Title: "Let Them Stare"
Author: Pirate Turner
Spoilers: All seasons
Summary: Halloween leads Kurt and Kitty to an unexpected conclusion.
Disclaimer: Kurt "Nightcrawler" Wagner, Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde, Lance/Avalanche, Scott "Cyclops" Summers, Jean Grey, Rogue, Ororo "Storm" Munroe, Logan/Wolverine, Juggernaut, Blob, and the X-Men are © & TM Marvel comics and are used without permission. All other characters are © & TM their respective owners and are used without permission. Everything else is © & TM Pirate Turner. The author makes absolutely no profit from this story.
Author's Note: Thanks to Wu for the tip on Kurt's accent. If any one else can help there, please feel free to E-mail me.
The shrill ringing of the intruder alarm rang out over the music that beat at the walls of the rec room, snapping the teenagers' heads up. Not a single question was spoken; instead, the team raced together out into the night. Just as they spilled out the mansion's front door, two adults rushed up to meet them. One was growling savagely in the back of his throat, deadly claws extended from his knuckles, while the other flew with her long, white hair streaming out behind her. Although she wore the silver outfit of a Witch, she needed no broomstick as she rode the winds themselves.
"Anything?" a young man with red glasses asked as he looked to the redhead beside him.
Her forehead creased for a moment, but then she reported, shaking her head in a movement that caused her long, red hair to run over her back in rippling cascades of fire, "Nothing."
"Spread out," the young man codenamed Cyclops ordered. The team immediately obeyed, each pair swiftly heading in a different direction. Rogue and Spyke took to the West while Storm and Wolverine raced on towards the North. Cyclops and Jean covered the East while Nightcrawler and Shadowcat silently headed for the South.
"Kurt," the brunette called, "look at this."
The tip of his pointed, blue tail jerked slightly as he turned to face his team mate. He felt the familiar catch of air in his throat as his yellow eyes met her beautiful face, but then her waving hand and the angry line that her lips formed forced him back to reality. His pupil-less eyes focused on the object she held in her hand as he walked toward her, barely managing to remind him how much she hated the stench of his teleportation gift before he could bamf. "I don't believe it!" he exclaimed hotly, his eyes burning with fury as he finally made out the roll of toilet paper she clutched in one hand. "Vho vould have done such a thing!"
Kitty made a disgusted sound in the back of her throat as she answered, "Try any of the jerks we go to school with. You know how much they hate us, Kurt. You don't know how lucky you are that Amanda is the only human there that knows your secret."
"Don't know? Kitty, look at me! I'm blue and fuzzy, and not everyone finds that cute! Do you have any idea how many times, before I moved to America and the Professor gave me the image inducer, that I was called a demon? Look at me! This isn't a chosen fashion statement, you know!"
His heated words surprised her, but what worried her was the sad sparkling in his yellow eyes. "Whoa! Chill, Kurt!" she exclaimed, holding up her empty hand in a gesture for him to calm down. "I know there are idiots in the world who just look at your appearance and freak. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound like you didn't know what it was like to be hated. We all do." Her face filled with compassion as her blue eyes gazed into his yellow ones.
"Ve better go tell the team vhat ve found," he said, suddenly changing the subject. As he turned and began to trudge back toward the mansion, Kitty's ears barely caught his mumble underneath his breath.
"What was that?" she demanded, catching up to him.
"Vhat was vhat?" he asked innocently, not looking at her.
"You said something. I heard it; I just couldn't make it out. So what was it?" she asked, glancing to him with concern.
"Ever stop to think that maybe you weren't supposed to hear it?"
"Well, excuse me for caring about a friend!" she exclaimed hotly, her blue eyes flashing with the anger that grew in her heart, as she began to stalk ahead.
Kitty was not yet far enough ahead of Kurt to not be able to hear him when he mumbled, "Sure. You say that now, but you were like all the rest of them vhen ve first met!"
