Summary: A harmless attempt to get Kurt to go to school without his holowatch causes his friends to discover a side of him they didn't know existed.
A/N: Ok, my favorite type of writing is detail writing, and I've been skimping out on the detail in most of my pieces so they don't end up being loooong and boring. However, I'm going for the gusto on this one, so be prepared for awesome detail and length.
Disclaimer: The chance of me owning X-men is about as likely as the sun imploding next year, the dead reanimating, or penguins taking over the world with machine guns.
Beep, beep, beep! Kurt's alarm clock screeched, jolting him awake. His eyes popped open and a tiny funnel of air whisked down his throat at he inhaled sharply. He blinked groggily as his fist moved from under the tangled mess of covers and slammed down on the annoying machine. Bee—silence. Kurt glared at the small clock, cursing it under his breath for being so loud and irritating and for waking him from a pleasant dream.
On the other side of the room, Evan woke up, though not as suddenly as Kurt had. He groaned and flipped onto his other side, putting his pillow over his head. "S, too early," he moaned, his voice muffled.
Kurt was already up and making his bed. "Up, Evan," he muttered, glancing across the room at his curled up friend. "Or I'll go get ze bucket of cold vater," he added with a tiny chuckle.
Evan shrugged, making the clump of sheets over his head and shoulders rise, then fall quickly. It looked like odd breathing. Kurt mischievously paced over to him and ripped back the covers, revealing Evan curled up in only his boxers.
"Gah, dude!" he cried, his eyes snapping open. He groped around for his missing covers. "It's cold. Give me my sheets back."
"Never!" Kurt cackled, dragging them all the way off Evan's bed. He dropped them in a large, blue and black ball wad on the carpeted floor. "If you vant zem, come get zem!" he taunted, his golden eyes dancing playfully.
Evan groaned, but pulled himself dramatically to his hands and knees. "Six thirty," he grumbled, "and I already hate everyone." He ran a hand through his bleached hair and stretched a little to ease the stiffness in his joints.
Kurt was on his way to their shared bathroom, a towel slung over his blue shoulder. "I zink you might have voken up on ze wrong side of ze bed, mein freund."
Evan glared at him as he vanished behind the bathroom door. "Hmm, no. I just woke up at six thirty after going to bed at midnight, so I'm gonna be a zombie all day. No thanks to you," he growled, but his irritation was already dissipating. He was tired, grumpy, and stiff, but he couldn't stay mad at his friend for any length of time. Kurt made sure he got up and made it school most mornings.
While Kurt took a shower, Evan picked up his wadded sheets and put them back on his bed. While putting them on, he found a crumpled up piece of paper in the folds, an old math assignment. "So that's why I failed that polynomial test," he mused, crumpling the paper back up and pitching it away.
He went on with his morning routine.
Kurt took a nice, long shower. He had to, in order to get all his fur clean. It took a long time with wash every inch of his body. He always did his tail last, squeezing the soap along the length of it with his hands. It made a satisfying squeaky sound, and it made all the fur behave and lie flat. He was rinsing off his tail, watching clumps of blue fur wash down the drain, when Evan rapped on the door and said, "Hey fuzzy man, no point in getting me up early if you're gonna hog the shower until it's time to go for school. Out!"
Kurt smiled and finished getting the shampoo off his tail. He whipped it around once, just for fun. "Ok, ok," he said, shutting of the warm water. "I left you some hot vater, alright?"
He put a towel around his waist and opened the door for Evan, who was waiting outside, tapping his foot impatiently. "Dude, you gotta take shorter showers," he complained.
Kurt turned away while Evan stripped down and got in the shower himself. When he heard the water running, he opened his eyes and turned to face the mirror. "Vell, it takes time to vash all mein fur," he argued as he started to dry off. "Imagine how long it takes you vash your hair and multiply zat by about tventy."
"Takes me ten seconds to wash my hair," Evan laughed, flicking a stream of water up and over the shower curtain.
"You hardly have any hair," Kurt pointed out. He removed an industrial blow dryer from one of the bathroom drawers and plugged it in.
"Good point," Evan muttered. He smirked when he heard the roar of the blow dryer. It was amusing to see Kurt dry himself off, and Evan didn't get to watch it very often. He turned off the water and got out sooner than usual just to see the ritual.
