by Binkeee


Disclaimer: Alrighty now….this is the part I just LOVE to write! Okay, so like ya know these characters---they ain’t mine. No way shape or form. They belong to these guys called Marvel, and I’d be like ever so grateful if’n these guys didn’t sue my Louisiana tale. Thanks. And now, as for the song---It’s nada mine either, it be this guy’s named Tracy Bryd’s. He’s cool. And so Here’s hopin’ he won’t sue my happy self either!

Author’s Notes: I really, honestly don’t know what to say about the story your about to read. Except I never thought I’d ever write a Dani story—well alright, it DOES have Sam thinking, but come on! Give me a break! This story (part of) was inspired by a song sung by Cheyle Wright called ‘Unknown’ and that’s where the title comes from, but no this isn’t a song fic.

I stand against the light post, watching the old heavens dance with city lights and ancient stars wink down upon this ball known as Earth. It’s a picture perfect site to see the moon bright with a pale blue circle of light around it. The midnight sun, I laugh at myself and then realize God sure does know what to do on the nightshift.

I study the sky, like I use to do when I was in Kentucky. I would gaze up on the stars, and try to catch them up with my bare hands. I never did of course, but I remember catching fire flies during the summer, and thinking that they were baby stars. I use to think they could grant wishes, so I’d stay out for hours after dark, running in my daddy’s fields catching them and putting them in a small jar.

I’d go to my room and turn out all my lights, place the jar full of bugs on my windowsill, against the midnight sky with the moon above. I would stare at their flickering lights in amazement. They were beautiful. But no one ever told me, that when I would wake up, my tiny stars would be dead.

I was so heart broken to find them lying on top of each other. And then I’d sit down and cry, holding the jar close to me. Believing that, since the stars were burned out, my wishes were doomed not to come true. I always walked into the kitchen where mama was and I’d show her my dead stars and then I’d cry as she held me.

She told me that my stars didn’t die because of my wishes, they died because what I wished for, I wanted so much that it killed them. I believed her, I didn’t have any reason not to.

But when my daddy died, I caught only one firefly, and put him in my little sisters bottle necklace. And as I prayed to Jesus, I held that tiny jar in my hands wishing with my heart my emptiness would go away. But I was disappointed in the morning, to find the hole just as big in my heart as it was when I went to sleep.

But my firefly was gone. The necklace jar was empty but the cap wasn’t unscrewed. I was so astonished I wanted to tell my mama, but a small voice whispered that my dream could only come true if I didn’t tell a soul.

That’s what I remember as I stare up at the ebony background, and the soft yellow lights which are blending into them like a fine artist canvass.

But never in this picture did a silhouette of a friend appear. I don’t even need to think about who is up there at this time of night. I know who is up there, being lonely. I know who it is that brought me out here, even if she doesn’t know it. I know her.

She’s on the rooftop, sitting on the ledge her soft brown eyes staring up at the same blue moon I am. Crying again, I can see the tears in my mind. They are blinked from her reddening brown eyes, trailing down her soft tanned skin; a few tears kiss her lips. She uses one hand to whip them away, but more come shortly after.

She doesn’t think anyone knows about those silent tears. Thinking since no one goes up to the roof after dark, no one can see her push the walls down from around her heart. No one can see the beautiful and powerful warrior fall into a lonely woman who longs for companionship.

She thinks she is so strong, thinks if we see her cry we’ll think her weak. She’s always been so strong. Always being the one with the cool exterior, while she rages like a river inside. In her heart, where no one has ever tried to be a world is waiting to be discovered.

Whoa. I’m getting too emotional about this. But something inside my chest jumps up as I think about me being the one whose arms she runs to. To be the one that she kisses with her tear dampened lips. I want to be the one who makes those tears disappear, to make them only come when she is happy. I want to be there for her.

Poor girl, in all the time I’ve known her, I don’t think she’s ever been asked on more than two dates. One with some nerdy looking boy back in Westchester whom she felt sorry for. And recently with Jesse, just as friends but I didn’t like it.

But what I think doesn’t matter, she does.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for her to see Tabitha and Bobby together. I know it kills me to see them so happy, but that’s only because Tabitha was mine while her and Bobby started to get to know each other better. But not her.

