An Intricate Web; a History of Soul Mates – by Darlin
Disclaimer – I make nary a penny from this endeavor and do not own any Marvel characters.
Summary – This is just a collection of short pieces that I wrote a few years ago to accompany my story Soul Mates, almost a sequel if you will. It looks into how Ororo and Logan felt during some of the more traumatic situations in their lives when they were still irrevocably drawn to each other and yet still adamantly denying it.
A/N – This takes place after Soul Mates. I always like the idea that there was something between Ororo and Logan in the very beginning, something they couldn't deny and yet deny they did. In my world they're soul mates and what happened in that story and afterwards all works with the Marvel history of the X-Men. This is a brief interpretation of how they felt during the years after they made love. If you've read that story you'll know what I mean. It's not necessary to read that by any means but it may make things clearer if you do.
Chapter One – Storm and Wolverine; Reluctant Soul Mates
Ororo Munroe both hated and loved her teammate Wolverine. She hated herself for her weakness. None would have thought Storm of the X-Men weak, not even the Wolverine for all his talk.
They were strangers thrust together with no preconceived expectations and no time to know each other better. People's lives were at stake. But after they'd saved the original X-Men there were so many new people to get to know it was overwhelming. Everyone but a few appeared to be nice for the most part. John was trying too hard but the Wolverine was too full of himself almost swaggering with overconfidence. And he was crass and annoying. She thought it best to ignore him.
Wolverine thought Ororo whom he only thought of as Storm belonged in a Playboy magazine spread. He resented a half naked woman playing at superhero with them when he felt she should be in bed, his in particular, doing what a woman was meant for. He resented feeling anything at all for her.
No one expected to be fast friends but they were willing to work at becoming a team. Most of them. The original members of the X-Men decided to leave, all but Scott. That made things a little easier but John and Wolverine continued rubbing everyone the wrong way. And then John died. A heroic death but an act that gave them all pause. This wasn't a game. Others could follow John in death. But none of them chose to back out. Pride, the desire to make the world a better place, redemption – whatever reason they each held on to they stayed.
And they began to bond. Most. Ororo was tired of Wolverine's attitude. She was tired of him treating her as if she were incompetent and nothing but a useless woman who was only in the way. Her other teammates treated her with nothing but respect but respect seemed to be a word the Wolverine had never learned the meaning of. He was rude, uncooperative and angry most of the time when he spoke to her. And the way he looked at her when he spoke, she hated that more than anything. But she put up with it.
She put up with it because it was partly her fault. It was simply the way their relationship had evolved and she couldn't bring herself to change it. He called her dame, lady, broad and whatever else he thought might annoy her for she was aware he did it intentionally, and she suffered quietly. Whether she deemed it punishment or her just due she took it. That is, until he turned his anger and contempt towards the others. There was no reason to take his anger out on them.
It came easy to her, putting him in his place with a sharp word. And much to everyone else's surprise he backed off bearing her chastisement in silence. Had anyone thought about this they might have come to the conclusion that the Wolverine accepted Ororo's harsh reprimands almost as if he felt he deserved them. But no one gave Wolverine much thought, certainly not back then.
Ororo tried very hard not to think about him. She hated to admit that it was because of her that he was so angry half the time, because of what she'd done to him or what they'd done to each other. It was easier to believe that their silent agreement to say nothing of their tryst in the woods would make it seem as if it had never happened.
Lovemaking was not so easily forgotten however. What she'd felt despite her insistent denial was more powerful than she could have ever guessed. She didn't know how one could let something so life shattering go without feeling empty or bitter inside. She herself felt as if all emotion had been hollowed out of her soul but she couldn't and would not commit to the unknown. A life with Wolverine when she didn't even know his real name was not an option.
"What if I want more?" he'd asked.
She wasn't ready to give more. She'd not been able to reconcile the need she'd had for him, it was too over powering, too primeval. But sometimes when she thought back on that moment she wished she'd at least tried.
If not for his simple heartfelt question she would have thought she'd misjudged Wolverine, believed he'd felt nothing but animalistic lust. Those words haunted her. She often thought he felt as lost as she in their mutual attempt to forget what had clearly shaken them both. If he did then she could understood why he treated her so horribly. She could also understand why it was that when she'd had enough of his attitude he would say nothing when she put him in his place.
