|Thu, 12 Oct 2000
"Aha Oe Feii?" [Gauguin Series: Psylocke/Phoenix, Wolverine]
Well, goodness knows I should be archiving or feedbacking or even, God forbid, working. But I'm not. I'm posting this story instead. And I'd really, really love it if you rewarded my bad behavior with some feedback. It might even tempt me to be bad again. Say it with me, now... Bad, qB. Boo-Hiss! Shame! No cookie for you. :-)
But this is the third story in the Gauguin Series of mine archived at http://hivemind.hispeed.com/fanfic/gauguin/index.htm and the title like the other stories comes from a Gauguin painting. It translates as "Are You Jealous?" About sick of the Tahitian language lessons aren't you?
Disclaimer/Warning thingie: Characters aren't mine. They belong to Marvel Comics. Bit of rough language and f/f themes. If mild cursing and the mere mention of same sex relations makes you break out in hives... turn back now.
The Gauguin Series
Aha Oe Feii?
"Engage program Psylocke: 157. Difficulty Level 8."
Betsy Braddock leveled her katana and assumed a defensive posture as holographic ninjas winked into existence around her. The lights dimmed and she narrowed her eyes as a series of ramps and box- shaped obstacles rose on quiet hydraulics from the floor. It was late, she was tired, but she was doing what any sensible X-Man would do when their life had stopped making sense... taking out her frustrations in the Danger Room.
She grinned as she stared into the vacuous face of the closest opponent and spoke into the air, "Begin."
It had all started two days ago when she and Warren had a fight of gargantuan proportions. But her love life turned completely topsy- turvy when Jean Grey had announced to the both of them that she was falling in love with Betsy. All things considered, Warren didn't take it well. She hadn't spoken to him since he flew away from the mansion at full clip. No one had.
She was starting to get worried.
When she couldn't tell Warren whether or not Jean's feelings were reciprocated, she knew it was all over for them. But that didn't mean she still didn't care. It would be so much easier if she didn't... about either of them.
Psylocke released a sharp cry as she ran her blade through the hologram and it fell to the floor, disappearing from the routine matrix with a sparkle of light. It felt good to let go if for but a few minutes, attacking with her fists and her sword instead of her newfound telekinetic powers. It made her feel alive and strong when all she had felt for the last forty-eight hours was numb, weak and horribly exposed.
It was becoming a full time job avoiding Jean. But luckily the telepath knew her well enough to give her space. Even though her own telepathy was gone, she could sense that her introversion would come to an end soon. Surely the circles of gossip had already begun to twine themselves in whispers and gaping mouths around the mansion. The darling of the X-Men falling for the resident bimbo assassin had to be the most delicious scandal to grace the hallowed halls of Xavier's in years. She knew it was only a matter of time before someone decided to confront her. But as the doors swished open and someone walked into her exercise, she really hoped it didn't have to be him.
"Disengage safeties. Increase to Level 10. Override Wolverine 897 gamma."
She tried her best to ignore him as she sliced another ninja from stem to stern and it blinked out of the simulation. The computer's voice droned, echoing across the cold, metal walls. "Voice print confirmed. Warning. Safeties disengaged."
As the familiar snikt of his adamantium claws rang in her ears, she watched as he separated the heads from the bodies of two holographic assailants in one smooth, arcing motion as he walked toward her. Finally she made eye contact with him and his expression was unreadable, his eyes completely cold. They stayed like that, staring at one another as the ninjas quickened their attack, never glancing away as they took down one after another. Without a doubt, Logan was the most skilled and intense warrior she ever had the pleasure of fighting beside. With each movement it became apparent that he was trying to scare her, trying to over-power her will with his own and force her into the proverbial corner, but all he was doing was making her angry.
Her temper rising as she held his gaze through narrowed eyes, she became careless and let one of the holograms too close as it nicked her arm and a rivulet of blood splayed across her bicep. She glared at him as she shouted, "Computer. Abort program!"
As the holograms flickered out of existence and the floor leveled as the lights came up on full, he said flatly, "You're hurt."
