Author's Notes: Thanks again for all the reviews. This is it, the final chapter of Demon. Thanks again to everyone who has reviewed/added me to their favourite list/added me to their author alerts, especially; Yellow-eyed-wonder, Dragoncat, Sweetheart14879, Lilac Rose6, Talk-Ape and Pointyearsrule; thank you for all your support and feedback, knowing that you are reading and enjoying this makes all the time I have spent working on it worthwhile. Sweetheart14879 – I don't plan to write another story like this in the near future, as I have to get on and edit my original stories, but there are still plenty of stories to be told in this world (I've randomly numbered it Marvel Universe 917), so I will probably visit in the future at some point, perhaps focusing on Kurt's childhood growing up in the circus, or the day that Margali found him in the river. I do intend to write more fanfictions in the future; they're addictive, and now that I've started, I don't know if I will ever be able to stop. Also, don't worry about Kitty and Kurt having no privacy, as implied in this chapter, they have had plenty of time to get to know each other and fall in love with each other, as Kitty has been tutoring Kurt. Talk-Ape – wow, you're on a Eurotrip and visiting Vienna, and you still took time to read and review my story? Now I'm really flattered. I hope you have a good trip, and return home safely. Lilac Rose6 – Honestly, don't worry about not reviewing straight away, I'm grateful for all reviews, but I know how difficult it can be to write them sometimes, so any review, no matter how late, is always appreciated. Sorry you hurt yourself squealing, but I'm really glad that you liked the last chapter; I hope you will like this one just as much. Yellow-eyed-wonder – that's probably one of the nicest compliments I've ever received, and the thought that I've inspired you as a writer is truly humbling, it makes all the hours I've spent staring at a blank page or screen waiting for inspiration to strike worth the effort. The best advice that I can give you comes from my literary hero, the ridiculously talented Mr Neil Gaiman - "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before," and "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." And don't forget "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe."
Epilogue – Reunion
"Only the phoenix rises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost." (Neil Gaiman)
It had been just over a month since Kurt had joined the X-Men. In that time, Kitty had watched Kurt's self-esteem improve and his confidence grow, until he quickly became one of the most popular and well-liked mutants within the Xavier's Academy for Gifted Youngsters. Part of the reason for his improved self-confidence was the small copper bracelet that Xavier had given to him the day after he had moved in to the mansion. Xavier had enchanted the bracelet so that it created an illusion around Kurt, hiding his more unique and exotic features and making him instead look like a perfectly normal teenager. Kurt had initially tried to convince Xavier to make the illusion look more like Stefan, to make him look incredibly handsome and charming, but Xavier had, politely but firmly, told Kurt that the purpose of the bracelet was to allow him to interact with the rest of society, to be able to do normal teenage activities, and that the purpose of the bracelet was not to promote vanity. Kurt had grudgingly accepted his decision, and the illusion that the bracelet created actually looked quite a lot like his normal self, except without the blue fur, yellow eyes, fangs and tail. Kitty herself had rather ambivalent feelings towards the bracelet. There was no doubt that it gave Kurt a level of freedom he could not have otherwise experienced, but still, it hid his true self, and it just seemed wrong to Kitty that Kurt had to hide his uniqueness in order to be accepted by society. Kitty longed for the day when the colour of people's skin was as irrelevant as the colour of their eyes, but until that day arrived, there could be no doubt that the enchanted bracelet had helped Kurt immensely, allowing him to grow and thrive into a fine and mostly confident young man.
A couple of days after Kurt had joined the X-Men, Xavier had enrolled him Bayville High. Kurt had understandably been nervous about going to school and meeting new people, especially since he had never so much as stepped inside a classroom before. The school had been informed that Kurt had grown up with a circus, and that, through no fault of his own, the circus had recently disbanded. The school staff had been advised to be tolerant with Kurt, since he had never been formally educated before. Xavier had also written to the headmistress of the school, explaining that Kurt always had to wear his copper bracelet while in public, and what he had written was, more or less, the truth. Xavier had explained that Kurt suffered from a rare skin condition that made his skin feel furry to the touch, and that the bracelet helped to alleviate the symptoms and problems caused by this condition. Kurt had been impressed with the letter, as it showed that Xavier seemed to possess Stefan's gift for being able to deceive without actually lying, in order to keep Kurt safe.
