Disclaimer: The original characters of the "X-Men" are the creations
and property of Marvel Comics, and the movie versions belong to Fox.
They have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Title: Dancing Cranes
Rating: PG for language
Archive: Please do not archive.
Summary: Xavier and Logan look to the past and the future.
Notes: I'm not totally sure why I'm writing New Year fic in the
summer, except with English weather it's so difficult to tell it is
I haven't read any of the comics, so the couple of elements I used as
background may not completely match comic canon.
It had stopped snowing so he was able to enjoy his cigar without
huddling next to the mansion walls, but he was still freezing his butt
off in the crisp night air and wouldn't be lingering outside. All the
students and teachers who hadn't gone home for the holidays were
gathered together waiting for midnight and passing the time laughing,
dancing, eating and drinking. He was sure there was a bottle of beer
with his name on it just waiting for him inside. He caught a scent
over the smell of the cigar, and its austere yet sprightly tones told
him who it was even as the lack of noise confirmed who it must be.
"Hi, Chuck. Too many thoughts buzzing round for you?"
"I always have my shields at their strongest when in a crowd, but
unfortunately I can do nothing to guard my ears against the noise
level of nearly fifty children," said Xavier with mild ruefulness.
Logan turned to grin at him and then burst into laughter at the
picture presented. Some of the younger students had decided that what
the Professor really needed for Christmas was a handmade scarf, and
they had managed to inveigle nearly everyone in the mansion into
knitting some rows. The Professor had managed to act surprised when it
was revealed; no doubt helped by the fact that he was probably stunned
by the length and kaleidoscopic nature of the finished product. He now
sat in his hover chair, dressed in his usual sober suit with the scarf
wrapped round his neck a couple of times and the excess piled in his
lap. He looked like one of the more eccentric incarnations of Dr. Who.
"It's very warm," he said quellingly.
Logan dropped his stub, crushing it under a foot, then spread his
hands wide in token surrender. "You aren't getting any arguments from
me, Chuck. Hell, I might borrow a yard or two if I feel chilly."
"There is certainly plenty to spare," agreed Xavier with an amused
grimace. "However it was a most thoughtful present and I'm delighted
to be able to show my appreciation by wearing it. Although probably
not off the mansion grounds," he added with due honesty.
There was a sound by the gates and Logan's head snapped around, ready
to challenge anyone who might be trying to get in on New Year's Eve.
"It's all right. Just Ororo and Remy back from their mission," said Xavier.
Logan squinted sideways at him without taking his eyes away completely
from the gate and Xavier tapped his head to indicate he had mentally
confirmed their identities. But Logan only relaxed when he recognised
the car as being one of their own. After the electronic gates had
swung closed, the car drove to the garages round the side of the building.
"I have to say I'm surprised at you inviting that thief join up with
us, Chuck," said Logan, broaching a subject he'd been wondering about
since the Cajun had arrived.
"I believe he is sincere in his desire to help our cause," said
Xavier. "His talents, although perhaps a little unorthodox, can be
very useful to us."
"Okay, I won't disagree with you there, but you could just use him on
solo jobs. Why make him train with us and join the team? Speaking from
personal experience here, Chuck, he is not a team player. If he
doesn't get himself killed with some fool stunt, Cyke is likely to
blast him through a wall for insubordination."
"Gambit is an able fighter, and we are lacking in manpower." Xavier
began to neatly fold one of the ends of the scarf. "Also Scott likes
things to be well-ordered, but if everything is too routine then he
runs the risk of becoming complacent. A little challenge to his
authority can be good for him."
Logan gave an exaggerated sigh and shook his head sadly. "You are an
evil man, Chuck."
Xavier must have realised that complete denial was impossible so
decided to fight dirty. "I wouldn't do it if I didn't think Scott was
a man who could earn respect."
Logan grunted noncommittally, too honest to disagree but unwilling to
say it out loud. Luckily for him Remy came into view carrying two
small cases, with Ororo close behind, giving him the opportunity to
change the subject.
"That's another thing. I can't understand how 'Ro can be so friendly
with him. She's a real lady and he's only one step up from the gutter."
