Title: Gone

Dear Daddy,

I'm making this from Lon-done! Lon-done is a fun place compared to home. Mommy says I should start tryin' to call this home, but it's hard. But I think I would like Lon-done to be home. There's kings and queens and horses and castles and people talk funny like Kent and Pete and Hugh! Even funnier than Uncle Kurt, and that's pretty funny.

I didn't have a lot of friends before so I'm nervous 'bout going to the schools here. Mommy said I should go though, she said it would be good for me. I'm scared that the other kids won't be able to understan' me because I don't speak British and all. And they might get mad and yell at me when I set things on fire. But I don't mean to! I just do it on accident sometimes.

In Lon-done with Mommy's new friends, I am happier, because they don't get mad if I make a fire because most of them can do neat things like that too. Aunt Rachel can even make fire too, just like me! Sometimes Kali will show me her other two arms, which are really cool. I wish I had four arms and a tail like Uncle Kurt so I could hang upside down on the monkey bars and all the other kids would like me.

Mommy cries a lot at night still, but now she has Aunt Rachel to take care of her instead of just me or Uncle Kurt. I don't like listening to her cry, so I usually go watch some TV in the big room. A lot of the channels don't have shows for kids, so Hugh comes to watch with me and make sure I don't watch shows that are too old for me. I think my favorite is the Fairly Odd Parents, because even though I have aunts and uncles who can fly and are different colors, I don't have any fairy godparents! It would be nice to have some, but I don't have a whole lot to wish for. I would wish for you to come back, but Mommy says you're in a better place now so you probably wouldn't wanna come back. But I miss you.

'Member the time we went for a Christmas tree? That was so much fun, even though it was really cold and snowy and no tree was perfect until we went deep into the woods. But it was great when we found the perfect one! You cut it down so easily, and Mommy and me helped you carry it back to the car. That was the prettiest Christmas tree ever. We didn't have a tree last Christmas. Mommy said it wasn't right to do that, but I kinda missed it. She said we had to show you respect or somethin', but that got me mad because I thought you would want us to have a pretty Christmas tree. Sometimes I just wish you would come back for a visit from the better place to let us know what you want.

There's a lot of new people here that I met. There's Aunt Rachel's doctor, Cloe, whose really pretty and she says she's a mind doctor, not a body doctor like Will. I don't really know what that means, but I guess if you cut your mind or somethin', then she puts a band-aid on for you. That's what Will does when I cut my legs which is A LOT! I fall down a lot because I'm always running so fast and sometimes I forget to phase and bump into things. Will is nice, and he always tickles me and makes me laugh until Mommy comes by and then he pretends to be mean and tells me to be more careful but he always winks at me and sneaks me a lollipop when Mommy's not looking. I think Kali and Kent are in love, which Mommy tells me is what happens before you get married and that's why people get married. I don't know if they're going to get married, because whenever I ask them, Kali laughs and Kent turns all red. Kent talks British and is kinda shy, but he's cool because whenever he hurts his legs, they grow back all silverly and metally like you used to and I think 'bout you.

And Red and Pete. I don't really know them good, but Aunt Rachel tells me that Mommy and Pete and you used to all be friends together and be on a team together. Pete talks British too, and he smokes a lot so he kinda smells bad. Red has REALLY red hair, even redder than Aunt Rachel's! She's so cool! She's always walking around in really cool clothes and saying really cool things. She can remember everything all the time! I keep wanting to ask her if she knows my favorite book by memory so she could read it to me, but I don't think she wants to hang out with a little kid like me.

But the best is Hugh! You would really like him Daddy, because he's a really cool guy. He's a celebrity! He takes me out to the park sometimes, and to the zoo, and there's always lots of people taking our picture. He got to be a celebrity because he's very good with magic. And not like pulling bunnies out of a hat, but like talking to demons and making dragons and flying and really cool stuff like that! Sometimes he makes really pretty pictures of butterflies and kittens come to life for me, and it's a lot of fun. It's the most fun when Mommy and Hugh and me all go to the zoo or to the park together because he really can make Mommy laugh! And when Mommy's happy, I get really happy.

Red told me once that she thinks that Hugh really likes Mommy. I didn't know what she meant, because I really like Mommy too, and she said that maybe Mommy and Hugh were gonna fall in love. I guess that would mean that Hugh would be my new Daddy, but I don't like that idea. You're always gonna be my Daddy, right? I don't know if I would be upset if Mommy and Hugh fell in love, because then they would both be happy. Actually, that's good because then we'd all be happy and together forever! But he still wouldn't be you, Daddy. He would be Daddy-Hugh, not Daddy-Daddy. You're always gonna be Daddy-Daddy.

I love you Daddy-Daddy. And miss you too.


The moment Hugh saw Kitty smile at him, he knew he was done for.

He hadn't been expecting it when Pete announced that they would be joining us in London, but it sounded like Red did. She railed about the dangers of having a former X-woman who had her mind screwed with around, let alone a little girl who already displayed formable powers. He didn't understand it either, but he didn't really mind. As long as Kitty kept smiling that way at him, he was absolutely fine.

The reunion between her and Pete was rather stilted, but between Kitty and Rachel was another story. The woman had been living with us for over a year, and spent time with us even before that, and when she saw Kitty was the first time Hugh ever saw Rachel smile. Kitty has that effect on people. He knows he's been smiling a lot more recently.

