This is just a little ficlet, not my usual style. I wrote it after reading the X2 comic novelization about Kurt Wagner's origins, and it's really not much of anything.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The show must go on.

That's what everyone always said. Things would happen, usually bad things, and they would sigh and shake their heads and say, "The show must go on."

And they would smile and go through the performances though nothing was wrong, as though their lives were perfect. The crowd never knew the difference.

But Amanda knew the difference, and hated herself for pretending. After her part in the show, she stood aside and watched the acrobats, dressed as devil and angel, swing athletically over the crowd's heads.

It wasn't the same without Kurt. It wasn't as good. And even though the people still enjoyed it, deep down, everyone performing knew that they could be enjoying it more.

She missed him. Especially after that last performance in Canada, after what he had ad-libbed.

"I live to take your breath away, Amanda."

The words echoed in her skull long after he had spoken them, long after he had disappeared. Louder as she came to realize how they had treated him, how wrong it had all been. To dress the most pious and gentle person she'd ever known in the costume of the devil. All in the name of ticket sales.

The thought of it made Amanda feel unworthy of his words. A part of her was glad he had run away from the people who had claimed to love him, and yet treated him like a piece of mutant garbage.

"You could have had Kurt," her mother had said, after one of the many times she'd caught her with Werner; stupid, handsome Werner.

"Kurt?!" She'd exclaimed. "You think I should be with Kurt? But he's blue! He has a tail! He's a mutant!"

Even though Kurt hadn't heard her say the words, she'd begged his forgiveness later.

But it was too late. Kurt was gone. Amanda choked back a sob and slipped out of the tent, running for the relative solitude of her mother's trailer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Review.