Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Men (and I hate having to type that every single time I write a new chapter on a fanfiction).

A/N: I hope you all enjoy the relaunch of Phantom and Feline! Minimizing sparkly pony time and MAXIMIZING Kurtty time! Here we go!


Kurt Wagner was depressed. Staring up at the ceiling at the poster that his friend Evan had put there of his favorite band, a crinkled letter hung loosely in his hand. The room was completely quiet, except for the sound of Kurt's breathing.

As he lay, glaring murderously at the poster on the ceiling, Kitty Pryde walked into the room. At first she didn't see him, but then she spotted the telltale blue tail hanging over the arm of the couch, tip twitching agitatedly.

"Hey Kurt," Kitty said, walking over to hang over the back of the couch. "Wanna go into town and, like, do something?"

Kurt didn't take his eyes off the poster as he answered.


"Why? What's, like, wrong; other than that poster?" Kitty followed Kurt's eyes.

"Zere's nozing vrong wiz ze poster." Kurt said almost sharply.

"Then why are you, like, so angry?" Kitty pressed. It was very unlike Kurt to be so sullen and moody.

"I'm not angry. I'm zinking." Kurt replied, closing his eyes.

"What are you thinking about?"


"What sort of things?"

"Difficult zings,"

"Tell me."

"Nein. I don't need to burden you viz my problems."

"I want to be burdened. It'll give me something to do."


"Tell me anything."

"I got a letter from my brozzer a few days ago . . ." Kurt started, opening his eyes and looking at the letter in his hand, which he brought up to rest on his chest tiredly.

"What was it about?" Kitty asked sympathetically, gesturing towards the letter.

"Back home, zings are going badly . . . my seester, Jimaine, lost her job,"

"That's too bad,"

"Stefan voz convicted for ze murder of a girl."

"Wow. That's really awful," Kitty said, her eyes wandering to other things, like Evan standing in the doorway. She ignored him for now.

"My mozzer voz . . ." Kurt trailed off. He closed his eyes again and tears fell from the corners into his fur.

"Was . . . ?" Kitty prompted.

"My mozzer vas killed in a riot." Kurt choked out, taking a shuddering breath. "Ze people found out she vas a sorceress und zey vent into her tent und brought her out into ze town sqvare . . ."

Kitty remained silent, squinting at the hurried scrawl of German words on the page in Kurt's grip.

"Und zey beat her vile zey made Stefan und Jimaine vatch. Stefan says zat zey burned her at ze stake, demanding to know vhere I vas, so zey could kill me, ze demon . . . but she vouldn't tell zem, so zey burned her. And zey call me ze monster! Zey are monsters." Kurt growled, reining in his tears.

" . . . I thought that was, like, medieval," Kitty murmured.

"Oh, no, anyzing cruel and unusual, zey'll do it!" Kurt shouted and sat up, crumpling the letter into a ball and throwing it at the wall, nodding angrily as tears clouded his gold gaze. Evan recoiled from the ball of paper and backed quickly away down the hall.

Kitty was at a loss for words.

"But you'll stand by me, right?" Kurt asked Kitty, his rage fading. He seemed to shrink visibly as he turned to face her, picking his tail up and running his fingers over the flat, arrowhead-shaped barb.

She hesitated for a moment, short enough that Kurt didn't notice. "Definitely, Kurt. You're, like, my best friend. Best friends stick together." Kitty assured him, still quite scared so she didn't approach him.

"Jimaine und Stefan can't show zeir faces in town again, zey're ze children of a sorceress and ze seeblinks of a demon. It's like a taboo." Kurt said sadly. "Und I can't do anyzing about it."

"Aw, Kurt," Kitty murmured pity for the boy overcoming fear. She walked around the couch to wrap her arms around Kurt's hunched frame. He kept his eyes on his tail.

"I don't know vat to do anymore," Kurt said quietly. "Everyzing's so confusing now, people just can't tolerate us, so zey kill us. Sometimes, I vonder vat it vould be like if I vasn't a mutant . . . vould I grow up viz normal parents, hating mutants for freaks, vould I not know, or vould I just tolerate and live viz zem? Makes me realize how fragile our lives are, really . . . " Kurt whispered, fingering the rosary he wore around his neck outside of school. Kitty squeezed him gently in a comforting way.

"Whaddya say we go into town? Get your mind off of things for now? No—a snack first. Then town." Kitty said with a smile. Kurt stayed silent for a moment, then replied.


"Right then!" Kitty pulled him by the hand through the rec. room down the hallways and staircase to the kitchen. Thankfully, no one was there. Kurt sat down in a chair with his chin resting on the table as his eyes followed Kitty around the kitchen, getting ice cream, bowls, and spoons before going to sit down across from him. Just as Kitty was about to make contact with the seat of the chair, there was a loud yelp.

"Hey! Hey! I'm here!" a female voice spoke hurriedly, and a young Korean lady with short, straight black hair materialized in the chair.