She has to watch the one thing, I’m guessing, she’s missing in her young life. Love.

Sounds silly as I think about it. Me talking about something I use to feel for a puppy, something I thought I knew of with Tabitha…I shake my head.

Looking up at the dark form, I see her body rock with a heavy sob. Her fingers shove the stubborn strands of her long silky black hair back behind her ear. She’s so beautiful and no one is ever willing to tell her that. Not even me.

Not that I don’t care, or want her to know about what I think about her. I am just afraid of her response. Would she laugh? Would she walk away? Would she just stare at me with those soft brown eyes, and start to cry, not willing to believe someone can think so highly of her?

And then there’s my side of the ‘ifs’. What if I don’t feel as strongly as I think I do? What if I hurt her, the way I never want anyone else to? What if this doesn’t work? What if it does?

Again, I shake my head to clear the thoughts from my confusing brain. I just need to be her friend. I need ---no, she needs. She needs my friendship. She needs for me to understand. She needs me.

Pushing myself off of the light pole I walk to the corner of the building. I’m not too sure about how to break the ice with her, how do I get her to smile and let me go up there to her? How can I get her to want me up there instead of thinking I’m some sort of intruder?

A smile pushes up on my face as I stare up at the weeping beauty. Before I can be assured that my words are in correct order, they leap from my voice.

“But Soft!” I shout up towards her. “What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Dani is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.”

Danielle Moonstar’s sad and lonely features are broken by a soft smile as she looks down at me. She laughs at me. I must look like a regular want-to-be Romeo. Faded blue jeans, green T-shirt, and a old brown leather jacket.

“Hey Sam.” She says calmly, a hint of amusement still in her voice.

“Hey.” I pause, and give her my best smile. “Can I come up?” She looks down, her eyes studying the back of her hand.

“Yeah. You can.” She finally replies.

I take no time to debate over God’s gentle graces, and I quietly blast up to the roof. I touch down about five feet from her. Her eyes are still searching the back of her hands.

Something in my heart goes out to her. Dani’s never been one to get easily embarrassed, so to see her cheeks darken with a red tint is the last thing I expect to see. I walk over to her and gently place my fingertips under her chin, guiding her eyes to meet mine.

“What’s wrong?” I question her softly.

Dani doesn’t answer, she lifts her chin off of my fingers and looks out towards the marvelous sky once again. God, what I wouldn’t do to hold her like a boyfriend would. What I wouldn’t do to caress her lips with my own and let her know she isn’t alone, no matter what she might think.

Squatting in front of her, I carefully take her hand sitting in the lap and put it in mine. Just a friendly ‘I’m here’ gesture. Holding her long fingers and round palm in my own hand, I brush my fingers over the top of hers. It’s not what I want, but it is the best I can do.


A hushed sob meets my ears and breaks my heart. I love her as a friend, and to see a friend cry like this—it’ll tear someone up inside. I don’t want her to be upset, I don’t want her to be lonely, and I don’t want those tears to fall.

Without my mind’s permission, my body reacts to a crying woman. I take up a place beside her, and wrap my arms around her. Maybe it was all the times with my sisters and Tabitha that helped me realize that when a woman cries, touch is deathly important.

It’s like a insurance that they’re not alone, they are loved---in any respect. Simple motions to let them know that you’re there for them.

Dani goes rigid in my arms, but as I guide her into my embrace the pride of her needing help melts. She cries into my shirt, griping the sides of my jacket collar as she does. Sobs of all kinds run through her body, and it kills me not to know why.

“Dani, shuush, it’s okay.” I run my fingers through her ebony strands of silk as I whisper soothing words into the sweet smelling hair. I start to rock as back and forth, very slowly, like a mother in a rocking chair trying to silence a crying babe. Without knowing why, I start to hum a nameless tune, horribly.

I feel her body turn into a limp form as I continue my attempt at comfort. Her tears soak one spot on my shirt, causing it to turn a darker shade of green. Her body racking sobs dissolve into the sniffles, and her hands slip from my collar, she places them between us, but doesn’t push me away.

