This is my story, obviously. Hope ya like it.

Disclaimer: I do not own the X-men. All I own is the plot of this story and related characters, like Iris and Dave. Steal 'em if you like, but give me credit. (But let's face it – who'd want to steal them?)

Caught in the Headlights

It was eleven pm, and nobody with any brains at all would be wandering around at this time of night. Yet, someone was out, strolling casually along beside a road, his face hidden in shadow.

It was the outskirts of town, with a few houses dotted here and there along the road, and the occasional car that swept past. Streetlights cast little patches of yellow on the ground, with tiny shadows constantly flitting through as moths darted around. The figure looked up and sighed. The headlights from a passing car illuminated his face for a second. Indigo hair framed a gentle face. Dark eyes were set under dark brows. He reached up and swept the hair out of his eyes. His hands seemed to be inflicted with a strange disease that made him seem like a fanatical Star Trek fan. But it was all an illusion.

Kurt Wagner sighed again. He had been taking night-time wanders for several days now. Whenever he slept, his dreams were plagued by nightmares, so he had developed this remedy. Stay awake for ages. Wear yourself out. Then crawl back to bed, too tired to dream. Besides, night was his friend. Demons belonged in the dark.

He smiled bitterly. Demon. Freak. Monster. Creature of darkness! Hell- spawn! He had heard them all, and many others besides. Not that he could blame those who shouted the words. It wasn't their fault how he looked without the illusion. If only they knew the truth, and how much it hurt to hear them scream. At least with his Image Inducer he could mingle and make friends. And he had friends who didn't care how he looked with or without it.

He smiled again, but this time it was natural. Yes, he had good friends. Friends who came to his rescue when he needed them. Friends who supported him. Friends who laughed at his stupid jokes, helped him with homework, and beat him to a pulp during training. Friends who understood what it was like to be different. Not quite as much as he, but they understood all the same.

And there was one who, although she was not like him at all, loved him nevertheless. Kurt's grin took on a slightly dreamy quality as he though of Amanda. Amanda, who hadn't screamed when she saw him for who he really was, and still loved him. Just thinking of her made the dark night seem to sparkle.

Kurt shook himself out of his reverie and glanced at his Image Inducer, which doubled as a watch. Eleven-thirty. He'd been out long enough. Although the Professor let him wander during the night, he had made it clear that he was to be back at the mansion before midnight. Something to do with 'being mentally and physically fit enough to cope with school and general social pursuits'.

Kurt bit his lip as he glanced back in the direction of the mansion. It was only one 'port away. And the night sky was so clear. The stars really shone away from the cluster of houses near the centre of Bayville. Maybe just five more minutes.

He leant back against a lamp-post and savoured the solitude. He felt much better after his reflection on life in general. Yeah, he had it worse than most, but there were still high points. He probably had it better than heaps of other mutants out there, who didn't know about the Institute and were all alone. His usual optimism had kicked in at last. Life seemed – if not great – then okay.

At the house opposite him a door opened, and a man carrying a garbage bag stepped out. Suddenly a white cat shot out from under his legs. The man cursed loudly.

"Damn it! Lucy! The cat's out!"

The reply was yelled from somewhere within the house.

"Well, catch it again Harry!"

Harry grumbled and stomped down the steps. The cat was sitting in the garden and licking one foot placidly. Kurt watched with amusement as Harry tried to sneak up behind it.

A young boy appeared at the doorway, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

"Dad?" he said. "Whatcha doing?"

"Catching Socks," came the grumpy reply. "Go back to bed. You shouldn't be up."

"I wanna catch Socks too!" the boy said brightly, jumped down the steps and ran towards the cat, which immediately started running again.

"Jack!" yelled Harry, but the boy took no notice.

The cat dashed onto the road, with Jack following. Just as they reached the middle of the road, headlights swung around the corner. The cat ran past Kurt, but Jack froze.

