Love Unsought – by Darlin

A/N – This takes place about six or seven years ago since I just found a few stories that I wrote about that long ago before that heinous event in Storm's life. It was originally a prelude to another story I posted but I knew it really didn't fit the story so I recently redid it and took it in another direction to kind of satisfy my sudden and unexpected Cajun craving at the moment which, believe me, is a little baffling since Marvel finally has actual RoLo going on! Makes me a little tempted to buy a comic book after my long hiatus. Almost. Oh, and this is just a one shot.

Disclaimer – By now everyone knows only Marvel owns the characters and no profit is made in fan fiction except for much satisfaction and happiness.

"Love sought is good, but given unsought is better" ~ Shakespeare Twelfth night – Act 3, Scene 1~

-xox-

With a cigarette dangling from his lips Remy LeBeau scratched at the stubble on his neck then lit a match and cupped a hand to prevent the wind off the lake from extinguishing it. Soon smoke streamed from his nostrils and mouth and he gave a hearty sigh. Though he'd been trying to give up smoking he really needed something to help calm him after a long day of socializing with everyone. That is everyone except Rogue who had blatantly ignored him all day.

Sounds of laughter drifted over the water as his team mates cleaned up the remains of their picnic. He had offered to help but Rogue had shooed him off with an angry glare. He'd wanted to stay to try to show her he had some redeeming qualities but she was still angry with him for something he did or didn't do. Now he was glad to be away and no longer cared what it was she was accusing him of this time. The respite was much needed after Rogue's continued indifference, especially since it brought a welcome friend. He grinned when a pair of warm hands covered his eyes.

"Now, lemme guess who dis is. Hmm, de Wolverine, wanna play, oui?"

He heard a giggle.

"Don't much sound like Logan an' it ain't dat Mississippi Mud Rat 'cause I do believe she don't care for dis Cajun t'day, so it must be my Stormy," Remy said as he stubbed out his cigarette on the heel of his boot, tossed it then swung around and caught Ororo into his arms. "You de most welcome sight, Stormy!"

"Then I'm not bothering you?" she laughed.

"De day you bother me I figure I'll be in de grave missing you, wonderin' where you at."

"That's sweet you charmer."

"Not as sweet as your lips," he whispered and ran a finger over her voluptuous lips.

"Don't start with me, Remy LeBeau," Ororo said sternly but she was smiling and didn't mind that he drew her even closer so he could kiss her.

Once when she and her team were trying to locate Destiny's Diaries she'd been skinny dipping with Remy watching her and when she got out of the water and walked up to him he'd taken her into his arms and kissed her almost like now. But then he'd told her his heart belonged to Rogue and she had known this but that hadn't stopped her from enjoying his seductive kisses. Besides it didn't matter to her that his heart was taken because hers was as well.

"Mmmm," she breathed now after she forced herself to try and break free from the alluring devil. However, when he didn't budge she sighed, but from frustration or satisfaction it was hard to tell.

He drew her close again and kissed her tenderly.

"You do so tempt me, Remy," she said when he finally let her come up for air. "But I don't like it when you do this knowing Rogue could see us."

"Dat is not de goal, chère, 'sides she ain't looked my way all day."

Ororo sighed and turned within the circle of his arms. They moved together as one, she leaning into him and Remy tightening his arms around her once again. The view of the lake and woods, the sun bright sky from where they stood, was breathtaking as was this unnameable hold they had upon each other. And whatever problems they might have had earlier were forgotten as they enjoyed their time away from the others in contented silence.

From the other side of the lake keen, dark eyes watched the small red glow from Remy's cigarette disappear as the Cajun took Ororo into his arms. Unlike Remy, Logan hadn't been able to escape clean up duty. It wasn't that he minded helping out but he was feeling restless, feeling strange even, as if something was about to happen, something important, something he wasn't going to like. What he didn't like was Ororo in Remy's arms.

The women were laughing and chiding the men which brought his attention back to their little group. He enjoyed their lighthearted laughter. The welcomed sound was like able fingers skimming over a piano, music to soothe the savage beast that felt so very near the surface this evening. But he missed one sweet laugh and wondered how long it would be before or if he would ever hear it again. The laughter that had replaced Jean's was off key, harsh and too high, too artificial just like the rest of her. Emma. He wondered why she was there, why Scott had brought her along, why Scott had forsaken Jean.

