Awoke to Dreaming – by Darlin

A/N – Writing this story just tickled me to death, it's another one of my not so typical stories that I don't know how anyone will react after reading it but I had so much fun with it I really hope it's enjoyable for others. It's reminiscent of a comic book I liked way back in the day. Wonder if anyone will guess which one. I personally like the twistedness of it but don't know if it'll work or not for anyone else. It was supposed to be a one shot but it's probably going to be two chapters since I had such a blast with it and kept writing and writing so it got too long for a one shot, besides Remy has to be in it! At any rate I really would appreciate any feedback, good or bad and for anyone interested in updates for African Skies & Canadian Whiskey (AS&CW) and the long promised epilogue to Saints and Sinners (S&S) see below and for any who could care less skip on to Chapter One.

Updates : I keep waiting and hoping for that elusive muse but haven't been able to write for months but this came to me a few weeks ago and I thought if I start it I know I'll finish it and if I'm able to finish it then the creative juices might flow again and then maybe I could finish some other stories that I've had sitting around for, well years. Oh how I wish that comes true. It pains me to no end that I have left African Skies & Canadian Whiskey (AS&CW) go for so long and that I still haven't finished the epilogue to Saints and Sinners (S&S).

I finally found the scribbled over epilogue for S&S stashed in a drawer at work at the end of last year when we were moving things around for carpet installation and hoped to type it up and post it but I read through the story and I was appalled at how horrible it was which stalled the epi. It was okay up until the middle part I think and I want to go back and tweak the heck out of it. Ah well. Inspiration comes as it comes. I do mean to keep trying though.

Disclaimer - Almost forgot this. Well, why not? After all we all know I don't own any Marvel characters and it's just all in fun, no profit made here.

Chapter One – A Mirage of the Heart

I don't know if you've ever been out on the plains right after leaving Colorado or either coming into Colorado from Kansas but it's wide open out there, just this huge almost empty space and if you drive through in the evening into night out on the horizon you can see such a display of lightning flashing in the sky it will fill you with both fear and wonder.

Ororo Munroe flew in on the winds just in time for the light show, a sight she'd witnessed only a few times before but one she'd never forgotten. She settled down on the ground, legs crossed, face lifted to the graying sky. Lightning was something she knew quite a lot about. It was deadly of course but if you could contain it, temper it; you could use it to suit your needs – her needs. She loved how she could manipulate this dangerous force of nature. It would suit her purposes well this evening but first she would enjoy its beauty one last time.

She loved watching lightning when she wasn't the one controlling it. There were never any consequences if she was only a spectator. There was never the concern that innocents might be caught in the crossfire, lightning gone wild, out of her control. No worries, no guilt, no emotions save pure, simple pleasure.

How do you describe lightning? Ororo never could. It didn't dance, it didn't rain down like some bolt of justice directed by some Asgardian god – not usually. It crackled and struck instantaneously like some death sentence of light and power, its energy something even Ororo could never quite comprehend. To wield it, to be struck by it was power unimaginable. She was sure if she brought down enough lightning she could eventually overload and thus kill herself.

This evening the lightning took her breath. It was so beautiful that she wore a non stop open mouthed grin. Such might, such peace. The contradictions of her life. She sat there for a very long time. Far away from the highway, no houses or people nearby, unwelcome intrusions – welcomed solitude. It was too good to last.

She caught the scent of the hunter long before she heard the crunch of leather soles on hard beaten down earth.

"Guessed I'd find you here," a deep, gruff voice stated.

"How well you know me," she replied without turning.

She felt him behind her, all tension and conflicting emotions something she had come to expect from him less and less as their friendship had grown over the years. She wondered if during his trek across the plains he had taken in the beauty of the sky studded thick with clouds even in the growing dark, the majesty of the sight, light in darkness as sparks of thin jagged light rushed from the sky to the ground like some giant crone's fingers moving this way and that as if to work some magical spell. Had he taken a moment to give thanks to his maker for this beautiful day, this beautiful night, this beautiful moment?

"Are you gonna go back?" he asked her.

"No," she said and her voice was cold and flat though not defiant.

"Didn't think you would," was all he said.

"Then asking was foolish and you are not usually a foolish man, my friend," she said.