“Sam?” Dani whispers out, her head resting on my shoulder.


“What the hell are you trying to sing?” She asks me with a short laugh at the end.

“Ah don’t know.” I laugh along with her, my attempt at the comfort thing paid off. She pushes away from me, whipping the tears from her sad brown eyes before hugging herself.

I don’t move, or talk, and neither does she except a few sniffles. I don’t understand what’s wrong, that’s a given. But I don’t understand why she won’t tell me what’s wrong with her either, I am still one of her best friends, ain’t I?

We’ve been through so much together, as New Mutants and then in X-Force when everyone thought she’d gone the wrong way. But then she pulled through for us—well the team at the time, when I wasn’t there. Finding the scattered team with her connections, stopping the Zero Tolerance people from using Meltdown, Rictor, and Shatterstar as guinea pigs in their sick projects. Not to forget, she also came through with finding Domino as well.

She’s the one that stood up to Cable when he wanted X-Force to hide behind false identities. The others agreed, from what I was told. And I admire her for that. She knew her life for the past year and a half was a complete lie, and she wanted to be her. Just her.

And now, Dani doesn’t seem happy with her choice in her life. Like she’d rather pretend to be someone else than to be herself, known and exposed. I guess as long as she lied, or pretended to be someone else, it was like a mask that let her face the world with bravado.

Dani never had to show her emotions, and no one in the MLF would have known her that well to know something was wrong. I guess it’s a shock for her to have people that do realize she’s upset, to notice her as someone besides her abilities as a mutant.

I know it. I know she doesn’t know how to react to affection, to attention, friendly attention, but attention. I can understand her better than she’d probably like, or admit to.

She’s driven, and likes to be the leader rather than to be lead. She’s got pride sometimes it clouds her judgements; she laughs at the sappy parts in the movies when other girls hug to their guys. She doesn’t like anything in her coffee, straight black. And I know that her favorite salad dressing is Ranch, because she throughs a hissy fit every time she’s out of it.

Things that aren’t important except to her…

“Sam?” Her voice breaks through my analyzing. “Why are you staring at me like that?”

I didn’t even notice before that I had been looking into her eyes. How long had I been staring at her? How long had she been talking?

“You’re so beautiful.” I whisper out, too low for her to hear me. I surprise myself at the words, which come, and the small feeling which grows in my heart.

She tips her head to the side slightly, questioning me and I straighten up. And put on another smile for her.

“You going to tell me why you were cryin’?” I ask gently, not wanting to scare her. Not wanting her to put up the walls to keep me from knowing that gorgeous woman hiding behind them.

“Can I tell you something?”

Her voice is a bit on the hurt side, but it’s no wonder since she has been crying. She looks into my eyes, almost searching for something that might be hidden in them.

“Yeah, you know you can tell my anything.” I assure.

“You won’t tell the others?”

I shake my head no in reply. Is it that bad? Does she think that the others won’t care? I want to know why she is acting like this. I want to help, and the others would too, but only if she would tell them.

Then it occurs to me, Dani never starts a conversation. And when she does it’s only about strategy or something about that’s on TV. It’s sort of sad, maybe she thinks that no one is listening, and it chills me to think she might be right. Maybe we don’t listen to her as much we should. But I am pointing the blame on the ‘we’ part here. Maybe I am to blame for her thinking that no one listens, because maybe if I talked to her one on one like I am attempting to now, she would know we’re or at least I am here for her.

“Sam—“ She starts, sighing a ‘I-really-don’t-want-to-talk’ sigh. “When I was a little girl, I use to have to walk through an old cemetery to get to my aunt’s house. It didn’t creep me out or anything like that. I liked it. It was old and filled with sad memories from the people that lived in it’s ground.”

“Every time I passed through it, I would walk right pass this tombstone of one of my ancestors, Michelle Moonstar. I would make up these stories about her, make her perfect in my eyes until I got to my aunt’s. One day, I asked my family who she was. And, they didn’t know. That broke my heart. I didn’t know who she was either, except for what I believed she might have been.”