"Jack!" screamed his father. 'Get off the road!" He started running, but he was too far away. The boy couldn't move. Like a deer, or a rabbit, he was frozen to the spot by sheer terror.

He was caught in the headlights. (A/N: Yeah, bit corny, but I had to relate it to the title somehow, eh?)

Kurt could see the person in the car. He willed them to stop, but then saw they were talking on a mobile phone. They hadn't even seen the boy they were about to flatten. They weren't going to stop.

The moment he realised this, Kurt sprung into action. He was closer than the father. He automatically crouched down into his four-legged running position and raced towards Jack. Two metres away, he crouched down even further, and leapt.

Out of the corner of his eye, Kurt saw the driver's eyes expand, and her body jerk as she hit the brakes. Then he struck Jack, bowling the boy over, and out of harm's way. Jack was safe. But he wasn't.

Everything slowed down. The car struck him, still going about thirty. He felt several bones shatter, something crunch, and something deep inside cry out in agony. He was lifted up off the ground – and flung ten metres onto hard, unforgiving concrete. He rolled off the road and into a ditch next to it.

Screams and cries of horror slashed the night air. Kurt just lay in a fog of pain. He was conscious, but only barely.

"Ohmigod, ohmigod, OHMIGOD! I killed someone! Ohmigod! I'm going to jail!"


"It's okay, Jack, it's okay. Stay here with Mommy, I'm going to see if the other person's okay."

"Ohmigod, I'm so sorry, I nearly ran over your son."

"He's fine, but the guy you hit might not be. Stop wailing and help me find him!"


"Hush Jack, Daddy's just going to find your rescuer. Wasn't he nice, helping you like that?"

"(Sniff) Will he – he be okay Mommy?"

"Of course he will be dear; he just got a little bumped, that's all."

Through the white hot fog in his mind, Kurt slowly took these things in. One thing speared through his brain. They were coming to find him. Kurt shifted slightly, whimpering with pain.

"Over there! I think I heard something!"

He looked at his hand in horror. It was blue. The Image Inducer hadn't survived the crash, and now he looked like a demon. When they saw him, they would kill him. He knew it! So what if he saved their son – he was a demon. He had to escape!

"There! That dark shape!"

Kurt gasped. They'd seen him! He glanced around, blinking the blood out of his eyes. Two shapes were advancing. Kurt closed his eyes, and did the only thing he could. He teleported.

"What the hell? Did you see that? The shape – the guy – he just disappeared! Look, he's gone!"

Somewhere in nearby woods, there was a puff and the stench of brimstone wafted up amongst the trees. Kurt appeared. Unfortunately, he was upright. Pain exploded in his leg, his side – everywhere. With a soft moan, he collapsed onto the ground, and darkness claimed him. (A/N: Cliché, I know. But it sounds good.)

"Kurt! Get up! You're going to be, like, late!" Kitty Pryde hammered on the door. "Get UP!"

No answer. She rested her head against the door and sighed in irritation. What was wrong with the fuzzy elf? Usually he was first up, and ready to annoy the hell out of everyone. Now he was in danger of being late to school. He'd even missed breakfast.

"If you don't get up in five seconds, I'm, like, coming in! Five...four...three- two-one – I'm COMING IN!"

Still no answer. The threat usually worked. Maybe he was ill? She wrinkled her nose in exasperation and stuck her head through the door.

"Hey Kurt, are ... you okay?" Her voice faded away. His bed was empty. It hadn't been slept in. That meant he'd been missing ALL NIGHT.

Kitty withdrew her head. What should she do? Should she tell the Professor? What if Kurt had been attacked by the Brotherhood? Or what if...

Whoa, like, calm down Kitty, she told herself. There's probably tonnes of reasons why he's not there. He could have got up, and then made his bed and be hiding, just to annoy us.

"Kurt? KURT! If you're, like, doing this on purpose, I'm going to kill you!"

"Kitty! Can you wake Kurt up QUIETLY!" Scott Summers scowled at her.

"Scott, he's not there. And I don't think his bed's been, like, slept in."

