by StellaMaru

Email: stellamaru at hotmail dot com
Rating: PG
Summary: Kurt and Ro, hangin' out on the roof.
Pairing: K/O
Archive: If you want it, I'm flattered! Just let me know where...
Feedback: is an act of grace.
Disclaimer: The characters don't belong to me, please don't sue. I already owe my soul to the government, I really don't want to owe it to anyone else!

Notes: A gargoyle is a stone creature that originally served as a waterspout on medieval cathedrals--the words 'gargoyle' and 'gargle' share a common root. A gargoyle-like carving that is not a waterspout is called a grotesque.

Bible quotes taken from the Jerusalem Bible: Reader's edition.

The dream comes without warning and he is there again; he watches himself leap from wall to wall, teleporting in and out of this world, fighting the men guarding the American president.  He dispatches them without hesitation.  He can't stop himself.

Later, he prayed for the men he'd hurt.  Anger--one of the deadly sins--nearly consumed him.  God's plan showed itself, though.  His actions led her to him; she found him and offered him kindness and gentle touches instead of fear.

Now he was here, in New York, living with other mutants--in a school, not a circus.  They said he could use his God-given gifts to help others.  She lived here, too.  Down the hall from him.  Too close.

Temptation should be resisted with prayer.  Prayer for grace.

Not that she was a true temptation.  The chance that she would ever consider-- with him... it was impossible.  She probably did not think he could have such feelings.  Other women had been so. 

Not all women, it must be admitted; he was far from innocent in the sins of the flesh.  Women like her, however, women who were walking examples of God's beautiful handiwork on Earth... those women were not in his realm of experience, and he knew they weren't likely to be.        

She was a temptation of the heart, not the flesh. 

Well... occasionally the flesh. 

No.  One must be truthful; it was always both the flesh and the heart. 

But only the heart was in danger of being lost. 

Getting out of bed, he opened his window and looked out--he was not going to get back to sleep in the near future.  He lingered on the sill for a moment before teleporting to the roof, a swirl of smoke the only sign of his passing.

The roof was nice; he could see everything from there.  The stars were above, and the grounds below.  Perching there, on the corner of the roof, he knew what he must look like; he knew he resembled nothing less than a large gargoyle.

The air was clean and a soft breeze blew, ruffling his hair.  He heard shouts and good-natured teasing coming from below--a group of the older students were coming back from an outing.  They sounded happy and almost carefree; it was a welcome sound after weeks of mourning.  He watched two of the students hang back from the group and then dash across the lawn to the stand of trees, whereupon the boy pulled the girl into a passionate embrace.

Kurt smiled and promptly teleported to the far side of the roof.  Such things were private moments. 

It was quiet on the far side and he quickly became absorbed in his thoughts.  He didn't notice the soft breeze increasing.  When she appeared in his view it so startled him that he nearly lost his perch.  She floated gracefully on the currents of air at her command, turning an elegant back flip before settling on the roof, smiling at him.

He met her smile.  "You could have been a legend in the circus."

"I'll take that as a compliment," she said with a laugh.  "What would they call me?  The Astounding Storm?"

"No, you would have been an angel..." he said.  His eyes twinkled as he continued, mimicking a ringmaster's boastful patter.  "An ethereal, angelic aerialist with the power of the elements at her beck and call!  Thrill as she performs her death-defying aerial tricks!  Wonder as she brings down the rains from heaven to your very faces!" 

She laughed outright.  "It sounds fun."

"It was.  At times..." He closed his eyes at the memories.  She sat down on the roof next to him, perched on the very edge.  They sat quietly, close but not touching, for several minutes.  Her nearness affected him and he felt strange and twitchy, but he didn't want to leave. 

"You like it up here."  It was a statement of fact, not a question.

"Ja," he said.  It was hard to remember why he liked being alone when she was so close.

"It's like you're standing guard over all of us, keeping us safe," she said.  He must have stiffened at her words, because she hastened to continue.  "Logan does the same thing.  He patrols the hallways at night and passes it off as insomnia.  I think we all do it, since..."  Her voice trembled a bit as she trailed off into silence.

"Stonecutters once made gargoyles in hideous forms so that they would frighten away demons," he said quietly.  The stone creatures still stood guard to this day over many an ancient cathedral.

"Are you saying-- you are not hideous," she said.  "You're not.  I think... I don't think you are."

He twitched and ran his tongue over his sharp teeth, thinking about what she had said.  Then he felt her soft hands on the end of his tail.  Opening his eyes, he was horrified to see that he had twitched it into her lap.  She had dropped her hands on the end; her eyes were closed.  "I am sorry," he said, flicking it away somewhat ungracefully, slapping her on the arm in his haste to remove it.

"Oh!" she said.  "What's wrong?"  Her brow wrinkled in concern.  "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." 

He almost scoffed at that.  She did not want to make him uncomfortable.  "It is the other way around," he said.  "My tail-- it can be... disconcerting.  Even to other mutants."

"Not to me.  Not to anyone here, Kurt."  Her eyes were so kind and beautiful when she spoke.  The Professor had said something similar, but it did not make his stomach twist when he had said it.

"It marks me, even more than my hands, my skin," he said.  "Men do not have tails."

