Home Sweet Home
By Madripoor Rose
Disclaimer: The X Men are the property of Marvel Entertainment, no copyright infringement intended.
Note: Inspired by the first page of Wolverine: First Class, issue 1.
Piotr flinched, and the needle-sharp point of his charcoal pencil snapped off, making a thick jagged line through the still life of his desktop clutter. He grunted, and set the pencil and sketchbook aside, careful not to let the charcoal pencil roll off the sketchbook and mark his bedspread.
He'd been sketching out of boredom, and didn't really need to do another study of the stack of books and I Heart NY mug of pens and pencils on his desk. He looked speculatively at the wall they shared, and then got up and went next door.
"Kitty?" he called out, knocking lightly.
"Uhn, yeah, c'mon in," she sounded out of breath.
As he had suspected, she had her bookcase a foot away from their shared wall. "Rearranging furniture?"
"Yup." She pushed a handful of chestnut curls out of her eyes. "My parents sent the rest of my things...the boxes are downstairs. I wanted to get everything ready before I unpack."
"A good plan. Where would you like the bookcase?"
"Oh, you don't have to..." she trailed off as he walked over and lifted it easily. "Oh! Well...I'd like the bookcases over there, one on each side of the window, please."
He placed them in their appointed spot, and turned to find the girl looking at him oddly again. Surely they'd been through enough Danger Room sessions for her to realize how strong he was.
"And did you want to move your bed, the dresser or the desk?"
"If it's not too much trouble, Peter. I don't want to bother you," she said, looking down shyly.
"Nonsense, it is no trouble. This is your room, and you should have it arranged as you wish, to make you comfortable. It is what I did when I first came here, too. I put everything where it had been in my bedroom at home, though the rooms here are much bigger than my old room. It makes it a little more familiar, and then with your own things around you, it feels more like home. It is not always easy to sleep in a strange place."
"No, it isn't. Especially when you've never been away from home before," Kitty agreed. "Though Danger Room training is the best insomnia cure ever. Can't toss and turn all night when you're too exhausted to move!"
Piotr laughed, and gestured at the room at large. "Now. Where did you want your bed and desk?"
With Piotr's help, it took only a few minutes to get her bed tucked against the slanting wall, the desk opposite it, and the dresser where the bookcases had been.
"Thanks Peter. This would have taken me all day to do by myself."
"No problem," he shrugged. "Would you like some help bringing up the boxes of your things?"
"That'd be great!"
Piotr helped her carry boxes upstairs. He brightened at the sight of her two poster tubes. "Ah, you have posters? Let me guess...movie star or rock singer?"
"Neither!" Kitty blushed slightly, wondering if Piotr was trying to guess who she had a crush on, and how he compared. "Well, sort of neither. I mean, I have a Star Wars poster, but it's the movie that's cool, not Harrison Ford or Mark Hamill. I mean, they were both cool in the movie, but that's not why I have the poster," she babbled nervously. "And I have an old poster from the Moscow Ballet."
"All little girls want to be ballerinas when they want to grow up, da?"
Stung, Kitty's eyes narrowed. "I was taking dance lessons at home. Professor Xavier promised to find a good school for me here."
"Yes, I believe there is a studio in town, run by a famous modern dancer. Stephanie Hunter. We have attended several performances...many more than I saw in Siberia, though it is the national art. All little Russian girls want to be ballerinas or gymnasts, just as we boys all wanted to play hockey in the Olympics when we grew up."
Slightly mollified, Kitty asked, "you played hockey?"
"Not very well. Which is why I am an X Man and not a famous athlete."
"Fell down a lot, huh? I could never get the hang of ice skating. Roller skating I can do, but ice is all...slippy." She flapped her hands, imitating arms pinwheeling for balance.
"And when I fell, I would crack the ice." Piotr agreed, ruefully.
They smiled at each other, sharing the moment as it drifted off into silence.
"Well. Um. I've got all this unpacking to do," Kitty said, reluctantly.
"I should let you get started. I will see you later, at dinner." Piotr smiled at her, and left.
The first thing Kitty unpacked and set up was her computer, firing it up to make sure nothing had been damaged in transit from Deerfield. Her collection of games went on one shelf of the bookcase.
She put her posters up by the bed, and unpacked her books. Dungeons and Dragons sourcebooks. Elfquest. Xanth. Computer manuals. The photo-book of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle from the Museum Of Science And Industry in Chicago. She kept Splinter Of The Mind's Eye and The Blue Sword out to reread.
The one bookcase shelf that wasn't filled up with books got a set of ceramic bisque unicorns, a stallion, mare and foal. Her Cubs baseball cap, and a Barbie Doll in a red satin evening gown, trimmed with black lace.
Her walkman, and small collection of casette tapes went into a desk drawer. Her own brush and comb, her jewelry box, and a small tray of eyeshadows, blushers, lipstick and lip glosses, and two bottles of Pavlova and Xia Xiang perfume went on the dresser's top. The rest of her clothes in dresser drawers and the closet. Her teddy bear and stuffed dog on the bed.
She sat down at her desk, in front of the computer, and rifled through the box of disks, finding the one labelled Journal. She inserted it, and started the word processor.
Big day today. Lots of firsts. First time I finally got my dorm room to look the way I really wanted it to.
First inkling I might have a crush on the boy next door. I mean that literally—he's right next door, in the room right next to me. Peter. He's so…so very so. So handsome. So tall. So nice. So muscular. HOW AM I GONNA SLEEP AT NIGHT!? AAAHHH!!
Please please please don't let me phase-sleepwalk any more. If I wind up in his bedroom in my pajamas I'll die.
My first day of classes here at the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters…..