AN: It's interesting that after all this time as a big fan of Kurtty, I haven't found myself able to write anything that puts the two of them together. It just all seemed like too big a cliché; I'm not even entirely sure that this isn't more of the same, but I've tried.
Wish-I-Had-A-Tail deserves tons of credit for helping to turn this into a more readable piece of work as opposed to a juvenile sob story.
Warnings: Angst, songs in Spanish, references to Lancitty. I think that's about it, really. If you're offended by something here, let me know and I'll add a warning.
Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men: Evolution, Kurt, Kitty, Lance, or these beautiful songs by Reik and Ricardo Arjona.
Open to Interpretation
Kitty Pryde wandered the halls of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters with no particular destination in mind. This late in the evening, it was unlikely that she would find anyone out and about; the mansion's residents generally took this time to relax in their rooms or around the TV. She had come out of her own room to find respite from the pictures on her desk and walls... or more accurately, the empty spaces where pictures had been until yesterday.
She and Lance were through... again. This time it felt permanent, but then again, so had the other times.
There always seemed to be some reason they had to see each other one more time, and when they did, it was all too easy to fall back into old habits, comfortable behaviors that made it difficult to see why they had ever broken up in the first place. It was the best and worst sort of nostalgia; but when that faded a week or a month later, they found themselves embroiled once again in the fights, the stonewalling, the contempt that tore them apart each time. Scabs were ripped off of wounds once more, and Kitty found herself swearing she would never fall for Lance again... and wondering how long it would be until she broke her word.
She didn't know what she would do if it weren't for Kurt.
Her best friend, her Fuzzy Elf, was always there to talk when she needed him, or to hold her as she cried if she was past the point of talking.
Of course, like any older brother figure, he always had the same counsel: you're too good for him, you should break up with him before you get hurt, you shouldn't get back with him, you deserve so much more. But unlike Scott or Evan or anyone else in the mansion, it seemed, Kurt was concerned above all with her happiness.
After another breakup, Kurt would take her to try out new restaurants that neither of them had visited, remarking that he'd been waiting to go with her. They would have movie marathons on the couch, often muting the films and dubbing over them with hilarious new dialogue, each waiting for the other to laugh and lose their little game. Other times, they would spend long afternoons that bled into evenings reading in the treetops together.
Kitty had once confided in him that she would love to be able to climb the tall oaks on the Institute grounds, but there were no branches hanging low enough for her to reach. Giving her one of those smiles that only surfaced when he had a surprise for her, Kurt stretched out his hand. As soon as she grasped it, she appeared with him in the crook of one of those very trees. Ever since, it had become their favorite spot to find solitude together, whether reading or talking or simply watching the setting sun in a silence that could only be so comfortable with each other.
It was so perfect that Kitty often forgot why she ever thought she needed Lance... until she met up with him again.
There was always an excuse: needing to give back something borrowed was a common one, but the most frequent was Lance needing help in school. His dyslexia was an incredible strain on him, a burden he had managed to keep secret from everyone but her. Tutors cost money he didn't have, and as much as Kitty tried not to care, she wanted to see him succeed.
Spending time together always seemed to go so well after they had been apart for some time. Kitty couldn't deny that she missed him, and she could see that he felt the same way, even understood his inability to say it. And so they would drift together once again, and somehow, without her noticing, her time with Kurt would dwindle.
Her Fuzzy Elf was always kind and understanding, even though made it clear he didn't approve. He always used more or less the same line to sum up his feelings on the matter.
"You know what I think, and you know that I don't want to see you get hurt again. But you know that I'll be here for you if you do... and that more than anything, Kätzchen, I want you to be happy." His golden eyes were duller than usual, not glowing with their usual mirth and mischief.
Of course, after yesterday's breakup, Kurt had been there for her. She had raged, ranted, screamed into his pillows. When that had proven insufficient, he had even taken her down to the gym and put on target mitts so that she could exhaust her anger. In the end, when she had fallen to her knees on the mat and cried herself dry with his arms around her, he had tilted her chin upwards to look into his eyes.
