|DISCLAIMER: Any character you recognize is the property of Marvel Comics and is used without permission for entertainment purposes only.
Warning: This story may deal with adult issues, so be forewarned.
Just Lucky, I Guess
Ororo knocked calmly on the door to Cable's suite, her face carefully arranged into an emotionless mask. 'If that is how Nathan wishes to be, then so be it,' she thought, her rage at Domino's earlier slatternly behavior balled up and discarded to the back in her mind along with the thousands of other insults suffered throughout her life.
'If only my powers were not so acutely tied to the weather conditions,' she thought longingly for a moment, her face creasing with fury quickly replaced with a facade of indifference. 'If only I could truly show that woman what it means to possess the powers of the elements.'
However much she might wish that to come true, she knew she could never truly release herself, lest the powers that were her birthright release themselves fully and the elements respond to her anger. Even now, she had to consciously soothe winds, dismiss the thunderclouds that were forming at her subconscious distress, return the sky to its former gray-blue clarity.
She sighed, and wished again it didn't have to be so. She'd learned a long time ago that the only way to prevent the 'natural' catastrophes that arose at her subconscious passions was to place herself into a state of forced serenity, and no matter that her innate sense of pride was still screaming at this latest insult, she would not fail in this control.
Standing slightly behind her in the hallway, Betsy and Logan shared a worried glance. Cable's mental summons had come shortly after Betsy had ended her telephone conversation with Warren (on a good note, for a change), She'd been only slightly surprised when Ororo had stepped out of her room, immaculately groomed and garbed, looking for all the world like nothing at all had happened. When she cordially greeted Betsy, the telepath had been unable to detect any trace of the thunderous anger she'd evidenced after Domino's trick. Only the fierceness of her shielding and an almost undetectably slight tightening around the eyes betrayed the woman's true feelings.
Betsy sighed inwardly. 'I was afraid of something like this. I don't know whether or not I'd rather she lash out or contain it like this- either way, it's not going to be pleasant for any of us.' Long years of friendship with Ororo had accustomed her to the other woman's habit, but it still disturbed her greatly. 'No matter how much she tries to hide it, she's still only human. One day all that internalized anger is going to erupt again and a mohawk and leather clothing will be the least of our worries. God help us all then...'
She'd shared her concerns with Logan after they'd met him in the hallway. 'She has formidable shields for a non-psi, and she's using every shielding technique Charles ever taught her tonight,' Psylocke mentally informed her companion as they waited for someone to answer the door. It's taking that much effort for her to contain herself. I'm worried about her, Logan. Whatever this situation with Domino and Wisdom is, it's serious enough that...' She trailed off, and despite her concern, she smiled at the particular mindpattern she felt approaching behind the door to the suite. 'Perhaps this will help more than any words could,' she decided, not sharing the thought with Logan and spoil his surprise.
Smiling slightly, she continued. 'Serious enough that we all need to be in top form. Without consciously delving into her mind, I can't tell anything about what she's going to do, and that frightens me. What are your senses telling you, Logan?'
Before he could answer her, the door opened slightly, and Betsy was empathically inundated with a wash of joyous emotion as Logan and Ororo stepped forward, almost in unison, with identical expressions of proud surprise on their very different faces. Before either could speak, though, Kitty came rushing out to meet them, the door closing behind her. Flinging her arms around one and then the other, she greeted them effusively, her warm brown eyes brimming with emotion. Betsy smiled. Even were she not a telepath, the expressions on all of their faces told her exactly what the three were feeling at the reunion.
Ororo closed her eyes and wrapped her arms tightly around Kitty's thin frame, the emotionless mask replaced with an expression of almost relief. "Ah, my Kitten," she murmured, holding the girl who'd been almost a daughter to her for so long even closer. "I have missed you so."
Logan tapped the younger woman on the shoulder and, when Kitty stepped away from Ororo's embrace, wrapped her in a gruff bear hug. Kitty returned the hug forcefully, and in a clear, sweet voice whispered in his ear "I missed you, too, Logan..."
Releasing her a bit regretfully, he stood back, staring at the young girl- 'No, the young woman,' he corrected himself- with whom he'd shared so much, whom he'd taught so much. There was something different about her, now. This woman moved, smiled, held herself with an assuredness that had been lacking in the young girl she'd been. Kitty had always been brilliant and courageous, but woefully insecure about herself. This woman looked comfortable in her own skin and, as Logan watched her speak softly again to Ororo, he felt his face beam with bittersweet pleasure. She'd grown up.
