NOTE TO FIRST READERS – The Ororo/Kurt scene has been reworked. Why? So it didn't look like it came right from the movie, and because I watched the cartoon 'Nightcrawler' episode.

Disclaimer – Don't own X-Men. Not the comic, not the cartoon and not the movies. But damn are they good!

Warning – Thought it would be fair to put out a warning for the youngin's with those tender, virgin ears. Logan curses. And swears. If you're offended by the language the 'Back' button is up and to the left.

TitleThe Hope Within War

Chapter One – The Human/Mutant Affairs


"The president is so full of shit," Logan spat.

They all looked to the Professor, who was the only one who appeared calm. The rest of them were angry, and maybe even just a little sad.

"'It was a mutant who attacked me, it was a mutant who tried to wipe out Long Island, it was a mutant who tried make everyone's fucking head explode'…" Logan repeated sarcastically, adding in a word or two of his own.

"I know that the president's decision isn't what we were hoping for -- " the Professor began, but was interrupted by Logan.

"Not what we were hoping for? He thinks we're the ones that sent blue boy to kill him!" he shouted.

Kurt stood away from the group in the Professor's classroom, his tail hanging limply and his head bowed.

"Stryker's files did not include his plans to send Kurt after him, but it wasn't really an assassination atte-"

"Professor," Scott interjected, "you know how serious this is. He knows where to find the mansion."

"We have to get everyone out," said Ororo. "We can't stay here."

"Ororo! This is our home. We can't just leave it. We could go to the lower levels," said Scott, desperate for any alternative that would let them stay in the mansion.

"Or we could kill anyone who tried to come in," Logan growled.

"Please. Everyone," said the Professor sternly, in a tone that told them all to silence.

He sat in his wheelchair behind the desk, papers stacked neatly and pencils all sharpened and inside their coffee mug. The Professor stared at the rich hardwood wall, deep in thought. Logan said nothing, but his jaw was clenched and he began to pace the room angrily. Kurt, isolated in the corner, was murmuring verses from the Bible in his German tongue:

"Lord, wie das Ar sie erhöht das der Ärger mich! viele das Ar sie wie der Anstieg auf dagegen mich. Viele das sein die in Worten aus mein die Seele, Da ist kein die Hilfe als er in God. Selah.

Ich der Wille nicht sein ängstlich aus zehn aus tausenderstelle aus die Leute, das haben festgesetzt sich selbst dagegen ich ringsherum gegen. Aufkommen, O Lord; außer ich." *

"Can it, elf boy," said Logan.

Kurt lowered his head and went silent. The Professor lifted his head then, his gaze refocusing on the group. A frown had settled upon his lips.

"I'm afraid we have no other choice but to get the children out of the mansion. It is no longer safe here. We must get them out immediately," he said.

"But Professor, where will we take them?" Scott asked.

"I," he paused, "don't know."

------

The atmosphere was damp, there wasn't a lot of light and there wasn't much furniture either, but after one day it already seemed like a better home than the mansion. Mystique had disappeared into a computer room – at least he had seen a computer in there – the moment they had arrived at the hideout. Magneto had personally escorted him to a bedroom – if it could be called that – and left him to his own designs. He felt left out, as usual. Out of habit, Pyro flipped his lighter open.

"Hello."

Startled, he almost dropped the item. He hadn't expected any other mutants, but of course there would be others. There had to be others, lots of others, who shared the same opinion Magneto had where humans were concerned. Not everyone believed in the "peaceful coexistence of mutants and mankind" like Professor Xavier, who was just hoping for a happy ending to his fairytale. It was ridiculous to dedicate your life to protecting people who could only hate and fear you.

"Hey," said Pyro.

"I'm Spit," he said.

There was something… odd about him - other than his ponytail of blond hair - but Pyro couldn't figure out what it was. He stood on two legs, presumably had five fingers on each hand under his brown gloves, had dark human eyes; so what was off? Spit strode over to him and held out his hand; Pyro shook it. Up close, he could see what was so odd about this man. His skin looked dry and coarse, like a lizard's skin.

"I'm Pyro. Where'd you get the name?" he asked.

"I can hawk a loogie fifty feet," he said.

Pyro gave him a sideways glance. "That's a mutant power?"

"Not exactly. If it touches you you're paralyzed for a couple minutes. What about your name?"

"I can play with fire," he smirked.

Spit laughed and asked if he'd seen the news. He hadn't.

"The president has police and military looking for mutants, wants us locked up and thrown in prison for the rest of our lives. They've already arrested some of the people who still had their names on file from the mutant registration policy. They beat them first, even when they didn't put up a fight or anything, just because they're afraid of us," Spit explained sourly.

"They should be."

"Come look at this, man," he said, leading Pyro through a wide corridor into a large room that he could have called a living room in a normal house.