"I wish more than anything that it could have been different, Kätzchen. I wish that you could have been happy. Please don't think me selfish, but... I am still glad to have you back." With that, he teleported them to Kitty's room and promised to return within five minutes. True to his word, he reappeared just as Kitty began wiping away her tears, bearing two mugs of hot chocolate, a bag of fresh popcorn, and a copy of her favorite movie.
As Kitty passed by Kurt's room, she heard the strains of a guitar from underneath the door. It sounded different from any recording she had ever heard, heavy with chords but still slow and mournful. As she phased her head through his door, though, she was astonished at what she saw.
Her best friend was seated on his bed, one foot on the floor, wearing only a pair of jeans. The music was not coming from Kurt's stereo, as Kitty suspected, but from a beautiful guitar that the blue mutant was holding in his hands. She watched, awestruck, as his fingers coaxed the haunting melody from the strings with a precision that belied their size.
Then he began to sing.
In all the years Kitty had known Kurt, she had heard him sing perhaps twice. Once was a perfect karaoke rendition of the Beatles' "Twist and Shout," and once was a parody he had composed himself to the tune of "99 Red Balloons," which he had done in a hilarious falsetto. She had begged him to sing something serious, but he had always declined, saying with a laugh that it would shatter all of the Professor's good crystal.
But as Kurt began softly crooning out lyrics, Kitty was transfixed. The language was definitely not English or German; it sounded like Spanish, but Kurt's accent turned the rolling r sounds to something softer, gentler, a hybrid between the two languages. It was possibly the most romantic-sounding language Kitty had ever heard... but the tone was unbelievably sad.
"¿Qué hace un hippie en la oficina, una orca en la piscina, una monja en carnaval?
¿Qué haces tú cuando estás sola, chapuceándote en las olas de un pasado que pasó?"
The chords shifted, and Kurt's voice became hoarse and strained, thick with grief.
"¿Qué hago yo cuando el domingo es por la tarde, y el campeón se hace cobarde y pregunta dónde estás?"
Kitty fought the tears welling up in her eyes. She had no idea what he was saying, but she could feel the sadness rolling off of him like a leaden blanket that draped over the whole room. She no longer tried to decipher the words; just lost herself in the beautiful melancholy pouring out of her best friend's heart.
Too soon, it ended, one last drawn out word seeming to echo in the room as the guitar played its final refrain. Kurt bowed his head and took a deep breath as the last note ended. Kitty didn't applaud; to do so would have cheapened the moment. Instead, she stepped into the room and said simply, "That was the most beautiful song I've ever heard, Kurt."
The blue teen looked up wide-eyed, looking nearly ready to bolt from the room. "Kitty? You— how long have you been there?"
She smiled. "A while. I mean it, though, Kurt. That was incredible."
His face fell. "I didn't mean for you to hear it... not like that."
Kitty's face reflected her confusion. "What, were you practicing to play it for me?"
Kurt shook his head, looking despondent. "Not quite."
"You're not making sense, Fuzzy. If you forgot some lyrics, it's okay. I didn't understand a word, but I didn't need to for it to be beautiful."
The majority of the tension on Kurt's face evaporated, and he put the guitar to the side. "Errr... thank you, Kätzchen. So... any reason for the visit? Are you all right?"
She stood still, unsure of whether to shake her head or nod. "Well... mostly all right. I just had to get out of my room. All the empty spaces just got to be too much."
Standing up from his bed, Kurt strode over to encircle her with his arms. Her cheek lay up against his chest and she could hear his heartbeat. It was so comforting to have him there, to know her best friend would comfort her whenever she was in need. She placed a hand on his chest and idly stroked the fur with her fingers, reveling in the velvety softness of it.
When she felt Kurt stiffen, she looked up into his eyes and saw an indecipherable mixture of things swirling in the golden irises. "Uh, Fuzzy?"
He breathed in deeply, closing his eyes. When he exhaled and his eyes opened again, his face had returned to the normal, happy-go-lucky Kurt that Kitty knew so well. "Sorry, Kitty, just spaced out for a moment." Breaking contact with her, he walked over to the bed and picked up the guitar.
"Don't worry about it, Kurt. Totally fine. So... what's that song you played about?"
His smile faltered. "It's a lot of imagery of things that shouldn't be the way they are: a genius in an army barracks, a king without an heir, a guru doubting himself... So the song is about things gone wrong, essentially."