Kurt had his shorts on already. He was blowing off his chest, making the fur stick up and ripple around every which way. He looked like a fluffy doll of sorts, raggedy and poofy.
Kurt caught Evan staring at him. "Is it really zat bad?" he asked, a bit self-consciously.
Evan chuckled and shook his head. "Nah, it's just kinda cool to watch. You look like one of my little sisters plushy toys," he added, only half-teasing.
Kurt narrowed his eyes, scowled, and aimed the blow dryer at Evan, making his short, bleached hair fly around. Evan back off and walked over to his clothes. "Sorry, sorry," he said, still laughing. "But honestly you do."
Kurt huffed and continued to blow himself dry. It took about five more minutes, and when it was over, he looked wild—fur sticking up and clumping together in odd places. His tail looked like a grass-covered whip. Kurt stared at himself in the mirror for a moment, contemplating how he looked.
God, Evan's right, he thought. I do look like some horrible puff doll thing. His gold eyes seemed to peer back at him amidst a jungle of blue fur. Fur…the curse of fur. It always shocked people when they realized he was furry. It always made him miserably hot in summer. He had to wash, dry, and brush it for a long time every day. He had to cut it like his hair every once in a while, which was a real ordeal. All in all, it didn't seem like such a great thing to have. But despite all the problems it caused him, he secretly liked having fur. It made him feel soft to the touch. It gave him something to play with if he was bored or needed to feel comforted. It made him feel warm and cozy all the time. It was part of what made him Kurt.
He sighed at his reflection before putting the blow dryer away and whipping out a large brush. He started with his face, and gradually worked his way down to his neck, chest, and arms. Evan, who'd finished getting dried and dressed, watched him meticulously brush every inch of himself. It was quite a process. He glanced down at his watch, which read about seven o' clock. They were going to be late for breakfast if Kurt didn't hurry it up.
He walked over to the sink and grabbed another brush out of one of the drawers. For some reason, Kurt had five different brushes. One for every day of the school week? Evan wondered.
He picked up the brush and began smoothing down the fur on Kurt's back. Kurt glanced over his shoulder, arching his back at the feel of the brush. "Evan, you don't have to help me brush myself," he said with a tiny sigh. "I can do it."
"Yeah, but we're gonna miss breakfast if you don't hurry up," he pointed out. "Now shut up and go back to whatever you're doing." Kurt obeyed, giving Evan one last glance before resuming brushing his chest. Evan looked back down at his work. He had to admit, Kurt's fur was the softest thing he'd ever felt. When washed, it felt like the softest velvet, or like thick, smooth cornsilk, maybe. It was kind of fun to help brush him, almost like brushing a soft puppy. Evan shook his head at the thought, slapping himself for comparing his roommate to a puppy. If anything he was more like a cat, but Evan would never say that to him. It didn't seem right, even in humor. Kurt was very sensitive about being called names. He could tolerate Elf, Fuzzy, Furball, and a few others, but he didn't like being compared to animals or much less…the D word.
"I'll do my legs later," Kurt muttered, putting his brush away. He looked at Evan. "You finished back zere?"
"Yeah, I just gotta do the tail."
Kurt immediately grabbed his brush again. "You didn't do mein tail?" he wailed as he frantically started brushing it out.
"I'm not used to brushing fur," Evan protested. "I'm slow."
Kurt finished his tail, letting it flip out of his hands and wave around. "It's fine. Let's go," he said, throwing on a t-shirt and yanking open the bathroom door. The two boys were out and in the hall a moment later. Kurt touched Evan on the shoulder and teleported them both into the kitchen.
Evan took a moment to recover himself once they reappeared. Teleporting was the weirdest feeling. It felt to him like his whole body was compressed and squeezed through something tiny, like the head of a pin, before the pressure went away and he felt normal again. He looked around the kitchen as it appeared before him in a flash of smoke. Some of the students were already chowing down. Logan was in his usual place, reading the paper and drinking coffee. Hank was sitting at the far end of the table, eating next to Storm. Evan stepped away from Kurt and walked towards the table.
They sat down near Kitty and Rouge, who appeared to be having a 'lively' conversation. "Ahm telling yah, Nathaniel Hawthorne is th'best writah that evah lived," Rouge was arguing. She was holding a black book with a death grip, keeping it close to her body.