“I was scared then Sam. I was so scared to think that I might one day be like her. One day after I die, someone would see my tombstone and wonder about who I was. That scares me. I don’t want to be the person in a picture that no one can remember. I don’t want to be forgotten.” She looks away from my eyes, she’s just bared her heart to me, and I can’t say anything.

I stare at her bowed head. Her black hairs falling in front of her face as she studies the dark red bricks of the ledge. I would have never guessed that she felt that way. I’m completely shocked about what she had said, she must—Oh God, I don’t even know what to think about what she’s said.

I have to say something, anything, to comfort her against these thoughts she’s having. And probably had for a long time. We sit in silence, neither of us daring to make eye contact, ‘cause I don’t know who would cry first. Her for being in such a vulnerable position, or me for not asking earlier.

I rub my chin and then the back of my neck. She doesn’t want to be forgotten once she’s dead. No one ever does. Heck, I guess I feel the same. Not about me, but my Daddy.

I don’t want to forget him, but I feel like everyday a memory vanishes from my brain. I think I forget what he looks like sometimes, and I need a picture to remind me of what he looks like. I stare in the mirror for minutes at a time trying to find a little bit of him in me. Something that I can say he gave me. I want to remember him, and I can’t sometimes. I just—forget about him sometimes. I should tell her this.

I should tell her I feel the same way about not being forgotten, about forgetting. With a swallow, the lump in my throat goes down to my stomach.

“Ah know how ya feel.” I whisper to her.

I pray that she heard. “Honestly?” She murmured quietly. “Or are you just saying that to make me feel better?”

Good enough question. I don’t rightly know either. I know I should, but my heart and mind just seem to be on odds with this particular question.

Maybe, I’m trying to think of something to help her through this. But I don’t really fear death, because I can’t die. I will never worry about who I am, all I have to worry about is losing everyone else. I don’t want to open my eyes sometimes, I don’t want to think that I’ll never see my Daddy again, or Yana, or anyone else that has passed into the world beyond.

Or am I telling the truth? Am I afraid no one’s going to remember me once I go away, if by some poetic miracle I do die, will they know the way I liked the small unimportant things? My favorite singer, my favorite song, what I like most about the starry nights, about the fire flies I was thinking about earlier? Will anyone remember me? Not just my name, but the small things that make me who I am.

“Ah mean it Dani. With all my heart, Ah know how you feel.”

Her brown eyes study my blue ones with a determination of finding the truth. Searching for lies in them, searching for the truths, searching for something I’m not sure is there.

“How could you? You’re never going to die.”

A sore spot I was thinking about a minute ago. I clear my throat and bravely take her hand into my own.

“Yes Ah will. When y’all die. Ah’ll be buried with y’all. And every single day afterwards, Ah’ll hang on to what Ah remember about each of you. Like you, Ah would never forget about how you curse at your hair when it’s tangled and your trying to brush it, and then refuse to cut it because you call it your pride and joy. Or how you will spend twenty minutes staring in the ‘fridge looking for something to eat, and then finally decide your not hungry, only to do it all over again a hour later.”

“The little things about you—everyone on the team, Ah can’t forget that. But no one is going to remember me once y’all die. God curse the day y’all do die, because then Ah’ll never have anyone to remember the times we had together, both good and bad. No one to laugh with remembering our first dance and how the boys and girls stood on separate ends of the room until ten minutes till the time we had to get. No one else is every going to know my favorite movie and just the every day stuff.”

She stares at me, her eyes glittering with tears. What did I say wrong? Did I say too much? Or didn’t I say enough? She just looks into my soul with those soft chocolate colored eyes of hers. I can’t believe I told her that. I shouldn’t have told her any of that. Because I said that one-day she wouldn’t be on earth, which is true, but no one cares to think about that sort of stuff.

It’s scary, inevitable, but still it scares every one of us to the bone. And this wonderful creature sitting in front of me is one of the few to think and wonder about. Some thing tightens around my hand, and for a second I forget that it’s Dani’s hand in my own.

I look down at our hands, hers in mine, with her long fingers wrapped around my palm, squeezing it gently. That in its self-makes my heart stop, makes my breath come out erratically. Who was to know such an innocent friendly touch could make me feel like this?