Kitty nodded slowly. "That would be why the music is so sad." Nothing he had mentioned seemed to add up to the grief that had been so present in his voice, but she assumed it lost quite a bit in translation.
"The original arrangement for the song is beautiful... I only wish I had enough fingers to play it the way it was meant to be played." Kurt looked at his hands, resting on the guitar, with one of the saddest expressions Kitty had ever seen on his face. As she was about to say something to comfort him, though, he flashed her a grin and said, "But if two fingers are good enough for Django, they're good enough for me!"
Kitty cocked her head to the side, looking for all the world like her namesake. "Jangle?"
Kurt chuckled. "Close, but not quite. Long ago, there was a Romani musician named Django Reinhardt. He was injured in a fire and two of the fingers on his left hand were badly burned... but he reinvented his craft. He did incredible work using only two fingers." Kurt flexed his tridactyl hand with a wry grin. "It took a lot of adaptation to play guitar with hands like mine, but I told myself if Django Reinhardt could manage it, another Rom could follow his example."
"That definitely sounds like the Kurt I know," Kitty said as she sat next to him. Her eyes strayed to his fingers, watching as they wandered along the frets with little squeaks. He wasn't playing yet; merely running through various positions on the fretboard.
"You know, I think... I think that last song was a bit of a downer." Kurt looked over at her, golden eyes shining with a mixture of nervousness and excitement. "There's another song in Spanish that I'd much rather play for you."
Elated, Kitty nodded as enthusiastically as she could. "Oh, that would be wonderful, Fuzzy! I didn't want to make you uncomfortable by asking, but I'd love to hear more." Scooting away a bit to give him extra playing space, she sat in anticipation.
The opening strains of the song were far simpler than the last, based in simple chords strummed and palm-muted at a bouncy, happy tempo. This accompaniment was meant to be a mere vehicle for the singing when it began.
"Soy tu mejor amigo... tu pañuelo de lágrimas..."
Kurt's voice was rich and vibrant, showing an impressive range that hadn't been quite as obvious in the last song. The German accent that had previously lent extra gravity to his tone had become light and playful. His eyes sought out Kitty's, and a wry smile crooked at his mouth as he sang.
Kitty lost herself in the music, closing her eyes at times, and at other times simply watching her best friend in contentment. At what she assumed to be the chorus, however, an absolutely heartstopping grin from Kurt pinned Kitty to the spot. "Yo quisiera ser ése por quien te despertaras ilusionada, yo quisiera que vivieras de mí siempre enamorada."
Yellow eyes slid shut as the blue-furred mutant went into another verse, and Kitty lowered her head, lost for a moment in thought. More than anything, she found herself wondering just what those words had meant.
Again, the song ended in what seemed like no time at all. Kitty was more than happy to clap for him this time, and he acknowledged her with a slight incline of his head before setting the guitar on the comforter once more.
"Oh, Fuzzy Elf, you are amazing!" Sitting back for a moment, she considered the moment they had shared during the song. "Y'know, that song was... well... pretty powerful, despite being all happy. What was it about?"
He ran a hand through his indigo hair, eyes darting to the side for a moment. "Well, it's one that reminds me a lot of how I feel about you... it's about being best friends, and how I'll always be there for you."
Kitty's arms shot around her best friend's neck, and she buried her face in his chest. "Kurt, that's so incredibly sweet of you! You know you're my very best friend, and I'd do anything for you."
She felt Kurt's face on the top of her head as his arms came to rest around her, and she smiled as she heard him sigh deeply. It was good to hear such contentment. "Kätzchen." It was a declaration in itself, not needing to be attached to anything else.
A few moments later, they returned to their former positions, and Kurt sprang up to dig through one of his drawers, soon producing a huge CD wallet with a visibly straining zipper.
"Jeez, Fuzzy, how many CDs do you have in that thing?"
He smiled sheepishly as he began carefully unzipping the bulging case. "Well, this is supposed to hold just under a hundred... so I've had to start putting CDs in between the sleeves."
Kitty was fairly sure her jaw had dislocated. "But... why?"
"Music is a huge part of who I am, Kitty... I've spent almost my entire life amassing this collection." He shifted on his feet, as if weighing his next words. "I couldn't go outside for years, you know. Music made that kind of isolation... bearable. It was like I wasn't alone anymore."