"Nonsense. Kurt never stays out past midnight. He knows the rules."

"Well, where is he then?"

"How am I supposed to know?"

"Well stop, like, acting like I'M supposed to know!"

"Okay, okay, sor-ry! So his bed hasn't been slept in at all?"

"Not that I can, like, tell."

Scott frowned, thinking. Kurt had been doing his night time wanderings for about three days now, and had never failed to be in bed by midnight.

"He's probably just playing around, getting us worked up. You know Kurt."

"Yeah. Probably. But he's gonna, like, be late for school if he doesn't show up soon."

"Hmm. KURT! Come on already!"

No cheery German good morning. No fuzzy elf BAMFing in front of them with a huge grin. No sniggers.

Scott massaged his temple, vexed. "Well, if he doesn't show up, he can walk."

"Maybe he wants a day off school?" suggested Kitty.

"He has been a little depressed lately," admitted Scott. "I suppose he'll tell us in his own time."

"Uh-huh." She looked at her watch. "Argh! Like, forget Kurt, WE'RE gonna be late!"

They both turned and dashed downstairs, all thoughts and ponderings of Kurt pushed aside in the moment.

Kurt opened his eyes slowly. He blinked once, twice. Where was he? He seemed to be lying face down in leaves. He ached all over. Had there been a wild party? Did he get drunk and pass out in someone's yard? No, partying didn't pound you like this. And he didn't get drunk often. Had the Brotherhood caught him? They'd done it before, but even then he hadn't felt this bad.

Kurt tried raising his head. Bad move. His whole body exploded in a fireball of pain. He choked back a scream and concentrated on breathing slowly and carefully. Slowly the pain subsided.

What had happened? It felt like every bone in his body was broken. Suddenly it came to him. The night time walk, the cat, the boy – the car. He groaned. No wonder he felt so bad. He probably HAD broken every bone in his body. Gingerly he moved his tail. It twinged a little, but didn't feel broken. Then he tried his left arm. Pain raced through it. Kurt gasped, and tried to not pass out.

Now what? He couldn't move, he looked like a demon, he didn't even know where he was ... it didn't look good. In fact, it couldn't get much worse.

Oh no. Why'd he say that? Whenever anyone says 'it couldn't get worse' it does.

There was a rustle behind him. Kurt stiffened. Verdammt! It just got worse! The rustling moved slowly round, edging towards his front. Shuffle, shuffle ... it was level with his shoulder blades ... shuffle, shuffle ... was it a dog? A human would have screamed by now ... shuffle, shuffle, shuffle ... hope it's not hungry ... shuffle, shuffle, shuffle ...

A squirrel poked its furry face in front of his eyes and sniffed inquisitively. Kurt almost laughed with relief. It was just a squirrel. One tiny squirrel in a forest full of dead leaves.

"You make a lot of noise, mein freund," Kurt whispered hoarsely. The squirrel took fright and scampered up the nearest tree, where it perched on a branch, staring at him with wide eyes.

Kurt sighed. The squirrel made him realise how exposed and helpless he was. He was fully visible, unable to attack or escape. If someone saw him, decided he was an evil creature, and attempted to kill him, he could do nothing. He had to get help, fast.

Kurt tried sitting up. Pain racked his body, but he shoved it away viciously. Slowly, body screaming the entire time, he forced himself into a sitting position. From there, he analysed his condition.

His left arm and leg both hung at strange – well, stranger than normal – angles, probably broken. The car had hit on his left side. He could still feel his toes, so his spine was intact, luckily. He was scraped and bruised all over. The road wasn't very friendly. There was an aching pain in his side, possibly a broken rib – or something more serious.

He was definitely in no position to be going anywhere. Teleporting, even if he had the strength, would possibly kill him. Kurt's stomach grumbled. Great. He needed food, soon. With a metabolism stuck on fast forward, food was important. He wasn't going to heal at all if he didn't have energy.

It DEFINITELY didn't look good.