She wouldn't pretend he held his tongue because he cared for her. No, she felt his silence was a rebuke as he watched at her with accusing eyes. It was what she deserved for being too much of a coward not daring to see if what they had shared so fleetingly yet so full of power could possibly be more. And so how could she fault him for his attitude even as much as it bothered her?
She would never forget what had happened between them. That day, the long night, rapture beyond belief, and then awakening in momentary confusion, his warm body beside her both completely naked. She hated to think back but the memory refused to fade and was as persistent as the hard twig digging into her back when she woke the morning after.
She'd fumbled beneath her, retrieved the twig still confused. She was outside but why? She'd looked upwards. The sun had not yet risen and the sky was still dark and lifeless. And then she'd remembered.
The memory couldn't be real. She and Logan making love there in the grass without thought or reason. Her heart beat erratically when she felt him stir. The warmth of his body burned into hers as he intertwined a leg with hers.
He was stretching his arms lazily above his head while he watched her. The twig, forgotten, dropped from her hand. She remembered all then. They'd made love again and again before finally falling asleep. His dark eyes were on her. She felt them piercing through her soul and everything within her wanted to turn to this man and let him take her again – not only her body but everything that was her, her very being.
There was no way she could deny what her heart and soul bade her and as if he knew her need they made love again. Afterwards in sheer contentment they watched the sun rise. All was right until he spoke of more and she'd been inundated by memories. She saw Jean, her best friend; their bond, their trust and reality swept away all her heart's desires. He didn't love her but seemed to have feelings for Jean, why lie to herself? And the others, what would they think? If only he hadn't spoken. She did want more but how? The conflicting emotions terrified her. There could be nothing between them, not yet – if ever.
He saw the confusion on her face and would have laughed and drawn her to him yet again but he was being buffeted by winds. He needed no other warning to tell him she was leaving. She tried to smile but he could see the warring emotions playing over her face and when the winds took her aloft he knew he'd made a mistake, worse than any he'd ever made before. She was gone and as much as he tried to deny it part of him went with her. But he told himself it was only true if he let it be and so he determined from that moment on never to think about what had happened between them and most especially not the look of stark terror on her face as she rose into the sky. And for a very long time afterwards he would treat her with disdain and disregard and, his deep resentment too much to fully ignore, she would say nothing for what could she say when she was the cause?
One day very unexpectedly he Wolverine softened. Everyone was in high spirits despite the events that had happened in Antarctica and the Savage Land. Now in Japan they would soon be on their way back home to the States. There were no more savages in a prehistoric land that should not be in the midst of the Antarctica and no more evil doer's only peace. Ororo Munroe looked around at her team mates, fast becoming more than just that, pleased to be with them. Even Scott who had been cold and unfeeling even before Jean's death was smiling as he talked to Shiro. Only Logan wasn't there she noticed. Was he outside?
It was beautiful there, the gardens were lovely and she could see him finding peace in some secluded spot for she too had sought sanctuary in one garden not too far from her room. Moving towards a window that looked out into the largest garden she spotted his short muscular body and a smile came unbidden to her lips, a smile that quickly fled. He wasn't alone. A lovely Japanese woman was with him. Ororo caught her breath as an unexpected surge of pain shot through her. He was standing so close to the woman, leaning into her as if . . . No, she was mistaken – surely! The Wolverine wasn't the type to be demonstrative. She laughed to herself trying to make light of her assumption. Her eyes followed them as they walked slowly along the pebbled path barely speaking. She saw the truth but refused to admit it. And then all hell broke out for their life was never uneventful and they must subdue the latest evil that seemed to be unrelenting.
She would remember later how devastated she'd felt when she'd seen him with Lady Mariko. She could remember a time when he had wanted no one but her but that was all a lie she'd invented to explain how easily she'd submitted to him. After that day she'd never let herself remember the passion and fulfillment she'd shared with him. Lies, she told herself knowing he had never loved her. His behavior afterwards had proven that, always callous, always so rude with her and sometimes even with Jean. Lies, what they'd had that one moment in time, nothing but lies.
