Haunted

A/N: Demonicpoet left a comment that made me change my mind about how to end this, and I'm very happy with it. Enjoy the last chapter, and thank you for all the amazing reviews. 31. Wow. That's so awesome. :)

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Chapter 5:

"Quit fretting, Kurt. You're drivin' me crazy." Rogue, Evan, and Kurt were walking to school together. Kurt was in between his friends, shaking and looking around nervously every time they passed someone. He was all too aware of his blue form, how different he looked from everyone else. It wasn't too bad to be seen in public, where no one was going to bother him, but he worried about school. He just didn't know what to expect.

"Kurt, honestly." Rogue put a hand on Kurt's arm. They met eyes. Kurt couldn't help but me jumpy, even in the face of his calm, composed sister. "You'll be fahne."

Kurt sighed. His shoulders dropped and he hunched forward. "Ja," he said, partly to please Rogue and partly to comfort himself. Despite the talks Rogue and Evan (and the Professor, who heard about the whole thing) had given him, his apprehension was growing. The anxiety was mounting. He tried to calm himself by breathing and thinking of other things—anything other than school.

"Just remember what I told you, man," Evan said. "Stay cool, don't let anything get to you, and stay away from the Brotherhood boys. They might try and start something."

Kurt rolled his eyes knowingly. "Thanks for ze heads up about zem. They're always 'starting things'." He gulped, remembering the first time he'd ran into Avalanche and the Blob. They'd shoved him in a locker and left him there for two hours until Kitty rescued him.

The three approached the school. Kurt looked up at the tall building, finding it large and intimidating. As they got closer, people started to stare more and more. Fear and anxiety crept into Kurt's mind. He wanted to run away and hide, but he knew he couldn't. When he felt a gentle pressure on his hand, he looked down to see Rogue squeezing his hand with hers. She smiled a tiny smile. Kurt relaxed a little.

He fell back behind Rogue and Evan a few feet, not wanting to be stared at. It was inevitable, however. Curious eyes found him from all sides. He looked down so he couldn't see anyone's face, but he could feel many pairs of eyes on him, and he could hear the incessant whispering of his peers. It was a constant struggle to hold down years of fear and bad experiences that told him he needed to leave. Every instinct in his body was screaming, run!

Rogue took his hand again, this time to keep him near her. Kurt welcomed it, finding it immensely humanizing and friendly. He shivered as they entered the building.

The hallways were packed with students. Many of them gasped and backed away when Rogue, Evan, and Kurt walked in. A few crazy kids shouted obscene remarks. Mostly, everyone stared rudely and whispered. Kurt was a tiny bit relieved. He'd expected to see kids running away screaming. It had happened to him before.

As he went on to his first class, he couldn't help but overhear some of the whispering. "Who's that?"

"What is that furry thing?"

"Oh my gosh, it has a tail!"

A few people pointed. "Is that Kurt?" he heard repeatedly. His heart dropped to his feet. There was no taking this back now…

Kurt was eternally thankful that he and Evan shared first period. Rogue slipped into the crowd so she could get to her first class. Kurt stuck with Evan. "I'm scared," Kurt whispered.

Evan wanted to say, "Yeah, I know. Me too," because honestly, he was getting some weird glances in his direction. Maybe no one would bother them together, but if they separated…Evan shook his head, remembering that it was his job to be supportive. He sighed and said, "You're doing fine." He nudged Kurt with his elbow for reassurance.

They entered their first class. The room was already half-full. Everyone stopped talking and stared, wide-eyed and curious. Kurt felt like he was being assaulted visually. It was hard for him to keep walking. He followed Evan to the back of the room, and they sat next to each other in two vacant seats. Everyone's gaze followed them. The teacher was staring too, his face a mix of confusion and disdain.

The professor had already called the school and told them what Kurt was doing, so the teacher knew the blue thing in the back of his class was a student. It didn't make it any easier to ignore the fact that there was a blue, furry thing sitting in his class. He finally called class to order, and class began. Kurt relaxed a little when everyone stopped staring at him.

