Loving You More

Lyrics taken from 'To Love You More' by Celine Dion

Take me back into the arms I love.
Need me like you did before.
Touch me once again
and remember when
there was no one that you wanted more.

"Hey, Kurt," Kitty said cheerily, bouncing into the rec room.

Kurt gave her a distracted wave and continued with his phone conversation. "You're kidding, right, Mandy?" He obviously received a negative response as he shook his head and chuckled. "That's priceless…"

Face falling, Kitty gave a half-hearted wave of her own and slunk out the door dejectedly, feeling more like a kicked puppy than Rahne when someone accidentally stepped on her tail when she was in wolf form.

Ever since Kurt had hooked up with Amanda Sefton, it was like he didn't need her anymore. Not that they were together – hell, it had taken several months of concerted efforts on his part for them to even forge a tentative friendship – but he barely even said two words to her nowadays.

"Friendship. Bah, who needs it?" Kitty muttered unhappily, kicking a defenseless pinecone out of her path as she stalked through the woods out back of the Institute, radiating off a 'Don't fucking fuck with me' aura that would have done Wolverine proud.

Considering how hard Kurt had worked to get Kitty to notice him – well, actually, she'd always noticed him; that was the problem. She'd been so scared of her own just-online mutation and to run into a boy with such an obvious mutation – who was okay with being different when she still couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that she could walk through walls – had scared her. It had taken her awhile to see past the joker's mask; to realize that Kurt's seeming acceptance of his mutancy was mostly a façade. By the time she had, they'd forged a friendship stronger than anything she'd ever known.

Friendship… That friendship that she thought could weather anything, could, apparently, not stand up against Amanda Sefton. Considering how hard Kurt had worked to get her to like him – he certainly didn't seem to want her around anymore.

When he'd first showed up, it had been 'Kitty this' and 'Kitty that' and while the obsession he seemed to have with her did originally grate on her nerves, it had been rather nice having someone's undivided attention. Even if they were hopelessly infatuated with her, seemingly enamored of her very presence.

It was funny… Back when Kurt had pretty much worshiped the very ground she walked on, she'd never given him much though beyond, 'My friend, Kurt Wagner.'

Now that he was with Amanda…

Well, that old song by Whitesnake was true – you don't know what you've got…until it's gone.

"Until he's gone," Kitty murmured in a lost voice.

She missed the way he'd give her those big bear hugs, wrapping his arms – and sometimes, if he was feeling cheeky enough, his tail – around her. She'd loved that, though she never understood why…

Until now.

She needed him in her life…as more than a just a friend.

But with Amanda in his life, Kurt didn't seem to need her.

"I thought there was no one he wanted more than me," Kitty said to herself, sniffing back the beginnings of tears in her eyes. "Was I wrong?"

No, she wasn't. There had been a time when she'd been the most important girl in Kurt Wagner's life. She just hadn't realized that he was the most important boy in hers.

"I do now," she whispered. "But how can I make him see that?"

The answer was that she couldn't. Not when Amanda was still in the picture.

I guess I'll just have to hope this infatuation Kurt has with Miss Perfect is just that – an infatuation, Kitty decided finally, hope beating its tentative wings inside her heart.

And what he felt for me…is more.

Don't go…you know you will break my heart.
She won't love you like I will.
I'm the one who'll stay
when she walks away.
And you know I'll be standing here still…

Sighing, Kitty flopped down on the rec room couch and flipped on the television, not even caring that one of her favorite movies was on. Kurt had just gone out on a date with Amanda. Not just a date, but an anniversary. They'd been together for three months, and tonight she was introducing him to her parents.

Pretty much everybody else had plans for that evening as well, so Kitty had the rec room all to herself. While normally this would have pleased her – and she would have popped a bag of popcorn and grabbed a soda and her secret stash of Raisinettes to eat while she watched the just-starting 'Splash!', enthusing over how much Tom Hanks reminded her of Kurt – she was too bummed to take advantage of the circumstances and decided just to spend the evening brooding instead.

