Secrets – by Darlin

Disclaimer – I don't own the X-Men or make profit from my little endeavor and don't mean to infringe upon Marvel's copyrights.

A/N –This is something I wrote a long time ago but didn't post because it feels a bit unfinished. However, every time I read this I just get this feeling that it works within itself just as it is, that maybe the unfinished quality adds to the back and forth telling of the story. I could be very wrong but here it is nonetheless.

-xox-

They weren't inebriated. They weren't exceptionally lonely. They weren't on the rebound. They didn't know exactly what it was or what they were. Old friends, the best of friends. And yet his kisses burned like molten lava. She disintegrated in his arms. It wasn't supposed to be like that. But it always was.

It wasn't the first time Logan and Ororo had come together. It wouldn't be the last time and they both knew it. It was never planned. His kisses, full of ardor, tasted spicy and dangerous. His mouth clung to hers. Their bodies worked in a rhythm only they could understand and no one else could match. No one out shone, no one could compare. And yet it wasn't love. They were sure of this. It was an unspoken fact to them. It could've happened to anyone, this desire.

And they couldn't deny that they sometimes longed for others as others, over the years, had longed for them whether spoken of or not. A never ending circle full of desires and secret longings. Friends, teammates, lovers, it was so hard for them to see the truth. They were so disciplined. You just didn't fall recklessly head over heels. You didn't give yourself permission; you never let yourself go like that without rhyme or reason, regardless of consequences.

But there were moments. Stolen moments.

And every time she sighed, breath hot and fast tickling his ear, he died. Control nearly lost he barely kept from taking what he wanted but he was never selfish, not with her. And yet it wasn't love he told himself. There was no definition. Two friends partaking of wild, fulfilling, all consuming sex perhaps a dozen times a year. He didn't know what it was called but he didn't want to live without it.

No one suspected. They weren't discreet necessarily. They were simply themselves. He'd catch her in his arms, dip her low and smother her lips with his and then he'd release her, strutting off leaving her hot and blushing and a little self conscious. The others laughed. Logan and Ororo's antics were nothing to them. They were so used to it. They thought nothing of their ardor though perhaps because it was so seldom. Even when he beat her in a training session and kissed her the others merely watched, amused or annoyed, depending upon the viewer.

Their desire smoldered. No. More than that, it thrived. Desire, want, need, lust, all combined into unforgettable sex after the waiting couldn't be endured any longer. Hot, heated, volcanic explosions – exhaustive bursts that threatened to consume them. Hard, fast, panting, growling, grunting, moaning, clinging. And when he was finally sated he knew her legs were like jelly and he'd take hold of her by her waist with both hands and sit her down, settling her onto chair or windowsill or even the sink where she didn't notice the cold porcelain hard beneath her. And he moved closer, his arms around her still, their foreheads pressed together as their breaths glazed each other's faces in the small confined space of their assignation. How they got there was always forgotten. Instinctive need?

And there were never words. No confessions, no declaration, no demands. And he loved her for that. Neither one guessed that what they felt might be much more than they could express with words. And then there was no need to. Scott died and Logan quickly moved in on Jean. The same ferocity and determination that overwhelmed Ororo won her best friend over within a year's time and they were married.

No one thought anything of it. No one expected Ororo to care and she didn't. She told herself that every day, every night. And every night was empty. She wasn't lonely for she'd never shared her nights with anyone. A few stolen moments with a teammate did not allow for loneliness. Or jealousy. She wished them well.

And yet it was nauseating watching them. Coming upon them in the kitchen or the rec room unexpected. Jean sitting on Logan's lap, his face buried in her barely covered bosom then looking up when caught, slightly embarrassed and very much aroused.

"Don't mind me," Ororo said for what else could she say?

"We won't," he joked but his hands fell away from his wife.

"Sorry," this from Jean who blushed and didn't mind the loss of her husband's embrace even after only a few months of marriage. "Things to do," she added and departed leaving her husband with his ex-lover though she was thoroughly oblivious to this.

He hummed. Deep and vibrant. He hummed a lot. Now. Ororo assumed he was happy. And he tried to believe he was too. And though she wasn't she smiled, happy for him.

