Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue.

Author: Kiki Cabou

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A story about loss and gain, friendship and love, holding things in, and letting things out.

Notes: 1) I know way too little about X-Men Evolution. I'm trying to correct that, by watching more of the show. If you spot any weird inaccuracies in this fic, please tell me. 2) The names in this piece: If they're in costume, I give them their codename. If they're in street clothes, they have their real names. 3) I came up with the title first, and then the story. Freaky, no? 4) Rows of X's denote scene changes, much like the expanding and shrinking X on the TV series. : ] 5) Events in the opening sequence are totally contradictory to what Nightcrawler tells Shadowcat in the episode where Wolverine goes nuts in Canada with the chip in his head --- can't remember the title. Anyway, I claim creative license.

Category: Drama/Humor/Romance/Action . . . Just read it. It's harmless. Enjoy! ^o^

=== KITTY'S VIOLIN ====

"Aaaaaaaaah!"

Shadowcat's scream ripped through the ice blue sky as she hurtled to earth.

It was a shame, really. The day had started out so well. It was Christmas break, and the whole X-team was on a three-day trip to Canada. They were going to a WMA (Worldwide Mutant Association) convention. Everyone was really excited about the excursion. They were all clean, suited up, and ready to rock. But just past the border, the machinery in the Blackbird started going haywire, and everything began to bump and shake.

They'd been hijacked. Her friends were still inside, taking on their attackers --- Mystique and her boys had gotten on board --- but Shadowcat hadn't been as lucky. The Toad had splatted her with his tongue, knocking her into the wall of the plane. And in her panic, she'd accidentally phased through it.

She didn't know what the hell to do now.

"Heeeeeeeeelp!" she screeched.

Suddenly, there a popping noise and a pair of blue, furry arms were wrapped tightly around her. A friendly voice with a distinctive Eastern European accent was saying, "I've got you, Kitty! Hang on!"

She hung on as the fall continued. Her rescuer, Nightcrawler, grunted. Then there was that momentary, weird feeling of being popped out of space and time, then popping back in again, about ten feet away from where they disappeared. This happened about seventeen times, by Shadowcat's frantic estimation. It was an effort to slow their fall.

It almost worked. They were a few feet above the snow, but still sailing through the air, and moving pretty fast. WHOMP. Each hanging on to the other, they both landed on their sides and rolled a good six feet before coming to rest in a tangle of arms, legs, and . . . appendages.

"Yeek! Get your tail out of my shirt, Fuzz-face!"

"Ptheah! You should talk, mit your ponytail that ate Manhattan!"

"Knock it off!"

"Gah! Shtap! Ow!"

When they finally sorted themselves out, they were covered in snow and pretty annoyed, but alive and safe --- kind of. Shadowcat shielded her eyes, squinted into the setting sun and sighed at the fleeing jet, now becoming a dot on the horizon. Nightcrawler shook himself off like a dog and caked her in snow.

She glared at him. He gave her a goofy, apologetic smile.

"Sorry."

She sighed, then gave Nightcrawler a little grin. "It's okay. Thanks for saving my life."

He snapped a salute. "So what do we do now?"

"Now, we gotta contact Professor X," she said. "With any luck, he's figured out about the hijacking. Maybe he's got a plan, or someth---"

"Kitty?"

She was interrupted by the Professor's voice in her head. Nightcrawler's wide yellow eyes told her that he heard it, too.

"Kitty? Kurt? Where are you two?" came the disembodied words.

"We're lost, Professor!" Nightcrawler yelled to the sky.

"I ascertained that, Kurt. You don't have to shout."

Shadowcat rolled her eyes. "We're stuck in the woods in Canada, basically along the flight path of the Blackbird. You know it was hijacked, right?"

"I do indeed, although why Mystique would want to try such a risky move, I couldn't say. In any case, Logan is heading your way with the back-up aircraft. Maintain your position, and stay warm. He should be there in half an hour."

"Great. Over and oot," she said, doing a lousy imitation of the Canadian "o."

