With Captain America’s support, Wanda had hoped the paparazzi would leave them alone. But they had only seemed to become more determined. At least, in general, they appeared to be far more accepting of Kurt, but now they wanted to know more about him. What he was really like. How they’d met. What his real name was. And several rather personal questions, usually concerning his tail, that she would never dignify with an answer.
She hadn’t told them a thing, of course, though the offers for personal appearances on well known chat shows arrived daily. Exuberate amounts of money were waved under her nose for an exclusive interview…even more if he agreed to appear with her.
“Don’t sweat it.” Greer beamed. “It’ll blow over. They’ll get bored with you sooner or later.”
“I’m guessing later rather than sooner.” Wanda sighed. “It’s impossible for us to go out anywhere…”
“I thought you two were at the point in your relationship where you don’t WANT to go out anywhere.” Greer wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
“Maybe…” She agreed with a chuckle. “But that won’t last forever. We can’t even go to the movies…and you know what a movie buff Kurt is.”
“Wanda…” Greer said, suddenly, and surprisingly, serious. “You’re focusing on the negative. Try thinking about the positives…”
“There are positives?”
“Well…isn’t he worth this little…inconvenience?”
Wanda smiled as she thought about it.
“Yes…” She conceded. “I guess you’re right…”
“C’mon.” She took her friend’s hand. “You’ve been cooped up in here way too long.”
“But…” She protested. “You know what Steve said…”
“Steve shmeve…” Greer snorted. “What he don’t know won’t hurt him.”
“And he’s not going to find out?” Wanda arched a brow. “I so much as sneeze and it’s front page news at the moment.”
“Well, you’ll just have to have a tissue handy.” Greer winked.
They headed downstairs, happily discussing what they were going to do. Before they even reached the ground floor their chatting was interrupted by a bright and boisterous voice.
“Baby doll! I missed you!”
“Simon?” The pair said in unified shock.
Before Wanda could object, Simon lifted her easily in his powerful arms, swinging her around playful. He pulled her in close for a kiss, but she turned her head away, his lips only meeting her cheek.
“Put me down.” She said evenly, almost coldly.
“Methinks our outing is out.” Greer said to herself.
“What are you doing here?” Wanda demanded, even though she was pretty sure she knew.
“Well…I had to put an end to the lies…” He began.
“Lies?” Greer echoed. “You DID see the photograph, right? Does it look like a lie to you?”
“It could have been doctored.” Simon pointed out. “Or he might have some kind of mutant charm ability…”
“That would be Gambit.” Wanda said.
“Huh?” Simon frowned.
“Gambit is the X-Man with mutant charm ability.” She explained. “Kurt’s is all natural.”
Simon’s scarlet eyes widened. “You mean you actually ARE involved with this guy?”
“Just because it’s in a tabloid newspaper doesn’t mean it’s not true.” Greer pointed out. “Like all those starlets you’ve been linked to.”
“That’s different!” He protested.
“How the hell is that different?” Wanda demanded. “Because they meant nothing to you?”
“Exactly!” Simon nodded, regretting it when he was two jaws drop. “Well…what I mean is…”
“I know exactly what you mean, Simon.” Wanda snarled. “And I know exactly why you’re here. I haven’t heard a word from you since you left for LA to pursue a career that obviously meant more to you than I did. And now that I’m making the headlines you’re back to steal some of the spotlight for yourself!”
“That’s absurd!” He grumbled.
“Is it?” She glared at him. “Then why ARE you here?”
“Well…I…” He couldn’t tell her the truth. Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he’d felt secure in the knowledge if things didn’t work out in Hollywood he’d have somewhere…and someone…to go to. He hadn’t for one moment considered that she might find someone else.
He didn’t know a thing about the guy, outside of the fact that he looked like a demon. All he knew was that he had something that belonged to him. And he wanted it back!
He held up the paper. “Haven’t you seen the polls?” He asked, leafing through it to the appropriate page. “The majority want to see you with me.” He held up the page in triumph, feeling it spoke for itself.
Wanda snatched the paper from him without even looking at it. “I am not going to base my personal life on the results of a meaningless poll in a tabloid newspaper! You think I give a damn about what these idiots think?”