Brooding about Kurt. Kurt and his girlfriend.

Amanda Sefton, she thought morosely, curling around one of the couch pillows and only vaguely noticing that one of the funniest parts of the movie – when Darryl Hannah was learning English – was playing. Beautiful, smart…

And a heartbreaker. Kurt didn't know it, but Kitty did. She could see it whenever Amanda looked at him. It was a well-known secret at Bayville High that she was into exotic things – she'd dated four different exchange students in the past year, and Kurt was just the latest in a long line of European men to fall for her charms – and a mutant who looked as out of this world as Kurt did…

Well, there was a reason Amanda's favorite Disney movie was Beauty and the Beast. Only, once she figured out that Kurt couldn't change into a fur-less prince no matter how often she kissed him, once the newness and the exoticness wore off of their relationship…

She'll leave him in the dust, Kitty thought morosely, hurting just as much for her friend as she did for herself. Amanda wasn't purposely cruel or even really mean. She was just…immature, and naïve about what being involved with Kurt Wagner AKA Nightcrawler really meant. Amanda might fancy herself as someone who could take living openly with a mutant, bearing all the discrimination – after all, she was African-American, she had most likely been the victim of the prejudice before, right? Or so she thought – but she couldn't. Amanda wasn't mature enough, wasn't…strong enough.

I am, if only because I'm a mutant too, and I've dealt with the pressures that trying to be 'normal' have put me through. And just like Kurt, she'd had to grow up too soon. Kitty didn't think that a normal human and a mutant couldn't have a relationship – but Amanda wasn't mature enough to handle it.

And Kurt's too blinded by her beauty to see that when she looks at him, all she sees is a tamed beast. The stars in Amanda's eyes had blinded her to reality, and she was more in love with the idea of being in love than she was with Kurt.

"I should've told him not to go," Kitty muttered to herself. But that would have been impossible. She might have been his best friend, but there were some mistakes a person just had to make on their own.

Some mistakes she just had to sit by and let him make.

Even if it would hurt him to the depths of his enormous heart, she had to let him fall on his own.

But she'd be waiting there to put the pieces of his heart back together.

And hopefully…together with hers.

I'll be waiting for you here inside my heart.
I'm the one who wants to love you more.
You will see I can give you everything you need.
Let me be the one to love you more…

The sound of soft footsteps reached her ears and roused her from her Physics homework. Blinking the daze of Quantum formulas from before her eyes, Kitty glanced behind her, doing a double-take when she realized exactly who it was at her door. "Kurt!"

"Katzchen," Kurt said, voice flat and dull. Kitty winced. Oh, God, what's wrong? Did someone die? "Kurt, what's wrong?" she asked, putting every ounce of compassion into her voice that she could muster at – she quickly checked the clock – half-past midnight.

"Can I…can I come in?" Kurt asked, not directly answering her question. "I…need to talk to you."

"Of course," Kitty said, waving him inside.

Chewing on his lower lip, Kurt dropped down to sit on her bed. He grabbed onto his tail and started fidgeting with the spaded tip, something that Kitty knew he only did when he was extremely upset. "Amanda broke up vith me," he said finally, letting out a shuddering breath. "Zhe zaid her parents, vhile tolerant of mutants, don't vant her dating one."

Kitty's heart sank. I should have known this was coming. We just got that new exchange student from Italy, Paolo Mianti, and I know Amanda's been eyeing him… "Oh, Kurt," Kitty said softly. Coming over to sit beside her friend, she wrapped her arms around in a comforting hug.

"Zhe lied," Kurt growled, though with none of his usual fire, more the sound a wounded animal would make when it had been betrayed by a packmate.

"What?" Kitty asked, disbelievingly. Oh, no… He knows about her…proclivities?

"Her parents never zaid any zuch thing," he told her, causing her to relax slightly. Turning to look into her eyes, he said more than asked, heartbreak clear in his voice, "Zhe just vanted an excuse to dump me, didn't zhe?"

