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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6


Written by Paxnirvana
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

Every night I burn

Screamin' the animal scream

Every night I burn

Dreamin' the crow-black dream

~ The Cure - "Burn"

His visit was not unexpected. She had seen them together already, Rogue and Gambit. And no one on the team was immune to the wary circling, the sharp regret, the lingering need that passed between them. Then had come the trip to Boston, just the two of them, where they had fought a strange mutant all while confronting each other for the first time since Antarctica. Neither had spoken any details of that trip, save to report on their odd opponent. From it had come the tentative accord between them: Rogue, apologetic and wistful; Remy, repentant and sad. Now, there were too many other distractions to worry them, to worry her. Duty. As leader and X-Man. The continued absence of their mentor, their benefactor Charles Xavier. In the morning, the team would split. She lowered her head, letting her silver hair fall about her face. Rogue and Gambit would come with her, and Piotr, to Tajikinistan to follow one of the strangely split signatures of Xavier. Kurt and Kitty, Logan and Marrow would go to San Francisco to follow the other.

It was a logical distribution of talent, of course. Not exquisite self-punishment. Never. It was necessary. To watch them together. To see the reconciliation take place with her own eyes. To know beyond the faintest doubt that all hope was gone. Then, perhaps, she could accept. Let go. Move on.

He entered her domain as silently as only he could, through an open skylight. The clear spring night was chill, but she didn't notice. Mere atmosphere couldn't compete with the coldness spreading inside her. She stood under another open skylight, bathed in the pale light of the moon, her heart pounding with dread.

"Stormy?" he called hesitantly, pain clear in his voice. Pain he would not feel, if not for her selfishness.

"There is no need, my friend," she spoke softly, trying to forestall the words, delay the moment. But he came to her side, standing just outside the square of moonlight, in the darkness he felt he deserved, catching her arm and turning her to face him. She allowed herself to be turned, wanting inside only to scream, to deny the pain. Again, it was happening to her again. The goddess spurned by both the maker and the thief. In the reflected light, his eyes were dark with regret, his elegant face tight with anguish.

"No, please, Remy," she said, her heart breaking to see that look on his face. Caused by her folly.

"I'm sorry, padnat," he said. Her hand swiftly rose and pressed against his lips, stopping his voice. He looked at her steadily over her hand; loyalty and friendship and the possibility of more clear in his gaze. To her surprise, she found that her hand was steady. The trembling was only inside then.

"Do not be, my friend," she said huskily, allowing her hand to fall away from his face, to rest briefly over his heart. It was thundering wildly in his chest, but she refused to see it as hope. "I understand more than you believe."

He looked down briefly, his red eyes flickering in the dimness. He took a quick breath. "Y' knew den?"

"I would be foolish indeed if I did not. There is too much still between you for me to interfere. It would be the height of selfishness for me to deny you both this opportunity," her voice was soft in the night. The words fell between them like bars. To watch, to cherish, to dream, but never know. She forced a calm smile.

He flinched back, his demon's eyes flashing closed on a wince of pain. Pain she should never have given him, another weight for his burdened soul to bear. His eyes opened again to meet her gaze in the moonlight, seeking something in their depths. But she knew her own eyes were already frozen from the chill inside her. They could show him nothing. He leaned toward her, setting his hands on her shoulders. She stiffened, but he bent over quickly, his warm lips brushing hers in the briefest of caresses, like the touch of a feather, a single snowflake, or a tear. He pulled away slowly, watching her the while. She remained silent and still, serene, but lost in the aching emptiness inside of her self. Finally, he let his hands fall away, taking a step back as well.

"Don' ever give up, Ororo," he said, his expression strangely intent, his voice husky. Then he turned, ran with just a few long strides across the attic and bounded nimbly out the other skylight. She caught just the faintest sound of his landing, then nothing. The master thief passing into the night like a shadow or a dream. He was gone. And his departure left a gaping hole in her heart.

"You cannot give up that which was never yours, my love," she whispered to the silent night, squeezing her eyes shut against the brightness of the moon. She felt within her the stirring of power, fueled by grief, by regret, by love. Invisible tendrils of energy flowed from her body like water. The air chilled further, changing, roiling.

Far above her, high clouds gathered, precursors to a storm. Winds gathered about at her will, lifted, carried her swiftly into the air. To the clouds, the sky and the night, where only the moon could see her tears.


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