"Ororo does not talk in great detail about her past but I know she was
brought up in a culture where family ties were very strong. She has
missed that amongst us. I know she considers us friends but there has
never been anyone she considered as close as family. Somehow, despite
all his flirting, Remy has made that connection with her and I believe
she thinks of him as a younger brother. A little disreputable perhaps
but someone she can be herself with."
Remy slipped in the snow, almost falling, and a peal of laughter rang
from Ororo as she stepped smartly to the side to avoid being hit by
the bag that he swung wildly to gain his balance.
"Someone she can be young with," added Xavier fondly.
Once he was sure of his footing, Remy wrapped himself in immense
dignity and stalked away from the amused woman. Ororo let him get a
few feet in front then stooped down and grabbed a handful of snow
which she rolled into a ball. Using the hours of practice that they
spent in the Danger Room to good purpose, she took careful aim and
made a perfect hit on the back of Remy's head. He squawked and
staggered, then dropped the bags. Whirling round he grabbed his own
handful of snow as Ororo shrieked and ran. They chased each other over
the white lawn, his black coat and her loose white hair twirling
around them as they dodged. The only spots of colour were his auburn
hair and the bright red beret that Ororo wore, a present from her
"They look like Tancho cranes dancing in the snow," remarked Logan.
Xavier was silent for a long moment before saying softly, "Somehow
I've always thought of cranes as living in hot countries."
"No, they used to spend the summer up north and come down to Japan for
the winter since it was easier living. Sometimes there wasn't enough
food and we would go out and give them grain."
"Were there many of you feeding them?" asked Xavier.
"Most of the village used to go out there. Cranes are supposed to
bring good luck, and they used to dance after we fed them." Logan's
face softened with a nostalgic smile. "Almost as if they were thanking
us. That's what Mari ... " Logan stopped abruptly. "Marie? It can't
have been Marie. What the hell?"
In shock he looked at the professor as if trusting him to be able to
explain this strange sense of deja vu.
Xavier spoke calmly, "I believe it was a recollection from an earlier
time, Logan, from before you lost your memory."
"Before I was experimented on, you mean," snarled Logan.
Xavier nodded and asked, "Was it a good memory?"
"Huh?" snapped Logan then paused before continuing. "I guess it was. I
can remember her hands. They were small and cold as I warmed them
between mine but not fragile. Strong hands." He looked down at his own
hands that were cupped together as if cradling something. His voice
was hoarse as he continued, "May they rot in hell for taking
everything from me."
"Not everything," contradicted Xavier. "This is proof that they
couldn't take it all from you."
"So I'm left with this scrap of warmth that I can't even put a name
too," said Logan. "What use is that?"
"It shows that you have the capacity for joy," replied Xavier simply.
"It was there in your past so you will be able to find it again in the future."
"Why should I bother, Professor? There'll always be some bastard
wanting to take it away from me. Better to have nothing to lose."
Xavier glanced towards the white lawn where the two combatants had
come to a truce and were now walking towards them, Ororo carrying her
own bag. He turned back and looked Logan straight in the eyes while
speaking with quiet conviction.
"The problem with having nothing to lose is when the game is finished
you're still left with nothing."
Remy and Ororo were near enough now to hear their conversation and
Remy said, "I didn't realise you were a gambler, Professor."
Ororo's eyes were bright as she bent down to brush a kiss across the
Professor's cheek in greeting. "He plays for high stakes don't you,
Gambit gave a theatrical flourish of his arm as he declaimed, "Life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The mockery in his voice
balanced on the slightest edge of wistfulness.
"Let us hope the new year brings that for all mutants," said Ororo.
"For ordinary humans as well as mutants," said Xavier sharply. When
they looked at him he added with a resigned smile. "The point on which
Erik and I parted company."
Logan took a deep breath as if suppressing some comment or perhaps
coming to a decision, then turned to Remy. "Hey, Gambit, how about we
go in and rile Scooter."
"Logan," reproved Ororo.
"Well, it makes me happy," said Logan with injured innocence. "You
find your happiness your way, 'Ro, and I'll find it mine."
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will
annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."