At least he doesn't know why. That would only hurt him more – as if it wasn't hurting him enough as it is right now. "Maybe she just wanted to let you down easy and found it easier to blame her parents," Kitty offered, though she knew that wasn't it.

And from Kurt's expression, he knew it as well.

"You and I both know zat's not true, Katzchen," Kurt said morosely.

"Yeah," Kitty agreed softly. Her heart ached for her friend, though it warmed to hear that nickname from his lips once again. He hasn't called me Katzchen in so long…

"How could I have been zo ztupid, Katzchen?" Kurt asked, tears trickling down his furry cheeks. He buried his face in her shoulder and sobbed quietly. "I zought zhe cared about me."

'I care about you,' Kitty wanted to say, but didn't. Now wasn't the time. Though it feels like my heart had been waiting forever to have Kurt care exclusively about me again, right now he needs Kitty Pryde, his best friend. Not Kitty Pyrde, the girl who realized too late that she was in love with him.

"You aren't stupid, Kurt," Kitty said honestly. "She just didn't know what a great guy she had. If she did, she never would have let you go." Pot. Kettle. Black, Pryde, she scolded herself. If I knew what I had in Kurt, then I would have hung onto him while I still had the chance.

­But I didn't.

Kurt sniffed and gave her a watery smile. "You're a good friend, Katzchen."

And only a friend. I never thought I'd be glad to hear him say that, Kitty thought wryly. But we've been…estranged…for so long, even being his friend is a change for the better. I just hope I can keep myself from throwing myself at him in the upcoming weeks. I've been so starved for his attention I might just lose my mind from having him so close.

"I'll always be your friend, silly elf," Kitty chided him softly, sensing he needed the reassurance. And truth be told, so did she. She needed him to accept her offer of friendship. Otherwise, she might just break down like he had.

"Danke, Kathzchen," Kurt said softly. "I knew I could count on you."

Oh, you can do more than count on me, Kurt, Kitty thought wryly. But you don't know that…yet.

See me as if you never knew.
Hold me so you can't let go.
Just believe in me; I will make you see
all the things that your heart needs to know…

Simultaneously trying to prove to Kurt that she would always be there for him and keeping herself from throwing herself at him…was…difficult.

About as difficult as Rogue trying not to drain someone when she touched them skin-to-skin. Only more so.

Amanda dumping him had really thrown Kurt for a loop, and now he seemed to cling to her like a lifeline; he not only started spending all the time he used to spend with her, with her again, but he also started spending all of the time he used to spend with Amanda, with her as well.

Which meant he spent practically all of his time with her. Outside of school, X-Men business and Danger Room sessions – which they spent together anyway, since they were in most of the same classes, and both were on the first string of the X-Team – the only time he spent by himself were his thrice-weekly acrobatic workouts.

It was nice at first, since she'd missed him so much, but he was starting to be dependent on her, and she knew that wasn't good. Amanda's rejection had really crushed him, and now he was having a hard time believing that anyone could want to spend time with him. He was acting much as he had been when he'd first arrived at the Institute – an inferiority complex covered up by arrogant bravado and happy-go-lucky humor. Only around Kitty did he routinely drop the joker's mask; around the other kids, he was still Kurt Wagner, prankster extraordinaire, with a wisecrack for every situation.

She need him to believe that she would always be there for him, but she also needed for him to feel safe enough with their friendship's stability to live his own life.

Of course, just because their friendship had made its first tentative forays back into existence, that did not mean that everything was as it used to be. Kitty would have been stunned were that the case, though that didn't keep her from wishing that for once things went easier than planned.

First and foremost, Kurt, far from being his usual easygoing, carefree self, was prone to fits of melancholy brooding and sad sighing. Kitty had just started to make inroads against his malaise – he had smiled a few times, and even laughed once – when Kurt saw Amanda kissing Paolo before class.

Kissing – more like a make-out session from some cheesy porn movie, complete with sound effects.

