SPRING FLING

BY MADRIPOOR ROSE

Disclaimer: X Men Evolution is the property of Marvel Entertainment, Kids WB and possibly the Cartoon Network. No profit is being made from this work of fanfiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

The uneasy truce between the X Men, the Brotherhood, and Magneto and his Acolytes held. After returning to Russia to reunite Illyana with his tearful parents, and spending a few weeks visiting at home, Piotr Rasputin returned to Bayville, to the Xavier mansion, and moved into one of the four apartments above the carriage house. Logan was not happy about the sudden intrusion into his space, but grudgingly admitted the tincan was a good neighbor, inclined to quiet hobbies like sketching instead of blasting music.

Colossus joined the X Men on a few missions, having been given a uniform that was black with red and gold trim, to indicate his previous costume as an Acolyte he believed. Not knowing that Kitty Pryde had pestered Ororo Munroe to keep as many elements of 'that totally hot armor' as possible.

He joined them on several missions, where his strength and invulnerable steel changeform proved valuable to the team, and was quiet, studious, and helpful around the mansion. Slowly, many of the mutants began to trust him.

Others did not.

Logan was walking up the stairs and down the short hall to his own rooms, tired after a long ride. He'd been sent to Kansas to check out the possibility of a new recruit that didn't pan out. He was looking forward to a hot shower and a cold beer. Too tired to tune out his heightened senses, he found himself eavesdropping on the voices coming from Piotr's apartment.

The boy's voice, anxious. "Am I hurting you?"

Kitty, tense and a little breathless. "...ooh. Yes, but it feels good too." A gasped moan. "There! Harder!"

Logan bit through his cigar. His claws extended, and he turned on his heel, marching back down the hall to drag Kitty out of bed and send her back to the house before he cut the tincan's tonker off.

Door was ajar a little, it swung open with a shove...and Logan stopped in mid-stomp.

They were on the small couch, Piotr sitting upright at one end. Kitty was sprawled lengthwise. Both fully dressed...except Kitty was barefoot and her feet were in the Russian boy's hands. Logan stared as Piotr dug into the arch of her left foot with his thumb and Kitty made another noise Logan had last heard on the Playboy Channel.

"What's going on here?" he asked, suspiciously, glancing at the door that led to the boy's bedroom. No way they could have heard him and scrambled to dress...

"MmmmmMmmmm. Ballet class was rough...we had to do a double session today. Peter gives the best footrubs ever." Kitty gazed at her attentive masseuse adoringly.

Piotr grinned. "I am Russian. We know how to treat ballerinas."

Kitty wiggled her toes, and swung herself upright. "It sure feels a lot better, thanks."

"Remember, hot water..." he cautioned her.

"Salt scrub and moisturizing cream. I'm gonna go do that now, if Rogue's done experimenting with hair dye in our bathroom." She slipped her sneakers back on, and smiled up at Logan as she darted around him and out the door.

Piotr got to his feet, and moved over to the kitchenette, washing his hands at the sink. "What can I do for you, Logan? Want a beer?"

Logan shrugged, Piotr handed him a cold Baltika from the minifridge. He popped the cap and took a swallow, cold, dark and bitter, to put off the moment when he'd have to give the fatherly advice crap a little longer. He let the kid get a gulp down his gullet too.

"Look, Pete. It isn't a good idea for you to be entertaining Kitty...or any of the other girls up here. You're twenty-one."

The kid straightened, squaring his shoulders and gave him a look that used to mean heavy objects would soon be flying in his direction. "You thought I was acting improperly? We're friends, Logan."

Logan held his gaze. "Yeah, right." Piotr broke first. Logan took a deep breath. "You're starting to fit in around here, Russkie. Don't make me need to kill you. Just keep your hands off until she's eighteen."

"It won't be a problem. We're just friends. If you think it will cause trouble...I will see her only in the common rooms of the manor house," he said quietly, looking down at the floor.

Logan frowned. Kid ought to fight for Kitty...instead of getting that kicked dog look. The other hand, he still wasn't too far off being indentured to Magneto, a man who didn't take kindly to defiance. "Okay then." He took another sip of his beer. "Catch the Rangers game last night?"