Once more, Kitty was about to say something to comfort Kurt, but again, before she could, he looked up at her with a huge smile. "But that just means I have an extensive collection of things to blast at maximum volume as the sun comes up, nicht wahr?"
Kitty giggled despite herself. "Ja, Fuzzmeister."
Flipping through his collection directly to a spot towards the back, Kurt produced two discs. "These are the ones that have the original versions of the songs I played tonight. I'd love for you to hear them as they were meant to be heard... that is, if you'd like?" He held them out to her gently, almost hesitantly.
Her fingers brushed his as she took the CDs, and she giggled as a slight shiver went through him at the contact. "Ticklish much, Fuzzy?"
Kurt looked down, a tinge of violet coming to his cheeks. "Um, ja... very ticklish. Please don't feel obligated to abuse that knowledge, Kätzchen."
She smiled at him like the proverbial cat toying with a mouse. "As tempting as it is... I suppose it can wait for tomorrow. I'm actually pretty tired at the moment, so I think I'll try to get to bed. I'll definitely be listening to these tomorrow, though."
Another dazzling fanged smile crossed Kurt's face. "All right. I wish you the sweetest of dreams, Kitty."
Kitty couldn't resist another hug, though she was careful not to damage the CDs as she buried her face in his furry chest. "You too, Fuzzy. Thank you for being such a good friend."
Another deep sigh expanded his powerful chest, and Kitty felt her arms stretch and relax with his breath. "Always, Kätzchen."
Kitty slowly disentangled herself and walked toward the door, but before leaving, she took one more glance over her shoulder at her best friend standing shirtless in the soft overhead light. She had to admit that his years of gymnastics on top of Danger Room sessions had given him an incredible physique. Kind, sweet, funny, patient, caring, and good-looking; he was the total package that so many girls dreamed of finding. Amanda had to have been crazy to give him up.
Another day at school had come and gone, and Kitty found herself once again haunted by the empty spaces around her room. Logically, she knew she was better off without Lance, but that didn't stop that horribly impulsive part of her from wanting to call him, to look at one of the photos, to reminisce on the good times. After all, they'd known each other for so long, and most of their time together hadn't been bad...
Smacking herself in the face with both hands to banish such thoughts, Kitty sought out a distraction. When her eyes fell upon the CDs upon her nightstand, a smile found its way to her lips unbidden. She had awoken to find a note slipped underneath her door. The small sheet of paper was sparsely populated by large handwriting:
I forgot to mention the track numbers earlier.
Ricardo Arjona- 2: Sin Ti... Sin Mi
Reik- 6: Yo Quisiera
—Your Fuzzy Elf
Kitty shook her head ever so slightly at the old-fashioned decorative flourishes her best friend insisted on adding to capital letters, and reached for the topmost of the two CDs. Brown with a yellow typewriter in the center, it bore the inscription, "5to piso Arjona". She placed it in the tray of her stereo system and skipped to the second track.
The opening strains were unmistakably the same song Kurt had been playing, but with a full band, the tone was fuller and richer. The singer was excellent at conveying emotion even if Kitty didn't understand the words, but she found herself wishing for Kurt's unfiltered, raw voice.
Drums introduced the second verse, and Kitty recognized bits and pieces of the lyrics. This was where she had stumbled upon Kurt playing. Sure enough, the chords shifted and Kitty heard the lines that Kurt had sung with such heartbreaking conviction.
Pausing the song and rewinding to the beginning of the verse, Kitty listened again, desperate for any clue as to just what was being said. What could a song in Spanish be saying that wounded Kurt so deeply and yet resonated with him enough for him to sing it?
Kitty paused the recording once more, rewound to the second verse, and left her room.
Striding straight past Kurt's room to the one occupied by Roberto Dacosta, she knocked twice and waited ten seconds. When no response was forthcoming, she began pounding on the door.
The door swung open mid-knock, and Kitty was forced to phase in order to avoid ramming the bottom of her fist into Sunspot's nose. He shuddered at the sensation, then glared at her.
"This had better be important, Kitty." Roberto's accent was heavier than usual, and from his ruffled hair and grumpy demeanor Kitty surmised that she had woken him from a nap.
