Chasing the Moon - by Darlin

Disclaimer – Marvel owns the X-Men and I make no profit from my little story.

The moon was full and the night cooler than usual for upstate New York but the air was still thick with humidity from the heat of the day. Ororo Munroe laid in bed unable to sleep her white hair spilled over the blue pillow case a startling contrast against her cinnamon brown skin. A small sad sigh barely audible escaped her lips. There was no reason to sigh, she knew. She was happy. She was home. She was with her adopted family, the X-Men. Xavier hadn't turned evil, Peter, Elizabeth and Rachel were all back, alive and well. Proof that death wasn't forever. Jean would return. She knew that and she was happy. Wasn't she?

A noise on the roof near the slightly opened sky light drew her attention upwards away from her thoughts. She pulled her sheet up to her chest but no alarm went off. Remy. Pouting probably though why he chose the boathouse and at this time of night she did not know. He and Rogue were still having problems; maybe he needed to get away from the mansion for a while. She didn't blame them for not knowing how to continue their relationship now that they weren't able to enjoy every aspect of it as they had before when Rogue had lost her powers briefly. Touch was so important.

Forge. She always thought of Forge when she thought of lost powers and being touched, kissed. She remembered her own bout of struggling, attempting to survive with the X-Men without her power to control the elements. She had found love then, like Rogue though Rogue had known love without the physicality of it before. She too had known love even before Forge. T'Challa. So long ago.

A tear slipped down her face. She was happy! She knew she was, it was so tangible, her happiness, that she could almost reach out and grab it. So why was she crying? Well, she knew after a good cry she slept like a baby and so she let the tears fall, like medicine, and after a while, drained, she slept.

Above, Remy peered down at his best friend. No one knew him better, not even Rogue who would never understand the side of him that Ororo knew, the side of him that made him who he was – the thief. For once his mind turned to something other than his own problems. Had he been so selfish not to see his Stormy was suffering?

How long? And why? What would make her cry when she was so strong that tears were never something anyone would associate with her? Memories of her parents? Their untimely deaths? Feeling like an orphan again? Maybe she was thinking about Jean. Probably. Jean was like a sister to her. Jean. She'd be back. She always came back. Hadn't he told her that just last week? Petey was back, Betts was back and looking good, in fact too good. Good thing Rogue couldn't read minds. Rachel was back too. Death just didn't work with them. He grinned. It felt good being an X-Man, even with almost everyone in the world hating them or out to get them.

He'd almost forgotten how good it felt to smile without dark angry thoughts spinning through his brain. Looking down at his best friend he wished he knew how to make her feel as light as he felt now. He didn't know why thinking of her made him feel so good but he guessed that she was so much a part of him, the better part of him, that he'd always feel good whenever he thought of her.

"What ya doin' up here after curfew, LeBeau?"

Logan. The rough deep voice of course was a dead give away even if the smoke from his cigar wasn't but Remy was surprised he hadn't heard him approach.

"Playin' Peepin' Tom? I didn't think even you'd stoop that low," Logan said though he too glanced down at the sleeping Ororo.

"You know me better 'n dat. Jus' makin' sure my girl okay. What, you on patrol?"

"Couldn't sleep."

"Seems t' be catchin'."

"You an' Rogue at it again?"

"You tryin' t' be funny or you bein' kind an' considerate for a change?"

"Neither. She's been actin' crazy an' I'm sick of her mopin' around. You should talk to your woman."

Remy laughed. Who was the Wolverine to tell him how to solve the problems in his love life? Logan had never had a steady woman since he'd known him.

"I'm serious, LeBeau, you two need to talk."

"I t'ink I got more important t'ings to do."

"You would say that. What's more important than your woman?"

"I ask you de same but you don't got one, non?"

"You tryin' to be funny or psychoanalyze my ass?"

"Neither. You jus' gettin' on my last nerve. You supposed to be Stormy's friend an' every night she been cryin' herself to sleep. I never see you checkin' up on her or lookin' after her. You ain't never tried helpin' her."