But whether she believed that to be true or simply told herself this in order to survive she never allowed herself to dwell on it. The horrible reality was that something unexplainable had happened to them. Somehow he had become a part of her. He was in her heart whether she liked it or not. Some deep bond within her soul had taken place however ludicrous it seemed and so when she saw him with Mariko her soul was nearly as shattered as her heart.
The kimonos that they were given to choose from were so beautifully exquisite Ororo could barely select one. They were so soft against her bare skin and she closed her eyes feeling as if she'd somehow slipped unobserved into Heaven. The fabric, no matter what a pleasure to behold and to touch, gave only fleeting joy. He was to be married. She had known this was coming, had felt it when she'd first seen how he'd looked at the petite Lady Mariko. She had hoped somehow to be happy for him but she wasn't.
And then she'd met Yukio. Something about the carefree woman had called to her, not unlike what had happened between Logan and her. She didn't even know the woman and yet she felt as if she had known her all her life. The wildness within Yukio was infectious calling to her so that she could not resist no matter how hard she tried. And only this new friendship had saved Ororo for what do you do when the man you love is to marry another?
Hurt and afraid she stopped pretending and gave into her emotions if not inwardly then outwardly. She cut her hair. Kitty hated it. She however loved it. The ease of washing and combing it was surprising. She'd never considered the amount of time spent on washing and drying the long locks and now the time was cut tenfold – cutting her hair had been a small deed but it announced in no uncertain terms her desire to control her life, to have the freedom to be whom she was without regrets, without worries of what her friends would think, of what anyone would think. She felt renewed.
Yukio was refreshing. The woman was exuberance personified. Her devil may care attitude was contagious. That she'd slept with Logan too had only drawn them closer, a secret she could share with no one else. Yukio understood the pull Logan had on a woman. She admired Ororo, her skill, her power, her beauty and she was proud to take Ororo under her wing, proud to have made a friend of the Wind-rider. They became closer than sisters even in such a short span of time. Some mystical bond was shared, whether through their mutual love of Logan or some other unexplainable means neither could explain. They would always be close.
And revaluating her life she'd forsaken the revealing uniform that Xavier had given her for more appropriate battle attire for she knew that was all her life would be now. Like Yukio battle, even the thrill of it, would sustain her. There would be no man to love and grow old with, no hope of children and a home. No. Her life, her soul would be as wild as Yukio – her sister in heart – and she would forget all past longings and all the pain it had brought and she would laugh in the face of danger.
He didn't know what to think when he first saw Ororo, her hair cut in a high flowing Mohawk. His mouth had dropped in shock but what could he say? Kitty hated it and he didn't blame her. Why had she done it? But Mariko was full of compliments and he'd not been able to refrain from smiling. Mariko who was too sweet and too good for him and she loved his friends, even Ororo whom she couldn't know, mustn't know what had happened between them and how he felt still about her.
Mariko was the complete opposite of Ororo despite their similarities. She was intelligent and beautiful like Ororo but she had simple ways that he relished and she was safe. He loved her, loved everything about her. In fact, he was so infatuated he could think of nothing but Mariko. Jean and Ororo with her weird hair – both were forgotten. Mariko was all that mattered. He was determined it would be that way for the rest of his life even if he had to will it so each and every day.
But late at night caught in between wakefulness and dreaming he sometimes remembered. He remembered rain and lust – because he would called it nothing else what he'd felt for the white haired goddess. He remembered the taste of her, the feel of her, holding each other, bound together, utterly consumed. But when he woke he'd pull thoughts of Mariko to him and feel renewed and he, with genuine pleasure, anticipated the quiet life they would live as one. He'd no longer be the man he was, a fighter, a killer, a man without his soul mate. He'd be the man Mariko thought he was and he'd be that because he'd make himself into that man. He'd never let her down. He loved her.
No one could have suspected the wedding would never come to be. To her shame Ororo's heart had leapt with momentary elation but one glance at Logan, stark agony etched on his face, brought her pain such as she'd never felt before. She loved him in secret and had dreaded this day when he was to wed another but how she wished to take his pain away. She wanted to go to him and comfort him but how could she? She could offer no solace. All she could do was ache inside for him. But Logan, who had thought for one brief second that his life was over when Mariko had refused him, moved on. Grim and solemn and determined to win her back he would prove he was worthy. She was his, she was his sanity, with her he was safe.
