Author's Note: Universe X; I will not pretend to understand half the stuff that happened in that, and I probably never WILL understand what happened in that. All I know is that Belasco turned out to really be Nightcrawler...and that he was very sad when he found that out. Weep for Belasco, people.

*** His eyes watered slowly as he watched Scott overlooking the new X-men's training. They were laughing, acting like it was all just a game, and maybe it was. Looking up slightly, he saw Magneto walking over.

"There...There." He whispered. "Magneto is an ally now. A hero. A [i]friend[/i]. You've succeeded in [i]redeeming[/i] him, X-men, as you have almost [i]all[/i] your enemies. Magneto... The Brotherhood... Unus... Juggernaut... Sauron. You saved them [i]all[/i]."

He leaned forward slowly and he shifted his feet slightly on the tree branch he was crouching on. He as up in a high tree, hoping that he was hidden from their view. Raising up his one arm, he took hold of a strong branch overhead.

He had five slender fingers but they were bound tightly together in two pairs. He wanted to try and remember what it was like only having two fingers and a thumb.

"You saved them [i]all[/i]." He repeated softly, his tail swaying side to side. "But what of a [i]friend's[/i] redemption? Why haven't you redeemed [i]me[/i]? What about [i]Kurt Wagner[/i]?"

Scott looked up at the trees and he narrowed his eyes as there was a sparkle of light in the trees. He walked over and at first he saw nothing up in the trees. Then he saw something glittering on the ground. Bending down, he picked up a golden coin.

"What is it?" Charmer asked. Rolling the coin from finger to finger slowly, Scott recognized it finally when he saw a small hole in it.

"A coin from Belasco's necklace." He said. "He was just here."

"Why?" Dogface asked, placing his hands on his hips. Scott sighed softly, placing the coin in his pocket.

"Trying to find the courage to come forward." ***
It had taken Belasco two weeks to build up enough courage to go and see how the X-men were. A few times he told himself no and that it was useless. He had finally just closed his eyes and cast a teleportation spell, sending him into the forest near the training area.

He just wanted to see how they were. ***
When the child Mar-vell showed him those images...telling him he was not Belasco but Kurt Wagner... How could he believe him? He had been filled with such rage that he wanted to prove Mar-vell wrong by going to the place where he first appeared to see if the body was there.

"I am the bane of Dante! The [i]chosen[/i] of the Elder Gods." He snarled to himself as he fought with his one arm through the thick vines and cables.

"Do they think they can fool me?! Idiots!" Closing his eyes tightly, he pulled as hard as he could on the last pile of cords and vines, sending ice and metal shards everywhere.

When he opened his eyes, he was staring at the real Belasco, a human frozen in solid ice with a sword raised over his head.

Falling to his knees, he wept. ***
When he finally got control of himself; Loki had succeeded in talking Creel into becoming Vibranium and going into the Earth's core to save it in New York City; but he didn't know that and he didn't really care either.

Getting to his feet slowly, Belasco wiped his eyes and he looked at the frozen body standing in front of him, showing that the great liar had been lied to himself.

Slowly, he picked up a heavy metal pipe and he started to smash on the frozen body, ice shards flying all over along with the body. He finally stopped when it was completely destroyed; nothing but a pile of ice at his feet.

Dropping the bar, he closed his eyes and mumbled a teleportation spell, going to just any place but there. ***
He spent two weeks among the mutated people, a spell surrounding him to make him look like a man who resembled a dolphin that had the body of man with lone long fin that had been shredded. He used this as an excuse when he asked a woman to tie up his wounded fin, watching as she tied his fingers into the two pairs.

Then he went to go and see the X-men. ***
When he reappeared after nearly getting caught by Scott, he was in a clearing.

"Idiot." He whispered, sitting down and banging his head a bit with his fist. "What was I thinking by going back there? There was just no point!" Growling softly, he ran his hand through his hair, which had started to grow again since he stopped having it shortened.

