Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Black Panther and Storm
Things Left Unsaid
The ride back to Wakanda from San Francisco was one of uncomfortable silence. In spite of Nezhno's sudden talkative nature during the course of his ordeal with the Shadow King he was again quiet and withdrawn. While under the Shadow King's control he had said some hurtful things to Storm, his queen. He closed his eyes and remembered his rage, "You were never there for me. You were supposed to be my teacher…my queen. You brought me to Xavier and look what happened! The students died. I was attacked, hurt…pulled into hell all because of you."
As if hearing his thoughts Ororo turned to Nezhno and a deep well of regret pounded at her temporal lobe. While the ordeal seemed to be over for now Ororo couldn't free herself of everything that had taken place today and all the angry and resentful sentiments that came from family and friends alike. She didn't truly know where their unconscious thoughts began and where the Shadow King's influence ended. "How much of what was said came from the heart?" Ororo silently wondered. Ororo turned away from Nezhno as she approached the landing pad.
They had shared so much this day and Nezhno felt no true animosity towards his queen. In fact, he found himself admiring her even more. Not as a queen for she had made it quite obvious that they were teammates and as such equals. He couldn't fathom being her equal but she told him time and time again to call her Storm and today he understood why his king would risk alienating much of Wakanda to marry an 'outsider.' This day also showed him that they were more alike than they were different. He had put her on a pedestal one that she neither asked for nor wanted. He rubbed his bald head remembering how she stood firm against Wakanda's military might and didn't waiver. "She possesses an inner strength that could topple any regime and a love for her friends and family as deep as any ocean," Nezhno said to himself as they disembarked from the plane.
He knew his words had hurt her even if she would never admit it to him and he didn't want those vile partial truths of statements of his to be the last words he spoke to her before she returned to the palace. "Ah Storm…,"he rubbed the back of his neck the way he tended to do when he was nervous or uncertain of what to say or do. "I truly don't blame you for what happened."
"It is fine Nezhno," Ororo said trying to quickly brush the whole thing off knowing that she and T'Challa were bound to have a similar conversation and she wasn't looking forward to that one either. She turned and walked away from him and towards the palace gates. For a minute Nezhno thought it best to let her go but then remembered how she had challenged everyone, even her husband, for her faith in his innocence. No one, not even his mother, had believed him so absolutely and had risked so much for the truth-for his life.
"Wait my queen," said Nezhno as he hurried after her. She turned to him and parted her lips to reprimand him when he quickly corrected and said, "Wait Storm." She smiled relieved that he was beginning to come to terms with the type of relationship she wanted to foster with him, one that didn't include monarchial reverence but mutual respect and overtime perhaps even friendship. She was after all his teacher and as such she was now recommitted to that role be it in Wakanda or San Francisco. He had no true family of which to speak and she now pledged to be his family both Wakandan and mutant. He would no longer be alone or an outcast in his very home Ororo thought to herself as Nezhno approached.
"I just wanted you to know that the Shadow King took the smallest negative thought I had about you and manifested it ten fold. We all have our moments of weakness and thoughts we would never say or acknowledge because they have no true meaning or deep value," asserted Nezhno confidently. He twisted my thoughts and meaning into something much worse than what existed in my heart. When the X-Mansion was destroyed I had no place to go but you came for me and brought me home. Outside of the king no one else in Wakanda would have done the same, not even my mother," lamented Nezhno.
"You belong here as much as any other Wakanda no matter what they would have you believe," argued Ororo more than a little angry over Nezhno's mistreatment at the hands of some of his countrymen-his mother. Ororo took one of Nezhno's hands in hers and affirmed, "I know only a part of you meant what the Shadow King made you say but that doesn't change the fact that sometimes I will have to make difficult decisions and choose between two parts of my heart and that not everyone will be happy with my decisions. That is a reality I must come to terms with but rest assured Nezhno I will never let any harm come to you if it is within my power. As long as I am here you will never be alone again. That is my vow to you as Queen of Wakanda and as Storm of the X-Men." She squeezed his hand to emphasize her point, smiled, turned and walked away toward N'Gassi.
