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Merry Meet and Merry Part Again

Title: Merry Meet and Merry Part Again
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: X-Men
Character/Pairing: Storm, past Wolverine/Storm
Rating: PG/K+
Challenge/Prompt: halfamoon Day 9: Spirit
Warning(s): Spoilers
Word Count: 1,059
Date Written: 11 February 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.

She walks, though her feet do not actually touch the ground. A cool mist wraps around her long legs on this darkest of nights while the veils are closed. She thinks of the nervous child and self-proclaimed Goddess she was when she first came to this land. She thinks of the first ones of their group who were slain, of Thunderbird, who didn't last long on his pathway to heroism, and Jean, who was taken from them far too soon not just once but repeated times until they had almost all lost hope. She thinks of the man who first brought her here, the man who became like a father to her and whose guidance she still misses. She thinks of the short man who was so angry then and who she could barely tolerate and yet who became the greatest love of her life.

She remembers when they lost Kurt, and Piotr, and Kitty . . . A song of sorrow sings on the whistling wind as she glides among the trees. They've lost almost every one of them at least once if not multiple times. The only thing that gives her any hope that Charles or Logan or even Jean may yet return one day is the simple fact that so many of them have found their way back to this life and to their friends and family who still await them. She herself has appeared to die numerous times, but the rumors, as Logan would have said, were always greatly exaggerated. She's always found her way back here to her family, back to the people who need her the most, until now when the reins of the whole team, of all their lives, have been handed to her.

It's a duty for which she never asked. There was one time when she fought another for the right to lead her team, but that was so very long ago and not nearly as simple. There are others now who could lead, but then the choice was between herself and a man whose duty had every reason and right to take him elsewhere. Scott simply had not been able to let go of his duties as the X-Men's leader to assume his rightful duties as Madelyne's husband, and Ororo, seeing what needed to be done, had left him no alternative.

But now . . . Now there are others who could lead, others who are every bit as skilled as she if not more so, others who deserve a chance but who do not want the reins. None of them want the reins now. None of them want that responsibility, but some one, as Kurt once said, had to step up to the mantel. A team can not succeed without a leader, and she, for whatever reason, is once again its leader.

Ororo shakes her head, feeling once more a touch of the scared and lost child she had been when she had first come here. She longs for the others who have gone ahead of her. She longs for the gentle guidance of her Professor and her best friend. She longs for Logan's rougher guidance. She longs, in truth, for any one to whom she could turn now who could perhaps share her burden of leadership.

She's tired. She's as tired as the trees become in winter. Her skin may not be withered as their leaves do in the Fall, but she still feels that desire to rest. She still feels that desire to stop, but there are too many lives depending on her, too many loved ones looking to her for guidance. Tomorrow, she knows, will bring another battle, another chance to be killed and another chance to save lives. She hopes she can give the right commands. She hopes her friends are not making a mistake by placing their trust in her.

But tonight . . . Tonight, she needs more than that which her friends who are presently at their school can give her. Tonight, she needs more than the living people can give her. So she glides above the trees to the very stars themselves. She remembers the poems she's read about the stars and how so many believe that the stars are connected with those who have passed from this realm of existence. She looks to them herself tonight and thinks again of all those she has loved and lost, from her mother and father to the Professor to Jean and finally, once again, to Logan.

She bows her regal head, tears streaking her cheeks. Thunder rumbles her cry in the far distance. "Lead your daughter well," she whispers as she feels the night wind embrace her in a maternal caress. "Give me what I need," she pleads, "to be the lead they deserve and the teacher they need. Help me to lead my example. Goddess, help your daughter to have the wisdom of the crone, the patient compassion of the mother, and the clear, bright eyes of the maiden."

The wind kisses her cheek, reminding Ororo she's not alone. The spirits of the dead still visit the living, after all; they still watch over them. She may not be able to hear her friends, her deceased family, but here, so far above the earth and all those still living, she can feel them. She can feel them. She knows she's not alone. She still has their guidance if only she can sense it, and she still, and always will, have their love.

She hears her name whispered. She feels invisible arms embrace her tightly and with love. She hears a rough voice once more call her his little darling. Finally, her soul no longer feels so empty and filled only with sorrow. Ororo smiles through her tears as she glides back down to Earth, knowing that she must and feeling far more confident that she can lead her family through whatever remains in this world for them. She knows, too, that when this world is over, or at least her time here is spent, the Goddess awaits her in the next life with all those she misses from this one. "I love you too," she whispers as lightning dances across the night sky and a gentle rain begins. "I love you all, and I'll see you again one day. Merry Part."

The End

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