It was moments like this when she knew her life was incomplete. There were no more heated encounters in sheds or at the lake or like the Christmas when they were to part, she determined to search for the rest of Destiny's Diaries. That night was a cherished memory, like a photograph held in her hands she could see it that clearly.

She'd sat in the large living room watching Betsy who was flitting from Neal to Warren and back. Ororo had felt uneasy and unsure of her plans. Was it right to leave Xavier because she wasn't sure she could trust him? Was she wrong in her lack of trust? He had been so good to her, to all of them and yet . . . The Christmas party did nothing to ease those doubts. Her eyes had sought Logan out. And there he was, drink in hand, cigar clenched betwixt his teeth. Watching her. Unexpected, heart stopping. She quickly looked away. She still felt it – him – whatever it was, this need – like a living presence, insistent, overpowering. An urge she could not resist sent her gaze back to him. His eyes were now on Betsy. And she knew he was thinking much as she was as he watched their teammate's behavior, unconsciously pitting Warren and Neal against each other. Relationships should be easier – like theirs. And his head had turned, eyes seeking Ororo just as hers had sought his again. He saw her watching him as he had watched her, knew her thoughts were his.

And they were. She darted from the room finding the nearest retreat. It didn't matter that it was only a small powder room off the foyer. She splashed cold water on her face. Waiting. And as she knew it would the door opened and strong burly arms wound their way around her waist as the door clicked shut. She'd leaned back into his massive chest all her tension released in that simple act.

The things they did in the most intimate moments like then she would always remember. It was more than animalistic sex, more than some magnetism that drew them to each other mindlessly. He'd locked the door and made love to her there in the small powder room. And once finished he was loathe to part from her. And she too dreaded the moment when they were no longer one. Only when the door handle rattled and a thick German accent muttered in chagrin did they pull apart. He kissed her lips, she clung to him a moment longer and then it was as if nothing had happened between them. She pulled her clothes on; he adjusted his pants, his belt.

"How do I look, all right?" she'd asked after they'd cleaned up.

"Beautiful." As always.

And then they'd stopped. Neither moved. They looked at each other in the mirror joined in this moment as surely as they had been joined only moments before. It was as if time had stilled. There were no thoughts, no words, no revelations as they watched the other. Smiling. Whether it was the after effect of lovemaking or something else, something more, they didn't stop to contemplate. They only felt. There was contentment in their union though they were no longer touching.

"After you," she'd finally said, awakening from the spell she'd been under and he'd obliged however reluctantly, turning to the door, listening till the coast was clear and as always they made a discreet exit.

And when they'd returned no one suspected. They were never suspected. They slipped back into their friend's midst just in time to be herded together for a group picture. Someone stuffed Santa hats on their heads but before Logan could snatch his off Ororo draped an arm around his neck pulling him close, whispering in his ear a word no one would think to call him.

"Adorable."

And he had half snorted, half grinned, the moment caught on film. When they saw the picture they could both see what no one else could see. They looked rough, straight from their stolen moment of heated sex – could it be called love making? The picture captured the two only minutes after their joining of bodies but also the joining of mind and soul and heart and spirit. A whispered word, a grin, her arm thrown over him so casually, their bodies touching, the heat in their eyes – what no one else could see or would ever know.

And that was their way. So intense, so casual.

She'd left the team and he had remained. His love for Jean continued though she was still wed to Scott at the time and Ororo went on with her life. But when she was wounded he hurried to be with her as did Jean. Her two friends fought for her, each in their own way, demanded that she live. And afterwards, like a lover, he took her away and tended to her, aiding in her recovery. But even then they seldom gave into their urges as if the physical was too potent, as if it would strip them of who they were leaving them exposed, vulnerable – a fate neither dare tempt.

But it was always there, this undercurrent of emotions and need so that they couldn't stop going to each other the few times they did give in to something so much larger than themselves. Until now. Logan a married man. Lost to her. Memories of what they once were – the conflagration that was them – would not die. She yearned to shed the memories, even fought to forget them but like the photograph of her and Logan in Santa hats she couldn't let it go. She remembered every intimate moment whether silly or foolish.