"Oh yeah?" Kitty challenged. "Well, like, let's see. Hand it over." She reached for the book Rouge was guarding.
"No," Rouge cried, holding it close to her chest. "Mahne." Evan and Kurt sat on either side of them.
"Ladies, calm down," Evan said in a cool voice. "What's with all this fighting?"
Rouge snorted and shifted the book protectively. "Kitty doesn't believe Mr. Hawthorne is the best writah in the world. She thinks it's Stephanie Meyer, or whatevah. The vampire lady."
Evan shrugged, raking eggs onto his plate. "I thought you liked vampires, Rouge. Dark, creepy—aren't those right up your alley?"
"Like, no way," Kitty answered for her. "There's too much romance and not enough blood and gore for Queen Goth to like Twilight."
"Twilight sucks. Too kissy an' lovey dovey," Rouge complained. "Ah don't know how yah can stand it."
"It's classic literature," Kitty sniffed.
"Vhat's the book for?" Kurt asked quietly, glancing down at the thick tome Rouge was holding on to.
"This? This is the Best of Everything Book. 2009 Updated Edition. Best movies, best actors, best books, an such," Rouge explained. "This book'll tell us if ahm right. If Miss Stephaine Meyer's in here under best writers, Kitty wins. But if Nathanial Hawthorne is in here, ah can say ahm right once an' for all."
Kurt and Evan both shook their heads. Girls, they were thinking. Breakfast moved along. Kitty and Rouge finally opened the book and took a look. Neither author was on the best author's list, so they called it a stiff draw. They kept glaring at each other coldly throughout breakfast, as if fighting mentally. Kurt and Evan talked about school. When breakfast was finished, Kurt ran back upstairs for his watch and Evan for his book bag. Kurt took his black holowatch and slid it over his blue, fuzzy hand. His body flickered, like a TV screen blip, before changing to his human appearance—pale, dark haired, brown eyed, five fingered.
He wrapped his tail around his chest under his shirt and smoothed down his fur under the hologram. Evan glanced at him doing this as he stuffed his book bag full of textbooks. "Why don't you just go to school normally?" he asked curiously. It seemed to take Kurt a lot of effort to make himself look and feel more human, even though he had the watch.
Kurt paused and lifted his head, his eyes meeting his friends. His expression went blank and he blinked, as if he wasn't sure he'd heard Evan right. "Vhat?" he said slowly, shaking his head and going back to smoothing out his fur. "No, that's crazy." He laughed to cover up the wave of fear he felt rising in his chest.
Evan shrugged, slinging his bag over one shoulder. "I dunno. I'm just saying, it takes you so long to make yourself look, you know, like that. Why don't you just go to school like you really are?"
Kurt's lip twitched, and he smiled nervously. "People vould freak out," he said quickly, dismissing Evan's idea.
The two of them left the room. "I don't think so, man," Evan said calmly. "I mean, people are more accepting of mutants now. Sure, we get pushed around at school a bit, but I think you'd be ok."
Kurt sighed. He couldn't keep his feelings hidden forever so he switched gears. He scowled. "I don't think zo, Evan. Just drop it, ok?"
Evan wasn't one to question him, but he raised a curious eyebrow, wondering why Kurt objected so vehemently. He shrugged it off, assuming Kurt was just nervous. He knew Kurt was extremely conscious of how he looked, despite the jokes he made about himself and how he seemed to not care. Evan guessed he didn't want to be made fun of, and that seemed fair enough. After all, he got teased and pushed around all the time, and he was the normal looking one. Kurt would probably have it much worse.
The car ride to school was loud and boisterous, perfect for breaking the uncomfortable silence Evan and Kurt had had since breakfast. Kurt talked to Rouge, and Evan got started with Bobby and Sam. Scott had to yell, "Shut up!" every five minutes to preserve his sanity, but the silence was always short-lived. He was very glad when they got to school and everyone jumped out of the van.
"Why can't they take the bus?" Scott groaned, feeling a headache coming on. Jean slid her arm through his and nudged him with her elbow.
"Because. They like being together, Scott. No one to taunt them or anything. Just each other."
Scott sighed but smiled a little. "I know. I just wish they'd, you know, walk every once in a while so I could be alone with you."
