Set after "Mainstream"—or whatever that episode is where the Brotherhood starts destroying the parking lot at the school and Kitty suggests to Kurt to reveal his true form. That moment is where this picks up.

Standing at the bottom of the stairs surveying the damage the Brotherhood had caused, I felt a very bleak feeling of . . . bleakness, I guess. Slowly, people were looking around and their eyes finding us, standing there. A few stares were accusatory, but more and more people were clapping. I was actually surprised that there were people clapping. After all, we'd just revealed ourselves as mutants.

Kitty, standing on my left, was slowly smiling, her hand reaching mine and twining her fingers with my three, hidden by a hologram. Gradually, I felt a sense of euphoria building up until I smiled too. Aside, Kitty said to me,

"Why don't you show them the real you?" Lifting up my hand and indicating the holowatch. My euphoria bubble lessened the blow of this, but it still made my stomach twist. They wouldn't be clapping after the "real me" appeared suddenly. They'd wonder and become conspiratorial, and we'd lose our newfound and shaky trust the normal humans were giving us. But it was easier for Kitty to say something like that, because she didn't know what it felt like to feel inhuman because of an appearance. I was still Homo sapiens sapiens, like everybody else who stood there with me, but they'd prefer to think of me as a different breed of demon or monster.

"I don't zink zey're ready for zat yet," I replied softly. Kitty seemed to understand and let my hand drop, keeping a hold of it though as she started smiling again. I continued to mull over it in my mind, though I smiled again as Professor X started to speak.

xXx

A few hours later, after we'd gotten back to the mansion, I was standing in front of my mirror, flicking my image inducer on and off, going from normal to mutated, human to de—elfin, harmless to threatening. I'd long ago given up wishing to be normal, I knew it wasn't happening, but I also knew it was why I clung so tightly to my image inducer. It gave me a chance to look and feel normal, to a degree, and that was my deepest desire, really.

Lying awake in bed that night, I was still thinking about my image inducer, chewing on what Kitty had said to me, among other things. Turning over onto my side uncomfortably, I brought my tail over my leg and ran my thumb over the barb a few times, staring at the blurred ghostly outline of the crescent moon hanging suspended behind my curtains. I readjusted to my other side restlessly, thankfulness that I hadn't revealed myself at the school bubbling up in my mind as I believed tomorrow was Friday, then a different type of thankfulness emerged, that tomorrow was Saturday.

Sighing annoyedly at my mind's activity, I resigned myself to the fact this would be yet another sleepless night. Would it be better to reveal myself on a Friday, and give everyone the weekend to calm down? Or would it be better to just start out on Monday with it, and do a whole week like that? Maybe I could appeal to my teachers first . . . no, that wouldn't work. Numerous dumb ideas ran through my head, each one being quashed quickly by the little bit of pessimist in me. I could always talk to the Professor about it.

As soon as the thought became formed, my mind started executing a conversation between us, with several different outcomes. Outcome 1:

Me: Professor, I'd like to stop wearing my image inducer to school now that mutants have been revealed.
Professor: That's a very thoughtful thing for you to say, Kurt, and I believe it is a good idea, though you must understand the risks of what you would like to do.
Me: I understand, Professor.
Professor: I think you don't. Not fully. When you reveal yourself, there's no turning back. You've crossed the Rubicon, and it's on your head what happens after that. If it goes badly, the only alternatives are to have me erase their memories of you in your blue form or to move. Niether of which I would prefer.
Me: So you're encouraging me, but saying it's a bad idea?
Professor: In a nutshell, yes. You're old enough to make your own choices.

FAILURE.

Outcome 2:

Me: Professor, I'd like to stop wearing my image inducer to school now that mutants have been revealed.
Professor: That is not a wise idea Kurt, and I highly discourage it.
Me: Duly noted.

WIN.

Outcome 3:

Me: Professor, I'd like to stop wearing my image inducer to school now that mutants have been revealed.
Professor: Yes, I believe it is a good time to do so.
Me: Are you sure about that?
Professor: Absolutely, Kurt.

FAILURE.

See, my mind would chase itself in circles looking for rational conversations that led to the Professor discouraging me from doing it, sort of talking me down. I was subconsciously and somewhat consciously clinging to the safety a temperamental holowatch gave me, though a little bit of my conscious mind was saying, "Yes, go ahead and do it, thank God they're only high schoolers and won't come at you with pitchforks and torches."

And so the oxymoronically civil war raged on in my head, back and forth, well into the wee hours of the night, to use a poetic phrase. As if I hadn't done enough of that already. Sheesh. I felt like a philosopher, talking to myself like that.

The next morning I woke up infuriatingly on-time, around eight like I normally do, which gave me about thirty minutes of sleep. To use the understatement of the year, I was bone-dead-tired. Though I got up and went down to the kitchen and shoveled a bowl of cereal down my throat, too tired to even use grunts to communicate. Shortly after my last bite of cereal, I fell asleep, my face in the bowl that smelled like wheat dust and milk.