She heard the professor groan and mutter, and then nothing. The two were alone. They sat down in a silent clearing, staring at their frosty breath, and waiting. Nightcrawler didn't like silence. He leaned in.

"So, Kitty. Since I saved your life, how bout a kiss?" he said, and puckered up. He even closed his eyes.

Shadowcat drew back in disgust. He was a ballsy little furbag, she'd give him that much. And, she knew he'd saved her butt, and that he liked her --- but that didn't mean she had to kiss him! She picked up a nearby dead twig and pressed it gently to his lips, drawing it away before he opened his eyes.

"You need chapstick," he commented.

She snickered and showed him the wood. He caught on. Angry and jilted, he turned away from her with a huff. This was certainly not the way he'd intended to spend his Christmas break. He stared at the forest, feeling quite alone in a clearing with a girl who didn't know he existed, in spite of the fact that he'd just saved her life.

"You could have just said 'no,'" he said. "You didn't have to embarrass me."

She did feel a hint of remorse at this. "I'm sorry, Kurt. You're just . . . bleeding. Oh my God, you're bleeding!"

X X X X X X X X X X X

Back at the mansion, everyone was sitting around the fire in the common area, groaning. Scott was resting with his foot propped up on a low stool. He had taken a pretty bad blast --- one of the jet's weighty ceiling panels had landed on his leg. He would owe his blossoming bruise and wrenched ankle to Lance, or "Avalanche," who, in his impatience to nail Scott had almost blown the plane apart with a shock wave.

Evan (Spyke) and Jean had survived intact, but they were exhausted, draped over the couch with their heads knocked together, snoring. Rogue's face was dotted with band-aids. She was curled in a ball on the floor, staring at the flames and chewing on her thumbnail, more worked up by her encounter with Mystique than anything else.

Kitty and Kurt were warming up, and feeling tired. They were sitting on the couch, each with blankets around their shoulders. Kitty was staring at the fire, lost in thought, wishing she had her lap top. Kurt was wiggling in an attempt to get comfortable (fat chance with that tail!), and fumfering with the bandage on his right shoulder. His injury from the fight on the plane had gone unnoticed until Kitty had pointed it out. Storm had patched him up a few minutes ago.

Said mutant blew into the room (pun intended) with a friendly smile. Logan was right on her heels, with his usual ". . .And?" expression.

"How is everyone feeling?" Storm asked.

"My leg hurts," Scott said.

"Thbthbthbth," Kurt said.

Logan stifled a snicker. Jean and Evan snored on. Kitty muttered that she was okay.

"Merry Christmas," Rogue said caustically. "Why on earth did those buttwards hijack our plane?"

"Watch your mouth," Logan chided, then answered her. "We're not sure. What's important is that you all made it back okay."

"I guess you could say that," Rogue said, looking at Scott as he groaned softly.

"We should all get to bed," Kitty said, standing up.

Rogue helped Scott to his feet and gave him some support. Kurt and Rogue gently roused Jean and Evan, and everybody limped out of the living room.

"Pathetic," Logan muttered.

Storm glared at him.

X X X X X X X X X X X

It was nine o'clock by the time everyone got to bed, but Kitty was still up. She was thirsty, and she could never sleep when she was thirsty. So, she phased through her door and out into the hall. Yawning and smacking her lips, she padded barefoot in the direction of the kitchen, absently scratching at an itch under the neck of her pink jammies.

The kitchen was dark. She bumped into something with an "oof!" and the something grunted. It switched on a light. Logan was standing there in flannel pajama bottoms and a white undershirt. He crossed his arms and looked at her. She smiled nervously.

"H-Hi, Mr. Logan," she said. "I'm getting some water." She wandered over to cupboard to get a glass. "You want anything?"

"No, thanks. Get your water, and then come with me," he said. "The Professor wants to see you."

"Oh, no," Kitty murmured.

She got some water from the sink tap and quickly drained the glass. Logan was looking at her curiously.

"Is he angry with me?" she asked, putting the cup in the sink.

"What are you talking about? Why would he be angry with you?"