Out of all the members of the team only Scott had not gotten some enjoyment from the festivities. As always he was ever vigilant, eyes, shaded in his ruby quartz visor, constantly on the move; too busy watching all to relax. And he was the only man who put serious effort in cleaning up, anxious to get his team back behind the safe walls of the mansion. He'd noted Remy from afar, obviously in a bad mood, and also Logan who was surveying the area like a restless animal as he occasionally tossed a paper cup into a trash bag. The others were laughing too much and too loudly except for Emma whose sharp laughter dripping in derision sounded fake and made Scott inwardly uncomfortable. Jean's soft laughter had always made him smile inwardly. But Jean was gone, the past, a memory to forget.

"Don't think about Jean," he commanded himself, his voice a deep sigh though barely audible.

Death came too easily. The X-Men were at play while all his instincts made him want to shout – wake up people, be alert, it's not safe! They were too at ease and it bothered him almost to distraction. Thankfully Emma was like him in that regard. She was never too lax. She was just as determined not to lose any one on her watch ever again. She was his eyes and ears, inside his head always. Intruding, manipulating? That troubled him even more sometimes.

"No time for being the fearless leader today," Emma said as she came up behind him snaking her arms around his waist unconsciously duplicating Remy and Ororo's intimate embrace.

Scott had long stopped flinching at her touch talhough the aroma that wafted from her still startled him. She smelled of chemicals and too much perfume. But her hands were warm on his bare stomach and felt comforting, and Scott allowed himself to lean back against her, or was he being forced? Sometimes he was never sure with her. Ultimately he believed he was not. But sometimes a small voice in the back of his head assured him that if he was being forced it was for the greater good and therefore acceptable for how did he know Jean hadn't done the same or the Professor?

The sun finally set, streaking colorfully over the horizon. Wanting to linger and savor the day shared together someone started a fire while ignoring Scott's protest. Logan's nose twitched as the pungent odor of smoke rose. From across the lake Remy and Ororo, now sitting and still locked in a companionable embrace, swayed in the evening breeze, both contemplating whether or not to rejoin the others then deciding against it, all in silent unison.

Scott started to order them both back but Emma had him still in her grasp – both physically and mentally? He said nothing, did nothing. His eyes closed behind the barrier he was forced to keep between himself and the world. Emma pushed him gently down onto a fallen log that was slightly wet from evening dew. They sat close beside each other heedless of the dampness. He welcomed the feel of another body against his, filling the emptiness within him at least a little bit.

As the fire sprung to life, crackling and sparking Hank and Jubilee found long twigs and handed them out. Soon marshmallows were burnt to a fine black crisp and a few to golden brown, gooey deliciousness. The required graham crackers and Hershey bars were brought out and they feasted on s'mores, that delectably, sticky, yummy treat that even Logan enjoyed.

"Think we should find Gambit and Storm?" Bobby asked no one in particular.

"Humph," Rogue grunted but no one heard her save Logan who took up Bobby's suggestion.

Scott glanced at the dark figures sitting on the edge of the lake locked in each others arms and wondered what they were playing at and then he followed Logan's formidable, retreating form, ever watchful.

There was still that unwelcome tension in the air that had been so obvious throughout the day. Scott knew had everything to do with Emma. Despite the fact that she had been with them for years most of the X-Men felt she didn't belong, that she was an intruder in their midst, a poor substitute for a dearly beloved friend. Ororo didn't even return for s'mores which she'd fallen in love with upon first bite. He remembered the camping trip he and Jean had taken her and Kurt and Peter and Logan on long, long ago. Kitty didn't try to hide her distaste for Emma either. All day she'd stared daggers at the woman he'd chosen to spend his life with. Logan had been just as unwelcoming, eying Emma throughout the day as if she were the villain she used to be, ready to strike at them any moment.

"Don't let them bother you my darling," Emma whispered in Scott's ear. Her smile was infectious or was it her skill at controlling him? He didn't care at the moment, didn't want to think about it, just grinned in return letting her stuff a perfectly toasted marshmallow into his mouth.

