This is my first ever foray into the world of X-Men fan fiction. It's a one shot, and entirely character driven. I hope you enjoy.


Logan leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed comfortably at his chest and his eyes directed at the classroom. Glancing quickly to the clock on the wall, he sighed. He looked back into the classroom and scratched his chin.

His beard had gotten a little longer, but not noticeably so. There were a few stray wisps as usual, but had done a better job grooming himself this particular morning. It wasn't that he was taking better care of himself more than it was taking care of himself for the sake of others.

That was an adjustment that he had a hard time getting used to, but it came with discipline, something he rarely had any of. But things were different now.

Jean, Scott and The Professor weren't around anymore, meaning that Storm was in charge and Bobby and Rogue had to grow up just a little bit faster. That change didn't affect his usual gruffness and cocky manner, but he took more time out of his day to think about others. It wasn't all about him anymore.

His eyes never left the classroom, one particular figure holding his attention. Storm, well, Ro, as she had convinced him to call her, was teaching in front of classroom full of younger students. Her white silver hair was once again below her shoulder blades, but just barely. She was dressed in a simple white cotton top and dark blue jeans. She looked rather attractive dressed so plainly he had to admit. What he would never admit was that beyond all that he admired her more than anyone else.

She never complained about the extra responsibility she had taken on, nor asked for any help. It frustrated him that he couldn't be more help in the classroom, but he knew that relating to children wasn't his strong suit. He didn't have the patience.

He was sure things would have been overwhelming for her if Hank and Warren weren't around to help with the children. Hank wasn't around very often, his employment for his country keeping him occupied, but whenever he got the chance he would pop by to help with whatever he could. Warren was still young and did his best to teach the children whatever he could, but he just didn't have the experience to make much of a difference.

That left him, and although he was fine with being relegated to role model and father figure to many, he still felt as though he wasn't doing enough to pull his weight. Doing time in the danger room with the older students, teaching them how to protect themselves, was tedious and often times futile. The last thing he wanted for any of them was for them to encounter a real fight. He was the least pacifistic person in the world, but the more he began to know the students, the more he wished they would never get the chance to use their abilities to harm another.

It wasn't a stretch to think things had changed the day he had thrust his blades through Jean. That picture stuck with him for months after. He never shared it publicly, but sometimes he would stalk around his room at night, unable to sleep.

Then there was Ororo. During those stalking trips around his room he could hear her just down the hall, either marking assignments or talking to herself. He knew that the workload and the stress of being the head of the school was slowly getting to her. She never showed it, but sometimes late at night he could hear her crying softly. Those were the nights where he couldn't get a wink of sleep. Her soft sobs were enough to upset him to the point where he would have to leave the mansion.

Crying was something he could handle, hell, he had been making people cry for pretty much the past fifteen years, well, the years he could remember anyway. But when Ro cried, he couldn't tune her out. Every soft sniff and sob would echo in his head and make him feel worthless.

He knew why she was crying, why she stayed in her office to the late hours of the night marking tests and reading essays. It was her way of dealing with her family's death. To her, Scott, Jean, and the Professor were her family. Now she was all alone, and swamping herself in work was the best way for her to deal with it.

His way of dealing with it was another matter completely. Sadness wasn't something he dealt with well. If anything, he saw it as a weakness and drove himself from thinking about it. The easiest way to forget about everything was to swamp himself in danger.

He spent hours in the danger room, coming up with elaborate setups for himself to complete or survive. On a few occasions he had found himself fighting for hours on end, letting his sadness be replaced with hatred and anger. Those were two emotions he knew how to handle. Sadness simply didn't have a definition in his personal dictionary.

If it was up to him it never would, but the more he tried to sleep with Ro's crying at night, the more he began to realize that he was letting that sadness eat away at both his conscious and his heart. Confronting Jeans death was difficult, and doing it alone was worse.

Acting tough as nails was a part of himself that he admired, and knew that others admired as well, but sometimes he wished he could simply talk to someone without them thinking he had gone off the deep end. And the idea of looking weak around a group of people still raw from their mentor's passing was what caused him to be as cold and steely as ever.

