Summary: Ororo and Logan discover their feelings for one another during a survival trip with the kids gone awry.
Timeframe: Season One.
Main Characters/Pairings: Ororo/Logan
Genre: Drama, Romance
Note: I haven't done this in awhile, since I usually finish my stories completely before posting, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Sometimes reviews have the added bonus of inspiring future chapters. I've got several chapters completed already, so hopefully I'll get the story done before writer's block sinks it's awful teeth into me. ;) Hope you like it!
"Evan?" Ororo knocked on the doorframe of her nephew's bedroom and peered inside. She smiled as she found him shoving clothes into a duffle bag.
He lifted a hand in a wave but didn't turn around. "Hey, Auntie O."
"Are you almost finished packing for the camping trip?" she asked him, striding into the room and avoiding the clothes, school books, and various sports equipment strewn across the room.
Evan's shoulders sagged visibly as he heaved a sigh and zipped up his bag. "Yeah, I'm done." He turned around and sat down on the bed. "Why do we hafta go on this trip anyway? We already did our survival training thing with Sergeant Hawk."
Ororo nodded. "Yes, but since it was interrupted due to the Juggernaut's attack on the Professor, we all felt that there were some things you had missed out on. Logan believes he still has some valuable things to teach you all, and I agree."
"Hmmph." Evan shook his head and slung his bag over his shoulder as he stood up. "Can't I just take a pass on this one, Auntie O?"
Laughing softly, she shook her head. "No, sorry Evan. Everyone is going; the professor insisted."
He lifted an eyebrow and eyed her suspiciously. "This mean you're coming, too?"
Ororo smiled indulgently at her nephew. "Yes, I'll be joining you as well. Willingly, I might add."
"Didn't figure you for the camping type."
"I enjoy being out in nature, Evan. I feel more connected with my powers when I am outside. And besides…I will be making sure Logan is not too hard on you kids, and that you all don't drive him insane." Ororo laughed at her nephew's surprised/offended look, and then he laughed along with her as they joined the others gathered in the kitchen.
After a quick breakfast they all met outside to help pack everyone's personal bags into the X-Van while Logan and Scott loaded the trailer with the camping gear and inflatable rafts. Once they were all jammed into the van, Logan started it up and they took off, on their way up to the Adirondack Mountains.
It was late into the afternoon when they finally reached their first campsite of the long, Memorial Day weekend, and everyone was tired expect maybe for Logan. The X-Van was parked and unloaded on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, and they'd all had to carry everything almost a mile into the woods before reaching camp.
"I toldja all to pack light," Logan said smugly as the students practically collapsed once they'd dropped their gear.
Kitty groaned from her place beneath a tree, leaning against her rucksack. She raised a hand in the air as though it weighed fifty pounds. "Mr. Logan, where's the bathroom?"
Ororo looked at Logan knowingly. Oh, this was going to be good.
Grabbing two folding camp shovels from one of the packs, Logan handed one to Kitty and the other to Kurt. At their puzzled looks, he pointed to different directions. "Girls on the right, boys on the left. Walk out at least twenty-five yards and dig a latrine. Two feet deep. Go."
Kitty and Kurt's jaws dropped. "Are you serious?" Kitty exclaimed, making a face that was clearly one of disgust.
Logan just stared at them.
The two teens got to their feet. Kurt hung his head and started walking, muttering under his breath as he did so. "Aw, man. This stinks. Literally."
Ororo stifled the urge to laugh.
"Slim," Logan barked at Scott. "You an' Red set up the tents and collect water for boilin'. Rogue, Porcupine; you two are on firewood duty."
As the remaining teenagers dragged themselves to their feet to get to their assigned tasks, Ororo crossed her arms and stared at Logan until he turned his attention to her. "And what is my assignment, Logan?"
He flashed her a brief grin. "You an' I are gonna catch dinner."
Once all the students had completed their given assignments, Logan dug a fire pit and then gathered them all around to learn how to properly stack kindling and use tinder for a fire. He also showed everyone how to get the fire going without the use of matches, a lighter, or mutant powers, how to boil and sanitize water using their metal canteens, and how to de-bone and filet fresh caught fish for cooking.
"Mr. Logan?" Kitty asked, making a disgusted face at the filleted pieces of fish in the pans from their mess kit.
"What is it Half-Pint?"
"I don't eat fish; I'm a vegetarian."