One night he had stayed, a rare thing, snoring loudly, his body splayed on top of hers and so heavy it was almost unbearable to be caught beneath him. Yet she'd been enthralled and overwhelmed with some nameless joy because he was still with her, sleeping, staying. She hadn't been able to make herself wake him or push him from her. She'd suffered in sadistic, contented silence until he'd grunted, woke suddenly, kissed her lips sleepily then rolled aside and pulled her to him. That night she'd slept with her face sweating against his chest, his thick chest hair tickling her nose, heedless of the discomfort of it all because she'd been so completely happy that he was still there with her as if he were truly her lover. And the crick in her neck when she woke in the morning was proof he'd been there – proof she'd been loved.

Was it pathetic? Naïve? She didn't love him. This she insisted repeatedly to herself. She didn't miss him. He was still her friend. He'd gone nowhere. He was still there just married. Nothing changed between them except their physical bond. He still grinned at her and teased her when he beat her in the Danger Room though he didn't kiss her. He still touched her arm when he tried to get a point across. He still placed his large hand at the small of her back when he held the door open for her. He still worried when she was hurt, was still the first one to check on her then. There was still touch, still caring so she'd never lost him or any of the tiny things they'd shared. He was still one of her closest friends. But it wasn't the same and she knew it. And he knew it when he thought of it though he wouldn't allow himself to. He could still have her friendship and that meant more to him than sex or love and, he had come to discover, more than love for a woman whose heart remained true to her first love. Whether married to Jean or not, mistake or not, Ororo was still his best friend. There wasn't anyone else he trusted more. Or missed more. But ever honorable and faithful he stood by Jean. As did Ororo. She would never tell her friend what she and Logan had been to each other. And she found a replacement out of necessity – the Cajun, Remy LeBeau. Or so she thought she had.

When she had sex with Remy it wasn't the same in any way. The day of the wedding, after Logan and Jean left for their honeymoon, Remy was the only one who'd had an inkling of her feelings for Logan. The party at an end, clean up put off till the next day, the only stragglers had been Ororo who lingered where last she'd seen Logan before he'd left with Jean and Remy who had watched Ororo all evening.

"Dance with me, chère," he'd said and without waiting for an answer he danced off with her in a smooth waltz.

He could dance like a prince and she loved to dance. Being in his arms that night was balm to her soul. He spoke broken French to her, whispering of her beauty and all that life had to offer and though she'd only half believed him she'd laughed, carefree for the first time since she'd heard the news of Logan and Jean's engagement. Logan was gone and she was in the arms of another man just as he was probably in the arms of his wife. She wanted to erase all memory of his touch and she leaned into Remy eagerly, viciously hoping Logan knew she was with another man and it hurt him as much as him being with Jean hurt her.

And Remy wanted to make her forget. He wanted her to let Logan go. He wanted her to live, to be happy, to find a man who would be there for her and own up to it. So he'd swirled her out onto the patio and then down onto the lawn and around to the side of the house. He'd kissed her as they swayed gently to the sounds of crickets and frogs and a lone night bird's song. And she'd forgotten he was almost like a brother and gave herself up to the kiss which utterly and unexpectedly consumed them both.

Remy was as needful as Ororo. There was no escaping that Rogue couldn't touch yet again. Knowing he could never love Rogue like he needed or marry her like Logan had Jean and knowing how deeply his best friend was hurting, his desire to give her some happiness that night turned into something he hadn't anticipated. And like Logan it didn't matter where they were. The grass served as bed and they lost themselves. It was sex but also love.

They'd always loved each other, something a little more than brother and sister. They'd never done more than kiss. She knew he needed that – contact. But that night she never considered his need. She only wanted to forget. In the end she wished she hadn't been so selfish. Unlike Logan, Remy hadn't been purged from whatever emotions that drew him to her when it was over. Afterwards laying with Ororo was – uncomfortable. He felt he'd strayed too far, crossed lines he never should have even thought of. He was full of apologies and worse – regrets.