I hope I make the right decision, as I bring her hand up to my lips, and kiss the back of it softly. Bringing it down back to where it was before, our hands are still together, I look up at her, and those tears she’s been holding in from a moment ago are trickling down her face.

“You do know.” She gives me a lopsided smile. She bites in her lower lip, something she does when she’s looking for the right words. Just like when I asked her to dance when he were 16, I thought I would never stop blushing because Bobby keep making obscene gestures at us both.

I finally give her a small grin back, I really want to hold her right now. But I can’t be that fast, to say I’m her friend and then to scare her by asking her to be something new to me. I know her well, she’d think I was only sympathizing with her to get into her pants.

“What’s wrong?” Dani questions me. “Your blushing.” She points out.

I must have reacted to my thoughts with out knowing about it. God I am so embarrassed right now. I clear my throat again, and give a short laugh, well it is more of a scoff.

“Just thinkin’ about our first dance.” I tell, looking in her eyes. They lit up and dance as she begins to quietly laugh along with me.

“That is pretty funny.”

God almighty, she has a heart warming laugh. I stop mine, to listen to her. I don’t remember thinking this much about her, seeing her in this light. Wanting to just make everything all right, what I wouldn’t do just to be strangers and to accidentally meet on the street or something.

But then I think about this time I’d be missing with her. I wouldn’t be the one to cause her to laugh, or smile, or look into my eyes. I wouldn’t know her as well as I do if I was some stranger with the best dumb luck this side of the Mississippi.

“Ah never did get to retry that.” I state without my brain’s permission.

Releasing her hand, Dani looks at me a bit miffed, as I stand up and hold out my hand to her. Her brow knits together, her brown eyes studying my face once again. I smile the best I know how, the one that would always make Tabitha smile back and giggle.

But Dani doesn’t do this, she looks up at me, her lips slightly apart in a natural half frown. She’s nothing like Tabitha, I remind myself. She isn’t going to giggle and go anything and everything I want, she’s going to tell me the truth and do what she wants to do, minus a few compromises. Like she always has.

“Can Ah have this dance?”

She smiles against her will, and laughs a little at my request. Turning her head away, shaking it slowly from side to side, she continues to bless the air with her shy laugh. I think she is being polite and saying no to me silently to save my pride and hers as well.

“Sam—“ She says in a mocking unsure voice. A smile to match the tone, as if she wants to take my hand, but doesn’t want to take the chance that I’m going to hurt her.

“Please.” I plead out in a small scared utterance. Her walls she was constructing melts at my begging. One word and her eyes glimmer up with tears, which threaten to fall. And for once, they would fall in happiness and not in sorrow.

Gingerly she reaches up her tanned skin hand and places it into mine. I guide her up to her feet, and direct her into my arms. With one hand on each side of her waist, and hers on my shoulders, we start to sway to the musicless night.

“This is silly Sam.” She laughs out about a minute latter, I smile down at her.


“There’s no music.”

True there isn’t any music, no rhythm, no anything except the distant honking of car horns in the distance, and the sound of someone driving along the street. But if she wants something to hear in order to dance with me, I can arrange something.

I just don’t want to let her go. All night I’ve wanted to hold her, and now that I have finally gotten as far as that, I don’t want to let go. Dani is right where I want her to be. But I can’t stop my mind from wondering if this is where she wants to be?

Is she just entertaining her friend? Or did she really want to feel the connection I pray that we are building, the thing when friends want to be more than friends. She could be politely telling me that she doesn’t want my arms around her or my hands on her hips, or me touching her period.

I pull her close, hoping she wants me to do so. I press her against me, like she might disappear into the night’s wind if I don’t hold on to her with all my strength. She doesn’t push me away or say anything cruel. But clings to me as well, and together, in this death hold of ours; we start to sway once again.

I start to hum a little better this time, the song me and her danced to all those years ago. Slow and sweet and it would have been better but Bobby and his perverted mind didn’t help ‘the moment’ at all.

