‘I should never have left Germany.’ Kurt Wagner thought forlornly as he picked through the rubble of the mansion. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, in truth, he was only trying to take his mind off everything that had happened. Kitty was sitting nearby, Lance doing his best to comfort her, letting her cry on his shoulder. Not too long ago seeing them together like that would have bugged the hell out of him, but now he barely even noticed it.
Or maybe he just didn’t care anymore…
‘No…’ He frowned. ‘That is not true…’ He knew what it was. Whenever something bothered him he buried it, covered it up with a joke. Just tried to pretend it hadn’t happened. He knew it wasn’t a good idea, that it would probably lead to problems later, but it was easier than trying to deal with it. He’d always done it, but he seemed to be doing it more and more lately.
Especially when he’d found out that Mystique was his mother.
He glanced at her now, smugly arguing with Scott, Ororo and Jean. Telling them that she was the only one that could help them now that everyone knew what they were.
“I notice you didn’t put your own butt on the line!” Scott growled at her.
‘Yeah…that is her way…’ Kurt sighed to himself. ‘Always looking after her own skin…no matter how it effects any one else…’
He suddenly found he was extremely uncomfortable at the sound of her voice. He moved soundlessly towards the woods, hoping to lose himself in the trees. Some of the others had followed his lead and were also sifting through the remains of their home, salvaging whatever they could find. They didn’t notice him pass.
Only Wanda Maximoff noticed him. She’d been watching him since they’d returned. He intrigued her. The way he looked, she’d never seen so obvious a mutant, not that she’d seen all that many before. The way he moved, so graceful, so fluid. And the fact that he’d saved her life…well, how could she not be interested?
She could see something in the way he flinched whenever Mystique spoke, laughed, whenever she made any sort of noise, that the others couldn’t. It mirrored the way she felt whenever she heard her father. And the fact that he looked almost exactly the same as the blue-skinned metamorph made it easy to figure out what was bothering him.
‘It would seem I’m not the only one around here with parental problems…’ She mused as the furry X-Man roughly pushed away a low hanging branch in his desire to disappear. With an arc of her eyebrow, she fell into step behind him. It didn’t take much to keep track of him, he wasn’t exactly trying to cover his tracks…he just wanted to put some distance between him and Mystique…
He half climbed half leapt onto a wide tree branch and she couldn’t help but marvel at his agility. There was a smoothness, a gracefulness to his movements that put Toad to shame. His agility seemed so effortless, like it was an integral part of his being. The tail began to coil and flick, echoing the obvious tension in his body. She didn’t know him very well, but most of the others looked on him with such affection, so she surmised he was a pretty nice guy despite the demonic appearance. The Brotherhood had laughingly told her what a wimp he was. She’d seen him in battle, the risks he took on behalf of others, she wouldn’t call him a coward, so she translated his so-called ‘wimpiness’ to mean ‘sensitive’.
“Uh…” She began.
“Vhat do you vant?” He asked a little curtly as he turned towards the sound of her voice. His expression softened when he saw who he was speaking to. “Oh…”
“Are you all right?” She asked. “You seem a little…well…down…”
He raised a brow at her comment. It seemed strange coming from her. In the short time he’d known her, he had yet to see her smile. “I have just lost several of my friends, my teachers, been exposed on national television as a freak, had my home blown up…and my mother vas responsible for it all.” He let out a snort. “How do you think I feel?”
“I think my father had more to do with it than your mother.” Wanda pointed out.
“That is vhat she vants you to think.” Kurt mumbled. “She cannot be trusted…”
“She got me out of that awful hospital when your beloved PROFESSOR wouldn’t.” She shot back. “She took me in, got me help to control my powers…”
“Only because it suited her purposes.” He informed her. “She does not give a damn about anybody but herself…”
“At least she didn’t have you committed to an asylum when you were just a little kid and then left you there to rot!” She growled at him.
“No.” He countered as he dropped from the branch to face her. “She dropped me into a frozen river vhen I vas a baby and did not bother to fish me out!”
Wanda was taken aback. Mystique had always been good to her, though admittedly she hadn’t known her very long. She had offered to help her get revenge on her father. She couldn’t imagine her doing something so heartless. And to her own son. There had to be more to it. But as she thought of it, Mystique had her own personal vendetta against the magnetic manipulating mutant…
“She really did that?” She asked in a whisper.