He took a deep breath. Okay. Think carefully. There has to be a way out of this. His teleportation limit was two miles, right? So he was just up to two miles away from Bayville. Or two miles into the middle of Bayville. But, considering the lack of people around, that didn't seem to be the case.

He couldn't get up and walk back to the mansion. Therefore, he needed to let the others know where he was, and they could get him. How ... hmm. The Professor!

Professor? Can you hear me? PROFESSOR!

The Professor looked at Scott and Jean solemnly. "And you can't find him anywhere?"

Jean shook her head. "Nowhere. I can't find him with my telepathy either."

"And Kitty said his bed didn't look like it had been slept in," said Scott.

Charles Xavier sighed. Of all his students, Kurt had the biggest knack for getting into trouble. But this was beyond a petty prank. The German youngster had completely disappeared.

"You first realised he was missing this morning, correct?" he asked Scott, who nodded.

"But you did not think to inform me?"

Scott looked uncomfortable. "Well, uh, Kurt's been looking a bit depressed lately, so I, uh, we thought he just needed some time to himself. Y'know, some time out. We didn't think it was serious."

"Kurt has been rather disheartened of late," admitted the Professor. "But he knows not to stay out after midnight. And it is now five in the afternoon."

"Maybe ... the Brotherhood?" suggested Scott.

Xavier frowned. "It is possible, but..."

Suddenly, something brushed his mind. It was incredibly faint, but he latched onto it.

... Professor...


Kurt sighed with relief. It was the Professor, very weak but still understandable.

Ja, it's me.

Where are you?

He sure doesn't waste time getting to the point, Kurt thought wryly. I'm not exactly sure. Somewhere in a wood. Outside Bayville, I think.

Are you okay?

Uh, not really.

What happened?

I was...

He broke off. Something was coming towards him, their feet crunching on the leaves. And it was not a squirrel.

Kurt? Kurt?

The Professor opened his eyes with a huff of frustration. He had had the boy, and then – he was gone. Something – or someone – had interrupted Kurt's concentration.

"Professor?" Jean said. "What's going on?"

"It was Kurt. The Brotherhood doesn't have him. He's somewhere in a wood, outside Bayville. I was in the middle of asking how he came to be there when the connection was cut off."

Scott cursed. "Damn! Well, we'll just have to act on what information we've got."

Xavier caught a glimmer of Scott's thoughts, and instantly understood the young man's eagerness. Scott viewed Kurt as a younger brother, constantly protecting him and making sure he was safe. He felt that he was to blame for not reporting the fuzzy elf's absence earlier.

"You cannot blame yourself," he said gently. "Kurt often needs time to himself, so it is understandable to think he was just taking some time out to think. But, in the future, please inform me if there is ANY concern about the safety of one of the students."

"Yes sir," chorused both Scott and Jean.

The Professor thought for a moment, brow furrowed. They didn't know the exact location of Kurt, only that he was in a wood somewhere out of Bayville. And Cerebro had gone and crashed.

Yes, Professor, what is it?

I would like you to conduct a search for me. Check all forests and woods around Bayville. We have information that Kurt may be in one.

I'll go at once. Hmm. It's going to rain soon. I hope he has shelter.

So do I, but we can't count on it.

Yes, I know. Farewell then.

Kurt was terrified. Everything was going wrong. The steps were coming closer and closer, he had lost connection with the Professor and, just to make his life worse, storm clouds were rolling in.

He pressed himself further against the tree he leant against, wishing he had Shadowcat's power. She would have just phased into the middle of the tree and waited for the thing to pass. But he had no such option.

He was panting now, like a hunted animal. Memories surged through his mind, memories of hunts, chases, cries of rage, and fear, always fear. He swallowed, trying to stay calm, but failing miserably.

The crunching sound was so close now. In a couple of minutes the thing would be on him. He could hear every separate footstep. Verdammt leaves...