"I made a mistake," she said. "I phased through the plane because I wasn't concentrating. I-If I'd stayed aboard, Kurt and I never would have fallen out, and you wouldn't have had to make the extra trip and ---"

"Clam up, half pint. You didn't do anything wrong. He wants to see you about something else."

His voice was rough and sad as he threw an arm around her shoulders and led her out of the kitchen. That Logan would touch anybody, voluntarily, got her antennae up. She shot him a quizzical look.

X X X X X X X X X X X

"Ah, Kitty. I'm glad you're here," Professor Xavier said. "Please sit down."

Kitty did, perching on the overstuffed couch in the Professor's office. His wheelchair made a faint whizzing noise as he headed over to her and nodded at Logan, who returned the gesture and left.

"What's going on, Professor?" Kitty asked, as soon as they were alone.

"Well, I have some news for you. I actually knew about this when all of you took off for Canada. You must understand, Kitty. I thought you all would be gone for three days, having a good time, and then I would tell you when you returned."

"Professor, what happened?"

Charles Xavier had never enjoyed giving people bad news. He wasn't very good at it, either. His delivery was terrible.

"Your grandmother passed away last week," he said emotionlessly.

Kitty didn't notice the flat tone. She was just shocked. It wasn't that "her grandmother" had died, it was that Gammy had died. Gammy. The cookie lady. The vigorous old woman that she spent summers with, who always smelled like talcum powder and lilacs and had completely white hair that she kept in a loose ponytail. She had three cats, a fierce love of music, and a cottage in the Adirondacks. Kitty lost herself in the memory of the clear brook next to the house, the sunshine, the trees, the ancient songs that Gammy showed her on the fiddle . . .

"Kitty."

"Sorry," she said, snapping out of it. "Professor, I want to go to the funeral. I want to say goodbye before they bury her."

"You can't," he said softly.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Um, well . . . Because it was yesterday."

Kitty shot up off the couch, speechless with anger and frustration. She glared angrily at Xavier.

"I know you're upset, Kitty," he said. "But going would have been unnecessary exposure, and I thought it would be best if you had a good time with your friends, instead of being stared at by ignorant relatives. Besides, there is only one thing that you do need to go to, and that is the last will reading. It will be on the fifth of January."

There was a very ugly pause as Kitty fumed and clenched her fists. She took a deep breath and let it out.

"I'll go to the reading, Professor," she replied, finally. "But with all due respect, you have no idea what's best for me."

Then she turned on her heel and ran out, phasing right through the door.

X X X X X X X X X X X

At two in the morning, Kitty had given up on sleeping.

Lying in bed, she remembered what Gammy had told her about dying: "Good folks go to heaven, bad folks go to hell, and irreverent folks like myself are sort of a toss up."

Kitty smiled. She wondered what excuse Xavier had given her folks about why she couldn't go to the funeral. She wondered if there was something she could do to make up not attending. Probably nothing, she figured. But mostly, she wondered where Gammy had ended up.

It was horrible. Everything was just horrible. The world seemed to turn darker and she felt her eyes fill up. She wanted to cry. But Rogue was in the next bed, and Goth Girl would probably call her a baby for it, and tell her to knock it off. So she held it in.

X X X X X X X X X X X

New Year's Eve came and went, and the younger members of the house amused themselves in different ways.

Scott limped around and helped Logan fix the jet. Kurt ran all over the place, played basketball, tripped over the furniture, and ate a lot. Evan joined him, except that he played basketball a lot better and didn't trip nearly as much. Rogue moped about and listened to loud, angry music. Jean studied and shopped, in-between trips to the Danger Room.

And Kitty, not knowing what else to do, climbed trees, hid in closets, and even holed herself up in the attic once, typing continuously on her laptop. She wrote stupid stories. She wrote excruciatingly bad poetry. She composed and revised a letter to her parents about a zillion times, trying to explain, to her satisfaction, why she hadn't gone to the funeral. Time after time, it turned into an angry tirade against Professor X and she had to delete it. She even tried writing a letter to Gammy, apologizing for not being at the funeral, but that just made her feel terrible.

