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Author's Note: The views and opinions expressed in the story content do not correlate with the views and opinions of Artemis's Liege.
The memories of his home in Anchorage, Alaska with his biological family grow fainter every day in Scott's mind.
He can't remember all that much, not anymore. Vague recollections of picnicking during the late spring and spending cold, winter nights by the fireplace with his family, surface in his mind, sometimes when stimulated, other times at random. Occasionally when he walks by the park, holding hands with Jean, he gazes at the children playing on the jungle gym, wondering if he was ever that carefree.
He can barely remember the plane crash, either. He's grateful. He doesn't want to remember if his parents were afraid or if they suffered when they died.
After he discovers that Alex is alive, it feels as if a weight is lifted from his shoulders. While it's disappointing and somewhat sad that fate didn't give them the chance to grow up together, Scott is glad that his brother is safe and happy.
An inkling of jealousy forms at the knowledge that he spent his childhood alone at the orphanage when Alex was raised by a loving family on the sunny shores of Hawaii. But Scott pushes away the feeling whenever it emerges. He and his brother visit one another far too infrequently for him to allow envy to poison the valuable time they have together.
And Scott knows that the Xavier Institute is his home. Whatever Alex may have, it can't compare to the indiscriminate acceptance and lifelong friendship that the Xavier Institute gives him.
Kitty is glad to be able to call the Xavier Institute her home. Why wouldn't she be? Her own home in Deerfield, Illinois is hundreds of miles away. There's nothing wrong with having two homes; all it means is that Kitty has two places with people who she loves and who love her back.
On one hand, there's Deerfield. The town where she grew up. The town where she watched fireworks in the park on the Fourth of July, where she played in the snow for the first time, where she prayed at the Synagogue. Deerfield is where her parents live. She learned to ride a bike along its streets, she hacked her first computer at Deerfield Middle School.
Deerfield is Kitty's home. Nothing can ever change that, no matter how many times she was bullied at school because she was a mutant, no matter if the citizens of the town will never accept her for who is.
Deerfield is her home because of the memories she cherishes. Because she was raised there, because her parents loved her, and never stopped supporting even when they discovered she was a mutant.
And then there's the Xavier Institute. The Xavier Institute is Kitty's home because she has friends there who understand what it's like to be different; they're all mutants, they know how hard it can be. They're united together, and nothing can break them.
So no matter if Kitty is in Deerfield or at the Xavier Institute, she's always home.
Life is never easy for anyone, but it's considerably more difficult for Kurt, who is not only blue and fuzzy, but his facial features bear striking resemblance to that of a demon.
For most of his life, he's felt self-conscious and inadequate when around other, normal people, even with his holo-projector. Every time he looks at another person, he's reminded that they're blessed enough to be regular humans, but he's not.
Sometimes Kurt just feels so different. As if no one else, not even his friends and fellow mutants could possibly begin to understand how his mutation separates him from everyone else. Even Rogue, unable to touch other people, could never understand his feelings, despite how much her mutation frustrates her, even if her pride won't allow her to admit it. As terrible as her abilities are, she can pass for a normal person.
That is, she could if she wasn't a goth.
He misses his home in Bavaria. His parents never treated him as if he was any different from the other children, even if they did try to hide him from other people. But that was because they loved and wanted to protect him, and they knew that most people would never accept him because of his abnormal appearance.
But Kurt has hope for his situation at the Xavier Institute. He may have to work harder to not be overly sensitive about his appearance; he may have to try not to be so focused on his own problems. But Kurt knows that if he tries, he can make himself a home at the Xavier Institute.
Christian Morganstern never spoke truer words than when he said, "Home is not where you live, but where they understand you."
Jean Grey wishes she didn't understand the quote, but unfortunately, she does. The house where her parents live stopped being a home for Jean when they found out about her mutation. She knows that her mother and father love her, but deep in their hearts, they're afraid of her. They think that she's abnormal, unnatural. A skeleton in the closet, a secret to be hidden away in fear of her mutation being discovered. If people know that she's a mutant, gossip will spread, and her parents' reputations will suffer.
And that's just unacceptable.
The knowledge hurts. Jean always smiles when she receives yet another award for soccer, track, academics, skydiving, or whatever, because she knows that her parents will never look at her the same way. The way that they did while her mutation was latent. No matter how many awards she wins, Jean knows her parents will always praise her, but then dismiss her accomplishments with a shake of the head, because she's not normal.
Jean does her best to smile through the pain, though. She doesn't want others to know that this gets her down. She wants to stand strong against this, and ignore the heartache that her parents inadvertently cause with their refusal to accept her.
But Jean has the Xavier Institute and its residents, who love her for who she is, instead of pretending that she's something she's not.
And that takes some of the sting away.
Home. Thinking about it, "home" was kind of a weird word. When someone said, "Home", they weren't referring to a house, they were talking about a place special to them. A place where they felt safe and welcome.
Thanks to his mother's job as a corporate executive, Evan Daniels traveled around the country during his childhood, until finally, his family settled down in New York City, where they've now lived for the past four years.
Journeying throughout America wasn't the ideal life for a young kid, but Evan had never minded all that much. Wherever his parents took him, be it Cleveland or Scottsdale, among the city's residents always were family members or friends of his parents who were close enough to be family. Evan had thought of it as an adventure when he was younger, journeying to an unknown place, but luckily with people there to help his family if they should ever need it.
When he was slightly older, Evan was just grateful to have the sidewalk or hand railings so he could skateboard. By that point, he never really cared about having a sense of belonging, because hey, if there was a place he could skateboard, he was more than okay with that, and his true home was the pavement, anyway.
To be honest, the realization he was a mutant freaked him out, but he got over that. Evan wasn't even daunted by the Xavier Institute.
After all, Evan is from New York City. Like Jay-Z says, if he can make there, he can make anywhere. So there's no reason why he can't call the Institute home.
Rogue has never really had a home. For that matter, she never really had a family.
Her father has always been too busy managing his corporation to ever pay attention to her, her brother is six years old than her and in college, so the two of them have never been close. Her stepmother cares more about her cute little dogs than her, and Rogue has never met her actual mother and doesn't even have a photograph or some keepsake of hers.
Rogue has been attending boarding schools since the third grade. The Xavier Institute is nothing new to her.
But still . . . Rogue admits, at least to herself, that the Xavier Institute is the first school that she's actually enjoyed. She can't ignore the feeling that she belongs here, that the people here are her friends and they understand her.
The feeling unnerves her. She doesn't want anyone to understand her. Rogue isn't so sure she likes the idea that she's tied down to anywhere in particular. She doesn't want to be obligated to remain at the Institute if she should ever decide to leave.
And yet . . . somehow she can't imagine leaving. She doesn't want to leave.
At the moment, Rogue merely wishes to stay at the Institute, although she herself struggles to comprehend such an inclination.
But in the end, Rogue know it's because the Xavier Institute is somewhere she can belong, and surprisingly enough, a place where she feels happy.
A/N: Rogue's background is somewhat AU; it's a mixture of her past from Evo and from the comics, X-Men: Noir, and Exiles. If you're interested, another one of my stories, "Discord", has the full explanation.
Also, Evan's section is awkward. I find him incredibly difficult to write, because he's not a traditional X-Men character, and there's not a lot of information on him.
Thanks for reading, and feedback would be appreciated.