“I guess I am lucky that the couple who found me DID pull me out and did not just hold me under the vater and put an end to me…” He sighed. “That they took me in, raised me as their own, despite…” He looked at his blue, furry, three-fingered hands.
“They adopted you?” She asked.
“Ja…they had no children of their own…I think they actually saw me as a gift…that finally their prayers had been answered…they did not care that I vas…vell…”
“Unique?” She suggested.
He looked at her then, a little startled. “Ja…” He said quietly. “They are probably older than most parents vith a child my age…they had trouble keeping up vith me, even vhen I was little…but then most children do not spend their days climbing the valls…literally. They did not take me out much, they vere afraid how others vould react to me. My schooling vas all at home, they taught me just about everything I know, the Internet filled in the rest. I really did not interact vith others my age until I came to America…”
He smiled. “They vere vay over protective of me…but I vould not trade them for anything in the vorld…”
“The Maximoffs were great too.”
“Django and Marya…” The corners of her mouth twitched slightly in just the hint of a smile as she said their names, thought of them. “They took us in, though I don’t know if they officially adopted us…our mother died when we were very young…I don’t even remember her…” She frowned. “We were happy with them…then one day, shortly after our powers began to manifest, HE arrived…”
Kurt nodded his understanding. He didn’t want to risk upsetting her by saying his name.
“He took us from them…brought us here to America…tore us from everything we ever knew, everything we cared about. He was more interested in Pietro than me…one of those father/son things I guess…they look so much alike. Act it too!” She growled. “He tried to teach us how to use our powers. Pietro caught on real quick…no pun intended. But mine were so unpredictable…he felt it easier just to get rid of me…”
Kurt frowned. He had never been fond of the self proclaimed Master of Magnetism, of his ideas or his methods, and what he’d done to his own daughter only reinforced his dislike for the man. But he could never bring himself to cause him any lasting harm. He felt guilty now, of not destroying that machine when he’d had the chance. Logan and Rogue had all but begged him to do so, and if he had, he could have neutralised, or at the very least reduced, Magneto’s threat. But he had known just what button to push…
“Are you that much like your mother?”
It was his greatest fear, even more so than being revealed in public. Mystique’s blood ran through his veins…did their resemblance run further than skin deep? Was he destined to become like her? As the saying goes…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…
Wanda frowned. He had become strangely quiet. It was obvious that he was thinking about something, something bad. She could tell that by the way his head had lowered, his chin almost brushing his chest. His long hair had fallen forward, all but obscuring his face. She wondered if that was the reason he wore it so long, to hide his inhuman features behind a veil of indigo silk.
A soft breeze blew his bangs back for a moment and she could study his face in full, at least in profile. His features were both strong and delicate. His jaw and nose were finely chiselled, his cheekbones high and distinctive, the epitome of classical beauty. His body was lean and graceful. He was a little on the scrawny side, but he was still young. The broadness of his shoulders indicated he had quite a bit of filling out to do.
If he were a little taller, a little older, and a lot less blue, she had no doubt that he’d make a fortune on the catwalks.
“We’re quite a pair, huh?” She said to him in an effort to break the silence that had fallen between them.
“Vhat do you mean?” He frowned.
“We’d both like to see our parent’s head on a spike.”
“I do not vant to see her dead.” Kurt informed her. “I do not vant to see her at all!”
“It’s weird…” She began softly. “But it’s kinda comforting to know that I’m not alone…”
“There are a lot of teenagers at odds vith their parents.” Kurt pointed out.
“But not like us.”
“No…” He agreed softly. “Not like us…”
She looked into the soft golden eyes of her unlikely kindred spirit. Her sweet elfin saviour…
Before she even knew what she was doing she pressed her lips to his. She felt him pull back slightly, no doubt a little startled. Her hands quickly cupped his face, partially to pull him back to her, but also to enjoy the soft brush of his fur beneath her fingertips. His hair flopped across her hand, its smoothness in complete contrast to softness beneath her fingers. He was so soft…so warm…
‘Hmmm…’ She thought absently. ‘Like silk and velvet…’
“Man…” Kitty mumbled. “Do you think those guys’ll ever stop arguing?”