Ororo longed for a taste of one of her favorite treats but Remy's kisses were something she longed for too.

Remy longed for more than this moment of peaceful, desire-soaked need.

"Remy been t'inkin' – why dun we run away?" he said matter-of-factly after he pecked her cheek sweetly. "Let's go back to New Orleans. T'ings were good for us dere."

"Things got better for me here, remember? I was a child then."

Remy frowned. "You were a brat."

"And you were a darling."

"De t'ings I had to put up wid – hey, wait a minute! – Remy ain't darling no more?"

"You still are, always will be."

"Dat's better."

She smiled and he grinned back at her but not quite finished yet.

"Let's get away from here. Everyt'ings too complicated here," he said.

"I hope you're kidding, Remy. You are aren't you?" she asked as she finally freed herself from his clingy arms.

"Remy ain't jokin'! We never needed any of dese X-Men, dun need 'em now."

"I do. They're my . . ."

"I was your family when you didn't even remember dem. I'm still your family."

"Remy . . ."

"You love me don't you?"

"Of course I do but . . ."

"Let's pack up an' go now, never look back. We'll be happy again."

Ororo looked at him in the dark night, her face full of consternation. He knew her so well. He was always so tempting. She longed to leave everything behind with all its complications – Logan and Rogue – but it wasn't that simple.

"Leave wid me, chère," Remy said as he pulled her back to him. But Ororo quickly stood up, avoiding further temptation.

"I'm going to get some s'mores," she said lightly and soared up into the sky.

"Scaredy cat!" he called after her but she only laughed at him.

The night was getting colder. Autumn would be upon them soon, Ororo's favorite season. She was never bothered by cold or heat thanks to her powers, but she knew the fire would be welcomed by her friends. Still, she didn't join them. S'mores were the last thing on her mind.

She watched the group from a short distance away. They all looked so happy. She loved the X-Men. This was where she'd come to believe she belonged.

"Don't let him bother you," Logan murmured when he silently stepped beside Ororo.

"I do not," she replied too firmly knowing all too well whom Logan spoke of.

"You know the Cajun can take care of himself," Logan said.

"I have never said otherwise."

"So, you just in a mood ta be prickly t'night, darlin'?"

"I suppose I am." But she wasn't. Or rather she hadn't been. Remy had shaken her calm and she resented him for that and Logan going on about Remy wasn't helping either.

"So, then you want me ta leave ya alone, darlin'?"

That he had to ask amused her but the look on his face made her laugh outright. It was obvious he didn't want to go.

"Your company is always welcome my friend."

They stood just hidden on the fringes of the woods watching their teammates. Ororo glanced at Logan but he looked lost in thought. She knew he was thinking about Jean. She had forced herself not to think of her dead, best friend, one reason she had joined Remy. She wasn't connected to Jean through Remy like she was through the others. Remy meant everything to her but this short, barrel chested man beside her meant as much if not more. But there was no hint of anything romantic. The silence continued. She wished he'd take her hand in his and hold on for dear life. She needed someone to be there for her, to be an anchor. Remy couldn't be that for her. Remy was like the wind, untouchable, unable to be captured, or tracked down. Her chest heaved in a silent sigh. She wondered did he even know what love truly was.

Her confusion over Remy faded as sadness engulfed her. Lately being with Logan made her sad. She loved him just as she did Remy but Logan would never return that love. She smiled a little, a smile which Logan caught as he eyed her covertly. He longed to take her hand in his, to pull her to him just as Remy had pulled her to him, to savor the taste of her soft full lips that he loved to kiss.

From a distance the fire crackled and popped as if inviting Jubilee to throw her two cents in and so she did, shooting a few sparklers over the blazing fire, causing the group to laugh then beg her for a fireworks show. It didn't take much encouragement to get her to stand up and light the night with her brilliant plasma bursts. Scott and Emma both smiled as the young woman displayed her brilliance.

"It's good to have her back," Emma whispered to her lover who nodded in return. Scott had no need to question if Emma was influencing him in this matter.

"It's good to have her back," Ororo said.

"Yeah. Missed the kid," Logan agreed and then, taking another peek at Ororo he said, "Missed you. Why'd ya wander off?"

