Stacy frowned as she moved through the rather quiet hallways. She was still new to the place, but she’d never know it to be so still, so empty. She finally located Bobby, lounging on the sofa, watching something she couldn’t even begin to identify.
“What the hell are you watching?” She said with an arched brow, leaning over the back of the couch.
“Beats the hell out of me…” He admitted. “I can’t find the program…or reach the remote…” He reached out a hand towards the remote control lying on the not so distant coffee table, but just beyond his arm’s reach.
“Man…” She chuckled. “Talk about lazy…” She watched along with him for a few minutes. “This isn’t even in English…” She commented.
“I think it’s one of those Spanish soap operas…” Bobby said. “That guy…” He pointed out one swarthy looking man. “I think he’s that guy’s brother…” He pointed out another. “And he’s having an affair with the babe with the big…” He glanced up at her. “Er…assets…who…I think…is married to that guy…”
“Sounds like just about every soap opera in existence…” Stacy commented.
Warren, walking past, was attracted by their voices. And even more so by Stacy’s firm behind pointing invitingly in his direction. He just couldn’t resist…
“Hey!” Stacy turned on him, grabbing the offending hand. “You wanna sample the merchandise…make an appointment!”
“If you don’t want it…sampled…don’t flaunt it.” He smirked.
Bobby just rolled his eyes.
“So where’s the other member of the blue man group?” Stacy asked Warren.
“Hank?” He questioned.
“You know who I mean…” She glared.
“You concerned?” Warren smirked.
“I guess…but you can wipe that smirk off your face…it couldn’t have been an easy for him…”
“I think he went into town…” Bobby said, not taking his eyes of his soap opera. “I think he got sick of us all asking him if he was okay…”
“You don’t think the guy needs some kind of counselling?” Stacy asked. “You’ve got just about everything else around here…you don’t have a counsellor?”
“Sure we do…” Bobby glanced at her. “But it’s a bit hard for the counsellor to counsel himself…”
“Kurt’s your counsellor?” Stacy arched a brow. “Yeah…I guess I can see that…”
Kurt had been trying to keep to himself all morning. Ever since he’d told them, there’d been somebody in his room every other minute making sure he was feeling okay, to which he’d reply he was. He wanted to add, if you’d all just leave me alone, but he was far too polite to do so.
He decided to take a walk. He had no destination in mind, he just wanted to clear his head, and some crisp winter air seemed just the ticket. His feet had led him to Salem Center…which didn’t really surprise him at all. He glanced at Harry’s Hideaway, the X-Men’s home away from home, but he didn’t feel like a drink. Truth was, he never did like drinking alone.
It was getting late now, the streetlights were just starting to glow. It didn’t concern him that he was so far from the mansion, and on foot, with his power he could get home in no time, when he was ready to do so. He hadn’t noticed the sun go down, a thick covering of clouds had hung overhead all day, threatening to drop their contents on his head, but was as yet to do so.
He thrust his hands in his pockets and lowered his head as a young couple approached him. He might have been comfortable with the way he looked, but not everyone was. He needn’t have bothered, though. The pair only had eyes for each other.
He sighed as they past him. He remembered what it was like to be in love. It’d been such a long time since he’d been that close to a woman…even before his priestly celibacy. He could hear music, loud, almost overbearing. He glanced in its direction. It looked like a nightclub, not that he usually frequented such a place, but part of him had the urge to go in. True, he was more than a little exotic looking, but he felt with his charismatic tongue, and the current ‘trendiness’ of mutants, he could probably charm just about any lady in the joint.
But if it wasn’t for that ‘trendiness’ he wouldn’t be in brooding mode right now…
But he shook the thought from his mind. Despite its attractiveness, it really wasn’t his way. He always felt that there needed to be a bond between two people before they got so closely involved. Admittedly he HAD indulged in a one-night stand, years ago, during Excalibur’s little trip across time. It wasn’t something he was proud of…and he didn’t really want to repeat the experience.