She heard him chuckle slightly before he caught himself and cleared his throat. There was business at hand and she knew he meant to tend to it. She heard him release his breath, a long weary sigh. He saw her release her own almost inaudible sigh of weariness as her shoulders rose then fell a fraction and he stealthily narrowed the distance between them. He was so quiet she wouldn't have heard except she could hear better than most, the wind on the wild open prairie hers to carry any slight noise to her.

She rose fluidly just as he lunged for her. He'd thought she'd accept this fate but she obviously hadn't as she twisted just out of his reach pushing away with wind and all the skill of her years with the X-Men. She wore a simple white shirt, long, a man's shirt, over a pair of cut off jean shorts and now her hand caught at her side feeling flesh and blood seeping from the claw marks that had raked over her, tearing the fabric. So close. But not close enough. By all rights she should be dead. Logan didn't often miss his target. But she had determination on her side and she knew he did not. She felt the wound; it was deeper than she'd first thought. Maybe he did have determination after all, she considered.

"Darlin' . . ." he started but that was all he could manage. What little determination he'd mustered was faltering fast.

Ororo let loose a hard laugh. "Darlin'! It's always darlin' with you. The worse is that you say it as if you mean it! You even once made me think you meant it! Once I thought . . . I thought . . ."

When she didn't finish his eyes implored her on. She shook her head as if it were no longer important what once was and truly, how could it be when the claws on his right hand were still dripping with her blood?

"What?" he asked. "What did you think, 'Ro?"

He needed to know. She saw it on his face. As if he expected her to say something that would give him some just cause to stop this mission of death. But it wouldn't. She knew nothing she could say would stay his hand and he knew it too. Still she wanted him to know before she departed this world because it was once important to her and sometimes she still thought of it, a painful, childish memory.

"It's rather silly now, pointless even," she said as she held up her blood covered fingers as proof.

"Tell me," he insisted, groping for anything to delay the inevitable.

She smiled sadly as she let her hand fall. "Once, a long, long time ago, I thought I was in love with you," she whispered feeling her stomach unexpectedly tighten into a knot of anguish as she waited to hear what he would say.

That same knot of anguish connected them in that moment, his own stomach lurching as her words registered with him, the thought of what could've been, what they'd missed.

"Maybe it was just a dream," Ororo said lightly when he didn't respond. "You know those hot Australian days – a mirage of the heart."

"It wasn't," he said, shaking his head. "I thought maybe just for a while there we were – you know, that maybe things could've gone in a different direction for us an' then . . . well I left for a minute an' everything blew up all to pieces."

Nanny. Genosha. Mrs. Scott Summers . And then T'Challa .

Logan would've followed her to hell and stayed there with her back in the old days. There wasn't anyone he trusted more even now. He'd never regretted following her to Australia despite the way things had turned out. He would've done anything for her she'd meant that much to him and nothing had changed, he still cared deeply. They'd had so many chances and not just in the Outback but it seemed something had always gotten in the way or either someone. But she had loved him once and knowing that touched him greatly. Had he known before this how things could have been different! So much wasted time. And now there was no time, not for them, not for her.

"Let me hold you, darlin'," he said and held out his arms for her, claws still extended. "It'll be easier; I'll be with you till the end."

Her laugh, still harsh still bitter, made him feel like the guilty executioner he was.

"Put me down like a dog, is that the plan? Hold my hand while you stab me in the heart? Just like you did to Lady Mariko ?"

He looked down, away from her, his mouth tightening, his emotions struggling for release – anger, hurt, love, regret all teeming together.

"But I am not a dog, Logan . I will not lie down and do what you tell me. I meet my fate on my own terms," she said.

"I know that, 'Roro! You're the strongest person I've ever known an' you're the best friend a man ever had too. I care for you more than you know; we've been connected in some way or another since the day I saved you from drowning and I love you, Ororo. Maybe not the way you wanted me too but in my own way an' I expect I always will, you've been such a huge part of my life darlin', but you know we gotta do this, you got no choice an' neither do I, don't matter how much we care for each other or what all could've happened between us if I'd pulled my head outta my ass. The virus you're infected with is gonna spread an' with your powers who knows how many you might infect or kill. Time's runnin' out, you can't let it take you over, 'Ro. The woman I know and respect wouldn't allow that. You know this is the only way."