Ororo smiled but she had no ready answer. Loathing Emma had been part of it, missing Jean, seeing Remy so low and Logan ignoring her for most of the day. Well, he hadn't exactly ignored her. He'd spent most of the day with Kitty and Jubilee who both seemed to be vying for his attention as if they had unconsciously turned back into the young girls of old when they were slightly resentful of the others closeness to him. He'd been tickled to have both girls together and Ororo had been happy for him but she'd wished he'd paid her just a little attention. All she wanted from him was just some tiny acknowledgment that he cared, that maybe they might be able to at least try to see if something special could happen between them.

Emma groaned as she fought to keep out so many unguarded thoughts. Scott looked at her but when she gave him a tight smile he continued scanning the area, more concerned with night time intruders. No one else noticed or if they did they didn't pay any attention. Logan did, however. He watched Emma for a moment while Ororo watched him. Finally Ororo sighed and started to go but Logan turned back to her, caught her wrist to stop her, asked her where she was going.

"I need to find Remy; in fact you can be my tracker. I thought I caught Remy's colonge on the wind but it's so dark in these woods I can barely see."

"Easy enough," Logan said before raising his head to catch what scents he could. After a moment he grinned and said, "Cajun's on his way back now. We should run inta him in a few. Kid's in a hurry."

"All that you can tell by smell alone," Ororo said marveling over his exceptional ability.

"Sweat, cigarettes an' that hellacious cologne he wears is all comin' right at us fast."

There was that tinkling stream of unguarded laughter from Ororo that he always enjoyed but seldom heard any more. Earlier it had been hesitant and guarded, even artificial, but now her shoulders rose and fell freely, her body relaxed, and she looked genuinely happy.

They passed like three ships in a bay. She imagined them walking in slow motion pausing only slightly to glance at one another before continuing their separate journeys. She didn't stop because Logan had grasped her hand and grinned at her. Remy too wore a grin but it was the half grin half grimace that he wore so frequent of late as if he were resignedly marching to his doom. He shrugged, determined to face his angry lady love. Ororo returned his smile. What else could she do to ease his anxiety, what to say? There were no magic words to offer up, nothing to settle this constant distance between Remy and Rogue.

For a second she thought he winked at her before he trudged on. Hoping to right the unjustifiable wrongs Rogue attributed to him perhaps? Ororo had unconsciously stopped, watching Remy disappear into the woods. And then she remembered Logan but when she looked beside her she saw that he too was gone. Disappeared like a phantom in the night. His presence had lightened her mood and she'd looked forward to spending some time with him though she hadn't said so and now it was too late, both men gone. For a split second she almost felt compelled to return to the gathering but the thought of Emma's cold gaze made her stay her course. The evening was over for her.

As expected when Remy returned, Scott immediately flashed a reprimanding look in his direction. Remy shrugged it off. It was a pleasant night, the alarms around the perimeter were in place and he was sure they were as safe as they ever were. He could never understand the constant vigilance Scott demanded. Life was about enjoying yourself and that meant accepting that there were risks that you couldn't always avoid no matter how diligent one was. Like Rogue.

Just two strides closer and he would've been in front of her, ready to confront her, ready for the argument he knew must come, ready to relieve them both of their misery. But she lit off the ground as if the earth beneath her were on fire.

"Bye y'all," she shouted over her shoulder.

Remy watched her shoot up into the air, one arm straight out in front of her, the other clenched in a fist close to her chest as if she were Superman from the movies. Impervious, determined, unrelenting, that was Rogue. She hated him and loved him. He knew that. He wanted to make things right but she wouldn't let him. He could no longer touch her, wasn't that punishment enough? Why did she have to make him suffer further?

They were like children Scott thought or was that Emma's thought? It had to be Emma's.

"Well, it's true you must admit," Emma said, a smile on her face as her voice wended its way inside Scott's head.

"I don't disagree," Scott replied aloud.

Fighting one moment making up the next and repeating the foolish cycle over and over again, yes just like children. There was nothing appealing about that to him. He and Jean had seldom fought. He and Emma never fought. Why couldn't Remy see it would never work between him and Rogue? Rogue, poor kid, she saw it.

