Fic: Moonlight and Memories (Secret Garden, 1/2) R
- Title: Secret Garden, Part 1 of 2: Moonlight and Memories
Short Summary: A rambling sort of sequel to "A New Name" from Ororo's POV.
It's the morning after the night before, and Ororo and Scott have to figure
out where they go from a careful kiss in the moonlight and a haze of
Archive: Anyone who wants it, just let me know.
Disclaimer: The X-men are not mine. Not even vaguely. I don't even want
them. They're in my head and that's bad enough. I'm not making any money
out of this, just doing it in the hopes that Scott, Ororo and the rest will
shut the hell up.
Note: This is dedicated to all those who begged for more. I adored the
feedback (good and bad) I got from my first fic, so please don't be shy
about letting me know what you think this time. Remember, you asked for
this. :-) Maybe not this exactly, but this is where my mind went. Straight
into the gutter. Ker-plunk. :-) Well, not straight, I meander around a
bit. But I get there eventually. Oh, and if anyone makes any
self-insertion allegations about me in the form of Ororo (which I am known
to do about L/R 'shippers and Rogue), they're absolutely 100% correct. I'd
sell a kidney to be in her position. :-)
My first thought upon awakening is that it was all a dream. The sawdust
feel in the back of my throat and the heaviness of my head tells me the
alcohol part at least was entirely truthful. I give up sitting as a bad
idea, and fall back onto the pillow. I have never drunk that much before.
I usually have more control. But as soon as Scott removed his shirt...
The thought sends a tremour through me even now. Such a small thing, his
bare torso, bathed in the warm glow of the firelight. A chest I had seen
half a hundred times before, perfectly innocently. But my own reaction
rendered this innocent no longer. Your stomach doesn't twist that way when
a friend strips in front of you. I prayed no one would see my blush in the
firelight. I was so nervous Logan could smell it.
Goddess, what a mess. I thought at the time that this was completely
unworkable - thinking about a close colleague like that. I should never
have let it start. Except it started so gradually, I do not think I could
have stopped it. Sometimes, when I try to trace my feelings back to their
source, I wonder if maybe it has been building since the first time I met
him, so long ago. But he was with Jean, and that was that.
All of us had been shocked when Scott and Jean gathered us to make their
announcement. It was a perfectly amicable separation, Jean declared, but no
one looking at the ticking muscle in Scott's jaw believed that. The entire
mansion was treading on eggshells from that moment, every second expecting
Scott to explode. Except, of course, he never did. It did not surprise me.
He has always been so cautious, so careful, so controlled. The perfect
I admire control and restraint. I told him that. I wished the words back
as soon as they were out of my mouth, and yet I also rejoiced at the thought
that maybe, just maybe, he would see what I was saying. I admire you,
Scott. You are everything I admire.
A dream, I decide. The memories are shot through with silvered moonlight.
They seem unreal. A beautiful dream, one I will treasure, but a dream
nonetheless. It's better that way, I tell myself. Less problems all
With a groan, I roll out of bed, one hand pressed to my forehead. The sky
outside, thankfully, is clouded over, a flat sheen of dark grey. It mirrors
my mood perfectly, and I wonder if my emotions have been meddling again. At
this point, though, I honestly do not care. Gingerly, I dress, moving
slowly. A glance in the mirror before I go downstairs for breakfast tells
me I look as awful as I feel.
I am not first in the kitchen. Jean is half-slumped over a cloudy glass of
aspirin, her usually glorious hair as limp as she is. Across the table,
Rogue watches her closely. She looks up as I enter, looking faintly
startled that I too appear hungover. She does not say anything, though.
Jean groans slightly, lifting her head from her hand and opening her eyes a
fraction. "Mornin' Ororo," she whispers. She clears her throat, and winces
a little. "Whose idea was this anyway?"
"Logan's," I remind her, and take a glass out of the cupboard. Water is
what I need. Rehydrate myself. Then I might begin to feel human again.
