Ororo bound down the staircase. The winter holidays had officially begun and the Xavier mansion was half-empty. The students who could go home, whose parents were open to their mutation or simply didn't know the truth, had left the previous morning for the two week break. The other half of the students, those who hadn't been welcome home for the holidays, were milling about the front foyer. Ororo slid on her socked feet to a halt in front of the group. Logan turned to her, a grim expression on his face. Bobby Drake stood next to him. Ororo noted that they both wore matching blue and green striped scarves around their necks. The scarves looked rough and were obviously hand-made.

"Rogue?" asked Ororo, raising a slender eyebrow as she stared at the winter accessories around their necks.

Bobby blushed slightly but couldn't help grinning sappily as he flipped the scarf over his shoulder. Logan simply grunted in response.

Ororo laughed softly. "Do you think you'll be able to handle this?" she asked Logan, gesturing to the remaining students.

"It's just ice skating," he replied gruffly, looking insulted that she doubted his ability to handle a bunch of adolescents. Of course, he had more than just raging hormones to worry about. "Besides, One-Eye will help me out."

"Don't count on it," stated Scott with a grin as he walked up to the group. He was wearing a red and white striped scarf.

"She got to you too, huh?" commented Logan, his eyes on the offending object.

"Yeah," replied Scott, holding up the scarf and studying it. "I think she was hoping to cheer me up."

"Well, did it work?" drawled a deep Southern accent from behind him.

Scott turned to Rogue who was smiling up at him. He reached out and ruffled her hair with a gloved hand. "Yup."

Rogue giggled and squirmed away. She turned to Ororo and placed a perfected pout on her lips. "How come you and Kurt aren't coming? Now that he has the image inducer…"

"Even with the image inducer, he still can't wear ice skates," reasoned Ororo.

"I think this is just a good excuse for you to get him all alone," teased Logan, winking playfully at her.

Ororo blushed slightly. This only made Logan laugh harder. "Shut up," she growled under her breath.

"Well, anyway…" interrupted Rogue, trying to ease the tension. She held out something to Ororo. "Could you give this to him? I made it for him last night."

Ororo took the bulky object. It was another scarf, only this one had blue and yellow stripes. She couldn't help thinking that it matched...well…Kurt. The weather witch grinned at the young girl. "Are you making these for all the men in your life?"

"Yeah," commented Bobby, crossing his arms and pretending to look hurt. "And I thought I was special…"

"You are special, Bobby," stated Rogue. "I didn't make one of these for any of the others." She reached into her coat pocket and pulled something out. She stuffed the hand-knitted stocking hat down on her boyfriend's head. It was blue and green to match his scarf. It even had a blue pom pom on the top.

"Okay everybody!" called out Scott. He did a quick headcount to make sure everyone was there. "Let's head out to the vans."

The students bustled forward, eager for the day out. It had been hard on them, being left behind when the others went home to families that still loved them. It was Bobby's first holiday at the mansion. He hadn't bothered calling to ask if his parents still wanted him to come home. They hadn't tried to contact him either.

"Have fun!" called Ororo as they headed out.

Logan waved back at her. "You too," he stated with another wink.

Before she could retaliate, he closed the door. Suddenly, the mansion was overcome with an eerie silence. Ororo turned and headed towards the common room, the floorboards creaking under her feet. Normally one couldn't hear the moans of the aging structure for the commotion of the children. Now, without the student's overflowing energy, the house seemed cold, empty, and forlorn.

Ororo stepped into the common room and frowned. No Kurt. She checked the library. Same results. The kitchen, a few of the classrooms, his bedroom. No sign of the blue German.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," murmured Ororo as she headed back down the corridor. It was then that she heard chuckling. She glanced from side to side but the hallway was empty. There was more laughter, deep and rumbling. "Kurt?" she called out softly, not sure why she was whispering.


