Aiming to surprise the sitting girl, Kurt teleported near her, and grabbed her by the wrist, trying to pull her up. "Come vith me, Fraülein!"

"No! No!" She began thrashing, trying to get away from him. He was surprised at how quickly her demeanor changed from peaceful but melancholy to aggressive and possibly frightened. "Get off of me!" She had an accent he couldn't quite place, maybe from the Southern United States, but it wasn't very strong.

"Please! I only vant to help you!" He tugged a little harder. For someone so devout, she was also very resistant.

"I know what kind of help you're talkin' about and I don't want it!" She managed to yank her wrist free, then reached out to hit him. "You're gonna hurt me again!" Managing to hit only air, however, she turned from him and began walking toward the steps of the pulpit where she'd previously been sitting. She leaned down and felt the bottom step, then was slow and deliberate in climbing them. Once she reached the top she began to run, but she was slow running too, as if she didn't know her surroundings.

Kurt had caught up to her by this time, and he teleported in front of her, just as she was about to go careening off the set of stairs on the side. He figured she would catch herself before she fell, so he started up after her. But it seemed that she neither saw him nor the stairs, as she went to take a step forward and missed the first stair. She fell forward, screaming and shrieking, crashing right into him.

If he'd have been ready, he could have wrapped his arms around her the minute she fell and "bamf"ed them somewhere else so they didn't fall so hard. But he was caught off guard, so they both landed on the carpeted floor with a thump.

Seeming to have lost her morale for the moment, the woman let her muscles go limp, sprawling herself across his chest. She was breathing hard, and her hand had landed near his, her fingertips resting on his palm. After a few seconds, lying there shocked, he felt her breathing change. She was sobbing and crying now, sounding resigned to the fact that something horrible was going to happen to her. "Please," she whimpered, her nails digging into the flesh of his palm. "Please don't kill me. I didn't hurt anybody this time. I didn't do it. I don't want any trouble. Don't hurt me."

Kurt's heart hurt for this poor girl. Xavier had said that all her life she had only met people who hated her. She may have been half mutant, but that shouldn't have made a difference. People were people no matter what kind of DNA they had in them. She slowly lifted his other hand and placed it very lightly on her back. "I'm not going to hurt you. I promise. Have I not said zat already? All I vant is to help you." He shifted slightly, and groaned under his breath. "Are you able to stand up? You're not hurt, are you?"

"N-No, I... I'm fine I think..." She put both hands on the floor, startlingly near his own body, and pushed up. Getting up seemed to take some effort for her, because she was even slower than before. Immediately after getting to her feet she reached around for something to grab onto. She couldn't find anything, even though the railing for the stairs was right behind her and she could have easily steadied herself with that. "Where... Where are you now? Did you leave?"

"Nein, I am still here." He stood up as well and looked at her face, trying to help her regain her balance. "I'm right in front of you. Can't you see me?"

She pointed her face down, as if she were looking at her feet. She seemed ashamed for some reason. "I... no. I... I can't."

Kurt moved closer and gently brushed away her bangs so that he could see her eyes. When her gold hair was moved to the side, he saw that her eyes were wide open. They were looking straight at him, but at the same time... she wasn't looking at him really. It was more like she was looking through him, to something only she could see. Her eyes were a bright, crystal clear blue, much lighter than any blue he'd ever seen. They looked more gray than blue, but it was obvious that they were blue. And all at once he understood why she couldn't see him. "You are..."

"Blind." She choked the word out, and more tears creeped from her eyes. She made no move to wipe them away, her fists clenching at her sides. "I was able to see, once. When I was younger. But I was in a car accident, and it screwed up my eyes. I lost my sight when I was six." She shrugged. "I learned to adapt. But I still hate it."

"You are completely blind?" He again waved his hand in front of her. "You can't see anything?"

"Well, I know you're waving your hand in front of my face."

His heart sank. If she could see him, what would she think? "You can see zat?"

"No, no. Everybody does that at first, when you tell them you're blind."

"Oh. Zen I am sorry."

"Oh, it's alright. I just get tired of it sometimes... like they think you're not telling the truth or something. I mean, why would I fake being blind? I don't have anything to gain from it."

"I understand vhat you mean." He thought back to some days when he was traveling around. Some people would call him a demon, say that the symbols of Gabriel he'd carved were the signs of Satan. Some parents would even scare their children by saying that if they got near him, he'd drag them down into hell. He couldn't believe some of the things they would say, and he knew none of it was true. Even if he had been a demon, what reason would he have had to drag little children down into hell? A person shouldn't have to go to hell if they hadn't done anything wrong. And besides, he had better things to do than to pull people down to hell anyway. He was sure that was what she was feeling now.

He sat down and just looked at her for a moment. "So zen... vhich of your parents vas the mutant?"

"Huh? Oh." Her bare feet kicked at the floor, and she reached up to twirl her hair. "My mother. She could turn herself invisible, and... ha. She told me, the minute she met my father, she accidentally turned invisible because she was embarrassed to be around him - he was so cute, she said. She thought he would never want to see her again after that, she had no way of knowin' who was against her and who wasn't. But he wanted mutant freedom and he wasn't afraid of her and he didn't hate her. They didn't get married, but... I mean, they were afraid. If anyone found out she was a mutant and they were married, there were awful things... I-I mean, you understand, don't you? They wanted to join themselves together but they couldn't get married... I wasn't supposed to happen but they said they loved me anyway..." She took a breath and pulled out a few strands of her hair, her toes still curling over the carpet. "Please don't make me leave. I haven't gotten an answer yet, as to why God chose me to be blind and half a mutant too. I need to know why... what my purpose is, what I'm supposed to do. Please don't take me away from God."