"There's a flaw in your logic," she said.  "You have a tail, and you are a man.  Therefore, some men must have tails."  She waved her hand at the grounds of the school.  "You might as well say 'women can't control the weather,' or 'men don't have claws and very short tempers.'  Would you deny these things?"

"No," he whispered.  "But many would."

Nodding, she said, "Yes.  Many would.  But you shouldn't."  She reached out and took the very tip of his tail in her hand.  "It's soft, smooth... but tough, too.  What can you do with it?"

"It helps me to balance," he said, trying to shut off the thrilling feel of her fingers running over the ridges that led to the point.  "And grasp things.  I can hang my weight from it for a while.  It is, ah, very sensitive."  She stopped her explorations.

"It seems almost like having another hand," she said.

"Somewhat... I do not know what to compare it with.  It is just... a tail.  My tail."

"Hmm.  I like it," she said absently.

"What?"  God in Heaven.  She could tolerate it and perhaps even appreciate its uses, but to like it?  She said she liked his markings, too.  Told him they were beautiful.  It was not just curiosity--it could not just be that.

"I said I like it, Kurt."  She looked at him, her expression open and welcoming.  "I like you." 

He closed his eyes.  In this world, Lord, I am a stranger and an exile... Hide not your commandments from me, he thought.


Draw the veil from my eyes, and let me ponder the wonderful workings of your law...

"Did I say something wrong?"

"No.  Ororo...  You are very kind."

"Thank you," she said.  "But kindness has nothing to do with it."  She resumed stroking his tail.

"Ororo. I-- I-- you do not understand."  He stumbled over his words and flicked his tail out of her grasp, teleporting down to the lawn.  How could he stay so near to her?  It was torture; it was a test he was failing.

"Kurt!"  He heard her call his name and felt the winds rise, carrying her towards him.  He teleported to the edge of the trees just before she reached his side.  The winds died down; he was alone again.  He knelt in prayer.

"What don't I understand?"  Looking up, he saw her walking to him.  He had to laugh; he did not feel the wind, and so she must have given up.  Walking across the lawn did not occur to him.

So.  If his sojourn here must be cut short, was it not better to end it quickly?  Not to draw out the inevitable?

She was almost next to him.  "If I've overstepped my bounds," she said, reaching towards him, then dropping her hand.  "I'm sorry.  You-- you probably want to be alone."

"No.  Please do not say that.  I should be the one to apologize.  I have... let my thoughts get away from me." 

"Tell me," she said.  "Maybe... maybe I think it would be okay to let them get away from you."  She ducked her head with a hint of shyness.  Why should she be shy?  How was it that she seemed shy?  He blinked.  "Please tell me what it is you think I don't understand."

He sighed.  She was maddening in her stubbornness.  "You do not understand that-- when we sit, ah, together talking... I enjoy it very much.  Bu-"

"I enjoy your company, too.  Very much," she said.  "I-- I feel a little guilty sometimes, that I feel lucky to have met you, in spite of the circumstances."

"Guilt is my specialty," he said with a wry smile.  "You do not have anything to feel guilt over."

She raised an eyebrow.  "Don't I?"  Her expression softened to a dreamy smile.  "I think I do understand, Kurt.  I think I do because I-" She cut off and took the last step to his side.  Once there, she leaned close and placed a soft kiss on the corner of his mouth.  "Tell me I'm mistaken and I'll go," she whispered, touching his cheek lightly, pulling her hand away as soon as it was there.  "Or... tell me I'm not wrong."

Holy Mary, mother of God.  He could not resist.  His hands went to her shoulders and he spoke against her mouth, "You are not wrong.  Mein Gott, you are not wrong."  Then her arms went around his neck and he could not speak.  It was like tasting heaven.

When they finally parted, Ororo rested her head on his shoulder.  "I'm glad I'm not," she said.  "I was... nervous."

He chuckled.  She was nervous.  "Why..."

"Don't think so little of yourself," she said.  "I happen to know of at least three others ready to step in if I'd been wrong."  She kissed his cheek, shyly at first, but before she pulled away he felt her tongue brush the intricate patterns.  "You could break a lot of hearts around here.  Are you sure you want-- with me?" 

He had to throw his head back and laugh out loud.  What was this marvelous topsy-turvy world he had stumbled into?  Circling her waist with both arms and his tail, he said, "Come with me," and teleported them both back to the roof.

She kissed him joyously.  "I will take you riding on the winds.  You can see everything--even more than from the roof."

"You ravish my heart," he said, "with a single one of your glances."

"The Song of Songs..." He blinked in surprise.  "I'm not entirely ignorant of these things," she said with a smirk.  "There are a few lines I find very appealing." 

Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and recited, her voice calm and warm: "Awake, north wind, come, wind of the south!  Breathe over my garden, to spread its sweet smell around."  He let his hand curl into her hair, inhaling her own dizzying scent.  "Let my Beloved come into his garden, let him taste its rarest fruits."  

"Ororo," he said, his tongue tripping over her name.  He could not hold her close enough.

"Come inside, Kurt," she said.  "Let Logan frighten away the demons tonight.  Come inside with me."

He let her lead him inside; it was like finding home.