa said with a sly grin.

He knew his words were having the desired effect on his wife, who was both surprised and relieved to know T'Challa was the mystery guest. In the back of his mind, T'Challa hoped Ororo wouldn't mind his last minute visit. He always sought to give her space whenever she wanted to visit her family, or was needed by the X-Men. He loved the independent Storm and never wanted to smother her with the demands of being a queen and wife. He took a chance today, letting his heart lead where normally his mind would.

Ororo couldn't believe T'Challa had come to San Francisco for no other reason than to see her. He never engaged in such impulsive acts. Had they not just spoken last night? He made no mention of business in California. Ororo knew the only Wakandan business in San Francisco was her, and his gesture of love simply melted her heart.

T'Challa didn't have to wait long to find out Ororo's reaction to his visit. As he nervously waited for her response to his uncharacteristic action, his wife closed the few feet between them, put her arms around his neck, leaned in, and kissed him on the lips. The kiss was soft and sweet at first; then as she pulled her husband's body even closer to her own, she deepened the kiss, releasing some of the passion that had been building in her body since she arrived in San Francisco.

T'Challa felt his wife's warm voluptuous breast against his chest, and thanked the Panther God he decided not to wear his panther habit today. T'Challa's heightened senses took in all of his wife- the intoxicating scent of the lavender oil she liked to wear on her skin and in her hair, the beating of her heart against his muscled chest, the feel of her smooth skin against his calloused hands, and the oh so succulent taste of her lips against his. She slipped her tongue in his mouth and all conscious thought he had simply evaporated, and his desire to be with his wife started to boil inside of him. T'Challa opened his mouth to his wife, allowing her full access. He felt his own heart starting to beat uncontrollably, as he felt Ororo pull his shirt from his pants, and slip her hands underneath and onto his back and shoulders.

She loved the way his body felt against her. He was so strong and well defined. His entire body was like a thoroughbred horse, strong and sleek, in all the right places. But he was also very gentle, goddess was he gentle, Ororo thought, and a deep moan came from the back of her throat-"Mmmmm."

T'Challa slipped his right hand under Ororo's robe, and had begun a torturous ascent up her leg to her thigh, which he gently massaged in just the right spot. Although, the way Ororo was feeling at this moment, any spot on her body was the right spot. T'Challa continued to caress his wife's thigh, fighting the urge to rip the robe off of her and make love to her on the floor, on top of the piano, or in the bath tub, for that matter. Get it together, T'Challa, he chided, you don't want her to think that this is the only reason you came to see her.

Ororo pulled at T'Challa's shirt buttons impatiently, almost tearing the shirt in an attempt to get it off of him, as soon as possible. She felt herself slowly but surely losing control, steadily going over the edge with each kiss, caress, nibble, and moan. She needed to feel his skin against hers, and wondered if he would mind forgoing their usual foreplay. Goddess what would he think of me, if he knew how much I lusted for him the past two weeks? she pondered. He was going so slow, too damn slow. Normally she liked the time he would take with her, paying special attention to all parts of her body. But today she wanted, no needed, him now. At that moment, they pulled out of their kiss, looked into each other's eyes, and knew all they'd been feeling and wanting, for the last two weeks, were mirrored in their spouse's eyes. Yes, T'Challa missed Ororo, and she missed him equally and as passionately.

And as if lightning had struck both of them, Ororo pulled T'Challa's pants and shirt off, and T'Challa pushed his wife against the bedroom door, a little rougher than he intended, but she didn't seem to mind. He briefly thought she may have even liked it. He slipped the knot from her robe, revealing his wife's beautiful, brown mocha skin. He looked over his wife's body with greedy eyes and said, his voice full of desire and lust, "You're the most beautiful and sexy woman I've ever seen."

In response, his wife took his mouth in hers again, and lavished him with passionate kisses, deep and long kisses that would've overwhelmed a weaker man. T'Challa proceeded to slide both hands up Ororo's body to her firm breasts, and began to vigorously, but gently massage them. With his hands kneading her breasts and fingers squeezing ever so softly across her nipples, Ororo seductively breathed the words, "Goddess, I've missed you."

Spurred on by his wife's declaration, T'Challa, slid down her body to her left breast which he quickly took in his mouth. No matter how hard he tried to gorge himself with the entire breast, Panther God help him, there was so much left over to touch and adore. T'Challa continued down Ororo's hungry body until he was on his knees, facing her womanhood. He touched her first with his hand and felt her body quiver. He inserted one finger into her and looked up to see her face. Her eyes were closed, body tense with anticipation.

