Happy Birthday By: NightElfCrawler

It was today... the day he'd been avoiding, dreading, and trying hard not to think about. Everyone had to face something similar, but it wasn't the same as what he went through.

It was his 'birthday'.

Of course, it wasn't really his real birthday, he didn't know when that was. His parents had made guesses, but the exact date wasn't known. So instead he had an A day. A for adoption of course. When he was growing up it hadn't been so bad, he'd been excited just like every other kid. However, this was the first time he was away from home on his A day, and more things weighed on his mind besides expecting presents and cards from his family.

Kurt sighed, and opened his bright yellow eyes to stare at the wooden ceiling with the delicate glass chandelier that dangled down from it. It was so different from his home... he didn't mind, it was a very wonderful room, much bigger than his one at home. However, he felt so small in it... He shoved the sheets aside, and crawled out of bed in his boxers and tank top. He idly plucked a deep indigo hair off of his shoulder that must have come loose during his sleep. He went about his normal chores, but halfheartedly. Showering and brushing seemed a daze to him, and soon enough he was trudging downstairs into the kitchen. He sighed, and tried to put on a happy face, and strolled into the room.

Everyone was there already, he must have overslept. He sat down and began to eat his breakfast, which wasn't as much as he normally ate today. His appetite was waning. He only ate one plateful of food, before getting up and going to brush his teeth before school.

As soon as he left, people broke out chatting. "Dude.... Kurts' like lost it today." Evan said watching his retreating back. "He only ate one plate!"

"The elf does seem quiet."

"Like, I didn't hear him singing early in the morning, was kinda nice."

"Maybe he didn't sleep well?"

Rogue listened to all of them, and frowned a bit. It had been quite a while since the whole Mystique incident with Kurt, and he seemed to have gotten over it, however she wondered if it was manifesting itself again. There would be no other reason for him to be blue, no pun of course. She got up silently and followed him.

He looked almost half asleep as he brushed his teeth, seeming groggy or zoned out. She watched as he sighed and washed his face with a cloth briefly, scrubbing his fur up and down. Then, she heard a soft mutter.

"It'd be nice to know..."

She blinked. What did THAT mean? She watched as he *BAMF*ed out of the room, and bit her lip slightly. This puzzle needed solving... besides, she was fond of the fuzzy one. He was the only one at the institute who seemed... well... normal. As odd as it sounded, Kurt was the most realistic, down to earth, honest guy she'd run into, and she had to admit to herself, that she had a thing for him... besides, he matched the whole 'goth' image she was into. She knew that if she'd said anything like that, he'd be mortally offended, so she'd stayed silent. Scott was more of an idiot now anyway, she found herself laughing as to why she even liked him.

She sighed, and headed off to school just the same. The day went as any day normally went, slow, boring and tedious. She didn't have any classes with Kurt, so she spent time during lunch watching him. He sat alone, eating in silence, staring out across the school grounds absently. She was about to approach him, when Amanda, his girlfriend, came up to him with a bright sunny ditzy smile and sat down. He seemed to cheer up a bit at her appearance, and Rogue sat back down with a sigh. Damn it... that Amanda seemed like a good girl for Kurt, and as Rogue knew his mind closer than most from when she'd touched him briefly upon their meeting, she knew that he was probably desperate. The poor boy hadn't ever HAD a girlfriend before, and Amanda seemed nice to him, but Rogue wondered if the girl knew about his true appearance, what she would think.

The remainder of the day went normally, until after school. They went in for the usual training session, and began to warm up with stretches first, then started in on the battle simulation. Rogue gave her own body a workout, but as her power wasn't one that could be used actively, in a friendly situation anyway, she quickly tired and was soon thrown 'out' of the game. She sat watching, and was surprised as she saw Kurt get blasted by a paintball full on in the face. He was usually the most agile and one of the last to be called 'out'. She watched as he trudged over to where she was sitting watching, and plopped down, trying to rub the orange paint out of his eyes. It had plastered his fur down and made it caked, and Rogue had to hide a smile at the bizarre appearance. "Yer lackin today, Kurt." She said in her throaty southern drawl.

