Here With Me

By: Thought

Disclaimer: people who are not me own X-Men. The song belongs to Michelle Branch.

Summery: Ororo reflects on Forge.

A/N: This.. it's AU! I've never read the comics, (although I would if they were somehow in Braille.) but I've done a lot of research, and read waaaaay too many fanfics. I wasn't in a good mood on Sunday, so I wrote this. It took me an hour and a half. Now, it might be too AU, so if no one likes it, I'll take it down, promise!!! .Please, I like reviews. It doesn't take long to review something.

Thanks to Heather for the beta.


{It's been a long, long time since I looked into a mirror, I guess that I was blind, now my reflections getting clearer}

She lay on her bed, staring listlessly up at the ceiling of her attic loft. It had been three days. Three days since the love of her life had left her for another woman. Three days since her heart had been served to her on a silver platter, all chopped up into little pieces. She hadn't eaten, slept or spoken to anyone in three days. At first, she had just curled up and cried, but eventually there had been no more tears to fall. So, she descended into a kind of depression, not really thinking, with no sense of time. But slowly, that, too, was fading, leaving her exhausted and resigned.

She rolled over, and caught her reflection in the mirror on her wall. Her eyes were sunken, with dark circles under them. Her hair was messy, tangled and wild. In the mirror, she did not see Storm, co-leader of the X- Men, best friend to Jean Summers and Remy Lebeau, surrogate daughter to Charles Xavier and soon-to-be wife of Forge. Instead, she saw a weak, pathetic, scared woman, clinging to a memory and the emotions attached to it like a drowning person clutches a rope. Angrily, she rose to her feet and walked towards her bathroom to take a shower.

{Now that you're gone, Things won't ever be the same again.}

She came out of the shower feeling slightly better. She pulled a long, cream-colored dress from her closet and slipped it on, the soft fabric hugging her slim body. Running a comb through her long, silvery- white hair, she wondered what her life would be like now that Forge was no longer a part of it. There would be no more double-dates with Scott and Jean, no more nights gazing up at the stars, no more long talks by the lake, no more deep kisses filled with love and tenderness. In short, she thought, no more point in living. For a moment she considered the small Egyptian dagger she kept in a sheath by her bedside, but quickly pushed the idea away. She was stronger than that.

{There's not a minute that goes by, Every hour of every day, You're such a part of me, But I just pulled away, Well I'm not the same girl you used to know, I wish I said the words I never showed}

She made her way down stairs once she had finished dressing, eyes devoid of any emotion. She passed Jean in the hall, and her best friend smiled nervously at her, ducked her head and hurried off. Ororo clenched her jaw, and hoped that not all of the others would be like that. She decided to head for the kitchen, although she was still not particularly hungry. Entering, she was not surprised to see Rogue and Gambit sitting close to each other, speaking in hushed voices. When they saw her, Rogue looked shocked, then apprehensive, then sympathetic.

"Ha, Storm." She said, rising to her feet, "Feelin' any better?"

"I am fine, Rogue." She smiled, moving over to the refrigerator to get a drink. Rogue twisted her hands nervously.

"If there's anything ah can do ta help."

Storm turned back to her, a bottled water in her hand. "I said I am fine." She replied in annoyance. She didn't want their pity, and she didn't need them walking on eggshells around her all the time, either.

"Sorry." Rogue apologized quickly, backing up a step. She turned to Remy. "Ah'll see ya later, sugah." She told him, and to Ororo, "Bye, 'Ro. Hope you're ok." And she was gone.

{I know you had to go away, I died just a little, And I feel it now, You're the one I need. I believe that I, Would cry just a little, Just to have you back now, Here with me}

She sat down at the table across from Gambit, breaking the seal on her water. He watched her through his sunglasses, not saying anything. They sat in silence for a few minutes, just content to know that the other one was there. Finally, Ororo broke the silence. "So?"

Remy's eyes shot up to meet hers, though she couldn't tell with the glasses. "So what, chere?"

She took a swallow of her water. "Aren't you going to ask me how I'm doing, if there's anything you can do, if there's anything I need." she allowed a look of disdain to cross her face.

"Non." He responded, still watching her. "Dat's not what you need right now."

"And you think you know what I *do* need?" she questioned icily.

"Oui," he nodded, "What you really need is Forge."

Her eyes flashed with anger. "How dare you?" she hissed, rising from the table, "I do not need that man for anything!"

"Whateva you say, Stormy, but when ya realize that I'm right, you're always free ta use my bike."

This statement confused her to no end, so she left the kitchen swiftly.

{You know that silence is loud, When all you hear is your heart, And I wanted so badly just to be a part, Of something strong and true, But I was scared and left it all behind}

She was searching for somewhere secluded, somewhere where she could be alone. After three days without any human contact, she thought she would have been desperate to talk to people, but she found herself craving solitude, instead. Finally, she made her way into her greenhouse, still warm and humid though the sun had already set. She lifted a pair of heavy gloves from a nearby bench and began to weed the thornier of her plants. She thought that this task might keep her mind off of him, but after a while, she found her thoughts returning to the day he had asked her to marry him. It had been so sudden, though not entirely unexpected. As she thought about it, she became increasingly angry with herself for not accepting on the spot. If she had said yes, would any of this ever of happened? Would he still have withdrawn his proposal, and then left soon after? Would she now, instead of being a shell of the woman she once was, be, in fact, repeating her wedding vows? Wouldn't it have been better to say yes?