After Mariko died the weather, curiously, reflected his mood most days, as dark and dreary and sinister as he felt. It rained everyday for weeks or at least it seemed so to Logan. Inevitably rain would always make him think of Ororo bringing memories that had no place in his heart when he'd lost the woman he'd decided was to be his wife. But the rain comforted him in some way he couldn't acknowledge. He welcomed it all while hating it. The thoughts, the memories it brought he both loathed and treasured because they brought temporary relief from the pain of what had taken place between him and Mariko and yet they brought guilt for how could he have been with Mariko when she was still in his heart?
He longed to be removed from all the uncontrollable emotions inside him struggling to break free. With Mariko he had been. Safe. He'd loved her with a gentleness he'd never felt before and protectiveness. With Jean his love was unpredictable, volatile, striking when the mood pleased. With Ororo it was demanding, uncontrollable, primeval everything he fought against. He needed control in his life. He fought always not to unleash his emotions, to resort to the Berserker he once was. He'd never go back to that.
He would never go back to Ororo even though his heart beat faster at the thought of her and his loins burned upon sight of her. He resented her for what she made him feel. He couldn't help it. Love wasn't good if it was too much. He wanted something safe. Mariko was dead. Their love could have sustained them for a life time but he'd killed the only woman he would ever feel safe with. Who would think the Wolverine would need to feel safe?
He didn't know she felt as desolate as he. He didn't know that the heavens that pour down upon them those long weeks were her tears. But he felt her concern even accepted the inept attempts she made to console him. Neither knew it but because she was near he was able to move on, to finally let go.
They were even able to become friends, something he never would have thought possible in the early days. Maybe it was Kitty that brought them together inadvertently, drawing them closer as they shared a mutual love for the young girl. Whatever it was he was grateful for her friendship and he suspected she felt the same.
He regretted hitting her. He'd never struck her before and never would again. But the scent of Jean who had been dead for so long was so fresh, so true, as if she were alive still; somehow, miraculously and yet it was impossible! Jean who had a calming influence on the wild man that lurked beneath the surface, always on edge, always desiring to escape. Though Mariko's love had kept that side of him contained Jean's presence held some sway over him too as with Mariko he hoped to be the man they saw him as.
When Jean had died he'd felt her loss gravely. He'd mourned her briefly and then there was Mariko. But after a man kills the woman he loves how do you overcome that? How do you keep on living without hating yourself? Friendship helped. Ororo helped.
He would have followed her into the very gates of hell. Instead they were in the Australian Outback where they had continued to grow closer, closer than they'd ever been since that day in the rain when they'd given themselves to each other. He'd felt his guard slowly loosen and he didn't care. Out in the wilderness the world thought them dead, like Jean, and what might happen between them was of no consequence to anyone.
But she had been with another man and he thought she was with him still if not physically then spiritually – Forge.
It was thrilling to be wanted. She loved the looks he gave her, the sly smiles. Like school children they whispered together quietly giggling and plotting. He held her hand as if in awe of the privilege and gave her sweet kisses sparingly, almost chaste at first. Then when they became trapped by the Adversary a new world was theirs to explore and she had left him, to see what the world was like and to work out her feelings.
She loved Forge but he was the reason her powers were gone. And she loved another. In the new world she couldn't deny what she'd known all along. But she could accept that nothing would come of it and so when she returned to Forge she returned ready to offer him her heart. It was as if the fates were against them, her. Forge was lost to her and she to him. She and her team mates died to save the world. But an amazing thing happened to them. Roma, a goddess in her own right, brought them all back to life. And Ororo had chosen to make a new life without Forge or any old friends even Jean and Yukio who were as close to her as sisters.
Logan had followed her and so than had the others and she'd found contentment there in the wilderness. Something began to grow between her and Logan, slowly at first, almost unnoticeable and she had been happy. He'd flirted with her, testing the grounds trying not to take it too seriously. She'd been distant despite his efforts though he'd thought she was weakening and he was beginning to hope again for something more – until he'd caught Jean's scent.
The scent was shocking but infuriating. All this time and he still cared for her but it wasn't that he loved her still it was that the love had lessened, dulled to . . . to what? And Ororo was there in the flesh with him but not with him, being her usual unrelenting self and he'd lost control as only she could make him. If she didn't want him Jean did – might – could? He hated Ororo in that moment and he'd lashed out in anger, in confusion and inconsolable anguish. The Berserker within awaken again.