"It is. Come with me." Kitty grabbed his hand and practically dragged him along as she headed back toward her room.
Roberto stumbled for a few steps before falling into a pace that matched hers. "I swear, if you just need help with your economics homework again, I'm going to grind the book into powder in front of you and let you explain it to your teacher."
Phasing both of them through her bedroom door, she stopped in front of the stereo, which was clicking and whirring as it held the position of the CD.
"Okay," Kitty said, facing him. "This song is in Spanish, and I don't speak Spanish."
Roberto's glare was enough to make Kitty squeak. "I'm from Brazil. The national language of Brazil is Portuguese, not Spanish."
Kitty steeled herself and pushed ahead. "Yes, but I know you're fluent in Spanish, too. You help out with people's Spanish homework all the time." After another long moment of enduring his frosty glare, she continued. "Look, this is really important, and you're the only one I know who can do it. Will you help me? Please?"
Sunspot crossed his arms. "Give me one reason."
Taking a deep breath, Kitty pulled out her ace. "Users/Sunspot/Miscellaneous/Other/Fun." She recited the words in a monotone, fixing him with a glare to match his own.
Roberto flushed, then paled, sputtering the whole time. "You... but... how did you...?"
"You're keeping it on the Institute server, Roberto. If you have to have it, keep the folder on your own hard drive, with a password. Now... will you listen to this song and tell me what he's saying?"
Sitting on her bed wide-eyed, both hands pulling his hair back, he slowly nodded.
Kitty couldn't resist a giggle. "Thank you!" Reaching out to the stereo, she pressed play.
Roberto listened, and with each line, his expression slid further from mild confusion into melancholy.
After the end of the chorus, Kitty pressed pause. "Did you get it?"
Steepling his hands together in a gesture reminiscent of Professor Xavier, Roberto looked at her solemnly. "Did Kurt give you this?"
Kitty was taken aback. "Well, yeah."
"Did he tell you what it was about?"
"Umm... well, he said it was, like, things that didn't belong in the places where they were. But I don't get why that's so sad."
Sighing, Roberto looked down, then back up at her. "Yes, there are things in the wrong places in the song. But that's not the point. What the singer is saying is, "what is this doing here, what are you doing without me, and what am I doing without you?"
Realization began creeping in on Kitty. "There's a part, right about where I had it paused, where the guy says something about 'kyagoyo.' Can I rewind it to that part for you?"
Sunspot gave her a sad smile. "No need. That one stuck with me. 'What do I do when it's Sunday evening, and the champion turns cowardly and asks, where are you?'"
His words hit Kitty as if she had phased a fraction of a second too late as she ran through a brick wall. Staggering over to her bed, she sat down hard next to Roberto.
"There's another song," she said after what seemed to have been an hour of silence.
Nodding, Roberto gestured for her to proceed.
Somehow, in some way that wasn't entirely clear to her, Kitty found herself sitting back on the bed with the brown CD in her hands as she and Roberto listened to an R&B-influenced beat over an acoustic guitar. As the singer began, Roberto interpreted simultaneously.
I'm your best friend; your shoulder to cry on over lost loves.
You recharge on my shoulder; your cries are unceasing; I only caress you.
And you ask me why life is so cruel to your feelings.
I just embrace you and console you.
You ask me for a thousand pieces of advice to protect you from your next encounter;
You know I'll take care of you.
What you don't know is that I'd like to be the one over whom you're losing sleep and hope.
I'd like to be the one you cry for, that cry that comes from your feelings.
I'd like to be the one for whom you wake up hopeful.
I'd like for you to live always in love with me.
Kitty stood up and pressed the stop button. She couldn't listen to any more of this.
Roberto was staring at her.
"Roberto... how did you know that Kurt gave me these CDs?" Her voice was shaky even to her own ears.
Placing his hands in his hair once again, Roberto leaned down and took a deep breath.
Roberto looked up at her in resignation. "He's in love with you, Kitty. Has been since... I don't even know when. Haven't you noticed the way he drops everything to help you whenever you have a problem?"
"Well, like, yeah, I mean, he's my best friend! He's always there for me, and—"
"And he's trying desperately to convince himself that he's all right with just that, because that's all it will ever be. But he's not doing a very good job of it so far."