XxXxXxXxXxX

Scott Summers entered the Danger Room and paused. A muscle in his cheek twitched. The Danger Room was set up as a well equipped gym, and Peter Rasputin was sparring with Remy LeBeau. Peter had proven himself...but despite the current truce, Scott didn't think it was a good idea to let Acolytes have run of the mansion.

He was Peter's best friend. Peter had the right to see his friend.

But Peter had been blackmailed into joining Magneto...the cajun thief joined up willingly.

Scott shook his head, and went over to the weight machine to start his workout.

Remy went flying across the mat, using his bo staff as a pole vault to control his trajectory.

"Hey, there, College Boy. How's by you?" he greeted Scott.

"Not bad."

Scott watched Peter bob and weave, ducking the blows of the spinning staff with fluid ease that was surprising for a guy his size.

"So y'mean y'ain't made a move yet, living under the same roof? Eh, Pete. I thought it was love at first sight."

Scott smiled. "Kitty?"

"I ain't talking about la belle loup garou Rhane. Scott, you should've seen the boy after our first tussle. He say, 'She put her hands on my shoulders and the Earth shook, I felt lightheaded,' we say, that was the girl phasing you and the boy Avalanche bringing the warehouse down. He say 'I heard bells', we say 'that was debris bouncing off your armor.' He pout and slip off to draw her picture and lil' hearts and flowers all around."

"Remy!" Piotr rumbled with embarrassment.

Remy stopped, called timeout, and wiped sweat dampened reddish brown hair back out of his eyes. "Brother, if I had the chance to work my considerable charms on ma cherie Rogue all day..."

Scott sat forward on the bench. "You know, Peter, Kitty likes you back. And there's a dance coming up at Bayville. She doesn't have a date yet, either."

Piotr shook his head. "No. Logan already warned me off. She's...so beautiful, and so smart..." His face softened just talking about her, then he shook his head slightly, and scowled. "I'm too old for her. And she deserves better than an uneducated thug."

Scott stared at him. "Yeah. She does. So you should ask her before she ends up going with Lance."

They stared back. Scott adjusted the strap of his workout visor, and continued. "Lance has potential, but he's lazy. He's always looking for the shortcut. You know he and Kitty knew each other back in Deerfield? He saw her when she manifested, and helped her through the transition. By tricking her into breaking into the principal's office so he could steal test answers and change grades. And when they were caught, he panicked, used his powers and left Kitty and her parents buried under wreckage. If she hadn't phased..." He shook his head angrily.

"Wasn't Avalanche a X Man?" Remy asked.

Scott nodded. "He tried to change, to impress Kitty. But as soon as he realized trust has to be earned, it was too much work, and he quit. If he ever grows the hell up, he could be a good man to have on our side. But honestly, I don't see that happening."

He adjusted the visor again. "I had a crush on Jean, y'know, almost from the first week we were here. And I thought she deserved better than a skinny handicapped freak," he tapped a ruby lens. The optic force blasts that emerged from his eyes had to be diffused safely. Damage caused by the plane crash that killed his parents prevented him from turning his power 'off'. "So she settled for Duncan, and we wasted five years. You should ask her to the dance, Pete. Logan can be a little overprotective. I'll talk to him." Scott raised an eyebrow over the rim of the visor. "And, of course, you know if you hurt her..."

"Logan will cut me to pieces. Miss Munroe will weld them back together with lightning strikes, and the rest of you will pummel me to oblivion," Piotr recited drily. "And you wonder why I have been shy of declaring my intentions? It is a school dance. Would I be allowed to escort her, even if she accepts?"

Scott thought about that. "You're still in the night school program, right? Until they get the paperwork from your old school in Siberia sorted out for your GED. So technically, you're a Bayville student. And you've seen what WE got away with during dances, games and heck, even class hours. It's not like they'll be checking ID at the door."

"Very well. I will ask Katya to the dance. If you both promise to help me drown my sorrows at the Auger Inn when she laughs in my face."

Remy smirked. "Muscles, if th' petite chat don't leap into your arms before you get through the invite, I'll buy."

XxXxXxXxXxX

"Her my only," Viktor paused, and winced. Hermione smiled up at him, leaning her head against his muscular arm.

