The Sweetest and Saddest of Days – by Darlin
A/N – I kind of like making up realistic solutions to Marvel's oversight in not letting RoLo actually happen. This is one of those odd little stories I think up from time to time that I don't think is for everyone because this isn't fluff but rather, at the very least, a bittersweet one shot. I like bittersweet.
And to anyone going to see the Avengers this weekend do stay for the credits because if you're a true believer, a die hard Marvel fan you will LOVE it!
Disclaimer - Oops, I forgot to admit my lack of guilt in trying to make profit or infringe upon Marvel's copyrights with my little story.
Shivering wasn't something Ororo did. She wasn't like other people. She never got cold, never got hot either. She sometimes thought of herself as akin to the little bear from Goldilocks in his snug just right bed. But she wasn't just right. She wasn't a normal person, not even really homo sapien. She was a mutant, homo superior, who could control the elements. If you wanted a snowstorm she was your girl. If you wanted a cool day to enjoy a hot dog day in August she was the one to call. Of course she didn't try to manipulate the weather every day and for such mundane purposes. Like today, a cold day even with the sun shining. It was supposed to be cold in April, chilly springy weather, but all month it had been so hot that everything had started blooming prematurely. Definitely not normal. Just like her.
The thing is, she knew why the weather was turning. You don't mess with Mother Nature, as the saying goes, but she did and often. She'd always known one day she would face the consequences of that as one must always face the consequences of their actions. Global warming probably had a lot to do with her, in fact Global warning was probably her fault. She chuckled. She knew something like that was nothing to laugh at even as she envisioned an angry throng of puny humans chasing her down with pitchforks just as they had once hunted down Kurt. Thoughts of Kurt made the laugh die on her lips. Her stomach felt heavy, full of pain.
"Don't think of Kurt, don't think of Kurt," she whispered determinedly to herself.
"Best advice I've heard in a long, long time," a deep gruff voice said behind her as arms wrapped around her waist. Logan, the Wolverine, her best friend who was always there for her.
His voice immediately soothed her, took away that heaviness, the despair, the ache of losing a dear friend. She sunk into the man behind her letting him hold her up, to sustain her. The embrace was almost too tight but welcomed, and so very much needed. He rested his chin on her shoulder and sighed contentedly. It had been a long time since he'd held her, a long time since he'd let himself sink into the peacefulness of Ororo's aura. Everything about her from her firm stately body to the delicate natural scents that clung to her were soothing to the wildness that always lurked within him. He'd missed this. Missed her.
Outside the wind picked up. From their place before the bay window in the hallway they watched blossoms swirl in the breeze. Too early blossoms floating in the too late cold, as odd a thing as she and he were she supposed. But she loved Logan and she knew he loved her. Wasn't that all you needed? Love? Love no matter if she was married and he with another, love whether they were on opposite teams or just simply opposites. How could anyone think it mattered that they were different in height, in color, in temperament? Perhaps the only thing they shared was that they were both mutants and fellow X-Men, loved nature, and no matter what, they loved each other and she supposed they always would.
Suddenly Logan let her go and moved beside her, glancing behind him. She soon heard the click clack of shoes on the wood flooring, a fast pace, determined, even angry.
"Scott," she said and Logan nodded.
He found them standing side by side looking out a window with a view of the front lawn and it angered him. Scott had come for Ororo. She was supposed to be on his team not Logan's though he knew that's where she'd initially wanted to be, on Logan's side. It had taken quite a bit to get her to stay with him, with his team, with his students. He wasn't happy about her visits back here, back where it had all begun, where he'd fallen hopelessly head over heels in love with a woman long dead, a woman Logan had named this new school after. This place, new as it was, still had too many memories. This was where he'd first met Ororo and Logan and the others that had saved his beloved and the first team from Krakoa the living island. This was where he'd first taken them under hand and molded them into a cohesive team, helped mold them into the people that they were now.