Ororo started. The noise had come from directly overhead. She glanced up in time to see a blue-black cloud of smoke dissipate. She grinned.

"So you want to play hide-and-seek?" she stated a little louder this time.

Up ahead, the door to her room creaked open, seemingly on its own accord. Ororo sprinted forward. She seized the doorknob and jerked the door open.


Her room was empty, except for the slight scent of sulfur and brimstone. She stepped hesitantly into the dark room and then headed for the bathroom. She checked behind the door and behind the shower curtain, but there was no sign of the teleporter. A noise caught her attention. It was coming from her closet. Tiptoeing out of the bathroom, she headed towards the closet door on the other side of the room. Her hand paused over the doorknob. Even though she knew she shouldn't be frightened, there was still the childlike fear of something scary jumping out at her from the depths of her closet. Steeling herself, she swung the door open.

At first, she didn't see anything. She let out a sigh of relief, half laughing at herself. Then a shadow moved. Yellow eyes blinked at her. Ororo let out a scream.


"Dammit, Kurt!" she yelped, as she sank to her knees. Her heart was thundering in her chest. Down the hall she could hear his laughter. Her eyes narrowed as she took in deep gulps of air to steady herself. "This is war," she hissed.

Ororo staggered to her feet and marched out of the room. She glanced either way down the corridor, trying to decide which way to go. Around the corner to the right, she caught sight of Kurt's tail, waving tauntingly at her. Ororo dropped into a crouch and half-crawled down the hall. Her socked feet didn't make a sound as she crept closer to her prey. The spade-tipped tail just swished back and forth, as if its owner was not aware of the danger he was in. Letting out a war cry, Ororo lunged towards it.


Ororo's outstretched hands caught nothing but air. She let out a soft "oof" as she landed on the carpeted floor.

"I thought you could fly," commented a voice filled with silent laughter.

Ororo turned towards the voice. It was coming from deep within the shadows of a corner to her left. All she could make out was brilliant, sharp teeth grinning at her like a Cheshire cat. There was the sound of air rushing in to fill a previously occupied space, and Kurt was gone again.

Ororo summoned the air around her, lifting her body from the floor. She did a magnificent mid-air summersault and landed on her feet with cat-like grace. From the opposite end of the hall she could hear clapping.

"Wunderbar!" called Kurt's disembodied voice. "But you still haven't caught me."

Ororo set off towards the sound of his voice, determined to catch him. She made her way down the corridor, checking each room as she went. She came to the opposite end of the hall and there was still no sign of Kurt. She turned her back to the large picture window and stared back down the empty hallway, a small frown gracing her lips. Something tapped on the outside of the window behind her. Ororo froze. She was on the second floor.

She turned, expecting to see Kurt. There was nothing there. Ororo barely suppressed the urge to shudder. Even though she was certain that Kurt had been on the windowsill moments before, the house was still creepy with no one else around. Suddenly Ororo felt like she was the star of a very cheap horror flick.

She felt the air shift seconds before she heard the characteristic "bamf." Then something warm slid across the back of her neck. It was Kurt's tail. Ororo yelped with surprise and spun around, but the other mutant had already disappeared.

Kurt reappeared at the opposite end of the hall. He crouched down and then dashed forward on all fours. Ororo gasped; she had never realized exactly how fast he was. When he was a few feet away from her, Kurt launched himself. Ororo braced herself for impact, but he teleported seconds before they collided. She suddenly had new insight why Stryker had chosen the meek Nightcrawler for the assassination attempt.

The blue German was once again crouching at the other end of the hall. He smiled at her and beckoned her to follow him. Then he turned and darted down a side corridor. Ororo grinned and gave chase. As she came to the stairwell, she called the air to her and levitated down. She briefly caught sight of Kurt up ahead as he disappeared into one of the rooms. Without thinking, Ororo followed after him.

She slid to a stop in the middle of the room. Professor Xavier glanced up from the papers on his desk and smiled patiently at her. "May I help you, Ororo?" he asked.

