Chapter 41
Shall We Dance?

Kitty sat still and obedient on a stool in her room as Jean fussed with her hair. Both wore borrowed dresses, Kitty in deep shades of blue and Jean pale mint green. Jean's hair was already fixed up and now she was returning the favor. There was a ball tonight and they had been invited at the last minute. But while the mind-witch worked, Kitty was well aware that there were other things on her mind. Kitty didn't want to pry, but her curiosity eventually got the better of her and she opened her mouth to ask.

"Is something on your mind Jean?" Kitty asked politely.

"There are a great many things on my mind." Jean replied evasively.

"Such as?" Kitty pressed.

"What Scott and Nathan are doing today, what is going on back home, do they miss us, will we ever find what we're looking for, how this party will go, worries concerning you…that sort of thing." Jean answered.

"You worry about me? Why?" Kitty asked, focusing on the one thing that she guessed Jean didn't want to discuss.

"Well, you are younger than me and you are my friend." Jean replied calmly.

"True, but why worry about me and not about Bobby or Piotr?" Kitty inquired. Jean appeared to be stuck there and didn't answer for several minutes.

"While you always displayed great strength I know that you suffered inside and refused to let us see. You appeared so open and friendly yet you were intensely secretive about many important things. Then this man that none of us know and you barely seemed to know, as he was not completely truthful with you, shows up and throws everything into chaos with his hiding in plain sight. And, despite his untruthfulness, you take him back out of loneliness and perhaps a sense that you owe him for being there and saving you from yourself." Jean sighed. "So, I worry about you."

"Yes, I did take him back out of loneliness, but he is my husband so I have no choice by the decree of Church and law." Kitty replied with a hint of sharpness to her tone.

"But you do owe him, don't you? He kept you from falling apart and slipping away when no one else would touch you." Jean reminded her.

"True, he did that for me, but he didn't do it so that I would owe him anything. He did it out of the goodness of his heart, he had no desire to see me die and leave him alone." Kitty replied sharply.

"Perhaps, perhaps not. He's already been dishonest with you concerning his true nature, what would stop him for being that way again?" Jean suggested.

"Jean, stop trying to make me doubt." Kitty growled stiffly.

"Why? I think you should doubt a little. First you were hurt, and then you were overjoyed by him. But when the blinding clouds of emotion fade away, what will you see?" Jean responded.

"Please stop talking in riddles Jean." Kitty sighed.

"Riddles? I'm not talking in riddles and you know it." Jean snorted as she finished up with Kitty's hair.

"Whatever you say." Kitty grumbled and stood up.

"Thank you for agreeing with me." Jean smiled humorlessly.

"Are you done in there yet?" Bobby asked tiredly through the door.

"Yes!" Jean called out to him.

"Finally," Bobby sighed as he opened the door. "I was waiting…forever. Very nice." Iceman smiled as he looked them over.

"Thank you ever so much for the wondrous compliment!" Jean smiled graciously and curtsied jokingly to him.

"You are very welcome my Lady." Bobby responded with equal formality and humor. Kitty snorted at the both of them.

"So are we going to the party or are we just going to stand here and chatter all night?" Kitty asked.

"Ah yes, the party, I'd nearly forgotten with such beautiful ladies standing before me." Bobby replied with an arrogant smirk.

"Enough, enough, we're both married ladies so drop it." Kitty grumbled and swept past him. Jean's words had left her in a poor mood.

Kitty hurried along the dim stone hallways towards the party. She brushed past Logan, Piotr, and Remy as well, she wanted to be alone. She paused at the doorway to scan the celebrating crowd before entering. In the center of the room couples danced to the music provided by the minstrels. Around the edges others ate, drank, and chattered merrily amongst themselves. It was very much like the parties she'd experienced back in England with her family, though this one somehow seemed to be louder.

Before the others caught up with her, she slipped carefully into the crowd of strange people. She strained her ears and mind to try and decipher the scraps of conversation that reached her ears. Most of it was meaningless gossip and the rest was drunken ramblings. Kitty found an open corner along the wall and rested there to listen and wait. For once she felt no desire to dance even though the music was excellent and she could probably convince any man here to take her to the floor. She blamed it on Jean and her ruined mood.

"What's this? Do my eyes deceive me? Kätzchen, are you sulking in this corner and not wanting to dance?" Kurt asked, somehow magically appearing at her side.

"What if I am? How is that so strange?" Kitty challenged, refusing to look at him.

"But…but that's what I do! I'm the one that hides in the corner and needs to be dragged away to dance!" He protested. Kitty decided not to reply to that. "Well then…I suppose that the roles have reversed themselves tonight." He mused and began dragging her to the center of the room.

"What are you doing?" Kitty squeaked, startled by his actions.

"Since you seem to be pretending to be me, I'm pretending to be you! Besides, I owe you a bunch of birthday dances." Kurt grinned.

Kitty blinked and found herself swept into a dance before she could come up with some sort of escape. Kurt looked quite pleased with himself as he kept her trapped right where she was. The beat of the music drove the speed of their steps and left little time for Kitty to gather her wits. In the end she just abandoned all her attempts to escape and went along with what Kurt wanted.

Dance after dance flew by as night came and the party went up and down. Kitty found herself relaxing and even enjoying the evening that had started out so sour. Kurt seemed very happy, which she found odd. Normally when they danced he had a scowl fixed on his face. But she guessed things had changed and perhaps he was more mature now.

Before she knew it, the musicians packed up their instruments and headed off for sleep. Most people were either unconscious from too much drink and revelry or off in their beds. The small groups that remained chattered amongst themselves quietly. With no more music, there was no more dancing, and Kitty found herself being led away towards the balcony and the open night air.

"So did you have fun?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Yes," she admitted. "I missed dancing. And dancing with you." To her surprise, Kurt blushed.

"You missed dancing with me?" He asked disbelievingly.

"Of course I did, you were always one of the best dancers." She smiled.

"Really? And here I thought that I was terrible at it." He replied softly, turning his eyes to the bright stars to try and hide his darkening blush.

"You're terrible at starting to dance. Once you begin moving to the music you're much better." Kitty laughed and hugged his arm.

"What, I'm not perfect?" Kurt asked teasingly.

Kitty just giggled at him. The stars shone coolly in the inky sky and it was fascinating to gaze at them. So what if she'd done this for months while she traveled out in the wilder lands? It never lost its beauty to her eyes. Kurt seemed to share her opinion as he stood with her. But without the music to keep them moving and with the stillness of the stars, fatigue crept in on them. Kitty found herself swaying and yawning as her mind grew fuzzy with weariness. Kurt wasn't as tired as she was, but not by much.

With a final yawn, he took her by the shoulders and gently led her back inside. The great room was now completely deserted and their footsteps echoed eerily as they stumbled along. The halls were almost black as most of the servants had gone to bed and left the torches to burn out. Kitty had no idea if they were walking the right way, she was having enough trouble keeping her eyes open. When she came to a bed, she simply collapsed onto it. In seconds she was asleep.