"Hmm..." I hum, looking myself over in the mirror. "...I guess that's as good as it's gonna get today." I run my brush through my long, brown hair a few more times, then set it down and pick my black messenger bag up from next to my bed. After making sure I have my iPod, I turn off the light in my room and go out into the hallway, shutting my door behind me. I make my way down the stairs to the main room. "I'm off!" I call to the professor, knowing he's in the study down the hall.
"Tess? Could you come in here for a moment before you go?" Professor Xavier calls back.
Glancing at my watch, I head into the study, stopping just inside the door. Jean and Scott are here, too. "What's goin' on, Professor?" I ask.
He smiles, "I wanted you to meet our new arrival before you left for school."
My expression becomes one of confusion, 'New arrival?'
Looking around a little, I then notice someone off to the side; I hadn't seen him when I walked in. He's wearing a cloak-type thing, covering most of him, but his hood is down. Though I don't show it, I'm surprised to see blue fur & hair and pointed ears, as well as piercing yellow eyes looking back at my hazel ones.
I blink and tilt my head, "Uh, hey there. I'm Tess Dower. ...Who are you?"
He seems reluctant, but replies, "...My name is Kurt, Kurt Wagner."
Hearing the way he speaks, I smile a little, "Your accent, German, right?"
He gives a small smile back, "Yes. It's nice to meet you, Tess."
I nod, "You too, Kurt."
The professor steps in, "Kurt will be in the same class as you once he starts school, Tess. I thought it would be a good idea for you two to meet ahead of time, so that he knows someone."
I nod again, then glance at my watch, "Ugh, I'd better get going. Miss Darkholme will give me a lot of grief if I'm late again." I look at Kurt again, "I'll see you later, okay? You'll like it here, I promise."
Still smiling, he nods, "I think I will, and thank-you."
I grin and wave, "See ya!" With that, I hurry out of the study and out the front door. 'He seems really nice... I hope I get the chance to talk to him again later,' I muse, jogging through the gate and down the street. Though I have to hurry to get there on time, I make it to the school without too much trouble. Still rushing, I step into the classroom just before the bell. I breathe a sigh of relief and take my seat near the back, pulling out my notebook as the teacher starts talking.
"Before we begin today's lesson, I have a short announcement," she says. "A new student will be joining us starting tomorrow. I expect you all to be respectful and welcome him to the school appropriately."
I roll my eyes, 'Like they're really gonna listen.'
She then looks at me, "Miss Dower?"
I straighten up, "Yes?"
"I need to speak with you for a moment after class. I'll give you a late pass for your next lesson."
Though, I'm a little worried, I just nod, "Sure."
She nods back, then turns to the board and starts writing notes for the class to copy. Nothing really interesting happens throughout the class, so it goes by pretty slowly.
When it finally does end, I pack up my things and walk to Ms. Hall's desk as the other students file out. "You needed to talk to me?"
"Yes. I've been told that, like you, the new student is staying at the Xavier Institute."
"Yeah, I heard about it just before I came to school. Why?"
She smiles, "I was hoping you wouldn't mind showing him around a bit. I'll give you both a pass, so you can show him during first period tomorrow."
I smile, too, "No problem. I'll let him know when I leave today."
"Thank-you, Tess. I'm sure you'll be helping him out a lot," she says.
After getting a late-slip, I start off for my locker so I can grab a few things before my next class. '32... 16... 21. Open says me!' I pull my locker open and exchange a few notebooks.
" 'Ey, Tess, where ya been?"
I roll my eyes, "You know, one of these days, someone's gonna catch you jumping up on top of lockers, and then I'll have to pummel you for exposing us."
The short, pale boy hops down to my level, "Yeah, yeah, sorry. What took you so long, huh? 'Been waitin' since first period let out."
"Talking to my teacher. She wants me to show the new kid around," I answer, shutting my locker and turning to face him.
He's obviously interested by now, "New kid?"
"His name's Kurt, he just showed up at the institute. Ms. Hall wants me to show him the ropes, since I already met him."
"I got'cha. What's he do?"
I pause. "...I have no idea."
He looks at me funny, "I thought you said you met the guy?"
"I did. I just didn't catch what his power was, that's all," I counter. I glance up at the nearest clock, "I'm gonna get going. You should too, unless you want your teacher to bite your head off..."
He nods, "Yeah, sure. See ya later, Tess."
I smile and wave over my shoulder, "Later, Todd."

~.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.~

I sigh, closing my door behind me and collapsing on my bed. "I swear, the coach is out to get me..." My legs are screaming. Coach Carr made me run 5 laps around the track because I was half-a-second late getting onto the field. I run a hand through my hair, feeling too lazy to do what's left of my homework.

