Author's Note: I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time now, and have finally gotten around to writing it. In this one-shot, Kurt is twenty-three and Kitty is twenty-two. Also, Rigby Fallon was a SHIELD intern whom Kitty was once attracted to in the comics; I decided to use his name for Kitty's college boyfriend in this one-shot.

Disclaimer: I own nothing; X-Men: Evolution belongs to Marvel and the lyrics to "A Day Late" belong to Anberlin.

Day-Late Friend

So let me get this straight
Say now you loved me all along
What made you hesitate
To tell me with words what you really feel

It felt as though she was drowning, and she wasn't sure if she could escape.

Her eyes looked around her bedroom, hoping she could find something to prevent them from going where they shouldn't go. Where they wanted to go.

She scanned the walls, the ceiling, the carpet, the wooden dresser, the mirror, the nightstand, and finally, the bed she was sitting on. Everything in the room was exactly as she remembered it; it was like she had never left.

Reluctantly, she settled her gaze on the one person she had been avoiding since she returned to the mansion.

He was leaning against the opposite wall, near the doorframe, and she knew he was avoiding her gaze, too. She remembered when they could talk about anything and everything, but now...what could they possibly have to say to each other? He brought his pupil-less yellow eyes to hers, and she glanced away.

She couldn't let him think he still affected her, or that he ever had an affect on her to begin with, especially since she was now dating Rigby Fallon, a boy she had met while in college. It had been five years since they'd been alone together; he had known her from a time of younger days, where the leap from best friends to lovers hadn't seemed as big as a chasm.

But we never took that leap, she thought bitterly. And whose fault is that?

She found her eyes straying back to him, noticing how his indigo hair fell across his face. He looked back at her, and she wondered what he was thinking. For a moment, she thought he might say something, but he merely glanced down at the floor, and she stared at her lap.

A part of her wanted to hear his voice again, but another part, the part that reminded her that she was with someone else, was glad for the silence. To hear him speak, to hear his rich baritone say her name...she wasn't sure if she could handle it. There was too much history between them; they didn't need any more.

I can see it in your eyes
You mean all of what you say
I remember so long ago
See, I felt that same way

He didn't know what to say to her, so he said nothing and looked at the carpet.

Had it really been half a decade since he last saw her? If he was honest with himself, he would admit that he half expected to never see her again.

Armed with his high school diploma, an updated image inducer, and a broken heart, he had left the mansion to go back to Germany. He spent four years living with his parents, going to college, and had tried to forget his feelings for her. After graduating from college, he decided to return to the X-Men—after all, he had been feeling a little homesick—and he did his best to not dwell on the fact that she had left the mansion.

Recently, he had gotten back together with Amanda, telling himself that it had nothing to do with feeling like he was settling for second best because he lost his chance with his first choice.

But now that said first choice had come back, he was starting to wonder how long he would be able to continue deluding himself.

His eyes were once again drawn to her. She was looking at her lap, refusing to meet his gaze. He noted how her hair had grown longer since their last encounter; instead of falling to her shoulders, it now reached to the middle of her back. Aside from that, her appearance was as it always had been—same eyes, same skin, same slender frame.

As he continued to watch her, he thought about calling to her. One conversation couldn't hurt.

Before he could change his mind, he spoke. "Kätzchen."

She looked up at him, and his eyes widened at her reply.

"Don't call me that."

Now we both have separate lives and lovers, lovers
Insignificantly enough, we both have significant others
Only time will tell
Time will turn and tell

We are who we were when
Could've been lovers
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

He had called her Kätzchen. His name for her from a different time.

She knew what she said had shocked him, judging from how taken aback he looked. He turned away to stare into space, and she did the same. It was better to stay quiet, to not stir up things that would only get complicated.

Why do you even care? a mental voice piped up. You're the one who said you didn't love him. So why so afraid to talk to him?

She quickly silenced the voice and opened her mouth to speak, but he beat her to the punch.

"You can leave at any time."

She raised an eyebrow. "This is my room."

He averted his gaze to her. "That's not the point, Kitty. You obviously don't vant to talk to me."

"And it only took you, what, ten, fifteen minutes to start talking?"

"No need to be sarcastic." Kurt ran a hand through his hair. "It's just...Kitty, vhy haven't you left the room yet?"

"Why haven't you? After all, this isn't your room."

Kurt sighed heavily and looked her straight in the eye. "I guess I just can't stay avay from you. Not anymore."

Who knew what we know now
Could've been more
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

And now he was trying to open up old wounds. She was not in the mood to play this game.

"What are you talking about?" she asked. Of course, she knew, but she wasn't about to let him know that.

And of course, he saw right through her. "You know damn vell vhat I'm talking about. You just don't vant to admit it."

Her hand curled into a fist. "Admit what?"

He snorted. "Right, keep telling yourself that. I, for von, can't keep pretending everything's alright vith me, but I suppose if you can...then it's not my problem."

He turned away, and she unexpectedly felt her heart sink. The years had changed him, that much was certain. Gone was the warmhearted, fun-loving boy she had fallen for; in his place was...well, she wasn't entirely sure. Even his accent wasn't as strong as she remembered it to be.

What do you expect? You practically made him run away to a whole other continent.

She inwardly cringed at the thought. She stood up from her bed before she could stop herself and called out to him. "Kurt."

Pale yellow met sky blue, and the earth stood still.

But thoughts, they change
And times, they rearrange
I don't know who you are anymore

Loves come and go, and this I know
I'm not who you recall anymore

All he could do was watch her as she slowly walked up to him, taking his hand in hers after she was standing next to him. He tried to ignore the spark of electricity he felt at the contact.