His attention was disrupted from his thoughts as he heard a bell ring. It was no ordinary school bell, but a tiny handheld one that Ro routinely used to signal the end of class.

He watched as she set it down on her desk at the front of the class and pleasantly wished the students good luck on their exam tomorrow. Each student grumbled at the thought of the upcoming exam and left their seats.

Logan stepped aside from the doorway and allowed the students to pass through. It was hard to not notice his large frame standing there, but most did, and those that did see him smiled and said hello. He reciprocated them likewise, trying his best not to frown. Simple hellos were tedious, and aggravated him. A hello could be established with a simple up turn of the head.

Stepping through the door after the last student had left, he put his hands in his pockets and said, "I'm going to be going out later, Ro."

When she looked up with a slight scowl, he knew she wasn't in a good mood. That frown softened when he scowled back.

"I'm sorry, Logan," Ororo, said. "I'm just upset that we're running a little behind in the textbook." She waved the thick hard covered book in the air before tossing it on the table. It landed with a resounding thud.

Logan picked up something he would have ignored months ago, but it now stood out like a sore thumb. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing."

She turned from him suddenly and he knew that he was either in shit or had asked the wrong question. He tried his best to lighten the situation. "If this is about the other day when I made that young girl kill a cat in the training room, I said I was sorry." That wasn't what she was angry about, and he knew it, but didn't know what else to say.

When she bent her back just slightly to put the textbook in the bottom drawer of her desk, he rubbed a hand through his hair. She was mad because he would once again disappear when the children went to bed. Some of the mutants were very young, and needed coaxing to go to bed. If he was around they would do whatever they told him. Not only because they respected him, but because they feared him.

Ororo changed the subject. "Do you know that your marathon sessions in the danger room are making you a folk legend among the students?"

Logan raised his brows in surprise and said, "I can't control what others think of me." He could see that rubbed her the wrong way. There was a little sparkle of jealousy in her eyes, and he knew where it came from. She tried her hardest to earn the respect of her students, and did succeed, but could never do it as quickly as he could.

"Ro, you should know better than to think people think highly of me. It's you that they love and adore." The words sounded alien coming out his mouth, and from Ro's reaction she thought the same way. "Sorry," he said a second later, feeling a little embarrassed. It wasn't often he felt embarrassed.

Laughing it off with a mild smile, Ororo, said. "Don't apologize for trying to be nice, Logan." She put a few papers in another drawer and stood up straight. "But just so you know, you're terrible at it."

"I'll give you no argument there," he replied quickly, his own teeth showing in a slight grin.

"But hell, it's the thought that counts, right?" he said with heavy sarcasm. When she rolled her eyes, he grinned again and turned around. Walking back through the doorway and out into the hall, he hooked his thumbs out his jean pockets and put each one through the nearest belt loop.

"Oh, Logan!"

He stopped suddenly, turned around in one motion and looked at Storm. "Huh?"

"What time are you going to be back?"

That question caused him to reply flippantly. "Why should I tell you, you're not my mother!" The instant he said it he knew he had made a mistake. Her eyes went cold and she turned around, leaving him angry with himself. Not knowing how to deal with such situations, he quickly turned back around and continued on down the hall, every step a foot farther from the only woman who could make him feel like a child.

-

Logan sat on the end of his bed, his jacket on and his boots tied tightly. He was ready to go. Where he was going was even a mystery to him, but that's how it usually started when he would leave for the evening. Something would eventually catch his attention as he made his way around the city. New York was a big place and he had yet to be bored.

If all else failed, there was always a bar fight to be found. If he was feeling a little down, the draw of boxing the ears of some ignorant human was always enticing.

He was ready to go, but he didn't. It was nine thirty, and he could hear the children in the living room trying desperately to scheme a way of staying up later. There was scant to little logic behind their plans. Their meddling only helped to tire them out, and eventually would lead them to their beds right on time. He wished they showed as much effort in the classroom as they did with not trying to go to bed, but beggars can't be choosers.