She whirled around to face him as he spoke, and he gulped at the furious look on her face. "Now that I heard loud and clear, buster!" She paused suddenly, though, the anger seeming to drain from her as her shoulders sagged, and a heartbreaking look of sadness conquered her face. "But I guess I did kinda deserve it. But you know I came around. Once I got to know you, your looks didn't matter, and besides, those pointy ears got to working for me even before then!" The last had escaped her lips before she had been able to stop it.
"I know, but you still wouldn't look past me as anything but a friend," he spoke the words slowly as he just as slowly caught back up to her.
She looked at him, surprise clearly registering on her face as she did so. "Hello!" she exclaimed. "Why are you going back to that when you've got Amanda?"
"I don't," he said, his German accent growing even thicker as his gaze shifted to the ground.
"What do you mean?" Kitty asked, moving her head swiftly from side to side as she tried to catch his eye and lure him to look back up at her. "What happened, Kurt?"
"I . . . Well . . . Hum . . ." Finally, in exasperation, he exclaimed, "I didn't ask you vhy you aren't vith Lance tonight!"
"I'm surprised you haven't heard by now," Kitty said dryly.
"Heard vhat?" Kurt asked, slowly peeking back up at her.
"That we split up," Kitty said as she turned around and resumed the trek back to the mansion. Shaking her head in a movement that sent her long, brown ponytail bobbing, she muttered, "I still don't know how I could have screwed up so badly."
"You think you screwed up?" Kurt asked as he caught back up with her. "I should have known that something was wrong when Amanda knew what I am and still vanted me! She vants to be a mutant! Can you believe it?" he asked, disgusted. "All the persecution we go through, and yet she vants to be one of us so badly that she was just thrilled to be vith me because I am one!"
"Ouch," Kitty murmured softly. Though she could not help the silent acknowledgement that she was glad he was now single again, she also could not help hurting for him. She knew the sting of heartache all too well. "I'm sorry," she added in true compassion as she dared another glance at him.
Kurt just shook his head miserably in response, his yellow eyes remaining downcast.
"You do know that you really couldn't have known how she was?" Kitty gently prompted him. "You're not a telepath or a clarivoyant."
"Nein, but I still should have known that something vas vrong. No human vould vant to be seen vith the likes of me."
Kitty wanted to reach out to him and assure him that that wasn't true, but she knew she couldn't. After all, she simply wasn't human. "Kurt," she said, moving to him, gently grabbing his shoulders, and using them force him to look at her, "it's not your fault. You couldn't have known. You wanted to believe that there's still a human out there somewhere who can look past the differences in our races and just accept us for being who we are, instead of fearing and hating us -- or, in Amanda's case, loving us -- for what we are. We all have that hope, and we all share that same basic desire, want, and maybe even need to be able to trust."
"But how can ve vhen humans are the way they are?"
"You mean, the prejudiced mutant-hating and the I-want-to-be-a-mutant-'cause-it'd-be-like-so-cool-to-have-those-kinds-of-powers humans? Kurt, there are terrible humans out there. The world's full of them. The problem is, in some cases, they do have a reason to fear us."
"WHAT!" Kurt nearly yelled. "I don't believe you vould say that about your own -- "
"Hold it, Fuzzy," she interrupted him. "You didn't let me finish. They don't have a reason to fear our entire race or to fear us, but think about it this way for a sec. Think of the ones of our kind like the Juggernaut and Blob. Do you really think even a cannon stands a chance at stopping them?"
"Nein," Kurt slowly admitted. "But they're not like us! They're . . ."
" . . . evil," Kitty finished for him. "But those are the kinds of examples that make the big headlines. They look at the ones like them, and they freak, never thinking that there might actually be some good mutants. It's pretty much the same vice versa with humans. Outside of Amanda and your adopted parents, have you ever known a human who didn't fear mutants, who didn't hate us? They don't hate us just because we're different, but it is those differences that scare them. It's that fear that makes them hate us." "But then you've got your ones like your adopted parents, my parents, and Jean's family. They don't hate mutants."
"Yeah," Kurt interjected, "but that's because their children are mutants."