"Who are you?" Kitty demanded, straightening up quickly. She glared at the girl.

"I'm Milani, and I just got here today – I'm a new recruit. Who are you?" Milani said, looking from Kitty, angry, to Kurt, mildly surprised. "And what's up with you?"

"I'm Kitty, and this is Kurt. We've lived here at the Institute for about three years." Kitty said, a harsh edge to her voice. She phased through the table to sit on Kurt's right.

"Hab' ich kein Mutant gesehen dass hässt andere Mutants so." Never seen a mutant before that hates other mutants so much. Kurt said to himself. Milani looked at him for a moment intensely. Kurt stared back at her and she shuddered almost imperceptibly before conversationally asking,

"So what do you guys do?"

"I phase through solid objects." Kitty answered reluctantly, waving her hand through the table a couple of times.

"Instantaneous line-of-sight teleportation." Kurt answered autonomously. He started on his ice cream as Professor Xavier's voice sounded in each of their heads. Milani jumped, but Kurt and Kitty were unfazed.

Attention all new recruits: there will be an orientation in the Recreation Room in two minutes with Logan and Scott. Attendance is mandatory.

"Guess I'd better go now . . . I'll probably get lost and show up ten minutes late if I don't," Milani said with a rather nervous smile and left the kitchen. Kitty ate her ice cream in silence, watching Kurt cautiously. In her Family Studies class at school, they were studying the grieving process. After the initial shock wears off, someone going through the grieving process can become depressed and suicidal. She really hoped Kurt didn't become suicidal.

Kurt pushed his bowl aside and put his chin back down on the table, eyes unfocused. He was lost in a confusing, stinging haze of emotion, mostly grief, rage, and depression.

"C'mon, Kurt. Let's go now." Kitty said, pulling Kurt away from the table and up to his room. Kitty scrounged around and found his image inducer, and held it out to him, expecting him to put it on. He stared blankly at it as if he didn't know what it was. Kitty sighed and rolled her eyes, then strapped it onto his wrist and pressed the button.

Kurt's image flickered and there stood a tall boy with pale skin and dark black hair, almost indigo. His face wore the same shell-shocked expression.

"Kurt," Kitty murmured, coming up close to him so they were almost touching. "Kurt, can you say something? Please?"

Kurt blinked and looked down at the floor and seemed to come to his senses.

"Sorry. I just can't concentrate," he said distractedly.

"Well, you don't need to concentrate to drive Scott's car, do you?" Kitty teased. Kurt smiled sadly.

"Vatever. I'll try anyvays. You, being a leetle girl, can't drive." Kurt jibed, a touch of his spirit coming back.


As Kitty and Kurt drove down the driveway in Scott's borrowed red-and-white convertible, Kurt told himself to try to be normal.

Look, Wagner, try to at least act normal. You really don't want the Professor or Jean pawing around in your head, now do you?

As the gates at the end of the driveway opened, Kurt almost nodded to himself, shooting a glance at Kitty to see if she'd noticed, but she was hanging her arm out over the door, phasing her fingertips through the metal of the gate, laughing. Kurt smiled a little.

Once in Bayville, Kurt parked the car in the mall parking lot and hopped out, choosing not to open the door, but swing himself over it as Kitty giggled.

He's coming back to himself. Kitty thought. Still, there were subtle differences in his mannerisms. He didn't smile as much, and he didn't talk as much as he normally did, but he acted more like his old self now. Maybe I should go to the Professor after all, just in case.

The pair strolled down the sidewalk, nobody taking a second glance at them. Kitty didn't really know where they were going, and she didn't think Kurt did either. They were walking past the loading bay for the supermarket when Kurt's ears picked up a small sound.

"Keety – listen. You hear zat?" he stopped dead and held out his arm, ears pricked. Kitty shook her head. Wait – there it was again. "It's coming from down zere,"

Kitty turned her head to where Kurt was pointing. The loading bay was empty and bright, but Kurt seemed to sense something down there. He started walking towards the Dumpster slowly, stopping every so often.

"What do you hear? It's, like, really bugging me," Kitty said, following Kurt. She was sure that if Kurt's tail hadn't been hidden down one leg of his pants and covered by a hologram, it would be swishing with anticipation. When he reached the Dumpster, he quickly ducked around behind it. A breeze blew through the loading bay and there was a small clang of metal from one of the rooftops above their heads, which Kitty ignored.

"Aha!" Kurt cried, pulling an embarrassed-looking Milani out from behind the Dumpster by the collar of her shirt.

"Milani?" Kitty asked incredulously.

The girl waved uncertainly, giving them her nervous smile. "Uh, hi . . ."

Yes, I am cutting the whole kitten thing out. It's unnecessary and it doesn't further the plot, so I've concocted something else to put in there that I think could work, actually. Review and tell me what you think, please!