"You can talk! Where were you when I was helpin' her rehab after that Khan business? I'll tell ya, you were sniffin' after Rogue. That accurate?"

"An' whose fault was dat anyway, homme? It was your wife who shot Stormy!"

"Ex wife."

"Whatever. Dat was den dis is now. You ain't dere for her now, 's what matters, de present, not what you did way back when."

"So . . . she's been cryin'?"

Remy relaxed now, nodded slowly then took a pack of cigarettes from his trench coat. Logan held out his cigar and Remy lit a cigarette taking a long drag before he answered, smoke streaming from his nostrils.

"She don't wanna talk 'bout it."

"Jeannie?"

"Non, it ain't Jean."

"Then what?"

"Don't know. Wish I did. She deserve better."

"How long's this been goin' on?"

"What?"

"Her cryin'? You said every night – how long?"

"Um. Ah. Um. A lot." Remy stammered. He backed away not sure why he'd exaggerated, maybe because he felt guilty. Maybe she had been crying every night but if she was he wouldn't know it. He had reason to feel guilty. He'd seen her moping around in the garden once or twice and tried to see if she was okay, told her Jean would be back and she had laughed a little albeit sadly but he hadn't done much more than that. He should have.

"Where you goin' all of a sudden?"

"Ta talk to my woman," Remy quipped and he took a running leap off the boathouse landing quietly onto the grass below.

Logan shook his head. Something about the Cajun always grated on his nerves. He didn't like to admit that he hated the fact that Remy was so close to Storm. He knew that was the truth but he didn't like it. Didn't have to. Storm tolerated the kid and so he did too. When it came down to it he even liked Remy but nights like this he couldn't stomach him. Didn't know why. Then he looked down at Ororo, white hair strewn about wildly against a blue pillow and he had the answer.

"What's she got to cry about?" he asked out loud.

"Will you please be quiet and get off my roof!"

He jumped. She was awake! Not in a good mood either. Damn. That idiot Cajun!

"Who's up there?"

Damn. Would it be too late to make his escape?

"Remy?"

"Nope. Remy split."

"What is this? A party? This isn't the mansion and it's not Grand Central Station. I thought when I moved out here I wouldn't have to put up with people stomping on the roof keeping me awake all night!"

She was getting up. Not good. Sounded angry. Even worse. Damn. She was half naked in that thing! Damn.

The sky light slid open further and Ororo floated up. The night air felt cooler here. It calmed her and looking at Logan she didn't feel as angry as she'd felt before.

"What are you doing here?"

"Checkin' on you."

"I'm fine."

"The Cajun thinks somethin's wrong with you."

She frowned. "Why would he think that?"

"You been cryin' yerself to sleep every night."

"What?" She was shocked. How could he – the rat. The nosey little rat. "Doesn't he have enough problems of his own to worry about?"

"He's just concerned about you is all."

"I said I'm fine."

"Then why've you been crying?"

"I haven't."

"You look like you were; dried tear stains an' you smell salty."

"Sweat – it's a hot night."

"Not that hot, 'side's sweat don't smell like tears."

"Okay I cried a small river tonight. I was tired but I'm fine now. Okay? Goodnight."

"Wait!"

His hand on her arm made her catch her breath. Being touched felt so good. Don't let me go, she thought.

"Is it Jean?" he asked, not letting her go.

"I miss Jeanr but . . . no, it's not that. I know it sounds crazy but Remy's right and I feel it in my gut – she'll be back."

"Yeah. You can't keep Jean down for long."

"Do . . . do you miss her?"

His hand fell to his side. She noticed his cigar was burning faintly before he shook his head. She was surprised.

"I did at first but I guess I'm like you. I feel it in my gut – she'll be back an' then there'll be all hell to pay probably."

"You mean Scott?"

"An' Emma."