It took Logan only a second to realize it was Rogue shooting through the night like a jet. He felt for her. He liked her a lot. They'd gone through hell and back since she was a newbie in Japan with them. He'd always help her if he could but he knew there was no help he could give that would take the burden of her pain from her.

Why did it always feel like they were going nowhere fast? Not just Remy and Rogue but the X-Men, aimlessly lolling around just waiting for their enemies to strike? That wasn't his way. He missed the old days when they were the hunters. But that had been a different crew with him and Ororo in Australia. He wondered for a moment what Gateway was doing then shrugged the thought away. Gateway would be doing what he always did. His thoughts strayed again, he wondered where the Phoenix was, how it existed without Jean. Did it miss Jean like he did?

If anything was true in this world Scott knew it was the Phoenix. Eternal. Forever.

"Not now, Emma," he said out loud when Emma tried to make him think of something other than Jean. And with practiced ease he blocked his thoughts from her.

Scott missed the bond he and Jean had formed, having no need to block their thoughts from each other. They'd been that much in love. And the trust had been that much. But it had all been shattered through his betrayal. He missed Jean. He missed all that could have been and what had been. If he were a lesser man he thought he might break down and weep but what would that look like – the leader of the formidable X-Men bawling like a babe in front of his subordinates?

Pain and tension so thick in the air was always a constant with the X-Men although most chose to ignore it as they did Emma. They were used to suffering. A new day would come and just as today they would laugh and enjoy each others company and tease and hurl insults and laugh some more, accepting what life gave them. Emma wondered why Scott couldn't be that way. She wondered why men like Scott and Logan were so isolated choosing to keep their feelings bottled up like masochists. So typical, she thought.

If hearts could bleed from pain then Rogue's would have been mortally wounded. If she had to go through another fight with Remy she was seriously thinking about slitting her wrists. Or leaving. But leaving wasn't an option. She had nowhere else to go. After the ordeal with Cody she'd left her family and had been taken under Mystique's wing where along with Irene they had become a family of sorts. After she broke with them, hoping to control her powers, she'd been with the X-Men ever since despite Mystique's attempts to draw her back. Mystique's love had been the one constant in her life but she couldn't go back to her when their ideals were complete opposites now.

She had never been on her own except for the short period when she'd run away after Cody. Even when she left the X-Men briefly it had been with Bobby. She'd really tried his patience too. Could anyone blame her though? Was this to be her fate, to be so needy and yet unable to feel physical touch, never confident to venture out alone to find herself? How could she ever find peace within herself if she could never accept herself and her fate?

Though she didn't want to feel angry with anyone, especially Logan, Ororo couldn't help it. Here one moment then gone the next and without a word. That was simply how he was and she knew this but it still irked her. From the moment he'd held her hand she guessed he was as lonely as she but he clung to the only past that he could remember as if it were a worn out security blanket. She knew he had told Jean it could never work with them even with Scott messing around mentally with Emma, and he had even begun to flirt with Ororo again after Jean's death but she had felt his heart was not in it completely. Things had to change. She was falling in love but he was playing at having a good time. Her heart was at stake and he had put up nothing.

The emotions of so many conflicted people were too much for Emma to bear for long. It wasn't that she was an empath but that so many extreme emotions made their thoughts screams of desperation, a fierce never ending cacophony in her head. Jubilee's were usually hard to read but her excitement from being back with everyone, Logan in particular, was loud and vivid. Betsy, back from the grave, controlled her thoughts far better but the sexual tension Emma felt coming off her was disturbing. Was it that Warren and Paige had shown up together?

And then there was Ororo. Her thoughts were never easy to read but having been Ororo, inside her skin harnessing the power that was Ororo, Emma knew the weather goddess better than she supposed Ororo could guess. It wasn't necessary to see unrequited love dancing through her brain waves because it was written so plainly on her face and in her every action. It was unrequited love that had hurt Emma the most throughout the day whether seen or felt. It was everywhere. Betsy, Warren, Logan, Ororo, Remy, Rogue, Bobby, Hank and even Scott.

