Kurt walked across the empty fair grounds, and realized just how creepy they could get after the circus. The big top was huge and menacing in the distance, and every small breeze sent parts of the canvas moving, like ghosts in the night.

Thankful for some of his night vision, Kurt ran on all fours to the back of the tent, where the trailers all stood dark and quiet, as the circus performers got a good night's sleep. Sticking to the shadows of the trailers, Kurt scanned the area but couldn't find the troublesome red head he was looking for.

"Pyro?" He hissed out as he stood up and walked to the middle of the clearing the pyrokinetic had made earlier. Still no sign of him however.

"John!" He whispered more urgently. Looking at his watch/inducer, he saw that it was 1:10. Nightcrawler bit his lip and looked around, hoping this wasn't one of John's 'jokes'.

Someone grabbed Kurt's tail and yanked on it....hard. The boy yelped and jumped into the air, before turning around and preparing to attack the person. John smiled and pressed one finger to Kurt's lips.

"Don't be so loud. You'll wake everyone up." His green eyes were playfully dark and exotic in the night, and he turned away before Kurt could even yell at him.

"Wait up." His soft feet padding along on the ground, Kurt caught up to the deceptively fast young boy just as he was approaching his trailer.

"Welcome to my humble abode." John threw open the small door and gestured inside. Remembering his many nights spent in a trailer identical to this one, Kurt leapt directly into the room, hands first. Pyro just rolled his eyes and flipped on a light, before the elf boy could run into anything and break it.

Nightcrawler stopped and looked around. The trailer really was humble. There was a bed on one side, and a mattress on the floor next to it. A set of drawers were bolted to the opposite wall, and a single light bulb swung from the ceiling. The floor was soft and had a thick carpeting on it, and Kurt immediately took advantage of this and flopped down onto it.

"Uh....I put out the futon, since I figured you might rather stay there." Pyro seemed to have become the jittery one and leaned against a wall, to keep from having to find a place to sit in his cramped room. Kurt also seemed to shift around on the floor a little more than usual. His tail curled and uncurled, and he found everything in the room except John suddenly very interesting. When he had first come with the circus, John had needed to stay in bed with Kurt every night, to cover up the memories of the fire. After a while, the nightmares stopped altogether, but Pyro and Nightcrawler remained sleeping together.

Though he would never admit it to anyone, Kurt knew that that was one of the reasons he so readily went to see Professor Xavier. John was a flirt, no doubt about it, but he wanted to have something with Kurt that was too serious for the younger boy. And he had discovered long ago that John's temper was not the best, and preferred to not unduly upset him.

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, Kurt yawned. Pyro just laughed at him and finally stopped lurking against the far wall of the trailer.

"You better get some sleep."

"Yeah. Sure." It had been too long since Kurt had had a decent night's sleep, and he quickly pulled off the jacket he was wearing. Underneath he had on a white tank top and a pair of light blue boxers.

Following suit, Pyro stripped down till there was nothing on but his boxers. On his boxers, were pictures of tiny boxers. Kurt pointed and laughed. (A/N: I knew a guy with these kind of boxers. Underwear with pictures of underwear, brilliant! ^_^ )

"Those are the best man."

"Yeah yeah. Now get to sleep. I can't very well help you if you won't go to sleep."

Kurt crept into his bed, stretching out as far as he could on the small mattress, before rolling over and looking up at John. Well, to say he was looking at Pyro was an overstatement; all he could see was a hand. Kurt knew that he couldn't ponder things all night long and pulled the blankets tight up to his chin, and closed his eyes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ouch!" Evan rubbed his foot which Bobby had just stepped on.

"Sorry man. It's too dark out here."

Magma flicked one of her fingers and it glowed with lava. She smiled at the two boys and walked forward, unaware of the tongues being stuck out at her from behind.

"Keep that light low Amara. We don't want to wake anyone up." Jean still had the unsettling feeling that they shouldn't be doing this. Kurt had his rights, and she didn't want to be taking advantage of them. But then she remembered when her powers went out of control. She didn't tell anyone, didn't let anyone help her. And for it, she nearly killed the people closest to her.

"Jean, can you tell where he is?"

"Yes. He's back behind the big top. His mind is very calm, I'll bet he's asleep."

"Well, if he's asleep then he probably doesn't need our help right now, right?" Amara asked hopefully.

