SIX AND A HALF YEARS LATER PART 3 of 3

The entire school was in mourning. Jean had not stopped crying since the moment she had found the Professor's body. She had gone into his bedroom only because a sense of urgency had suddenly flooded her telepathic senses. He looked asleep upon first sight, but Jean had known even before she had touched his ice cold lifeless hand. An autopsy concluded that the Professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in his sleep.

The ceremony had been a long process as almost everyone had expressed their love for him with pleasant words, poems , songs, and most through tears. Ororo had sat near the Professors coffin in stunned silence, but she didn't cry. In fact she hadn't cried at all for the Professor. She sat in her a black pinstriped suit hiding her eyes behind dark sunglasses. T'Challa had stayed with her through all of this. He understood loss, and was able to set his anger aside for the time being to be with her. Her eyes stained with tears, Betsy had sat on one side of Ororo holding her hand, while Kitty sat on the other side and cried on Ororo's shoulder. The sky had been darkened for days by the storm clouds that hovered over head. Although Ororo wasn't making a display of her emotions like everyone else nature seemed to groan under her internal strain.

The repast was held in the main library of the mansion, later that evening. The students along with dozens of the Professors professional colleagues shuffled about in their somber best, quietly recounting the fond memories they had of Professor Charles Francis Xavier. Ororo didn't feel like being with the others. Instead of going to the repast she went into the Professors office and began sifting through his personal paper work. She had to take care of things…The world didn't stop because he was dead.

"You have to eat something," Betsy advised holding a small plate of food in her hands. "I'll eat when I'm done," Ororo said leafing through the mountain of paperwork that lay before her. Betsy exchanged looks with Logan and T'Challa who stood nearby…neither saying a word. The animosity that oozed between the two men was so thick that Betsy was sure she would choke on it. Yet they had both behaved themselves in light of this tragic situation.

Logan could have cared less what everybody else wanted. His main concern was Ororo. He wanted to be there for her in every way that he possibly could. There was nothing holding him back now, not even the joker that hovered over her like a gnat at a barbeque. One false move bub, and I'll gut yah like a fish.

"Who knew the Professor was such a lousy book keeper?" Ororo said her voice tense. She swept through the paperwork wildly "I mean look at this! Why the hell does he have so many past due bills? I've seen his bank statements there's enough money to pay them a hundred times over."

"Well you knew the Professor," Betsy offered "Nobody gets anything for free. He just has to make you work for it." It was an attempt to lighten the mood, but Ororo's face darkened instead. Betsy's heart sank with her own grief and the unexpressed despair of her friend. "Ororo," Betsy began.

"Well the first thing we've got to do is get these bills up to date. Then we'll need to do a review of all the Xavier Institutes satellite and sister school locations, make sure they are all properly staffed and certified.-"

"Ororo-"

"I am cancelling all classes for next week. The Professors lawyers will be by tomorrow morning to discuss his will-"

Betsy slammed the plate of food in from of Ororo "Dammit Storm!" Ororo stood, snatched up the plate, and hurled it across the room sending the food flying about and the plate shattering against the hardwood floor. Betsy blinked with shock for a moment, but instead of being angry she understood. "It's okay to be angry, we all miss him," she said, and then she gathered her in her arms. Ororo hugged her friend, happy that she had her unyielding support. Still, she did not cry. She couldn't afford to be consumed with grief. She had to hold things together. Not just for herself, but also for the school. She couldn't let the Professors dream crumble because the people around her were too grieved to take care of business. Betsy sensed some sort of altercation in the library, and excused herself, but not before sending sharp warnings to both Logan and T'Challa: Do not upset her any further. Although she only wanted her friend to be happy, Betsy secretly hoped that Ororo would come terms about her feelings for these two men sooner rather than later. Having them both there was just nonsensical.

"You alright?" Logan asked, and Ororo briefly looked at T'Challa before nodding yes. Logan however didn't even acknowledge the mans existence. This situation was far beyond bizarre. Neither one of them were making it easy on her. With both of them hovering she was very near to going mad. Ororo's shoulders sunk. What was she supposed to do? How dare the Professor just up and die when she hadn't had a chance to say goodbye.