Logan grunted and snapped his fingers. "Right." He got up from the log he'd been sitting on while waiting for the fish to finish cooking and went over to the bag with their mess gear. He grabbed a rectangular package wrapped in brown plastic and tossed it at Kitty.
She caught it in surprise. "What's this?"
"Vegetarian MRE. Eat up, kid. Don't say I never think of ya." Logan winked with a smirk as she started to unwrap her 'meal' with an expression of more disgust than she showed for the fish.
"Vegetarian or not, I'd stick with the fish, man," Evan murmured, peering at the packaged food items Kitty was removing from the MRE bag. Producing a long spike from his forearm, he used it to poke at the fire while waiting for their dinner to be done.
"Whatever happened to cooking hot dogs over the fire?" Kurt wondered aloud as he was passed some fish.
Scott nudged him and whispered sarcastically, "Where would be the fun in that? Logan wouldn't get to kill anything."
Ororo had to admit that the fresh trout they'd caught smelled quite appetizing. She'd watched Logan season it with little packets of salt and pepper from their kits, and knew it wouldn't be as bland as she'd originally thought. As she was given her own plate, Ororo took a bite and was very pleased with the taste.
Later, while the kids were all tiredly turning in for the night—the three boys in one four-person tent, the girls in another—Ororo looked to her private two-person tent with trepidation. Due to her claustrophobia, she really wasn't looking forward to spending the night in the cramped space.
On his way to his own tent, Logan barked out one last warning to the kids to assure there was no 'tent-hopping' during the night, then tossed a few more large branches onto the fire and stopped beside Ororo. He waved his hand at her tent. "You gonna be okay in there, 'Ro?" He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "I gotta admit I wasn't really thinkin' 'bout yer claustrophobia when you said you wanted ta come along."
She grimaced and then turned it into a tight smile. "It is alright, Logan. I suppose I hadn't really considered it myself if I am to be perfectly honest."
He shrugged. "Well, ya can always sleep beneath the stars."
Ororo bit down on her lower lip hard and shook her head. "I'll be fine. The mesh tent flap should offer enough fresh air so I won't feel so closed in." She was finding it difficult to believe her own words, but she said it anyway. After all, she didn't want to make a fuss now. She'd be fine.
Logan grunted with a nod. "Ah'right, but if you change yer mind, I got an extra sleeping mat you can use ta lie down by the fire.
Smiling appreciatively, Ororo waved goodnight as she watched Logan duck inside the tent beside her own.
Waking to a peculiar scent in the air, Logan sat up on his sleeping bag and allowed himself to get in tune with his surroundings. He could smell a storm brewing, and although the weather in the Adirondack Mountains could change rapidly and wasn't always predictable, Logan was certain that this coming storm wasn't a natural occurrence. There was also the strong scent of fear in the air.
Thinking of the claustrophobic weather witch in the tent beside his own, Logan crawled out the opening in his tent and padded toward Ororo's. Having slept in just his jeans, Logan didn't bother putting on his boots or a shirt, and the cooler night air made his skin prickle slightly.
As he crouched in front of Ororo's tent, the smell of ozone increased, and he could hear the low rumble of thunder overhead. Logan batted his hand at the flap opening as he heard the restless movements inside. "Storm? Y'okay?"
Despite all of his instincts warning him to keep back for self preservation, Logan cared too much about the wind-rider to let her suffer like this. He slowly unzipped the tent flap and leaned inside slightly, just barely able to make out her form. She was lying on top of her sleeping bag and twisting about, her breathing harsh and panicked. "Storm, wake up. You're okay; you're dreamin' darlin'. Wake up, 'Ro!"
Reaching into the tent, Logan grasped for her ankle and gave it a firm tug, trying to get her attention. "Storm, wake—"
The words were ripped away from him as the wind-rider screamed, air crackling sharply as lightning burst from her hands and electrified the metal-boned mutant, blasting Logan across the campsite where he landed in the dirt with a heavy thud. For a brief second he'd felt as though he was being cooked from the inside out, and there was nothing but white hot pain before all-consuming blackness.
Ororo realized what she was doing and where she was just a second too late. She gasped as she returned to consciousness, tears in her eyes, and lightning still crackling on her fingertips. "Goddess," she gasped, staring in shock at her open tent and the smoking body lying in a heap across the campsite. "Logan!" she cried, scrambling to get up and hastily darting outside on bare feet.