He flashed her a small smile, and managed to look like a misshapen pumpkin. "Ja... I'm not at my best today."

She snorted faintly. "Yeah, I've noticed.. so has probably everyone else too. Is something botherin ya?"

He shrugged faintly. "Ah... just didn't sleep well I guess."

She frowned knowing that he was lying. Something was bothering him. "Ya sure...? If you wanna talk..."

He blinked at her once, then smiled almost sadly. "Thanks Rogue... but I'm fine, really."

She let it go, but was still concerned. After all, Kurt tended to hole himself up when he was depressed rather than talk to anyone about it.

After training, they all went their separate ways, and Rogue saw Kurt coming out of the shower, the paint gone from his fur, and with him looking slightly better. He was humming something under his breath, and nearly bumped straight into her without realizing it. She deftly moved aside before he could though. "Hey fuzzy, watch it."

"Ach... sorry Rogue!" He looked up at her and seemed to be contemplating something, then spoke softly. "Would... you mind going for a walk?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Like this? Ah think the squirrels would run in fear at an elf in boxers."

He flushed a bit, and flashed a grin. "Ja...after I get dressed." He glanced down at his shorts that were all he'd brought with him to the bathroom besides a towel draped around his neck.

She graced him with a small teasing smile, and stepped aside for him to pass. He grinned, and passed her, tail swishing behind him as he walked. She followed him to his door, and blinked suddenly seeing what was inside.

There were mounds of packages on his bed, all bound in brown parcel paper, of different shapes and sizes. She stared, and leaned on the doorframe. "Got some admirers do ya?" She raised an eyebrow feeling faintly jealous suddenly.

He gave a nervous laugh. "Ach, no... they're from my family." He picked one up, a small flat envelope, and opened it, scanned it, and smiled softly. "Although zey never send this much normally..."

She blinked. "Send? For wha?"

He looked up then set the envelope down. "Ah... vell..." He handed her the letter as way of explanation.

She took it, and stared down at it, luckily she still recalled some of the German she'd taken in from him.

'Dear Kurti, We hope that today finds you as cheery as you always are on this day. We know it's probably hard being so far away from home on your special day, but you know we still love you twice as much. Wishing you all our love for your A-Day. Mama and Papa.'

She looked up, a smile on her lips. "Why didn't ya say it was your birthday."

He shrugged. "Vell technically it's not... I mean who knows vhen I vas really born. No one but Mystique knows zat." He spat her name out still rather angrily. "And... it's not really been a good day for me..."

She frowned and walked up to him. "What do you mean? Nothing bad has happened today, has it?"

He shook his head, and leaned against his bedpost. "Vell, no. But..." He glanced over at her, some wind blowing his hair around his face. "You know vhat it's like to not know your birthday, right?" She nodded. "An Adoption Day is... vell it's happy cause it's celebrating a day you can cling to as telling how old you think you are, but it's also sad because it reminds you that you weren't wanted by your real family..."

She sighed a bit. "Kurt, you shouldn't think of it like that. Ah don't... I mean, Irene was a great mother to me. Doesn't matter that I have no idea who mah real mom is. I don't let it bother me."

He smiled slightly. "Ja you're right, I should think that, but... it's hard to."

She nodded a bit. "Yeah, I guess ah see your point. Hey, how bout that walk?"

He nodded with a faint grin. "Sure... hold on." He walked over to his bed and dug out his pants and red shirt, and pulled them on over his boxers, and then slid his holowatch onto his hand, though didn't turn it on yet. "All right, let's go."

Rogue let him grab her arm and teleport them out onto the grounds. She didn't know where he had in mind, but it didn't really matter. They just ended up strolling down the path to the gardens that headed towards the small woods on the edge of the property. They walked in silence for a while, not speaking, just letting the fresh air refresh their minds.

Finally, Rogue spoke. "Why don't you ask her. You could, ya know... She might have more heart than you give her credit for, ah think she's just hiding behind this tough chick mask of hers."

Kurt glanced her way, his yellow eyes inquisitive and pensive. "You really think so? I'm not so sure..."