Sliding her katana into the scabbard that hung from her belt, she seethed, "Well, someone disengaged the safeties and I suppose I got distracted."
He retracted his claws back into his fists as he said quietly, "Yeah, well I can see why."
She pressed a hand over the small wound. It smarted, but wasn't very deep. Damn that Logan. She'd have to go to the medlab to patch herself up. "I was doing just fine until you walked in."
He was now grinning as he stood riveted to the spot, looking almost like a predator ready to pounce and devour his prey. She wasn't sure if he had blinked since he came in the room. "Sure ya were."
It was all she could do not to wipe that grin off his face. "What do you want, Logan?"
"Just wanted to ask ya what the hell ya think yer doing to Jeannie."
She smirked as her blood ran cold. "Took you this long to ask me that?"
He growled. "I was pretty busy ignoring the whole mess until I found her upstairs crying her eyes out because ya won't talk to her."
Jean was crying? Over her? The thought of it made her stomach churn. This was too much. First she had hurt Warren and now Jean by giving her the cold shoulder. A part of her was strangely satisfied that the whole matter was causing Jean anguish while the rest of her ached to go to her and ease her pain. But somewhere in the middle, reason took over and told her to give it more time, that a simple hug and a reassuring smile wouldn't smooth things over this time. She owed Jean an answer or at least an explanation for her own feelings. But answers were something she was terribly short on at the moment. So she backpedaled instead, telling Logan, "If you must know, I didn't 'do' anything to her. She brought this all on herself. Besides, it's not like we're romantically involved. She just kissed me. Just a kiss. That's all that happened."
Logan raised an eyebrow. "That's all, ya say?"
Betsy pursed her lips. "Yes. That's it."
And with that, she walked toward the door and past Logan with the full intention of going to the medlab to bandage her wound and then taking a shower and going to bed. But it seemed he had other plans and grabbed her by the arm as he said quietly, "Ya'd better not be tossing her away like ya don't give a shit, Betsy."
She clenched her teeth and said back to him, "I didn't say I don't give a shit, *Logan*."
He continued to stare at her as his fingers dug into her wounded arm and Betsy did everything in her power to keep from wincing or squirming as she began to realize what this was all about. Logan wasn't down in the Danger Room at two in the morning to protect Jean's honor and make sure that Betsy treated her right. He was down there pretending to so that he'd have an excuse to be angry with Betsy. She didn't need her telepathy to realize how incredibly jealous Logan was of the two of them and if she wasn't so annoyed with his intrusion she might have thought of it sooner.
Not in the mood for any of Logan's games, she decided to let him have it. "For an old man you're certainly acting like a child. I know what this is about, Logan. You expected after Scott died, she'd come running to your open arms. But she didn't."
Releasing her arm, he took in a few short breaths and stared at the floor. With a few simple sentences, she was back in control. Logan may be the master on the battlefield, but no one played better mind games than she did. She may not have her telepathy anymore, but she still knew all the right buttons to push and she wasn't about to take it easy on him with the mood she was in, so she twisted the knife as she smirked and said quietly, "And its eating you up inside she'd rather share my bed than yours."
At her words, Betsy noticed something snap in Logan's expression and with a feral growl he leapt toward her, careless with anger. She jumped backward and before he got a chance to do anything either of them would regret, she bound him quickly in a telekinetic hold and left him dangling in mid air.
She watched him as he struggled and she suddenly felt pity for him. She knew what it was like to be on the outside looking in and often it made a person do stupid things. But it hurt to see him acting like this toward her, especially considering he was one of the few X-Men she trusted as a close friend. So she left him like that, concentrating on her hold until his rage passed and he once again looked at her with the eyes of the man she'd respected for years... the man she rescued from madness on several occasions and the man who would have given his life to save her own if she needed it. They had risked so much for each other in the past that this petty bickering seemed more than ridiculous.
She tilted her head and studied him, realizing that while she might have two fouled up friendships on her hands, she wouldn't settle for a third. "I'm sorry, Logan. That was cruel of me."