Kitty leaned against her dresser, arms wrapped around herself. This was too much to process.
Roberto stood. "Kitty, if you find yourself reciprocating those feelings, that's great. But if you don't... never, ever tell him that you know. Right now he has hope. If you care for your best friend and want him to be happy, don't take that away from him."
Sunspot walked out the door, shutting it gently behind him, leaving Kitty alone with her burden.
It was past midnight when Kitty finally managed to corral her thoughts and emotions into something manageable. What remained loose, however, was an impulsive and reckless notion, a need to confirm what she knew in her heart to be true.
She left her bed and phased through her door, walking as if compelled by somnambulation, until she reached Kurt's bedroom and slipped through his wall, silent as her namesake.
Kitty climbed beneath his covers and gently began stroking the fur on his chest, waiting for his eyes to open.
The expected flash of gold never came, but Kurt arched his back to bring himself closer to her caresses, mumbling contentedly, "Kätzchen... mein Kätzchen."
Bringing her lips to within an inch of his ear, Kitty whispered, "Do you love me, Kurt?"
A near-beatific smile crossed his face, only to be replaced by a sadder one. "Always, Kätzchen."
Then, without warning, his lips found hers, and the whole world was condensed into the space of a few small inches.
The kiss was soft and gentle, yet it held such passion that Kitty was taken aback completely. It was as though Kurt was pouring his every emotion out through his lips, showing her in that instant everything that he feared to say in his waking hours. Without thought, Kitty responded, soft sounds coming from her mouth as the kiss deepened.
When they broke apart, Kitty lay paralyzed, unsure of anything and everything.
Kurt's hand pressed against the left side of her chest, and Kitty nearly pulled away, until she realized that he was not reaching for her breast, but rather placing his hand slightly higher, directly over her racing heart. "One day, maybe this dream will come true," he said quietly. "One day, maybe this will be mine in the daylight."
"Dream? You think you're dreaming right now, Kurt?"
A sad chuckle rocked the bed ever so slightly. "Of course I am, Kitty. You know this. You're the girl of my dreams..." His hand slipped away, falling on the comforter. "But only my dreams."
Kitty's teeth clamped down on her lip as she fought back tears. Taking a deep breath, she phased through his bed to the floor below and began sprinting back to her room, hoping that he would stay asleep but terrified that he would wake up and learn the truth.
Back in her room, safe under her covers, Kitty waited with her back to the door, feigning sleep and trying desperately not to let out the sobs that were clawing at her chest and throat.
Her doorknob turned gently, and the door cracked open without so much as a squeak. A sliver of light played on her bedroom wall, blocked at the bottom by a familiar silhouette. Kitty concentrated on breathing, pushing away the torrent of emotions and sensations that swirled around her and threatened to take her under. If she started drowning now, he would know. She had to keep quiet for Kurt's sake.
After an eternity, Kitty saw her best friend's shadow shake its head. "Es war ein Traum. Ein entsetzlich, herrlich Traum." The crack of light disappeared, and soft footfalls grew quieter until they faded into nothing.
Kitty held off as long as she could, then buried her face in her pillow and wept. Huge, heaving sobs shook her body as she struggled to breathe. It was too much, too soon. She was still haunted by the specter of her relationship with Lance, unsure of whether she would find herself back in his arms when the compulsion grew too strong. And now she knew that Kurt was truly, undeniably in love with her. She couldn't be with Kurt; not for lack of chemistry, but because she knew that she wasn't ready for another relationship, and wouldn't be ready for a long time.
How could she face her best friend now, knowing that he was waiting, holding out hope that one day she would see him as something more?
Of one thing, Kitty was certain: she would have to go on as though unaware of his feelings, however impossible it might seem.
But for tonight, she needed to cry, and she had to do it without her Fuzzy Elf to comfort her.
Nicht wahr: Isn't that so?
Es war ein Traum. Ein entsetzlich, herrlich Traum.: It was a dream. A horrible, wonderful dream.
If anyone actually wants the full translations of the songs Kurt played, I can hopefully send them to you via PM. I haven't found a translation online for either that captured them well enough, but I can translate them myself.