Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: RoLo (Ororo/Logan)
Challenge/Prompt: gameofcards: Break the Ice: Calm Before the Storm (If you join, tell them Kat Lee of Team Clubs sent YOU!)
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death, Spoilers
Word Count: 953
Date Written: 4 March 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
The wind's building outside as Ororo retires to her bed. There's nothing more she can do tonight, nothing more she can do to help any one. Another day will rise with the sun in the morning, another chance to save new innocents, another chance not to fail her people, another chance to rescue those who need her rather than to let them down again. But for tonight, there's nothing more she can do.
Rain pelts the school's roof. She knows she's not the only troubled soul unable to sleep tonight, but she has no words of wisdom left. Besides, as she was reminded so cruelly tonight, words are not always what is needed. Sometimes, one can give a glorious speech and still fail in the end. She thinks again of those young mutants the Friends of Humanity cornered, sees once more their still, cold, and lifeless faces frozen in terror. The rain increases as do the tears falling down her regal face.
She forces her eyes to close. The rumbling of thunder becomes quieter as she focuses on her breathing. There is nothing more she can do tonight, she reminds herself yet again, no one else she can save, no way to make what happened right . . . The killers have been stopped, but where they were stopped, others will rise. Others always rise, full of hate and greed, determined to inflict pain, terror, and even death on those who are not as strong as they and yet are also stronger than they'll ever be for they choose love over power time and again.
She lays in her cold, still bed and tries not to think of what she did wrong. She tries not to consider how much worse it could have gone -- she could have lost her team of students in addition to the ones they were supposed to rescue tonight -- or how different actions might have had different results. She tries not to blame herself, but she always does. For those dying of hunger in her mother country, for the Morlocks dying beneath the streets of New York, for those she failed today . . . She blames herself for every one of them.
"Wan't yer fault, little darlin'." She goes to the voice, tears speeding just as swiftly down her face as she slips, thankfully, from reality. She floats toward his voice as her tears increase instead of being vanquished.
"Wasn't it?" she asks when she can see him again at last.
"No." He shakes his head. "You did what you could. That's all any o' us can do, all Charley can expect from any o' us."
"But I do not feel like I did all I could, Logan!"
"You never will, babe. That's th' thing about you, one o' th' things that makes you better'n all th' rest o' us. You never settle fer enough. You never even settle fer yer best. You always expect more o' yaself, but I'm tellin' ya, 'Ro, you did everything you could."
Silence stretches between them, a chasm so wide it seems unsurpassable. "Do you really believe that, Logan?" she asks after a long moment, her voice trembling as do her hands. For once, she doesn't try to calm them. The calm before the storm was so very long ago. All she has left is the storm that never seems to stop raging and picking up whatever damaged pieces she can.
"I know it, luv," he says so strongly and with such conviction that, gazing into his eyes, for a moment at least, she can believe it too.
"Hold me?" she always whimpers.
He reaches across the chasm, takes her hands in his, and pulls her to him. She is so much taller than he, and yet somehow, her cheek resting against his chest as his arms envelope her is the only position that still brings her relief, security, and joy. Here and here alone she finally feels safe again. She finally feels loved.
He kisses the top of her ivory-tressed head. "You are loved," he promises in a soft whisper. "Always."
"Don't leave me," she begs, holding him tight. Her fingernails digging into any one else's flesh would have hurt them, but not Logan. He's always seemed imperishable, but in the back of her mind, she knows even now he was very, very much perishable. He's dead, taken from her far too soon, and this, her dreams, is the only place where she can reach him. "Don't leave me," she begs again, still weeping.
"Never," he vows, holding her close. Her heartbeat trumpets like thunder around them. "Let it go, darlin'. Let it go. Ol' Logan can take it. Just let it all go."
She does, winds tearing at the school, thunder and gale-force breezes howling, lightning slashing, her own sobs echoing in her attic bedroom. She lets it go, weeping all night long, reaching for and holding to him, until at last, come morning, the sun breaks free from the clouds. Her eyes open slowly, her head pounding. Her dark cheeks are stained by her tears that finally stopped flowing sometime during the night. She wipes at them and looks around her.
She sees the sunlight pouring into her room, engulfing her plants in the bright, radiant light they so sorely need, she needs. But there's little sunlight can do for her these days. It no longer brings her joy or renewal. There's only one thing, only one person, who still does. She looks to his picture on her night stand and places her fingertips first to her lips and then to his in his photograph. "For you, Logan," she whispers and rising again to fight another day. "Always for you."