Simon was at a loss. All the way from the west coast he’d been going through it in his head, scripting and plotting out what would happen as soon as Wanda saw him. She’d loved him for so long. This guy was obviously a vain attempt to regain his affection. After all…how could she possibly pick a blue-furred freak over him?
But Wanda wasn’t playing to his script. She hadn’t rushed into his arms, heart all aflutter. She was angry. And though he had expected that, he hadn’t expected her to remain steadfast to the X-Man. But his sense of pride wouldn’t allow him to accept it.
“If you’re trying to make me jealous…it won’t work.” He beamed.
Wanda glared at him for an instant, then with a roll of her eyes, turned and walked out of the room.
“You really don’t have a clue, do you, Simon?” Greer shook her head. “You’ve been replaced…superseded even.”
His red eyes narrowed as he watched the cat woman slink after his beloved.
“We’ll see about that.” He sneered. “There’s more than one way to alter this little equation…”
It hadn’t taken long to get from New York to Westchester, given the Avengers advanced transport technology. And thanks to their equally impressive database, he knew the exact address he was looking for. The X-Men had always guarded their privacy far more ferociously than any of the other many super teams that seem to proliferate New York, and its outer boroughs.
But then, he could have just put in a call to an old teammate…
“Kurt…” That former teammate arched a bushy blue brow. “Are you expecting a visitor? A pretty female visitor with a preference for anything and everything scarlet?”
“No…she’s pretty much been confined to quarters until this whole furfural blows over.” He frowned. “Why?”
“Because we have an Avengers quinjet about to settle on our impressive floral displays…”
“Maybe she came incognito?” Rogue suggested.
“In an Avengers quinjet?” Hank’s brow arched even higher. “Hardly inconspicuous.”
“Heh.” Remy laughed, slapping Kurt hard against the shoulder blade. “Girl’s just got ta have it.”
“Well…” Rogue said as she took in the figure that leapt out of the vehicle. “I gotta say…that’s one heck of a disguise.”
“Who is dat?” Remy frowned.
“Simon Williams…” Hank informed him. “Better known to the world in general as Wonder Man.”
“Wonder Man?” Remy pulled a face. “He tryin’ to compensate for somethin’?”
“Also known as Wanda’s ex…” Hank looked at Kurt.
“Oh joy…” Kurt said with little enthusiasm.
“Girl must have a thing for weird eyes…” Rogue noted, indicating Simon’s completely red eyes.
“Maybe Gambit should try his luck den, Cherie?” He teased.
“You gonna get between Kurt and his lady?” Rogue arched a brow. “He’d kick yer butt, Cajun.”
“I don’t think it be a problem.” Remy counted. “I think our fuzzy friend gonna have his hands pretty full in a minute.”
Hank opened the door before Simon could even knock, fearing he’d knock it down in the process.
“Simon!” Hank beamed. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
He ignored the big, blue mutant, marching straight up to smaller but equally blue Nightcrawler.
Logan looked up from his newspaper with a smirk. “This is gonna be good…” He chuckled.
“You and me.” Simon challenged. “Outside. NOW!”
“Excuse me?” Kurt said evenly, not at all intimidated by the impending threat of severe bodily harm.
“What?” Simon taunted. “Those pointy ears just for show? We fight…for Wanda.”
“Are you suggesting a duel?” Kurt asked.
“Good God, man.” Kurt shook his head. “What century do you live in?” Simon folded his arms across his barrel chest and stared the much smaller Kurt down.
Kurt sighed. “If you’re serious I have some epees we could use.”
“What the hell is an epee?” Simon frowned.
“A sword…” Kurt told him. “Used for fencing. You did want to duel, yes?”
He looked at the blue-furred mutant with a great deal of trepidation. He had seen enough of Kurt’s file in the Avengers database to know that letting him get his misshapen hand on any form of sword was not a good idea.
“I think that would give you too much of an advantage.” Simon said flatly. “I don’t know how to use a sword.”
“And you would not be at the advantage in hand-to-hand?” Kurt countered. “Besides…the challenged always gets the choice of weapon.”