He'd tried to explain it to her later without confessing his lingering weakness for her and she'd said she understood. He'd seen the pain in her eyes that flickered in and out as she fought to control her emotions. He'd hated her then almost as much as he'd hated her when he'd struck her. She always fought for control just as he did never giving in to what she really wanted. Only once had she given in. One night ages ago that should have meant nothing but meant everything only why couldn't she admit it if he had come to accept it?
He hated her because he saw she would never give in and would never admit what he knew she felt, what they both knew was never going to fade or deaden like what they'd felt for others. What he and Ororo had experienced wasn't comparable in any way to what they'd shared with anyone else. He hated her because she told him to go to Jean, to find her, to straighten out his feelings. And then everything was ruined. Jean was back, Madeline was crazy, Ororo and everyone else were gone when he came back to the Outback nearly done for. If not for Jubilee he would be dead too.
But Ororo and the others weren't dead. Ororo returned as a child and with a strange man – Gambit who followed her around like a little lap dog. How he hated Gambit. Nothing could ever be the same with him there. He saw a bond had grown between Ororo and her new companion, so strong that he knew only death would sever it. He'd thought about bringing about Gambit's death, handing it to the boy on six shining silver claws but he'd barely been able to hold his own against the kid, his body still overloaded with all he'd gone through before and after Jubilee had found him and they'd found the others. It was more than embarrassing, not being able to kick the kid's butt and send him packing.
His only solace had been that Forge was forgotten and that perhaps with the transition from child to teenager to adult she'd forgotten that he'd struck her. And yet, if she'd forgotten that then had she forgotten what they'd shared?
Ororo had not forgotten what she'd shared with Forge. In time they became close again. She attempted to show him how much she cared but in the end she supposed she'd lied to herself and thus inadvertently lied to him. When he proposed marriage he didn't wait for her answer. She'd dreamt a foolish dream, childish, silly, completely absurd. There had never been a chance for them.
After Forge left her without a word her friends rallied around her. She appreciated their kind words full of sympathy and comfort but she longed to hide in her room away from them all, from everything. Was her life condemned to this nothingness? Never free to love truly, never free to move on? She hated tears, hated emotional nonsense and yet all she wanted to do was cry and beat her pillow viciously in place of the man who was the cause of her heartbreak.
The gut wrenching ache Logan felt hadn't been expected. That she was with another man had been a nuisance – okay it had hurt but there wasn't anything he could have done to prevent it and since there wasn't he had no right to interfere. She'd wished him well when he'd been set to marry so why couldn't he wish her well? He didn't. How could he? He didn't want her to leave the team. He didn't want her to be with someone – anyone, which of course meant he didn't want her to be happy. Knowing that, he tried to get his act together and had attempted to get to know Forge. He'd honestly tried. And he did like Forge well enough he just didn't want Forge to have Ororo.
When he'd heard Forge had proposed and then reneged he'd actually been angry. Angry wasn't even close to describing how he'd felt. Decapitation was the only thing on his mind at that point. He hadn't wanted her to be with Forge but he didn't want her hurt either and how could you not be hurt after being walked out on like that? He would've gone after him to – made Forge stand by his word – but he couldn't leave not when she was hurting. So he stayed close and waited.
Something in the air smelled wrong. Logan felt off, could sense something was wrong. It was only a matter of minutes before he realized it was Ororo. She hadn't come out of her room all day, not since Forge had left. She hadn't eaten anything not even when Jean took a tray up to her and from what Jean had told him she didn't want to see her or anyone – not yet. It didn't stop him from sneaking up to see her. He listened outside her door for a minute but heard nothing. She was probably sleeping and he started to leave but he remembered Mariko and how Ororo had sensed his pain and ignoring what had happened between them in the past had tried her best to help him. He knew he couldn't do less and so after a while he forced himself to knock.
"'Ro, you . . . you wanna talk?" he asked then immediately rolled his eyes at the stupidity of the question.
"Please go away."