She settled down onto the roof then sat down letting her feet dangle over the edge of the skylight. She wished he'd sit beside her and talk. He didn't. Instead he moved away. He was leaving.

"I'm so lonely."

He stared. She stared, open mouthed. Had she really spoken her thought aloud? Without thinking about what he was doing he walked back to her, stooped down beside her so that he was squatting on his haunches. They were quiet. A dozen or so bats flew overhead. They could see a few fireflies flickering in the trees. Something splashed into the lake – a frog perhaps. Crickets chirped. It grew cooler. It was a beautiful night.

He found himself sitting now, his own legs dangling over the edge of the skylight. They were very close, almost touching. She smelled good as always. He thought he knew her and what with all the dates they'd gone on lately he thought he knew her even better now. Operas and dinner were a side of her he hadn't experienced before but now . . . now what? He couldn't make her out.

"We're all lonely, 'Roro," he finally said and his voice was thick and husky full of emotion as if the words hadn't wanted to come out.

"Even you?"

"Yeah." The admission stirred something deep inside him.

In the silence of the night he put an arm around her and she leaned into him. It felt good holding her. Why hadn't he done this before?

"Maybe we're all crazy – you know chasing the moon when . . ."

"When what?" she asked when he declined to finish observation.

"When maybe the moon isn't what we really want."

"Chasing the moon," she said quietly. Forge. T'Challa. Had she been chasing the moon by dreaming of what was and what she could never have again instead of searching for something closer?

And then she sat up and looked at him as if she were seeing him more clearly. Jean. Did he mean Jean? But all she got from him was a lifted eyebrow and a lopsided grin. She took the cigar from his mouth, now almost out, and snuffed the remaining life from it and left it laying there. He didn't complain.

"What would you want if not the moon?" she asked.

"Maybe the sun."

"Viper was more like an eclipse."

"Flamin' eclipse of darkness and evil, eh?"

"I can at least admire your belief in honor."

"I married her because I made a vow to a friend. Maybe I was a fool but I couldn't do anything less. Fool's die for honor too."

"You are not a fool, Logan."

"Maybe. Maybe we all are."

"Do you think?"

"Maybe."

"What ya waitin' for? Kiss her already!"Remy yelled from somewhere in the darkness.

"Damn Cajun."

"Remy LeBeau!" She was rising into the air now. Logan closed one eye but with the other risked a quick glance up and caught a glimpse under the little chemise she wore. Nothing he hadn't seen before with her penchant for running around nude but he still appreciated the view. They heard laughter rumbling in the dark and footsteps pounding the ground as Remy fled back to the mansion.

"I better get back to bed," she said with a little wave and she glided down through the skylight as if she weighed as light as a feather.

The wind died as she slipped into her room. He could hear her waterfall running now, could hear her soft footsteps as she padded around the room doing small things; smoothing her bedding, touching her hair, doing everything but going back to bed.

"You owe me a cigar," he said teasingly.

"You owe me a good night's sleep."

"Why don't I just give you the moon?"

"I don't want the moon, Logan."

With his head cocked to the side a little he studied her. Man, he wanted to jump down there but – well, it was Ororo. She was both friend and confidante. Ororo.

She removed her chemise, just slipped a finger under one strap and then the other letting the silky fabric skim down her body.

"I better get back to bed too," he said, leaping up and turning too quickly only his foot slipped on a shingle and as he tried to gain a better foothold he twisted and fell.

"Logan!"

Rolling to avoid the gaping skylight then falling, arms flaying the air wildly as if he were trying to catch hold of something to stop his fall, then the familiar feeling of air cushioning him, holding him, guiding him.

"Up or down?"

"Huh?" he asked. She was there beside him holding them aloft with her winds.

"Are you staying or are you still chasing after the moon?"

Damn. "Staying."

So she lowered them gently into her room and then he walked into her arms.

"Where've you been all this time, darlin'?"

"Chasing the moon, same as you."