"Fast and painless, one . . . two . . . three claws to the heart, dying in your arms," she mused aloud. "There are few better ways to leave this earth I suppose but . . . no," she said her voice firm and decisive. "No, Logan I will not die that way, not this day."

"You know I can't let you do this, 'Ro. Think of everyone you could kill once it gets outta control!"

"I am disturbing no one here. Look around you, there is no one else here beside you and I."

He laughed now. "You fly remember? It ain't like you can't reach a city an' take 'em all out, not ta mention if your powers spike what's happenin' now, that lightning out there, won't look like more than a few sparklers compared to what you'd unleash, darlin' – folks would be helpless if you're turned."

She smiled wryly. "I will not leave this spot. I promise you, Logan . Let me end this my way."

Looking up at the sky and the lightning he had an idea just how she meant to end this nightmare. He wasn't so sure overloading herself with electricity would work though. He'd seen her go rogue once and she'd absorbed enough voltage it would've killed most mutants but it hadn't killed her. And yet he actually considered her proposal for a minute. He owed her a death with dignity. He owed her so much more than that. But finally he had to shake his head. He had orders. She would be a danger to everyone on the planet if she were allowed to live. He couldn't take the chance even though he knew she'd try to keep her word.

Hank had explained that the virus would spread quickly once it progressed to the last stage where, like the Legacy virus of old, powers could become unpredictable, increasing to the point where the carrier of the virus often was no longer in control. But this virus was worse than the Legacy virus. This virus turned mutants into something akin to vampires Hank had told them. They hungered for blood without reason because Dracula was partly responsible for the creation of the virus. Sinister had the oddest alliances. But Dracula had promised to spare Ororo if she would come to him, to cure her with one bite. He would make her his, a true vampire fully able to control herself for the virus did not affect vampires if one was turned in time. This was essentially the only known cure if cure it could be called. One still craved blood but if turned into a vampire it enabled the victim to at least choose how they slaked their hunger. More importantly it would allow Ororo to remain as close to her true self as possible without the surge of powers that might possibly be uncontrollable and without the constant insatiable lust for blood causing her to kill anyone to get it. She had of course refused. Long ago she had decided that she would take her own life rather than become a vampire and that decision stood.

The time for talking, for wishing things had been different was over. Logan pounced. He was fast, faster than her, but she was agile even wounded as she was and again she twisted from him, twisting and twirling up and away into the air. And then, the virus having gotten to that last unthinkable point, she drew lightning from the skies and sent it crashing into him. But even as she did this she let out a loud cry horrified at what she'd done and she cursed the day she'd met Dracula.

Logan was sprawled on the ground unable to hear or even feel, dead for all intents and purposes. Ororo lit back onto the ground and stood over him trying to discern if he was breathing and saw and felt there was no air going through his destroyed lungs. She looked at his mangled, lifeless body with the wonder of a child. This mighty, burly, barrel chested man was dead at her hands. She held those hands out before her and looked at them marveling at how easy it was to electrocute him, to still his heart, to take his last breath – just as he would've taken hers. To kill or be killed. Survival. It was, she found, a delicious feeling even exhilarating. But wrong she had to remind herself. She shivered, realizing that the virus was spreading too fast. Was she losing command of her wits already?

The question of her sanity was forgotten when she saw there was movement in Logan 's body. He sucked in a gulp of air from now restored lungs. It wasn't easy killing the Wolverine though she'd always known this. The knowledge made her smile, glad to know some things could always be counted on. But when his hand moved to the hole in his chest where he'd been struck, fingers feeling the burnt fabric and skin without even thinking about it she jolted him again. His body did a little hop off the ground then went inert. She leaned forward observing the damage, the smoldering flesh, the shredded t-shirt, the stench and the way the skin began to knit back together as she imagined his heart must be doing. How much current to kill him she vaguely wondered.

Sinking onto her knees, ignoring the slight pain from the gash to her side, she leaned over Logan and slowly, despite the horror she felt, let her teeth, now sharpened from the disease, sink into Logan 's throat. Go for the jugular Logan had always advised her even knowing that the odds were slim to nil that she ever would. But you never knew what you might have to do, stab someone to death, rip a heart from someone's chest, kill yourself before you yourself became the enemy. Too late for her now, she knew as she supped on the strangely divine tasting blood of a man she once and perhaps still loved.