"Maybe," Kitty said, "but I, for one, like to think that it's proof that there's good and bad in everything -- in mutants and humans, in everything." Kurt's yellow eyes suddenly strayed to a tree, and he stood there, staring silently at it, until Kitty demanded, "What are you doing?"
"Do you think it's good or bad?" he asked, souding serious but with a slight twinkle in his eyes.
"Kurt," Kitty exclaimed, unable to stop herself from giggling, "it's a tree!"
Kurt looked back at her and shrugged. "So?" he asked. "It's still alive and a thing, and you did say everything, right?" Kitty could only look at him at first, but when his face broke out into one of his sheepish smiles that she secretly found so adorable, they both began laughing.
It was the sound of their laughter that lured Wolverine. "Kids," he snorted, his sudden voice instantly silencing their laughter. "Yer supposed to be workin' an' tryin' ta find out what set the alarms off, not jokin' around."
"We already did, Mister Logan," Kitty spoke up as she removed the roll of toilet paper from her pocket and showed it to him.
"Somebody tried to tp us, sir," Kurt added.
Wolverine's claws gleamed in the moonlight. "You seen the punk?" he growled out.
Wolverine grunted. "Alarms must've scared him off." He reached over, stuck a claw in the roll, and brought it to his nose. He sniffed, and his eyes slanted. "I know that scent," he growled.
Kitty gave Kurt a Look. "Why would Sabertooth try to tp the mansion?"
Kurt only shrugged and offered her another sheepish grin in response.
"Nope," Wolverine growled out. "Duncan."
"Duncan!" Kurt and Kitty exclaimed simultaneously.
"Jean's Duncan?" Kitty asked Wolverine.
"Ya mean Jean's ex," he reminded her, "an' yeah." He tossed the roll back to Kitty, and as she caught it, he commanded them, "Tell the others what ya found, but don't tell any one it was Duncan. Red doesn't need that right now." Without another word to either, he then took off, vanishing back into the darkness just as swiftly as he had appeared.
At first, they continued on in silence, but then Kurt spoke again, "You never did tell me vhat happened between you and Lance."
"I finally woke up," Kitty answered in way of explaination.
"Voke up?" Kurt asked, his fuzzy forehead creasing slightly in confusion. "Vhat do you mean?"
Kitty sighed softly. "Kurt, Lance is never going to change, and that was just something I had to accept. I could and did accept it, but I can't be with him. I don't want to be with him."
"I thought you vere crazy about him?" Kurt asked gently.
"Crazy would be the word for it," she agreed. "I had to be crazy to ever fall for him. I knew he was trouble ever since the first day I met him!" She snorted as she admitted with a disgusted roll of her blue eyes, "I guess I thought I could change him." She shook her head in anguish at herself. "What an idiot, huh?"
"Nein," Kurt said softly. "You veren't an idiot, Kitty. You cared about him. You wanted to help him, and you tried. People do change, you know."
"I know," she admitted, "but Lance only changes for the worse. I already tried to change him for the better. He couldn't work it out in the team, but that didn't mean he had to go back to the Brotherhood. He made that decision just like he made the decision that his role in his evil team was more important to him than I am."
"I'm sorry he turned out that vay." Even though it meant that she was available again, he was still sorry for the pain Lance had put her through, and his yellow eyes burned with his silent fury at the other guy's having hurt her.
"There's no need to be," Kitty told him. "I'm just glad I finally managed to wake up to the truth." She paused before adding with a smile at him, "But thanks, Kurt."
It was then that they finally came into view of the mansion's porch and found the others waiting for them. Scott and Jean sat together, her hand in his, on the front steps while Rogue and Evan leaned against the mansion. "There you two are!" Evan exclaimed, being the first to notice them.
"Well, it's about time," Rogue muttered darkly.
"Did you find anything?" Scott immediately asked, releasing Jean's hand and jumping to his feet.
In answer, Kitty glanced to Kurt and then looked back at their team mates as she solemnly held up the roll of toilet paper. "Somebody tried to toilet paper us!" Jean exclaimed in astonished disbelief.