He heard shrill laughter, and glanced at the heavily pierced and tattooed young people that had gathered outside the nightspot. They were smoking cigarettes and generally larking about. He smiled wryly to himself. These people had probably spent a lot of money making themselves look unique…all he had to do was be born…
Their laughter turned to cries of outrage as the clouds that had been threatening all day, decided to make good on their threat. They threw their cigarettes in the tiny river that had quickly formed in the gutter and returned to the dark recesses of the nightclub.
Kurt grumbled to himself as he was very quickly soaked to the skin. In a way he wished it were cold enough to snow, at least that would have been gentle. The rain however was icy, and felt like it was cutting into him. There were still several people huddling under awnings, so he felt it unwise to attempt a teleport. Then he noticed the familiar building just up ahead.
Doctor Cecilia Reyes’ offices were modest but comfortable, and, under the circumstances, extremely inviting. He stepped into the shadowy recess of the doorway, knowing he’d fade into the gloom, hiding him from prying eyes. Glancing left and right, he teleported inside.
He could hear the steady drip-drip-drip of rainwater as it puddle around his feet from his soaking clothes.
‘I am going to ruin her carpet…’ he thought absently. Then he felt the pinprick at his neck.
“Okay, buddy.” A familiar voice hissed in his ear. “It’s called breaking and entering…and a total waste of time for you…I don’t keep any cash or drugs on the premises…and I’ve already called the cops…”
“I don’t see how you can call it ‘breaking and entering’ when nothing is broken…” He said. “The entering I can understand…but the breaking…”
“Kurt?” Cecilia questioned, relaxing the spike in her force field now that she knew she was in no danger.
“Working late?” He asked her.
“I always work late…” She countered. “What are you doing here? God…you’re soaking wet!”
“It IS raining out there.” He pointed out. “I was out for a walk…and got caught in the rain…”
“A walk?” She arched a brow. “You walked all the way here from the mansion?”
“I needed some time to myself…” He shrugged.
“And now you’re here…dripping all over my carpet…” She sighed. “C’mon…I have to get you out of those wet things…”
“Cecilia!” Kurt protested in mock indignation.
“You know what I mean…” She sighed. “My place isn’t far…”
Cecilia opened the door to her apartment and ushered the still dripping Kurt inside.
“Very nice…” Kurt commented.
“Shower’s that way.” She pointed towards the bathroom.
“Shower?” He echoed.
“I don’t think you should be sitting around with cold, wet fur…” She began.
“Warm, wet fur is better?” He questioned.
“Use the hairdryer…” She told him. “Just don’t wear it out…”
“You’re the doctor…” He beamed.
“Right…” She threw him a look. She headed into her bedroom, emerging with a thick, white towelling dressing gown. “You can wear this until your clothes dry.” She tossed it to him, he caught it easily. “Now, while you get warmed up, I’ll see about getting us something to eat…”
“You’re going to feed me too?” He quirked an eyebrow. “You are an angel…”
She shrugged. “What are friends for?”
Cecilia couldn’t help but giggle to herself as she pottered around the kitchen. She could hear Kurt’s soft, enthusiastic song from the direction of her bathroom. She had no idea what he was singing, it was in his native tongue, all she knew was that he wasn’t all that bad. She wouldn’t suggest he give up his day job though…
She heard the water, and his singing, stop. She knew he’d still be a while though, it couldn’t be easy to dry off when you were covered head to toe with fur.
She spooned the stir-fried vegetables into two bowls and headed for her living room, placing them on the coffee table. Returning to the kitchen, she collected two mugs of coffee. Normally in such a situation she would probably go for a glass of wine, but she didn’t think that was appropriate. She had no intention of seducing her blue-furred guest.
‘No matter how amazing he looks in my bathrobe…’ She thought as he padded silently into the room, glad his power was not the ability to read minds.
“What?” He frowned at her expression.
“Dinner’s ready.” She smiled.
“Smell’s good.” He commented as he joined her on the couch.
