Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Ororo, Scott/Madelyne, hinted Logan/Ororo
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog #49: Downhill
Word Count: 1,644
Date Written: 11 January 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
She hadn't liked doing what she'd done yesterday, but Scott had left her with very little choice. Wolverine was right: He could not both lead the X-Men and be the family man that he now should be without his determination to fill the completely different roles leading to the downfall of one or both. He had hurt Madelyne too much after agreeing to marry her and vowing to love her. His marriage was headed downhill, and there was only one solution Ororo could see to save both partners' happiness and hearts. Yesterday's duel was not simply about the leadership of the X-Men. It was also about setting Scott on his right path, about doing what the Professor would do if he had been here but could not because he was no longer able to be with them.
Ororo's heart hurts at the thought, and not for the first time, she wonders if she could have saved him if she'd still had her powers. Not too long ago, she'd believed that there is always a right time for everything to happen, and that all things that take place will happen at that time regardless of intervention by human or mutant. That is yet another thing that Ororo has been left to wonder about since losing her powers. If she was not intended to be born with her powers, why had she had them at all, and if she had not been meant to possess her powers and her connection to Mother Earth, why then has she been stripped of them and her soul left feeling so utterly barren?
But she had felt yesterday. For a little while, she had truly felt again as vividly as if her connection to the Earth still existed. She had felt Madelyne's pain and promised herself as she'd held the other woman while she'd cried over Scott that she would find a way to make her team mate do what was right. And she had.
He's leaving the mansion even now while she looks out from the single window in her loft and watches every step he takes away from the school and the future he'd thought he'd had here. Perhaps things do change. Perhaps things are not intended to always stay the way they begin. Times change, and people change. Maybe in some reality somewhere, Scott was not supposed to fall in love. Maybe he was supposed to spend his life caring for the X-Men, but now, in this world, he has a wife and son for whom to care.
They, she knows even if he can not yet understand it, should be his foremost duty. Madelyne has been unable to show him that as has Ororo although they've both tried. They have all tried in their own ways to help Scott choose the path that is right for him, but the birth of his son dictates what path he must take. He may never believe her. He may even grow to hate her despite the grace with which he took yesterday's defeat. But she knows she at last has turned him onto the path that is clearly meant for him. The Goddess would not have allowed such a life to come into this world as that of his cherished child if it was not time for the babe to lead his father to a different path.
Ororo feels other eyes watching them. If she still had her powers, she would take to the air and sail over the school while Scott and his new family leaves, but she does not. She wonders who else is peering out from the windows. Erik is probably watching every move they all make at this time, waiting for a chance to do whatever he truly intends to do while at their school. Kurt is probably watching. Piotr and Kitty may be as well. Her instincts tell her Rachel is looking out not too far from where Ororo herself stands bearing witness.
She knows Logan is watching as well, as does Scott, but unlike Scott, she understands Logan's concern. He, like herself, wants both what is best for the team and what is best for their now former team mate. He may have tried to hate the man because he took Jean's love, and they certainly have had their battles, but in the end, deep in his heart, Ororo knows Logan, too, wants what is best for Scott. That future, no matter what any one of them may have thought, is no longer here.
She drops her curtain as she watches Scott's car slip out of the school's gate and turns her mind to other thoughts. Today is her first day as the undisputed leader of the X-Men. He's right in that her lack of powers may one day hold her back. He may even be right that she is not the best person to lead their team. She certainly doubts it herself, but she knows, too, that there was only one way Scott was ever going to leave to become the husband and father his wife and child deserve. She did what was necessary for her friends even if perhaps not for their team as a whole.
There may well be some one else better suited to lead them. She certainly does not feel that she is the best choice, but yesterday, she understood there were only two choices: herself or Scott. Kurt never would have fought him for leadership, and Logan, although a leader in his own right and despite often having guided every single one of them in the past, refuses to lead. None of the others are ready, although they've each done well when they've had to.
That leaves herself. She may have her own doubts, but she was the only one who could take the reins from Scott. Now he's gone, and today begins the first day of the rest of all of their lives. They have to be ready for the next fight. The first thing, she determines as she waters her plants through the mundane use of tap water poured into a bottle, is to decide where exactly she and her team mates need to sharpen their skills.
She needs to have a Danger Room session, and she needs to watch carefully. She'll make notes where they each need to work and speak to each of them on an individual basis. Then she'll approach Logan again for her own training. He has taught her so much already, but she knows there is still more she can learn and she will. They have to be the best they can be if they are going to lead the next generation of mutants into a world where they can fulfill the dream of a peaceful coexistence with humanity which is what brought them all together in the first place. They have to be ready, and there's only one way to do that: They have to train, and they have to work together not only as a team but as a family, each looking out for the other even when that other person doesn't necessarily understand that they have their best intentions at heart.
Ororo looks around her attic at her plants, wishing yet again that she still possessed her powers and, far more importantly, her connection with Mother Nature. There are non mutants, she knows, with connections to Nature. She's met many a Witch and an Indian who shared a deep connection with their primal mother. She's been back to her roots, but she didn't find what she was looking for there. The search has to continue. Just like her team mates, she has to become the best she can be if she is going to offer them her best, and she'll settle for no less from herself just as she will settle for no less from them.
As she leaves her room to begin her first day of the rest of her life as the X-Men's leader, she thinks again of Scott and of Charles. She hopes the path upon which she's just sent Scott will lead her friend to the happiness he deserves, but she knows, even if he's not yet ready to admit it and perhaps never will, that that happiness can no longer be found here. She misses Charles, and she knows now, without her powers, that it's just her imagination, but the very air within the mansion seems to miss their beloved Professor. But he is finally at rest now and in far greener and calmer pastures which no man she's ever known deserves more than he.
Still, as she continues along her own pathway, she can't help hoping that he's watching and is proud of the woman the little thief who once picked his pocket is becoming. The Shadow Lord never knew the future she had waiting for her here in America. He never knew the power Charles possessed or the heart he tried so hard to make her forget she had, but now, more than ever, Ororo knows she has to listen to that heart. And, she reminds herself, as long as she lets her heart guide her, she can not -- she will not -- go wrong.
As Ororo begins the first day of the rest of her own journey, Logan looks up from working on his bike in front of the mansion. He looks up, dirty rag in hand from where he's been cleaning his ride, feels the cool splash of a single drop of rain as the sun still shines, and smiles. He knows Scott isn't the only one who's been set on his rightful path this morning. Don't worry, darlin'. Charley's proud o' us all. Even if, maybe, he shouldn't be. He turns his gaze from the bright sun back to his bike and continues his own work.