“Doubt it.” Lance smirked. “You should see Mystique when she gets a steam up…she can yell all night. In fact, this one time…”
“Whoa!” Tabitha’s voice interrupted their brief conversation. “Score!” She held aloft a slightly bent fencing foil, then started swishing it about making her own light sabre sound effects as she did so.
“HEY!” Kitty yelled at her as she scrambled to her feet. “That’s Kurt’s!”
“Kurt has a sword?” Lance queried as he dragged himself upright and followed her.
“Three actually.” Kitty confirmed.
“He know how to use ‘em?” Todd asked, attracted by the sudden interaction.
“Sure does!” Kitty beamed. “He’s amazing! You should have seen him when they finally got through customs…he was like a kid at Hanukah!”
“Why does he have three?” Lance asked. “Spares?”
“Nah…” Kitty’s smile didn’t falter. “He uses all three at once.”
“How?” Tabitha frowned.
Kitty took the foil from Tabitha. “Left hand…” She swung it with her own left, then tossed it to the other. “Right hand…” She parried, badly, with her right. “And tail…”
“You gonna demonstrate THAT one?” Lance asked with a smirk.
She slapped his armoured chest plate with the foil’s flat edge. “Wise guy…”
“He can skewer you three times at once?” Todd asked with a horrified look. “Remind me not to tick him off when he’s armed.”
Tabitha glanced about. If he fenced as well as Kitty was making out, and he’d been so happy to get the darn things, he should have appeared to retrieve the foil as soon as she’d unearthed it. But he was nowhere in sight.
“Where is Blue, anyway?” She asked.
“He wandered off into the woods with Wanda a while back.” Rahne informed them from where she was sitting nearby, brushing some dust off a slightly singed book she’d just found.
“WHAT?” Tabitha and Todd cried in unison.
“Boy sure moves fast, huh?” Lance chuckled.
“Oh?” Kitty arched a brow. “SHE’S the one that’s spent the best part of her teenage life locked away from the world in general. What’s to say she’s not the one making the moves?”
“Oh, c’mon, Kitty…Kurt’s a nice guy and all, but he’s…well…Kurt.” Lance finished with a shrug.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kitty demanded.
“Well…he’s…” He struggled to find the right word. Kitty glared at him. She knew what he was thinking. If it had been anybody else he’d been talking to he wouldn’t have had a problem saying it.
“A FREAK?” She suggested in a growl.
“I didn’t say that.” Lance protested.
“But you were thinking it!”
“Can you honestly tell me you’ve NEVER thought of him like that?” He challenged. “When you first laid eyes on him, weren’t you just the slightest bit…uncomfortable?”
He had her there. She had been completely spooked by the blue-furred German when she’d first met him. It was hard enough having just learned she was a mutant, then to come face-to-face with someone who was completely unable to hide the fact, to remind her just what she was. And the moment she’d heard his accent…so many of her own people had suffered at the hands of his countrymen…though she knew he was in no way responsible, that most of his nation were as appalled by what had happened as she was…she couldn’t help but be reminded of the atrocities performed on people merely because of their faith.
She couldn’t do anything but lower her eyes.
Wanda had never kissed anyone before, but she instinctively knew something was wrong. At first she was sure that she’d felt something, that indescribable something that romance novels always talked about, a strange, wonderful, tingling sensation all the way down to her toes. She was certain that Kurt felt it too as he reciprocated in full. But then something happened. Though Kurt hadn’t pulled away, she wasn’t really getting a response from him any more. It was like he was just allowing himself to be kissed. She pulled back to see him looking at her, wide eyed and startled, looking for all the world like a deer caught in the lights of oncoming traffic. But there was something else there too. Was it guilt?
“I…” She began. “I was just expressing my gratitude…”
“Gratitude?” He squeaked.
“If not for you I would be nothing more than a smear on the sidewalk…” She pointed out.
“A simple thank you vould have sufficed…” He said softly.
They sat in silence for a moment, neither sure what to say.
“So what do we do now?” She asked softly.
“Survive the best ve can in a vorld that vill no doubt hate and fear us…” He answered.
“That’s not what I meant.” She said.
“I know…” He whispered.