“Is it me…or is this movie BAD?” She asked as she watched George Clooney flitter across the screen in a skin-tight rubber Batsuit.
“That is the general consensus…” Kurt commented over a sip of coffee. “Give me Batman Returns any day.” He said as he placed the mug down on the coffee table. “Michelle Pfeiffer in a catsuit…rrrooowww…”
“Is a priest allowed to think like that?” She asked in a giggle, immediately regretting it when she saw the mirth drain from his face.
“Well…” He said softly. “I’m not exactly a priest any more…”
“Oh, Kurt…” There was genuine sympathy in her voice. “Your faith is so much a part of you…”
“I still have my faith, Cecilia…” He assured her. “It’s just…with all the bad press the Catholic Church has been getting lately, they didn’t really need the added problems the existence of a demonic looking, mutant priest could bring…”
“They kicked you out?”
“They strongly suggested I should concentrate my efforts elsewhere…”
“So they kicked you out?” She repeated, a little more angrily this time.
“I had been questioning my suitability for that particular calling for some time…” He sighed. “Whether it fit with the ideals of the X-Men…I guess it was God’s way of making the decision for me…”
“You’re not fooling me, you know…” She said as she pulled him into a comforting embrace. The way his strong arms curled around her, the way he clung to her like a lost child, only confirmed what she’d said.
“The way I see it…” She whispered into his blue-black hair. “With or without the collar…you’ve always done God’s work…”
He looked at her with uncertain golden eyes.
“You give hope to people…save them…protect them…physically and emotionally…even when they want nothing to do with you, you’re always there for them…” She rested her forehead against his, marvelling at how soft and warm it was.
“You’re sweet…” She continued. “Charming…considerate…gentle…” She arched a brow. “You ARE straight, right?”
“Yes…” He chuckled, his face splitting in a shy smile.
“And you’ve got a great smile…” She smiled back. “Something you haven’t been showing off nearly enough lately…”
The smiles on their faces slowly dissipated as if they’d suddenly realised they were alone, in each other’s arms, and no longer hindered by his vow of celibacy.
Cecilia had always felt a certain something for him…ever since that night they’d spent together, running from the Neo. He’d been half dead from blood loss, but he was more concerned with her feelings than his one predicament. There had been a chemistry there from the start, though, when she’d first met him in the attic of the mansion, when he’d poured on the charm…putting her at ease. And then he’d been there for her when she fought off the addiction to Rave. He was always there…
Kurt couldn’t deny his attraction to the woman. Her determined strength, her gentle humour. He owed her his very life. He had felt something for her that night, when he’d been skewered by a crossbow bolt, something he hadn’t felt in a long time. But he knew he couldn’t act on it, couldn’t even explore those feelings, he’d put it to the back of his mind. He had sworn himself to a higher purpose. But now…
She could feel his breath against her lips, the clean scent of soap in his fur. They leaned forward, slowly, uncertainly. Lips brushed, a feather-like touch, each testing, teasing the other. Both encouraged when neither pulled back, they deepened the kiss, hands coming into play, caressing flesh, stroking fur…
Kurt sank back into the cushions as Cecilia leaned against him. George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell were arguing about which one of them Uma Thurman liked better, but they didn’t notice…
They didn’t notice anything until Kurt rolled over and deposited them both on the floor. Cecilia thanked God for her force field when she landed on the cold, hard floorboards. But as Kurt began to work on her neck, the chill was soon forgotten, and she was reminded that he hadn’t always been a priest…
Warren watched the rain stream down the window. It was miserable outside, so much so that he’d decided to stay at the mansion for the night rather than risk driving home. Bobby and Stacy were watching a movie downstairs. He had no idea where Logan or Kurt were, but he knew they both had enough common sense to find somewhere out of the rain. Well, he thought they did any way…
He stiffened as a pair of arms curled around him. He looked down at the pair of feminine hands that began to explore his chest and abdomen. There was only one woman currently is residence that would pull something like this.
“I didn’t make an appointment, Stacy…” He began.