"I am hardly full," she murmured to herself shortly when she saw the jagged bitten flesh on his throat was nearly closed. He would be awake soon, alive again, she thought and true enough his eyes fluttered open.

"What did you hit me with, darlin'? A Mack truck?" he choked out.

"I am afraid I am going to have to put you down again," she said.

"Ya don't think we could talk about this maybe?"

"No. I am sorry, truly."

Logan closed his eyes, trying to recover his strength. He'd be useless until his body started healing itself again and if she kept filling him with electricity and stopping his heart his healing factor would be forced to work overtime which meant it would end up slowing down significantly. And if he didn't heal fast enough there wouldn't be a chance to stop her from leaving him and moving on to the nearest town to feast.

"I do not mean to toy with you like a cat would a mouse," Ororo said. "I – I must do this, Logan , I cannot help myself. Forgive me."

He was struggling to sit up just as lightning struck him again knocking him to the ground. Ororo climbed on top of him this time, ripping the remains of his t-shirt away. Her hand absently threaded through the soft hair on the upper part of his chest which was the only part left in tact and then she bit into his neck again, delighting in the taste of fresh blood gushing over her tongue and into her mouth. Oh it was so good.

It was long past midnight when Ororo finally felt full and she collapsed on top of Logan 's still body and sighed. He was still warm from the last surge of lightning she'd been forced to hit him with in order to keep him out of commission. He smelled of burnt flesh, blood and death and strange familiarity. He felt good beneath her, sturdy, familiar. His scent was still vaguely his too even as death had been overridden time and time again. The ever present odor of cigar smoke that always lingered over him was a tiny hint of what used to be, not only the man that he had been but the woman she used to be. It made her ache with regret but it also somehow calmed the mind warping virus within her helping to bring reasoning back.

Logan awoke almost imperceptibly. He felt as if he were waking from a nightmare only to find himself still dreaming. He felt trapped with no control over his body as sometimes happens when you dream of something evil lurking near but he caught Ororo's scent over the stench of charred flesh and death and struggled to regain control over himself. He felt her body pressed against his, felt her gentle breathing on his neck. The feel of her was achingly familiar and he couldn't help the sudden desire he felt for her. That wasn't where his head needed to be and he knew it but he couldn't help remembering the many times he'd held her and kissed her as he felt her fingers running now through the thick hair on his chest. Her touch, her feminine form all clouded his mind. He wanted her.

Thoughts of what he had to do didn't change that. It didn't help that her sweet scent was all around him overriding all others. He knew that scent so well. A feeling of peace settled over him as he inhaled. It was always that way with her, when she was near, something about her always put him at his ease. But the moment passed almost as quickly as it had come to him. Her scent was magnified, pure as the morning dew and as earthy as a forest floor but it was different too, changed so drastically he felt he had to be dreaming still. Everything was all wrong, the Ororo he'd known and desired was gone, just a shadow of herself. He forced himself to shrug off the misleading sense of peace and the dark desire that had taken hold of him as cold truth sunk in and all semblance of familiarity, of normalcy, was replaced with sudden panic as he again realized what he must do.

Focus, focus, he told himself. It was harder than it should've been and he guessed the virus was working on him. His body was fighting the infection while trying to heal the damage she'd done to him, too much for his system all at once as he knew it would be and it left him vulnerable to the affects of the virus, He felt a ravenous longing to taste her blood but to feel her too, to take her there without any regard to anything else. It was mixed up, twisted and overwhelming. He craved her. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and bite into her. But the influence wouldn't last he knew. It virus would be out of his system soon and while he waited it would give him time to clear his head, to forget everything that she meant to him, to tune out her touch and her body, the need for blood. It was hard going though. Virus or not how could he stop thinking of being with her when her breast were pressed against his chest and her thighs were straddling his? And her neck was so close, her veins almost calling to him. He closed his eyes and wished desperately that he could wake and find none of this had ever happened.