Simon was beginning to look more than a little flustered. He had expected Kurt to back down, to wimp out. Kurt was at one time one of the X-Men’s field leaders. He had to be intelligent to hold such a position. He had to know he wasn’t anywhere near a match for Simon’s strength. He should know he couldn’t win…
Kurt noticed Simon’s frustrated and confused look and smiled. “I’m not going to fight you.”
Simon arched a brow at that. Things were finally going according to the script.
“What’s the matter?” He returned to his taunting. “You afraid?”
“Hardly.” Kurt sneered. “But it is a pointless endeavour. Wanda is a woman, not a trophy. The winner does not get to keep her. She is fully capable of making her own decision without an incredibly stupid display of testosterone on our part.”
“My sentiments exactly.” A voice spoke from behind him.
Simon turned to find a rather irate looking Wanda, fists balled on her hips, staring at him.
“C’mon, Wanda.” Simon tried to reason with her. “The guy won’t even fight for you!”
“Because he knows that’s not what I want!” Wanda told him. “He knows me, Simon…in a way you never did.”
Simon lowered his head. Then he glanced sidelong at Kurt. “I guess I can take some consolation in the fact that you got her used.”
As soon as the words left his mouth he regretted them. When he saw Wanda’s jaw drop he regretted them even more. He was going to say something, try to take back what he’d said, but before he could form the words he found himself flat on his back.
He hadn’t even seen Kurt move, hadn’t seen the fist that collided with his face. All he was aware of was the two eyes, now as red as his own, locked with his. Blue lips were curled back from fanged teeth, a barely audible growl reached his ears. A two toed foot was pressed against his windpipe, slowly crushing the air from his lungs. With his peripheral vision he noticed that even Hank and Logan had taken a step back. Something told him he was in deep, deep trouble.
Then Wanda whimpered.
The pressure on his chest was released and he found he could breathe again. But the tail whipped him in the face for good measure as Kurt turned to Wanda. She melted into his embrace, burying her face in the hollow of his neck, and Simon knew he didn’t have a chance in hell of winning her back.
But he had to make amends. He hadn’t meant what he said. He’d meant to insult him…not her. He rose rather gingerly and took one step towards her.
“Wanda…?” He began.
Kurt growled at his intrusion, and the pair promptly vanished. He was stunned, but not as much as he was by the look he got from those around him. X-Men seemed to have materialised out of the wood panelling. Some he knew…Hank…Scott…Warren…Logan…most he didn’t. But it was pretty obvious he’d outstayed whatever welcome he’d had.
“I think you better go, bub.” Logan said softly to confirm the fact, flexing his fingers but not actually popping his claws.
He didn’t have to be told twice.
“I can’t believe he said that…” Wanda whispered into Kurt’s indigo curls.“Shhhh…” He soothed as he gently stroked her hair. “He was trying to get at me…not you…he just didn’t think…”
Wanda stiffened slightly in his arms. “Will you stop defending him!?” She demanded.
“Sorry…” He said softly. “I guess I try to find the good in everyone…”
“I know…” She sighed. “It’s just one of the things I love about you…but save it for someone who deserves it, huh?”
They stood in a comfortable silence, holding each other. They had no idea how long they’d been doing so. The only sound was the occasional twitter of a bird outside the window. Wanda had no idea where they even were, but it had to be a long way from the more frequently used areas of the mansion. She guessed it was his room. It was so quiet you wouldn’t think there was anyone else in the house.
Kurt let out an involuntary sigh at the tickle of Wanda’s breath on his neck, the brush of her nose. It wasn’t until her lips captured his earlobe that he realised just what she was up to.
“Wanda…” he said in little more than a whisper. “I don’t know if that’s what you need right now.”
She pulled away slightly so she could look at him. The look in her eyes…Simon’s tactless words had really shaken her up. “I need to feel loved.” She said simply.
“You are loved.” He assured her.
She held more power over him than she knew, so when she returned to her gentle ministrations he didn’t resist…at least not immediately. He barely noticed when she pulled his shirt out, slipping her hands beneath to explore the velvet of his back. It was when one hand slid downwards, finding the sweet spot at the base of his tail that his eyes snapped open.