The remnants of thunder faded into the night, and Ororo could hear some of the students rustling around in the tents, probably woken from the commotion. Skirting the fire pit and nearly tripping over a rock, Ororo hastily knelt at Logan's side, placing one hand on his head while the other nervously hovered over his smoking chest where a hideous burn was already healing.
"What's going on?" Scott asked with fuzzy confusion as he stumbled out of the boys' tent, fumbling with his shades.
Kitty was the next student awake, phasing through the girls' tent and worriedly tip-toeing her way over. "Miss Munroe?"
Scott's mouth was gaping when he looked down at the unmoving Logan sprawled in the dirt. "What—"
"It was an accident," Ororo responded shakily, struggling to compose herself in front of the students.
Kitty's eyes widened in shock as she glanced toward Logan.
"Did he attack you?" Scott asked with a scowl.
Ororo quickly shook her head to dispel the thoughts. "No, of course not. He was trying to wake me; I was having a nightmare and I lost control of my powers because of my…claustrophobia… I—" Her hand rested gently on his chest where the burn had healed already and she gasped suddenly in alarm. "He is not breathing!"
"Ohmigod!" Kitty frantically shoved Scott closer. "Do something! You, like, know CPR don't you?!"
Stunned, Scott fumbled. "Uh…yeah, we learned in health class at school, but I…"
"Scott!" Ororo motioned him forward, and the teenager hesitantly knelt down, preparing to place his hands on Logan's chest. "Start compressions, I'll do the rescue breaths."
"Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod," Kitty chanted worriedly as she paced anxiously by Logan's feet, her hands covering her face.
Ororo had just completed her second rescue breath when Logan suddenly sucked in a ragged breath of his own, his body convulsing briefly as he launched himself into a seated position, startling Scott into falling backwards on his butt in the dirt.
"Aggh!" Logan's eyes were wide and wild as the breath heaved in and out of his lungs and he pressed a hand to his chest.
Ororo could have cried she was so relieved, though really she shouldn't have doubted his remarkable healing factor.
Similarly at ease now, Kitty launched herself at Logan, flinging her skinny arms around his neck. "Mr. Logan, you're alright!"
Logan almost rocked backwards with the impact, and Ororo placed a hand between his shoulder-blades to steady him. "Jeeze, kid, take it easy, will ya?" he growled half-heartedly before looking around at the three of them in confusion. "What the hell happened?"
"It is my fault, old friend," Ororo said, her voice low and haunted by what she'd done. "In my claustrophobic panic I accidently electrocuted you," she explained remorsefully.
Squinting momentarily, Logan grunted and rubbed at the back of his head. "Oh yeah. Right." He struggled to his feet, then suddenly hunched over with a groan, wrapping an arm around his chest and staggering. "Aghh…"
Scott took a hesitant step toward the older man. "Hey, Logan, maybe you should take it easy."
"I'm fine, kid," he growled stubbornly, straightening his posture with obvious effort and waving a hand at the tents. "Go back ta sleep." Logan's voice softened marginally as he turned his attention to Kitty. "You, too, Half-Pint."
Scott and Kitty shared a look before returning to their respective tents, and Ororo took Logan by the arm, guiding him to sit by the fire. She wordlessly went to his tent to retrieve his bedroll and a blanket, then brought out her own sleeping bag and mat, placing hers on the ground nearby.
"I am so sorry, Logan," Ororo apologized sincerely, her brows furrowing in concern at the barely-masked pain on his face as he settled down on his bedroll.
"Ain't yer fault, 'Ro. I should know better than ta wake ya when your powers are outta whack." Logan turned on his side with a sigh, facing the fire and haphazardly tugging his blanket over his bare shoulders.
Ororo sighed, pulling up her knees and wrapping her arms around her legs. "Well, I should have known better than to think I could handle sleeping inside a cramped tent." She watched him curl up into a tight, protective ball, and was just able to detect a faint trembling in his muscular body. He was still healing, probably from internal damage, and it wounded her deeply to know that she'd hurt him so badly. "Are you in terrible pain?" she whispered, biting down on her lower lip.
"I'll be fine, Storm. Go to sleep."
It wasn't a no, and she couldn't help but feel fretful over that. He just didn't want her to feel even more guilty if she knew how bad he was hurting. Getting in her sleeping bag, Ororo rolled on her side to face Logan so she could keep an eye on him while he slept. She wasn't so sure she'd be getting any more rest tonight.