*Knock* *Knock*

I perk up at the sound. "Come in," I call, pulling myself up so I can sit cross-legged on the bed. When the door opens, a boy I've never seen before is standing there, smiling.
I blink, "Uh..." I take a good look at him, then notice his hair. It's dark, and seems to be tinted... blue? "Kurt?" I ask, surprise obvious on my face.
He grins, "Yeah, it's me. Surprised?"
"Very. Image inducers are really something, huh?"
"Only the coolest thing I've ever seen," he says.
I laugh, "So why are you wearing it now?"
He just looks at me, "Because I look normal this way, why else?"
I almost smile again; his accent makes the 'w's sound like 'v's. "Normalcy is overrated. Besides, why would you want to hide the real you? I mean, at school I could understand, but not here at the institute."
He seems thrown off by what I said. "You don't think that I look... weird?"
I blink, but shake my head, "Not at all. I think you look awesome, not that you don't look good this way, too. I just think the real you is different, but in a good way."
He gives me a weird look, "You like my fur and pointy ears?"
I shrug, smiling, "I've been told I'm stranger than most on several occasions."
He laughs, "If you say so," and presses a button on the inducer, revealing his very elf-like form.
I grin, "Good. So what's up?"
He sits down on the bed across from me, "I was wondering, do you think you could help me out at school tomorrow? I'd like to avoid getting lost between classes if possible."
I nod, "Sure thing. Our homeroom teacher, Ms. Hall asked me to help you anyway."
"Are you sure? I don't want to trouble you..."
I laugh, "You're not, really. I don't mind."
He smiles at me, "Dankeschön, mein freundlich. I owe you."
I shake my head, "You're welcome, and nein, you don't owe me anything."
He looks surprised, "You understood me?"
I shrug, "A little. I can't really speak the language, but I know the basics."
He grins, "Can you speak any other language than English?"
"Not very well. I know a few random phrases and words in a bunch of different languages, but I can't actually speak any of them. I only know what I do because I'm a music junkie. I look up lyrics to songs and learn what they mean when they're translated," I explain.
"Which languages?" he asks, actually interested.
"Hmm... well, there's German, as you've already seen, some Spanish, I'm taking Italian in school, umm... a little Japanese, and a very limited bit of Russian and Swedish." I think about it for another second, "Oh, and I can sing one French song that I know the translation to."
Kurt laughs, "You listen to a lot of music, don't you?"
"That's what it means to be a true music junkie," I say proudly. Then I remember something from earlier, "Hey Kurt? What's your power? I was in such a hurry this morning that I forgot to ask."
He grins, "I can teleport from one place to another. What about you? The professor didn't tell me."
"I control the elements. I can also turn into a wisp, like a spirit that looks like a glowing orb, so I can get around faster."
"That sounds awesome."
I giggle, "It is awesome."
He looks at me for a second, "I think we're going to be good friends, Tess."
I grin, extending my hand, "That's what I'm hoping."
Grinning back, he takes my hand with his.
And as it turns out, he was right.

~.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.~

As time's gone by, despite a lot of the weirdness that seems to follow everyone at the institute, Kurt's adjusted to life here pretty fast. He gets along with everyone really well, even the newest additions, Kitty, Evan, and Rogue, which is a plus. It's kinda funny to watch him and Scott sometimes; they're like brothers. It sorta bugs me that he uses his image inducer around the institute so much. I don't get why it bothers him to look different around the others here, me included. We're all different, just not as much in the way we look.
Anyway, the dance at school's tonight. (A/N: For the sake of the one-shot, we're going to pretend it's NOT a Sadie-Hawkins dance!) A couple of guys asked me, but I turned them down as nicely as possible. I don't wanna go with someone I don't even know all that well. The boys in the Brotherhood are going, too, but I think it's just because Boom-Boom put them up to it. If all the others have dates, I guess I'll just hang out with Todd. I was kinda thinking about asking Kurt to go with me, but from what I hear, he's crushing on this girl in one of his classes; Amanda, I think. Yeah, it's true, over the time we've been hanging out, I think I developed a crush on him somewhere along the way. But can you blame me? He's such a sweetheart, and incredibly funny. But it doesn't matter, I guess. Whatever happens, I'll just be happy for him if Amanda says yes.
"Tess?"
"Hm?" I snap out of my daydreaming, looking over at Kurt.
"What's up? You've been staring at nothing for half the class," he whispers.
I shrug, "Tired, I guess." Figuring this is as good a time as any, I look at him, "Hey, who're you going to the dance with?"
He looks a little depressed, resting his head in his hand, "I was going to ask Amanda, but her friend said she already has a date..."
"Aw, I'm sorry, Kurt. Is there anyone else you can ask?"
He shakes his head, "Nein, most of the girls in my classes already have someone to go with, and the ones that don't aren't going at all."
I frown, "What about someone at the institute? Last I heard, Kitty didn't have a date."
"Lance asked her this morning, and Rogue says she'll be hanging out with her friend." He eyes me, "What about you? I heard a few guys asked you..."
"I turned them down. I don't really know too many guys in the school, and I don't want to go with someone I'm not close to, ya know?" I put my head down on my desk, "I thought maybe I'd just hang out with Toad, since I'm sure he doesn't have a date either..."
Kurt looks sincerely surprised by my response. "You really don't have a date?"
I give him a look, "It's that hard to believe?"

