Beauty and the Beast

Jean narrowed her eyes and concentrated on pouring the orange juice into her glass. Frustrated, she wiped the sweat from her brow and concentrated even harder. The professor had urged her to practice her telekinesis as often as possible. Finally she sighed and grabbed the half-full cup. "Good enough," she mumbled as she gulped the contents and made a face. Ugh, she thought, why did Storm always have to buy the kind with pulp? Jean set down the glass and closed her eyes for a moment, just enjoying the silence in the house. She loved to wake up early on Sunday mornings. She'd go running in the woods for a while, and sit down to a nice quiet breakfast. She smiled and kicked off her running shoes.

A soft noise interrupted the silence. Jean listened carefully and followed the noise into the rec. room. It sounded like the TV. Evan had been up late watching Saturday night live, he had probably just left the TV on by accident. She thought briefly of trying to turn off the TV telekinetically, but decided to do it by hand. She rubbed her temples as she walked into the rec. room, using her powers this often was very tiring. She had blacked out the other day in the middle of a danger room session. Jean bit her bottom lip as she recalled the look of concern on Wolverine's face when she had opened her eyes. He had offered her a hand up and she took it reluctantly. The one thing she hated most about her powers was the fact that using them too frequently, or straining herself inevitably ended with her fainting or blacking out. She sighed as she walked over to the TV and reached for the button. She straightened and turned around, sensing that there was somebody behind her. And there was Kurt, sitting on the couch, a white down comforter wrapped around himself.

"Good morning, Kurt," Jean said with mild surprise. If there was anybody she wasn't expecting to see up this early it was Kurt. Kurt was famous for sleeping until lunchtime on the weekend.

"Gutenmorgen, Jean," Kurt replied with a small blush.

Jean smiled; Kurt was so adorable when he blushed. His blue fur tinged with the red on his cheeks. She plopped down on the couch beside him and pulled her legs up. She loved the fact that, around the house, he never used his image inducer. Kurt had come a long way.

"Whatcha watching?" Jean asked as she glanced at the TV. It looked like a cartoon. Jean suddenly realized what it was.

"Schönheit und das Tier," Kurt responded quietly.

"Huh?"

"Beauty and the Beast," he replied. "But I can stop the tape, if you want, if you want to watch something else," Kurt added hastily. Sometimes being around Jean made him nervous. He could never quite get the right words out. She was so beautiful, so nice, and so perfect. Everything about her, her smile, her laugh it made his heart leap into his throat. But he knew he didn't feel for Jean the way he felt for Kitty. Kitty, Kurt thought with a small sigh.

"That's ok, Kurt. This is a great movie, one of my favorites."

Kurt smiled in relief. He was glad Jean didn't think he was some kind of dork for watching Disney cartoons.

They both sat in nervous silence, watching the movie.

Jean shifted on the couch, settling in a little more. Kurt could feel his heart racing. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable sitting so close to her. He instinctively reached for his wrist, to activate the image inducer, but changed his mind. He still remembered the way Jean and Scott had first reacted when the saw him. It was the way everybody reacted. He felt a small ache in his chest as he looked away from the TV. I am a beast, he thought to himself.

Jean shifted her gaze from the TV screen to the fuzzy blue elf beside her. He was radiating sadness, confusion and self-hatred. Jean sucked in a quick breath as she wondered whether or nor she should say something. That was another drawback of her mutation. She couldn't help but sense extreme changes in the mood of those around her. It wasn't something she could control, and she knew it made some people uncomfortable. Most of the time she never said anything, but she sensed that Kurt needed to talk to somebody.

"Kurt?" She asked softly, waiting for the boy to turn and face her. "Are you ok?"

"Ja," was Kurt's immediate response.

Jean gave him a doubtful look.

Kurt turned his attention back at the screen as Belle looked upon the Beast for the first time. Kurt hunched his shoulders and curled up, taking up less space and inching further away from Jean.

Jean glanced at the screen and then back at Kurt. Her heart broke as she realized what he had been thinking. "Kurt," Jean said in a strong voice. "Kurt," she repeated when he refused to look at her. "Kurt, look at me," Jean's voice softened.