"She wanted to meet with ya once to talk... maybe if you go to her, she'll wanna do it again?" Rogue shrugged. "She's... a twisted person Kurt, no doubt, and pretty evil besides, but deep inside of her, she used to be more... well, more human to use a better term for it. somewhere along the way she lost her path of being human and became just Mystique. Ah bet that you're probably all she has left to remind her she was human once."

He walked on, watching his feet as they stepped, seeming withdrawn and quiet. But she could tell that his mind was working hard behind that fuzzy head of his. "I vant to believe that Rogue... but it's so hard, to see past vhat ve know her as."

She shrugged. "Hey, no one's perfect. Ah've done some stuff I'm not proud of in mah life. I'm sure everyone has." she was a bit startled to see him shudder, and quickly went on. "Ah think, Mystique's just in that dark phase. Maybe all she needs is someone to pull her out of it."

He stopped and leaned against the fence overlooking the city, his tail swishing back and forth agitatedly betraying his mood. "Do you think she vould listen if I tried to talk to her?"

Rogue leaned on the fence beside him, pushing her multi-colored hair back out of her face. "Well, what hurt would it do. Ya could always teleport out if it got too hot fer ya. Ah think if she knew you wanted to know her more, she might open up."

He glanced her way, and smiled, then squeezed her shoulder gently once with one of his three fingered hands. "Thanks Rogue... you're really a great friend, you know."

She flushed a bit, feeling her cheeks redden a bit. "Thanks... Ah try. You're too nice of a guy anyway, Kurt. Someone's gotta look out for ya."

He flashed her a grin, and they headed back for the institute. She noted that he was much cheerier as they ate dinner that night, and felt a bit warmer inside having helped him get that way. She'd spent all her life avoiding people, but now that she tried to help them she liked the feeling.

However, the night wasn't over yet, and when they all split to go their separate ways before bed, she glanced at Kurt, and wondered if he was going to try and approach Mystique. She decided that it might be safe to keep an eye on him anyway.

Curfew fell, and everyone was 'supposed' to be in bed, however Rogue sat out on her balcony, keeping an eye on the elf's room which was next to hers and Kitty's. Sure enough, come around midnight, she saw a black shadow moving about in his room, and she smiled softly, then stole her way over to Kitty's bed, where the girl had fallen asleep, and gently touched a hand to her cheek, bracing herself for the jolt of power as it came. Then, she stepped through the wall using Kitty's stolen power, and saw Kurt pulling on a jacket, not his uniform. "Hey. Hope ya weren't leaving without me." She said in a low voice.

He jumped a good five feet in the air and nearly did a back flip on top of that before spinning around. "Ach! Rogue, you're going to give me a heart attack!" He gasped in a soft voice as not to wake anyone. Vhat are you doing?"

"Ah'm here to make sure you don't get yerself hurt that's what." She folded her arms. "You ain't going against Mystique by yerself. If you're going, take me too, and I'll keep watch from a distance just to watch yer back."

He frowned. "No offense, but..."

She held a hand up. "Ah know, you kinda want a private moment. Look, Ah won't be close enough to invade what you two are gonna talk about, just close enough to zip on over and zap her if something goes wrong. Besides, Ah've been in both yer heads, this kinda involves me too."

He sighed, and she could see his shoulders slump, but a small smile on his face as well. "All right... I guess I can't convince you otherwise anyvay." He held a hand out for her. "But stay out of it unless something dangerous happens, ok?"

She nodded, and took his hand, and together they teleported to the Brotherhood's house, with a couple minor stops on the way. She stayed back in the shadows, as Kurt walked up to the house, which still had lights on inside of it, naturally.

Kurt knocked on the door softly, and after a couple bangs and crashes, the door opened spilling light out into the doorstep. "What do YOU want, you blue freak." Todd stood there looking curious, and cross at the same time.

"I'm here to see Mystique." Kurt said flatly, not bothering to hide his irritation.

"Ohhh." Todd gave him an odd look. "Ya sure you wanna do that, yo? She ain't in the best of moods. Besides, we don't want any 'o you X-geeks in the Bro's house."

"Zen I'll wait out here for her, if zat helps." He wrinkled his nose sniffing a few times. "I don't vant to find out vhat causes that smell from inside."