Although Kurt had initially had some trouble and embarrassing moments when he first joined Bayville High, he had quickly adapted to the school environment. Although there were inevitably gaps in his knowledge, with Kitty's help and tutoring, Kurt had, within weeks of first attending Bayville High, quickly learned almost everything he needed to know in order to become a good student. Indeed, the teachers at the school had been impressed by how knowledgeable Kurt was on a wide range of subjects, especially considering that he had been raised in a circus, and had never received a formal education before. Kitty had felt immensely proud of Kurt's achievements, and had enjoyed tutoring him, for he was an enthusiastic student, always quick to learn, and always willing to ask questions if he needed clarification on any topic. Kurt had also gradually become less fearful of fire, as Kitty was now able to stand at the far end of Kurt's room, a very small, lit candle in her hands. "May I take a step closer?" Kitty asked quietly, as Kurt continued to stare at his disguised self within his mirror.
"One small step," said Kurt, not turning around to look at the flame, "then blow it out, please."
Kitty nodded, and did as she was asked. She then walked over to where Kurt was self-consciously checking all over his body, making absolutely sure that all of his unique features were hidden under the illusion created by his copper bracelet. Kitty put down the candle, and smiled at Kurt reassuringly. "Don't worry, they'll love you," she told him gently.
Kurt merely smiled back at her, but he did not look convinced. Kitty had arranged for Kurt to meet her parents later, and, even though they had over three hours before they were due to meet with them, Kurt had spent a considerable amount of time checking his appearance, making sure that the illusion of the suit was neat and tidy, and that his tail was completely hidden under the illusion created by the copper bracelet. It did not matter to Kurt that his clothes were nothing more than an illusion, he still wanted to look his best and most formal when meeting Kitty's parents for the first time. He said that he wanted to make it clear that he respected Kitty and her parents. Kitty had unsuccessfully tried to convince Kurt to show them his normal, fuzzy self, but Kurt had politely but firmly refused. Kitty could sort of understand why he felt that way; after all, it was only natural that he would want her parents to think of him as Kitty's best friend, who just happened to be blue and furry, rather than a mutant that was blue and furry, and who just happened to be Kitty's best friend. So Kitty had agreed that he could meet her parents while wearing his copper bracelet, on the condition that he would remove it when an opportune moment presented itself. Kurt had reluctantly agreed to Kitty's request.
Kurt looked down at his illusionary clothes, and then back up at Kitty. He smiled at her nervously. "How do I look?" he asked.
"Normal," said Kitty, not quite approvingly, "pink."
Kurt gave a sigh of relief. "That's exactly how I want to look," he said, turning his attention back to the mirror, and examining his hair critically.
Kitty shook her head, and then smiled at Kurt reassuringly once more. "You will be fine," she told him gently.
Kurt gave her an uncertain smile, and looked like he was about to respond, when there was a knock on his door. "Kurt, may I come in?" asked Storm.
"Of course," said Kurt, running over to the door and opening it. He smiled at Storm, and bowed theatrically as she entered his room. Kurt had always rather liked Storm, and had told Kitty that she reminded him a bit of a younger version of Margali, kind and gentle, yet still strong and determined.
Storm smiled and nodded at Kurt, and then smiled towards Kitty, before turning her attention back to Kurt once more. "There's someone here to see you," she said, and then pointed at his copper bracelet, "oh, and you might want to remove that," she added.
Kurt gave Storm a confused look. "What does he want?" he asked cautiously.
"She," Storm corrected, "she wants to see you, that's all, don't look so worried."
Kurt swallowed, but nodded uncertainly. "Tell her that I will be down shortly, please," he said.
Storm nodded, and then left Kurt's room. Kurt looked nervous for a moment, before making his way towards the door. "Right," he said uncertainly, "I guess I had better go and see what she wants."
Kitty nodded. "You will be fine," she reassured him, "and Storm said that you can leave your bracelet here."
Kurt shook his head, as they made their way out of the room and towards the front of the mansion. "I'm not taking any chances," he said, "that's twice people have tried to burn me to death for being blue and fuzzy, I don't want to make it third time..." his voice trailed off when he saw the tall, graceful woman standing near the entrance to the mansion. Margali smiled at him uncertainly, as Kurt stared back at her in surprise.
"Hello Kurt," she said quietly, examining the illusion that covered his body, disguising his more exotic features, "you're looking rather..." her voice trailed off as she examined him, "pale," she said, after a rather long pause.