Talk about a setback. Kurt moped for weeks until Kitty finally managed to wrangle him into a game of mutant ball with some of the others. By the end of the afternoon, he'd forgotten completely about Amanda Sefton, Paolo Mianti, and anything having to do with school.

Of course, on Monday he sobered up, but she was able to keep him from brooding by making witty comments about the cheerleader's new cheer at the last football game. It had resembled something of a cross between the Macarena, break dancing, and Demi Moore's dance routine from 'Strip Tease' – or at least it had by the time Kitty was done describing it and subsequently tearing it apart.

Things continued in this vein for several weeks before Kurt finally seemed to snap out of his 'Poor Me' phase and start living again. His jokes were less forced and he took more joy in their completion. He no longer had to be prodded or cajoled into doing his homework – without Kitty's company – and he started having fun on his own instead of staying in his room to brood all the time.

The day Kurt was able to walk past his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend making out in front of Amanda's locker, without breaking his stride or even faltering, was the day Kitty knew he was going to make it without the other girl.

She just wondered if Kurt would still need her with his newfound independence.

She needn't have worried.

It wasn't long before Kurt did begin to notice a change in Kitty. Before Amanda came into his life, when they had been best friends, they had spent most of their free time with each other. Aside from Kurt's acrobat practice, and Kitty's dancing, even most of their hobbies revolved around each other. However, Kurt's relationship with Amanda had cut into their time together until he had started spending nearly all of his Kitty-related time with his girlfriend. Kitty had been forced to find other activities to occupy her time, and now that Kurt had nothing to fill his time, Kitty was often too busy for him.

It did, however, give him pause for thought. While he had known that Kitty was not as stupid as her occasionally Valley Girl-esque utterances would lead one to believe – he'd been the first to see behind her, 'Like, yeah!' façade, just as she had been the first to see behind his joker's mask – neither had he known she was so enamored with Astrophysics. He knew she loved dancing, but was unaware of her morning yoga routine, and what he had thought was just a teenage girl's typical dissatisfaction with her body causing her to diet turned out to be an innate fundamental belief in vegetarianism.

It seemed that absence did indeed make the heart grow fonder…but it seemed it had also caused both he and Kitty to open up more. To grow beyond each other, in such a way that would one day strengthen their relationship. They could lean on each other when they needed it, but were now able to stand on their own.

They'd grown up, matured into young adults at the tender age of not-quite-seventeen.

Kurt had started, once again to remember why he'd developed a crush on her from the moment he saw her. True, she was a beautiful girl, but it was the bright spirit within, shining with the light of a thousand stars – and never dimming despite the harshness being a mutant had caused her to go through – that drew him to her. He'd never given up on her – wanting her to be his was a dream that he thought he could never depart from no matter what other happinesses his life might bring him – but once he realized that she could never return his feelings as anything more than friendship, he had managed to push those feelings down deep inside himself and try to get on with his life.

And Kurt had. His short, barely-started relationship with Tabitha, while ultimately fruitless, had proven to him that he could feel attraction for a girl other than Kitty. He would always care about Kitty, but he had to at least try to move on.

Amanda had seemed like the answers to his prayers. Fun, charming, passionate…and seemingly interested in him, despite knowing he was a mutant. He'd been consumed by her very presence, almost as much as he had been with Kitty…only there had always been something holding him back.

Kitty herself. No matter what he did, no matter who he was with, Kurt couldn't get her out of his mind.

Not even now.

Kitty, for her part, noticed that while Kurt was spending most of his newly freed up time with her, he had also taken up a few new interests. He'd joined the photography club at school – she seemed to be his favorite subject, but she didn't mind him snapping candid pictures of her all that much. As long as she got to see them before he showed them to anybody else… – so she was free to spend several hours each week on her own. While she didn't want to avoid Kurt, she knew the benefit of having time to one's self. She'd discovered new interests of her own while Kurt was hooked up with Amanda, and no matter how glad she was to have her best friend back, she didn't want to lose herself.

That would kill their (hopefully) blossoming romantic relationship sooner than you could say, 'unrequited love.'