*Riiiiiiiiiiiiiing*

We both grab our stuff and head out into the hall. I start for my locker, Kurt trailing behind me.
"Well, yeah, it is... a little. I hear guys talking about you all the time," he says.
Stopping in front of my locker, I turn and look at him, "...Really?" He nods. "Huh, that's new." I start exchanging the stuff in my bag, talking to him while focusing on my books. "Well, if you want, we could go together." I want to slap myself as soon as the words have left my mouth.
"Really? You would go with me?" he sounds surprised again.
I venture a glance at him, "Yeah, why not? I was... sorta planning on asking you before, but then I heard about Amanda and... well I figured you'd rather go with her, anyway." I close my locker and turn to him, "It's up to you, though. If you'd rather not, it's totally fine."
He grins, "Sounds like a good idea to me."
This time, I'm the one surprised. "Oh, okay. I'll uh, meet you there? I've gotta help Kitty put some finishing touches on her outfit before tonight."
He nods, "Sure. I'm going ahead to class. I'll see you later, Tess."
I smile, " 'Kay. See ya." My heart's beating so fast, it feels like it's going to explode. I go the whole way to second period with a smile on my face, probably getting me a few odd looks from other students, but I don't even notice.
The rest of the day seems to go by in a blur, and before I know it, I'm in Kitty and Rogue's room helping the former with her outfit.
I laugh at how antsy she is. "Kitty, I'm sure that he'll be staring at you the whole time, no matter what you wear."
She sighs, "I guess so, but like, I still want to look good, ya know?"
I shake my head, "So do I, but you don't see me freaking out, do you?"
"Tch, you don't have a date to look good for."
I look at the carpet, "Well, now that you mention it..."
She gasps dramatically, grinning insanely, "You found someone!? Why didn't you tell me!? Who are you going with!?"
"Will you relax? I asked Kurt who he was going with and, well, we decided to go together, since neither of us had a date," I explain nervously.
She practically squeals, "That's awesome!"
I sigh, "Alright, can we get back to the issue at hand?"
She calms down a little, "Fine, but can you, like, blame me for being excited? I mean, it's been how long since you started liking him?"
I shrug, "A month? Maybe?"
"Exactly, and you still haven't made a move. And you know Kurt, he's too oblivious to notice these things. You should say something tonight, Tess. This could be your chance," she points out.
"But what if he doesn't like me that way, Kitty? We're really good friends, and this could make things weird between us..."
She laughs, "I don't think any amount of weirdness could keep you two apart for long."
I laugh with her, "Ha-ha, real funny."
She finally drops the subject, letting us get back to finishing her outfit. When we finally get to the school, after scoring a ride with one of Kitty's friends of course, we make our entrance into the gym, which looks freakin' awesome with the strobe lights.
"Kitty!" Lance calls, walking up to us.
She grins as soon as she sees him, "Hey, Lance."
He smiles, looking her over. "Wow, you look great." He glances at me, "You both do."
I smile, exchanging a look with Kitty, "Thanks, so do you."
Todd, Pietro, and Fred come up behind him.
I grin, "Wow, you guys clean up well. Very nice."
Pietro smirks and eyes me, "You don't look too bad yourself. Wanna be lucky girl number one?"
I laugh, but Kitty's the one to answer, "She's taken tonight."
He looks skeptical, "You're not serious; the Toad said you didn't have a date."
I shrug. "Last minute arrangement."
"Tess!"
I look past Kitty and see Kurt making his way over. I grin, "Hey, Kurt."
He stops and looks me over, "Wow, you look... amazing."
I blush, "Thanks. You look really good, too."
Pietro sighs, and Todd start laughing at him, "Haha, man, you lost out to the furball!"
I give him a slight glare, "Todd..."
He instantly stops laughing and gives a sheepish grin, "Ehehe, my bad."
I roll my eyes and give Pietro a small smile. "Better luck next time. But, hey, I think I see a pretty blonde over by the punch bowl," I say, pointing in the general direction.
He follows the gesture and, seeing the girl I was talking about, grins and nods his thanks before running off.
I shake my head and, when I notice Lance and Kitty smiling and eyeing each other, take Kurt's arm, "Come on, let's leave them alone."
He laughs, "Sure." He glances at the dance floor and grins at me, "Pflege zu tanzen, meine Dame?"
I giggle, "If that was you asking me to dance, then sure."