He leaned against the door listening to faint movements inside. He didn't want to be there standing outside her room needing to see if she was okay. In fact, he didn't want to feel anything for her. He wished he could go as she asked and he would have too had it been anyone else but he owed Ororo. No, no it wasn't that he owed her. Some unconscious unacknowledged need within him needed her to be all right and he couldn't go until he knew she was.
"'Ro, darlin' . . ." he paused, tried the door and found the handle turned easily within his grip.
"What do you want?" she demanded. He saw her looking at him, her face, lit by moonlight from the skylight, as calm and serene as always.
"You okay?" he said his words out before he knew it.
"Why would I not be?" she asked as she sat up in her bed, refusing to acknowledge that there was any reason she shouldn't be.
"Well . . . uh . . . I . . ."
"What do you want, Logan?"
His lips parted ready to speak, his heart on his tongue but he quickly caught himself. What could he really say? Not the truth that her being in pain was hurting him more than he liked or that he'd kill Forge for her if she wanted him to. He wasn't going to tell her his deepest darkest fears and desires or that she was part of all that emotional baggage. No. His lips closed. His face screwed up in concentration, one eyebrow higher than the other as he looked at her through half closed eyes, one squinted tighter than the other as he tried to think of something he could say to help her.
"You always do that when you're nervous," she said.
She copied his movements though both eyebrows went up instead of one.
"What the hell? I don't do that! You look like Groucho Marx," he laughed.
"You always do," she said, again trying to imitate his nervous habit.
"You look ridiculous you know."
"So do you right now."
"I do not!"
They smiled at each other enjoying the easy going familiarity of each other. She didn't tell him that his nervous habit, though rare, was something he did when they were together, when he was trying to pretend there was nothing between them. But he had lightened her mood. She hadn't wanted to see him yet his presence was very much appreciated, even so she wished he'd go away, let her digest the pain so she could move on. She rolled over onto her side, her back turned to him hoping he'd see that and leave her alone.
Though he hadn't wanted to be there any more than she'd wanted him there when he sat beside her on the bed he was glad he was there. His hand reached for her, hovered over her body briefly and then sunk slowly. He stroked her back softly, the silky material of the camisole she wore enticing beneath his fingers.
"He made the biggest mistake of his life," he said realizing even as he spoke that he could just as easily be speaking of himself.
"It never would have worked," she murmured.
"He didn't know me."
"He didn't trust me."
"I would have left the X-Men for him."
Her admission stunned him. His stomach clenched sickly. He knew she cared about Forge but that she would have actually left the team for the man threw him. He'd always thought she was like him, no family, independent and constant that she didn't need the X-Men but they were family and she'd always be there. He didn't want to hear this. Even though he wanted to help her he didn't want her crying on his shoulder about another man.
"I couldn't love him," she whispered turning to him.
His chest rose and fell heavily as if he was conflicted but then he gathered her into his arms holding her close. Her words were a relief but he also felt an acute sadness. He couldn't give her what he felt she didn't want from him no matter how much he wanted to but from the bottom of his heart he wished he could. He loved her in a way he'd never loved another woman and his only solace was that he believed she knew this even if that was as far as it could go.
He wouldn't repeat the mistake he'd made years ago by mating with her like some ravenous lupine creature that had found his life mate. Those two words struck him hard. Life mate. Ororo was his. He squeezed her tightly then let her go standing abruptly. Looking at her his eyebrow twitched nervously, his eyes squinted slightly, the one more so than the other but when she grinned looking at him with wiggling eyebrows he caught himself. He grinned back and reached a hand out brushing her cheek lightly. He wanted to stay but couldn't, didn't dare. She wanted the same but knew better. It wasn't time for them. Not now, maybe never.
"You know . . ."
She waited but his words were lost somewhere within his heart.
"I know," she whispered, her heart brimming with all the grief but also comfort loving him had brought her.
One nod and then he was gone. She did know. They would never speak of it, this bond that held them prisoner but she knew he was there for her as she was for him and no matter what might happen between them they would always be there for each other in some capacity. Perhaps it hadn't been enough in the past or possibly not even in the future but it was enough for that moment.
By now he knew to expect anything no matter how crazy or bizarre. He'd planned for every scenario he could think of but Viper had outsmarted him. Choosing every woman still living that was close to him one time or another and using them against him had been wickedly smart but ultimately flawed. That she knew so much about him was what he hadn't planned for. The one secret he held tight within him though, she knew nothing of and for that he was grateful.