"Closer. And I sort of like the sound of that." To cover her blush, she made a point of looking around for any sign of his groupies. They'd taken to walking here in the school gardens to avoid the Quidditch autograph hounds who tended to lay in wait at the lakeside dock and the Quidditch field.

There would be nothing to see in an ordinary Muggle garden at this time of year, but there were magical plants that bloomed even in the coldest winter. The snowdrops were particularly lovely this year.

"There is to be a Yule Ball as part of the Triwizard Tournament, and the champions are asked to open the dancing with a waltz. Her my ninee, I vas wondering if you haff a date for the ball, and if you vould do me the honor of accompanying me if you are not spoken for."

Hermione stopped walking and stared up at him. "I'd love to go to the ball with you, Viktor." She wondered why he seemed to think she might already have a date. Surely he hadn't believed that nonsense Rita Skeeter was writing about her and Harry. She wouldn't be spending so much time with him if Harry was her boyfriend.

"Ah," he looked pleased. "I vas vorried I wait too long, and you might go with Potter, or the Weasel One for school spirit. I vant to practice my English before I ask you..." he sighed. "And still I cannot say your name correctly."

Kitty saved the document file, and then reread the story she'd been writing, not sure whether it was worth posting to her fanfiction dot net account. "There's write what you know, and then there's wallowing in the marysuosity of it all," she sighed to herself.

Something about the brainy girl going to a special boarding school and the hot, older, Eastern European boy had made her a Harry Potter fan after Goblet of Fire.

She daydreamed about her favorite scene in the movie, when Hermione came down the stairs and Viktor clicked his heels, bowed, and then kissed her hand. Recasting the scene with herself and Piotr Rasputin.

A nice daydream.

Piotr had been an Acolyte.

He rode a motorcycle.

She couldn't really see him in a rented tux at the Bayville gym.

Not with her, anyway.

She was just his buddy who helped him study, and took care of Illyana with him when they'd first escaped from Magneto's service.

He probably thought about her like a kid sister.

She sighed softly, closed her eyes, and tried to imagine Peter looking at her...like guys looked at Tabitha. Like Scott looked at Jean. She'd be dressed up for the Spring dance, just going stag...could girls go stag? Shouldn't that be doe? Anyway... She'd be coming down the main staircase here, her hair up, in heels.

Looking like a woman, not a little girl.

Peter would be crossing the foyer...for something. He would stop, and look up at her. His eyes would widen, and his jaw would drop open slightly.

She would blush, just enough to add color to her cheeks, a glow. Not tomato red or anything.

She would ask if there was anything wrong, and he would say no, and stutter a little, cutely, and then he would ask her...

"Katya. Would you go to the Bayville Spring Fling dance with me?"

"I'd love to..." she sighed, and her eyes flew open. She jumped, knocking her laptop over on her bed.

That had been out loud.

Peter was standing in the open doorway.

Oh geez. Her hair was up in a messy ponytail and she was wearing a Hello Kitty teeshirt and jeans with bleach splotches on the knees. And...did he just...

"Did that actually just happen?" she asked, warily.

He raised an eyebrow. "I suppose that depends. What is it you think just happened?"

"...you asked me to the dance?" she said in a small voice.

"It happened. I asked you. You said yes," he reminded her helpfully.

"You. Want to go to the dance. With me."

Now Peter looked flustered. "Da. Yes. Oh no, I asked in English, right? You understood me?"

She got up, and walked over to him, almost running. "No, you were speaking English, I just wasn't sure I'd heard right. I mean. It's just a dumb high school dance. Streamers and balloons in the gym, a local DJ playing cds, not even a real band. Fruit punch that somebody'll try to spike with cheap booze. Probably Pietro."

"You do not want to go?"

You're being a total dork, she told herself, and hurried to say, "No, no, I mean...I want to go. But you're well...way cooler than that."

He smiled. "I would get to dance with you. That sounds very cool."

Kitty thought she was going to faint.

"Well, I guess we're going to the dance."

"I guess so."

They both smiled at each other, a little loopily, until an annoyed voice from the hall interrupted them. "Peter, in or out. You're blocking the door."

Peter stepped aside so Rogue could push past him, stomping into the room. "Somebody should call an exterminator. We got a swamp rat sniffing around the kitchen," she said, grouchily, with a pointed look at Peter.