"M-Margali," Kurt stuttered, "Mum!" Then Kurt removed the bracelet from his wrist, revealing his true form, before racing across the hall, and a moment later, he was in Margali's arms. Margali hugged him gently, and stroked his cheek lightly. A number of mutants had started to gather around the entrance to the mansion, obviously curious about this strange woman, but Kurt ignored them. There were tears in his eyes as he looked up at Margali, and a moment later, he began to cry. "I'm so sorry!" he said. "It's all my fault. Jimaine, Stefan, the circus, everyone and everything you ever loved is gone, because of me!"
Margali smiled at Kurt sadly, and shook her head, staring Kurt directly in the eye. "No Kurt," she said, quietly and reassuringly, "not everyone."
Kurt managed a small smile. "They died," he said quietly, "protecting me."
Margali nodded sombrely. "The wizard-professor Charles Xavier explained to me what happened back at the circus," she said, "but if it is either of our faults, the blame is mine."
Kurt stepped back, and stared at her incredulously. "What?" he exclaimed.
Margali smiled sadly at Kurt. "Jimaine wanted to leave Morttoten in the river, to drown him, in order to keep you safe," said Margali sadly. "But I, in my pride and arrogance, refused to let her." Margali gave a huge sigh. "A long time ago, I killed a man, to protect those I love. You could argue that what I did was justified, but the simple truth is that you cannot commit murder and remain unchanged. It can cause madness and evil, and can lead you down a very dark path, and once you are in the depths of this darkness, it is very hard to find the light again." Margali shook her head sadly. "I wanted to spare my daughter that, but I should have had the courage to drown him myself, now that I know that the darkness can be defeated. If I had done so, your brother and sister, and all of your friends at the Szardos Circus might still be alive. But because of my arrogance, they are not, so the guilt for their death is not yours, but mine."
Kurt continued to stare at her incredulously, for a long moment. "That's ridiculous," he said at last, "you couldn't have known that the circus would be destroyed."
"It is no more ridiculous than you blaming yourself for what happened," Margali told him quietly.
Kurt shook his head. "I thought you'd hate me. I was worried that you'd never want to see me again, after what happened," he admitted.
Margali gave him a sad smile. "When you reach my age, it is natural that your life becomes tainted with the sorrow of death. But you, you were barely more than a child when your family were murdered," she shook her head sadly; "I do not know how well I would have coped, had I been in your place."
Kurt looked down at his feet. "Sometimes you just have to cope, because there's nothing else that can be done," he said quietly. Then Kurt suddenly looked up at Margali, pity in his yellow eyes. "But if you're here, then that must mean your ex-husband..." his voice trailed off.
Margali nodded sadly. "Tonino had been sick for a very long time," she said quietly, "his death was inevitable and not unexpected. He was not a young man. Kurt, when an old person dies, it's always sad, but the bitterness of the sorrow is made more bearable by the knowledge that that person lived a good, long life, and when the time came, left this life, to make room so that younger ones may have the chance to do the same. His death was far less tragic than the deaths of our friends and family from the Szardos Circus."
Kurt smiled at Margali sadly. "Then take away the memories," he said quietly, "take away the memory of the time I lost everyone, and all the guilt I've had to endure these last few months. I don't want to remember any more. I know you can do this, I've seen you take away memories before."
Margali merely shook her head. "Oh Kurt, I will take away all of the bad dreams, but please, don't ask me to remove your memories," she said quietly, "taking away another's memory should never be done lightly, but to take away the memory of months of growth and learning, that can lead to madness or worse. I could not do that to anyone, least of all to you. Listen, when I left the circus, you were little more than a child, still a bit too innocent and naive for your own good. Now you are practically a man, you have grown so much in the past few months, and the child I left behind is gone forever. He cannot return, but you can attempt to learn from the past. To live in the past is to fail to honour the dead by refusing to live in the present, and to refuse to prepare for the future. I will not dishonour my family that way, for I want to help you live your life in the present and in the future, not the past." Margali then looked up, and saw Kitty, who was watching her nervously. Margali smiled a knowing smile, before turning her attention back to Kurt. "I do not need to be a sorceress to be able to tell that much of your future will be spent with this lovely young lady," she said.
Kitty smiled nervously, and slowly walked towards Margali. "My name is Kitty Pryde," she said, and held out her hand towards Margali, who shook it gently, "Kurt often talks about you. It is clear that he regards you as highly as you regard him."
Margali winked at Kurt. "I like her," she said, "so you have finally found a young lady who is your perfect romantic partner."
Kurt looked down, and began to blush slightly. "Mother," he said quietly, "you're embarrassing me."