His fingers twitched as he looked at the back of their heads. He hadn't expected Logan to acknowledge him but he was Storm's leader, she should at least show some respect and turn and face him. He was suddenly filled with a wild desire to open his visor just a slit and send a fine beam of his deadly optic rays into the man's heart just to get a rise out of the little upstart. The itch to raise a hand and adjust his visor, prepare for the shot was almost too much to resist, the satisfaction he would get from doing so overwhelmingly tempting. Not too long ago the thought of wanting to bait Logan would have bothered him but now it didn't at all. Still, he fought the urge and balled his hands into fist instead.
"Control, control," he thought. And yet even as he knew he must control the urge to lash out at Wolverine it didn't make him stop and think how things were no longer right, as they had been when he was young and idealistic, young and in love, young and hopeful, a youthful believer in the professor's ideals. Now all he felt was the need to take control, to do whatever was necessary to stay in control, to protect those he was responsible for. Including Ororo.
He didn't see the green trees full of flowers, didn't catch the whiff of fragrance that wafted on the air through the open window, he didn't see anything but one long white ponytail and a black haired Wolverine – both of them ignoring him. His lips pressed together to contain his anger. If he was the paranoid type he'd think they were plotting against him.
"You want somethin', Cyke?" Logan finally asked without turning.
"Is that what you want? You want Ro? Or are ya just sayin' ya wanna talk to her? Just spit it out, Slim," Logan said, now turning to face the one eyed X-Man he was at odds with.
"Ororo, we need to talk," Scott said, ignoring Logan.
Ororo's shoulders sagged. This was supposed to be her free time and her choice where she spent it. "I don't want to talk, Scott," she said, still not moving from the view before her.
"You need to stop coming here," Scott said. "It doesn't look right."
Ororo bit back an angry retort. Logan did not.
"Emma know you came after Ororo like this? She got anything ta say about that? I'm guessin' you wouldn't care what she thought, probably didn't even tell her 'cause you've always gotta be right all the time now, Summers. But you've got no say in what Ororo does. Got no say in who she wants ta be with or what she wants to do here with me or anywhere else," he said.
"I think maybe her husband has a say in it," retorted Scott.
Ororo gasped and spun around.
"My husband has no say in what I do as long as he continues to remain apart from me, Scott and you, of all people should understand that or must I remind you how you treated Jean when she was still alive and Emma was wheedling her way into your heart even though you were married?"
Scott's teeth clenched. How many times did he have to tell them nothing had ever happened between him and Emma? It was just a . . . just a . . . "Just a what?" he wondered now because he had wanted Emma even if he hadn't done anything. He'd trusted Emma with crazy intimate things he never would have wanted to admit to Jean. And now Jean was dead and he would always have to live with that guilt, that he hadn't been able to save her, save them, save himself. He was drowning in responsibility, drowning in too much emotion, too many people pulling him in different directions, drowning with no life preserver in sight, no friend to pull him free. Not even Emma.
"Is there some mission you want to send me on or did you want to share a picnic with Logan and I?" Ororo asked.
She turned back to the window gesturing to the beauty outside. But she knew Scott would not take her up on her offer, knew too that he couldn't see what she saw, what Logan saw – beauty that would go on long after they were gone, beauty that no man could control, no man could stop, not with plows or fire or poisons because the earth always recovered no matter what man threw at it. No matter what she threw at it. Beauty was what no man could live without even if he did not realize this.
"I just want you to come back," Scott said.
"I will go back when you have need of me and no sooner."
"Logan, you know she shouldn't be here."
"Yer talkin' ta the wrong man, bub. Ro's welcome here anytime. It's you an' me that's got a beef not her an' me."
"It just doesn't look right. Children gossip, they won't understand."
"Understand what? Two friends gettin' ready ta roast some hotdogs an' marshmallows?"
"Two friends about to commit the biggest mistake they might ever make."