Todd scowled, but then closed the door, stepping outside, surprising both Rogue and Kurt. "Yo, look boy. If you know what's good for you, ya better split." Kurt took a step back from him, looking suspicious. Todd held both hands up. "Look man, we both on the opposite sides and all, but still we're both mutants, and visible ones at that." Kurt frowned in acknowledgment. "I'm gettin sick of all this BS we have to go through here, yo? So mutant to mutant, you'd best split. Mystique, well she ain't in a good mood."

Kurt sighed. "Thanks for the warning, but I think if there's any time I'm going to talk to her, it's now..."

Todd shrugged and opened the door again. "Suit yourself, it's your funeral." He hopped out of sight, leaving the door open, and Kurt waited on the foyer rather than following him. After some time, they heard a crash and a yelp followed by the sound of a woman yelling. Kurt semi-flinched, and Rogue watched his expression tighten a bit. He didn't really believe he could sway Mystique at all, she thought.

After a few more crashes, a dark form appeared in the doorway wearing a black satin nightgown and robe, looking very irritated. "WHAT!" She bellowed straight in Kurt's face, apparently not immediately recognizing him. "I DISPISE being woken up!"

Kurt stood there quietly, not having flinched at her yell. "I just vanted to talk." He said quietly.

By now, the rest of the Brotherhood had gathered in various windows and peepholes to watch the twosome.

Mystique's glowing yellow eyes narrowed, and she peered down at him, recognizing him. "What are you doing here." She hissed, but her voice wasn't as lethal as it had been.

Kurt looked down, then back up. "Today vas the day that my family celebrated finding me." He said matter of factly. "And that got me thinking... I vanted to know the truth... from you."

Mystique seemed faintly surprised, and frowned suspiciously. "What truth?"

His voice lowered a bit, and Rogue had to strain to hear what he was saying, along with the rest of the Brotherhood. "Vhen vas I really born...Surely you remember."

Mystique looked amused, and folded her arms with a smirk. "How quaint... the prodigal son returns begging to his mother."

Rogue saw a flash of anger fly across his face suddenly manifesting itself in a glow from his eyes. "Perhaps it's true zen... you really don't care." He turned away, tail lashing violently, forcing tears back from his eyes.

At that moment, Mystique's eyes flickered and she reached out a hand and grabbed his shoulder. "Wait...."

He glanced back at her with smoldering eyes of distrust.

She was silent for a long time, then stepped out and closed the door behind her, shutting the light off nearly completely. The only light now from the darkened portion of the door came from dual pairs of yellow eyes. "Kurt..." Her voice was soft now, tender, sad. "I'm sorry... I know how much this hurts you, to find out that someone like me is your mother." She laughed sharply, almost coldly. "I've been one of the worst mothers in the world. I've abandoned three children, and only one of which I actually gave a damn and had someone look after her."

Kurt was surprised by this. "Three children?" He murmured. "Who....?"

Mystique sighed. "You were my first child...my special one." Rogue could see gleaming that showed she was smiling. "You were the one who inherited some of my appearance... the others did not." He seemed to be listening to her without a word. "Then I bore a child who had no mutant powers, or none that we have seen as of yet... and my third child was again a mutant."

Kurt seemed confused, his tail swishing back and forth, showing his agitation. "I have... two siblings?"

Mystique sighed. "Yes...one of them you already know... the other... you would never want to." her voice hardened. "He is a die hard mutant hater fanatic."

"How ironic..." Kurt muttered, shoulders stooped.

Mystique seemed to soften more at that, and leaned forward, tentatively putting a hand on his shoulder. "Son...I... I'm sorry for being such a wrenched mother..."

He turned around and faced her, keeping her at a distance, not seeming to want her to touch him at the moment. "...I shouldn't have come." He muttered, seeming to be overwhelmed by all of this information fed to him at once. He started to walk away from her.

"Stop!" She said louder. "Kurt, please wait... I..." she seemed to suddenly grow angry, and leapt at him, grabbing his shoulder and turning him around.