“Stacy?” A voice growled in his ear, the hands pulling back. He was spun and hurled against the wall, apparently by nothing.
“WHO THE HELL IS STACY!?”
Outside, Logan looked up at the sound of the raised voice. Nobody else would have been able to hear it, he barely had. He frowned, it was a voice he knew, a voice he shouldn’t be able to hear…
He headed for the house, shaking the rain off his clothes as he pushed open the back door. He found Bobby and Stacy, still watching their movie. “We got trouble…” He said as he stalked past them.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Stacy looked to Bobby for an explanation.
He shrugged. “Guess we better check it out…”
They caught up with the surly Canadian, just outside one of the guest rooms. He was sniffing the air, growling to himself and frowning. Stacy arched a brow. He didn’t look all that out of character to her…
He frowned at the pair. “Where’s Kurt?” He asked. Bobby simply shrugged in response. Logan’s frown deepened. “Not like the Elf to go missing in action…”
“He just ditched the collar…” Stacy pointed out. “He’s probably out finding a little ACTION of his own…” She snapped her fingers and swung her hips to emphasis her point.
“Kurt’s not like that, Stacy.” Bobby said. “And he didn’t ditch the collar…it was taken from him…”
“Will you two shut up?” Logan hissed at them.
“What’s up?” She asked, lowering her voice to match his. In answer, something smashed through the heavy oaken door, showering them in splitters. Bobby dove for the carpet. Stacy grabbed for the nearest body part of the nearest X-Man for support. Unfortunately, it happened to be a rather fleshy part of Logan. He looked at her, totally unappreciative of her touch.
“You got one tight, firm butt for an old guy.” She winked at him as she let go.
“What’s going on?” Bobby sneaked a peek into the room beyond.
“Look’s like a really intense lover’s spat.” Stacy opined. She didn’t recognise the woman, but she was obviously majorly pissed at Wings. “Who is that?” She asked.
“Psylocke…” Her two companions answered.
The woman stopped, lowering her glowing pink sword as she heard her codename spoken. Warren seemed to relax in their presence. Her deep violet, almond-shaped eyes narrowed when she saw the woman standing between them.
“Uh…yeah…?” Stacy arched a brow, wondering how this woman knew her name. Psylocke lunged at her, blade high. Stacy ducked. She heard the familiar ‘snikt’ of Logan’s claws, and the blade’s clang against them.
“Settle down, Betts…” Logan said to her.
“You think I’m going to stand for some little upstart moving in on my territory?” She growled, her eyes never leaving Stacy.
“One…” Bobby began. “You and Warren broke up a while ago…and two…you’re kinda…sorta…well…”
“Dead…” Warren finished. “And since when was I you’re ‘property’?”
“She’s…dead…?” Stacy asked. She studied the tall woman for a moment. “Looks pretty damn good for a corpse. This a normal thing with you guys?”
“Pretty much.” Bobby nodded. “None of us seem to stay dead…still…” He put on a bad accent. “Betsy…I tink you got some ‘splaining to do…”
They talked into the night…and well into the following morning, but either Betsy couldn’t or wouldn’t tell them how she’d managed to come back from the dead…again…
“This is getting us nowhere…” Bobby sighed.
“Maybe one of our resident telepaths could get to the bottom of this?” Stacy suggested.
“Maybe…” Warren agreed. “But none of our resident telepaths are currently in residence…Jean and Scott have gone off somewhere for a little personal time…Charles is giving a series of lectures on the West Coast…and Emma…well, Emma’s doing her own thing…”
“She smells right…” Logan pointed out.
“As much as you trust your sense of smell…” Warren began. “I’d like a little hard evidence to back it up.”
“How about the fact that I know about the little birthmark you’ve got just to the left of your…”
“BETSY!” Warren all but shrieked. She smiled at him, her eyes twinkling.
“HA!” Stacy laughed. “She got you good, Rich Boy!”
“But is she right?” Bobby smirked.
“God, please don’t make us check…” Logan shook his head.
“Maybe we should wake up Hank…” Bobby began.