He inserted yet another finger and another, and began his trek in and out of her body, paying particular attention to the bud growing before him. Ororo bit her lower lip, willing herself not to scream in absolute ecstasy. How could he make her feel so utterly helpless and weak with his mere fingers, Ororo, contemplated when she suddenly felt his tongue touch her most intimate area. As he tasted her over and over, she could be quiet no longer. Ororo screamed "Oh god, oh my god T'Challa, that feels sooooo good," and was suddenly thankful her husband had the foresight to sound proof the room. Although, she doubted this was the reason he had in mind.

Ororo looked down at her husband and said in a voice so low and filled with passion that only the ears of the Black Panther could detect, "I need you now, sweetheart."

T'Challa stood, and in a husky voice said "Thank god, I don't think I could hold out any longer my beloved." With that, T'Challa lifted his wife, pulled her legs around his waist, and braced her against the door for support. T'Challa almost screamed himself when he entered his wife for the first time, after a two week separation. She was so soft and wet inside and he filled her completely.

As he moved inside of his wife Ororo held on tightly to her husband's shoulders unwilling to allow the slightest bit of space between the two of them. Goddess this was her dream, but it wasn't. She knew at the end of this dream, she wouldn't awake needy and unfilled, for T'Challa was a perfectionist, and like a great artist, would never be satisfied until he created a masterpiece. And today, Ororo, was that masterpiece, waiting to be completed. And by god she was and it was beautiful. In the end the artist and the masterpiece finally found peace and sleep in each other's arms.

Part 3

Wakandan Embassy, San Francisco

T'Challa slowly awoke from his much needed slumber, to find his wife next to him still asleep. T'Challa enjoyed moments like this, when he could simply watch her sleep, knowing she was safe because he was there to protect her. A bit old fashioned, he knew, but true, nonetheless.

He snuggled in closer to Ororo, placing a gentle kiss on her shoulder then another and another, until she opened her eyes. Ororo smiled at her husband, realizing this was not another cruel dream; he was actually there with her.

T'Challa leaned in for another kiss, but this time, he took possession of her neck and ever so methodically licked his way from her collarbone, up her neck, to her earlobe, ending at her jaw line. Ororo wiggled under his wet caresses and found herself starting to massage his back. She sent small electrical currents down his back to his legs. T'Challa felt the small surge of energy flowing through his body, and he closed his eyes to receive his wife's gift.

To explain it simply, she could bring him to orgasm without the normal physical release. He jerked at the sensation moving throughout his body. Ororo loved she could do this to and for him. Before marrying T'Challa, she never thought of using her powers in such a fashion, but he trusted her, which made it easier for them to experiment and explore each others' centers of pleasure. He brought out a more adventurous side of her, one meant for him and him alone.

Ororo smiled up at T'Challa and said, "I still need to take that bubble bath."

"May I join you?" asked T'Challa.

"Not unless you want to spend the entire evening in bed. We have already slept the day away."

T'Challa had no problem spending his entire trip naked in bed with his wife, but he could tell, from her playful tone, she had something else up her sleeve. "What did you have in mind dear?" he asked.

"Dinner and dancing," piped Ororo from the bathroom.

That actually sounds like a good idea, thought T'Challa. "Do you have a place in mind?" he said, over the running water.

"Yes, Logan found a little jazz club an hour drive from here."

T'Challa's eyebrows rose, questioning whether he would ever go to a place Wolverine liked. Before he could finish his thought, Ororo yelled from the bathroom, "I Googled the place; it looks pretty good and have received rave reviews." That was all he needed to hear; he was on board.

Savanna Jazz Club and Restaurant, San Francisco

Ororo sat waiting at her table for T'Challa to return from the car. They had just finished eating dinner when W'Kabi called with an emergency. T'Challa decided to take the call in the privacy of their limousine. It had been 20 minutes already, and Ororo was starting to worry. Just as she was about to get up to check on her husband, an attractive man walked over and sat down across from her.

"You look lonely sitting here all by yourself. And being the gentlemen that I am, I thought I would come over and keep you company," the stranger said in a deep, but nervous tone.

