So I got my copy of Essential X-Men today. Not completely sure exactly what's up but I guess it's reprints of older storylines maybe? Either way, it's the Second Coming storyline, and Kurt just died. And I was distressed. He was literally one of my favourite characters – Having X-Men as part of your life since you were seven, Kurt included…Kurt's death did make me cry. Quite a bit. And I loved him. I might seem really sad so yeah- I wrote a small tribute for one of my favourite X-Men (tied with Storm and Emma, then Kitty). Reviews are loved. Here it is.
He Was Human
For years he'd hated his appearance, cursed it even. It seemed to him, even as a young child, that it was unfair – some form of punishment. That someone, somewhere had hated him so much to do something to him, alienate him from other human beings by portraying him as something that had such deep-rooted religious fear. Enough that even the least religious person might go so far as to identify him with that loathed icon.
So Kurt had devoted his life to religion in the fractured hopes that perhaps he could redeem himself for whatever wrong he'd done – For he had to have done some wrong at some point to have become such a twisted-looking fragment of a human being. Could he even be called that?
He'd devoted his life to God; a being who loved all. Perhaps even him, in a way in which most – a great majority – of his own people would not. Unconditionally.
So Kurt had become a righteous man, he believed; holy, but not dogmatic, not persistent that everyone he knew should believe as he did. God loved everyone, saw the good in everyone. Even, perhaps, him.
Perhaps he shouldn't have believed as he did; it had been explained to him exactly what had mutated his cells, twisted and changed him to look like he did. Mutations. Not religion. But why did he resemble a demon so?
He'd become, in the last few years, almost content with himself. Almost – He fit in with others who weren't necessarily accepted by regular people. These were his family – He didn't have to purely rely on religion any more. He didn't feel so…Demonic.
He realized now, in these hell-bent last few hours, that in reality, he was not the one who should have been feeling unholy, who was rejected from society, if there was good in the world.
He realized then there were definitive lines for good and evil; He'd always thought most people had good in them. Logan was a good man, though he blurred the lines, but he was not evil. Emma had flawed views on some accounts, but she believed she was fighting for the greater good…But these men who were trying to kill Hope had either been brainwashed or had no shred of decency.
He was tiring quickly, but this poor girl deserved some safety – Had she ever slept soundly in her short life? Had she ever felt safe? Even now, travelling with himself and Rogue, did she feel safe? People were relying on her for everything – Perhaps some danger may be relieved, but the pressure would increase tenfold.
Kurt stopped now, and Hope turned away, muttering something about feeling sick – But Kurt could barely focus as Rogue murmured something to the girl. He was fast tiring now – Maybe he was just getting old. Maybe Pixie should take over, seeing as she was better suited to teleporting than he. Maybe he should retire; being a superhero was aging him prematurely.
But why had Pixie not been recruited for this mission?
He was too tired. Like an untrained runner struggling the last two hundred meters of a marathon, fire burning in his lungs and muscles aching like someone had tightened them.
But he had to keep going; he was resolute. He wasn't too old. Not yet.
Of course, they couldn't finish this mission without an enemy – Bastion - trying to kill them. Rogue put herself out there, protecting them. He should go, grab Hope. Leave now.
He was in so much pain – His breathing was labored, but the sounds of fighting behind him worried him now, and life sped up again, back into full time as he realized the severity of it all.
Hope's young face was wide eyed with fear, but not of him. Of her situation. Could he make it back to Utopia?
Letting loose a small prayer to his God, he dove for Hope, fighting sounding too close for comfort. Grabbing Hope's shoulders, he focused solely on his power and on Utopia. For one, blissful nanosecond, he believed they would make it.
Stifling hot and uncomfortable. That was teleporting. It reeked of brimstone – was he not a demon? – but he was not thinking about that at this point. That blissful nanosecond shifted as he felt a stabbing flare of agony in his chest. As he reached the other side of his portal, collapsing on the ground, he saw the protruding limb. That attacked had lost an arm, but still got him, he realized, as it stuck from his chest, like a macabre pennant.
His heart. It had got him.
But he wasn't worried. He heard the lap of waves, Hope's protests, but he knew he'd made it. He was in Utopia, he was home.
"Huhh…Wuh…worth it," he murmured, pain flaring with every syllable. She held his three fingered hand, a presence warm but quickly fading as his systems shut down. "I…I believe in you."
For it was what the girl needed, some settling of peace from him. He wouldn't make it, and she'd no doubt blame herself. It was what the super-powered populace did. And he truly did. Why would he die for anything other than a worthwhile cause?
He prayed inwardly, smiling as he realized he'd done it, got Hope to relative safety. He also realized why Pixie hadn't been sent. Or so he believed. This was a suicide mission, right? Bring Hope home at all costs. At all costs.
He'd been a cost. But he'd done it, with his dying breath, he'd done it, he realized as his yellow eyes searched the sky, coming up empty as he realized his eyesight wasn't working. He was dying.
His religion. It was what he was clinging to as he died, for he realized he was scared. Maybe he could have been angry, as pools of blood leaked from him. Maybe he could have fought it. But it would have been in vain.
The last sight imprinted on his memory was Hope's wide, wide eyes, he remembered, as she stared at him, before his eyesight stopped working. It was fear, he realized, and grief. For him. But it was worthwhile. A worthwhile cost.
This girl whom he barely knew was scared for him, true emotion.
He was not a demon. He was Kurt. Kurt Wagner.
He was human.