Leaves. Everywhere. Deep piles of them. DEEP piles. Deep enough – to hide in! Kurt wasted no time. Using his tail and one good arm, he scooped the leaves around him. Gently, carefully, he lay down, and used his tail to cover himself. Then he coiled the prehensile limb up, and prayed to God there wasn't any blue fur poking out.

A man walked into his view, a gap between two leaves. Kurt tensed, and held his breath. The man didn't pause. He didn't suddenly scream and shout 'Holy crap! What the f is that?' He just kept walking until he was out of sight. Kurt let out his held air in a whoosh.

Shiesse. This was getting too dangerous. He couldn't keep going. He was miserable and starving. He didn't know where he was. Life sucked.

A drop of water hit him on the nose as he poked his out from under the leaves.

"Shiesse!" he wailed. It was starting to rain. His broken limbs began to throb painfully. He just wanted to get out of here!

Kurt curled himself up, and softly began to cry.

Storm soared overhead. The rain didn't bother her. It WAS her. She was where she belonged. In the clouds, in the sky. The rain, the thunder, the lightning – it was all hers.

She smiled a little. As concerned as she was for Kurt, the general euphoria she got from flying was very powerful, and usually tended to sweep her away slightly.

But as she remembered Kurt, her smile faded. He was a brave, tough child. He had already survived so much in Germany, and now he trouble had found him in America. It didn't seem fair.

Her eyes darted here and there, searching for a scrap of blue. She frowned at the rain. Although she didn't mind it, unless the boy had shelter, it would be very uncomfortable for him. She waved her hand, sending off into the mountains in the distance. Then she resumed her search.

Where are you, child? Why can't I find you?

As it was, Storm flew over the very wood Kurt lay in. But the covering of leaves, which had saved him before, was now hiding him from the eyes of a friend.

Kurt sniffled, then scrubbed his good arm across his eyes. The rain had stopped falling now. He had finished his little bout of self-pity, and was ready to try finding a way out of this mess.

He had contacted the Professor once, could he do it again? He screwed his eyes shut, but after a minute or two he opened them again. He was just too tired. In fact, he was exhausted.

A nap. Just a short sleep, then I'll be alert enough to contact the Professor. Ja. Contact the

Two hours later Kurt woke up shivering. He had been soaked thoroughly by the rain, his fur drenched. It was autumn, and a chilly wind had sprung up.

Fall asleep outside in autumn, while wet. Ugh. Definitely on the list of dumb things I have done.

His stomach growled loudly, accompanied by a spasm of pain. He was STARVING! Kurt moaned. Why was everything going so totally wrong? He looked around. Maybe some berries or edible mushrooms were growing nearby.

Nein. No such luck.

He shivered harder. He didn't feel well. The rain, the pain, the hunger – it was starting to be too much. He moaned again. He was feeling really ill now.

Suddenly he leant forward and vomited explosively. He coughed and choked over the pool of bile. That settled it. Just to make his life worse, he was now coming down with a fever as well.

He retched again, but his stomach was now empty, not having been very full in the first place.

He slumped back. He was still lying down, with leaves covering his body. But they weren't keeping him warm.

Cold. So cold. Oh, Mamma, help. It's so cold. Gott, help. So cold. He tried calling for help, but his voice was no more than a feeble whisper.

So cold....

"No luck then?" asked the Professor gravely.

Storm shook her head sadly. "Nothing. I couldn't find him anywhere."

The Professor closed his eyes. The rest of the Mansion had been devastated to hear of Kurt's disappearance, but there was nothing anyone could do. Storm couldn't find him from the air, Logan was currently away on one of his solitary trips and he himself hadn't been able to re-establish contact.

There was a timid knock at the door. "Come in Jamie," called the Professor.

Jamie poked his head in. "Um, I was just wondering, have you had any luck yet?"

Xavier smiled sadly at the young boy. He was quite close to Kurt, who often helped and encouraged him. "I'm afraid not, but don't give up hope yet."

"What if..." Jamie trailed off, obviously doubting his own idea.

"Go on," prompted the Professor gently.

