Paint By Numbers

Chapter 1

*Author's note: This fic takes place a few months after Ascension . Colossus and Gambit joined the X-Men, Pyro joined the Brotherhood. Kitty and Lance are together, but fighting a lot, and she seems to be taking a special interest in Piotr. I have nothing against Lance, I just like Piotr better, and I can't see him and Kitty together in the comics because he's dead (sniff). Anyway, please r/r! If you guys like it, I'll continue. Thanks!

Disclaimer: Marvel owns everything, I own nothing.

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"Well, like, bye to you to!" Kitty yelled indignantly as Lance drove away in his brown jeep. He didn't even say goodbye, she fumed. I'm surprised he even dropped me off, I half expected him to tell me to walk home, even though he's the reason we got into another fight. If he would just, like, stand up for me in front of his friends every once in awhile. It's not my fault I don't like them. I mean, Wanda's ok, she's actually showing signs of a conscience. But Toad is like, soooo gross, and Blob's table manners could, like, definitely use some major work. Pietro's such a smug jerk, and Pyro, well, he like totally crossed the line to crazy a long time ago. I mean, him joking about setting my hair on fire, I can handle. But then he just kept looking at me....and laughing. It just, like, didn't make me feel very safe. And when I told that to Lance, expecting my stupid boyfriend to protect me, he just laughed right along with the rest of them. "Kitty, you're overreacting again" he says. "Kitty, why do you always have to cause problems with my friends?" he says. Yeah, like he's always so nice to my friends.

Speaking of my friends, like, where is everyone? I really would like to talk to a friendly face. Or Rogue. But she's probably off with Gambit. For someone who claims to hate him, she sure spends a lot of time with him. Maybe Kurt's here, she thought, heading toward the room her fuzzy blue friend shared with Colossus.

"Kurt?" she asked, phasing her head through the door. "Oh, hi Peter!" she said, as she used her powers to phase her whole body into the room. He was sitting near the window, facing her, working on a painting in front of him that she couldn't see.

"Kitty!" He said, startled. "I...I locked the door!"

Kitty glanced at the unopened door behind her. "Yeah, uh, I didn't use the door. Like, sorry!"

"Kurt's not here." Piotr replied, hoping that information would convince her to turn around and leave. She didn't.

"That's ok. I'll just talk to you instead. So...whatcha doin'?

"Painting," he said shortly, as she moved closer to his side of the painting.

"Well I know that, but what are you painting?" she asked innocently, wondering why he seemed so grumpy.

"A picture," he responded , struggling to shield the canvas from her as she kept trying to get a good look at what he was drawing.

"You know, you keep blocking it with your body and I can't see what it looks like."

"I know. That's why I keep blocking it with my body," he stated flatly.

"Uh-oh," Kitty thought. "The tin can man sounds annoyed. Or angry. Like, this is so not good. I better move away to the back of the painting so I don't upset him anymore. "You know," she said, trying to be cute, "I could, like, just phase through you and I'd be able to see it."

"No!" Peter yelled nervously. "I'm sorry, Katya. I...I do not wish for anyone to see my painting until it is completed. The subject matter is very special to me. It deserves to be perfect."

"Good, he's not mad," she thought. "What's the subject? Is it a girl? Is it someone you love?" Does he have a girlfriend? How come I never asked him that? Why do I care? It, like, shouldn't make any difference to me.

"Well, there's a girl in the painting,"

"Oh," she said flatly, her heart sinking. "Is it your girlfriend?" Please don't let it be his girlfriend, please don't let it be his girlfriend, please don't let it be his-

"No, it's.....it's my little snowflake."

Yes! He doesn't have a girlfriend! Not that I care. But it's not his girlfriend! It's his little snowflake. Wait, what's a little snowflake? "What's a little snowflake?"

"Oh, that is my nickname for my little sister, Illyana. She's only seven."

It's his sister, definitely not his girlfriend. The world is good. "You give a lot of people nicknames, don't you Peter?"

"No, Katya, only the ones who are special to me."

"So what else is in the picture?"

"What?"

"You said there was a girl in the picture. So, like, doesn't that mean she's only part of it?"

"Da, of course. I am drawing my...my home in Siberia."

"Do you miss Russia?" she asked, suddenly realizing she knew so little about where he came from.

"I miss the land, and the satisfaction of completing a hard day's work, but, mostly, I miss my family" he said wistfully. "But there is important work to be done here as well, and my conscience tells me that here, with the X-men, is where I am needed."

"Peter, would you tell me about your home?"

His face lit up at her request. "It is beautiful, Katya. Our farm is in a valley, and in the summer it is surrounded by row after row of golden crops. And all around it are huge, majestic mountains with peaks that are covered with snow all year. The sky is so clean and pure that when the sun sets, the sky is filled with such vibrant colors that not even great artists like Monet or Whistler could hope to imitate it. And down from our little house is a lake where Mikhail- that's my brother, he died years ago- used to teach me to swim, and where I took Illyana to teach her the same." He laughs at the memory. "At first my snowflake was scared of the lake, she thought a demon would come and get her. I had to turn into my steel form to make her feel safe. I told her I would never let any monster take my sister away from me. The last letter I got from Mama said that now my sister is like a little fish. Mama and Papa have to practically drag her back home from the lake." He looked at Kitty and smiled apologetically. "I'm afraid none of this may seem very exciting to a city girl like you, but to me, it will always be home."

Kitty wasn't sure of what to say. She had never known how homesick he was, and her heart broke for him. Finally, she managed to choke out a few words.

"Your painting is wonderful, Peter," she said sincerely.

"You haven't even seen it!" he replied, laughing.

"No, but with all the feelings and the love you put into it, it will be beautiful no matter what it looks like."

"Well, it helps that the subject is so beautiful. I was not lying about that," he told her softly.

"Was not lying about that? So what, were you like, lying about everything else?" she teased.

Peter just looked at her for a moment and smiled secretively, then silently continued to paint.

"Hey Peter? I know it's not done or anything, but do you think like in time you could show me your painting?" she asked hopefully.

"Perhaps, Katya. In time," he said, almost pensively. He looked up at her, and for the briefest moment, their eyes locked. Looking into them, Kitty noticed how gorgeous they really were, bright and blue and full of an emotion that she couldn't quite place; longing maybe? He looked back down at his painting, and Kitty took that as her cue to leave. She wandered back to her room, the argument with Lance forgotten , and all she could think about was Peter, and how handsome he was when he smiled.

Meanwhile, back in Peter's room, the Russian carefully continued working on his special painting, mixing a small amount of yellow paint in with the brown so he could match the exact shade of Kitty's light brown hair, then continued to lovingly paint her portrait.