He sat like that for a while until he finally noticed that the winds had gotten stronger behind him. Opening his eyes and lifting his head up, Belasco watched as Ororo landed a few feet away from him, her blue eyes glittering with pity.


"Leave me alone, witch." He whispered softly, looking away.

"Kurt, Scott knows you were over at the school before. He told me to go and find you and bring you back." Ororo said.

"What for?" Belasco demanded, standing up slowly. "To fight me? I don't think so."


"Stop calling me that!" he screamed, closing his eyes tightly against the tears.

"You know that's your name." Ororo said. "That's why your hand is tied up the way it is. You know you're Kurt Wagner!"

"But I don't deserve to be called by that name anymore." He said softly.


"I have to be redeemed first." He said weakly. "And I can't do it by myself, Ororo. I just can't"

"We can help you." He looked up at her slowly, his tail curling up slightly in such a way that Ororo couldn't help but see the old Kurt in him.

"Can you?" he asked. When she nodded, he looked away for a moment, his tail swaying side to side slowly. Finally, he turned back to her and he nodded grimly, holding out his hand to her.

"All right." He said, taking her hand in his. With his tail, he sketched the rune that would take them back, and in a flash of light they were gone. ***
They couldn't have appeared at a worse time.

Colossus had returned and was talking with Scott about everything that had happened when Belasco and Ororo appeared from behind. Colossus looked over his shoulder and in a flash was in metal form, cursing in Russian as he raised up a fist at Belasco.

"Wait!" Ororo shouted.

Belasco stood where he was and took the blow as it shattered his cheekbone, sending him flying a few feet before a tree stopped him. He sat up slowly before Colossus kicked him in the stomach, making him double over in pain as he coughed up blood.

The abuse went on for a while, Belasco wasn't sure as fist after fist came down on him, shattering bones and such. When Colossus was finally held back, Belasco had finally fallen into blissful nothingness. ***
Belasco's dreams were filled with the evil he had done. Most of them had to do with Illyana, Jimaine, and his slave; an alternate version of Nightcrawler. He was teaching Illyana the Arcane arts one minute, and beating his slave the other. In another scene, he was tormenting a disguised Jimaine in a cage.

The dreams always made him scream until his voice was sore, and his voice had only healed up three days ago.

He woke with a start, and he immediately regretted it as pain lanced down his body, making him let out a weak scream.

"Don't move too much." Hank warned gently. "Piotr caused a lot of damage to your body before we could pull him away from you. We were worried a few times that we would lose you."

"How bad is it?" Belasco asked slowly.

"Oh you've been out for five weeks." Hank said.

"Five weeks!" Belasco repeated, his eyes growing wide in surprise.

"Indeed." Hank nodded, adjusting his spectacles. "During that time most of your wounds have been healing quite nicely actually. The pain you feel now should be over in another day or two. Then you'll be able to walk around again."

"What happened to Colossus?" Belasco asked.

"He's calmed down a bit." Hank said. "We did find him in here once with his hands around your throat trying to strangle you...but we dealt with that."

"Don't make him try to accept me." Belasco said. "That won't give me redemption. I need him to forgive me willingly."

"Yes, Ororo told me that you wanted that." Hank said. "Kurt..."


"[i]Belasco[/i] then. What do you think will constitute you being redeemed and able to call yourself Kurt again?" he asked, looking at him a bit sadly. Belasco bit his bottom lip slightly, looking down a little.

"Until I have been forgiven by every person I have wronged." He said. "Then I will be redeemed and worthy of being Nightcrawler again." Hank rested a hand on his arm lightly, smiling at him faintly.

"If it's any good to you," he said, "Ororo, Scott, and I have all ready forgiven you for what you have done." Belasco sighed softly, leaning his head back and closing his eyes, his tail that was hanging over the side of the bed swaying lazily from side to side as if he was a cat sunning itself on a windowsill.

"Three down." He said. "A lot more to go."