The idea of staying to help Storm usher the children to bed crossed his mind, but he shrugged it off and stood up. He didn't want to get caught up in that mess. Whining children was almost as bad as whining coyotes.

Standing, he walked to his bedroom door and entered the hallway. He quickly made for the front door, his usual exit.

A voice suddenly interrupted the silence in the mansion, particularly in the living room.

"All right everyone, time to go to your rooms."

Logan winced, his hand stopping inches from the handle of the door. It was Ro who had spoken, and what followed a second later was predictable. Groans of detest and protest rang out among the students.

"Do I need to remind you that most of you have an exam tomorrow?"

He once again cringed as her words brought about another groan and even more disdain. Trying not to get involved was becoming increasingly difficult as the children began to whine. Sometimes he just wanted to yell at them.

Storm again tried to get the children to listen to her, but they ignored her and continued to protest.

When the children didn't seem to listen to her, Logan clenched his teeth and removed his hand from the vicinity of the door handle. He was going to get involved, and he cursed himself for it. If the students didn't want to listen to their matriarch, he would make them listen. Ro deserved more respect than that, even from children.

Rounding the corner to the living room, he approached Ororo from behind as she tried again to get the children moving.

"I said now!" she yelled rather tersely.

When the children protested again, he reached her side and roared, "She said now!"

It took no longer than a few seconds before the children began to run from the room. He knew they feared him on some level, and he enjoyed scaring them just a little. When Ororo jumped beside him he thought he might have overdone it, but the children were quickly disappearing to their bedrooms and she seemed fine, if only a little frightened..

Ororo put a hand to her chest as she turned to Logan. She took a deep breath. "Thanks for scaring me!"

"You looked like you needed a hand," he replied with a devilish smirk. When she gave him the slyest look he had ever seen, he said, "If they don't want to listen to you, they have to deal with me."

He thought he saw her eyes soften, but he shrugged it off and placed his hands in the pockets of his jacket.

"Oh, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the help," Ororo took another deep breath, closed her eyes for a moment while doing so, and removed her hand from her chest a second later. She opened her eyes and said, "You didn't have to give me a heart attack."

"Sorry." There he was again, apologizing. He slapped himself mentally and quickly said something foolish to interrupt Ro's ever increasing frown. "That being said, I kind of enjoyed it."

"Of course you did," Ororo replied with a role of her eyes. "Scaring the daylights out of the children and me is the highlight of your day, isn't it?"

He could tell she was making sport of him. Instead of becoming upset and defensive, he played along. He did feel bad for scaring her. "It's not my fault."

"How is it not?" She asked, bewilderment etched on her face.

Logan could see a slight upturn to the right side of her lips, and he instantly shot back. "Well, one, you should never be surprised from the rear. Two-,"

"Logan!" Ororo interrupted loudly.

"What?" he asked innocently, wondering what in the world he did this time. When she gave him a stern look, and pointed with her head to her left, he looked to the right. Jubilee was standing in the middle of the room, dressed in her pajamas and with a glass of water in her hand. She was frozen in place.

"What!" he barked, looking back to Ororo, truly confused. What did it matter that Jubilee was standing there?

"Go to bed!" Storm said sternly, her eyes pointed right at the young girl.

"Yes ma'am," Jubilee replied, moving from her frozen position in the room and heading to her own for sleep. "I didn't hear a thing," she said, looking back to them just before rounding the corner.

"Hear what?" Logan asked again, his bewilderment reaching its peak. Storm turned her scowling face back to him, apparently not having heard his question. "What!" he asked again.

"Logan," Storm said pathetically, but laughing at the same time.

"That's my name isn't it?" He was being sarcastic. She was the one laughing at him and he wasn't too happy about it.

Ororo rolled her eyes and said, "Do you not have a clue what you just said?"

"Yeah, I believe I just said that Logan was my name. Don't wear it out."

"No, before that."

He frowned again, and this time she leaned her head back and growled slightly. It was an odd sound to hear coming from her.

"Logan, you just told me that I should never be surprised from the rear."