There were several others in the room, sitting on solid gray couches and chairs around a small television. He acted as if he didn't notice that some of them were hideously inhuman because, as a fellow mutant, he shouldn't gawk at them like other, normal people did. Pyro sat down on his knees in front of the television as the anchorwoman rattled on about the president's speech earlier in the day. Eventually footage from one of the arrests was replayed: a heavyset woman was trying to defend herself. As he watched, he saw that if she stomped the policemen would lose their balance and fall; if she clobbered them they would fly back a good fifteen feet. But then one of the men shot her, once in the leg and again in the chest. They swarmed around her like flies to a fresh pile of dung, beating her with their nightsticks until she was unconscious, probably close to death. Finally they rolled her over and handcuffed her.

"It seems the president has finally acknowledged that there is a war going on," said Magneto, sweeping into the room, "and now it is our move again. Come now, everyone is gathering in the other room. We must plot are next move carefully."

Pyro rose and caught up to Spit, leaned over and asked, "How many people are here?"

"Here?" he repeated. "About twenty or so, I guess, but Magneto has more allies all over the country."

"So this is going to be huge fucking war, isn't it?"

Spit nodded.

------

When night came everyone was jumpy, expecting the locked doors to bust open, waiting for the windows to suddenly shatter and for boots to come trudging in on the wooden floor. The students had faced those men before – and they didn't want to see their guns again. They had been informed of their predicament and a tiny number of them had already packed their things and gone back to their families; those who still had a family left, that is. Others made suggestions of staying at a hotel which, the Professor admitted, would solve their problem temporarily. But those like Kurt, the ones whose mutation had altered their appearance beyond human looking, couldn't hope to stay in a hotel full of people, so he had offered to take those children with him to Boston. The church was large and had a few beds that they could share.

The Professor decided it would be best if they all went to Boston; they would feel safer if they were all together. Ororo offered to go as a chaperone; Logan begrudgingly agreed to go when he was asked; Scott refused to the leave the mansion; and the Professor could not leave it. The students were asked to pack their belongings – and not to leave anything behind that they held dear – and to get a good night's rest. They planned to leave in the morning. Logan and Scott were assigned guard duty, in case the mansion was stormed. A few of the students remained awake, restless and fearful.

Ororo was also still awake, in her bedroom, staring at her empty suitcase. She didn't feel like packing, she didn't want to leave, even though she had suggested it. No one did. They were being run out of their home… and it wasn't fair. She didn't fear people enough to run them out of their homes, so why did they have to do this to them? They weren't that different, but that small voice in the back of her mind said that they were and she couldn't shake it away.

There was a knock on the door.

"Come in," said Ororo, hurrying off of her bed and to the dresser.

Kurt opened the door and she forced herself to smile as she pulled open the first drawer and pulled out some of the clothes in it.

"I just vanted to see if you needed any help packing," he said.

"No, I don't have much, but thank you."

He nodded and Ororo felt obligated to say something.

"It was very kind of you to offer to let the children stay with you in your home," she said.

"I just vant to help, but its really not much zhere," said Kurt.

More uncomfortable silence fell upon them, both searching for something to say. Finally Kurt turned to leave and she was glad to be rid of the awkwardness, but at the same time she didn't want him to go.

"Do you," she started and then paused when she realized how callous her question seemed in her mind: … hate them for this? She quickly found a different question and asked, "Don't you ever get mad at them?"

"At who?" he asked innocently, his fingers in the doorknob.

"People."

"I used to, but zhen I found God. People are afraid of me, Fräulein Storm. In old country zhey thought I vas a demon, zhey called me zhe devil, but zhey did not understand," he said.

Ororo started to say something, but he held up a three-fingered hand to quiet her.

"No, do not say anything to zhat. I do not blame zhem for zheir fear. Besides, I consider it flattery. Zhe devil vas, after all, an angel," said Kurt, smiling.

Ororo smiled sadly. She didn't understand him or how he could put so much faith in God.

"Good night, Fräulein Storm. Ich werde beten fürdich," he said and left.

It dawned on her suddenly that Kurt didn't put his faith in mankind, that they would one day live together in peace and harmony with them. He knew, just like they all did, that people would always fear mutants – and that that wouldn't change in their lifetime. Maybe if she had believed in God she could have shared his tolerance for mankind. But she couldn't. She had tried fearing them; and now she was only angry with them. It was their fault that they were being forced from the mansion.

She hated people.

------

"Alright gentlemen, the game is five card. Jacks or better to open."

The dealer dealt out the cards to the other five men seated at the round table, the hanging lamp above them providing little illumination. There were two crap tables set up, the latest shooters getting egged on by a gathered crowd; another pair of roulette tables; and several poker tables. Each man picked up their cards, made their bets, got their new cards; Remy peered over his sunglasses and watched one of the men drop his hand onto the table, positioned to tap his nails – he could tell that man had a good hand. They all threw in more chips, called the bet, raised it, then finally let it be with a hearty sum in the middle.

The man across from Remy smiled and laid down his hand: three tens, two kings: a full house. When Remy didn't move to show his hand, the man started to collect the money from the pot.

"Hold on dere a second. I got a pair here," he said.

"Well that don't beat a full house, kid," said the man.

Remy was the youngest player at the table and was quite proud to be. He kept his face straight as he laid his cards down.

