First Snow

By: ladymoonlight

Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men.

A/N: I was inspired to write this fic while listening to "Pure Snow," a Japanese pop song. It's very pretty, so if you can, I recommend downloading it. Also, I don't know exactly what Artie's powers are, but I read a fanfic where he conveyed his thoughts directly to other's minds with images. So I took it that he couldn't talk. If I'm wrong, then I apologize.

Marie O'Brien stood in front of the large picture window that looked out on the expansive lawn that surrounded the Xavier mansion. The window pane was so frigid that the cold seeped through her glove and numbed her hand. The young girl eagerly watched the low-lying clouds as they moved slowly across the sky, obscuring the sun. She jumped slightly when Ororo Munroe appeared in her peripheral vision. Rogue turned to study her teacher. The weather witch was staring up at the sky, a dreamy smile on her lips.

Ororo glanced over at Rogue and then back out the window. "It won't be long now," she promised, and then turned and headed back out of the room.

Rogue turned back to the picture window, excitement shining in her eyes. If Storm said it was almost time, then it had to be the truth. "First snow," whispered Rogue, her warm breath fogging up the window pane.

Night came and passed and the front lawn was still bare. The clouds seemed closer to the earth this day and a cold wind was howling through the trees, bending their leafless branches. Ororo pulled the black pea coat closer to her body as she marched purposefully across the mansion grounds towards the stables. Next to her, Kurt Wagner was practically jogging. He moved about quickly, trying to keep his bare feet from touching the frozen ground as much as possible. While the shape of his feet made complex acrobatic feats child's play, it also made wearing shoes impossible. Kurt hopped along, looking like an enormous bluebird bouncing about the path.

Ororo tilted her head skyward, taking in a deep breath of the icy air. Her lungs stung for a moment, but she didn't mind. She fought off the urge to gather the wind around her and become air-borne. She knew Kurt wouldn't appreciate the gesture.

"We're almost there," she stated, glancing at her companion out of the corner of her eye. "You can still teleport if you want."

"Nein," replied Kurt. "I will walk with you."

Ororo smiled; secretly, that was the answer that she had wanted. The pair came into view of the stables and Kurt practically bolted for the building. Ororo had to chew on her lip to restrain from laughing at her friend. He reached the stables first and danced about while he waited for her to catch up.

Once inside, Kurt finally began to relax. His feet stung as the numbness was worn away. He leaned in close to Ororo to whisper in her ear.

"Where do you think he is?"

Ororo pointed to the stall containing a gray-spotted pony. Nippers was Artie's favorite pony to ride when the students went horseback riding on the trails. The pony let out a whiney and then turned to nudge something. The two adults crept up to the stall and peered over the wall. Huddled in one corner was Artie. He frowned up at them, obviously upset that he had been found.

"There you are," stated Ororo, smiling down at the young boy. "We've been looking everywhere for you."

Artie scowled up at her and pushed himself back farther into the stall.

"Why don't you come back inside with us?" continued Ororo, carefully opening the stall door. She reached up and patted Nippers on the side.

Artie shook his head and wrapped his arms around himself. He glared up at the pair with a look that clearly stated he would rather they leave. They ignored his silent request. Kurt and Ororo moved in and knelt in front of him.

"The other boys told us what happened," stated Ororo. "They say their sorry."

The young boy began to tear up as he remembered the morning's teasing. He knew the others hadn't meant harm, but he felt like such a…freak. He looked completely normal except for his tongue and that was something the other boys always reminded him.

"I know how it is," stated Kurt softly. "It is hard to be different when that difference is outward."

Artie nodded and wiped fiercely at his eyes. He knew his teachers were trying to make him feel better. But the jokes the other students had thrown at him still stung.

Ororo tilted her head to the side, suddenly concentrating on something outside of the stables. Kurt and Artie stared at her curiously; she seemed to be looking at something that wasn't there. She blinked and refocused.

"Come here," she stated, holding her hand out to Artie. Her eyes shone with excitement.