"Maybe. Jean, Kitty, you two go and see if you can find out where he is. If it looks at all suspicious, contact us and we'll back you up."

Jean and Kitty nodded to Scott and began to tip toe around the big top, Jean leading the way to where she could sense Nightcrawler.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Pyro gently raised an eye, just high enough to glance at the boy on the floor. His chest rose softly and John had a pretty good idea that he was asleep.

Easing himself off of the bed, he placed his feet on the floor, fearing that it would creak and wake his sleeping friend. But it was silent and the red head let out a sigh of relief before lowering himself to the floor next to the mattress, achingly slow.

Kurt rolled over in his sleep and John froze. But the blue mutant was deep in a dream and didn't notice as the older boy lowered his weight onto the futon. Lifting up the light covers, he crawled into the bed next to Kurt. He could feel his tail twitching slightly under the covers, but knew that it did that whenever Kurt was dreaming.

Snaking his arm around the sleeping mutant, John felt the soft fur of his arm and the roughness of his cotton shirt. After getting comfortable, he let his eyes close and tried to sense if Kurt was dreaming about the night he was nearly burned to death.

Pyro realized that there was no fire anywhere in Kurt's mind, meaning he wasn't doing any good. With a small smile, Pyro whispered an apology and lit a match. Using his pyrokinesis, he let the fire hover in front of Kurt's face, and he made it produce as much thick black smoke as he could. With a jerk, Nightcrawler was thrown into the dream John had intended.

John connected with the fire in Kurt's mind, and controlled it. It bent to the will of it's master, immediately obeying his commands.

The nightmare was confusing, and went too fast to make any sense. First there was nothing but flashes of fire, and Kurt's horrific screams. Then there were the villagers who had tried to kill him, throwing rocks and holding torches. Pyro could do nothing to Kurt, couldn't comfort him in any way. He was the fire.

The scene was different than it had originally been, the fire was more vicious, and Kurt was definitely conscious this time. His horrified screams cut into John like a knife as he watched the fire burn his legs. With a flash of his powers, the fires suddenly subsided in the dream, and John felt Kurt's body in real life stop thrashing. The inferno surrounding the boy settled down to a few smoldering embers. Pyro then began to use his powers, cautiously, to bring a small flame closer and closer to Kurt. The other mutant still struggled and fought against his bonds, unable to escape from a situation that in reality would have been a synch. Feeling it couldn't hurt at all, John began to whisper very softly into the blue elf ears his friend was so well known for. Nightcrawler could swear that the small flame that danced enticingly towards him was speaking to him.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Well Jean?" Kitty stood looking at the dozen or so identical trailers. With a hand on her hip, she motioned with her other hand for Jean to hurry up already.

"I don't know, for a while there his mind was very active, but now it's harder to pinpoint." Closing her eyes, the red head's hand slowly began to move across the line of trailers, finally deciding on a small one to the right.

"That one?"

"Yes. I'm sure of it."

"Right. Like, let's get this over with and rescue Kurt already, this place is totally creeping me out."

Kitty led the way towards the small trailer, and took Jean's wrist in a firm grasp when they were right on the outside. Very slowly, the two of them walked through the trailer. Inside it was pitch black, being all the circus could afford, the trailers didn't come with windows.

A small light flickered on the floor, and Kitty and Jean tip toed their way towards it, but it was hidden from them, since they had phased into the trailer and right onto the bed. The two girls lay down on the bed and began to inch their way forward, just barely poking their head over the edge of the mattress.

Pyro eased the flame towards Kurt, trying to get him to accept the flame. Giving this painful chapter of Kurt's past a more pleasant ending. Unable to control the scattered images and people of the dream, Pyro did what he could with the fire. A familiar figure began to take shape out of the fire, and Kurt recognized spiky hair, that certain height, and the small build of the pyrokinetic.

The fire Pyro walked up, and even as he did this, Nightcrawler kicked out in his sleep and his tail began to whip around dangerously, freed from the covers. John intended to have the fire free Kurt, and destroy his fear of fire, knowing that he would be happier if he could possibly think that things had been different that night in Germany.

Kitty's blue eyes grew impossibly wide in the darkness. Had there been more than the small flame held in John's hand to light the room, she would have seen Jean's eyes go equally huge, and her jaw hang open.

The two had finally gotten a glimpse of the only occupants of the trailer, a red headed boy with his arms and legs wrapped around a struggling Kurt. But every now and then, as most do in a nightmare, his body would go limp, and he would be once again sleeping in the arms of John, his tail curling itself around the other's ankle for comfort.

