Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own any of these characters. Rudolph, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and all the others were legends in their own right long before I got to them--before I was even born, actually. Wow. Please don't steal my story!

NOTE: This story takes place in an alternate reality all its own. Its basic setting is Evolutionverse, but Kurt is a teacher at the Institute instead of a student. I'm not sure why, it just came out that way.

And now, without further ado...On with the show!

The Incredible Nightcrawler meets Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

A Fractured Christmas Tale by Rowena

First Time Showing

Admission is Free!

Chapter 1

Jamie Madrox popped his brand-spanking new DVD into the player, then crawled under the warmly lit Christmas tree, feeling for the plug that would douse the small pinpricks of multi-colored light gracing its fragrant branches. With the glare now gone from the large television screen, Jamie hopped onto the over-stuffed couch, grabbed the remote control, and settled down to enjoy his movie.

Jamie, being one of the youngest of the students at Professor Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters, practically never had control of the remote. Feeling its cool, plastic weight in his hand was sheer bliss. For once, he had the television all to himself and he was watching a movie he wanted to see. He only wished he had someone he could share it with, someone who wouldn't make fun of him for liking such an old, childish movie...

"Guten Abend, Jamie," a softly accented voice greeted from the doorway. Jamie adjusted his lounging position on the sofa just enough to see the newcomer--or rather, his glowing, yellow eyes. The fine, velvet-like midnight fur of the German-born Kurt Wagner tended to blend so well with shadows that he became functionally invisible in the dark.

"Oh, hi Mr. Wagner," Jamie grinned, sitting up and waving him in. "I was just about to watch my new DVD. Wanna see it with me?"

Kurt Wagner stepped into the room, looking around for signs of any other children. It was late, just past 10PM, but during vacation the recreation room was usually filled with kids arguing over which programs to watch on TV, playing board games, or just chatting. This night, however, it was completely empty except for thirteen-year-old Jamie.

"Where are all the other children, Jamie?" Kurt asked.

Jamie grunted. "Oh, they're a bunch of wusses. I showed them my new DVD and told them I just had to watch this movie tonight because it's my absolute favorite, and they all ran away screaming."

Kurt tilted his head as he took up his usual perch on the back of the sofa. "Is it a horror film, then?"

Jamie stared at him for a moment, incredulous. Then he burst out laughing. Kurt was, understandably, quite confused.

"What did I say?"

"Gee whiz, man! A horror movie!" Jamie considered for a moment. "Well, there is an Abominable Snowman. I gotta admit he scared me pretty bad when I was little. But even he's not a real bad guy, at least, not at the end."

Kurt nodded patiently with a small smile. "Jamie, perhaps it would be helpful if you were to tell me the title of this film, ja?"

"Oh, right, yeah! It's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! An all-time Christmas classic, no matter what all the other guys say!"

Kurt wrinkled his dark brow. "I have heard of the song by that name, but I was unaware that there was a film as well."

Jamie nearly fell off the sofa. "No way! There's a movie that you haven't heard of? Someone call Dr. McCoy, I think I'm having a heart-attack!"

Kurt chuckled, unconsciously raising a hand to cover his sharp teeth. "It does seem impossible, ja? But if you like it so much, it certainly cannot be bad. Shall I stay and watch it with you?"

Jamie beamed. "Oh, yeah, please?! I love this movie, but I've seen it so many times, you know? It'll be great to actually get to share it with somebody."

Kurt smiled fondly at the boy, then flicked his gaze to the television set. "Ach, the advertisements are over. I believe the film is about to begin."

Jamie suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Um, I gotta warn you, though, some of the songs in this are sort of, well, cheezy. But the story's really good even so, so don't give up on it, OK?"

Kurt chuckled again, the swaying of his long, prehensile tail emphasizing his amusement. "Jamie, do not worry so! I am here for the duration, and I promise I will not judge your film until I have experienced it in its entirety."

Jamie smiled. "Experienced? Cool, I like that. Oh, quiet now! It's starting!" Jamie sat back and turned his attention to the glowing screen. Kurt watched his enraptured young face for a reflective moment, then turned his focus to the screen as well. He was just in time to see a plump, animated snowman begin his tale of the misfit reindeer who saved Christmas.

Wolverine tossed and turned, kicking and twisting his rumpled sheets as he fought, unsuccessfully, to shove two large pillows into his hyper-sensitive ears. Some heartless fiend was watching some kind of sappy kid's flick in the recreation room two levels down. The volume was relatively low, but to Wolverine the simple, sugary Christmas tunes might as well have been blasting in from the next room. He shuddered as the sound of childish voices raised in song forced their way through the thick pillows to pummel his eardrums. It was an agonizing torture he should not have to put up with this late at night.

His dark eyes burning with barely contained frustration brought on by forced sleep deprivation, Wolverine ground his teeth, tore out of bed, and stormed down the hall. The burly Canadian fully intended to intimidate the youthful offender into abandoning his or her late-night activities and getting into bed where he or she belonged, even if it meant he had to physically carry the kid there himself.

To Be Continued...