And she let him go.
Shaking out his limbs and removing the gloves he wore, he said quietly, "It's okay, darlin'. I deserved it."
She extended her hand, which he took. "No. You didn't."
Squeezing his hand and then dropping her own to her side as she released it, "It's just that everything is so mixed up inside right now. I hardly know up from down and down from up and when you came in here looking for a fight, I really wanted to give it to you."
Logan drew a deep sigh and then grinned. "And if it wasn't for that telekinesis of yours, you mighta ended up like those ninjas."
Returning his smile, Betsy said, "But you forget, Logan. I actually have a mind of my own. Pity it's so screwed up at the moment."
He folded his arms over his chest and studied her, his torment still obviously with him. But at least he was coping productively. "I still can't believe it. You and Jeannie. It's just so..."
Betsy raised an eyebrow, "Wrong?"
He smiled. "Actually, I was gonna say complicated."
She nodded and had to agree.
He put a hand on her back and they walked to the door together. "So what are ya gonna do about it?"
"I don't know Logan, I really don't."
By the time she got up to her room, it was almost four in the morning. When she finished the phone call to her brother in England, birds were chirping outside her window. And as she shoved the last of her sweaters and toiletries into her suitcase, the sun was rising over the Westchester countryside.
Lowering her closed suitcase onto the floor with her telekinesis, she stared at her reflection in the mirror. She'd never thought of herself as a quitter in her entire life. She'd never run away from any enemy or any foe. But this? This was just too big and she needed to go someplace that made sense before she could face it.
As she clicked off the light next to her bed and prepared to go downstairs to meet the cab that would arrive shortly, she knew she had one last thing she had to do before retreated completely into herself.
She picked up the phone and dialed.
"Warren? It's me, Betsy."
She swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "I know you're probably not there or either you are and you're screening your calls or you're most likely asleep. But I wanted to tell you that I do love you and I never meant for any of this to happen. I hope you can understand some day. I'm going away for a while and I don't know when I'll be back. But I wanted to let you know that I am sorry. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you. I hope you can forgive me eventually."
With a sigh, she hung up the phone and left her room, her bags levitating obediently behind her through the halls of the women's dormitory. And almost without thinking, as if she were drawn there by an unseen force, Betsy stopped in front of the third door down on the right. She tilted her head and wiped a barely visible tear from her cheek as she kissed her fingertips and pressed them against the cold, oak door.
She whispered, "Good-bye, Jean."
"Good-bye, Betsy." Jean choked silently from the other side of the door, her cheek pressed against the door as her ears strained helplessly for the nearly silent padding of Betsy's feet as she walked toward the stairs.
She took a few shaky breaths and waited until she knew Betsy had cleared the stairs. Opening her door slowly and quietly, she stepped out into the hall on bare feet walking to the railing that skirted the enormous stairs leading down to the great foyer of the mansion and bordered the top landing that separated the women's and men's dormitories.
Standing quietly with one hand over her mouth, she watched Betsy open the door and walk out toward the awaiting taxi. Behind her, she heard someone stirring and even without her telepathy, she knew who it was by the gentle grip on her shoulder as he stood close and they watched Betsy get into the car together through the large picture windows.
"She knows yer there. With training and senses like hers, she has to."
Jean nodded her head as she remembered to breathe. "Then why won't she look back, Logan?"
He squeezed her reassuringly. "'Cause sometimes, darlin', ya gotta look forward instead."
As she shut the cab door with a slam, Betsy asked the driver tiredly, "How long until we get to LaGuardia? And how much extra will it take to get you out of Westchester sooner than later?"
He grinned as he studied her in the rear-view mirror. "Awfully early to be in such a big hurry isn't it?"
She returned his smile and dropped two hundred dollar bills on the front seat. And as the green paper fluttered to the dingy vinyl seating, she said gruffly, "There's plenty more where that came from."
Without another word, the cabby tore out of the driveway of Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning and once they had cleared the ivy-covered gates, then and only then did Psylocke dare to look back.