“Liebe…” He rasped, his voice hoarse with his own rising passion. “There is a child in this house…”That gave her pause. She seemed lost in thought for a few moments, then she quickly tore his shirt off over his head, leaving him extremely ruffled and tussled.
“You don’t know how good you look when you’re like that…” She purred as she scrunched the garment into a ball. Without even glancing back she tossed it over her shoulder. It struck several books that were stacked rather precariously on top of a bookcase causing them to tumble. They hit a DVD that was lying on the coffee table below, sending it flying up into the air. It struck the wall, knocking loose one of Kurt’s sabres that was hanging there. Its hilt bounced off the carpet, the blade turning end over end until it buried itself in the door so deeply that its tip was embedded in the door jam. There was now no way the door could be opened without the blade first being removed.
“That had to be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen…” Kurt commented.
“Kurt…” Wanda cooed.
“That probability altering thing of yours is so cool…”
“Kurt…” She repeated.
“I mean, sure, I could have ‘ported over there and just locked the door…but that would have been so ordinary when compared…”
She grabbed his face so tightly his mouth was forced into a pucker by the pressure of her fingers in his cheeks.
“Shut up…” She said as she took advantage of the situation, kissing him deeply as she leaned against him, forcing him backwards until he fell on to the bed.
“Anyone seen Kurt?” Kitty asked as she bounded into the room. “We’ve got a sparring session.”
“Not since he ‘ported outta here with Wanda.” Rogue informed her.
“Wanda?” Kitty frowned. “What’s she doing here?”
Remy chuckled and opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by a stern look from Rogue.
“I think it safe to say your sparrin’ session’s been postponed.” Rogue smiled.
“Boy got himself a more interestin’ sparrin’ partner.” Remy smirked until Rogue smacked him rather viciously on the arm.
“Damnit!” Kitty snarled. “He’s got to get his priorities right!”
“I reckon he has got his priorities…OW!” Remy glared at Rogue as he reached down to rub his recently kicked shin. Kitty stormed off, looking like she was ready to break something.
“What the petite got against the femme?” He asked.
“I dunno…” Rogue admitted. “But she sure goes apeshit any time those two are together…and you didn’t help one little bit!”
“Nothin’ wrong with a little afternoon delight…” Remy smiled, running a finger suggestively up her thigh.
Wanda was a little disorientated at first. She couldn’t remember where she was. Then she felt the now familiar brush of velveteen fingertips against her belly, the faint, and strangely comforting, scent of sulphur in the sheets. She smiled to herself, twisting slightly so she could look at him, but not so much as to wake him. He always spooned up to her afterwards, wrapping her up in a delicious velvet embrace. One arm draped over her, the tail invariably wrapped around some body part, her thigh this time, she noted.
‘God, he’s beautiful…’ She thought as she watched him sleep, a slight smile curving his full blue lips, dark curls framing his perfect face. He was far more angel than demon in this light. She had wanted to feel loved…and if there was one thing Kurt could do it was that. And he had…all night long!
She rolled back over, sidling up a little to him to feel the silkiness of his fur against her back. She glanced upwards, studying the hoops and bars mounted to the ceiling that she’d barely caught a glimpse of before. It was an unusual thing to see in such a stately home…but it was just so Kurt.
A widescreen TV took up most of one wall, shelves brimming with movies taking up most of the rest. That was hardly surprising. He did love his movies.
Then she heard a strange sound. A short of bird call…but not. She noticed the bird cage, frowning at the tiny form that fluttered its wings within it. It was the strangest bird she’d ever seen. A pale pink with a strange, almost bony crest on its head. It looked at her then, opening its beak to reveal a set of very nasty looking teeth.
She instinctively backed away from it, even though it was in a cage and half way across the room. Her elbow connected with Kurt’s stomach, causing him to grumble somewhat at the rude awakening.
“What the hell is that?” She demanded, pointing at the caged creature.