"Yeah, that's right." When she looked at him like he was an idiot, he continued. "You can be at the enemy's mercy if you're not watching behind you."

Storm pinched her forehead and closed her eyes. "Logan, what do you think that sentence sounded like to a teenage girl?"

He squinted for a second, but when she opened her eyes and put her hands on her hips, reality dawned on him. His defensive nature came out. "Why is it that everyone around here has a one track mind?"

The instant he said it he knew he had walked right into a wall of shit.

"One track mind?" Storm asked with a laugh.

She didn't even need to elaborate as he knew exactly what she meant. He was known for having a one track mind and had just successfully made a complete idiot out of himself. He was a hypocrite.

How could he save face? Easy, act suave. No, he couldn't trust himself with that at the moment. Get angry! No, that wouldn't work either. The look on Ororo's face was comical and he couldn't bring himself to anger. Finally, he tried desperately to save face with anything. "You know Ro, what does all this say about you?"

"What?"

He nodded vehemently when she questioned him. "Yeah, what does it say about you? You're the headmistress of this school, but you cannot help but allow yourself to think like a teenager." He was grasping at straws, doing anything he could to gain the advantage over her. It worked.

"Me, acting like a teenager?" Ororo, asked. She poked him in the chest with her right forefinger. "I am not a teenager."

He lowered his head and leaned in. His nose was almost touching hers and he grinned. "Prove it!"

Oh, he had mixed the pot, and he knew it. She had a devilish smirk and his grin faltered.

Ororo reached out and tickled him.

Logan watched in amazement as she began to tickle him under his right arm. "You know Ro, tickling is something a teenager would do." She didn't like that comment, he could tell.

"You're a bastard," she said with a mix of sarcasm and truth.

Shrugging her off, he said, "Bastard or not, I'm not ticklish in the slightest." He grinned again.

When it seemed like she couldn't do anything else to bother him, he remarked, "You can't best the best."

"Cocky are we now?" Ororo asked with a smirk. When he did the same back, she reached out with her hand.

Logan's eyes went wide in surprise as he felt a hand grip tight on his groin. "Christ," he wheezed, completely unable to move.

Ororo said, "Would a teenager do this?" and tightened her grip.

He thought he might pass out, but he tried his hardest to fight through the pain. When he growled deep in his throat, the hand on his groin tightened even more. He wanted to drop to his knees, but he was afraid what would happen if he did. Would she even bother to let go? If she didn't, he would be in for a world of pain.

"Let go," he wheezed through clenched teeth and watering eyes.

"What's that?" she asked, tilting her head up and towards his mouth.

Her condescending tone made him bristle.

He noticed that her ear was scant inches from his mouth, and he took a shot at it with his teeth. Hurting her wasn't the plan, but retribution on some level was. The instant he moved he took a sharp breath and almost fainted. He hadn't gotten within an inch of her ear when she had gripped him even tighter. She was enjoying this, he just knew it.

"Please let go," he almost cried. He hadn't been in this much pain in a very long time.

"Oh, is the mighty Wolverine in pain?" Storm teased, "And did he just say please?"

When he nodded, she laughed. "Logan, you are at my mercy."

Even in excruciating pain, he managed to get his own trademark wit into the conversation. "Yeah, looks like it, but you better do something with it or let go." That made her eyes widen, and he grinned.

Ororo let go and said, "You're a pig, you know that Logan?"

He didn't bother to say anything back as he let out a deep breath and fell to one knee. He supported himself with one palm on the floor, but it did little to help. His stomach felt as though it was tearing apart. He managed to lift his head just as Ororo rolled her eyes in anger and turned around, walking away.

He hoped that no one had seen what had just transpired, not because of the situation, but because of his own embarrassment. Anger would be the least of that person's problems if they were to come upon him almost crawling to the kitchen with one arm and his back hunched.

Making his way to the kitchen proved rightfully difficult, and he grabbed the island counter with both hands after entering. He tried to steady himself. His groin hurt like hell. Closing his eyes in anguish, he turned himself around and leaned against the counter. "Damn," he cursed, his left hand going to the freezer door below the fridge. He pulled it open and rummaged around, but not without wincing every time he moved his lower body.