"Ororo, we shouldn't have . . . ." he'd muttered.

"It was only sex," she told him.

"Lovemaking is not sex."

"You sound like a scorned woman."

"I do not!"

"I needed you for tonight, Remy but I don't need anything more. I don't expect anything more."

"You see Rogue an' me, we still together even if we aren't. I love dat girl even de way t'ings are or aren't between us, you understand, oui?"

"I know that, Remy. By the gods, how could you not realize that? She is one of my best friends. Despite my actions this night I'd never intentionally hurt her."

That had silenced Remy. There'd been no need for her to say that. He knew she wouldn't say anything more than he would but he also knew they'd just betrayed Rogue in the worse way. The revelation settled over him like a heavy mantle. Betrayal hadn't been hard for him before when he was a rogue on his own but as Ororo had embraced him and welcomed him into her world, as they became his family betrayal was non-negotiable.

"Remy, if you two were together you shouldn't have kissed me. You shouldn't have unzipped my dress, you shouldn't have . . ."

But there'd been no use in blaming him. She'd needed what he'd given her. That night above all other nights she'd needed someone. If he was sorry then she would try to accept it, ease his guilt. He wasn't Logan who'd never once regretted being with her no matter how much he loved someone else from afar. And she loved Remy enough to see this and try to make it right.

"It wasn't like dat – she an' me . . . I jus' love her, Stormy. You gotta understand dat."

"Of course I do. I know how you feel about her. I know we were wrong. I know you were just trying to comfort me and I needed that. I shouldn't have put you in this position. We'll never slip like this again. I will never tell her, you have my word. Please stop feeling guilty, Remy. It will all work out, it always does."

Truths, half truths. She didn't believe her own words. Wrong, right, she'd needed him; his body, his lovemaking but she didn't see how anything could ever work out when your heart was broken.

"Merci," he'd replied, needing her reassurance, grasping at anything to erase what he had done.

Had it been anyone else she would have wanted to tell him to go, to leave her but it was Remy and she couldn't do that because as much as he would do anything for her to lighten her woes she too would have done anything for him. Instead she took the blame, absolving him of all fault. Sex with him wasn't worth the grief and after guilt. She stood and put her dress on then bent to kiss his brow and left him there in the dark in the hedges alone with his guilt. And of course it had never happened again. It wasn't about how good or how fulfilling it was, Remy just couldn't deal with the guilt.

Their friendship remained intact and eventually he was finally able to accept what he'd done. She hadn't expected that from him, a flirt like him. She would laugh at the memory later. He just tried not to remember, partly because he knew he'd be tempted again, partly because he knew she'd used him that night because she was in love with Logan. Knowing that she loved another had, after the act, soured what had happened between them. Ironic because that was why he'd taken her in his arms and danced her into the shrubs and made love to her – to take the sorrow of losing Logan from her. Instead he'd been washed with guilt and desires he'd never been a party to before. And because he loved Rogue it made it all the harder. His libido made him long to be with Ororo again and he could envision all the ways he'd take her, in every room of the mansion and every secret spot on the grounds. But he'd learned his lesson, the guilt was too much. Never make love to your best friend if she happens to be a statuesque, tantalizing beauty. He was sure Rogue never guessed his secret longing and he hid it well, even from Ororo. Lust was strong but love, hard won, was stronger.

And it wasn't much different for Logan. He could lay with the woman he'd yearned for for so many years and sometimes his mind would slip as sleep came and he would remember those heated love making sessions with Ororo with no thought of tomorrow and no inhibitions and he missed what they'd had. He missed her. And when she smiled at him in passing he still felt that little flutter of pleasure, he still stood a little taller in her presence. He never told her nor any living soul and least of all himself but he loved her. And though there could never be anything between them now he refused to let her go. Or the memories. She was his best friend whether selfish or not and he held her to that. And he suffered the loss of what they'd had in silence, unnamed and unacknowledged though it was. Now, in marriage to another he could deny all he chose that it was not love but in the darkest, deepest, loneliest part of his heart he knew it was.

Secrets. Everyone has them.