But that didn't look like it would be a problem. Kitty and Kurt were like two peas, all right, but they each had their own pod, albeit connect by a shared stem.

She just wondered how long the happy days would last. They couldn't continue in this veritable relationship limbo forever.

No matter how much she might wish it. One day – and soon – Kitty would have to find out if she and Kurt would ever – or could ever – get together and make a romantic relationship work.

The warm spring sun shone down from overhead, filtering through the leaves of the large oak tree on the mansion's back lawn to dapple Kitty's slumbering form with spots of bright light.

Kurt was entranced. Kitty, wearing a soft white cotton summer dress and no shoes, looked like nothing more than an angel fallen to Earth.

Or perhaps a mischievous forest fairy, out to sunbathe in the mortal realm, he thought, smirking as he noticed the soft smile that curved her lips as she enjoyed the afternoon sun.

Quick as a wink, he pulled out his camera and had taken half a dozen shots before Kitty's eyes opened at the noise.

"Kurt?" she asked muzzily, blinking away the sleep from her eyes. "Wha…?"

"Just taking a picture of mien favorite wood sprite," Kurt joked.

Giggling, Kitty propped herself up on her elbows and said in a slightly sleep-slurred voice, "And you're my favorite fuzzy elf, too." She smiled happily at him.

Kurt's laughter died before it was born in his throat as he looked at her. His breath caught behind the laughter as he saw in her eyes what he'd been seeing in his own since he'd first met her.

Could she…? No, she's just mien friend, but…lately… It seems as if she wants to be more, Kurt thought, barely able to believe his own eyes.

"Kurt?" Kitty's worried voice dragged him out of his musings, and Kurt turned to her with a start. The brunette had a worried frown on her face and was watching him with ill-concealed concern.

And, lurking underneath that concern, to the right of their friendship and past their teammate camaraderie…

Love. I was right, Kurt thought in awe.

Her frown growing even more prominent caused Kurt to snap out of his daze. She was expecting an answer and he was worrying her unnecessarily by remaining silent.

That would just not do.

"I'm zeeing you in an entirely different light, Katzchen," Kurt told her, unsure how to broach the subject of what he was almost positive he'd just discovered. I hope, I hope… I hope it's not too late.

Kitty's frown turned puzzled. The very first 'light' he'd seen her in was that of his idea of the perfect girl. The second such 'light' had been that of his best friend.

What was she now? A mere acquaintance?

The very idea caused tears to brim in her eyes. By sheer force of will she managed to keep them from falling, but her heart still ached at the thought. Their friendship had come back – and stronger than ever – in the past few months, but a part of her still worried that it would never go farther than that. "You've seen me in sunlight before, Kurt." She gave a soft laugh to cover up her brief bout of melancholy as she rose to sit up. "You have an entire roll of film of us at the beach last week, remember?"

A small smile curved his lips at the memory of Kitty in a pale pink bikini. Shaking his head to rid himself of those lustfully distracting thoughts, Kurt said, "No, it's more than that. I never saw you look at me like that before." He blushed and ducked his head.

Kitty's breath caught in her throat, fear and hope warring for dominance in her emotions. Did he see…? Does he mean…? Does he even want me still? "What…what do you mean, Kurt?" she asked, keeping her voice carefully controlled to mask her fear. Even if Kurt rejected her, she would not cry; her heart might break, but her pride would remain intact.

At least until she was alone.

"Like you…care about me," Kurt said, fear causing his throat to close on the rest of his words.

"I do care about you, Kurt," Kitty assured him.

Kurt's swallow was audible in the quiet of the spring afternoon. "But…do you care about me as…more zan a friend?" he asked hesitantly.

"I…" Kitty's breath caught in her throat. How could she answer that? How should she answer that? What if the truth…wasn't what he hoped for? "Yes," she finally whispered, throwing her doubts to the metaphorical wind.