Finding a bag of frozen peas, he retrieved them and closed the door. Standing up straight proved a mighty task, but he managed to. He rolled his head from side to side to try to ignore the pain, but he knew it wouldn't work.

Groaning in frustration, he turned his back to the counter and slowly lifted himself onto it. He gently laid himself down and took a deep breath. It took a few seconds of rest before he could move again, and when he felt sure that he could do so without pain, he undid the belt and the zipper on his jeans.

He popped the button loose a second later, exposing his boxers. It hurt just to go anywhere close to the area that Ororo had held a death grip on. His stomach was rocking and he thought he might hurl, but he held it back and grabbed the peas. He gently, but as slowly as he could, put the peas on top of his groin.

A sharp breath signaled a new round of pain, but it slowly released itself from his lungs as the bag of frozen peas began to work. Things were becoming numb, and that was what he wanted.

Sighing at the relief of the pain, he lifted his shoulder and draped his forearm overtop of his eyes. "Christ," he cursed again.

When the bag unthawed a little, he adjusted it. It didn't hurt as his nether region was thoroughly frozen.

Suddenly he heard a soft chuckle. Lifting his arm just slightly, he looked from underneath it and at the intruder. It was Ro. She was standing just inside the kitchen, her night robe firmly wrapped around her.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

He couldn't get past the slight grin on her face. "No thanks to you," he replied sharply, dropping his arm back over his eyes.

"I'm not going to say I'm sorry."

A grunt was all that he responded with.

Ororo took a few steps closer and said, "You started it by yelling in my ear."

He let his arm roll of his nose and to his chin, but he kept his eyes closed. "I was just trying to help."

"I know," she replied.

When he opened his eyes and turned his head to the right, he saw that Ororo was hunched down, her elbows spread out on the counter and her cupped hands supporting her chin. She wasn't more than a few inches from him.

"You know Logan, I'm curious about something."

He grunted in response and turned his head back and looked at the ceiling.

"I thought your injury's healed quickly?"

Logan grunted again and said, "I'm still a man."

"Really?" she asked with a smirk, her voice dripping in sarcasm.

He turned his head back to her. Her face wasn't more than a foot from his, and with the way she leaned on the counter with her hands cupping her cheeks and her chin almost touching the counter, he couldn't help but notice how strikingly beautiful she was. Her eyes were captivating.

"I'm sorry Logan," Ororo said.

"For what?" he asked.

"For what I did to you,"

He watched as her eyes went to the left and she pointed at his groin with her chin. Chuckling slightly, he said, "I thought you said you weren't going to apologize?"

Storm looked back at his face and said, "I know, but I am sorry. I was just trying to have a little fun at your expense."

"But..?" he asked, leaving the ending of the sentence open, knowing that she couldn't apologize without making it seem like it was his fault she was doing so. She continued on like he expected in a matter of seconds.

"You shouldn't have said what you did."

"What, about doing something with it or letting go?"

She pouted her lips a little and nodded. She looked innocent with her lips like so, and he couldn't help but feel as though she was acting like so just to try and make him feel better.

"I was just trying to lighten the mood, and your grip," he said. She smiled at that, but didn't show any teeth. Her eyes were causing him to lose all concentration on the bag of peas.

Ororo removed the bag from his groin. He was oblivious to it and she moved her face closer to his. "I know,"

Logan couldn't help but notice how close her lips were getting to his. His face was ninety degrees in the opposite direction of hers, causing his eyes to cross slightly, but he said, "It's not like I could do anything else.

"I know," she replied for a second time, now scant inches from his lips.

"I've already said I was sorry, right?" he asked.

She simply murmured, "mmhmm," and finally closed the gap between them.

Logan felt something warm on his groin, but it wasn't a thawed bag of peas. Realizing what it was, he smiled against her lips. He rolled to his right just a little and reached overtop of her with his left arm. Putting his hand on the back of her neck, he deepened the kiss. She had a strange way of apologizing it seemed.


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