I am half-way through my first glass of water when Scott enters. I cannot
see his eyes behind his glasses, but he looks paler than usual. He greets
Jean and Rogue, his voice a little rough, and turns to me. "Water," he
notes. "What an excellent idea." And he reaches past me to take a glass.
In that moment I know. It is in the way he leans closer than he usually
would. His breath is so warm on the back of my neck. His hip brushes my
buttock. Then he moves back, leaning away to fill his glass. But I still
It was not a dream.
The knowledge is like a jolt of electricity through my system. Suddenly my
fingers are trembling so much I have to put the glass down on the bench
before I drop it. I close my eyes and take a deep, skaky breath. But that
does not work, because playing across my closed eyelids is the image of him,
shirtless in the liquid moonlight. Not a dream. A memory.
A sudden gust of wind rattles the windows. Scott pauses in his drinking,
quirks an eyebrow. "Interesting weather today," he says blandly. But I can
hear the joking tone, so subtle in his voice. I can hear it and I love it.
He is teasing me. Laughing at my lack of control and feeling smug, no
doubt, in the knowledge that he caused it.
I admit, it is a small shock to realise this sort of behaviour is coming
from Scott, our stone-faced leader. All the time I have worked and lived
alongside him, I never saw this other side to him, except for the barest
hints now and then. A smile given in something other than grim
satisfaction. A line a little more flippant. I knew his lighter side had
to exist. It is just that while you are on the job is no time to be joking
around. And Scott is always on the job. Always business-like, always
apparently emotionless. Apparently. I, of all people, know that how much
emotion you show bears no relation to how much you feel.
Still waters run deep. Trite, but true.
I wonder what other surprises Scott holds, hidden away from all but Jean.
Until now. I feel like he is my very own secret garden, and I have been
handed a key. I almost do not want to unlock the gate, worried that he may
not live up to my anticipation in the flesh.
In the flesh. Moonlight-rimmed memories spring into my mind, and I have to
hold tight to my emotions to stop the weather betraying me yet again.
Do not get melodramatic, Ororo. You know you want to peel him like an
onion. Physically and mentally. Find out if the rest of that body is as
fantasy-inducing as his chest. If the rest of his personality is as
The thought brings a smile to my face - how could it not? I know he sees it
as I empty my glass and place it on the draining board. I wonder how I
could tease him in return. Mentally? The idea of teasing him physically is
almost enough to scatter my carefully husbanded control to the wind. I
wonder if he has this difficulty. Gripping hard to his self-control, that
most precious commodity. Relishing how close it comes to slipping out of
I turn and step back to lean against the cabinets to watch him drain his
water. His poise is perfect, as always. Despite the hungover tinges, he is
still Scott. Still implacable and inpenetrable.
Jean groans from the table, setting down her half-drunk glass of aspirin
with a thunk. One hand is over her eyes; the only thing holding her head up
is her elbow braced against the table. "God, I feel awful," she whimpers.
"Finish your aspirin and go back to bed," I suggest calmly. "You will feel
better if you sleep a little. Take some water, though. And drink it. You
are dehydrated. That is why you have a headache."
Jean nods slightly, and tilts her head back to drain the glass, grimacing
slightly as she sets it back on the table.
"Ah'll take her upstairs." Rogue jumps up, her eyes still a little wide.
Three hungover teachers is obviously more than she can manage in one
morning. Besides, it is the chance to do something unselfishly nice for
Jean. Not one of us would baulk at that opportunity.
Unless the thought of being alone in the kitchen with Scott made us
irrationally weak at the knees. I open the fridge beside me, pulling out
one of the chilled bottles of water there. Scott passes me a clean glass,
and I pass both to Rogue, who takes them with one hand as she helps Jean up
with the other. Walking carefully, and a little unsteadily, Jean totters
out of the room on Rogue's arm.