Ororo almost laughed aloud. That was the worst pick up line she'd heard in a very long time. The man continued. "You're truly the most beautiful woman in this place, and your unique features would drive any man wild." Again, Ororo suppressed a laugh. She could hardly contain herself and groped for the right gentle words to let the poor man know she appreciated the sentiment, but wasn't interested.

Before she could fully formulate her words, she saw T'Challa coming towards her, looking none too happy that some other man had taken his seat, across from his wife. The man felt T'Challa towering over him and gulped as he looked up to find a 6 ft 2, 200 plus man, staring down at him with a clenched jaw.

T'Challa had no intention of attacking the man who sat before him, not simply because it was unwarranted and would have been an unfair fight, but because he couldn't really blame the guy for trying. He would've done the same thing if he'd seen Ororo sitting by herself for so long. But still, the thought of another man admiring his wife made his blood boil. T'Challa wasn't a jealous man by nature, but he even had to admit that having a wife as intelligent and alluring as Ororo tested his resolve every time he saw a man take a second look, or a much too long first look. He knew that look, one of desire and longing.

"I believe you've mistaken this chair for one that's unoccupied," T'Challa stated angrily, as he pulled the chair from under the man. Catching himself on the table, the man stood, started to speak but thought better of it, and simply walked away.

"That wasn't very nice," chided Ororo. "He was perfectly pleasant, and didn't know I was with someone. I was about to tell him when you walked in. You know T'Challa," Ororo said leaning in, "I'm perfectly capable of dispatching unwanted men from my midst without hurting their pride."

"You are, are you? And how did you become so proficient at this?" T'Challa asked accusingly.

Ororo soon regretted her words, realizing as secure as T'Challa was, he wasn't ready to have a conversation with her about other men who've taken an interest in her. Knowing this conversation could only go south, Ororo, pulled T'Challa onto the dance floor, and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close.

After a few moments of his wife pressed up against him, swaying to the music, T'Challa forgot all what was bothering him, and started to enjoy the soft rhythm his body was making with his wife. They hadn't danced like this in so long, and it felt wonderful.

T'Challa was so engrossed in the beat of the music, and the feel of his wife, he hadn't noticed a man staring at them, or that same man walking towards them. The man bumped into T'Challa taking him out of his haze. "I apologize," the man said. "I should pay more attention to where I'm walking."

As if experiencing a great realization, the man said, "I know you," pointing to T'Challa. "We met in a similar club in New York when you proposed to that pretty little singer. What was her name again?" The man feigned ignorance. "Oh right, Monica something or another. Sorry about her turning you down and all, but it seems you made out all right," he said, winking at Ororo.

"Yeah, you definitely made out quite nicely." Still looking at Ororo, he licked his lips with this last statement. "Anyway, good to see you, my man." And with that, he walked away with a devilish smirk on his face, taking with him Ororo's heart.

At that moment, T'Challa could've killed that man with his bare hands. He'd left himself open to a heart wrenching attack. No contingency plan, nothing, just sweet revenge on the part of a small, insignificant man who T'Challa had to put in his place after he witnessed him slap his girlfriend. That was the night he and Luke Cage became friends, and the night he stopped denying Ororo was his soul mate.

She looked into his eyes and knew the words the stranger spoke were true, and with that realization, Ororo ran from the club. T'Challa was fast on her heels, catching her by the arm before she could take flight.

"Wait, please let me explain" T'Challa pleaded.

"Can you tell me you didn't ask Monica Lynn to marry you?"

"No but—

"Can you tell me you didn't ask me to marry you only after she turned you down?" Ororo asked, cutting him off mid-sentence.

He sighed and shook his head in seeming defeat. Another weak "no" was wrenched from his lips.

"Then, what is left for you to explain?" She yanked her arm away from him and took to the sky, not knowing where she was going only she needed to get as far away from her husband, as possible.

T'Challa looked up to see his future flying away as rain started to fall. At that moment, his heart sank. How could he ever forgive himself for making his wife cry?

Part 4

San Francisco

T'Challa walked the streets of San Francisco aimlessly for two hours before he finally decided to catch a cab back to the embassy. He anxiously climbed the stairs to the master suite hoping that she would be there but when he opened the door all hope vanished. He couldn't hear or smell her presence. He could tell that no one had been in the suite since they left for the club over four hours ago. He wondered where she could be what she was doing if she was alright. He knew that her ability to fly could allow her to travel wherever she wanted in only a short period of time.