First period was slow and not entirely peaceful. A few students threw waded up sheets of notebook paper at Kurt when the teacher wasn't looking, and one student passed him a piece of paper with the words, Go to hell, mutants, written across the top.

Second period didn't go as smoothly. The teacher, a squat, beady eyed lady, refused to let Kurt into her class. So Kurt, along with Bobby, Rogue, and Sam, who all had the same class, left, since they weren't welcome.

At lunch, the X-students gathered together at their table to talk. Scott and Jean wanted to hear how the first two classes had gone.

"Not so great," Kurt mumbled. He didn't feel like eating, so he was sitting at the table with his arms crossed defensively. He glared at any students who gave him a funny look.

"It couldn't have been that bad," Scott said, trying to be positive.

"Mrs. Hardy wouldn't let him intah her class," Rogue reported, sounding rather pissed off.

Jean raised a red eyebrow. "Seriously? I thought teachers weren't allowed to do that to us. I mean, there are laws protecting us in schools. We can go to our classes whether the teachers like it or not."

Kurt sighed. "She refused to let 'any mutant scum take part in her class', as she put it."

"Well, ah left," Rogue added. "Ah wasn't gonna put up with her crap. If we mutants aren't welcome, we're leavin. Bobby an' Sam ditched too." Bobby and Sam nodded.

Jean facepalmed. "You guys can't do that. You should have gone to class anyway. I mean, she couldn't exactly make you leave."

Kurt rolled his eyes, frustrated. "I wouldn't have vanted to sit through an hour of her class. I mean, the students looked like zey were ready to kill us. Und if zey didn't do it, she would have."

Jean sighed. "Ok, fine. But no more ditching. Any of you." She glared at Kurt and Rogue in particular. They nodded.

After lunch, everyone dispersed and headed for their third class. Kurt ran to his locker to get a textbook. He stuffed it in his bookbag and went to third period. He didn't want to face two more classes of whispering and staring. Overall, his day had gone a lot better than he'd imagined, but it wasn't going great. He was getting stared at, pointed at, talked about, and pushed around. It wasn't fun. But it was tolerable. At least for now.

He sighed and looked down at his hands. For being blue and fuzzy, he wasn't being treated too badly. He'd been through worse. When he thought about it, school wasn't so bad. He'd lived through first and second period and lunch. He felt somewhat better about going to school but he had his fears. Maybe if he just kept going without his image inducer, he'd get over himself. He smiled a tiny bit.

Just then, he turned a corner and ran into a couple of jocks who were ditching class. He sighed and walked past them quickly, keeping his head down. "Hey, mutie!" one of them called. Kurt ignored them.

One of the jocks walked up behind Kurt and shoved him. "Are you ignoring me, blue boy?"

Kurt glared at the blonde jock. He was officially ticked off now. "Ja. I am. I don't vant to hear your insults. Leave me alone."

"Our insults?" another boy threw in, scoffing. "You and your mutie friends are an insult to this school. Why don't you all crawl back to your miserable hole where you came from and leave us alone?"

"This is ridiculous," Kurt groaned, rolling his eyes and walking away. The blonde jock grabbed him and shoved him up against the lockers with a loud slam.

"You're gonna pay for talking to us like that, freak," the boy snarled. Kurt, deciding it was time to fight rather than run away, kicked the boy clear in the gut. The other jocks took that as an excuse to start a fight.

The fight quickly turned in the jock's favor. There were three of them, and they each easily outweighed him by 100 pounds. And Kurt couldn't teleport—it was against school rules for mutants to use their powers. If he teleported, he'd get expelled. But getting pounded to a pulp was a rough alternative.

One of the jocks slammed his into the lockers and corkscrewed his arm until he screamed. Kurt tried to throw in some good kicks, but he was at an odd angle. He couldn't really fight when pressed up against a wall of metal. Just then, there was a sharp call.

"Boys!"