"Welcome home my queen," beamed N'Gassi as he bowed slightly to Ororo. She gestured for him to stand fully not comfortable in the least with such displays of subservience.
"How is the king N'Gassi?" asked Ororo as she walked swiftly toward the palace's infirmary.
"Besides a fractured jaw and three broken ribs," the king is fine.
Ororo stopped suddenly in her tracks to take in N'Gassi's words. She hadn't realized she had hurt her husband so. She knew she made the best choice but right now that did nothing to assuage her guilt. Seeing the different and conflicting emotions play across her face N'Gassi said, "The king is still being treated and is mildly sedated. Perhaps you would like to be seen by a physician for your injuries, take a short rest, then go see the king once he awakes."
N'Gassi paused hoping the queen wouldn't be offended by his suggestion. Ororo nodded her assent realizing for the first time since her ordeal began that she hurt all over and was indeed quite exhausted. "Inform me as soon as he awakes N'Gassi no matter the hour."
"Yes your highness," responded a relieved N'Gassi. "Now would you please go see Dr. Somide to have your injuries tended to? The king would be most displeased with me if I didn't at least attempt to have you take care of yourself."
Ororo smiled her agreement and started to walk away when she was stopped by six little but significant words. "I am sorry for our behavior."
Both paused taking in the moment but neither turned around. "Thank you," was whispered from Ororo's lips as she fought back unshed tears. She didn't know what to expect from the Wakandans when she returned home and she definitely didn't expect an apology from one of them. While she didn't like it she did understand their concerns about "outsiders," and knew that it was this xenophobia that had kept them free from much of what has plagued all of Africa since the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. She wasn't making excuses for their behavior but simply understood the root of such concerns perhaps even fear of being tainted or unduly influenced by foreign cultures.
N'Gassi knew that she deserved so much more than what he offered her but his loyalty and honesty was all he had to give and he hoped it would be enough. While he didn't understand fully what had taken place this day it was however clear to him that his king could not have chosen a better wife and queen.
He could now see that she was all the things that Wakandan men looked for in a mate: intelligent, physically and mentally strong, devoted, courageous, loving, and loyal. She was all of those things and so much more thought N'Gassi. She had done something today that no one other than a Black Panther had ever done-she commanded absolute respect and submission from the panthers. The Panther God himself had blessed her and challenged anyone to disagree with his decree. She was not Wakandan born but had ascended to the greatest heights within Wakandan society through the blessing of the Panther God. As she walked quietly down the hall he doubted that she even truly comprehended the significance of such an historical event. Never before in the history of Wakanda did the small African nation have both their king and queen blessed by the Panther God. "Two Black Panthers," thought N'Gassi as he glimpsed Ororo turn the corner towards Dr. Somide's office.
T'Challa smoothly slid in bed next to his sleeping wife and lovingly wrapped her in his strong arms. She settled snuggly onto his chest as she has done every night since their wedding. He leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. She leaned up, eyes closed and he captured her mouth in a sweet kiss. Ororo opened her eyes and said, "N'Gassi was supposed to call me when you awoke."
"I know but I told him not to," replied T'Challa. "I thought this would be a lot better," continued T'Challa as he leaned down to kiss his wife yet again.
Ororo was now fully awake as her body started to respond to the small kisses and bites that her husband was now lavishing her neck and earlobe with. Breathlessly Ororo said, "Ah T'Challa…perhaps we should talk."
"I know but I was hoping that we could communicate in a totally different fashion first."
"I was told you have a fractured jaw and three broken ribs," stated Ororo matter–of-factly. "I am surprised that you are capable of…"
He cut her off with a passionate kiss as he rolled her over onto her back. "I'm a fast healer. Besides I would have to be in much worse shape than this to loose my desire for you or my ability to please you." He smiled and said, "I was hoping we could share a moment of pure physical pleasure before we deal with the elephant in the room."