Red seems to take that as some sort of invitation to talk to him more. She complains that MI-X is falling prey to all the old vices that the X-Men fell to. And for her, the worst of all is that we're all coupling up. Kali and Kent. Will and his flame of the month. Red and Pete. And, though no one really talks about it, Rachel and Cloe. Out of all these 'couples,' Red's getting the least love and it's driving her nuts. He knows for a fact that it enrages her to see Kitty every morning, and that daughter of hers. Red hates children. Red hates Kitty.

He thinks he might really like Kitty. Which makes him nervous. He's never really liked anyone before, no childhood sweetheart, no soul mate discovered at any of his pub and party crawls. He guess it didn't help that he wasn't particularly looking, but he's not looking now either, so why can't he get Kitty's smile out of my mind? It makes him do weird things, like turn down one-night stands and stay in watching Teletubbies with her kid.

And he's pretty sure Red is the only one who notices.

Kitty certainly hasn't noticed. She's withdrawn, detached, talking to herself a lot. Cloe told Hugh at first that it was probably because of all of Xavier's mind tampering, but he doesn't really know if he believes that. At night, he can hear whispering coming from Rachel's room, and he recognizes Kitty's voice. He thinks he hears her crying. Most of the evenings, Lilly spends time with Hugh, occasionally Pete. But Pete is dead set against watching Teletubbies, so it's usually Hugh.

Red initially wanted to be more obvious with Pete and tried kissing him a lot in front of the rest of MI-X at breakfast. He always shrugged her off, growling, and she stopped because she was coming off more as a clingy bad date than anything else. Kali immediately liked Kitty, some sort of unspoken bond against the relationship between Pete and Red. Will and Kitty, they get along fine, as they're both Jews and the only Yanks on the active team. Hugh's heard quiet talking and loud laughs from Hugh's room at night, but Kitty always leaves early so Will's boyfriend can take over. Kent is rarely seen anymore without Kali. Red snarls at Kitty.

But Hugh can't stay away from Kitty, and her smile.

A Tuesday night found them sitting along the short wall around the London estate of MI-X. Their feet dangled above the ground, and Hugh felt like he was thirteen again.

"So," he said after a while, "how does this all compare with the X-Men?" He realized five seconds too late that it might have been the wrong question. He studied her face for any sort of wince.

She was fine. "It's different. It's more like Excalibur than anything else." She shook her head. "It feels a bit odd to be so supported by the government and the people." She leaned forward, kicking her feet back and forth idly. "What about you? You like doing this?"

Hugh tilted his head and grinned. "It softens up my image. I was worried I was coming off as too much of a hedonist."

Kitty snorted on her drink, her hand flying up to her nose. "And hanging out with people in tight spandex makes you look less of a hedonist?"

He chuckled a bit, shaking his head. "We don't do that here, Kit. Pete's much more of a jeans and trench coat kinda guy, and I think we're all more than happy to follow in his footsteps."

"It's weird," she said, shaking her head and wrapping her arms tightly around her body. "I miss the uniforms. I mean, I realize how ridiculous they were, but they helped draw a line. It was like wearing a mask, you know?"

"In a way," he added, looking straight out, trying to stop staring at her body and the way she was holding it, "that's part of the problem. We don't have codenames. We don't have uniforms. We're just normal people who have extraordinary abilities with nothing to hide." He shrugged. "People trust us more. They can relate to us."

"I guess that was something I helped make worse," she sighed. "It was always 'us' and 'them.' We didn't want them to relate to us, or us to relate to them." She turned her head away and added softly, "We wanted to deny we had any normal problems."

"You must miss Piotr. A lot." Hugh had been around for Pete's reception of the wedding invitation and had seen the chaos it caused. But he still couldn't help but feel more for the young widow, understand her despair more.

She turned back to him suddenly, her face twisted. "You know, you're the first one who's even mentioned his name to me."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I appreciate someone not treating me like I'm made of glass." She smiled at him, brilliantly. "I'm not as fragile as everyone here seems to think."

"You seem pretty strong to me," he said. God, he sounded like he was sixteen all over again.

Her smile was smaller, but still there. "I do miss Piotr. But not in the way you would imagine." She frowned. "I miss him for Lilly's sake."

"I like Lilly." He smiled. "She's a spirited young lady. Like her mother."

Kitty snorted. "God help me when she turns thirteen. I don't know if I could handle much more spirit."

He cocked his head, tossed his hair. "You'll be fine. You're a great mum."

Again, a snort. "I'm not sure." She rubbed her neck, looking over at him. "I never thought I would actually be a mother. I mean, when I was little I had all those dreams about having a fancy wedding, a great husband, 2.5 kids. But after you wear the colors for a while, all of that stuff seems almost too ordinary. And too unlikely."

"But now all those dreams came true. Right?"

A frown twisted her features and she turned away. "I don't trust dreams too much anymore."

Right. Xavier and his dream. "Sorry, Kit. Always put me foot in the mouth."

She quirked an eyebrow. "That's the first time I really noticed an accent. Are you British?"

"Oh Jaysus," he said, smiling, "don' dare compare me to that shiite."

She smile, laughed a bit. "Irish then?"

He nodded. "I've been 'famous'," he did the quotes in the air, "for so long that my accent is pretty much all gone."

She ran a hand through her hair. She leaned in and beamed at him. "I like your accent."

And Hugh knew he was gone.