Upon stepping out onto the balcony, her scent filled his lungs immediately. Logan looked down and spotted Ororo below him, pacing tensely and muttering under her breath. He frowned and quietly crept down the stairs, keeping himself out of sight so that she wouldn't know that she was being watched. At least, he hoped she didn't know. He could be impressively stealthy when he needed to be, but she had a way of knowing when she was being watched. In this instance, however, she seemed too focused to notice anything other than what she was saying to herself. The closer he got, the clearer her words became.
"When I was young and foolish," she said, as though reciting a speech, "and feeling totally cast out from the world, I used to wonder if there were others like me, and dream of the future we might create together."
She paused, seemingly lost in thought. Her eyes were unfocused, but after about a minute of that she shook her head a little and resumed her pacing. "Then I actually encountered some others, and aspects of that dream turned out to be not-so pleasant.
"As with every era in human history – perhaps even natural history – good seems ever balanced by evil. The higher and more glorious the summit of our aspirations, the fouler and more insatiable the abyss we leave behind. That's why Xavier's has always been, and I shall hope and pray always remains, a school."
Ah. She was reciting the speech that she was planning on giving to the new and returning students and parents as their new headmistress. Logan decided to continue to listen, impressed by the strength of her words. Perhaps being headmistress was exactly what she needed to begin repairing her damaged confidence in herself. And with Emma there to help, she wouldn't be overwhelmed into thinking that she was failing if things didn't turn out exactly as she hoped.
"While we X-Men exist to protect humanity from those who dwell in the abyss, this school is ever focused on the summit.
"Why humanity is fractured, why some have enhanced genes and others not, none of us can say. But that should not, must not, matter, for fundamentally we all come from the same stock. We are all born of this world, composed of the same raw materials as the cosmos itself, a potentially magnificent family of sentient beings.
"We strive because we must, that is reality. But why we strive must never be forgotten." Logan saw her eyes briefly flicker across the three memorials in the courtyard. "The yearnings – the hopes – that bind us together as a species must be greater and more lasting than the petty conflicts that drive us apart. We are all of us brothers and sisters, parents and children. And ultimately, the character of each and every person, and the deeds that flow from it, must matter more than the color of their skin, or their origin of birth, or the structure of their genome.
"That is our dream. This school, and we X-Men, exist to help make it a reality."
Ororo took a deep breath and nodded to herself, seemingly satisfied. Logan emerged from the shadows and offered her an encouraging smile, which she returned with a timid one of her own when she realized that she hadn't been alone. "Not so bad," he commented as he stood in front of her.
"Emma wanted me to give the speech. She thinks that I'm more of a people person than she is."
He shrugged. "She's not lying."
She shook her head with a heavy sign. "All the trials I've faced in my life… and this makes me uncomfortable and nervous," she confessed quietly. "I didn't ask the professor to make me headmistress. He just told me that one day he hoped that I'd take his place."
"I don't envy you," Logan admitted. "You get the big office, you get all the headaches that go with it." She frowned up at him, and he finished his statement before she could retaliate. "I really can't think of anyone better for the job."
She stared at him intensely, as though trying to see into his very soul. Logan let himself fall into her gaze, drowning in the depths in the hopes that she could see into his soul.
He loved her, possibly from the very instant that he'd met her, though he hadn't known it then. But he wanted her to know that now, and all that it meant for him. Life had been a simple thing for Logan before Ororo Munroe. He did as he pleased, took what he wanted, didn't consider the consequences or repercussions… Nobody had ever cared much for him because he made it plain that he wouldn't care for them in return.
Marie had been the chink in that armor, and Ororo had torn it wide, so much that he couldn't go back to his old ways even if he wanted to. And knowing her, loving her – and knowing that she loved him in return – made him never want to love another the way that he loved her. He wanted her to see the creature he had been, wanted to stand upright and proud and be judged against the man he had become because of her.
The corner of her mouth kicked up in a smile and she leaned in to kiss him. She wasn't very gentle, but she wasn't particularly fierce either. But it was just enough to make him breathless and want so much more. Her lips were soft, her skin was cold, her scent filled his lungs. Separately, those sensations made his heart beat furiously. Combined, he felt like he could fly.
"I love you," she whispered as she pulled away. "Probably ever since that day you saved me almost eighteen years ago."
He blinked. He didn't think about it often, but every now and then he remembered that dream/memory of saving her from Stryker when she was a little girl. He also remembered that she'd failed to bring it up. He'd never been very sure of how he ought to bring it up, but it seemed that now he didn't have to. "Could've fooled me," he told her, lightly resting his forehead against hers. "You treated me like a complete stranger when we first met. You sure as hell didn't act like you loved me."
"I was eight, and traumatized. You pulled me out of that prison, put me with Scott, and disappeared forever. I thought I'd dreamt you into existence, and after spending fifteen years idolizing an imaginary savior..." She shrugged, giving him a peck on the lips and leaving the rest of her statement open.
"You still could've said something," he said, though he wasn't pressing. Perhaps they wouldn't be where they were now if she had said anything. What was done was done, so there was really no reason to press her for an answer as to why she'd never mentioned it.
"What could I have possibly said? I was still convinced that I'd dreamt of you saving me. And besides that, I don't trust my heart to people so easily."