“You gonna make him check?” Stacy asked.
“No…but he can run some tests on our guest…ascertain her…credibility…”
“It’s nearly six…let the big guy sleep…” Logan said. “Betts isn’t going anywhere…”
Kurt was absently playing with Cecilia’s dreadlocks as he watched the shifting patterns of dust in the beams of sunlight that seeped through the gaps at the edge of the curtains. He looked down as she shifted against him. She smiled sleepily at him.
“I must say, Doctor Reyes…you have the most intriguing bedside manner.” He beamed.
“I don’t know if we can actually call it a bedSIDE manner…” She sighed as she ran a hand across his furred chest. “But I must say…you certainly passed that physical with flying colours…”
“So…do ALL your patients get this kind of physical?” He asked with a wriggle of his eyebrows.
“Only a very select few…” She admitted. “And it’s been a LONG time since the last one…”
“For you and me both…” He said softly.
She noticed the strange look on his face. “You got regrets?” She asked.
“About last night?” He looked at her. “Not at all. But you might…”
“I’ve never been the ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’ type.” He admitted. “I go for a ‘love ‘em and keep lovin’ ‘em’ approach.” He added quickly. “One at a time, of course…”
“I think I can live with that.” She smiled.
They lay in silence for a few moments, each content in the warmth of the other.
“I suppose you have to get back to the mansion…” She said softly.
“There’s no rush…” He replied with a slight shrug.
An impish look overtook her features. Taking a firm grip on his shoulder, she brushed his leg aside, quickly flipping onto her back. He was a little startled to suddenly find himself looking down at her, and more than a little taken aback from her not so subtle suggestion.
She chuckled at his expression. “You know what they say…once you’ve had fur, that’s what you’ll yearn.”
He arched a sceptical eyebrow. “They say that?”
“Well…actually…no…” She admitted. “But they should…”
Betsy and Warren had joined Hank in the medical wing as soon as the cat-like mutant had awoken, leaving Bobby, Stacy and Logan to clean up their impromptu midnight gathering. Plates and coffee mugs littered the room.
“Why do we get all the fun jobs?” Stacy asked.
“You’d rather be downstairs with Hank shoving needles into various body parts?” Bobby asked her.
She considered this for a moment. “You made your point.” She said. “No pun intended.”
“Looks like I missed one hell of a party…”
The trio turned to find Kurt leaning nonchalantly against the doorframe, a piece of the splintered door in his hand, looking for all the world that he’d come in from a party of his own. He was dressed in a pair of jeans that hugged him in all the right places, a simple red shirt and a leather jacket that Jono would probably kill him for. A pair of dark glasses hid his eyes, and a gold hoop gleamed in his left ear.
“That’s a new look for you, isn’t it?” Bobby smirked. Kurt just shrugged.
“And what’s with this?” Stacy flicked the earring.
“I was raised by gypsies…” He pointed out. “I’ve had it pierced since I was five…haven’t worn it for years, though…it’s itchy as hell…”
“You got anything else pierced?” She smirked at him. His brow arched above his shades.
Logan sniffed at him, a mischievous grin creeping across his rugged face. “Just what did you get up to last night?” He asked.
“What makes you think I got up to ANYTHING?” He countered.
“You smell of nothing but soap.” Logan smirked.
“That’s evidence?” Stacy asked.
“If he wasn’t up to something…he wouldn’t have made such a point of cleaning himself up so thoroughly…” Logan explained. “Because he knows full well that I’d catch any scent on him that wasn’t his own…”
“Not to mention that outfit screams ‘baby did a bad, bad thing’…” Bobby added.
The three of them smirked at him.
“So just what DID you get up to?” Stacy asked. “Inquiring minds wanna know…”
“Really…?” Kurt smirked back. “Is that a fact?”
The trio looked at him, expectantly.
His smirk turned into his trademark grin. A grin that hadn’t been seen on his face for far too long…
“Come now…” He said. “A gentleman would NEVER kiss and tell…”