Again she wondered what had possessed her to tell him maybe. What had she been so afraid of? And what kind of an answer was maybe, anyway?! It was a marriage proposal, for Goddess's sake! The answer was always "yes" or "no", never "maybe"! The skies overhead darkened, and rain began to pound on the plastic roof of the greenhouse.

{I know you had to go away, I cried just a little, And I feel it now, You're the one I need. I believe that I, Would cry just a little, Just to have you back now, Here with me.

And I'm askin'.yeah. And I'm wantin' you to come back to me, please?}

Hot tears stung the backs of her eyes, and she forced them back painfully. She would not start crying again. The gloves fell from her now shaking hands, and she dropped to the floor, arms wrapped around herself, trying to regain her control. A flash of lightning illuminated the large expanse of greenery around her, and she could feel the electricity pulsing off of her in waves. Right then, at that moment, she wanted nothing more than to be up there, in the midst of the raging Storm, feeling the electricity of lightning dancing throughout her body. Up there she didn't have to feel. She could be lost in the power of the storm for as long as she wanted. The thoughts made her hair stand on end, and a gust of wind whipped through the greenhouse, rustling the leaves of the plants.

{I never will forget the look upon your face, How you turned away and left without a trace, But I understand that you did what you had to do, And I thank you}

She had to get out of there. Leaping to her feet, she darted for the door that would let her out into the raging winds and rain. Yanking it open, she leapt out, rising with the wind. Floating, about twenty feet off the ground, she stretched her arms out, allowing a bolt of lightning to pass through her body, badly singeing her dress. Moving through the air towards the garage, she let her head fall back, allowing the rain to fall upon her dark skin like a lover's caress. Landing at the door to the large garage, she pushed it open and made straight for Gambit's motorcycle. The keys hung on a hook near by, and she slipped on and started the bike. Momentarily, she considered wearing a helmet, but then shrugged and revved the engine. She took off, wind whipping her hair in a wild swirl behind her. Rain beat into her eyes and made the pavement slick with moisture. The gates swung open at her approach, and she sped through them. She would come back in a few days, maybe a few weeks. Remy wouldn't mind her borrowing his bike, as long as she returned it eventually. She didn't have a clue where she was going, and to tell the truth she couldn't care less. The only thing that mattered was that she was free.

And suddenly it hit her. Gambit had been right when he said that she needed Forge. But there was a difference between needing someone, and that someone being the best thing for you. What he had meant, was that if all her problems were to just magically disappear, she would need for Forge to return to her, profess his undying love, and marry her on the spot. What she needed realistically, was just a little space to sort out her emotions. And for the first time in many days, Ororo Munroe smiled.

{I know you had to go away, I cried just a little, And I feel it now, You're the one I need. I believe that I, Would cry just a little, Just to have you back now, Here with me.}

She entered the club in Chicago with a small amount of trepidation. She had stolen some money off a rich businessman and used it to buy herself a new dress, leaving enough left over to pay for food and drinks. The people in this particular club were rumored to be on the lower part of the scale, but she quelled her misgivings with the fact that she had been in much worse places during her time on the road with Remy. The music was loud, the scent of cigarette smoke prevalent. She wove expertly through the masses of people, snatching a few bills from peoples' pockets just to make sure she still had her pick pocketing skills. Arriving at the bar, she ordered a gin and tonic and took, and when she got the drink, moved over to a small table in the corner.

She sat back in the seat, watching people and sipping her drink for about twenty minutes until a man's voice beside her brought her back to full awareness.

"Why are you sitting all alone?" he had asked. He was tall, with friendly blue eyes and short brown hair. His breath did not smell of alcohol, and he didn't look or act high. He was not the kind of person she expected to meet in this kind of place.

"No one to keep me company." She responded casually.

"That's hard to believe." He said.

"Well." she ran her tongue across her bottom lip, "You could keep me company." And as he sat down, she realized something. In a way, Forge had helped her. She wouldn't have left the school without notice if he were still there, and she most definitely would not be flirting with a stranger in a club. Forge, she realized, had been holding her back. He didn't want her to be an X-Man, nor to interact with Remy, saying that he was a bad influence on her. A grin crossed her face as she realized that she really should find Forge and apologize to him. She couldn't help the small laugh that escaped her lips. Her new friend looked at her in confusion. "Can I ask what's so funny?" he asked.

Ororo rose to her feet. "Just the irony of life." She told him. "I'm Ororo." She extended her hand, "Care to dance?"

And somewhere on the other side of the club, Remy Lebeau smiled as he watched his best friend being escorted onto the dance floor by a handsome young man.

And somewhere at Xavier's School For Gifted Children, Logan was wondering exactly why Gambit had *borrowed* his motorcycle, and exactly what the Professor would think if he just happened to kill the Cajun when he got back.

And somewhere in the US, at a hidden location, Mystique tried to pull Forge out of his depression over leaving Storm.

.And somewhere, the fates smiled.