"Would've been safe with me," he said, leaning in to kiss her again.
"I didn't know that then," she mumbled against his lips. When she finally pulled away, she stared at him for a moment before looking away. "I don't trust very easily at all. Maybe that's something I'll need to work on, now that we're in the thick of everything to do with mutants." She gave him a sad smile and her eyes fell on the graves of three people that had become her family over the years. "I think I liked our lives better when we were semi-outlaws."
Logan looked at the graves with her, snaking an arm around her waist to pull her closer. "Everything changes, Ororo," he told her, gently pushing a lock of her hair out of her eyes. "I agree, though. I don't like change much either." She stiffened beneath him and he immediately pulled away from her, frowning at her in confusion. She looked uncomfortable, but hell if he knew why. "What?"
"Change isn't… always bad."
Her expression was overly cautious, and Logan was sure that his was too. She looked anxious, and that was making him edgy as well. "No," he said slowly. "Change can be good. Sometimes."
Logan shrugged slowly. What did she want him to say? "I guess it depends on what kind of change. Are we talking about mountains? Molehills? Are we even talking about us?"
She pinched the bridge of her nose and massaged gently, sighing. "This isn't how I imagined this conversation going."
Logan watched her carefully, still a little wary. "You can start over if you need to. I'm still completely lost."
She gave him a sour look and dug in her pocket. "You know what? Just take it!" She threw a small object at him and he caught it without looking. "And don't you ever say that I didn't try to make this at least a little more memorable."
Her change in tone relaxed Logan a little. She wasn't angry and, more importantly, she wasn't nervous, as she had been moments before. She was just annoyed, and that was something that he could deal with. "Why would this conversation need to be memorable? What the hell are you talking about?"
"That!" She pointed to what she'd thrown at him and he looked at the object he'd caught.
What the hell did a pregnancy test have to do with anything memorable…
Logan's mind screeched to a halt.
"Yeah," she said flatly.
He swallowed hard and chanced looking at the reading. It was faint, but his eyes were sharp and there was no mistaking what it read.
Just like that, his senses seemed to pick up on the slight changes that were now blatantly obvious. His scent clung to her more than usual, and something about her felt more… alive.
Or rather, something within her felt alive.
He ran his fingers through his hair. She was pregnant! "Fuck," he muttered.
Ororo rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "Yeah. That's how this happened."
He shook his head. She'd misinterpreted his meaning, but he couldn't move his mouth to tell her what he meant. First and foremost, he was relieved. For a moment, she'd had him worried that whatever she had to say was bad news for them. A million terrible scenarios had run through his mind at the speed of light, though he remembered none of them now that there was nothing to worry about.
But mostly, he was surprised. And happy. Children had never been an intense desire for him, but being around Marie, Lee, and Kitty had awakened a desire to have his own daughter. Or son. And the thought of having a child with Ororo, the only woman he could ever dream of sharing such an experience with…
Ororo was still waiting for him to speak, but he said nothing. He let the test slip through his fingers and fall to the ground as he attacked her fiercely, his entire being aching for every inch of her. He was, perhaps, a bit too eager. Her back collided with a slim tree in the small garden, damn near knocking it over. Her indignation lasted only seconds before she returned his kisses with equal passion, tugging at his hair and arching against him in a manner that suggested that she wanted him just as badly.
She pulled away briefly and stared at him with eyes as bright as sapphires. She looked torn. "My speech," she muttered, while her eyes screamed that they needed to go to their bedroom now.
Logan leaned down and offered his own opinion, nipping lightly at her throat. He knew that her job was important to her, but damn, he couldn't wait that long! He wanted to persuade her to forget about her responsibilities, just this once. What was the point of having two headmistresses if they didn't take each other's places ever now and then?
The sound she tried to contain told him that his persuasion was working. He took it one step further, finding that one spot between her shoulder and her neck that was most sensitive and giving her a love bite. She had to cover her mouth to stifle her moaning, and gave him a look that was pure heat.
"Emma can handle it," he mumbled before he did it again, harder. Her hand only just muffled a scream of ecstasy.
"You two disgust me," Emma declared, though she was nowhere in sight. Not that Logan was really looking. At the moment he didn't care who saw them. "Get the hell out of sight if you're going to do that!"
"And cover your thoughts!" Betsy added. "There are young telepaths here! Do you have any idea how loud and raunchy your thoughts are?"
Does that mean she's off the hook? Logan asked, already tugging her in the direction of the balcony stairs.
"Whatever," Emma said impatiently. "You have an hour. And you'd better not get impatient and do it in the office! It isn't soundproofed to keep out Logan's shrill howls!"
Shameless – as always – Logan grinned and fused his lips to Ororo's. Better make it two hours, he thought before he blocked everything out of his mind. Everything except his lover, his best friend, and the mother of his child.
The (Real) End
… until the next story!
I HAD to leave it all off with a sweet moment. SO... I believe thanks are in order...
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Thank you. Anyone who had anything to do with this story is partially responsible for me getting this far! Because YOU wanted to read more, so I had to give you more! Thank you to everyone, and see you in the next story. I'm going to take a well deserved break and work on the next story at a more leisurely pace. And, in the meantime, I think I'll make myself a hero cookie!