The only thing she didn't do was tell anyone that her grandmother had died. "Didn't need anyone feeling sorry for her," was the excuse she gave herself. "I'm tough, I can take it," came in a close second. They were both lies, and she knew it, but she just held it in --- and prayed no one would notice.

X X X X X X X X X X X

January fifth rolled around, and since there wasn't anything slated except "slack off," because it was their last day of freedom before school started again, Kitty figured that everyone would be monkeying around, and that no one would miss her. Logan gave her a lift in the Blackbird, landing them on a strip at La Guardia airport.

Kitty hopped out of the plane, dressed in warm coat over a gray business suit and heels, and carrying a purse. She'd never felt so grown-up, or awkward, in her life.

"Hey half pint!" came Logan's voice, behind her.

She turned back to the plane. "Yeah?"

"Good luck in there. I'll wait for you."

She smiled. "Thanks, Mr. Logan."

She mingled with a crowd getting off a plane and headed into a terminal.

X X X X X X X X X X X

"Anybody seen Kitty?" Kurt asked, through a mouthful of tuna sandwich.

The whole team was taking lunch at the kitchen table. Evan shook his head "no" and dove back into his macaroni and cheese. Scott was shoveling salad into his mouth at an alarming rate, and couldn't hear Kurt properly. He raised his eyebrows and said, "Hrrmm?" Rogue just stared at him, bored.

Jean swallowed a bite of her bran muffin and said, "I think Logan took her somewhere. She was all dressed up. I guess she'll be back tonight."

"She's been acting weird," Kurt said, and swallowed. "I've hardly seen her since the night we got back from our 'almost-trip' to Canada."

"Probably couldn't get her hair to curl right, the priss," Rogue muttered.

Jean slapped her arm. "Be nice. What do you mean 'weird,' Kurt?"

"I don't know, it's like she's hiding, or something. I hope she's all right."

Jean nodded at him, then eyed Scott, who was still gobbling his food. "For heaven's sake, Scott, why don't you just slam your face into the bowl and be done with it?"

He swallowed, then grinned wickedly at her. Her eyes got very big.

"Scott that's not ---"

SPLAT! Scott slammed his face into the bowl and came back up. Lettuce was sticking to his sunglasses, and Thousand Island dressing was dripping off his nose. All the boys cackled and high-fived each other like idiots. Rogue rolled her eyes.

"An invitation," Jean finished, uselessly, then snorted in disgust. "Guys are so stupid."

X X X X X X X X X X

A bright yellow cab dropped Kitty off outside an imposing glass building in downtown Chicago. She hurried inside to escape the wind, and found herself in a huge lobby. The receptionist smiled at her.

"Hello, can I help you?"

"Um, yes. My name is Kitty Pryde. I'm here for . . ." She took the lawyer's card out of her pocket. "Uh, Lionel Bingham."

"Oh, yes. Fifth floor, room 523. The elevators are right over there."

"Thanks," she said, and hurried off, smoothing back her bangs.

X X X X X X X X X X X

Logan was dozing in the cockpit when there was a knock on the outer hull. Waking up, he opened the door for Kitty, who stepped inside. She was ashen- faced, peaked, and holding an oddly-shaped case. That told Logan all he needed to know. The reading of the will must have been very unpleasant.

She slumped into the passenger's seat and buckled herself in like an automaton, clinging to the case. Logan shut the hatch door and took off. The flight back to the Institute was silent. Kitty stared straight ahead, and didn't say a word.

"It looks like she left you something," he said, finally.

"Yeah," she replied, her voice just above a whisper.

"Have you told anybody what happened?"

". . . No."

There was a pause.

"Do you intend to?" he asked.

Kitty didn't answer him.

X X X X X X X X X X X

The Blackbird landed without a hitch, and Kitty got out. She thanked Logan quietly and went straight to her room. She didn't even come down to dinner.

This had everybody a little distressed. Kitty was by nature, rather gregarious and outgoing. After an absence, she was the most likely of the six young people to come bursting into a room with a tale to tell. Contact avoidance just wasn't her style.

But they didn't have much time to ponder. School was starting the next day, and everyone had packing and cleaning to do. At seven, they all left the table and went their separate ways. Kurt had no clean clothes and his room was a mess, but he didn't care. He had to see Kitty and figure out what was going on with her.