It was no accident me finding you
Someone had a hand in it
Long before we ever knew
Now I just can't believe you're in my life
Heaven's smilin' down on me
As I look at you tonight

I know very well that I can’t sing well at all. But she just squeezes me closer, resting her head on my shoulder and keeps quiet about what ever it is she might be thinking. I don’t sing it out loud for everyone to hear me, only her as I whisper the words into her strawberry smelling hair. Another little thing I will remember from this day forward.

I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars
He sure knew what he was doin'
When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I've got all I'll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars

She still remains quiet and her grip never loosens, neither does mine. My heart is starting to fell the rise of emotion as I dance with her, dance with Dani. I never thought I’d ever be doing this. Of course I thought me and Tabitha were the together for ever thing at the time, and Dani was on the wrong side of the mutant fence. But my mind tells me to stop thinking so much, and just let this new strengthened friendship blossom into whatever God intended.

Soft moonlight on your face oh how you shine
It takes my breath away
Just to look into your eyes
I know I don't deserve a treasure like you
There really are no words
To show my gratitude

Her eyes are closed, as she flips her head over, I am rewarded to look at her now peaceful face. But that peaceful face scares me, because I’m not too sure that she hasn’t reinforced those walls she brought down. But why would she want to put on her mask again, when I’ve seen the true her, and loved knowing the real person she is.

I tip my hat to the keeper of the stars
He sure knew what he was doin'
When he joined these two hearts
I hold everything
When I hold you in my arms
I've got all I'll ever need
Thanks to the keeper of the stars

This time her grip does loosen, and tightens again, only a fraction of what it was. I pray she doesn’t think I’m forcing her to want me to hold her. I want her, sure enough. I just don’t want her to know it. At least not until I’m sure that she feels the same way, because I’ve tried my hand at instant romance, and she cheated on me.

It was no accident me finding you
Someone had a hand in it
Long before we ever knew

As I whisper out the last words, we stop the soft-swaying tempo we had, and just hold on to each other. I don’t know how long we stay like that. Just soaking up each other’s touch, and friendship. Just being in the world, and ignoring it all at once.

She breaks our long embrace, by stepping back and hugging herself. Her face is that damned mask I thought was going to be there, her eyes unreadable and nothing of happiness touches her features.

“Thanks Sam.” She utters out low as she turns to walk away.

I blew it. I wanted to be her friend, which I must of succeeded in, but she’s made it clear, she wants nothing else to do with me. I sigh, and stick my hands into my jacket pockets, I’m going to go to bed with the knowledge that the woman I might have started to fall in love with doesn’t want me. I’m starting to think it’s a curse for me not to be happy.

At least Dani is, now she knows I’m here, and am willing to listen to her despite anything and everything. And although it doesn’t seem like that much right now, it’s a start. Maybe she’ll find that certain someone who can always make her laugh, who will appreciate knowing she talks in her sleep, will treasure her smile, and just be completely in love with her.

I can’t, because she doesn’t want me to. I won’t do anything to upset our friendship’s fragile bound of trust. It took years for both of us to open up so willingly to each other. And I won’t be the egotistical male and think that she’s just dying to be with me. I know better than that, I know it because I’ve seen it so often with Bobby and his flavor’s of the month.

Danielle Moonstar means more to me than a cheap thrill, or a shoulder to sling my arm around, or anything like those teenage boys think girls are or should be. I’m not like that, and I refuse to let Dani be anything like that for any man. Maybe I do lo--


I turn around to her beacon, she’s sitting on the ledge once again. Her arms supporting her body as she leans back. The moonlight plays across her breathtaking features, taunting me and laughing by reminding me that I’ll never know those features any more than I do right now.


“ ‘8 Seconds’, right? It’s your favorite movie right?”

My God, You are a wonderful God.

I smile, and my hearts starts to dance around in my chest. I just stare at her with the goofy grin and my head tilted on my shoulder. She limply smiles back at me.

“Yeah.” I answer finally after what feels like an eternity of looking at her.

I turn from her, a smile stretching from ear to ear on my face. Maybe in this great-confused world it is possible for someone to be happy. Maybe it was the fire fly---my wish not to be alone, maybe it’s finally coming true. After 8 years of wishing, and wanting, I finally got something for all my efforts. Or Maybe God showed pity to this old Kentucky boy….

Only He knows.

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