Kurt stood up again and took her hand in his, holding it tightly so she could feel how pure his intentions were. "I have no plans to do zat. You vill never be avay from God, because vherever you go, He goes vith you. After all, how did you talk to Him before you came here?"

"I... prayed." Realization seemed to dawn upon her then, because a smile spread across her face, and the whole church appearaed to brighten up when she smiled. "I suppose... I can still ask Him whenever I want. And I can ask Him to protect everyone who needs it, and maybe..."

Kurt laughed. "Yes, vell, let's not ask for all of that at vonce, ja? He's very busy, you know."

She giggled back, looking down at her feet but not really seeing them. "I guess you're right. By the way... are you a mutant too? Your hand doesn't feel normal to me. I've learned to read people's emotions by their hands and their voices, and I can tell you have an accent and that you're German, but your hand..." Both of her hands roved over his, analyzing. "It only has three fingers as far as I can tell. I can't read your hand, only your voice."

"Ja..." He was a little reluctant to tell her, but as long as she didn't know about his different-colored skin or tail, he supposed it was alright. For now, at least. "I am. I vas born vith my hands like zis, und also ze pover to teleport."

"Oh, that's interesting. I've never met a teleporter."

"Vhat povers do you have?"

"Oh, well... that's the thing about me. It's like when I went blind, it triggered my powers. If I use enough energy and concentrate hard enough, I can sort of see... well, in a sense." She withdrew her hands from his, and one hand wandered to rubbing the back of her neck. "I'm not explaining it very well, am I? Basically... I can see if I focus, but I can't really see details or appearances. It's more like I can tell where people are, and who's where, and if someone's coming at me then I can tell where they're coming from." She giggled. "Basically all I see is big blobs of energy, no outlines or colors or anything."

"And it only vorks sometimes?"

"Only if I concentrate, but sometimes that doesn't work because I don't have a lot of energy."

"Have you had it activated since I've been here?"

"No. I'm too tired. It's too hot today, for being the middle of October." She fanned herself with her hand, taking it away from the back of her neck. "By the way, I never got your name!"

"I am Kurt Wagner, and in the Munich circus I vas known as ze Incredible Nightcrawler! I vould-"

"Wow! You worked in a circus? I wish I could see the circus. I wanted to when I was younger, but we never went, and then there was the car accident so I couldn't see..."

He chuckled. It seemed he was always being interrupted when trying to explain who he was. "Zat's unfortunate. It's a very fun place."

"What did you do there?"


"Cool. I've always wanted to try acrobatics, but being blind and all... well, the feeling of falling and not being able to see where you're going..." She returned to making circles in the carpet with her toe. "It's not really that comforting, even if you're sure someone will catch you. You can't see your partner and you don't know where they are, or if they're ready..."

"I should think zat vould be scary. You can't see anything, so how can you be sure you're in ze right place? Zat you're not jumping from somevhere no vone vould be able to get to you in time. I vould be terrified."

"I'm probably never going to try it then. I'd like to, but... really, I get scared easily."

He smiled. "Zat's alright. Vell... vith your povers, I suppose zat's vhy you were able to chase avay ze others."

"Oh... were those your friends? I'm sorry, I didn't know who they were."

"It's fine. I'm sure they'll forgive you."

"That's good. I don't like having people mad at me."

He reached over and took her hand again. "Please... come vith me. I know you vill be happier vhere ve are going. There are people who can help you... keep you safe. Vill you trust me vhen I say zis?"

She nodded. "I guess so..."

Kurt was struck suddenly by the fact that she knew who he was, but he didn't know who she was. "Oh. I didn't get your name either, Fraülein."

"Oh, sorry. I'm so forgetful sometimes... my name's Malachai Cross."

"Malachai. Isn't zat a male name?"

Her face turned pink and she jerked her head down, her bangs hiding her eyes again. "My parents... were expecting a boy. Besides, they always said my name could apply to either sex. I'm just lucky they didn't name me Peter or else the teasing would have been worse..."

"..." He wasn't quite sure what to say to that. The only Peter he could think of was St. Peter, and why would that be cause for ridicule? He thought harder, and then he remembered that "Peter" was also American slang for... "Oh, I agree." He tightened his grip around her hand just a little bit. "I like ze name Malachai."

"Thanks." She responded by tightening her own grasp. "Are we leaving now, Kurt?"

"Of course. Hold onto me, I vill teleport us out."

"Ah!" She immediately rushed forward and, after feeling around his front of a moment, wrapped her arm around what she thought to be his waist. She was actually holding on around his chest, but he wasn't going to tell her that. "Okay, okay, let's do it! I wanna see what this feels like!"

He had to chuckle a little. She was his age, but she was still so filled up with a certain naïvété. Excited about being teleported? That was definitely a first for people he'd met. "Alright, here ve go."

A flash later, and the only thing left inside the church was a cloud of navy blue smoke.