Needless to say, this was not what the girl's had expected.

"WHA-" Jean immediately slapped her hand over Kitty's mouth, but it was too late. The noise had roused both boys. Pyro's icy green eyes met with the girl's, and the fire in his hand spread to an raging fireball, that hovered in the air, like a miniature sun.

But Nightcrawler noticed this all as well. Still trapped in his nightmare, Kurt's eyes flew open, glowing the horrific and unearthly yellow they had the night he attacked the X-Men. John was vaguely aware of what Kurt was seeing in his dream. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Two of the faceless villagers abruptly became a tall red head, and a small girl with her hair tied in a ponytail. And the fire had become the very flames of hell, all intent on destroying Kurt's body and very well burning his soul to ashes in the process.

Kurt screamed. Then he flipped over, landing on all fours as only he could do, and leapt viciously at the two girls who were trying to kill him. Kitty quickly grabbed onto Jean's shoulder and Nightcrawler leapt harmlessly through them, slamming into the side of the trailer. The girls booked it as fast as they could out of the trailer, into the sweet night air.

'Scott! Come quick!' Not in a mood to mince words, the shaken Jean Grey sprinted into the open field, hoping the other X-Men would arrive soon. With a bamf, Kurt was falling from above, but Jean had sensed the teleport and put up a shield, deflecting the boy down to the ground. Baring his teeth, he snarled at them and began to circle them, on all fours and his hands and feet digging into the soft ground.

"I suggest you get away from him." A low menacing voice came from behind Kitty and before either could react, they were surrounded by a wall of flame. Kurt hissed and teleported onto the big top. The soft canvas sunk a little under the light weight of the boy, and only his black outline and golden eyes could be seen.

Kitty saw that the boy who had been holding Kurt in the trailer had both hands held out and as he motioned one way or another, the fire obeyed him. It took her a second, since he no longer had the slicked up hair or the spiffy costume, but she finally caught on and realized it was the fire tamer from the circus.

"I don't know why you're here, but I won't let you hurt him." The flames grew higher and too close for comfort, as Kitty could feel the heat like it was an actual physical thing pressing onto her.

"And we won't let you hurt them either." There was a red flash, and the dirt behind Jean exploded, putting out that half of the fire ring and giving them an opportunity to escape. Pyro put his hand up to guard his eyes, and the flames died down, returning to his feet like a faithful pet.

Scott and the other X-Men were ready and in formation, prepared to take on any unknown attacker. Or known attacker as the case may be. Another teleportation and Kurt was hurtling towards Rogue. At the last second he turned his shoulder to her face and sent her flying back at least ten feet.

Without a hair touching the ground, Nightcrawler teleported again, swinging his legs to trip Evan.

"Man. That is not cool." Spike hurled a wooden stake at the blue mutant, but it was easily dodged.

"Why are you people after him?" John yelled out, even as he sent the fire to isolate Kurt and himself from the others.

"We're his friends. We're here to get him back." Bobby said, stepping boldly closer to the heat.

"How do you know the Nightcrawler?"

"He lives with us. At the Xavier Institute." Scott seemed to take a distinct disliking to this boy, and his hand never left his visor for a second.

"Xavier." If the X-Men hadn't known any better, they would have thought this word was a curse with the way Pyro spat it out. "He's the guy who told Kurt that he needed to be put in a home for mutants." The fire flared red as its master's angry increased slowly. Kurt paced back and forth, like a tiger in a cage before the wall of flames. The nightmare still had him in it's grip, and although the fire had been made more appealing by the bit of work John had done, the X-Men remained melded together with the images of Kurt's would be murderers.

"It's not like that. You're a mutant too, you understand how it is." Jean stepped closer to the pyrokinetic, as she could now definatley sense that he was a mutant. She put up her hands in a placating gesture, hoping to calm the boy's temper.

"But I'm not a wuss. And neither is Kurt."

"Wuss?" Rogue had shaken her head and Amara had helped her up, and now it looked like she was ready for round two.

"Nightcrawler and I have never hidden our powers. Never hidden like little mice just because we're mutants. And humans accept us."

"Yeah, as a freak show." Rogue threw back.

Pyro's eyes flashed dangerously, and he held out his hand. A fireball formed in it and he sent it hurling straight towards Rogue. Amara powered up and threw her own smaller fireball towards Pyro's, doing just enough to knock it off course and harmlessly into the ground.