Golden eyes bright with barely-leashed hopefulness, Kurt scooted minutely closer to her. "I…I'm glad, Katzchen. I…I never dared to let myself believe zat you vould see as anything more zan a friend." Kurt snorted, eyes focused on the left of middle distance. "Gott, at first, I didn't zink you vould ever even zee me as a friend."

Kitty blushed in remembrance. Definitely not my finest hour, she thought with abnormal cynicism as she recalled how she'd acted around Kurt when she'd first arrived at the Institute. Shrieking when he teleported up behind her, flinching away from his touch… "I know," she admitted sheepishly. "I was pretty…naïve back then, I guess, huh?" And too involved in my own problems to see how I was hurting you…at first.

"You…were scared of being a mutant. And I was a very…obvious reminder," Kurt corrected softly, chagrin etched onto his furry features. "Even then, you were always ze girl of my dreams, Katzchen." He grinned disarmingly as he said the romantic words. "I just…didn't zink zat dreams could come true. I never knew you were ze girl of my reality."

A quick intake of breath made it hard for her to speak, but Kitty managed to get a few words out. "You're mine, too, Kurt," she whispered. "All my dreams…come true." She grinned self-deprecatingly. "Even if I didn't know it at first sight."

Kurt's smile widened, golden eyes glowing with a lambent light. "Ich liebe dich, Katherine Pryde," he said thickly.

Kitty smiled blindingly through tears of happiness. On an indrawn breath, she said, "I love you, too, Kurt Wagner," and leaned forward, throwing her arms around him.

Kurt hugged her back tightly, and when she pulled away, he grinned a rakish grin. With playfully predatory intent he leaned over her, placing his left hand next to her right, and his lips on hers. For a moment, they just kissed, lips moving against each other. Her mount opened involuntarily, giving forth a low moan of passion, and his tongue took advantage of the opportunity to slip in and tangle with hers.

A sharp pain cut through the haze of pleasure clouding her senses, and Kitty pulled back reflexively, hand going to soothe the sharp sting on her lips. "Kurt…?" he asked, confused.

"Ack! My fangs." Kurt winced a sheepish smile, one pointed tooth glinting with a drop of blood. "I'm zo zorry, Katzchen," he apologized profusely and started to back away from her, fear and sorrow flashing across his furry face.

Determined not to let Kurt get away from her – not now, when they'd finally managed to clear away all the misunderstandings between them; and she finally had him where she wanted him – Kitty reached out to stop him, turning his face towards by way of a hand on his chin. "No apologies are necessary, Kurt." Carefully removing the redness on his tooth with one careful swipe of her thumb, she reassured him with, "But if you feel they are, then I guess you'll just have to kiss it better. Won't you?" She smiled coyly and cuddled up to his chest in invitation.

Golden eyes flashing with passion, Kurt automatically nodded as a goofy grin spread across his face. Leaning down, he graced her wounded lips with a soft, sweet kiss that sent her to dizzying heights.

A warm, lazy sensation spread through her body from the contact point of her lips. It tingled down her spine, dispersing happiness throughout her entire being. When Kurt finally pulled back – but not too far; her hands had crept up of their own accord to fist in his silky blue hair – Kitty was basking in the blissful feelings. "Wow…" Kitty breathed, then giggled reflexively. She was so happy that she couldn't contain it. "Apology definitely accepted."

Kurt grinned back at her.

I'll be waiting for you here inside my heart.
I'm the one who wants to love you more.
You will see I can give you everything you need.
Let me be the one to love you more…

The waiting was so hard. Even though she and Kurt had decided to try a relationship together, there was a part of Kurt that was still hurting from Amanda's casual dismissal and he was leery of getting involved with someone else so soon.

Even if it was the self-proclaimed love of his life.

Kitty worried that perhaps she was fooling herself into thinking they could work out. Kurt was on the rebound, and (supposedly) rebound relationships never worked. Especially if the two people involved were friends.

But deep inside her heart, she knew. She knew that she could give Kurt everything he needed.

Kitty just wasn't sure if she could give him everything he wanted. Because…she feared he still wanted Amanda, despite the fact that he said he loved her. But Kitty knew Kurt wouldn't lie to her, and they'd both do their best.