She could feel it like a sledge hammer pounding on her brain as the misery of unrequited love drowned Robert's soul even as he tried to tease Jubilee and put thoughts of Lorna from his mind. Henry's was less subtle but still there. Was he still in love with Trish Tilby after she had so unceremoniously dumped him when their relationship was made known to the world? She didn't linger to find out. Like a thief in the night she stole from mind to mind and in a twisted way enjoyed the tidbits she picked up yet hating the necessity of having to do this. Sometimes it was the only way she could control the unrelenting noise. So many thoughts. If she could only categorize them then she felt she had some control over the situation.

She didn't like others to be happy and she didn't enjoy being around happy people because she had so seldom been happy in her life but being amongst these people, her people now, a small part of her desired to fix this poor, miserable lot that needed love as much as she did. But unlike herself they refused to acknowledge their need. She knew Scott wouldn't allow her to do that and she wasn't sure she could stomach it. Too much love was even worse on a telepath than unrequited love. Unrequited love sunk and faded then was buried away in hopes of forgetting but love fulfilled was primal joy not easily contained and less easy to ignore, like Jubilee – all boundless energy in annoyingly, bright colors.

Love had finally been achieved for Emma, as much as she could hope for. She knew Scott cared, that he believed he loved her but she could see his thoughts so clearly that she couldn't deny his love for her was only a tiny drop of what his love for Jean was. The love he had for Jean would never die. Jean was the reason Scott was who he was and why he continued being. Jean was a part of him as Emma would never be. She had accepted this because he had allowed her love and returned it in a fashion, love that she luxuriated in and needed with every fiber of her soul. But it was also Scott's love that hurt her the most, not having it completely, sharing it, no, not even sharing it but borrowing it for a moment in time. Worse, she could feel it roaring through him, his love for Jean, as if it were some living thing within him, inseparable. It was something he never tried to hide but the subject was taboo between them and thus, with one single move he had pushed her out of his mind.

He seldom did that to Emma. And only Jean could have taught him that. Was this little get together the reason for his sudden alienation? She knew the answer of course. These people Scott was so connected to needed to be kept at a distance. It was no good having so many X-Men under the same roof or even at a picnic like this where their influence as a group swayed stronger than hers. Sometimes she hated the X-Men. More often than not she hated Jean. Every one of these people loved that red headed goodie two shoes. Every one of them in their own way missed her. Emma knew a few of them even wished it had been her that had died in Jean's stead.

As Logan tramped through the woods aimlessly he above all the others, save perhaps Kitty and possibly Ororo in a weak moment, wished Emma dead. He'd felt she'd been watching him and Ororo, maybe even trying to read their thoughts. He didn't care if she read them now. But when he'd been with Ororo his thoughts weren't for anyone but himself. Ororo meant to much to him for Emma or anyone else to just rifle through his thoughts in some voyeuristic play. Emma meant nothing to him. He only tolerated her because she had helped with the Generation X kids, with Jubilee. And Scott put up with her. He didn't understand how a woman like that could be a substitute for a woman like Jean. Emma or Jean? Who in their right mind, except for some randy, pimply faced kid, would choose Emma? His mood and his stomach soured. He didn't feel like s'mores or company with her around. Ambling along in the dark breezy night who would notice his absence, he thought and wished that Ororo would.

Back at the campsite he could hear Kitty laughing with Peter. His Pumpkin, all grown up now. Kurt's laughter joined theirs and then so did his daughter T.J. from an alternate time line. Now that was unexpected, who would've ever pegged Kurt and Wanda, Magneto's daughter, as an item even in another dimension? Still, everyone had someone in some form or another. Even Bobby and Hank, best friends through thick and thin, had each other. Only he and Betsy and Ororo were alone.

Why hadn't it been Emma and not Jean who'd died? He wished he'd given Jean a chance when she'd turned to him after discovering Emma and Scott were involved in adulterous mind games. Why hadn't he? But Jean had turned to him in desperation, lost and confused over Scott's betrayal with Emma. No, he couldn't have taken advantage of her like that. He respected Scott – then – enough not to use Jean. But some part of him had been eager to refuse her, pleased to know he no longer wanted or needed her. And he hadn't though now he found himself longing for what might have been if he'd only said yes.

