Prayer of St Francis

By Yamcha's Big Pants (YBP) aka Kirsty Graham.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.

Kurt Wagner, star of the Munich Circus and newly initiated X-man stared down at the small bashed crucifix in his palm, his very unusual palm. Two blue fingers lay open and a thumb caressed the warm silver delicately. His thin blue lips mumbled a short prayer over and over under his breath. His God was far away. Not as far away as he had been. Kurt had thrown himself into a rigid regime of self discipline in the strictest sense of the word. He had been given his own room here at the institute and had confined himself for the last week.

Where could he lay the blame? Where? At his feet? At Stryker's feet? At those of the human or mutant race? Or perhaps Magneto and Professor Xavier's themselves. Right now it didn't matter. He'd been manipulated, that much he knew and had resisted temptation when Stryker had dangled retribution and sweet revenge in front of his face. Therefore…could he be blamed?

****FlashBack****

"It's a simple question Wagner. I'm offering you the opportunity to kill your oppressors over there"

"This little bit of technology will turn off the inhibitor collar."

"…That would be against God"


"Whose God? More people kill in the name of God than for any other reason on this Godforsaken planet!"

"The only thing forsaken by God will be those who kill in his name, my God is capable of nothing but love. My God even loves people like you"

**** ****

Kurt shook his head as he felt a long shiver shudder down his spine. Wolverine might have had the safety net of amnesia but he knew exactly what had happened to him and EXACTLY what he had almost done. He had committed many sins in his life, his body was witness to that, but he had never killed before. He had come within inches of killing the President of the United States and the whole ordeal of being trapped inside his own body had left him shaken and guilty as sin itself. So now being self confined within this room airy, light and better than anything he deserved, he contemplated and prayed without answer.

"Our Father

Who art in Heaven

Hallowed be they name

Thy Kingdom come

Thy will be done

On Earth as it is in Heaven

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our sins

As we forgive those…"

Nightcrawler, blue, tattooed demon of the circus fell forward once again, his body wracking with great sobs. God never left his children in this sort of darkness. He had wondered if it was a test. Maybe it had been, but this whole mutant problem had taken so much out of him. He would never have known the existence of other mutants if he hadn't been captured by Stryker and maybe that was a good thing. But it must be in God's great plan he reasoned through silent watery tears. It must be in his plan that all this had happened. Surely. Originally, his latest sin, attempted murder, had been one which had left him confused.  Was it his fault? Was it his sin or Stryker's? Or both? His answer seemed to lie in all the opportunities he'd been given for redemption. Rogue's rescue, his information about Alkalie Lake and his help in rescuing the children and Professor Xavier. But then Jean…Why hadn't God allowed him to save Jean. Why wasn't he given permission to rescue her from the icy depths of the flooded slipway? The pain had gnawed at him for the past few weeks. Why? Why? Why?

            Gold eyes flickered down to the small bandage Jean had secured around his injury only weeks before as it lay limp in his palm. Jean had died to save her fellow mutants, to save him, whom she hardly knew, to save her husband, her friends, and her mentor. So why hadn't God allowed him to save her? It should have been his sacrifice. Even although his powers were inadequate to cope with the situation, he should have been the one to die. The sins he had to atone for, were worse than anything she'd ever committed. And now Kurt was left wondering mournfully what was wanted of him and where his Lord was. Another tear inched down Kurt's cheek, slowed only by the bizarre and unique scars on his face. His wrist stung painfully where the newest and most intricate addition was engraved, and the twang reminded him of the suffering endured by his Lord and Savior. His sorrowful meditation was halted by a gentle knock on the door.

Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.

Ororo Munroe made her way down the oaken staircase, a pair of boys chattering over a magazine they shared between them raised their eyes and smiled as they passed her on the stairs.

"Hi Miss Storm"

"Hello boys, watch you don't trip now, Canonball. We don't want a repeat of last week." She said absently, her maternal instincts conjuring forth various scenarios for the unfortunate large young man whose mutant ability was obvious from his size and apparent weight. He nodded guiltily before passing the printed pamphlet back to his partner and watched his steps intently as he continued up the stairs.