Artie hesitantly took her hand and she pulled him to his feet. His hand tucked safely in hers, she lead him back outside. The cold was sharp compared to the warmth of the stables. Kurt stood in the door way, reluctant to go back outside.

"What is it, Ororo?" he called from the safety of the stables.

She had her head tilted skyward and she didn't seem to be listening. "Almost…almost…" she whispered. A cryptic grin spread across her lips. She leaned forward so that she was near Artie. "Look up…now."

The boy did as he was told. At first he didn't see anything. Gradually he thought he caught movement of some sort. He squinted against the glare of the white backdrop of clouds. A fat, wet snowflake landed on his nose.

"First snow," whispered Ororo, grinning at her student.

Within seconds, Artie's worries had vanished. He was running to and fro as more as more snowflakes fell from the sky. Ororo laughed; grabbing the boy around the waist, she picked him up and spun him around in a tight circle. They clasped hands and began to dance in crazy circle. Ororo pulled Artie to her for a brief, fierce hug. In the distance, through the trees, they could hear the shouts of the other students who had just discovered the snowfall.

"Why don't you go back up to the school and join the others? I'm sure they're waiting for you," whispered Ororo.

Artie grinned and bobbed his head. He hugged her one more time and then set out in a sprint towards the school.

Storm turned back towards Kurt, who was still huddled in the door of the stable. The lithe German was staring skeptically at the darkening sky. Snow was cold and he didn't like the cold. A few powdery flakes had clung to his long lashes and Ororo felt her stomach flip. For a moment she stood still, admiring the handsome man in front of her. He turned to meet her gaze and smiled.

"Walk with me?" she asked, tilting her head to the side and smiling shyly.

Kurt carefully closed the stable doors and then teleported to Ororo. The pair began to make their way back through the woods to the mansion. Ororo danced about the path; the weather made her feel giddy and she twisted and twirled with the emotions that it created in her. Kurt smiled as he watched the weather witch danced in time with her element.

Ororo grinned and with one final spin she ended up next to the blue German. She grasped one of his hands firmly in both of hers and fell into step next to him. Ororo watched as snowflakes fluttered around them, isolating them from the rest of the world. For just that moment, it was as if only she and Kurt existed. All she needed was to be there by his side. Nothing else mattered.

Ororo was jerked out of her reverie when Kurt stopped suddenly. He tugged her arm slightly to get her attention. She blinked and gazed at him uncertainly.

"What is it?"

Kurt gestured with his free hand to the ground. "The snow is building up. My feet…"

Ororo glanced down to see that the snow had begun to stick. Kurt was walking over a fine layer of the white flakes.

"I think I will teleport now," added Kurt.

Ororo nodded and stepped forward, her arms going around his neck. She took in a deep breath, preparing herself for the sickening feeling associated with Kurt's ability. She was stunned and a little hurt when he pushed her away.

"Nein, mien storm," he stated. "You are enjoying the weather. I will not deny you this pleasure. I will wait for you inside, ja?"

Ororo smiled at him. "Thanks, Kurt."

He grinned. "You are welcome," he replied. And then he was gone.

Ororo coughed slightly as the bluish-black smoke cleared. She glanced at the mansion and hesitated for a moment. A pure, childish grin crossed her face. Her eyes began to glaze as she concentrated. Ororo called the wind to her, using it to raise her body from the ground. She lifted into the air, surrounded by the swirling snowflakes. Her eyes drifted close and she let the wind carry her. Icy flakes stung her cheeks, numbing her face. Below her she heard the excited shouts of the students as an all-out snowball war commenced. Glancing down she saw Logan leading his troops against Scott's forces.

Ororo flew until her fingers grew numb then she reluctantly headed for the mansion. Standing in an open doorway of one of the balconies was Kurt. He had been watching her as she drifted across the skies. Now, as she returned, he held his arms out and she alighted into his embrace.

"Welcome home," he murmured as she snuggled up next him, seeking out his body heat to warm her.

"Yes," whispered Ororo. "Home."

The End