Ororo blinked and glanced from side to side. "I thought Kurt had come in here…"

"Mr. Wagner? No, I haven't seen him today," he replied.

"Oh." Ororo turned to leave but she stopped abruptly. She stared slyly at Xavier for a moment. "You're lying, aren't you?"

"Now why would I do that?" asked Charles with mock innocence.

She smirked and then looked around the room. The place was so brightly lit that she didn't know where Kurt could be hiding.

"You didn't hear it from me, but you may be able to find what you're looking for in your office," commented Xavier as he turned back to his papers.

Ororo grinned. "Thank you, professor."

She snuck back into the hallway and down to her own private office. She paused outside the door, listening for movement. She heard the rustling of fabric and she could feel the air swirl about inside as someone moved about hurriedly. Slowly, she turned the knob. Without warning, Ororo leapt inside and was greeted with a surprise.

The lights were out, but the room was aglow with candles set up at random intervals. Her desk had been pushed back against a wall, leaving the middle of the room open for the blanket that had been spread out. A picnic basket sat next to blanket and Ororo caught a whiff of German food. A dozen red roses sat nearby in a crystal vase which caught and reflected the flickering candlelight.

Hesitantly, Ororo stepped inside. She stared in awe at the arrangement. She sensed movement from the shadows behind her and she turned to see Kurt shyly smiling at her.

"You caught me," he whispered softly.

"This is for me?" she murmured, her eyes staring in amazement at her renovated office.



"Why not?" replied Kurt, shrugging casually.

"You didn't have to," she argued.

"I know." He came to stand beside her. He was close enough that their arms brushed.

"This is wonderful, Kurt," whispered Ororo. Tears were starting to form in the corners of her eyes. No man had ever done anything like this for her before.

"I did not do this so you would cry," he stated with a soft laugh as he reached up and wiped away a tear.

She turned to him, her dark eyes sparkling in the candlelight. "You're the most wonderful man ever," she gushed. And she meant every word of it.

Kurt laughed off the comment. "It is nothing."

"You're wrong!" Ororo replied. "It means everything. I've never met anyone like you, Kurt."

"Well, I would not think there are many blue, furred teleporters, ja?" he stated with a grin.

"That's not what I meant," she chastised.

Kurt ducked his head. "It is nothing important. You just deserved something special." His old, confident grin came back. "Besides, you earned a reward for catching me."

"You're wrong," replied Ororo. "It was you that caught me."

She stepped forward, quickly closing the space between them. She arms went around his neck, bringing his mouth to her own, sweetly kissing his lips. Ororo pulled away reluctantly. She suddenly felt foolish. She thrust out her hand towards him, offering him the scarf that she had been clutching the entire time.

"Rogue made this for you," she explained in a rush.

Kurt blinked. One moment they had been kissing, the next she was giving him a gift from someone else. He gently took the scarf. Ororo pulled her hand away as if she had been burned. Kurt studied the blue and yellow scarf and then draped it around his neck.

"How do I look?" he asked, hoping to ease the sudden tension with a joke. He spun around as if to model his new accessory.

"Fabulous, darling," teased Ororo.

They stared at one another, the smiles melting from their faces. There was a moment of awkward silence. Kurt cleared his throat and pretended to be interested in something outside. Ororo stared at his tail, watching as it swished back and forth.

"Why did you kiss me?"

Ororo jumped slightly, taken aback by the sudden question. She looked up into Kurt's startling yellow eyes. He was frowning slightly and seemed very uncertain.

"Because…" began Ororo. What was she supposed to say? 'Because I'm falling in love with you, Kurt Wagner.' She shuddered involuntarily. There was no telling what his reaction would be to those three words that she was afraid to utter, but knew to be true.

"You did not have to pay me back for all of this," stated Kurt softly. "I did it because I wanted to. I expected nothing in return."

