Anybody out there watch Mythbusters? Well, the episode where they test themselves against Cabin Fever was on last night, and I just sat there thinking, "Ya know, I better never get stranded anywhere. I'd go crazy." Not really important, but it did spark this idea.
Also, this gets a little…choppy in places. The series is still new enough that I don't feel familiar enough with the characters (especially Kurt who's only in been in what 3 episodes?) or the show to really write it particularly well. I realize I left some things that don't have significance at all to the show out, but I've gone over it several times and am satisfied that they are not really important to the story either, although they did appear to be at first.
That being said, I still thrive on constructive criticism and will happily take any comments under advisement.
Kurt didn't know how long he'd been in his cell. He hadn't even had the chance to lose track of the days or forget the difference between day and night; he'd been unconscious before they'd locked him away. He didn't know how long he'd lain on the cool metal floor or how much time had passed since he'd woken.
The cell itself was a sphere of small metal tiles interlocking all around him. And that was it really, all the same color, same size, the only anomaly rested in the form of thousands of hairline fractures where they all fitted together. They weren't even shiny so he didn't even have his reflection for company.
He'd tried to teleport out of it once, just for something to do. That had been a bad day; he'd found himself teleporting repeatedly in the same place, knowing he wouldn't get anywhere, just because the explosive BAMPH and sulfurous smoke that preceded and followed each re-entry were the most thrilling, exciting experience he'd had since he couldn't remember when. He'd finally realized what he was doing when his body began to his ache, his stomach preparing to reject food he hadn't eaten, the white lightning shooting behind his eyelids, open or closed, as a hazy fatigue settled over him. But even these over-exertion warnings were amusing. He'd laughed until he'd passed out.
After that, he'd taken to pacing his home for the foreseeable future, from floor to ceiling and back again, sometimes counting the steps he took. He could make from the very center of the floor and back again in twelve.
Sometimes, perhaps every day, he couldn't tell, Wanda would come to visit him. Telling him about the goings on in Genosha, asking to read to him, sometimes doing so even when he declined, mostly just trying to keep him company and help him pass the time. She was a miraculous break in the monotony that he knew he should be grateful for, and sometimes, on his bad days, when boredom had set into his very bones, he was happy to accept her offerings of a distraction. Mostly, though, he just wanted her to leave him alone.
Today was not a good day, but not bad enough that he was willing to accept her company either. He was counting the lines in the tiles and wondering if he could make his circuit around the cell in less time. He bet he could, if he did it on all fours which would increase his stride. Wanda was saying something about Sammy and how well he was adjusting to life on the island. Even on good days he liked to hear about Sammy and the kids, listened with interest as she described their lives and activities, kept an eye on them for him. But today even this did not rouse his interest enough to listen to her. Perhaps this was a bad day after all…
In any case, today he did not want her there but knew from experience that voicing his objections would only lead to an argument, about Genosha, her father, the X-men, all the above…it didn't matter; it would make her stay longer and he really just wanted her to go away. Luckily experience had also taught him that if he just ignored her quietly and long enough, eventually she would get the hint or believe him asleep…that also did not matter; she left him alone and that was the important thing.
Her voice wafted in through the metal walls, but he let his mind wonder until she sounded far away, a distant echo in his elfin ears.
Heh, elf. The description always made him smile, even at times like this.
He remembered the day he'd received the nickname. Everyone thought it had been Logan who'd christened him with the title, what with his apparent inability to address anyone by their given name, and indeed he'd come up with several alternate titles that Kurt would respond to. But Elf, that was Kitty.
Kitty had been more than a little shy of him when she'd first arrived at the institute, frightened gasps when he'd pop into a room unannounced, the inability to meet his eerie yellow eyes, an obvious reluctance to touch him. But once she had warmed up to him she more than made up for it, becoming his very best friend. She genuinely enjoyed spending time with him and liked to hear his opinions, almost always ready with some snarky comeback about why he was wrong; they could sometimes go on like that for hours. The easy way she offered a playful smile and grabbed his arm or hand and dragged him off to see God knew what made him feel playful, and childish, and cared for. She was always ready with a hug when he needed it, knew when he didn't want to talk, and was stubborn and patient enough to wait around until he did anyway.
