Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men Evolution or any of the characters.


Anniversary

Ray turned over and stared at the calendar. He turned over again to look at the blank wall. His hand moved into his pocket pulling out a cellphone. He scrolled through the text messages to the one that he couldn't bring himself to delete. He had tried numerous times before and always found himself stopping himself and deleting another message instead. He could clear his whole texting history except for that one message.

He read the message once more and gave a small, sad smile. He placed his phone into his pocket and turned over yet again. He had been doing this for the past two hours. He looked at the clock to read that the bright red numbers proclaimed it to be 2:30 am.

His eyes again glanced at the calendar. He read the date on the day calendar for the fifth time that night. May 9. It had been two years since it happened. Last year he had gone through the same routine. Finding that he couldn't sleep and just kept turning over in his bed in the Institute throughout the night. He knew that this was going to be a routine every year on this day.

He turned over this time facing the blank ceiling. His thoughts wandered to several what-ifs. What if he had gotten the message sooner? What if he had cut training? What if he had thought that she might have been in danger shortly after sending the text? What if he realized that it wasn't a message saying that she missed him but was in danger? What if he had told the teachers and they rushed to her? What if he had done anything differently?

Ray sat up trying to ignore the questions that were bombarding his mind. If he had looked at the clock he would have realized that last year he had done this at the same time as well. He got out of bed and made his way downstairs. He just wandered around the lower floor. The teachers had made sure that this year he wasn't getting outside and roam toward the scene in his dazed state like before. After the incident they had to keep a close eye on him. He had many sessions, and still did, with the Professor to help him recover and not do anything stupid.

Eventually Ray ended up in front of the front doors. He tried to open the doors only to find they were locked. Ray was about to try forcing them open when a hand landed on his right shoulder. Ray turned to see Ororo standing there giving him a look that conveyed that she knew what he was going through. She led him into the kitchen by grabbing his hand. Ray didn't protest and just followed in silence.

Ororo handed him a cup of herbal tea. She sat across from him. Neither drank the tea and just sat there quietly staring at their cups. Small tears slipped down Ray's check which he ignored and Ororo didn't say anything. Instead she got up and sat next to him. She placed her arm over his shoulder giving him a one armed hug.

This was enough to allow Ray to just lean against her and let the tears out that he was too proud to show around the others. The tears that he shed when he was alone and no one was looking. The others claimed to understand since they had lost someone to in that event. But no one truly felt the same, except for Ms. Munroe.

When he had wandered out and gone to the scene she had been the first to find him. She was the first to realize that he was missing. Because she too couldn't sleep on this day. She had walked through the house checking on every student to make sure they were safe. She had even checked on the other teachers. When she had found Ray wasn't in his bed she took off for the scene. She too had thought of going there. She didn't think of telling the other teachers until she had returned with Ray and made sure that he was going to fine for a while.

Ray's tears slowly stopped because they had run out. He could cry no more. His tears would only come out on this day when he was alone or with Ms. Munroe. Both felt guilt for something that they had no control over and no prior knowledge of. Ororo would tell anyone that her gut said something was wrong and that should have been enough. Ray figured that the message had been enough even though it when read didn't sound like a distress call. He should have known that she would never send a message like that.

Both sat quietly leaning on each other for the support that they felt they couldn't find from the rest of the team. The other X-Men were no longer haunted by what had happened and all the…

Ororo turned her spoon in her tea making a soft tinking noise. It was the only noise in the kitchen. Both had shed their tears quietly since both were unwilling to let the others see them. Ray rotated the cup around in a circle not sure if he wanted to drink it or not. He decided to drink it after two minutes, taking a sip.

Neither of them paid attention to how long they just sat there. Neither noticed that the tea they were drinking had become cold long ago. Neither noticed that the sun had risen. Or that there was a man standing at the kitchen door who froze when he saw them.

Logan stood there unsure what to do. He was glad that their backs were towards him and that he walked quietly. Logan could feel the vibes that no one else was welcomed into their little world today. Or probably tomorrow either. Logan knew the only thing he could do was keep the other students and teachers from using this kitchen until they decided to move up into Ororo's garden. Luckily Charles had installed another kitchen due to the size of the student population. Logan really wanted his coffee but knew that the room had become their sanctuary for the day. If he entered he was going to get fried by both of them. His coffee wasn't worth it. If Rouge was the first to come by he'd sign her to get him a cup of coffee and come back and help keep the others away.

It killed Logan inside to not be able to help one of his students and the most important woman to him. He would rather he'd rather have his bones replaced with adamantium all over again, be forced to live civilly with Sabertooth for a year, and be forced to work for SHEILD again than go through this.

As he had predicted Rouge was the first one to come. He held up his hand stopping Rouge in her tracks. When she raised an eyebrow he signed to her and jabbed his thumb into the kitchen to let her know what was going on. Rouge nodded and went off quietly looking for a sign to put up so that Logan wouldn't be stuck standing there until noon; neither of them looked like they were moving anytime soon.

The day went on, and it was around noon that Ray and Ororo had left the kitchen and went into her garden. No one saw them leave except for Logan who despite the sign that Rouge had put up hadn't moved far from his self-designated post. There had been some close calls with some of the students that thought going and trying to give them comfort would help. It would only have sent the two further into their own world for longer.

Logan moved out to the back woods where he knew they would end up instead at supper time. He looked at the more than thirty tombstones. He stopped at the one he knew was haunting his student. It held a female's body and all that identified her to the world was the single word: Scaleface. All of the tombs haunted his student since the people buried had been a family to him like the X-Men were. Logan's eyes scanned the other graves: Callisto and Caliban were buried side by side, Cybelle, Torpid, Façade, Lucid, Marrow, and then his eyes landed on the one that haunted Ororo. It was the only one with more than one word on it: Evan Danials, Spyke, date of birth and death, X-Man and Morlock, beloved nephew and son. Logan still had no clue how Ororo convinced her sister to allow them to bury their son here.

In the garden Ray and Ororo were slightly looking and deciding which plants would be placed on top of each grave. Ray looked at the message: Berzerker, when are you going to get here?

The one thought that crossed his mind was how his girlfriend, probably his soul mate, had thought he would realize that was a call for help. It never occurred to him that it hadn't been. It never occurred in his mind that there hadn't been danger at that point and that she had had no time to send a real distress call when it came. And it would haunt him forever due to that.


AN: This is a story in response to the Silence is Golden Challenge. You can find it at: forum (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/ topic/ 88688/ 40719274/ 1/