She looked at their clasped hands, then looked up at him. "Kurt, I...I don't know what to say."

Kurt felt his insides clench and he withdrew his hand from hers. "You can start by telling me vhy you ripped out my heart and stomped on it five years ago."

Kitty squeezed her eyes shut, then opened them again. "Come on, Kurt, don't be like this."

"You vant me to be like you and pretend that nothing vas between us? That nothing ever could have been between us?" He shook his head. "Sorry, that's not happening."

She reached out to him again. "Kurt..." Her voice trailed off, and a moment of silence passed.

He sighed, suddenly feeling tired. "Vhat happened to us, anyvay? Vhy did ve just...fall apart?"

She shrugged. "Guess we weren't meant for each other."

He stepped closer to her, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Do you really believe that? After everything ve've been through...after everything ve've done to stay avay from each other, then ve end up together again...Do you honestly believe ve veren't meant to be together?"

She didn't reply, staring at her feet instead.

"Kitty, vhy did you give up on us before ve even had a chance to get started?"

She looked up at him, her eyes welling with tears. "I was afraid, okay?"

But I must confess
You're so much more than I remember
Can't help but entertain these thoughts
Thoughts of us together

So he had been right.

Kurt let go of her shoulder. "I see."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Kitty asked, still blinking back tears.

He laughed humorlessly. "You vere afraid of vhat vould happen if you allowed yourself to love me the vay I loved you. Ve had the best friends thing down to a science; anything more vould have been dangerous territory, according to you. That's it, isn't it?"

"And what if we had broken up? Do you think we could've gone back to being friends, just like that? Because I don't think so." By now, she seemed to have reigned in her emotions.

"So the only solution vas to break my heart and absolutely refuse to take that chance?" He shook his head in disbelief. "I'm disappointed, Kitty. I thought you vere made of stronger stuff than that."

"Well, it's already too late, isn't it?" she asked, looking down again.

He had nothing to say to that. A few minutes of silence passed before he spoke.

"I got back vith Amanda, a few veeks ago."

Her eyes snapped to his. "You what?"

"Yeah." He shrugged slightly.

She continued to stare at him. Was that anger (jealousy?) he saw in her eyes?

"Kurt, why the heck are you having this conversation with me when you have a girlfriend?"

"Like I said, I just can't stay avay from you anymore."

She scoffed. "Apparently you can, if you can manage to hook back up with your ex from high school. Oh, and that's another thing. Say we did get together; what if someone better for you came along? What if Amanda tried to get you back? What then? Would you have left me?"

She probably would have continued her tirade had he not suddenly pulled her into his arms.

"Oh, Kitty," he whispered. "Don't you understand? Amanda's a lot of things, but she's not you. She vill never be you."

We are who we were when
Could've been lovers
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

Who knew what we know now
Could've been more
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when
My day-late friend

She was lost in his embrace.

Any protests her mind shot at her were drowned out by the thrill of his arms being around her. This time, she let the tears fall. This was how it should've been, how it always should've been.

But was it even possible now? He was seeing someone else, and so was she. He was the one she had loved years ago, then she had shoved him out of her life and done everything she could to forget him.

She pulled back slightly to look into his eyes. They no longer looked distant, but were filled with the warmth that she always remembered him having.

What on Earth were they going to do?

So let me get this straight
All these years, and you were nowhere to be found

After five years apart, it felt wonderful just to hold her.

He knew it was wrong. She wasn't his to love, no matter how much he wanted to.

He sighed as he released her from his embrace.

And now you want me for your own
But you're a day late, and my love
She's still renowned

"Kitty," he said, "I vant you to be honest vith me."

She tilted her head to the side. "Honest?"

"Yeah." Kurt nodded. "Can you do that?"

"Okay," she agreed slowly.

Kurt took a breath, then asked her, "Do you love me?"

Kitty's eyes averted to the floor and she sighed heavily. "I can't. I...I'm already dating someone."

We are who we were when
Could've been lovers
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

He took a moment to stare at her. "You're vhat?"

She let out a hollow chuckle. "Yeah. I'm seeing this guy I met in college."

"Vhat's this guy's name?"

"His name's Rigby."

"Vhat parent vould be cruel enough to name their child Rigby?" He sounded as though he was trying not to laugh.

She looked up to glare at him. "Kurt, he's a nice guy."

"I heard a 'but' coming."

Who knew what we know now
Could've been more
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

"What are you talking about now?" she asked.

"Vell, Kitty, this Rigby may be a nice guy, but he's not me. Just as Amanda isn't you."

Could he be any more arrogant?

"Don't try to tell me how I feel."

"Fine then, I von't."

And then he kissed her.

We are who we were when
Could've been lovers
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when

The sensation that she was drowning had returned; this time, she welcomed it. Suddenly, as Kurt kissed her, she felt as though she were fifteen again, back to the day where she realized that her heart had been stolen by her best friend.

Said best friend never really had any intention of giving her heart back.

Several seconds later, he broke off the kiss. "Tell me you didn't feel anything from that."

Wordlessly, she pulled him into another kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Her conscience was screaming at her to stop, that they were both with other people. She told it to shut up and fiercely concentrated on pouring out all her emotions into that one kiss. Hurt, anger, regret, desire, hope, and—

She ended the kiss. "I love you."

He smiled slightly. "Better late than never, Kätzchen."

She leaned into his embrace, laying her head on his chest and closing her eyes. Neither of them knew what tomorrow would bring, and neither of them particularly cared to think about it. They would either go on with their lives as though nothing had happened, or continue with what had been brewing between them for years now.

Only time would tell.

Who knew what we know now
Could've been more
But at least you're still my day-late friend
We are who, we are who we were when