That would have to be enough.

And some way all the love that we had can be saved.
Whatever it takes we'll find a way…

When the Institute was outed as a school for mutants, things got…difficult…for Kurt and Kitty.

To put it mildly.

Taunts, jeers, graffiti on their lockers, condemnation from the School Board and fear and loathing from their classmates, the students at Xavier's Institute for the Gifted – and the Brotherhood of Mutants – endured them all during their Fall semester at Bayville High. Not a day went by without some mutant-related propaganda or power-related problem setting up obstacles in their quests for a high school education. Jean was kicked off the basketball team after spending the latter half of the season warming the bench. Lance Alvers eventually dropped out and sought out Xavier's help in acquiring his GED before heading off on a road trip across America, trying to find a place where no one knew about his powers. The younger Institute students became part of a home study program, along with Rogue, who was terrified about accidentally draining someone with her as-yet uncontrollable powers.

Thankfully, instead of the arduous circumstances driving them further apart, the adversity they faced each day brought Kurt and Kitty closer together. Their growing love for each other helped them find a way to remain sane, and even happy, in those troubled and difficult times. Even with dates restricted to watching movies on 'Home Theater' and eating picnic dinners on the patio – or in Storm's greenhouse once winter rolled around! – the time they spent together only reinforced the fact that they could rely on each other, even when the whole world seemed to be falling apart around them.

Kitty was actually starting to hope that things might work out. The anti-mutant sentiments were dying down further each day, even though anger and resentment still simmered below the surface of most of her fellow students. Kurt, for his part, was just so relieved that no one had found about his blue and furry appearance that he was willing to accept any amount of teasing in trade.

Amanda, far from freaking out at the now-public knowledge that she had dated one of the 'mutie freaks' had stood staunchly by Kurt – as a friend, nothing more. Kurt and Amanda were slowly but surely trying to get their friendship back on track. It might never be as strong as it once was – and never as strong as Kurt and Kitty's had been – but the feelings of tension and animosity were being lessened with each day's passing, and that was the only thing that mattered to them.

Kitty had originally been worried that with the revelation of Kurt's mutant nature – of all of their mutant powers – that her boyfriend's former girlfriend would try and regain her place at Kurt's side, usurping Kitty's regrowing place in his heart. But apparently Amanda had found in Paolo whatever it was she'd been looking for all along, and now, almost a year since they had started dating, they were still together, and seemingly as in love as Kitty and Kurt were.

There wasn't as much bitterness between Amanda and Kurt as there had been previously…but they would never be as close as they once were, for which Kitty found herself shamefully thankful. Time, and the distance granted by a summer without school shoving them together, had allowed Kurt to regain his equilibrium over their sudden breakup and his subsequent heartbreak, and had allowed Amanda to conceal her regret and try to forgive herself for causing Kurt pain. Kitty, however, could not help a bit of resentful for how shallowly Amanda had treated Kurt's feelings…even though she would be forever grateful that Amanda had broken up with him, or else she and Kurt might never have gotten together.

Around Christmas things finally quieted down in Bayville; the mutant-haters silenced by the X-Men and Brotherhood banding together to fight off Senator Jason Trask's Sentinels. The fifty-foot tall machines had run amok across New York State, destroying everything in their path, with complete disregard for any loss of life, mutant or human.

Once the rest of the world had seen the destruction – more property damage than September 11th, but thanks to the X-Teens and their Brotherhood counterparts (including a prodigal son in the form of an older, wiser, and much calmer and more mature Lance Alvers) with much less loss of life – caused by hatred and bigotry of the newest (and rapidly growing) minority in their midst, human-mutant relations were much smoother.

Mutant-mutant romantic relations were still as tricky as ever… But Kurt and Kitty were navigating them wonderfully.

I'll be waiting for you
here inside my heart.
I'm the one who wants to love you more.
You will see I can give you
everything you need.
Let me be the one to love you more…

Six Months Later

Where is he? Kitty wondered, biting her lower lip anxiously.