Logan's thoughts were easily read this night. It would be so easy for Emma to throw Logan a bone. Usually she couldn't pick up much from him but the inner turmoil Ororo was feeling had made Emma curious, sure that Logan was the problem. She didn't mind probing deep; her skill was such he couldn't detect her presence and he did just wish she'd been the one who'd died. Beside it was just Logan, no one of any importance although it didn't bother her at all to read any of the others really. A gentle push in the right direction was all Logan needed, a whisper of a tiny suggestion . . .

"Find her. Go find her. You know you want to," Emma urged, knowing he would go to Ororo but would he act? The stupid oaf. What Ororo saw in him she couldn't comprehend in the least.

Find her? Logan looked around curiously. He should find her. He would find her, talk to her, just be with her. He'd find her now he decided. But find who? Not Jean. Jean was dead.

"Ororo," he said and as soon as her name left his lips he knew she was the one he must find. They needed to talk, straighten things out, maybe even plan a future together. He changed directions. Her scent, so unique and luring, was easy to track even in the wind.

Watching from the shadows Logan could easily see two figures embracing in the living room they so seldom used. He smelled tears. Rogue crying on Ororo's shoulder. He wished he'd thought to come sooner, wished the Cajun had never ever come there at all. Remy needed to fix things or leave. He had his hooks in both Rogue and Ororo who were too busy dealing with his games to have time for anyone else. He wanted Ororo to have time for him. He forgot that she had opted to stay with him and hadn't gone off with Remy when they'd gone in search of the Cajun and he'd chickened out.

Now he looked around and saw the Cajun sitting under the eaves not far from the same window he was watching, eavesdropping just as he was. Logan resented Remy because he believed Ororo cared more for Remy than him. He was so sure of it that Emma's little nudge couldn't stem this belief. He turned away leaving the women to commiserate in peace and because he did nothing all the possibilities of a long future between him and Ororo were never brought to fruition.

The effort had been made, Emma thought with satisfaction. She didn't exactly know why she'd gone to the trouble. Perhaps something about Ororo's self-sufficiency bothered her. Or perhaps the constant ache Ororo carried with her that Emma had felt so strongly so long ago when she had occupied Ororo's body, perhaps it mirrored her own pain. In the end Emma told herself she didn't care one way or the other, she had Scott and was satisfied. Let the others wallow in secret misery she thought deciding to bow out of any further get togethers. Scott would be relieved as would the others. Especially Ororo. Poor Ororo, Emma thought with a touch of rare pity, the Wind-goddess would never be happy.

This grim prediction didn't give Emma pleasure as one might expect. Then how many had ever made an effort to understand her, to get to know her? Neither Logan nor Ororo had and neither would they ever know she'd made an effort to help them. Emma would be forgotten in death as time drifted slowly like a ship in a lull and even unrequited loves were forgotten.

The evening wound down and they put the fire out and started back to the mansion feeling sleepy but full. Full of food and fun and remembrance of other good, simple times like these. Jubilee called for Logan who came trotting out of the woods to walk her back. Kitty let Peter walk her back, his muscular arm around her protectively. Warren and Paige walked side by side without touching with Betsy not far behind them, watching the unusual pair and remembering other times, better times. TJ and Kurt were talking and laughing, the only two still full of energy. Bobby yawned without covering his mouth, trying to stay awake, as Hank droned on about the stars in alignment with whatever planet was close enough to view this season. Bobby wished he could teleport like Kurt, teleport right into his pajamas and into his snugly, warm bed. Emma filled with warmth as Scott slid an arm around her waist and they walked back as the united couple she so very much needed to feel they were.

And as goodnight's were said all around the night soon grew quiet. Remy sighed. He had listened to Rogue and Ororo's conversation and he longed to put things right. And Ororo had listened, agreeing silently with Rogue who wanted to go away, to get away from Remy for a while and all the while Ororo was hurting for her own loss in love. Would she never have love reciprocated?

The wind and the dark night sky called to Ororo and she opened the window then lifted herself high, arms spread wide as if waiting to be embraced. If Warren were up she would have delighted in a spin in the air with him but she had a feeling he had other things on her mind, other women, and wouldn't want to be disturbed. She sighed deeply as she landed on the rooftop where she liked to sunbathe. She hoped Betsy wouldn't be hurt or Paige. How was it that they all could die and yet keep coming back? Once for her, no twice, no trice! She chuckled now then jumped in fright as warm hands covered her eyes.