"Remy was bothering you? Sorry. I'll go have a word with him." He paused, and ducked his chin at Kitty. "And I will see you later?"

"Oh, definitely!"

He left, and Kitty did a little pirouette and dropped on her bed in a swoon.

"So what's that all about?" Rogue asked.

"Peter asked me to Spring Fling! Oh my god, I need a new dress."

Rogue rolled her eyes a little, but smiled. "Tactical assault on the mall tomorrow?"

"Yup. Wanna come? Hey, so what'd Remy do this time?"

Rogue's mouth twisted. "He was...giving Miss Munroe his grandma's shrimp etouffee recipe. In a really, really irritating way!"

Kitty smiled.

Rogue's eyes narrowed. "And he noticed my hair. All...like I dyed it darker so HE'D notice."

"And..." Kitty prodded.

"And...he told me that Peter was gonna ask you to Spring Fling, and I thought maybe...oh hell."

Kitty's eyes widened sympathetically. "Oh Rogue. He didn't ask you?"

"It's not like I wanted to go. A school dance? Me? It's just..." Rogue dropped onto her bed. "It woulda been nice, y'know? To be asked. I mean, the boy's always bugging me about going out, and here's this big ol' dumb dance that everybody's talking about."

"Well...maybe he knows you wouldn't want to actually go, and he thinks asking you would just piss you off more. I mean, the guy works with Sabretooth, he's gotta have some sense of self-preservation or he wouldn't still be alive."

Rogue snorted. "Cajun chicken probably hid behind your boyfriend whenever he set Sabretooth off."

XxXxXxXxXxX

Piotr found Remy in the mansion's kitchen, sprawling in a chair at the table and having a conversation about cajun cooking with Ororo Munroe. Both the real, down home cooking done in the back bayous and the trendy 'blackened' fad of the late 80's.

"Never tasted 'gator, me. We get th' mudbugs, crayfish, non? Boiled up in a pot big as a trash can. Maybe fifty, sixty pound, eat your fill." Remy looked up and smiled. "So what she say, Pete?"

Piotr smiled. "She said yes."

"Y'see. Now, if you'll excuse me, ma'am...I got to go see a boy in red sunglasses 'bout a twenty dollar bet." Remy grinned, and got to his feet, ducking his head to Ororo in something that would pass for a bow.

"She said yes? And what was the question?" Ororo inquired, invitingly.

Piotr leaned against the fridge. "Katya. I asked her to the school dance."

Ororo raised one delicately arched eyebrow. "I suppose I should go and see if she's floated through the roof."

Piotr ducked his head, and blushed slightly. "You have no objection to me escorting her for the night?"

She smiled and shook her head. "I've known you long enough now to know you are an honorable young man." Taking a sip of tea from the cup at her elbow, she continued. "Logan gave you his paternal protector speech?"

Piotr nodded. "That is a very scary man for someone so short." Ororo smiled, and Piotr added, seriously. "I would do nothing to hurt her. Not because of his threats. Because I care for her."

"That has been patently obvious since you joined us, Peter. And I believe our young Kitten is quite fond of you as well. Do you need help with any of the arrangements?" At his confused look, she prodded gently. "Formal wear, hiring a car..." she smiled, and couldn't help teasing a little. "And you do know how to dance?"

"Mama made sure I knew how to waltz...and I spent enough time dragging Remy out of the nightclubs in New York to pick up a few moves. But...if there are any traditions, American customs for dances? I have seen on old sitcoms, I should get her...what is word, a flower...corsage?" He smiled slightly. "We did not have dances at the Transbaikal State School...since there were only fourteen of us in class."

XxXxXxXxXxX

Rogue sighed as Kitty pulled another dress off the rack, this one a silver sheath, strapless and slit up to the thigh. Luckily, Kitty made a face and put it right back without taking it to the changing room to try on. "Nope. I don't have enough boobs to hold the top up. So there's nothing here at Austen's I like...let's try the Claremont's Department Store at the other end of the mall."

"If we can stop at the record store halfway down. I want to look at cds."

"Sure. Huh. Why do we still call 'em record stores when they haven't made records in like forever?"

"Same reason a fridge is an icebox, I guess."