"We are NOT a freak show."

Kurt's mutant ears perked up. 'Freak. Freak. Demon. Devil. Mutant.' His fierce eyes turned on John and he leapt at him. Kurt's hands struck Pyro square in the chest and the two fell to the ground, but John used his feet to toss Kurt over him. When they both stood up he met Kurt's unfocused eyes and tried to talk some sense into him.

"Kurt, I'm not your enemy. You know that. Come on, wake up!" But the blue mutant only shook his head viciously and began to cling to it, as if he had a terrible headache that refused to ebb away. John immediately went to his side and put a hand on his back.

"Forgive me." One single flame darted through the air and struck across Kurt's shoulder, just barely searing his skin. His eyes snapped to John's face, and were white again. His body began to shake and he fell into his friend's arms.

Having lost his concentration on his powers, all of the fire had died down and were again just a few stray flames on pieces of grass that hadn't quite been turned to dust yet.

John tilted Kurt's head up to his, meeting his eyes and giving him a small smile. Kurt returned a weak one and finally felt the effects of the nightmare, feeling like his body was ready to simply fall apart on him. Never one to be discouraged by a crowd, John leaned down a few inches and touched Kurt's as soft as he could ever have done, but Kurt jerked away like the kiss had burned him far worse than the fire.

Pyro saw him staring in horror at the X-Men, who had approached the two in worry. Kurt felt like he was again plunged into the nightmare, ready to welcome back the fire and the stake, but not the stares of his friends.

Embarrassed beyond reason, Kurt pushed John violently away and stood up. The hurt in his friend's green eyes was only matched by the sudden rush of anger.

"I see. Sorry Kurt, but I just got you back and I'm not letting you go without a fight."

"I think it's time you cooled down buddy." Bobby raised his hand and began to send blasts of ice at all the remaining flames, putting them out quickly. But Pyro was always prepared, and took out the box of matches he had with him in bed, striking one before Jean used her power to throw the box up into the air and away from him.

The fire spread around them, forcing them to be separated, and each used as much of their powers as they could to stop it. Kitty decided to try and save Kurt and phased through the walls of fire to charge Pyro.

"No way girly." Sending his most powerful blast straight at her, John forced her back with the sheer power of the flames. Unable to keep it up, Shadowcat was thrown back, into the helpful arms of Evan.

"Kitty!" Turning on John in a rage, Kurt had to scream at him to break him from the daze he went into when he was controlling the fire. Kurt had seen the look in his eyes before, and he knew it meant trouble. "Stop it John. You know I can't stay with you. The X-Men are my family now, I want to go with them."

"I don't think so." He murmured quietly and sent tendrils of fire around Kurt's ankles and wrists. The flame was too cold to burn him, but hot enough to keep him in place. Then the wild red head turned his focus to the X-Men, who had slowly blasted, iced, and in general forced away almost all of his firewalls.

"I think this fight is a bit uneven, don't you?" Sparks near Pyro's feet rose up, and a head and four legs grew from each. Long tails swished back and forth, sending embers flying from the fire wolves'. There was one for each X-Men and the pack circled the mutants before attacking.

Scott shot his wolf with a full power blast, and it looked like he had won, until the flames regrouped and the fire wolf leapt at him, it's jaws snapping at his head as it flew over him. Kitty merely phased through each of the wolf's attack, but the beast seemed to enjoy this game, trying to catch her off guard and singing her right foot when she was just a little too sluggish.

It was oddly difficult to tell who was who in Magma's fight, her lava body colliding with the pure flames of the wolf. Neither was affected by the heat, and so they fought physically, Amara kicking the wolf's head clear off, but another one soon replaced it.

Kurt watched in horror and tried to move, but was frozen in place by his fiery bonds. Then it occurred to him that he was not in his nightmare, and teleported into the fray.

Jean was having trouble repelling the three wolves that attacked her, Evan, and Rogue continuesly. They never tired, and no matter how much they hit them they just kept reforming. Nightcrawler bamfed between Evan and Rogue, and the two immediately asked if he was okay.

"I'm fine. But we need to stop Pyro. Once he's out of control....." A fireball that was once a wolf was shot right by their heads by Scott's blast.

"We get the picture. So what do you suggest?" Evan held a spike between his hands and was swinging it at the nearest fire creature, but as soon as it clamped it's powerful jaws around it, the stake burst into flames.