"Pair o' red fours an' a pair o' black fours, mon ami," he said.

"You cheating rascal!" The man roared.

He stalked around the table towards Remy, who had his arms held up in a peaceful gesture saying he had won the pot fair and square, but the man wasn't listening. He threw a punch at Remy, who ducked and backed away, not wanting any trouble. The man flipped over the card table in his rage and picked up a chair; he hurled it at him and Remy moved out of the way, watching it clatter against the wall. Then the man jumped onto him and they both fell backward and thumped onto the ground. He snatched up one of the cards that had floated onto the ground and concentrated, hoping this would work. It began to glow a shimmering white, then he tossed it into the man's face; it exploded and he screamed in agony. Remy scooted away and scrambled onto his feet, looking at the men. The others were staring at him; his glasses had fallen off.

Before any of them could move, he fled through the door, his overcoat flapping behind him through the front restaurant and out the single door. He hopped over the door of his convertible and into the driver's seat, started it up and screeched out of the parking lot. He half expected someone to come running out after him and give chase, but no one did; and three miles down a back road he was glad no one had followed him because his car had run out of gas. Remy swore under his breather, got out and slammed the door shut; shuffled angrily down the road with his hands stuffed into his large pockets; pulled out a deck of cards from an inside pocket to keep him occupied; then stopped.

There was a mansion a ways up the road that he had seen many times before, but had never paid much attention to. Now he was glad it was there. He power-walked to the gates and glanced at the sign on the wall:

Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters

School? Well, even schools had phones – and there were lights on inside so someone was obviously there. He tucked his cards away and looked for an intercom, but there was none. He stepped on something and realized that he was standing on a trip wire, which had to have enough pressure on it to open the gates. He jumped on it twice and the gates opened for him. He headed up the path to the mansion and before he even made it to the door there was someone stalking out to greet him. A small, furry-looking man, who didn't look all too welcoming. Remy tried to keep his head low to hide his red-on-black eyes.

"Who the hell are you?" he asked.

"Remy," he replied smoothly. "You have a phone I could use, mon ami?"

"No. Now leave," the furry-looking man snarled.

"C'mon now, I was jus' askin' to --"

"Logan," another man called. This one had on a pair of sunglasses despite it being late into the night. "Stop it. Remy was it?"

"Remy LeBeau," he said pleasantly.

"Scott Summers. Please, come in and I'll show you to a phone," he said, looking pointedly at Logan.

Logan glared at both of them and followed behind, watching the stranger intently, "One wrong move, bub…" He stopped and let the threat hang.

"What up wit' him?" Remy whispered.

"His time of month. Every day," Scott whispered back.

"Can it, pretty boy," Logan said, shoving through them and stepping on Remy's foot.

"'Ey! Didn' da zoo teach you any manners?" he demanded.

Logan turned, walked back and socked Remy straight in the jaw, sending him to the ground. In an instant he had flipped back onto his feet with a card absent-mindedly pulled out of his pocket, charged and ready to fly. He flung the card at Logan, who put his arm up to block it. The card burst against his skin, leaving it scalded and raw. Scott stepped between them, alternating between gaping and glaring.

"You're a mutant," Scott observed.

Remy stayed where he was, refusing to run. He touched his jaw lightly – he would have a bruise tomorrow and he didn't like that his pretty face would be marred. Then he looked up at Logan, whose arm was… healing itself. His flesh crawled over the pink skin, sealed itself and was once again unscarred.

"An' he a mutant too?" Remy asked.

"Yes," said Scott. "Do you still want to use the phone?"

Remy nodded, then asked, "What kind o' school is dis?"

Scott was about to answer, but he stopped himself, deciding that he would let the Professor tell him. This kid couldn't have been older than twenty, sixteen at the youngest, young enough to attend school. Normally they would have been happy to take him in as a student, but times were starting to get tough – and they would be leaving in just a few hours.

------

Author's Note – I need a beta-reader. Preferably someone who knows English well enough. ^_^

Everyone was disappointed that Gambit wasn't in X-Men 2. *sniffles* Now, concerning his accent… I had to keep in mind that there could be some people who have never heard the Cajun's voice, and I wanted them to be able to pick up the gist of his accent. (That and I've read too many comics and seen how to write it.) Nightcrawler's accent is kept simple, only the heaviest of it slipping into his dialogue.

Oh, I'll always translate German (or French, if that be the case)… because I really don't know the language either, I just have access to handy dictionaries.

Thank You's To – Well, I don't really have anyone to thank yet… Except my soon-to-be reviewers. *hint hint* ;)

Planned Update – Busy with school, and another story, and another story, and another… and yeah. Whenever.

*"Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. – Psalms 3:1

I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me." – Psalms 3:6

And other small German phrases:

Fräulein – Miss (In the 'Nightcrawler' episode, he was always referring to Wolverine as 'Herr Logan', which means Mister Logan of course)

Ich werde beten fürdich – I will pray for you.

And Gambit's French phrase (for those who took Spanish rather than French):

Mon ami – my friend