All three jocks turned their heads, just in time to see the principal storming towards them. She ripped two of the boys away from the wall and threw them clear across the width of the hall. The last jock scrambled to get away. The principal turned to Kurt, who sunk to his knees and groaned.

"Are you alright, Kurt?" the principal asked, her voice softening.

Kurt rubbed his shoulder and nodded. His fur was roughed up and he was bruised, but he was otherwise fine. What really hurt were the insults, the hatefulness of the boys.

Kurt looked up at the principal. "Vhy did you do zat?" he asked, unsure what to say. His mother was known for turning her head every time someone was getting harassed. She didn't usually intervene on fights unless it involved the Brotherhood boys of Scott.

Mystique pulled him to his feet. Her face was serious, angry, but her eyes were soft, kind. "I don't know," she admitted. Her demeanor shifted to principal-like and stern again. "Don't you have a class to be in?"

Kurt sighed and shrugged. "Yeah." He picked his bookbag up off the floor and slung it over his shoulder. He glanced at her once as he walked away. A tiny smile tugged at her lips.

"You've got some guts for coming here like you are," Mystique called after him. "Don't go back to wearing that watch."

Kurt didn't respond, but a small smile crept over his face. He usually didn't feel anything for his mother, but he felt strangely proud of her. She had spoken her mind to him—something he didn't think she'd ever done before. However, the good feeling in his chest didn't cover up the sickness he felt from being insulted and thrashed. It was a conflict of emotion. He hung his head, unsure of what to do. He was tired. He didn't want to go to another two classes. He hurt inside. So he headed for the front doors and teleported outside. From there, he went straight home and locked himself in his room.

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"Kurt?" Rogue knocked on his door gently with one fist. She was about to open the door and left herself in when the door opened from the inside. Kurt stood in the doorway. His face was unreadable.

"You ok? Ah didn't see yah in Physics class. You ditch?"

Kurt nodded. "Ja," he sighed. "I know Jean told me not to. It was just…a long day, I guess."

"But you made it," Rogue pointed out. "At least, through the first part of it. But ah can see why you left. Scott heard that some boys b"—

"It's fine," Kurt interrupted. "I'm fine. Really." He looked into Rogue's eyes. He looked sad, confused.

"So, you're not going to school without your watch again, huh?" she concluded.

"I didn't say zat. I mean, school was rough. But it wasn't, uh, too bad. Und it would get better if I went more often looking like meinself, ja?"

Rogue shrugged. "Well, ah think you should go again. You're cover's blown anyhow. And who cares what those losers think?"

Kurt was surprised into a smile. "Yeah. Zat's true."

"Then you should do it."

"It would be weird if I didn't," Kurt agreed. "I'll go without the watch."

Rogue grinned and pulled him into a hug. "Ah'm so proud of you, little brothah."

Kurt smiled too. "Um, danke?"

Rogue tightened her grip and put her face next to his ear. "Ah just want you to do this cause you're comfortable bein' yourself. That's all that matters."

Kurt closed his eyes. "I'm working on it, ok?"

"Thanks."

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For the next few weeks, Kurt worked on going to school without his watch. For the first couple of days, he was very tempted to put his watch back on. Some of the remarks and threats he got were extremely unpleasant. But as the days went by, fewer and fewer people commented on his blueness and left him alone. Students stopped staring at him constantly in class. The teachers grew more comfortable with him. And for the first time in a long time, Kurt felt comfortable as himself. He wasn't ashamed to be seen blue and furry. That was how he was, and how he would always be.

One night, he was lying in bed, thinking about his childhood. His bad memories had all but left him. The nightmares were gone. He felt at peace with himself. He closed his eyes and thought about what his mother had said. It was hard, but he had come to terms with himself. And he liked who he was, finally. It made him happier than anything else.

"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 smiled. "I am," he muttered, breaking into a full grin. Finally, he could say that and know he meant it.

*Fin*

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I knoooow! It's over. *Sniff* End. Sorry, guys. That's all. Hope you liked. Please review!

-The Ember Raven