"Maybe – maybe we could organise our own ground search. Mrs Ororo is a very good searcher I know, but she might have missed something, and that something might be Kurt," chattered Jamie. "But if we all went looking – and I could make even more of me to look – we might find something and that something..."

"Yes, yes," said Xavier, interrupting Jamie's excitable babble. It was such a simple plan! Why on earth hadn't he thought of it?

"It's a good plan," said Xavier approvingly. "Please notify the others that we will be holding a large search in about first thing tomorrow."

"Yeah, sure!" Jamie dashed out the door yelling his news loudly. There was a sudden bump, followed by a multitude of feet running and five voices shouting. Xavier chuckled. "Won't it dishearten them if they can't find him?" asked Storm.

"They will feel better if there is something they can do to help," said the Professor thoughtfully. "And who knows? They may even find him."

"Iris, it's wet, it's cold and it's effing early in the morning. Why can't we just go home?"

"Dave, shut up," snapped the tall, slender girl. Her twin brother scowled, pushing dark brown hair out of his glaring grey eyes.

"Sheesh, no need to get cranky. But, face it; we are NOT going to find your kite!"

"It blew over here, I'm sure of it! Besides, YOU didn't have to come."

"Do you think Mom and Dad would be impressed if I let you go wandering off by yourself? I'd never hear the end of it." He mimicked his mother's voice. "What on earth possessed you David? How dare you let your sister go into the forest by herself? There are wolves, and rabid racoons, and even a few evil demons!"

"Shut up," said Iris again. "There are no wolves, the racoons aren't rabid and there are definitely no evil demons."

A low moan sounded out. Dave started. "What was that?"

"Probably just a wounded animal or something. Come ON!"

The moan sounded again. "It – it came from over there."

"Yeah, you're right. Let's go see!"

"Are you nuts? What if it's a wounded wolf? They can get vicious."

"Don't be stupid, it didn't sound like a wolf."

"Oh, and how would YOU know, Miss Smarty-pants Iris?"

"Because I actually pay attention in class!"

The bickering pair gradually made their way over the source of the sound. And stopped dead.

"Oh my God," said Dave in a hushed voice. "Is that a demon?"

"No," said Iris uncertainly. "It's just an – an animal."

"Iris," Dave was starting to sound a touch hysterical. "It's got blue fur!"


"So – so what has blue fur? Nothing! Nothing round here anyway!"

The blue-furred creature stirred slightly, whimpering. Golden eyes gazed up and blinked once, before closing again. It was shivering fitfully. Iris loved animals of all shapes and sizes, and felt a wave of pity for the creature.

"Aw, it's hurt," she said softly.

"Good," said Dave hurriedly. "Now let's go."

"Dave! We can't just leave it!"

"Oh yes we can! Iris, be sensible. It's blue. It had gold eyes. It is not a normal animal!"


"IRIS! Are you being stupid on purpose? I mean, look! I don't think it's even an animal. It's wearing clothes. It's face – aside from the fact it's BLUE, has POINTY EARS and GOLD EYES – is almost human!"

"Then that's a better reason to help it," said Iris stubbornly. She wasn't going to leave the creature to die out here.

"No, but see, it's not human either. It's some kind of alien or demon or something."

"Now you're being stupid. There's no such thing..."

"Obviously there is! It's lying there right in front of us!"

"Dave, get a grip! It hasn't attacked us. It's hurt. We should try and help it!"

"Oh, yes? And how do we do that? We are not bringing it back home! Mum'll freak!"

"We should, um, bring it some food and water. And a blanket!"

"Es ist so kalt. Helfen Sie mir. Es ist kalt." Iris turned and stared.

"Did you hear that? It spoke!"

"In a weird language. That proves it, it's not human."

Iris rolled her eyes. "DAVE! That's German, you dipstick! It is human."

Dave sighed. He knew he wasn't going to win this argument. His sister could be so goddamn STUBBORN sometimes. "Alright, we'll get it some food and stuff."

