Title: That Damn Red Hair
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Genre: BtVS/X-Men Crossover.
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things X-Men belong to Marvel, et al.
Distribution: The MLP family of websites.
Author’s Notes: TQC Challenge Response: http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com
She watched him walk away, that ache in her heart expanding exponentially with every step he took until it consumed her from within, leaving her a sobbing mess in the front hall. Shaking and hurting, she fell to the ground, remembering how it had all began.
She was twenty-three when her powers ramped up from pure witchcraft to an actual mutation. As if the supernatural had been a kick-start for something that was already lurking in her body, a catalyst for the exploitation of her genes that may never have occurred if she had never touched the magics.
But she did.
And she was left shaken and stirred, in a room the power of her mind alone had destroyed. She could will things into being, for brief periods of time. And, at the onset of her mutation, that had meant the creation of an almost literal hell of flying knives, mini-whirlwinds and other deadly things. It was, she later learned, just her mind responding to the pain her body was going through as all of her cells very suddenly were thrown into alignment with this mutation.
Lucky for her, no one was home at the time.
She cleaned up, tossing out the things that were ruined before Buffy and the others ever got home from that night’s patrol. With trembling hands she told them what had happened, and that she would move out – leave. It was best, she promised – just in case she lost control again. They argued, but she was dead set on it.
The choice was taken from her the next morning, before she even had a chance to begin packing for the return to her parents’ stuffy unused house.
“Wills! Some people are here to see you!”
The red head frowned in confusion, abandoning the depressing task of boxing up her life to greet the visitors. They were an interesting little group, she decided. A guy with red glasses named Scott. A woman with pure white hair and beautiful caramel colored skin named Ororo. The last was a man that looked as if he’d rather be anywhere but where he was.
She liked him the most of all of them.
And that was where her mistakes began.
“Come with us.”
“We’ll teach you. The Professor can help.”
“You can’t do this on your own.”
Ororo and Scott went over a speech they had both obviously done more than once, in the end convincing her to come with them, back to New York. Logan, for the most part, kept quiet. And that was the part that she liked. He didn’t care if she came or stayed, he was just here because someone had told him to come.
“I was packing anyway,” she murmured, meeting each of their eyes in turn. “I can be done in an hour or so. Is that soon enough?”
It was. Scott and Ororo went out for some air. Logan stayed in the house. She invited him up to her room rather than leave him with Buffy. Something told her that would be better all around.
And, in that hour, she slowly got him to open up. To the point that he was outright flirting with her.
“You got pretty hair, darlin’.”
It made her smile, and blush. Which just made him laugh.
Life was looking up.
She heard not even a week into her stay in the Mansion, after one particularly grueling session in the Danger Room, that she wasn’t the first red head to earn the attentions of the mysterious man that was Logan. In fact, there had been another right there, at that school – and she had died a few months ago.
Willow took the information with a grain of salt. So what if Logan had been interested in another red head before. That didn’t mean anything other than him liking his women with a copper top.
At least, that’s what she told herself.
The rumors began about two months after she arrived – two months since her and Logan had sparked up a friendship, and then something more physical. She had fallen for him – hard. And there wasn’t anything she could say or do to stop that desperate downward spiral into love. She didn’t want to love him. Not when he wouldn’t be open with her, not when there was so much about his past that was a mystery to her, and him. She wanted to take it slow. . .
But slow was having no parts of it.
“He’s just using her, Bobby.”
“Marie. . .”
Willow stopped outside of the television room, her hand resting lightly on the wood paneling. She wasn’t usually one to gossip or eavesdrop, but this caught her for some reason. Just when she was about to move on, sure that the conversation was at an end – she heard the words that made her heart skip a literal beat, freezing her from the inside out.
“Willow is a nice person, she doesn’t deserve this.”
The other teen snorted. “You’re Logan’s friend, Marie. You can’t tell her. That would be. . . wrong.”
“But she deserves to know. . . he started it just because of the hair – because she reminded him that little bit of Jean.”
After that things went downhill. She could almost hear her heart breaking a little more every day, as the signs became clear, even to her.
He wouldn’t say he loved her.
He didn’t touch her unless it was at night, when he wanted ‘something’ from her in the way of physical pleasures.
The conversations they had engaged in, once on the level of friends and polite flirting, were gone.
She was forced to face the facts that last night, when he stumbled into their bedroom drunk, lipstick on his cheek from some barfly, that she had only been a replacement for a woman that was now dead.
Apparently, she decided, staring down at him in the bed, his even snores filling the air, she wasn’t even a good replacement at that.
“What’re you talkin’ about. If this is about that broad last night at the bar –“
“Save it,” Willow snapped, holding up her hand to ward off the words that were coming. An excuse, she knew. But it wasn’t even the excuse she was looking for. Logan’s problem went deeper than one woman in a bar. It went back to someone at the bottom of a lake in Canada. A red haired telekinetic-telepath.
She bit her lip to keep from asking the inevitable question that popped into her head – did he call Jean that, too?
“I’m sorry, Logan. I can’t live like this anymore.” She laid a hand on his cheek and then turned her back on him. “Scott moved my stuff to another room while you were gone earlier. . . he was very. . . understanding.”
She turned when his footsteps moved away, the front doors opening and the cool night air spilling in.
And when she was done crying, her body still shivering as Ororo held her, right there in the middle of the school’s front hall; she cursed Logan and the events that had led to her meeting him. Heart break hurt like a salted wound. And she didn’t want to experience it ever again.
“It’ll be okay.” Ororo whispered. “Shh, child. It will all be okay.”
Willow nodded, mute now. It would be okay. First things first, though. She was going to dye her hair. Something where Logan would never think of Jean when he looked at her again. Something dark, like that spot in her heart where the love she had felt for him had once lived. And then she’d learn to love again. She’d find someone, one day, that appreciated her. At least, that’s what Ororo was whispering over and over. And, if Willow listened long enough, she felt that she just might believe it.
But, first –
That damn red hair.