T'Challa sighed knowing that his wife could be anywhere in the world by now carrying with her the erroneous thought that she was second best to Monica Lynn in his heart. T'Challa cursed himself for having not told Ororo the truth immediately and on his own terms. She should not have had to find out about Monica the way she did. He could see the embarrassment and hurt in her eyes as the man spoke the truth to her; no matter the motive. As much as T'Challa wanted to blame someone or to hit something he knew the blame rested squarely on his shoulders.

T'Challa stumbled into bed wanting to call her again. He had been calling her cell phone for the last hour and a half and Ororo hadn't answered or returned any of his calls. He didn't know if something had happened to her or whether she was simply unwilling to speak with him. His mind started to conjure up all sorts of horrific scenarios in which Ororo was in danger and he was unable to help her. The images of his enemies hurting her flooded his normally logical mind and he sat up in a fright sweating heavily his heart racing with the thought of losing his beloved. Just as he was about to call her again the bedroom phone rang.

T'Challa leapt to the other side of the bed thinking that it was Ororo on the other end. He answered the phone with such great anticipation. "Hello beloved thank god you called I've been worried sick about you" T'Challa stated quickly before giving the person on the other side an opportunity to speak. "No T'Challa, this is mother not Ororo." Disappointment flooded through him as he sat back on the bed. "What is the matter son where is your wife? " A solemn "I don't know" was his only reply. "Did you two quarrel? I'm sure whatever the disagreement you two will work it out very soon." Still T'Challa said nothing. Ramona started to worry and asked ever so gently

"Do you wish to unburden your soul to an old woman son?" With her tender prodding T'Challa eventually relayed the night's sad events and waited for his mother's reply. "Son when I told you to seek out a wife I assumed you would follow your heart, find and mend ways with Ororo and bring her home. Why did you seek out another?"

With shame in his heart T'Challa uttered one word-"fear." She understood instantly and asked for no further explanation. She did however offer this advice. "When Ororo returns to you and she will return be ever so humble son and speak from the heart. Between a husband and wife there is no room for the pride of a king or the bravado of a Black Panther only the beating heart of truth and love of a man for his woman." With this sage advice Ramona said a prayer for her children and bid her son a good night.

New York

After fleeing from the pain that T'Challa had asked another woman to marry him only a few weeks before proposing to her Ororo flew and flew with no conscious thought to a destination. She was being pulled and couldn't resist the route that her unconscious mind took her. She eventually found herself outside of a door. Her hand seemed to have a mind of its own as it knocked once then twice before the occupant opened the door. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity before the woman stepped aside and waved Ororo into her dressing room. Monica Lynn was as surprised to see Ororo before her and Ororo was equally as surprised to realize that she had flown the distance of the country in a mere hour to come face to face with her husband's former girlfriend. Ororo felt immediately uncomfortable and embarrassed and started for the door having never said a word.

"Don't go. Please sit." Monica Lynn found herself uttering these words surprised at even her own gesture. Ororo turned around and graciously took the offer. They both sat there in complete silence for several minutes before Monica Lynn finally said "He told you about the proposal."

"He didn't tell me but I now know the truth" Ororo stated sadly.

"If you know the truth then why are you here?" asked Monica Lynn.

"I don't know? I was hoping…" Ororo trailed off not really knowing fully why she had come.

Monica Lynn could see the hurt and confusion in Ororo's eyes and wanted to reach out to her in some way. "He didn't mean it you know." Ororo looked up not understanding Monica's words. She started again. "He did ask me first that part is true and I turned him down that part is also true but his heart and eyes betrayed his words. The proposal was empty devoid of passion and depth of feeling. It was almost obligatory."

Now Ororo could see the hurt in Monica's eyes. "I can say now that T'Challa came here that night out of a type of love and that if I had said yes he would have married me but it would have been for the wrong reasons and we would have been miserable together. He would have stayed out of obligation and honor but no other reason. A wise woman knows when a man is in love with someone else but it is the honest woman who releases him to follow the calling of his heart. T'Challa was never mine and a part of me knew that the whole time we dated. It was you all the while even when he refused to admit it to himself. But at the end of the day we cannot run from ourselves."