And now he was married to her, to Viper. It was with relief that he'd wed her. If that was all she'd been after all she'd had to do was ask but he knew Viper well enough to know that wasn't her way. Everything had to be done the hard way with her. Well, he'd given her his word and so he meant to keep it. It didn't matter that the woman he loved without rhyme or reason wasn't Viper. What mattered was that Viper didn't know there was a woman he loved to such an insurmountable degree. Ororo was his secret, one he would keep till the end of time.
Shut up inside his room he opened a desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of whiskey which he proceeded to down as if it were water. The smooth, strong liquid burned going down just the way he liked. When he'd consumed two thirds of the bottle he sat it down on the desktop. He felt as if his guts had been wrenched out and put through the wringer of an old fashioned washing machine. He felt trapped, almost ill. Placing both hands on the table he tried to catch his breath. Even with his hands splayed firmly over the smooth wood surface he saw they were shaking. He clenched and unclenched his hands repeatedly.
Another swig of whisky had him feeling worse when he should have been flying high. It least it did curb the shakes. Alcohol could get to him like anyone else at least temporarily though he needed considerably more thanks to his legendary healing factor. It was too bad his healing factor couldn't heal a wounded heart. Instead all he was assured of was that he'd live a long life full of memories of the woman he couldn't have and that there would be no liver damage.
A knock at the door drew his ire further. He was tired of everyone wanting a piece of him. He lifted the bottle to his mouth and drank the remaining liquid and ignored the intruder who kept knocking persistently. He wasn't in the mood to talk. He didn't care if it was Jubilee or Kitty or even Jean he just wanted to be left alone. The only one he wanted to see he wouldn't allow himself the luxury.
He grunted in response, his stomach lurching at the sound of her voice. What was she bothering him for? Didn't she have better things to do?
"May I come in?"
He cringed at the soft slightly deep voice that was still richly accented but he grunted again. The sudden light from the hallway made him blink his eyes though they quickly adjusted back to the darkness when she shut the door behind her. She was as beautiful as always even in the dim room. She looked like a vision, and he closed his eyes not wanting to see, hardly believing she was real.
"Whaddaya want?" he asked, his voice gruff and unwelcoming
"What's wrong old friend?"
Was she really asking him that, calling him that? He saw she was dead serious and had no choice but to laugh. He laughed so long and hard she smiled a little somewhat self consciously yet pleased to see he was in better spirits. Of course from the smell of the liquor coming off him and the empty bottle of whiskey sitting beside him she considered he could either be drunk or there was something very wrong with him.
"Well, I'm married," he told her, looking at her expectantly wanting to see her reaction.
"Don't it bother you any?"
She pressed her lips together tight and didn't answer.
"I mean come on it's Viper, 'Ro!"
"What you do on your own time is your business."
"You would say that."
"Then if you knew my answer why did you ask?" Ororo asked, her eyes blazing with sudden anger.
He pursed his lips and shook his head. She was as stubborn as he was.
"I ain't in the mood for this darlin'."
"It's obvious you were forced into the marriage, Logan," she said not backing down but instead coming closer. She stopped beside him and rested a hand on his shoulder.
He clutched the hand and held it for a short moment before he let it go.
"I understand," she whispered.
He nodded. That helped to some degree but he knew she couldn't really understand. At one time he'd been crazy over Jean and then he'd fallen hard for Mariko but all that time he'd been fighting some pull, some bond that had connected him to her. He'd wanted to laugh it off and forget that tug but every time since the first time he'd kissed her, not having the self discipline to resist her over the years, he'd been lost. He kept sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of something almost mystical between him and her.
He loved her. He knew it as a truth that could never be refuted or eradicated. But he seldom dwelled on this fact because what was the use? He wanted her – desperately, and he wanted her to want him just as much but she was always so aloof calling him old friend and even laughing after a passionate moment between them as if his kisses meant nothing to her. His hands itched to hold her, and shake her too, force her to admit she felt the same as he did.
"So. Where's the honeymoon going to be?" Ororo asked, too flippant.
Logan sprung from his chair and grabbed her.
"I was just joking!" Ororo gasped.