Ororo's eyes widened in surprise. "You thought I only kissed you because you bought me roses and made me dinner?" she asked incredulously. The quick flicker of emotion on his face told her 'yes.' Ororo began to laugh.

"What?" demanded Kurt, a stung look on his face.

"You are such a silly boy."

"I am…"

Kurt was cut off by another kiss from Ororo. This one lasted longer than the first had. Ororo pressed her lips to his, savoring the sweet taste of his mouth against her own. This time he dared to kiss her back. He placed his hands on the small of her back, pulling her to him in a tight embrace. Ororo reached up and tangled her fingers in the blue-black curls of his hair.

After a long, blissful moment, they broke the kiss. Ororo noticed that Kurt's tail was moving languidly, almost as if it had been sedated. She smiled at her silent observation. She looked deeply into Kurt's eyes, willing that her own eyes show him just how much he meant to her. She saw in his eyes complete happiness…and utter disbelief.

"This has to be a dream," he muttered, shaking his head gently.

Ororo reached down and gently pinched the back of his neck, careful to avoid the scar left by Stryker. Kurt jerked slightly. "Not a dream," she whispered, emphasizing her statement with another soft kiss.

Kurt let out a soft, shuddering sigh. He stared at her for a moment from beneath long-lashed eyelids. For a moment he looked frightened. Ororo reached up and gently caressed his cheek.

"I'm not going anywhere," she promised softly. "I love you."

His eyes widened in surprise. "You cannot…"

"And why can't I?" she retorted haughtily.

"Ororo, look at me. Really look at me."

She stepped back, placing her hands on her hips. Her eyes roamed up and down his body as she studied him for a moment. "I don't mind the blue skin." A strange look flashed across her face. "I know what it's like to be judged by the color of your skin and I try not to do it. So, your eyes tend to glow in the dark and that can be a little creepy. I can handle it." Kurt opened his mouth to intervene but Ororo held up a hand to silence him. "The pointy ears are kinda cute. I like playing with your fur, so that's not a problem. And the tail…well, that's a bit of a turn on," she stated bluntly.

Kurt blushed deeply and stared disbelieving at her. Ororo laughed and stepped closer to him once more. She wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Not to mention you're irresistible when you go all shy on me," she murmured.

Kurt ducked his head and she took the opportunity to nuzzle her cheek against his. She felt the heavy weight of his tail wrap around her, holding her to him.

"I love you too, Ororo," he whispered softly.

She smiled and cuddled up closer to him. They stood there for a long time, just holding each other. The food was completely forgotten and they spent the rest of the afternoon curled up together on the blanket, whispering softly to one another even though there was no one there to overhear them.

Their time together ended by the rush of noise indicating that the students had returned from their day trip. Ororo kissed Kurt quickly before pulling away to gather the picnic basket and the roses. Kurt rose languidly and moved about the room, blowing out candles. Heavy footsteps approached from down the hall and moments later Logan burst in. He glanced around the room and then grinned.

"And the elf scores!" he stated, laughing heartily.

"Hush, Logan," retorted Ororo.

Ororo spent the rest of the night ignoring Logan's taunts and sending secretive glances to Kurt whenever she had the chance. It didn't take long for the news to spread that Miss Munroe and Mr. Wagner were officially "a couple." Rogue seemed to be in charge of the campaign for relaying the information to all the students.

As the grandfather clock in the main hall rang out eleven o'clock, Ororo shuffled upstairs. Kurt met her in the corridor and escorted her to her room. The pair walked in comfortable silence and Ororo couldn't help thinking that she could definitely get used to this. Kurt paused outside her door.

"Good night, Ororo," he whispered softly.

"Night, Kurt," she replied as she partially stifled a yawn.

He hesitated for a moment before leaning in and giving her a brief, chaste kiss. With a smile he disappeared, teleporting off to his own room. Ororo smiled and touched her lips gently. Yes, she could definitely get used to this.

The End