When I woke up, I was back in my room and the sun was nearly finished setting. My alarm clock told me it was just after six p.m. Somebody had been nice enough to not let me sleep in my cereal—though Kitty probably protested my skin could use the "soothing effects of the milk". I smiled as I just saw her saying that. I got out of bed and got dressed, heading to the kitchen, but nobody was there, so I backtracked to the rec. room and found everybody hanging out there.

"Hey, morning, sleepyhead," Kitty chuckled, looking up from her book, rather, looking sideways from her book, lying stretched out over the couch, her knees hooked over the arm. I smiled at her and she went back to her book, holding it up in a position that would make my arms fall asleep.

"I feel so much better now," I said, walking over to where Evan was slamming the buttons around on a muted X-Box. He pressed pause and looked up at me.

"What kept you up so late?" he asked.

"Philosophy crap. My image inducer, really," I said, rummaging in the cupboard under the TV for another controller to plug in and play Grand Theft Auto with Evan.

"Mm. Sucks, man. Wanna play a round of total destruction?" Evan asked, but I was two steps ahead, already pressing the resume button and taking over a car as Evan jumped and jammed his thumbs back onto the buttons. I smiled and bit my lip in concentration, then Evan laughed as he overtook me in the race.

Half an hour later, I 'ported down to the kitchen and found a snack. I finished chewing and 'ported to just outside the Professor's office, knocking before entering.

"Ah, hello, Kurt," he said, looking up from the newspaper and taking his reading glasses off, setting the evening paper on the desk.

"Hallo, Professor. I vos vondering if I could talk to you if you're not busy . . . ?" I asked sort of hesitantly. I was nervous, wondering which one of my outcomes this conversation would be. I found half of myself hoping dearly for outcome 2, with the other half wanting outcome 1 or 3.

"Sure, Kurt. Take a sit, if you want. What do you want to talk about?" The Professor steepled his fingers and looked at me.

"It vos somezing Keety said to me yesterday, after ze Brozzerhood messed up ze school parking lot. She said I should go to school vizout my image inducer. You know, 'show ze vorld ze real me' sort of zing," I said.

"So what are you saying, Kurt? That you'd like to discuss something with me?" the Professor asked.

"Yes. Vot's your opinion about . . . going to school vizout my image inducer? Good idea, bad idea?"

"Well, that's a very . . . compelling question. I take it you've thought this through rather thoroughly—and lost some sleep over it, so I've heard."

"Ja. I figured it vos because I've alvays vonted to look normal, feel normal, stuff like zat, and my image inducer is ze vay I look and feel normal, it makes me feel safe, and possibly ze reason I'm so freaked out over zis is because I feel like I'm giving up my safety if I turn my inducer off," I blurted, all in one breath, fighting to stay calm and not start, like, shouting.

"That's a very astute observation, Kurt, and I would have said the same thing. I also take it you know the risks of this course of action?" Professor X questioned.

"I-I . . . ja. If it goes over badly, I'd haff to . . . move, or . . . find a vay to cover it up somehow, or I vould have to come begging on hands and knees for you to erase zeir memories." The Professor chuckled.

"Oh, I'm not that mean, Kurt. But once again, you are right. You must have given this more time than I thought." I smiled awkwardly at the comment.

"So vhat are you saying?" I asked, trying to hide my eagerness. The Professor picked up on it and smiled gently.

"I believe you are a very intelligent young man, and can obviously think for yourself, and you may do what you please, though I highly caution you in this course of action. I would even go so far as to suggest a sort of "integration" method—you could transfer to smaller classes and let people get used to your true form, then go back to your more . . . understanding . . . classes, one at a time, until you're back in your full classes." Professor X suggested, holding his hands out like he was weighing two things—my two choices.

"Zat's a really . . . smart idea Professor," I said, almost adding an "of course" in there, "and I vould love to say yes right here, however, I zink it vould be a . . . better idea to zink it over for a leetle vhile. Get back to you tomorrow?" I suggested.

"Go right ahead, Kurt. Take your time. I trust this has . . . helped you?"

"Jawohl, Professor. Zank you," I said gratefully, walking out of the office and 'porting back to my room. I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders, and I sighed with relief, falling onto my bed. I didn't feel so trapped any more, the Professor's suggestion giving me another way out—or, rather, around this problem.

Sure, the kids in my normal classes would talk, but let them, I'd be safer that way. I guessed it would take longer than I would probably expected, but I thought it really was a good idea. I stood up and 'ported back to the Professor's office.

"I'd like to do it. Ze option you suggested. It sounds really good," I blurted. The Professor set the newspaper down again and I got a little flash of déjà vu.

"Okay then, I'll make a call to the school administration as soon as I can and see what I can arrange. I'll tell you as soon as I know," the Professor replied. I grinned stupidly in some sort of relief.

"Zank you so much!" I 'ported out to the rec. room and pounced on Kitty, rolling her off the couch.

"Fuzzy Elf!" she yelped. I grinned in her face.

"I'm doing it! No inducer in school!"