When they reached the record store, Kitty pointed at the Bath And Body Works on the other side of the corridor, a few stores down. "I'm going to run in there while you look for cds, I need some salt scrub for my feet."

Rogue raised an eyebrow. "Your feet?"

"To give myself a pedicure...the callouses on my feet from ballet class? They crack. It's like having a papercut on the bottom of your foot and the edges of the cut rub together when I walk and it hurts. Piotr said one of his aunts used to get them back in Russia, and she used salt and oil to sort of sand the edges of the callous-crack smooth."

Rogue blinked and made a face. "More than I wanted to know."

Kitty gave her a sheepish shrug, and headed for the shop with windows laden with bottles of scented showergel, lotions, and bodysprays.

Rogue turned into the record shop, wincing slightly at the thrash metal retro that was blasting out of the Muzak system.

She glanced around the store, making sure noone she knew from school was there, and went over to a less popular music section. It didn't fit her carefully constructed image...but she was Mississippi born and bred...and lately she'd been missing the kind of music she'd grown up hearing on the radio. Classic country, rhythm and blues...

She browsed a little, and noted happily that the cds were marked way down, as well, because they didn't sell as fast as the flavor of the month pop and rap hits.

Just as she placed her selections on the counter, a trenchcoated arm reached around from behind her and set a jazz cd down on top of the pile. "Hey 'tere, Rogue. You and me, we find some beautiful music together."

She growled, and picked up Remy's cd and put it to one side, turning on him. "There's stalking laws in this state, y'know."

"Stalking? Never did. Just got the devil's own luck, don't I? Ol' Petey down making the alterations lady cry, trying to turn a monkey suit King Kong size for him and I decided to stretch my legs while I wait. And I see you and Miss Kitty. S'pose you doing the same thing, trying to keep her from flying all to pieces over this little dance? You'd think it was they weddin' the way th'boy do carry on."

Rogue scowled as Remy paid for her cds, but had to smile and agree. "Kitty? Has tried on every dress in one anchor store, and four boutiques. We're headed for Claremont's next. Please keep Peter out of the way so we don't have to stand around and watch them drool on each other?"

"Now I was thinking we could meet up at the food court...and slip away to give them some privacy."

She snorted at that, and he handed her the bag with her cds as they left the store, slipping his own into a coat pocket. "Oops. You dropped your accent." She raised an eyebrow at him.

He smirked, looking not at all abashed. "Well. I ain't been back to New Orleans for a long time. Some northern girls up here, 'dey find de accent enchantin'.' Part of my charm."

"Sugah, Ah sound laike a northern gal to yuh?" she put a shovelful of Mississippi Mud into her own voice.

"Guess you don't."

What had started out in teasing Remy suddenly turned deadly serious. Rogue felt herself staring deeply into those red and black eyes. "You don't have to charm me, Remy LeBeau. Be yourself. If you can remember who that is."

"No games, Rogue?" he said her name with ironic emphasis.

She raised an eyebrow, and shot her hip out, putting her hand on the other hip. "Rogue is MY name. The one Mystique gave me's Anna Marie Adler. See ya around, Remy."

She turned, and walked away, and tried not to faint. God all mighty, that boy was annoying. Sexy as hell, but annoying. Annoyance, that's what it was, that sent her heart to racing and her blood boiling whenever they started the petty bickering that seemed to pass for flirtation.

"I wonder if there's a Bad Boys Anonymous meeting in Bayville?" she muttered to herself, heading into the bath glop shop that had swallowed Kitty. "Why do I let that swamp rat goad me into saying and doing stupid things?"

"Because you love him. Duh?" Kitty smiled at her, and phased so the sisterly swat passed through her shoulder. She held up a test spray bottle and a cardboard card. "Do you think Peter would like lemon verbena perfume on me, or does it smell too much like Pledge?"

Rogue wrinkled her nose. "Pledge. And I do not love that arrogant pain in the ass. He's just hot. It isn't fair."

"Yeah. Hot guy, hangs around so you can emotionally abuse him. Keeps coming back to flirt the more you insult him. That's a real problem, all right. What about lilac? Feminine and flowery, or I Can't Believe It's Not Grandma?"

"Kitty, dont'cha think you should get the dress and shoes sorted out before you start worrying about perfume?"