"Figures," Rogue muttered. Spyke angrily shot off several spikes before he could stop himself, but each one lodged safely into the mansion's front door.
As usual, their team leader was the calmest as he only asked, "Did you see who did it?"
Both Kurt and Kitty shook their heads. "Mister Logan said that the alarms probably scared them off," Kitty added.
"I vonder vhat they're going to do," Kurt asked as the last one of the others finally returned inside.
"Probably fume," Kitty answered.
"Vhat about you?" he asked, his yellow eyes turning to look at her.
As she sat down on the steps, a heavy sigh escaped her lips. "I can't do what I want to do," she said with a shrug.
"Kurt, it's Halloween! I even bought a costume, but I had nowhere to wear it. Halloween's usually the funnest holiday, but it's just been another day today."
"If you vanted to party, vhy didn't you go to the dance?"
"Duh!" Kitty exclaimed, shaking her head as she looked up at him. "Same reason the others didn't go. We're not wanted there."
"So? It's open to all the students, not just the humans."
"I know, but it's a little hard to dance when you have everybod there staring at you like you're monsters!"
"Do you vant to go or not? If we're going, we'd better hurry up and change our clothes. I can bamf us into a bathroom, but even then, we're still bound to make only the last few songs."
"You don't care if they stare?" she asked in extreme surprise.
"Let them stare, but don't let them finish ruining our Halloween," Kurt suggested with a charming smile.
Kitty suddenly leapt up, grinning from ear to ear. "I'll be ready in two minutes!" she exclaimed, turning and rushing straight through the mansion as she raced to her bedroom.
Kurt stood there, staring in shock. She had just agreed to go dancing with him. But it's not because it's you that she said yes, he reminded himself. She just vants to have some fun.
When he knocked on her door, he never imagined the vision of loveliness that would greet him. She opened the door, and his breath was completely stolen away. Unable to stop himself, his yellow eyes freely roamed her beautiful body. Her long, brown hair was down, for a change, and flowed freely behind her back, and the simple, blue studs at her ears elegantly matched her lovely eyes. The most exquisite of all, however, was the way her dress flowed over her body, its deep green purple interlaced with gold hugging her every curve just right and almost seeming to make her body cry out for his touch. He gulped, and his trembling lips barely managed to form a sheepish grin. "Ready to go?" he asked, his husky voice filled with a German accent that was the thickest she had ever heard.
As he had been examining her costume, she had also been admiring his while having to remind herself to breathe. She had realized months ago how cute he truly was, but she had never seen him look as stunningly handsome as his dashing pirate's costume made him appear. It was complete with even a long feather in his hat and a scabbard at his side. "Is it real?" she asked, her blue eyes drawn to the golden-hilted sword.
His eyes followed her gaze, and he shook his head in dismay. "I vish, but vho has that kind of money? Certainly not the Fuzzy One!"
"Well, Fuzzy One," she said with a flirtatious smile as her eyes again met his, "you may not have that kind of money, but you still have me on your arm tonight." She paused but still managed to add before he speak, "That is, if you're sure you don't mind them gawking at us?"
"Let them stare," he said as he reached out and took her hand in his. He dared to raise it to his lips and softly brush a kiss across the back of her hand before his fingers entwined with hers, sending a thrill shooting through to her very core. "They should stare. After all, I'll have the most beautiful girl there on my arm."
"Do you mean that?" she asked in surprise.
"Absolutely," he said, flashing her what he hoped was a debonaire grin while his yellow eyes twinkled. Yet then, his good mood suddenly began to fade as he remembered how much she hated his teleporting, "But are you sure you don't mind my bamfing?"
She grinned reassuringly at him. "We'll never make it there in time if we don't bamf."
"Okay!" He brightened instantly, a mischevious grin replacing his down-turned lips. His hand gripped hers more tightly, and then they bamfed. Darkness flashed past them for just a second, and when they reappeared, they were in the boys' bathroom.