"You have plenty of time alone with me," Jean said with a grin. "C'mon, we're going to be late for first period."
Kurt's first class was Trigonometry. He hated it, mostly because the teacher was a stuffy older man who was as good at teaching kids as Rouge would be at opera singing. Kurt played around and doodled idly. A bunch of stick figures appeared all over his notebook paper. He ended up drawing everyone at the mansion. For himself, he drew a stick figure and gave it triangles for ears and a long S for a tail. He sighed, noting how different his little stick-self was from the other stick people. Even as a doodle, he stuck out. He was the odd ball.
He chewed on the end of his pencil, rolling some thoughts around in his mind. 'Go to school without your inducer', Evan had said. What a crazy idea. He could imagine the whole day in his mind. He'd walk in, and everyone would stare at him, as if they'd all just seen Jesus coming for them—bad analogy, Wagner, he thought. Anyway, then, there'd be a pause, and a long, painful silence. Then…well, there were a few possibilities. They might scream, run, and throw things at him. Very likely. The students might freak out for a while, but slowly get over it. Unlikely. And maybe they'd get over themselves in a few seconds and accept that he was blue. Anorexically thin chance of that. Back to reality here. If he did go to school, there was a great chance—in his mind, at least—that he would be treated badly. Hurt, abused, pushed around. He didn't want that, or need it.
He closed his eyes, the negative feelings from earlier coming back. I've already suffered enough at the hands of cruel people. The thought was a mere whisper in his consciousness, but he felt his chest grow heavy, like an elephant was slowly sitting on him. A whir of suppressed, long-forgotten memories trickled into his mind. He tried to close them out. No, no, please no, he thought, scrunching his eyes. Guns, stones, knives, rope…burning, tearing, breaking….No! He screamed, his mind growing immediately quiet and calm again. He exhaled, letting his breath go out slowly. It's ok, he thought comfortingly, feeling the dark memories fade back into the recesses of his mind.
The class continued and finally let out, marked by the screech of the bell. Everyone gathered their things and bustled off to their next class. Kurt felt much better after getting a grip on himself. He gathered his things slowly. His mind was still full, but at least he could control his thoughts. He kept his mind on other things. The Institute, training sessions, the fact that Logan was coming back tomorrow after a relatively long absence…..Anything. But despite his best efforts, he couldn't completely keep everything back. A few dark memories stayed stuck in his mind. Splinters in his brain.
At lunch, everyone was chattering about random stuff. Homework, after school stuff, whatever. Kurt sat with Bobby and Rouge, since Evan had apparently ditched lunch. "Evan didn't feel like eating?" Kurt asked as he scooted in beside Rouge.
"Nah, he grabbed some lunch, then ran off with his skatboardin' buddies. Ah think he might be ditchin' fah the rest of th'day," she guessed, shrugging.
"Oh." Kurt looked away and picked at his food. He was quiet. He mostly listened to Rouge and Bobby talk, along with the background noise from the other children in the cafeteria. Everything kind of ran together into a blur of sound, which Kurt eventually stopped paying attention to. His mind wandered. He drifted back to when he was a little kid. He never went to school as a kid. No school would take him, and they made that very obvious. So his mother taught him at home. He remembered working with her throughout the day. She was the best teacher—kind, patient, encouraging. She made everything fun, a game. Kurt and always liked being homeschooled when he was younger. It—
"Kurt?" Kurt's head snapped up. Rouge was nudging him, her eyes locked on his. She looked concerned, her head cocked to one side and her eyes open wide. "Kurt, you all right?" she asked.
"Ja, fine," Kurt said, pushing his food around some more, pretending to be interested in it. "Vhy?"
"Yah seem kinda spacey, fuzzy. And you're not eating," she added, glancing at his untouched food. Kurt never skipped a meal. "Something bothering yah?"
Kurt looked away, not wanting her to see anything in his eyes. Rouge was good at reading faces, especially eyes. He didn't want her to think anything was wrong. Just a little trouble with some old memories. "I'm fine," he said, his throat tightening. He wasn't fine, and something was bothering him, but it wasn't worth telling anyone about. "Just tired," he lied smoothly.