Margali nodded, and winked at Kitty. "A mother's prerogative, I'm afraid," she said, "and I've missed embarrassing you these last few months, so I have to make up for lost time."
Kitty began to giggle, as Kurt continued to stare at the floor. Margali laughed, and nodded approvingly towards Kitty. "She's very pretty," she said, "but a bit too skinny," she smiled at Kitty mischievously, "we're going to have to fatten you up, if you are serious about having a romantic relationship with my youngest," she told her playfully.
Kitty grinned mischievously. Although Kurt looked rather embarrassed, Kitty felt incredibly glad that Margali still considered him her son, and did not blame him for what had happened to the Szardos Circus and her family. Kitty then watched, confused, as Margali reached inside the pocket of her skirt, and removed a small, folded piece of paper.
"Oh, I almost forgot about this," said Margali, turning her attention back to Kurt, "a young woman gave this letter to me on the way here. It's addressed to you."
Kurt looked confused as he took the offered letter. "What is it?" he asked.
"I would not dream of invading your privacy by opening a letter addressed to you," said Margali sincerely, "I know only that you are in no danger from this letter, nothing less and nothing more."
Kurt merely frowned, and then opened the letter. He stared at it for a long moment, and then smiled, ever so slightly, before folding it and placing it in his pocket. Then he noticed the small crowd of mutants who had gathered around the entrance to the mansion, and noticed that they were watching him curiously. Kurt shrugged, and gave a little laugh. "The Eleventh of November," he said quietly, "my birthday. It's today. I'm seventeen. I guess Mystique isn't made out of stone after all."
Some of the gathered mutants began to laugh and clap. Margali smiled at Kurt sincerely. "Happy birthday," she said.
"Happy birthday," said Kitty, moving closer to Kurt, and smiling at him gently.
Margali winked at Kitty. "Why don't you give him a birthday kiss?" she asked. "After all, it's clear that you two are in love with each other, so stop being shy about it."
"Mother," said Kurt, "don't embarrass her."
Margali winked at Kurt. "But it's obvious," she said. "Besides, I'm not getting any younger. I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren."
There was giggling from some of the mutants who were watching them, but Kitty ignored them, as she ginned at Kurt mischievously. "No, I want to," she said, and then kissed Kurt. She had initially intended it to be nothing more than a quick kiss on the cheek, but somehow she ended up kissing Kurt passionately on the lips, a true lover's kiss, full of emotion and love, passion and acceptance. Kitty vaguely wondered if Margali was working her magic to remove her inhibitions, but quickly decided that it did not matter. She loved Kurt, and it was obvious that he felt the same way towards her. She wanted the whole world to know how she felt, for in that brief, eternal moment, it seemed that Kurt was her entire world.
"Could you wait to make a start on these grandchildren until the rest of us leave?" asked Rogue, but she was smiling, and it was clear that she was glad that her two friends had finally admitted that they loved each other. Still, Kurt and Kitty reluctantly pulled away from each other, and blushed slightly as several mutants began to laugh and clap approvingly.
Margali gave them an approving nod. "Much better," she said decisively.
Kurt nodded shyly, and Kitty smiled at Margali, who returned the smile. She did not have to be a sorceress to know that Kurt and Kitty would have a long and happy life together, that they would grow in love and friendship, explore strange places and experience exotic cultures, yet always find home and love within the other's eyes. Yet in time, Kurt and Kitty achieved far more than Margali could have possibly imagined, changed the world for the better, and fought battles against prejudice and injustice wherever they found them, yet always found time to relax in a gentle embrace, where they found love and acceptance within the other's arms.
As for the Brotherhood, they never returned to the land, and neither Kitty nor Kurt ever saw them again. There were stories and rumours concerning what had happened to them, some saying that they had been killed by an angry mob, others saying that they crossed the sea, where became reformed characters in a new land. It did not matter to Kurt and Kitty, for they had found true happiness with each other, and knew that nothing would ever be able to change that. In time, the story of Kurt's and Kitty's love itself became a tale of myth and legend, told around camp fires to awestruck crowds. The tale of Kurt and Kitty, of The Demon of Bayville, of Beauty and the Beast, was told and retold hundreds of times, all over Europe and beyond. The details changed with the telling and the retelling, but the essence of the story remained the same, for it was a tale of life, love and acceptance. In time, Kurt and Kitty's story became nothing more than a fairytale, told by the bards and storytellers all over the world, because bards and storytellers are the people who know about the importance of stories, and who therefore understand why these stories should never be lost.