Kurt reluctantly turned his head and looked at her. His yellow eyes met her blue-green ones.

"Kurt, you are not a beast," Jean scooted a bit closer to him.

Kurt gave a ragged sigh and tried to turn away again.

"Kurt, look at me," Jean pleaded with him.

He looked at her again. He was touched by the look of concern on her face. A strand of red hair drifted down the side of her face. Instinctively, Kurt reached out to brush the hair away. As he lifted his blue hand, however, he stopped himself. He shouldn't be allowed to touch her, he thought. She was so beautiful and he was sougly.

Jean reached for his hand as he pulled it back. "Stop it Kurt. You are not a beast, you are not ugly."

Kurt looked down at his hand. His blue, two fingered, freak hand. She held it in her own graceful hand.

Jean sensed his thoughts and responded, "Kurt, there are a lot of people here who love you, not for what you look like, but for who you are," Jean smiled as she added, "Although I think blue looks very cute on you."

Kurt blushed again, causing Jean to giggle. "Th-thank you," he stuttered, looking down at their hands.

"Please, Kurt, talk to me. Tell me what you are thinking."

"Don't you know?" Kurt asked, trying to force a smile.

Jean shook her head and smiled.

"It's just that, that, well" he paused not sure if he should continue. He looked once more at Jean's kind face. "You are so beautiful and II am ugly. I'm a beast, I'm a monster." A small tear slipped down the side of his face.

"Oh, Kurt," Jean breathed as she reached out and held him in a fierce embrace.

At her sudden touch, Kurt broke down and held her tightly. He buried his face in her shoulder and cried. He thought of his childhood and all the times people had called him names. They had screamed in fear and horror, fled at the sight of him, cursed him, threw things, called him the devil, they had tried to kill him.

Jean continued to hug him tightly. Her eyes glossed over with tears as she listened to his strangled sobs. She could sense that he needed to be touched, needed to be held. Kurt had never had a loving family as she had.

After a few minutes, Kurt pulled slowly away. He brushed some tears from his face and sniffled a little bit. "Danke, Belle," Kurt said with a small smile.

"Kurt, I know you never really had any family," Kurt stiffened a bit at the comment, but Jean continued, "but I want you to know that everybody here is family. We all love you, Kurt. It may sound cheesy, but it's true," Jean added with a small laugh.

"Ja, so does that make you my ältere Schwester?"

Jean just stared at him. "Older sister?" she guessed.

Kurt nodded shyly.

Jean grinned and put an arm around Kurt's waist, pulling him closer to her. She rested her head on his shoulder, "Yeah, yeah it does."

Kurt's body felt weightless with happiness. He had found a home, a place where he could be himself without fear. People who loved him, no matter what. Even Jean. Beautiful, perfect, incredible Jean.

"Then I will be your little kid brother," Kurt said with a small smile.

Jean sighed in contentment.

They both went back to watching the movie. Kurt concentrated on watching the Beast. Not such a bad guy, he thought with a grin. Kurt watched as, onscreen, Gaston talked about Belle. Beautiful, perfect, the best, and his to own. Kurt noticed that Jean's body momentarily tightened. Her soft red hair brushed against his cheek. Kurt furrowed his brow and began to think. He thought about Belle, he thought about Jean. People treated him differently because of what he looked like. They judged him by appearance; they never stopped to look at what kind of person he was inside. He wondered if people did the same thing to Jean. He had noticed the way that boys at school looked at her. He had even heard, much to his embarrassment, some of the things they said about her. They talked about her body; they divided it up into parts, praising each individually. He blushed again as he remembered a specific conversation he had overheard in the locker room. But they never talked about how smart she was, or how nice. They never talked about how good she was at playing poker, or how fast she could run. They didn't care about what kind of music she liked or what her favorite movie was.

Kurt sighed. Maybe being the Beauty wasn't as easy as it looked. "Jean?"

"Hmm?"

"I just want you to know, that I love you too. Not for what you look like, but for who you are."

"Thanks, Kurt," she said quietly as a tear made it's way down her cheek.

Kurt smiled and rested his fuzzy cheek against her soft red hair.

"Ja, sure thing, sis."

end.