Ororo had always settled into the role of mother and protector for the students at the school. As a teacher herself she spent lots of time with the children and felt herself a good communicator and moral role model. That was until he'd slashed his way unwillingly into their lives. She'd never seen anything like him before. At first his demonic appearance and quick agile movements had made him an unnerving character to have to deal with. His foreign tongue and choice of HQ made him even more threatening to a "heathen" goddess such as herself. However, Kurt Wagner, rather than the Nightcrawler was far different though twice as intriguing. Ororo remembered clearly the runes on his skin with such vivid memory that she could still feel the soft raised quality of their paths. The soft slow dipping and turning motion of his head, the way his gaze shifted so gracefully and timidly from face to face. His honey-golden eyes a most mesmerizing colour had flicked to hers at the touch of her hand on his skin. Such a gentle neutral touch, curious but conveying no emotion had stirred something in him she was sure. A moment of sadness, heartache and a dangerous mix of something fiery like…lust had momentarily lit them to platinum and back again in the blink of an eye. Soemthing was hidden in those angelic symbols something that could help her understand this man whom she felt drawn to, like a moth to a flame. But something which could help him understand himself better. His midnight blue skin horded so many secrets of a faith, a background, a heritage and a human being that so little was known about anymore.

Ororo caught herself standing still at the bottom of the stairway. She shook her head lightly in an attempt to clear it and decided to pay the Professor a visit. At this time in the evening the children were usually escorted to their bedrooms and only the teachers and older occupants of the institute were permitted to roam the house. However these nightly conversations, meetings and sometimes dinners had turned increasingly morose and somber without the claming company of Jean grey. Scott hardly joined them anymore. Originally after Jean…well after the incident, he had taken his car out and driven, simply driven. Ororo guessed it was to be away from the pain and loneliness of the room they had shared together. But after a little while he had returned and concealed himself inside like a prison. Much in the way that the mysterious Nightcrawler was doing now. She was worried for her friends.

Knocking lightly on the Professor's door, Ororo stepped inside. The room was filled with a honey glow as the Professor sat in his smocking jacket and slippers with a book of fairytales in his lap. Several young mutants were seated in a circle, some cuddling teddy bears, other's sucking thumbs or some already asleep. Logan sat in the corner, holding a bottle of soda in one hand and watching the child he had rescued during the…incident. There was a wistful distant look on his face. With the click of the door his attention drew to Ororo. He acknowledged her with a small smirk and swigged some of his beverage. Some children looked up through sleepy eyes and smiled. A tiny scaled skinned boy pushed himself up and waddled towards her wrapping his small cold arms around her warm chocolate leg. She bent down and picked him up.

"That will all for tonight children, we'll finish the story tomorrow" The Professor said in that quiet refined voice of his as he closed the book. There was a chorus of "Good night Professor" and a troop of little and not so little people each hugged him or kissed his cheek before leaving to their rooms. Logan sighed placing his bottle on the desk and picked up two or three sleeping babes. He held them so gently, even as a little girl was swung over his shoulder in a fireman's lift it was so obvious to see that the Wild Wolverine could indeed be tamed. He took the small boy from Storm's arms and grunted as he left the room.

Ororo was left alone with the Professor who rolled towards one of the many bookcases lining his room and replaced the brightly bound book. "What can I do for you Ororo?"

Storm sat in the chair Logan had previously occupied. "I'm sorry to disturb you Professor but I was wondering if you could find out if Kurt is laright"

The Professor turned in his wheelchair to face her. "Ah yes, kurt. He's in his room right now. I can see he's upset. I wouldn't like to probe his mind, but if you think that there's something wrong…"

"No, thank you Professor" Ororo interjected, "I think he is suffering from the same thing we all are" She said quietly watching as Dr Xavier's face softened in sadness.

"Jean" he remarked gently, then after a little consideration added. "Storm, do you think that Kurt might…talk to Scott? I believe that Scott came from a God fearing family. It might help both of them if Kurt could bring some solace to him. Perhaps you might ask him?"

She knew from the look on the Professor's face that he had already probed some little way into both the men's minds out of concern. He was asking her this for a prupose. Oh, she hoped he hadn't probed her mind!