His smile widens as he leads me to the dance floor just as another slow song starts. As we start to dance, I notice Scott and Jean dancing together out of the corner of my eye. I motion towards them with a nod and Kurt looks over, then laughs, "About time..."
I laugh with him, "You said it."
"Like you're one to talk!" Risty and Rogue call at us as they walk past.
I watch after them, feeling lost. It seemed like they were talking more to Kurt than to me. "What was that all about?"
Kurt seems a little tense, "Err, no idea. Don't worry about it too much."
I'm a little concerned at his sudden change in demeanor, "Kurt, are you okay? Is something wrong?"
He gives me a not-so-convincing attempt at a smile, "I'm fine, really. Nothing's wrong."
I'm still skeptical, "You know, you can't lie to me. I know you way to well. What are you keeping from me?" I can't help but feel a little offended that he'd try to lie to me.
He looks down at me, straight into my eyes, and sighs, "Come on." He takes my hand and leads me out into the empty hallway. Once we're out of sight, he teleports us to the roof, where I'm sure no one will interrupt whatever it is he has to tell me. Kurt still holds onto my hand, though he's no longer looking at me.
"You wanna tell me what's bugging you?" I goad him, not used to seeing him so solemn.
He takes a deep breath before looking at me again, "Tess... it's not that anything's bugging me, really. It's just... well, Rogue and Jean have been telling me to let this girl know that I like her, and I'm not talking about a crush. She's one of the nicest girls I've ever met, and I can't stop thinking about her. Tonight was supposed to be my chance to say something to her, but now... I just don't think I can do it."
Even though my heart had started to ache about halfway through, I don't let it show and simply smile up at him. "Aw, come on. You really like this girl, and you're gonna chicken out? That's not like you, Kurt." At his surprised expression, I continue, "If you never take a chance, how will you know? So what if she turns you down? It just means that she doesn't know you. Either that or she's crazy, because no girl in her right mind would say no to you."
He blinks away his shock, "Do you really mean that?"
Summoning up my best smile, I nod. 'Even if he likes someone else, so long as he's happy, I'm happy for him."
His trademark grin spreads across his face again, "Alright then, I'll give it a shot." He then takes my other hand, so he's holding both of them, and smiles down at me. "Tess, will you be my girlfriend?"
Oh. My. God. Out of all the girls in school, it never occurred to me that he would've been talking about me.
He continues, "I know we've been best friends since I arrived at the institute, but I've always thought of you as much more than my friend. Please say you will?"
Finally snapping myself out of my mini-trance, I slowly smile back at him, "Like I said, any girl would be crazy to turn you down, including me." I pause, "But can you promise me something, Kurt?"
He's still smiling insanely, "What is it?"
Giving his hands a light squeeze, I press the button on his image inducer so he's back to his blue, fuzzy self. "Promise me that you won't use your inducer around the institute so much? I know you feel like it makes you fit in better, but you're fine the way you are."
He glances at the watch, "But I'm so different... At least with the watch, I look normal..."
"But the real you is normal. There's nothing wrong with being different." I lightly touch his cheek, getting him to meet my gaze. "The truth is that I've liked you for a long time, Kurt. Pretty much since the day I met you. I never thought there was anything wrong with the way you looked. And besides, you don't need to change for me, or for anyone else. I like you the way you are."
He seems to consider my words, then places his hand over mine and grasps it, "...Alright. I promise."
I smile, "Good. Now let's go back down, okay? The others are probably wondering where we are."
He nods, but before giving me a chance to turn towards the door, Kurt leans down and kisses me, though it only lasts for a few seconds. He smiles and takes my hand again, "Thank-you, meine Liebe."
And so, my face a bright red, I follow him inside once his disguise is back on. Of course, Kitty's the first to notice that the two of us are holding hands, followed by Rogue and Risty, then Scott and Jean, and then the Brotherhood boys and girl. There were no objections, though, and they all seemed pleased in some way, save for Pietro who was a little miffed, but oh well.

He'll get over it.