So, he 'ported into her room. All the lights were off, and the moonlight was shining in through the window, silhouetting Kitty. Her back was to him, and any fool could tell by her tense shoulders and hanging head that she wanted to be left alone, but Kurt was not just any fool. He inched forward, and one of his big feet hit a soft spot in the floor.

CREAK

Kitty whirled around terrified, with puffy eyes, and saw him.

"You furry freak, you totally have to stop doing that! Get out!" she screamed.

Kurt was so shocked that he forgot to move. Kitty had called him a lot of things since he'd met her, but never "freak." And never with such venom. Instead of leaving, he moved forward and got a good look at her.

She was sniffling, unable to hold it in any longer.

"Kitty, what's wrong?" he said, coming next to her in the moonlight.

She bit her lip and tried, unsuccessfully, to get herself under control. "My grandmother passed away."

"That's horrible! When?"

"About two weeks ago. And Professor X never told me. He wanted me to have fun. She had a heart attack and died like, three days before we left," she said, and sniffed. "When we were packing, they were having the funeral service for her. And by the time we fell out of the Blackbird, she was already in the ground, and there was, like, no time to say goodb . . ." She heaved in a breath and tears began to pour down her face. "Goodbye."

Kurt did the only thing he could. He held her. Silent tears turned to big, gasping sobs, and Kitty buried her face in his fuzzy chest and tried to talk and cry at the same time, which didn't work very well.

"I loved her b-better than m-my own m-mother, and I-I-I, I wasn't, with, her w-when she n-needed me!"

Kurt didn't understand that, so he changed the subject. "Why didn't you tell anyone?"

"D-Didn't want anyone f-feeling sorry for m-me. R-Rogue always l-laughs at m-me any, anyway. D-Didn't want to give her m-more ammunition by c-c- crying!" She dissolved into tears again.

Kurt swayed a little bit, still holding her. "Kitty, that's not true. We all care about you. You should tell us these things. Nobody is alone, here. Yah?"

She gulped and coughed and nodded into his chest. He spied the case on her bed.

"Where did you go today?"

"Chic-c-cago. They read her will." She coughed again. "Gammy left me her v-violin."

"A violin?"

"Y-Yeah. She taught me to play when I was little. At least she died and n- never found out I was a m-mutant. God, I loved her s-so much."

Kurt felt Kitty's breathing slow. She was calming down a little, finally.

"I'm sure she loved you, too. And even if she knew, I think she would have loved you anyway."

He broke the embrace, and left her standing there at the window. For a moment, all was quiet. And then, Kitty heard the scratchy, sweet sound of the fiddle behind her. It was Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise," a simple, haunting melody. Kurt was playing rather skillfully on the instrument. This was quite a feat for somebody with only two big, fat fingers and a thumb. He grinned at her.

"I didn't know you played," she said.

"Oh, yah. My foster mother taught me. She thought it was funny, because I tried so hard, and I was so bad at it. Still am."

Kitty smiled warmly at him. "No, you're great."

He played for another minute or two, savoring the melody, letting the notes float in the air. Finally, he set the instrument down.

"Well, I better go."

"Kurt?"

"Mm?"

"Thanks. For everything."

She walked over and threw her arms around him, and he smiled stupidly at her, showing off his fangs. He looked so ridiculous that she couldn't help it. She giggled.

"You're welcome," he said. "You know, whenever I pop in, I don't mean to scare you. Do I scare you?"

"No!" she said, surprised.

"Oh, good. Then you are, uh, more into the fuzzy dude, now?"

She cracked a little smile, and leaned in. "Yes," she said, "I am definitely more into the fuzzy dude."

"So, um, I was wondering. Would you ---"

She stopped him gently with a gentle kiss on the lips. It fried Kurt's synapses for a few seconds, and she giggled again.

"Is that what you were going to ask for?"

Kurt snapped out of it, and tenderly brushed back one of her bangs.

"Actually, I was going to ask you if you wanted some dinner. But that works!"

THE END