"Storm" he said quietly as she turned to leave. "I know that you are being strong for everyone else, but sometimes it's better to grieve" he raised an eyebrow slightly "And I don't mean on your own" He'd definitely read her mind. She nodded with a sad smile and left. She would go check on Kurt before retiring to her own room and give him the proposition.

O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;

Knocking lightly on his second floor room door, she heard a muffled sob, it stopped abruptly and there was the sound of teleportation. Twice. The latch on the door unlocked with a click. Turning the handle, Ororo entered the cold dark room, much less hospitable than Dr Xavier's Office had been. She began to wonder if this had been a bad idea. Suddenly the ominous room held much more than the deceivingly demonic looking Nightcrawler. A chill ran down her spine as a pair of golden eyes emerged sadly from the darkness. Their brilliant luminescence the only thing discernable against the darkness. They froze her with something childish and primitive that she wasn't sure she understood. Deciding to file the sensation away for later analysis, Storm heard his quiet foreign tones.

"Good evening Storm"

"Please call me Ororo"

"Very vell…Ororo"

There was an uncomfortable pause in which she felt like an absolute foreigner in his sanctuary. He surprised her slightly by breaking the silence.

"Thank you," Kurt said very quietly, those unusual but arresting eyes pinned hers to his.

"What for?" She asked dumbfounded.

His eyes disappeared for a second as he closed them, but reappeared like the sun and graced her face with their rays. "For not making me feel like a freak among freaks" His German accent grated the words and softened Storm's surprise.

"I saw the way they looked at you" She said; it was his turn to be surprised.

"Vas?"

"They looked scared of you Kurt. You'd think that being mutants they'd understand. But sometimes…" She looked down at the dying embers of the fire and knelt at the fireplace to rekindle them. "…sometimes we become so wrapped up in our own gifts and curses that we forget how bad it can be for others."

To be loved as to love with all my soul
For it is in giving that we receive,

Nightcrawler found her fascinating He watched her back with mute admiration as she relit the fire, his eyes precise and accurate in the darkness. She looked like an angel but he knew she wasn't. When she spoke it was for him she did it, and Kurt felt himself on a level of intimacy he'd never had before…not even with Amanda…that stung. There was silence as the small flames in the fireplace began to dance as they ate up the tinder and grew.

"It's not bad" She heard softly next to her ear. Storm was a little startled but looked up into the radiant amber eyes of the Nightcrawler. The dim orange light of the fire darkened his skin to a deep raven colour, his runes only barely visible. Pointed white teeth glinted through slightly parted lips. Storm's breath caught for a moment. His tragic but beautiful eyes shifted ethereally to the flickering flames as he crouched beside her. She was still watching him and he glanced at her nervously.

"You don't ever wish you weren't a mutant?" She enquired gently, tilting her head to see his expression better in the failing light.

"No" He responded draping his arms over his knees and staring levelly into the fire. Storm considered his face and lack of emotion carefully before retreating to herself. She really didn't understand him, or what was making her return to him each moment of her thoughts. She smoothed out the creases in her midnight blue satin nightdress. "Do you?" The gentle almost tentative question caught her off-guard.

"What?"

He looked at her, his thin mouth hidden by a crease of his shirt on his slightly raised shoulder. "Do you ever vish you vere a normal human being?"

Storm sighed slightly and gave a casual roll of her shoulders. "I guess not, I'm just. Just angry. I don't want to be made any more different because of them"

Kurt seemed to ponder her words. "Then vhy aren't you vith Magneto?" She stared at him as though he were mad but he continued, turning to face her fully in the orange cast of the now thriving fire. "People segregate themselves into countries, races, languages. Humans make themselves different from each other, it's vhat they're best at" His voice became less vehement and dropped to a whisper. "Mutants can't help being different. Magneto plans to eliminate this difference does he not? …He forgets how bad it can be for others" His tender golden eyes looked up at her with understanding.

Storm stared at his eloquence in manipulating her words and the profoundly rational effect they had. She still didn't understand him, but the more she got to know him, the more interesting and endearing he became. He was an enticing mystery. He was knowledgeable and wise, so ethereal and beautiful inside. Something she knew she would never have the opportunity to know ever again. Something clicked in her mind and she looked at the now crackling flames, remembering why she had come to see him.