"Guess who, chère?" the Cajun's husky voice crooned softly in her ear.

"Remy! You nearly scared me to death!" she gasped but at his sly wink she had to laugh.

Looking at her he was filled with the strongest desire to simply hold onto her. She was his best friend. He loved her. He loved everything about her.

"Ororo," he said very quietly taking her hands in his. "Remy tell you all de time dat he love you, oui?"

"Not really," she said and wished he would be quiet for a change and just hold her so she could feel happy again.

Remy's lips twisted slightly before he spoke again.

"I do love you, more dan you know, more dan friends."

Her smile fell away. He looked so serious that she didn't understand him.

"I am in love wid you, Ororo Munroe," he said and felt a rush of relief for having found the truth and confessed.

Ororo's mouth remained open.

"An' I'm gonna make you fall in love wid me," he told her. "One day you'll run away wid me."

Ororo still could not close her mouth.

"You aren't gonna say anyt'ing, Stormy?"

"I think I'm dreaming."

"Ororo . . ."

"But you're – you're like the wind and the wind can't be caught – you weren't meant to be tamed, that's what's wrong with you and Rogue and she knows it."

"Ah, but who better ta tame wind dan de mistress of de wind, chère?"

Ororo's hands slid free of his as she took a step back and looked at him in disbelief.

"You dun t'ink I been t'inkin' 'bout dis for a while? I ain't playin', I'm serious."

Ororo still stared, unsure. One hand gently caressed her cheek and then he stooped and kissed her very softly, very tenderly. The most gentle of kisses and it took her breath away. He looked at her intently, those fascinating eyes of his burning into her.

"I love you, Ororo."

"I think . . . I think I just woke up," she whispered.

"Remy ain't dat borin' chère."

"Remy you are never boring."

"Is dat all you got ta say?"

"I – I had the most wonderful and awful dream today. I dreamed that we had a picnic, it was awful because Emma was there, but it was brilliant because Jubilee was back with us and everyone was so happy except you and Rogue and me and Betsy . . ."

"Dat's half de team, chère!"

"Shut up and let me finish," she ordered and laughed.

"Dis better be worth it! Remy jus' bared his soul to you an' you makin' jokes." Frustrated he slipped into third person.

"You might think it's worth it."

"Den do go on."

"Hmm. Where was I?" Ororo flashed a teasing smile but Remy just frowned so she put her arms around his neck and kissed him.

"Dat dun tell me nothin' – are you going wid me or not?" he demanded and this time it was he who freed himself from their embrace.

"Remy . . . are you really serious?"

"I am."

"Okay. Okay," she nodded, repeating herself as she tried to think. How did she tell him she'd been in love with Logan for such a long time she hadn't looked for anyone else? And yet here Remy was in front of her, wanting her, not just as a distraction but he actually truly loved her.

"Fine. You wanna stay an' moon over Wolverine be my guest but I ain't gotta stay an' put up wid it," Remy said and he started to turn and leave her but Ororo caught his arm.

"Remy, wait," she said. "I – this is so . . . I mean I didn't expect this. Don't go."

He crossed his arms in front of him and glared at her.

She saw now that he was serious and as she realized this she knew. She just knew.

"When you held me today, Remy everything was right in my world but when you left everything was wrong in my world. You're right, I wanted something I couldn't have while all this time I – I . . . oh, ma chéri, Remy I already love you," she breathed.

"Love me love me not love me like a friend love me?"

"I Love you love you!"

He grinned but Ororo missed the feel of his arms around her and so she threw her arms around the man who was always there for her, who would never stop caring for her and who had finally come to his senses just as she had.

Emma snuggled closer to Scott hoping the Cajun and the Wind-rider would fly far away with the wind and take their miserable love with them. And as Remy and Ororo began to plan a future together far away from the X-Men Emma fell asleep in her beloved's arms, a contented smile playing at her lips. Whether she was happy for Ororo or just happy to be getting rid of Ororo who had never cared for her, who can say?

~Fini~