The door swings shut behind them, and silence descends on the kitchen. I
lean on the fridge, the white surface cool against my back even through my
shirt. Scott leans back against the sink, crossing his arms over his chest.
I am watching him watching me. There are perhaps three steps separating us.
I count them.
"Do you regret last night?" he suddenly asks.
Does he honestly think -? I replay my behaviour this morning; I have not
been precisely encouraging. Though not discouraging. Is he feeling
insecure? My smile returns. "I regret not being sober enough to remember
it as well as I wish I could," I reply honestly. The alcohol-fragmented
memories are tantalising. The taste of him, layered with scotch and gin.
His sweat-slicked shoulder briefly under my fingers.
"Perhaps a repeat performance could be arranged," Scott murmurs, his voice
low. His answering smile is quick and somehow intimate. He is still
poised, however, and that brief perhaps-moment of uncertainty has
disappeared behind his usual wall of confident calm.
I realise in that moment that I want to make his composure slip. And I
wonder if I could do it. Interrupt that regular breathing, make it ragged.
Illicit a gasp from those lips. Make that body shudder involuntarily.
Oh Goddess, could I make him scream?
I clamp down on my own self-control, containing the tremour that threatens
to run through my own limbs. I want to do it. I want to shred his
self-control. I want to do all those things. And I want him to do it all
to me, too. A tussle of wills, perhaps? A wrestle for self-control...
"That could be pleasant," I reply, equally quietly. "But there was
something vaguely... unsatisfying about last night." A lie; it was
perfection. But it is time for a little of that teasing.
Scott raises his eyebrows. "Unsatisfying?" he repeats.
"Hmmm," I indicate agreement, not attempting to hide the smirk that seems to
find its own way onto my face. "Yes. Maybe it is just my faulty memory,
but everything seemed to stop before... well, before it got good." Part of
me gapes at this, like I am behaving wantonly. It feels unnatural, but it
also feels good, especially as, watching closely, I see his grip on his
folded arms tighten. A minor sign, but one nonetheless, and it heartens me.
"I was a little disappointed," I finish.
"That's no good," Scott answers mildly. For all his casual stance, however,
there is a new tightness in his posture that was not there before. His
voice is a little more rough as he continues, "I would apologise, but I
don't regret a single thing about last night."
Even through his glasses, his gaze is direct, stapling me against the
fridge. The heat of that gaze and the lines of tension in his body give me
the strength of will to stretch a little, press my hips back against the
fridge. "Well," I almost whisper, "actions speak louder than words,
His arms drop from their folded position and he leans forward slightly. A
surge of something akin to exultation ripples through me as I realise he is
going to do it. He is going to cross the few steps between us. And then my
imagination takes over, a thousand flights of fancy taking me in an instant.
He crosses the space and leans against the fridge behind my shoulder, a
repetition of last night. He pins me to the fridge with his body, rather
than his eyes, a glorious weight and heat. He grabs me by the hips, like he
did when we were dancing, and pulls me against him. They all end the same
way, though; his mouth descends on mine, and I shatter.
I am not to discover which is correct, however, as at that moment the
kitchen door opens and Logan swaggers in. Quick as lightning, Scott leans
back against the sink, his face empty of expression and his posture all
casual calm once more. I push off from the fridge, though, doubting my
ability to simply stand there any more. Not when I do not want Logan to
know what is happening between Scott and I before we even figure it out.
Not when Logan probably wants to gloat about his lack of hangover and all I
want is to feel Scott's hands and breath hot on my skin. The situation
constitutes a rare and unusual form of torture.
"I am going to go and have a shower," I declare. Hot water and steam might
clear up this hangover. On the other hand, maybe a cold shower is called
Logan steps aside to let me out the door, a smirk on his face. "Not feeling
too well, 'Ro?" he asks smugly.
"On the contrary," I reply, smiling at him, though my words are all for the
man over my shoulder, "I have never felt better."