"Kurt, the Professor asked me to ask you for a favour" He titled his head in curiosity. "He wanted to know if there was anything you could do to try and console Scott" His eyes lost some of the light they had.

"I'd…I'd like to, but…I fear I may make things vorse. I didn't know Jean, I may say something that vould upset him." Storm looked at him sympathetically. Kurt felt himself melt inside at the beauty he'd so easily commented on.

"No Kurt, Jean was what you saw she was, you saw her in her finest hour… she was the best friend…" pain knitted her brow slightly and soon her eyes became cloudy, not with her meteorological power but with previously unshed tears. "…she was the best friend I ever had…I…I'm sorry" Hurriedly, brave strong, hard Storm wiped at her tears, banishing them as though they were poison.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Kurt's merciful heart twisted at the sight of her and her resilient strength and he pulled her impulsively into his arms. They had a connection and he could feel it. Ororo could hold back the tears no longer. She wept bitterly and fervidly, clenching fistfuls of Kurt's loose shirt in her palms, pressing her face into his chest. While Wolverine and Scott had each done their own grieving and were now beginning to emerge at the other end of the dark tunnel, facing life without Jean with a  heavy but calm heart, she had been strong to preserve normalcy. Her time had come and Nightcrawler's gentle persuasion made it impossible for her to hold it back any longer. She shook in his arms, feeling him rock her backwards and forwards, until the searing pain of the sorrow had ebbed like the tide, only to come back again later. He drew her away slightly and peered timidly into her dark eyes.

"Better?" He asked, showing the tips of his pearly fangs. She managed a light smile through the remaining but slowing tears. He nodded. "I'm sorry Ororo, I vas being selfish, I vill talk to Scott if it's vhat you truly desire" In a sudden movement she threw her arms around Kurt's neck, taking him by surprise.

"Thank you Kurt, I appreciate it and so will Scott and…" She pulled away and looked him in the eyes. "Thank you for not making me feel like a freak."

He smiled looking more relaxed in her company than he had. "Anger is not a sin, mein seelenfreund" She frowned politely and a definite purple blush blossomed on his cheeks. "seelenfreunde means…soul-mate"

She paused in his arms, his previous words combining with the affectionate term…"If it's what you truly desire"…A very serious expression cleared Storm's face, like the sea without wind. Even as remaining tears collected at her chin, she gazed at him softly. Ororo's hand strayed to his chin. With the gentlest of caresses she traced the design to his cheek, feeling the heat of his flesh and the strange texture of his skin. Was this what she truly desired? His calming amber eyes with the same timid, but pure and arresting gaze melted into her own before closing slowly. She ran pale, chocolate fingers through his short dark hair, receiving a cat-like purr of pleasure in return, slow and low, resonating through her hand. His head rolled with her gesture, savouring the feel of her flesh to his. Her eyes glided to his face to see a pained but pleasure filled frown knit his brow.

"Kurt…" She whispered almost unable to hear her own voice. He brought his head forward, away from her caress slowly and unwillingly opened his eyes. There was concern and perhaps fear in them. Fear of rejection. "I have to go to bed, I have a class tomorrow" She said softly. His eyes dulled in embarrassment and he gently moved away from her touch.

"I'm sorry to have kept you Storm" He unfolded his legs and stood up. Reaching out a three fingered hand, he helped her to her feet. The gentle strength she felt in his grip was so characteristic of her new friend.

"Good Night Kurt" She said turning to leave. After a second thought she turned back and planted a small kiss on his cheek. He gasped lightly, thoroughly not expecting any second gesture, let alone a kiss. She moved back and smiled warmly into his striking eyes which were now wide and grateful. With that she traveled to her own room and left the "Incredible Nightcrawler" to ponder his future at the institute and reminisce on loves-lost and loves of the future. The memory of Amanda was still there, painfully claiming his heart, but he realized the beginning of a new life and perhaps time to let go of the past's sorrow. Looking to the window, Kurt smiled at how cloudless the dark night sky was.

Amen

AN: Hey guys, I don't know whether to leave it there or to continue and make this a big story. I wonder what you think? Please Read and Review and tell me, and be honest now. Do you think that this story could go anywhere or should it simply be a stand alone? Thank for your commitment and God bless!