Kitty tried desperately not to look around. "You couldn't have ported us to somewhere cleaner?" she complained.
He shrugged in response. "If you think this is bad, you should see our locker room," he commented, shaking his head.
She sighed but then instantly brightened as music drifted to their ears. "Let's go," she said, excitedly gripping his hand as she began to race toward the gymnasium.
They walked into the gymnasium, darkly lit with Halloween decorations spread around, and everyone else instantly ceased what they were doing, turned, and stared. The mood in the gym changed the very second the mutants set foot into it, and angry eyes and hateful expressions followed their every move. "I told you," Kitty whispered softly to Kurt.
"It's okay," he whispered back in gentle reassurance. Not for the first time, he felt a pang of guilt. His friends faced this every day, and yet their classmates still did not know that he was also a mutant. He still appeared to be human, and he had even been known to deny his friendships with the others for the sake of keeping himself from enduring the same hardships as they were currently being forced through. He tried to push the thoughts away as he turned to Kitty and bowed low over her hand. Looking up at her, he asked, "Vould you like to dance?"
"I'd love to." His gentlemanly actions brought a smile to her face despite the others' stares.
They began to dance underneath the lights shining off of the disco ball, and yet the others did not dance and only continued to stare at them. Kurt could feel all their eyes upon them, and he could clearly see the pain in Kitty's blue eyes. "It's okay," he told her again, giving her hand a gentle squeeze as his other hand circled the small of her back, her long hair brushing over the back of his hand.
"Kurt, how can you say it's okay?" she asked him, trying to keep her tears from falling. "Look at them! They're just standing there, staring at us!" she whispered fiercely. "It's like we're the only things that matter in the entire room!"
"Precisely." When Kitty fixed him with a questioning look, Kurt took a deep breath. "Kitty, is there any one in this room that you really care about?"
"Then ve're the only ones that really matter," he told her.
"Kurt, how can you . . . ?" Kitty started to ask.
"If they vant something to stare at," Kurt said suddenly and decisively, "then let's give them a real reason to stare." His hand moved from the small of his back to his image inducer, and with the simple move of a switch, he silently said more than he ever could have with words. His image flickered, and then his true self was revealed to their entire audience. Screams split the air, and angry shouts of hated words echoed through the gymnasium. Kurt stood his ground, taking courage from Kitty's eyes until she suddenly started to pull away. His heart sank in the sudden knowledge that even she could not stand his true appearance.
"Kurt, are you crazy!" she hissed. "Look at them! They're scared enough of us! What do you think they'll try to do to some one that looks they way you do?"
"I don't care," he told her, reluctantly releasing her hand. "I don't care vhat they try to do as long as I still have you and the others, and I'm so sorry that it took me so long to do this."
"Kurt," she spoke his name softly as she noticed the pain in his yellow eyes and realized what he must be thinking as she had pulled away from him and he had released her hand, "you have me. You'll always have me. I'm not scared off by your appearance." She reached out and took his hand in hers before turning her face upwards so that their eyes again met. "In fact, I think you're kinda cute."
"You do?" he asked in surprise.
"Yeah," she admitted with a grin as she slipped closer to him. He could think of no words to describe his joy at that moment, and so he said nothing. Instead, she spoke again, "The music's still playing."
"But vhat about the others?" he asked. "Don't you care that they're still staring?"
She cast a quick glance around the gym only to see the Principal blocking the pathway of a group that had been heading their way and were still glaring angrily at them. The other students did not dare approach them but only continued to stare. "You know," she said slowly, finally returning her gaze to him, "I think what you said earlier is right, but let's give them a real reason to stare."
"Kitty, vhat are you . . . ?" Kurt tried to ask as she leaned closer against him, their bodies pressing together. Her eyes gazed up into his, searching his eyes, as she leaned up and, in answer, pressed her lips to his. She caressed his furry cheek with one hand, and he slowly pulled her closer as they continued to kiss, their bodies swaying slightly to both the music's beat and the beat of their own two hearts.