Kurt raised himself up slightly to look over the curve of her shoulder. “That’s just Terry…” he said, dropping back down with every intention of grabbing a few more ‘z’s.
“Terry?” She echoed. “Terry? As in Terry-dactyl?”
“Um-hmmm.” Kurt confirmed, already halfway back to dreamland.
“Where the hell did you get a pterodactyl?” She demanded.
“The Savage Land.” He said matter of factly. “Now go back to sleep…”
“I can’t sleep!” She protested. “That…thing…is looking at me!”
“He’s been looking at you all night…” Kurt pointed out.
“You’re not helping.” She informed him. “Can’t you cover it or something?”
Kurt sighed and rolled out of bed, fishing a piece of clothing off the floor he draped it over the cage. Terry chirped at him from the darkness beneath the covering.
Then he heard Wanda’s appreciatively little noise. He glanced back over his shoulder to find her smiling seductively.
“Hey!” He protested, balling his fist on his hips. “You just wanted a free show!”
“No…no…” She shook her auburn curls. “That thing was seriously freaking me out. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t take a free show when I can get it.”
A wicked smirk curled his lips as he prepared to pounce.
Kitty froze in her tracks when she heard Wanda’s delighted squeal. It quickly morphed into a throaty giggle, then melted into a passionate moan. It wasn’t hard to figure out just what was going on in there.
“And he’s supposed to be a Catholic…” She grumbled to herself.
“And what’s that supposed to mean exactly?”
Kitty grabbed her chest. “Jeez, Logan.” She growled. “It’s not polite to sneak up on people!”
“Or to eavesdrop on ‘em.” Logan countered. “Leave the Elf and his lady be. Move it!”
“Man…” Kitty grumbled. “They’ve been at it all night!”
“So what if they have?” Logan arched a brow as he pushed her along the corridor. “They’re both consenting adults.”
“He’s gonna miss our training session.” She pointed out.
Logan chuckled. “He’s getting plenty of exercise.”
“What? You were the one eavesdroppin’.”
“I was not eavesdropping!” She protested. “I was just walking by! I can’t help it if they’re so loud the whole house can hear them!”
“Yer exaggeratin’.” Logan sighed. “My room’s right next to his and I didn’t hear a peep all night.” Kitty mumbled under her breath. Logan arched a brow as he came to a realisation. “You don’t like her, do you?”
“It doesn’t matter how I feel, now does it?”
“Nope…” Logan nodded sagely. “It don’t.”
“Guten Morgen!” Kurt beamed as he swung from a light fixture by his feet as the rest of the team straggled into the Danger Room.
“Well…” Remy arched a brow. “You’re awfully bright for someone who’s been up all night.”
“What makes you think I was up all night?” He queried.
“If I had a lady as fine as Wanda sharing my bed…I sure as hell wouldn’t be sleeping.” Remy said, a devilish look in his dark eyes. Kurt’s grin simply got wider.
“Oh fer cryin’ out loud.” Rogue rolled her eyes. “You two are incorrigible.”
“You want us to act all respectable and boring like Scott?” Remy asked.
“I heard that!” Scott’s voice echoed down from the control room. “Let’s get this show on the road shall we?”~~~~~~
Wanda watched from the safety of the control room while Jean watched her. She didn’t need her telepathy to know she was only paying attention to one of the combatants down there.
“He certainly has some amazing moves, huh?” Jean commented. “But then, I suppose you already know that.”
“Oh, yeah.” Wanda grinned.
“But I guess you’ve never seen these moves before.”
“No…I fought alongside him once…” She said.
“You did?” Jean frowned. “I didn’t know that.”
“No reason you should.” Wanda shrugged. “It was when he was with Excalibur. Truth is, I never thought I’d see him again, let alone be so intimately involved with him…”
“Life can take many strange turns…” Jean nodded in agreement.
“So…” Wanda tore her eyes away from Kurt. “The papers leaving us alone yet?” Jean sighed deeply. “Well…that sounds like a big NO.”
“They know Simon’s back in town…”
“And they know you two had words…and that you didn’t come home last night…they put two and two together…came up with a fuzzy tryst.”
“Maybe we should go public…” She said quietly.