"I know. S'just, we're here, and they have lots of neat smellies. But yeah, I've got enough perfume." She picked up a tub of salt scrub from the shelf. "Lemme just go pay for this, and then we can go down to Claremont's."

At Claremont's Kitty finally decided on a simple dress in royal blue satin, with silver flowering vines embroidered on the bodice.

Rogue found herself looking at a mannequin in a strapless gown in dark garnet red velvet, with a band of black satin beaded with crystals across the neckline. It was the elbow-length black satin opera gloves that caught her attention.

Kitty caught her looking. "Ooh. You should totally try that on."

"I'm not going to the dance."

"So you can't try on a pretty dress? Go on. I won't tell anyone that you had a girly girl moment, I promise."

"Why bother? C'mon. Y'wanna go to the bookstore before we head home?"

"Yeah." Kitty agreed, dismayed.

Rogue rolled her eyes. "It's okay, Kit. It's pretty and all, but I'm just not the formal gown type."

XxXxXxXxXxX

Kitty wondered if it was at all possible to die from impatience. This week had lasted five zillion years. And then suddenly she woke up and it was friday, and Spring Fling was that night.

The teachers were realistic, and didn't expect to get much done, for all the girlish giggling and male posturing.

Principal Kelly made the morning announcements special by darkly threatening expulsion and possible criminal charges for anyone who caused an incident at the school dance. Never actually saying the word mutant, but since Bayville didn't exactly have a gang problem, everyone knew who they meant.

Kitty heard a couple of cheerskanks loudly comment that 'Some people should be too ashamed of themselves to show their faces at a dance,' while she was changing books for her afternoon classes after lunch. She kept her eyes steadily looking into her locker and waited for them to go away. That was the best way to deal with them, she'd learned.

The usual humiliation session stopped early. She glanced up, and saw the girls turning the corner into the next hall like a herd of spooked cattle, then looked behind her.

Lance Alvers. Avalanche. He stood leaning against a bank of lockers across the hall, with an innocent expression. His blue collar trailer trash chic mullet, jeans, and plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off over a white teeshirt with a black leather studded vest over both shirts was a look that actually worked for him. Even if the cheerskanks didn't know he was a Brotherhood boy, any guy who didn't dress like he was up for an audition on the WB was intimidating.

Kitty smiled at her favorite bad guy and ducked her head. "Thanks, Lance."

"No prob. Hey, you think this counts as using my big scary mutie freak powers for good?" he grinned.

"Rescuing me from a hyena pack? Definitely good."

"So. Uh. Tabby and me are hooking up for Spring Fling, guess you're going with one of the X-Geeks, but, hey...save me a dance for old times?"

"Sure will. I'm going with Peter."

Lance stared at her. "He's an Acolyte!"

"Not anymore. He's an X Man now."

Lance opened his mouth, closed it again, and flailed his arms. "And he's what, thirty?"

"Twenty-one. Which, okay, sounds like a big deal. But it's only five years. If I was twenty and he was twenty-five, noone would blink."

"Sixteen and twenty-one is way different! Geez Kitty. There's only one reason a twenty-one year old guy would be dating a sixteen year old girl. You can read the Russkie like a book, and that book is The Cherry Orchard!"

Kitty glared. "Okay, number one, Chekhov reference, wow. Number two, shut up. You don't know him, you don't know anything about him, and you're one to talk, considering how much time you've spent trying to kill me and then trying to get in my pants."

He dragged a hand through his hair roughly. "S'what I'm saying. I've been there." He looked down, ashamed of himself. "Never got to second base though, so I guess you can take care of yourself."

"Hey, nobody touches me unless I want 'em to. I have superpowers where I can do that," she relented.

"Look. I know the guy can't, like, just grab you...but Kitty...just...be sure about this guy. There's other ways to hurt you. Another thing I know 'cause I did that too."

"I'm pretty sure. He's a nice guy."

"A good guy. Okay. And, uh...he ever does something to make you cry, tell me and I'll crack a fault line under the guy. I mean it."

"I know. And I'll save you that dance tonight, okay?"

They smiled at each other. Friends, enemies, boyfriend/girlfriend and back again so often it sometimes had happened all in the same conversation.