Rouge nodded. She believed that. Kurt was a notorious night owl, often going to bed at one, two, or even three in the morning. "Didn't sleep much, huh?"
Kurt nodded dismissively and took a bite of his food. After a moment, Rouge seemed satisfied and went back to talking to Bobby. Kurt was free to go back to his thoughts. During his last two classes, Biology and History, he didn't pay attention at all. His mind kept wandering back to Evan's words for earlier, and the bad memories that followed with them.
"Mama?" Kurt asked. He was standing in front of the mirror in his bedroom, staring at his soft, blue reflection. "Warum bin ich blau?" (Why am I blue?)
His mother, Astrid, got down on her knees so that she was his height, and sat beside him. "Warum bin ich bleich? Weil ich bin. Und Sie sind blau, wiel du bist," she explained simply. (Why am I pale? Because I am. And you are blue because you are.)
Kurt sighed and pulled at a tuft of fur. "Aber warum bin ich blau?" he asked. (But why am I blue?)
Astrid chuckled and pulled her son onto her lap. "Weil Sie etwas Besonderes sind," she replied, hugging him tightly. (Because you're special.) His tiny tail snaked around her arm and he looked up at her sadly.
"Die anderen Kinder nicht denken, ich bin speziellen," he said, his soft, golden eyes wavering. (The other children don't think I'm special.)
Astrid stroked his silky, black hair. He was so soft. "Sie verstehen nicht," she replied. (They don't understand.) She moved her hand from his hair to one of his ears, tugging on the end of it and rubbing the tip between her finger and thumb. "Alles, was man anders macht dich besonders," she said soothingly. (Everything that makes you different makes you special.) Kurt smiled a little. His tail whipped back and forth. "Und wenn jemand nicht sehen kann, dass es ihre Schuld, nicht diens," she added, kissing him on the top of the head. (And if someone can't see that, it's their fault, not yours.)
Kurt looked back at himself in the mirror. His mama's words were comforting, but they didn't seem to match reality. Everyone he'd met, child or adult, hadn't seen that he was just a little boy. 'Demon, monster, freak,' they'd called him. They didn't see that he was special.
As if Astrid knew what he was thinking, she said, "Lassen Sie sich nicht die Meinsung eines anderen fuhlen Sie sich unbedeutend oder gering, Kurt. Su bist schon. Haben nicht verbergen. Stolz sein, was du bist." (Don't let someone else's opinion make you feel insignificant or low, Kurt. You are beautiful. Don't hide it. Be proud of what you are.)
Kurt found it hard to see the yellow-eyed boy looking back at him in the mirror beautiful, but he answered his mother, "Ich werde, Mama." (I will, Mama.)
Kurt was standing in front of his bathroom mirror. He hadn't been focused all day, his mind busy. He looked at his sad-eyed reflection, contemplating something. In ten years, his face hadn't changed that much. It was still soft and elfin. His nose still turned down at the end and his cheekbones were high. His eyes were still almond shaped and golden, though they'd grown deeper and sadder with time. His ears had gotten longer, he noted. They'd been softly pointed and small. Now, they were sharply pointed and long, at least an inch or two longer than normal peoples' ears. He was, of course, still blue and fuzzy. That was never going to change, no matter how old he got.
He met the eyes of his reflection, thinking how strange they looked. Beautiful? He turned his mother's words over in his mind. If anything, they were haunting eyes. Scary, pupilless, with a burning topaz color. There was nothing beautiful about his eyes. Or his face, for that matter. He ran his tongue along his sharp fangs. His two canines were slightly longer and pointier than his other teeth, giving him a subtle vampire look. The eyes and the fangs, plus the ears, plus the impish face—it definitely didn't look…demonic, but it didn't look beautiful or special, as his mother had said. Sighing, Kurt looked away from the mirror and closed his eyes.
"I'm sorry, mama," he whispered. "I try to like mein self, but…it's so hard." Und if I can't like myself this way, he thought bitterly, humans certainly won't.
A/N: Ok, so maybe chapter un wasn't that exciting, but it'll get better, I promise. While I'm not thick on the action yet, I thought it would be cool to explore some of the aspects of Kurt's life that seem interesting but unaddressed in the show. For example, how does he deal with all his fur and stuff like that? Anyway, review if you want a chapter 2.
-The Ember Raven