"Nice!" she said, and I jumped off of her, up onto the couch as others heard and looked up from what they were doing. Scott flashed me a thumbs-up, Jean smiled at me, and Evan came over and pounded my back.

"Guts, man." He approved.

"Hope it goes well, Elf." Logan growled from behind his newspaper, the same one the Professor was undoubtedly reading right now.

"Same." Rogue affirmed, giving me a rare smirk.

I felt so excited, like I wanted to jump around like a crazy person screaming, I was so jittery. Instead, I started laughing. "Vow. I can't believe, I actually vant to go to school."

"Yanno, Elf, if you wanna go catch a movie, to celebrate or whatever—" Logan started, but I cut him off.

"How about ze Danger Room?" I asked, grinning manically. It would be easy, like a big jungle gym, if I got Herr Logan to disable the lasers and electricity. "Could you set it for a normal training run, but disable ze lasers und ze electricity?" I asked, echoing my thoughts.

"Uh . . . yeah, I guess . . . hang on a moment." Logan put his papers down and walked with me to the Danger Room, the silence comfortable. We took the elevator up to the control room, but I couldn't contain myself and 'ported ahead, standing eagerly by the control panel. Logan pulled up the settings of the training run and modified them as I requested.

"All yours, Elf. I'm gonna head back, if that's okay with you?" Logan asked.

"Sure. Go ahead." I said, waving my hands in a "shoo" motion. Logan cocked an eyebrow, but left quietly. I 'ported back to my room and hurriedly changed into my uniform, then 'porting back to the Danger Room control room, pressing the green "start" button, and 'porting to the floor of the Danger Room as things started moving around me.

A couple walls popped up around me and I vaulted over them, taking a flying leap onto a tentacle that came out of the wall and using it as a point of leverage to flip higher into the air and cling to the wall, running along the curved surface and jumping onto another tentacle, clinging to it like a cowboy as it writhed and bucked. I whooped and 'ported back to the area of the floor with the walls, almost shrieking with laughter as a tentacle chased me through the maze of perpendicular walls. I backflipped onto the tentacle and ran along its length, but as the spinning blades came out of the walls, I pouted.

"Zat's not fun," I shouted to the room. Suddenly, the lights went out. "Zat's better!" I yelled, laughing maniacally, blindly flipping backwards away from the air currents the spinning blades were generating.

"So you like it dark?" I heard Kitty's voice over the intercom, Rogue's snickering in the background.

"Eh? You? You can do better zan zat!" I shouted up at the middle of the room. Their laughs rang in my ears as fans in the walls of the room were activated, so I couldn't feel air currents any more. Now this was fun. I ducked around a tentacle as I heard its low electric whine over the dull roar of the fans, reaching out for it and swinging up onto it, giving another cowboy-like whoop as I took one hand off the cold metal surface, raising it in the air. I could hear someone choking with laughter over the intercom.

The tentacle gave a particularly vicious jerk and I fell off, 'porting to the ground.

"Oh no you di'n't!" I shouted. "I may be from Germany, but I know how to do sass!" I declared, snapping my fingers in a Z-pattern, wiggling my hips as I spun in a circle.

"E-elf, quit-t-t it!" one of the girls stammered, laughing uncontrollably. Obviously, they could see me. In that case . . .

"I vill not! You! Souzern belle! Und you! Preety Keety!" I started strutting very stork-like forwards, but suddenly tripped in a dip in the floor and fell flat on my face. I think up in the control room they had sudden seizures and died.

I set my jaw and 'ported up to the control room, where both Kitty and Rogue were on the floor laughing silently so hard, tears were streaming down their faces. I looked at the panel and saw they had been recording me. The whole time. "Vow. Zat's so pazetic. Really?" I nudged Rogue's side with my foot, causing her to burst out into loud laughter. I rolled my eyes but smiled, and poked Kitty in the side with my tail. She shrieked with laughter and gripped the control panel to struggle into a sitting position, Rogue following suit.

"Gawd, Kurt, I thought I was gonna die!" Rogue said.

"I zink you did, but had a miraculous recovery," I muttered jokingly.

"But we did tape you." Kitty said, pressing the "stop" button and catching a CD as it popped out of a slot in the panel. She grabbed a Sharpie from a nearby cup of pens and wrote "Kurt's freakout lmafao!" on it, waving it under my nose tauntingly.

"You're not . . . planning to . . . show zat to anybody . . . are you?" I asked slowly. Kitty smiled and held back her laughter.

"So what if I am?" she said.

"Keety!" I cried and leaped for the CD, but she let me phase through her and I landed on the floor, looking up at her. Verdammt. Forgot she could do that. She put her hand on Rogue's shoulder and waved the CD one last time before sinking through the floor. I shook my head and shut the Danger Room down, 'porting back to my room. My next plan of action?

Operation CD.

Like? Dislike? Review either way! My first experiment with fluff with plot. Isn't that drabble? I don't know. Eh, well . . . *smiles* I had so much fun writing this!