He forced himself to concentrate on the subtler scents he was able to detect from her which reeked of death. She smelled of blood and that distinct aroma you get when it rains, part musky, full of decayed leaves and damp dirt. There was a name for that she'd told him once – petrichor! Yes that was it. Concentrating on something so mundane helped bring him back. He would have to kill her. The thought was almost too much with the weight of her body lounging against him. He couldn't stop the desire he felt for her, both sexual and emotional. If he could take this virus from her he would even if it meant that he had to be put down like a dog or caged like a rabid dog to keep others safe. Only he couldn't and so he had no choice. The virus had turned Ororo into a merciless killer and would've turned him too if he didn't have the ability to overcome it. She had waited too long to take her own life and now it was up to him.

"Darlin', think we can talk now?" Logan sputtered, still not moving.

"Hmm? Oh, I'm a little drowsy after such a meal," she said quite naturally and sat and stretched her arms and yawned.

"Glad ta see you were able ta get comfortable," he said.

She glanced at him as she lowered her arms. He saw her pupils clouding over.

"What is there to talk about, Logan ? I am the monster you knew I would become," she said, ready to silence him again.

"You can't keep killing me, darlin'."

"You are so damn hard to kill," she agreed.

"Might be we can work somethin' out."

Shaking her head sadly she leaned in to bite him but unbeknownst to her he'd recovered his strength and she failed to attack him before going in for another bite whether from drowsiness or simple oversight and he was able to knock her to the ground. He quickly scampered on top of her and pinned her.

"This is wrong, what you're doing, what I'm doing," she murmured, her eyes glowing white hot and he knew she was ready to summon more lightning to finish him off. "How many times I have faced death and once even welcomed it rather than suffer a fate much like this. I didn't want to die then – oh, Logan I don't want to die!"

He knew she was recalling the first time they were attacked by the Brood and she'd attempted to kill herself out in the coldness of space. He too had gone through a similar experience later but on Earth and like now his body had been able to reject the alien essence growing inside him.

"I know it darlin', it ain't like I want this either," he said. "You know how it tore me up with M'iko . I carry that with me to this day but this . . . this is gonna be a hundred times worse."

His fingers digging into her wrists were like shackles forcing her arms into the dirt and sparse grass. He looked down into her watery white eyes and tried not to remember the deep, clear blue they usually were. Thunder bellowed as if calling out a warning to him but no lightning came. His claws sprung out with the disquieting sound they always made. He saw the white of her eyes fade and her pupil's return – the blue eyes he knew so well. She tried to smile and then her eyes shut tight.

"Do it," she whispered.

His heart leapt. One chance only, he thought and struck before either could weaken. She gasped. Her eyes and mouth opened wide. There was no pain. Surprise covered her face. He pulled his claws from out of the ground beside her, wiped them slowly over a few tufts of grass then finally sheathed them. He didn't look at her.

"Oh, Logan you should have!" she groaned.

He covered his face with his hands briefly before looking at her.

"Couldn't," he admitted and lifted a leg and moved off her.

"This isn't what I want," she said but already her eyes were clouding over.

"Getting' used to it," he muttered. "It's kinda kinky though ya don't need ta shock me . . . just go on an' take a bite, I'll probably choke on my own blood." After having said this he laid down as if all the fight had gone out of him.

" Logan . . ."

"Nah, go ahead, take a bite," he said and reached out and patted her hand. "Like I said it's kinda sexy with you sittin' on top of me with those big ol' thighs of yours."

"They are not big!" she shrieked.

"Oh I ain't sayin' you're fat, darlin' just ya got plenty of what a man wants."

"You always had a way with the women didn't you my friend?"

"Not with the ones I really wanted."

"If this is your idea of trying to impress me or an attempt to get the better of me you're doing a very poor job old friend."

Logan grinned and before she knew what had happened she was pinned beneath his heavy body again. Something besides the virus and fear took hold of her, of both of them and they stared at each other with sudden understanding.

"One thing about you most folks don't know, 'Ro – ya got an ego that puts Magneto an' that brat of his ta shame sometimes – ya got too much confidence, too sure of yourself when you should be trustin' your emotions instead. It's a fine line trustin' you're instincts, thought I taught ya that."

She struggled beneath him grunting in anger and something else, something Logan took advantage of. He kissed her. She surprised him and bit his tongue. He laughed and kissed her again, long and hard, letting her suck the blood from his tongue and biting her back when she bit him again. Their heightened emotions and the impossibly desperate situation drew them together in a rush of passion that neither had expected.

"It's so good to feel alive . . . before I die," Ororo cooed as she finally gave into the kiss.