He stood there for a moment, watching them. Though he'd made it a special goal to help as many young people out as he could through the years, and many of those had grown up to become good friends- 'Like Neena in there,' h thought affectionately- very few had touched his life like the slender young woman standing before him. Through the years, he'd kept in almost constant (if completely secret) contact with his sons, but he'd never had any biological daughters. 'Hmmp!' he snorted a bit indignantly at the thought. 'A man couldn't ask for better daughters than Kitty and Jubilee.'
Betsy cleared her throat softly, a smile playing on her lips. Though Kitty's bond with her two companions was almost filial, in the wake of the Mutant Massacre Psylocke had spent long months keeping Kitty, stuck in her phased state, together body and soul, and had grown to care deeply for the young woman.
She waited patiently for the others to finish greeting Kitty, however, since she visited her brother frequently on Muir and had seen Kitty only a month or so ago. It'd been almost a year since the others had been able to visit.
Kitty walked over to Betsy and held her arms out easily. "Hey, Betsy," she smiled as the other woman returned the fond embrace "Looks like you'll finally get to meet Pete. He's been gone on one mission or another every time she's visited," Kitty explained to the others, her eyes widening in surprise. 'Oh, hell, I almost forgot! *They* haven't met him yet, either...'
"Speaking of which," she recovered smoothly, lips twitching at Betsy's wry mental chuckle "Come on inside and meet him yourself." 'And God help us all,' she half joked, half prayed as she phased through the door to open it again, unwittingly echoing Betsy's precise earlier sentiments.
Inside the room, Pete was doing everything he could to curb his anxiety. 'I hate this hate this hate this hate this,' he grumbled to himself. 'I bloody well *hate* meetin' in-laws like, bein' checked out, havin' them decide I ain't bloody well good enough for Kitty. I know that much meself, and if she wasn't so damn important to me I'd tell 'em all t' sod off, I don't give a damn what they think...'
Painful insecurities from his youth tugged at his memories, reminding him of all the times schoolmates' families wouldn't let their sons play with- or God forbid, daughters talk to- loony Harold Wisdom's strange children. Romany had found her outlet in esoteric studies, and he? Well, he'd just left as soon as he could. Damn 'em all. If he wasn't good enough for them, then screw 'em. He didn't need them, anyway.
Over the next few years that insecurity had gradually hardened into cynicism as he learned how to survive on his own without even the meager support his parents had been able to provide. When his mutant powers manifested and one of their scouts spotted him, the fledgling agency Black Air set up a meeting with him and hired him on the spot.
Not wanting to even *think* of Black Air, Pete shook his head and muttered "What th' 'ell is taking 'em so long?" In his nervousness, the lower-class accent of his youth was coming through even more strongly than it usually did. 'Calm down, man, Kitty went through this with you. And no matter *how* bad they are, you know they can't be any worse than the old man was to her...' His lips twitched almost involuntarily at the memories of Kitty meeting his father, and he very nearly laughed aloud.
On the couch across from Pete, Domino and Cable exchanged a glance. Domino smiled sympathetically. "Let me guess. You haven't met them yet." It was not a question, but Pete nodded sourly anyway.
"Is it *that* damn obvious?" he grimaced, schooling his expression into its usual bored indifference. "I mean, all they are are 'er bloody old friends. Ain't like they're gonna kill me or nothin'..."
Remembering Ororo's earlier pointed questions about Pete's past, Cable winced, hiding the expression in a false yawn. 'I'm not so sure about that...' "Well, whatever they're doing, they're taking long enough out there. Maybe I should see about them..."
Domino rolled her eyes. "Dammit, Nate, give 'em a minute or two. You don't have to take charge of *every* situation, and I think Pete can wait it out just a minute or two more..." When she caught a flash of movement through her peripheral vision, she raised an amused eyebrow at both of them. "See?" She motioned to Kitty, phasing through the door.
Pete narrowed his eyes at her, but his attention was quickly diverted by his American lover, who was smiling brilliantly at him. 'Well, they can't be that bad if they've made 'er this bloody happy...'
Rising to greet her, he caught the unspoken question in her eyes. Seeing his nodded assent, she smiled and opened the door.