Iris knelt down beside the strange creature. "Hey, fella. We're going to help you, okay? Just stay here." She spoke softly and gently, as though she was talking an animal.

The beautiful golden eyes opened and fixed on her. "Sie helfen? Aber es ist kalt."

"Shh, don't worry. We'll be back soon, okay?" She succumbed to temptation, and gently stroked a bit of the fur. It was so soft! "We'll be back in a minute."

Kurt watched them walk off. He was dizzy and sick, not to mention starving and freezing. He had been lying there, drifting in the cold, when two people came. One was hard and mean, the other – she was an angel. He didn't know what they were saying. It was too hard to concentrate. And now they were going. Probably to tell God he was almost ready to die. He closed his eyes and waited.

Iris practically ran through the wood. Dave panted behind her. "Iris, slow down. We found the stuff quickly enough, we don't need to hurry this much."

"It might die. It was really sick."

"We're not going to get there if we get lost."

Iris slowed, looked around, then pointed. "Over there! That's the tree."

She jogged over. The creature was still lying there. And it was still breathing. Iris heaved a sigh of relief. "It's still alive!"

"Well, whoopee-doo," grumbled Dave, coming up behind, laden with a basket of food.

Iris gently brushed the leaves off the creature. It mumbled something, but didn't move. As she cleared the leaves off, she made several startling discoveries. One, it DID wear clothes, clothes any normal teenage boy would wear. Two, it only had three fingers on each hand. Three, its legs and feet were really strange. And four – it had a spade-tip tail! She found that out when it coiled around her wrist. Iris stared at it for a second, and then gently unwound it.

She shook out the blanket, and placed it over the shivering boy – she was sure he was male – and tucked it in. When she accidentally bumped his left arm, the boy cried out, and tried to wriggle away.

"Oh, sorry, sorry, I didn't know it hurt that much," Iris said, distressed. He was so badly bruised and scratched! What had happened? Maybe some people hurt him because he looked so scary?

"Dave, bring the basket over here," she ordered. Dave dutifully obeyed, knowing it wasn't worth refusing. He stared at the wounded teen warily.

"Wow. He looks really strange. Hey – is that a tail?"

"Yeah. Pass me the soup."

Dave passed the covered bowl over. His sister pried the lid off, and dipped a spoon into it. "Open up." She pressed the spoon against his lips. At first he recoiled, but then he opened his mouth, and allowed Iris to tip the warm liquid down. As she did so, she caught a glimpse of sharp fangs.

The teen licked his lips, and then opened those stunning eyes. "Mehr," he whispered.

He accepted another twelve or so spoonfuls, but then turned away. His stomach couldn't cope with too much food at once.

"Pass me the water, now," she instructed Dave. Gently she pressed the cup against the boy's lips. He gulped the water down greedily. After awhile she had to tug it away, knowing too much would, again, make him even more ill.

Dave crouched down. Tentatively, he stretched out a hand, and stoked the soft fur. "Hey, it's like petting a cat!"

"He's not a cat," scolded Iris.

"Yeah, yeah, I know. He's human. Weird, sure, but human. What are we going to do with him? He can't stay out here. And if we showed him to anyone, they'd probably try and bash his brains in."

"I know," said Iris miserably. "But he'll die if he has to stay here. It's too cold."

"So, should we ... hey! What's that?"


"Shh. Listen!"

Iris strained her ears. Shouting. Calling. Gradually, the sounds came closer, and she was able to hear what they were crying.


"KURT!" Kitty yelled, hands cupped around her mouth. She bit her lip, to stop herself from breaking down. They'd been trying for so long, without any luck.

She missed him. Sure, he was annoying, always BAMFing in front of her, just to give her a scare, but he also cheered her up when she was down, helped her whenever possible and was always there for her. She'd put up with a million pranks if he'd just come home.

"KURT!" Everyone was out. Scott, Jean, Evan, Jamie, Rahne, Roberto, Bobby – everyone. The whole mansion wanted their fuzzy elf back.