" What did he say when he proposed to you Ororo?" Ororo inhaled slowly before answering. "Yesterday's sorrows are nothing compared to tomorrow's joy. We have a lifetime of love ahead of us. "

With those simple words, Monica's heart sank just a bit with a tinge of envy and regret but she continued. "He loves you Ororo. He loves you so much that he was willing to forego his own happiness by marrying me just to spare you the pain of conjuring up memories of his leaving you alone when you two were mere teenagers. I don't think he has ever truly forgiven himself." Ororo's eyes were now filled with unshed tears. "And you obviously love him very deeply or you wouldn't be here."

Ororo nodded and took both of Monica Lynn's hands in hers. "Thank you. I know this wasn't easy for you but I appreciate your sincerity. T'Challa is fortunate to have such a friend in you" Ororo stated with a smile. Monica smiled back knowing that while it had hurt her she knew that T'Challa had chosen wisely and would be much happier with Ororo.

Wakandan Embassy, San Francisco

T'Challa felt a warm breeze enter the room and didn't have to open his eyes to know that his wife had just entered the bedroom from the balcony. He had left the door ajar knowing that if Ororo returned she was much too considerate to wake one of the embassy workers by ringing the bell for admittance at such a late hour. Relief swept over him with the knowledge that she was safe and that she had returned to him. But he calmed his enthusiasm at the sight of her knowing that she needed and deserved answers that only he could provide. Ororo watched as her husband sat up in bed eyes fixed on hers obvious worry shining through.

Time seemed to stand still as they both looked at each other without moving or uttering a word. T'Challa finally took the initiative, stood, walked over to his wife and pulled her into a loving embrace. He almost expected her to pull away from him the same way she did outside of the jazz club but to his surprise and relief she allowed the hug. She didn't reciprocate but she didn't turn him away either-that was something thought T'Challa. He took his wife's hands and escorted her to the chair in the corner of the room and gestured for her to sit. Again she allowed this but still hadn't said a word.

Remembering his mother's advice, T'Challa knelt before his wife and started to speak. "I was afraid." His words were so low and timid Ororo barely heard him. He spoke again this time a bit louder with more resolution in his voice. "I was afraid but a king and Black Panther can never show or admit to fear. But fear and regret griped me all the same. I felt weak and lost the same way I did when I left you on that hot summer day when I was just a boy on my way to manhood."

He shifted on the floor uncomfortably not from any physical discomfort Ororo knew but from the opening of a part of him that most men of his stature lock away without a second thought. She remained quiet allowing T'Challa to set the pace.

He continued. "I'm sorry for leaving you alone without an adequate explanation. I've regretted that decision for so long Ororo. I know that I hurt you and that you had given me your trust, love, and body and I turned my back on all of it for a son's revenge. As much as I regret that decision I also know that if I hadn't worked so hard to fill my father's shoes that I wouldn't be the man I am today. I've tried to reconcile the two in my head and in my heart over so many years that I almost gave up until Monica reminded me what I would be truly giving up if I didn't at least come to terms with my fear. My fear of rejection, my fear of hurting you again took me temporarily down the wrong path but I was fortunate to be steered back on the right one-the one that led me to you."

He now looked into her eyes hoping she understood his words. Still she said nothing. He put his head on her lap and his arms around her waist. "I love you Ororo Munroe from the first time I saw you as a young girl and even more today as a woman, my wife. We will have children someday and we can tell them of their parents' first real marital misunderstanding and how our love and trust for each other saw us through the fog of insecurity and doubt. We will also explain to them that there is no weakness in humility and that pride can be both a vice and a virtue."

As T'Challa spoke Ororo unconsciously stroked his crown which sent a shiver down her husband's back. He finally lifted his head to look into his wife's eyes yet again only to see her quietly sobbing. He lightly brushed away her tears and whispered in an almost desperate tone "Please forgive me."

Ororo finally spoke but not with words. She tenderly cupped her husband's face in her hands, leaned in ever so slightly and kissed his left cheek then his right and finally his lips. By the time she reached his lips T'Challa was a quivering mess, virtually putty in his wife's hands. As Ororo kissed her husband ever so sensuously he could feel her forgiveness in every suck and bite she bestowed on him.

Ororo now knew that it was all a misunderstanding at least in part. Yes T'Challa had asked another woman to marry him first but Ororo knew without a doubt that she is second to no woman in her husband's heart. She had always been there and always would as he had been in hers and lest she forget she was also ready to marry another while ignoring the true calling of her heart.

No words were needed as the loving couple settled on the floor to express themselves in the most ancient of ways. They took each other to heights no words could ever truly capture, and fell back to earth in a deep slumber that not even the god Heru could awake them from.