And then the bell rang, and they had to get to class.

After school, Kitty hurried home, hoping to see Peter, but he wasn't hanging out in the mansion, and when she went to the carriage house and knocked at the door, there was no answer.

So she did her homework, and then settled down with His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik, her new favorite book and writer. Napoleanic wars, with dragon rider air support. Dragons were so cool. And she loved alternate history and time travel plots.

She was trying to ration the book and only read one chapter a day, otherwise she could finish reading a book in an hour. So after reading her chapter, she got everything ready for the dance.

She had her dress and shoes. Underwear and pantyhose. She was going classic perfume, the bottle of White Shoulders her mother had given her for her last birthday. She hesitated over jewelry for a while. Silver, to match the embroidery on the dress, of course.

But what silver? Hoop earrings? Or button? Or her pearl studs? Or the turquoise earrings and necklace set that her Dad had bought her on a business trip in San Antonio? Would the light blue look okay with the dark blue dress? She'd already decided on the marcasite faux-Victorian dangles with the dark blue crystals once, but now she was sorting through her jewelry box to kill time.

She decided that she'd been right. Her hair was going up in a french twist, dangle earrings looked good with that. No necklace. She put everything away again and dropped across the foot of her bed and tried not to have a panic attack until it was time for dinner.

Peter didn't come to the house for dinner. Kitty didn't eat much, not wanting a full stomach. Xavier excused the dance-goers from the table early, with a reminder about curfew, and Kitty hurried back upstairs to get ready.

She was still fiddling with her hair when Rogue came in and leaned against the open bathroom door. "You look fine. Peter's downstairs and the dance starts in half an hour. Get out of here already. And have fun."

Kitty walked downstairs very carefully, trying not to trip. Her heart started beating a little faster when she saw Peter, in the foyer, joking with Sam, Bobby, Ray and Roberto. The boys looked very handsome and grown-up in their tuxedoes.

But she couldn't take her eyes off of Peter.

He glanced up, saw her, and his face changed. She stopped, still on the step third from the floor, and held onto the bannister a little tighter.

Part of her wanted to turn around and see who was behind her on the stairs. No way Peter could look at her like that. Blue eyes shouldn't burn with such heat.

The dance was fun. They played a lot of Alison Blaire's Dazzle cd, the fruit punch wasn't too sweet. And there was sorta kinda an alien invasion that turned out to be a Poppupian tour group looking for Mars and the pyramids.

Kitty got a globe and a starmap from one of the science classrooms and gave them directions to Mars and Egypt. Long as they were on Earth, they might as well see our pyramids first. Sam volunteered to go back to the mansion and get Xavier or Jean to come talk Principal Kelly down off the goalposts, and Kitty had that dance with Lance.

Peter had a bemused look on his face as she returned to him for the Last Dance. "So. That was a school dance."

"Yep. Pretty typical. I mean, except for the ufo landing. Which was, you know, just typical for us. Mm. So what other normal American youth experiences can I introduce you to...ooh. We can TP the Brotherhood house!"

He chuckled. "But I think this evening isn't quite over, speaking of teenage traditions, yes?" he asked.

"Like, uh, what?" she asked, trying not to blush.

"May I kiss you, Katya?"

She couldn't breathe. "Geez, Peter. You don't have to ask."

The corner of his mouth turned up wryly. "I think perhaps it would be best if I did."

"Oh. uh, okay. I mean, yes. I'd like you to kiss me."

Peter bent, and time stopped for a little while. The music stopped. Her heart might have stopped. Then he was leaning back, and everything came rushing back.

Wow.

As they walked out to the car a warm breeze sent flower petals drifting from the crabapple tree on the quad, petals swirling ghostly in the moonlight.

"I had a lot of fun tonight. Thanks for asking me," Kitty said, as he opened the door of the car for her.

"Thank you for accepting. I had fun too."

They were both quiet for a while on the drive home. Kitty kicked off her heels and wiggled her toes. One perfect dance, one perfect date with a real knight in shining armor. Something for a geeky girl to dream about on lonely nights. Even if Peter was just being nice asking her...she'd had her dream come true.

Peter cleared his throat. "So Katya...what would you like to do next weekend?"

Kitty smiled. This was going to be an interesting year.

The End.