"Ah!" The three wolves started to close in, but were taken down by the one mutant made to counter Pyro's powers.

"Dude, you guys need some help?" Body slid along his ice path in the sky, putting out each wolf that got too close, leaving huge ice crystals in their place.

"Rogue." Looking up, she met Kurt's eyes and immediately understood. Kurt placed his hand on her shoulder and teleported them as close to Pyro as he possibly could. Rogue jumped at him and managed to brush a finger across his chest as he dodged away from her.

The two froze and the few remaining fire wolves immediately disappeared. John fell to the ground, panting and generally freaked out. Rogue suddenly took on a vicious countenance and extended her hand. The fires swirled to her, and she hurled it at the weakened Pyro.

"Rogue! Get control of his powers!" Kurt yelled in her ear, and the southern girl rolled her eyes at him but brought the fire back into her hands, playing and caressing it like a precious treasure.

Standing up on shaky legs, Pyro gave a betrayed look to Kurt, who tried to say he was sorry, but was cut off by the arrival of Scott and the others.

"I guess we win. Kurt comes with us."

"Fine. Take him. Force him to wear that little toy of your, hide who he really is."

"He doesn't hide from us." Amara piped in but received only a hard glare from John and therefore decided not to say much more.

"It's so he can be normal. Please, if you came with us, you could see what we mean." Jean again approached the dangerous boy, but he stepped away from her.

"Kurt already is normal. You people don't seem to realize that." He hissed the words at them.

"Please John," Kurt said quietly. "Come with us. Give it a try."

"Never. We are so much better than normal humans. We should be respected, even feared. Humans are worthless vermin compared with us. Make your decision now Kurt. Stay with me, or go with them. But if you go with them, you better never show your face around this circus ever again."

He stood silent for a few seconds, knowing already what his answer would be, but trying to find another way. He knew there were reasons he had left the circus, and Pyro, behind him, but he still missed his friend.

"John, I'm sorry. The X-Men are my family now-"

"I see." Pyro interrupted. He had regained some of his strength now and stole the fire out of Rogue's hand. He held it up and it began to take a ghastly form.

"If your friends think you need to hide yourself and pretend to be a normal human, it just means that they really don't accept you for who you are Kurt." The fire became a 2 foot stake in Pyro's hand as he molded it with his mind. Then a small figure appeared on the stake, indistinguishable as anyone except by the tail which lashed out beside the stake. The X-Men looked in horror at the image, then at Kurt to see the truth reflected in his white eyes.

"And when they have you tied to a stake, I won't be there to put out the fire at your feet." The apparition fell to the ground and became a ten foot tall wall of the hottest flames. All of the X-Men retreated back from the heat, and Kurt lost sight of his first real friend.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

John walked around the fair ground the next day, setting up for the circus but he took no pleasure in it. No smile or cheeky grin crossed his face as he did his work monotonously.

"Pyro." A deep voice nearby said softly. John whirled around and saw someone hovering in front of him. He couldn't see the figures face, for it was covered in the shadow of a mask. A cape trailed in the wind behind him, hanging nearly to the ground.

"What do you want? If you're another one from Xavier's place, I'll teach you a lesson." John took his lighter out of his back pocket, but lost his grip on it as soon as he had taken it out.

The masked figure raised his hand, and the lighter flew to him, then warped and twisted, as if it were a piece of taffy in the man's grasp. John couldn't help but let his jaw drop open.

"You Pyro, have a gift. It is not something to be sheltered away in a mansion, or exhibited for the sake of mere human's entertainment." The caped figure hovered closer, but Pyro did not back down.

"We will teach the human's a lesson. We will show them how weak they are compared to us."

John continued to try and see the man's face, but to no avail. Magneto realized this, and went in for the kill.

"I will stop Xavier from exploiting his own kind. But I need help, from the most powerful mutants I can find. If you help me, we may still be able to show your Nightcrawler the error of his ways."

That night, the circus was missing it's two most famous acts. The amazing Nightcrawler. And Pyro, the fire tamer.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The End. I hope you all enjoyed. There will be no sequel, sorry readers. ^_^ but this is supposed to lead into the series, when Pyro suddenly shows up as an alcolyte. Leave a review of what you thought, and remember, I'm always appreciative of emails and im's. tmbrwolf113 and tmbrwolf113@adelphia.net