And that was where it started. There had been a new student who'd arrived a little earlier than anticipated, and Kurt had accidentally made quite an impression. There had been screaming, and running, and the word 'demon' tossed around a few times. He teleported away as fast as he could to allow the rest of the team to try to repair the damage and ease the chaos and found himself on the roof, staring out at the estate as the setting sun painted it in hues of pink and orange.
He wasn't surprised when Kitty found him up there; she always found him. He looked over his shoulder, took in her gentle comforting smile and tried to respond with one of his own, but even he noticed the way his tail hung limply behind him. He sighed lightly, "It's alright, Kitty, people are supposed to fear demons."
Her smile grew a little warmer, playful as she walked over to where he had perched on the edge of the roof, and he wondered what exactly she had up her sleeve. "You're no demon, Kurt," she replied sitting down carefully beside him. "You're an elf."
His eyes widened just a little, and he felt his lips curl into a real, if slight, smile, ready for whatever verbal sparing match she had planned. "Really?"
"Mhm," she nodded eyeing him critically. He almost laughed at the way her eyes narrowed and her brows furrowed as if studying some new archeological discovery. "Pointed ears, cat-like eyes, slight frame, delicate features, elevated grace and agility," she nodded, "Definitely elfish. A blue fuzzy elf, but an elf nonetheless."
It had caught on after that. Soon he got the term so often from so many different people he began to wonder if they even remembered what his real name was. But he always liked it best when Kitty said it. It sounded so perfect coming from her, her voice wrapped around it lovingly, claiming him with a name.
And then she had claimed him for real, with her fingers, her eyes, her lips.
His last day in Danger Room, it was all still new and amazing, every touch was electric, every endearment magic. He remembered laughing inwardly as she teased Pitor, running circles around him in the simulation.
Of course he rushed to her side when she called for him, held hostage by a giant metal tentacle. "Why don't you just phase through?" he'd wondered aloud.
"And fall on my face? No thanks. So are you gonna help me down or what?"
He should have, he knew, but he was in a playful mood and so smirking mischievously, "You're and X-man, get down yourself." And laughing, he teleported away again, grinning when he heard her call for Pitor and thinking about all the ways that she was going to make him pay for this later. And eventually he'd poke his head into her room, waving the White T-shirt of Surrender, and she would laugh, taking the cloth-covered broom from him and tell him he should use his own T-shirts to play this game, and he would respond by telling her that Logan's T-shirts made things so much more interesting…
And then the world fell apart.
It had been days since the explosion, hours since the X-men disbanded, and minutes since he told Kitty he was leaving. He had prepared himself for the shocked look that crossed her face but not the tears, and each one stabbed his soul a little deeper until he feared the blood seeping from his chest must be real and not just in his head.
"Why?" The word was broken and quiet, and he felt tears gathering in his own eyes. She deserved an answer, but he wasn't sure what to tell her, wasn't even certain he could explain it to himself. There were so many reasons, but looking at her here and now, none of them seemed good enough. So he went with the simplest one.
"I love you." It was the first time he'd ever said it, a bittersweet irony that he might appreciate years later looking back, that the first time he'd said the words aloud had been his goodbye.
Her eyes widened prettily as she uttered the word silently, tasting it, feeling it on her lips. "Kurt," she whispered. His name instead Elf, belaying the seriousness of situation; she rarely used anything but his favorite nickname. Realizing, perhaps, that she could not change his mind and afraid the endearment would only push him further away. Didn't she know he loved her name for him?
Sometimes, even now, he wondered if she would have whispered 'Elf' instead of 'Kurt', if things would have been different, if he would have stayed with her. He's given the possibility a lot of thought, but he's never sure.
His eyes stung slightly, the sensation bringing him back to the present. What had been a pristine metal wall was now skewed and blurry. He touched his finger to the side of right eye, where it crinkled in laugh lines in what could have been a lifetime ago, surprised to find the area damp with tears.
Sometimes he wondered if little moments like that are the ones that decide your destiny and wished he'd just helped her down from the damn tentacle.