"I'm going back to Wakanda tonight" T'Challa announced suddenly, Ororo blinked with surprise, and since this was the first time he had said something worth listening to Logan looked at him.

"I understand," Ororo said after a moment "Thank you for staying here with me as long as you did." Ororo wanted to hug him, but she didn't want Logan to think…She sighed. This was crazy!

"I expect you to be on the plane with me," he added. That statement gave her pause.

"And, I expect you'll die waitin' bub" Logan growled his hands balled into fists. T'Challa's nostrils flared at him; He was more than ready if Wolverine decided to make a move.

"Logan please," Ororo stepped between them, but then she turned her attention back to T'Challa "I can't just leave. At least not right now. I have to -"

"He has lawyers and a fully capable staff of people to take care of all of this. We have responsibilities at home." T'Challa said.

"Watch yer tone bub," Logan snarled.

Ororo frowned "I am perfectly aware of where my responsibilities-"

"Ororo, you either get on that plane or-"

-SNIKT- "Or what?" Logan's voice rumbled with intensity.

T'Challa's patience was wearing thin with Logan and his unnecessary presence, "You wanna put your dog on a leash" he said to Ororo.

As much as she appreciated his protective nature Logan was not helping this situation any, "Logan could you leave us alone for a moment?" Ororo asked.

"No."

"Logan!" she said firmly, but he didn't budge. Instead Ororo ushered T'Challa out of the office "I'll be right back." she said over her shoulder before leaving him behind.

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Logan had paced the floor. What could she possibly want to talk about with him alone? "What did I tell you!" Betsy exploded at Logan when she burst into the office.

"What are yah talkin' bout?"

"Ororo just tore out of here with T'Challa. What the hell did you do?"

Logan snarled. Was she going back with him? He pushed past Betsy.

"Where are you going?" she demanded.

"Tah get my girl."

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Logan found her easily. He kicked the door in of the hotel room she had shared with that chump. She stopped packing her suitcase and looked up at him, surprise apparent on her face.

"What are yah doin'?" he demanded practically foaming at the mouth.

"Packing," She said simply.

"Fer what?"

"I have to go," She closed her suitcase and slid in onto the floor from the bed releasing its extended handle so that she could roll it.

"You can't leave Storm!"

Ororo paused looking genuinely confused by his anger "And why is that?"

Logan cursed "Because I love yah, and I don't want nobody else but you. If yah leavin' I'm goin' wit yah. Whether yah like it or not yah stuck wit me fer the rest of yah life."

He pulled her into his arms then and kissed her so passionately, all of the pain and grief she had felt over the past week seemed to melt away for a moment. She kissed him back claiming his mouth because it was hers for the taking. She broke the kiss and said "In a year you'll forget all about me." For a moment he thought she caught the hint of a smile on her lips. Logan held her in his arms tighter nearly cutting off the circulation of air in her lungs. "Never. I'll never forget yah" he promised pulling back and looking deep into her eyes, "Yer the love of my life darlin'" he promised, and the joy that consumed her seemed almost criminal. But there in the massive embrace of Logan's protective arms, even after losing the Professor…she somehow felt that it was all more bearable.

"Logan I have to-"

"God damn, woman stay. Stay with me," he pleaded knowing that he sounded like a fool for begging, but he didn't care. He couldn't go on another day without her…he had already gone too long.

"Okay," she said. Logan furrowed his brows. Okay? Was it really that easy? Ororo saw the questioning look in his eyes and put his mind at ease "Logan, I told T'Challa to leave without me. I came back to the hotel to get my things so that I could take them back to the mansion."

Logan's face flooded with a long awaited reprieve, but still he asked "Why'd you do that?"

Ororo smiled at him….a smile that belonged only to him…"I told you'd I'd be right back remember?" Logan thought for a moment, it hadn't registered before. She continued "And because I could never love anyone, as much as I love you."

Logan rested his forehead against hers, finally closing his eyes with relief "Just like that, huh?" Ororo held his face between her hands, "Yeah, just like that."

THE END

Dear Readers,

I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. I'd love to hear your review, what you liked, what you hated…it's all good ;o)

Cheers,

J