Rogue tensed, and prepared to run to help him, as he stumbled a step backwards startled. Mystique raised a hand and brought it slashing down at him, and he stumbled back again, clutching the side of his face with a hand. "You'll NEVER understand." She screamed at him with fury as he stood there silently. "I should have stayed to watch you DROWN!"

Rogue flinched hearing that, and gripped her hand tightly with anger, and crept slowly towards Mystique to put a stop to this. Kurt didn't seem like he wanted to move, but just stood where he was, and Rogue was stunned to see Mystique suddenly collapse to her knees in tears.

Kurt stood over her in silence, then spoke quietly. "Someday, it vould be nice to know you. Vhen you're ready, I'll be waiting." And without another word, he turned and walked away from her, still holding the side of his face. Rogue watched him, and silently came up to his side as he got closer. "Let's go back." He said softly.

She frowned. "Are you ok?" He nodded in silence, and took her arm and teleported them home. When they reached his room again, Rogue turned on a small bed light at his desk. "Did she hurt you?"

He walked to the mirror and pulled his hand away, showing a deep cut running along his cheek where her nails had cut him. "It's not bad... physically." He grabbed some tissue and pushed it against the cut.

Rogue sighed and went to the bathroom to get some first aid materials, remembering to keep quiet. She came back and pointed to the chair. "Sit. I'll fix that up for you or it'll get infected."

Without a word, he sat down as she directed, and she carefully began dabbing some alcohol on the cut, wiping away the blood and loose fur, and putting some ointment on it, then a bandage. The cut was longer than it was wide, and not deep enough to warrant stitches, but deep enough to surely cause him some discomfort. Rogue said nothing however, knowing that physical injuries healed quickly... emotional ones took longer. "Are you sure you're ok...?"

He glanced at her and smiled faintly, then winced as it pulled his cheek up making the cut sting. "Ach... that hurts.... Ja... I actually feel better somehow.... I'm not sure why or how... maybe it's knowing that she does have a soul deep inside... but she's so confused that it's hidden and nearly held prisoner inside of her heart...." His voice was quiet and calm, with no hint of malice.

Rogue was amazed, if it'd been her she'd be furious. As it was, she was steaming over what Mystique had done. "Ah don't know how you can be so damn forgiving. If it were me, I'd have taught her something of what you were feeling."

He shrugged slightly as she finished putting the bandage on his cheek, and shifted in his chair to face her as she sat on his bed rail. "I don't know... I think it vas something of a success."

She gave him a puzzled look. "How? She was a bitch to you."

"Vell, I saw kindness and regret in her... like vhen she tried to talk to me... I think that she just needs time... and maybe she can finally come to terms vith herself enough to tell me ze truth." He put his chin on a hand resting on a knee. "At least I know she does still care... deep inside. Plus, I found out I have siblings, zat's not so bad right?"

Rogue shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. But from what she said Ah wouldn't wanna run into one of em. The other might be ok." Ah the irony of not knowing...

He shrugged. "It gives me something to look for I guess, finding out who they are, maybe contacting zem." He yawned widely, and winced putting a hand to his cheek as it stung at being stretched again. "Ach... it's been a long day... I think I need to sleep now. Thanks for being here Rogue..."

She nodded, feeling awkward at leaving him, but knowing he wanted privacy now. "Yeah, sure... see ya tomorrow." She walked out as he waved a hand, and felt a mental nudge from the professor suddenly, asking if things were all right. You couldn't hide anything from that guy! She informed him that things were fine, explained the situation without going into personal details, then grinned slightly wickedly, and sent another message to him....

The next morning, Kurt woke up a bit more refreshed, and feeling fairly good, in a balance between yesterday's glumness and his normal self. He made his way downstairs slowly, and then nearly teleported in shock when he entered the kitchen.

"SURPRISE~!" came a chorused yell from everyone in the mansion, yes even Logan, as many streamers, confetti, and balloons bombarded him the moment he entered the premises. He stood there, looking wildly around not really understanding what was going on, then saw a huge chocolate triple layered cake with burning candles on the table, and a big sign that said 'Happy Birthday Kurt' on it strung across the ceiling. He blinked, then smiled brightly and took a big breath, and blew the candles out all at once.

"Ja... Happy Birthday Kurt."