"You've no right to insinuate anything about my character or morals, nor Logan's. Neither of us accused you when Jean was hurting while you carried on with Emma!"
"Maybe you should have," Scott admitted.
"Well, I called ya on it once . . ."
"After the fact," Scott reminded him. "What good was after the fact, Logan? Is that what you want me to do? Would you like me to drop by after you've gone too far?"
"This is ridiculous!" Ororo said.
"We were just standing here," Logan said.
Scott couldn't deny that but there was clearly something going on. He could see it in the way they stood so close together, the way they didn't look at each other, as if knowing one look at the other would give them away. He knew all this because he had been there, he had acted just like this with Emma when he was married to Jean.
"Maybe you should get a divorce," he suggested.
"Maybe you should mind your own business," Ororo replied.
But Logan glanced at her and Scott caught the brief look, a look of hope, of what if. He sighed because he was sorry his hunch was right. They were in love. He'd seen it happening maybe before either of them had realized it but then they'd gone to Africa and just like that it was over. Logan had come back without her, antsy, grumpy, angry – the usual Logan but intensified. He had lost Ororo in her mother's homeland. And now, now had he won her back?
"You can't possibly think the Panther's going to take this lightly."
"What? A picnic?" Logan scoffed though his lips quirked into a satisfied smirk.
"He still thinks he's married to a faithful wife. What would any man do if he thought his wife was unfaithful?"
"I have not broken my vows though it is none of your business, Scott and I resent that you would even accuse me of that!"
"I . . . look, Ororo I'm your friend . . ."
"You couldn't tell us two things about Ororo outside X-Men stuff, Cyke, what kinda friend is that?"
"I know both of you live by a code few of us could ever dream to strive for much less achieve as well as you two have. I know you cling to your honor, both of you, and neither of you would want any of the children under your watch or my watch to see you act any other way."
Logan started to speak but couldn't.
"If you knew me or Logan then you would know that Logan and I have done nothing to be ashamed of and nothing that would mislead the children, Scott," Ororo said.
He looked into her dark blue eyes and knew that for now she spoke the truth. For now. But if she stayed? If she kept coming back here would they forget everything that made them who they were, their honor, their morals, their self respect?
"An affair is no easy thing," Scott said. "It can destroy everyone around you including yourself."
The three of them stood there in the corridor by the window, none noticing that the wind had picked up even more, the air growing frigid, even as their hair blew about and the men shivered. Scott with eyes they couldn't penetrate, but their faces open for him to see that he had guessed right but had also said what was necessary to make them reconsider the path they were going down, maybe even stop before it was too late. And seeing that there was nothing more he could say he turned and left.
Logan didn't want to look at Ororo, didn't want her to see him as Scott had described him, a man with no honor, no morals, a man that he would never want to be. But he loved her and he wanted her whether she was married or not. He hadn't asked her to come to him, had only suggested they have a picnic down by the lake, get together, talk. But he had known she would come. He'd felt deep inside himself that she needed him just as he'd felt when she'd needed him so many times before. And all those times he had gone to her, to aid her in any way he could.
"I love you," he said, a low almost inaudible plead.
"I know," she said and she crumpled.
He caught her, eased her to the floor and held her.
"What are we to do?" she moaned as she buried her face against his chest so that her sob was muffled.
"Nothing," he said clearly, loudly, certain.
"I hate you," she groaned and her fist struck his chest but she did not try to pull away from him.
"I hate me too," he whispered, pulling her closer, wanting her but knowing he couldn't have her.
The wind outside brought snow and it fluttered in along with the joyous exclamations and cries of children having discovered a spring snow falling. But neither Logan nor Ororo heard, nor saw, nor sensed the change in the weather. Unexpected, unusual, uncontrollable, the pattern of the world upset once again. Just like Ororo. Just like Logan. But just like the weather they would recover, they would go on as if nothing had every happened and they would make sure that nothing ever did happen no matter how much they wished otherwise.
~ Finished ~