Ororo looked into his eyes and was thankful to see the real T'Challa looking back at her. As far as Ororo was concerned eyes truly were the gateway to the soul and what she had seen reflected in them when he was possessed by the Shadow King was not the man she loved or the man who was looking at her right now.
She pulled his head down to hers and opened her mouth to him in a deep all consuming kiss. They knew they were avoiding the inevitable but they didn't care. No matter what words were exchanged between them this night nothing would change their feelings for each other. No words or revelations would alter the depths of respect and trust they have for each other.
T'Challa slowly moved against his wife's body and caressed every curve that his hands could reach. He continued to kiss her hard pulling her lower lip into his mouth and sucking it until she gasped for air. He recaptured her mouth again forcing her to moan her pleasure into his mouth with each purposeful thrust. T'Challa unrelentingly loved his wife slowly and deliberately not because of their injuries but the reasons surrounding the acquisition of said injuries.
The words forced from his lips were cruel and shameful. "Our childhood flirtation was not love…it was a youthful indiscretion. This was never meant to be."
Those words were meant to break her but it stung him even more. In spite of all his effort he could only watch with horror the mental and physical pain that the Shadow King subjected his wife to.
She writhed under him and moaned loudly when he held her legs up and to the side and entered her even deeper. "Oh goddess T'Challa," she sighed slamming her eyes shut and curling her toes in excruciating pleasure.
"Your king has been deceived by his queen. This union was a mistake. A mistake I intend to rectify right now," he stated to a crowd of confused onlookers. This was another knife in his heart that was intended for his beloved. He needed her to understand that the words and sentiments were not his own. He needed her to understand that at times even a Black Panther has doubts and insecurities no matter how fleeting.
Pressing his sweat stained herculean chest against her firm bosom T'Challa said in a winded voice, "Tell me what is in your heart beloved. Tell me what I mean to you."
Opening her eyes to look into his Ororo whispered forthrightly, "I am as constant and faithful as a winter chill in the Arctic and as liberated as an electrical storm during an east coast summer. You are my guiding star in an Egyptian night, my oasis through time and space, my past, present, and future."
T'Challa moved against her vigorously now as she placed her legs around his waist. She pulled him closer for another long deep kiss which he hungrily reciprocated. T'Challa let out a deep moan as Ororo moved so deliciously under him compelling him to hold on a while longer. "Tell me what is in your heart beloved. Tell me what I mean to you." countered Ororo.
"I was a man with a kingdom and no one to share it with. I was a man with all the power in the world but was powerless to the calling of my true heart and my white lioness," he said as his wife's expert movements wrenched another deep moan from the back of his throat.
Before succumbing to the ecstasy that was flowing from Ororo and through him T'Challa gasped, "We are two but we are also one. You are my one Ororo and I love all aspects of you." He murmured the last sentence as their bodies agreed and shouted to the universe their oneness.
"I thought you said you wanted to talk afterwards," grinned Ororo.
"I thought it would save us time," responded T'Challa.
"I was not aware that we were under such time constraints dear," Ororo stated playfully.
Smiling and a bit embarrassed T'Challa said, "I couldn't help myself. I just wanted you to know the depth of my love for you and my commitment to our marriage."
Ororo placed a soft kiss on T'Challa's cheek and asserted, "I know full well how much you love me and my love for you is just as deep. I thought I had lost myself but in reality I simply discovered another layer that I never knew existed."
T'Challa mischeviously replied, "If you like I would be more than willing to help you discover all your layers."
"I bet you would," smiled Ororo "but I don't think that either one of us is in any condition to take that challenge."
T'Challa rubbed his bruised ribs as Ororo touched the stitches on her stomach and they both let out an achy laugh.
"Perhaps tomorrow then after we've both have had time to rest and recuperate," suggested a very tired T'Challa.
Ororo agreed as the weight of her eyelids forced them to close. Before falling off she asked, "Do we still need to talk?"
T'Challa pulled his wife into his protective embrace and contended, "Some things are better left unsaid."
Ororo understood completely and settled into his embrace and fell asleep knowing that their marriage would be stronger for what they had endured on this fateful day.