They were so close, too close; his eyes were dark with emotion, his grin almost diabolical.
"Some things you don't joke about," he growled.
They were pressed against each other so close and yet she longed to be closer still. She closed her eyes as his lips pressed hard against hers as if to make them one for just the tiniest moment. Then, as if the kiss burned she pushed away from him angry and flustered. She wanted to strike him, wanted to demand how he could marry someone like Viper – how he could marry anyone but her yet she knew she couldn't say or do anything. She'd forfeited that right long ago when she'd fled when he'd wanted more from her than she could give.
His hands balled at his sides as he fought the urge to pull her to him again. They eyed each other warily. He thought she might break finally but she knew otherwise. He'd never said anything to her after what had happened between them. It had always been someone else he wanted not her. No, she wouldn't break. He should have known better he thought when she slowly pulled free of him then walked to the door.
"I'm sorry for intruding," she said before the door closed behind her.
He caught the anguished look she gave him all too fleetingly but what was it to him? But it was everything – she was everything to him and in five quick strides he was at the door watching her walk away the perfect picture of pride, head held tall, her gait as graceful and purposeful as always. He looked towards the other end of the hall; saw no one was there which meant none had seen her which meant she was safe – still. It was unlikely Viper had spies in the school but you could never be too careful. If Viper or anyone else ever saw, even guessed how he felt about Ororo he couldn't bring himself to even guess at the consequences. No, he'd done the right thing by letting her go and he suspected she knew it as well.
Davis? He heard she was dating a kid! It turned his stomach. It was bad enough she'd left Xavier's leaving everything she loved whether she'd admit it or not. And now she was hurt. Regardless of Davis Logan had flown out there as fast as the Blackbird could get them. Jean went too. He didn't know that Jean saw for the first time how much he cared for Ororo, how startling the revelation was to her. He'd never know that seeing him crouched above Ororo, holding her hand talking quietly to her so that only Ororo alone could hear his words had touched a chord within Jean, one that would later lead to a confrontation between himself and Jean that would break their tie once and for all.
Jealousy plays awful tricks on people. She watched the tender scene of Logan and Ororo play out like a badly written romance novel and it wrenched her heart. Logan wasn't hers and yet he was even though she had Scott. But Ororo needed her and Jean needed Ororo. She loved Ororo more than even her own sister and so she'd gotten past the spasm of jealousy and sought to bring her friend back to them. And she had. She never guessed her beloved friend's heart belonged as much to Logan as his belonged to Ororo's but years later when Scott turned to the White Queen and Jean finally turned to him she found it was too late.
As gentle as if she were a child he told her it could never have worked between them. And though he left her at one of the lowest points in her life she couldn't blame him. She'd known his heart long ago, knew that it belonged to Ororo whether he had realized it or not. As she walked back to the school in tears she didn't know Ororo was watching her and had seen them nor did she know Logan would confront Ororo just as she had confronted him.
Logan looked up into the tree where Ororo had been perched in since the evening sunset. She'd sought solitude in nature as was her wont and had hoped Jean and Logan would pass on. When they didn't it was too late for her to make her presence known without embarrassing Jean. She floated down to the ground and waited.
"There was never anyone but you after that day," he said as he walked towards her slowly.
She saw now that his admission was not only his truth but her truth too. What had taken place between them so very long ago had changed her just as much as it had changed him and no amount of denial could change what they were to each other. It was not lust that had drawn them together but instinctual need. He'd made love to her and stolen her heart. But it had been so different, so raw, the emotions so intense and then there was Jean. She'd been overwhelmed but now . . . now she wondered, was it time, could they be together?
"Time fer you an' me to admit if we can't get each other outta our system after all this time we ain't ever gonna be able to," he said.
And she kissed his face tenderly, wordlessly still not sure but wanting so much to finally give in to what she saw was their destiny. And he was determined for it was truly time. He told her they were already married in their hearts, that they were not, as she'd once said, two of a kind but that they were one. Truth again and she gave in with a laugh, joyous as the rain that began to fall and like the first time they came together so it was again as it should have been all along for though they had denied it, fought against it, even warred against each other they were soul mates.
A/N – Now if I could just pretend she never married T'Challa I can and hope you too imagine a happily ever after.