Back in the forest, Dave stared at the teen. "Iris, look."

When the people, whoever they were, yelled Kurt, the boy stirred, and looked around blearily. "Vas?" he muttered.

"Iris, I think Kurt's his name. I think they're looking for him."

Iris leant over. "Is Kurt your name?"

The boy stared dazedly at her. He blinked, trying to pull his scattered thoughts together. "Ja," he whispered at last.

"Okay then," said Dave firmly. "There's only one thing we can do."


"This." He got to his feet and started hollering. "HERE! OVER HERE! KURT"S OVER HERE!"

After a moment, Iris started yelling too.

The search party, as one body, turned and bolted towards the cries.

"I don't know how we can thank you," Scott said for the millionth time.

Dave was a bit flustered. After a few minutes of shouting, a whole hoard of people had burst out into the trees. At first they had looked like they were going to attack, so Iris and Dave had stood in front of Kurt. Then, all of a sudden, everything happened. One girl had shrieked, "It's Kurt!" and dashed forwards. A tall boy in red sunglasses had stormed over, demanding to know what they had done to his friend. As Iris explained, Dave watched a red-headed girl radio somewhere. Sunglasses Guy introduced himself as Scott and had shaken his hand and thanked him a gazillion times. A huge jet had zoomed down. Now they were loading Kurt onto it.

Dave swallowed. There was something strange about these people. It wasn't just because they were friends with a blue-furred boy. For one thing, the red-head had lifted Kurt onto a stretcher with her mind, or something. And the rest of them were just as weird. But, hey, as long as Kurt was safe, right?

"Thanks again," said Scott, one last time, and boarded the plane. Dave waved, rather dazed, and watched the jet fly away.

He turned to Iris. "Well. Um. Er. Let's go home, shall we?"

She laughed, and gave him a hug. "Sure. Anything you want, bro. But remember – no telling. We promised them."

"My lips are sealed," Dave said. "Now – home."

It had been a tough week. Beast had spent most of it in the ward, ministering to young master Wagner. He shook his head as he ran down the list of injuries the boy had acquired.

"Broken arm, broken leg, two cracked ribs, mild internal bleeding, fever, scratches and bruises, dehydration and starvation, plus ripped clothes and broken Inducer." He winked at his patient. "Quite impressive, really."

Kurt managed a weak smile. Considering all he had been through, he was lucky to be as fit as he was. He owed a lot to Iris and Dave. Without them, he would be in a worse condition and the search party might even have walked past him. He shuddered at that thought.

"Herr McCoy, how long will it be till I can leave? As wunderbar as this infirmary is, I would gladly say goodbye."

"Kurt," sighed Beast in exasperation. "Did you not hear the list? You're going to be in here for at least another week."

Kurt's face fell. He couldn't stand another week in here. He wanted to get out and about, playing pranks, going for walks with Amanda – he even missed school.

There was a knock at the door. Beast strolled over and opened it. Scott, Jean, Kitty, Rouge, Evan, Jamie, Bobby, Jubilee, Rahne, Roberto, Sam and Ray flooded in, all holding some type of food, drink or present. Kitty was holding a banner.

"Let's party!" cried Evan, who had a CD player. Kitty strung the banner up. GET WELL FUZZY, and a rather bad portrait of his face grinned down at him. Kitty beamed at him. "I drew it myself."

Kurt gaped for a moment. "Um, danke."

Beast scowled. "I don't know if you should be partying, you're not completely well..."

"Please Herr McCoy? I'll be very good, and won't dance or anything!" There were a few sniggers and one 'Hooray' at that.

Beast rolled his eyes. "Oh, very well. Just let me evacuate first."

Kurt gingerly moved into a comfortable sitting position. Everyone gazed eagerly at him. He grinned back.

"What are we waiting for? Like Evan said, let's party!"

The End.

Hoped you liked it. Tune in next week for – uh, for – damn it, I have nothing!