Looking worriedly up the marble staircase in the front hall, Kitty frowned when no sign of her favorite fuzzy blue mutant appeared. They had to leave in five minutes or they were going to be late.

Foot tapping impatiently on the floor, Kitty clenched her hands together and tried to dispel her worries, though she couldn't quite suppress the thought that maybe Kurt wasn't coming. She knew he was; Kurt Wagner had never once made her a promise he hadn't kept. It was just nerves.

After all, it was the Junior Prom. And now that all of Bayville knew the students at Xavier's Institute for the Gifted were mutants… High school had never been so difficult. Even though things had calmed down around Bayville concerning mutants, Kitty really didn't want to 'make an entrance.'

The sound of soft footsteps on the carpeted hallway made her jerk her head upwards, her brown eyes coming to rest on Kurt's slitted yellow pupils. He quickly clattered down the stairs, all the while fiddling with the limp scrap of black fabric at his throat that once properly arranged would be his bowtie.

At the moment it rather resembled a piece of crumpled origami.

Grinning sheepishly at her, Kurt skidded to a stop in front her, tie held loosely in one hand. "Zorry, Katzchen, but I vas trying to get zis verdammt tie tied. As you can zee, I have not yet managed it."

Breathing a silent sigh of relief that Kurt hadn't ditched her – she hadn't really thought he would, but along with Jewish Guilt came Jewish Worry – Kitty gave him a wide grin and chuckled at his predicament. Trust Kurt to be able to do a triple backflip, but be unable to tie a simple bowtie. I don't know why he didn't just get a clip-on; it's not like I care one way or the other. "Here, Fuzzy, let me help you." She reached out and accepted the tie from his three-fingered grasp.

"You know how to tie zese kinds of ties?" Kurt asked curiously as she quickly and efficiently wrapped the black strip of cloth around his throat and proceeded to turn it into a proper bow.

"I know many things," Kitty answered obliquely, giving him coy look from underneath her eyelashes.

Kurt blushed and nodded. "Ja, zat you do, Katzchen."

Kitty hummed and grabbed her purse from the nearby end table. "Ready?" she asked.

"Ja," Kurt answered, quickly buttoning his jacket. Giving Kitty a quick once-over, he took in her black ankle-length overcoat and grinned. "I don't zuppose you'll let me have a look at your dress before we get to ze dance, no?"

"Nope," Kitty said cheerfully. "It's going to be a surprise." She'd lucked out at a thrift shop and found a calf-length satin slip dress in the exact same shade of dark blue as Kurt's fur, and couldn't wait to see his reaction.

Kurt heaved a theatrical sigh. "I zhould have known," he said petulantly.

Kitty turned to look at him. "Oh?" she asked, taking his wrist in her hand so she could turn on his holo before they left the building. Bayville was still unaware that Nightcrawler and Kurt Wagner were one and the same – and for the moment, the students (and teachers) at the Institute had all decided that discretion was the better part of keeping a low profile.

"Ja," Kurt said, his face softening into a smile. "Just like I zhould have known you were always ze one for me."

Kitty's breath caught in her throat. "Oh, Kurt…" I've been waiting for so long…

Turning his wrist in her grasp so that he could take her hand in his own, Kurt said, "You have always been in my heart, Kitty. Always ze one I needed more zan anyone else in my life. No matter vhat it might have zeemed like."

It was Kitty's turn to blush. "I'll always love you, Kurt. Love you more than anyone."

Kurt smiled. "Ich liebe dich, Katzchen." Leaning down, he pressed a soft, heartfelt kiss to her smiling lips.


Mutants were known, now. And it was even harder to hold a relationship together when they were all worried for their very lives on top of all the regular problems that could pop up just by being teenagers. But while love might not be able to conquer all, it could help them save everything.

Whatever it took, Kitty knew she and Kurt would find a way to make it through. They loved each other more than enough to give each other everything they needed. Love most of all.