Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.
Summary: Five things that probably won't happen to
Ratings Note: R. Some imagery people may find
Author's Note: Jenn is such an instigator.
Acknowledgments: To Cassandra for audiencing and
many helpful suggestions, and to Jenn for getting the
ball rolling. To Bas, for starting this whole thing:
Feedback: Yes, please. email@example.com
He does not know her beyond reputation and a few words
muttered beside a fire.
Mystique who is Magneto's lieutenant.
Mystique the presumed assassin, Mystique the master
impersonator, Mystique who no one ever touches. He
never expected to see her again, after that one time. Not
really. Not even once he put on the uniform that had
been offered to him immediately. With and without
He will never be used to Xavier's voice in his mind.
But this... he thinks, maybe, there will come a time
when he is used to this.
Mystique touches him hungrily, all over. Traces his
scars and tattoos and whispers in his ear. "You would
be so pretty with another, there."
"Have you ever considered a ring?"
Sometimes she is playful, wrestling him across some
motel bed and laughing silently, mouth wide and pink
Sometimes she comes to him in the form of Kelly, and
kisses him with the man's soft, slack mouth until he
tugs at the false and greying hair. And then she growls
and shifts and drags her cheek against his own, scales
scraping against his skin.
"Mystique," he says, and she always says "Shh," when
he calls her name. He would think, someone like her,
someone so attached to the persona and the power
would like to hear nothing but her name at times like
these, but that is not the case.
She bites him until he howls for her, wordless and
needy, and makes her teeth sharp and drags them
down the center of his chest.
Draws blood with claws she didn't have moments
before and watches it flow bright and red and
somehow obscene over his skin. Licks it away and
does it again.
There are times when he comes home -- and
when did the mansion become home? He was not
paying attention. -- scarred and hurting, and he
knows this must not be right. If it was right, she
would perhaps come home with him, and he
would be able to show her to the others so they
would not look at him so curiously.
She would not have trained him so assiduously in
mental shielding ("they must not know") and she
would not look at him...
Sometimes, when he catches her in the moments
just before or just after, there is something in her
eyes like the purest regret, a bright, sharp pain, that
makes her growl and whine against his skin like an
And always touching, always, as though she could not get
enough of his simple body.
"I am not so special," he says to her, when it seems that
even having him, having all of him, will not be enough to
make the look fade from her eyes.
"You are *mine*," she says, vehement and raging
somewhere just beyond his reach.
He thinks, perhaps, this means something to her.
And it is not as though it doesn't mean anything to *him*.
He is a man, not an animal, and when he is deep inside
her, when she is riding him and pressing his shoulders
down to the mattress, when their eyes flare together
and he can feel the heat all over his body, he wants to
tell her he loves her.
He wants to know her well enough to make it true.
But this... he thinks it is maybe something like compulsion
for her, a desire to get close, closer, that has nothing to
do with making love and everything to do with...
He does not know.
But he thinks it is maybe compulsion for him, too. Something
that makes him awake and aware in every cell when she
calls the phone that has been assigned to him. Something
that will always make him go to her, even though he knows
it will be frantic, and painful, and not quite enough.
She needs something from him, yes, but he needs her, too.
Her hunger, and the moment's quiet satisfaction in her eyes
when they are done, and the knowledge that it was him,
and only him.
"Nightcrawler," she whispers, and she never calls his
Christian name. "Again."
Father Wagner's church is not the largest, but it is viscerally
satisfying in a way he thinks may nearly be sinful.
There is a certain desire to claim it all as his own. The old
women who are the most faithful attendees, the children who
help clean when no one else is available, the faith that
surrounds him, and enters him in every breath.
At the seminary, every student was taught the true danger
of pride, and the power that the pulpit provides, but he'd
never thought it would be like... this.
Standing before the crowd of faithful, arms raised to the
skies mimicking their Lord and savior, Kurt has to smile. To
bask in it.
No, these people do not come to every mass, but they are
here for *this* one. Eyes open and lips parted for the Word
as only he can provide. His collar is a wonderful chafe
against the skin of his throat, and he does not adjust it for
a better fit.
Instead, he runs his hands through his curly brown hair,
and smiles ever wider.
"Today," he says, "the world faces a threat unlike any other.
Demons walk among you, my friends, and some may even
have the faces of normal people. *Good* people. They call
themselves 'mutants,' as if they were as natural as you and
I, but we know better, don't we?"
All of them nod, caught on his every word.
It will be a good service.
He wakes up to faint dampness on the sheets, and the crunch
of frost. It is better than any alarm clock, so he knows that
when he sees Bobby he will be more amused than chiding.
Bobby, with his wide and open blue eyes and taste for fun...
And they have a lot of it, the two of them. Kurt teleporting
Scott out of his bed just long enough for Bobby to freeze it
solid, Bobby making ice slides through emptiness as they
teleport together, a broken white line against the sky as
they move, like some great blue road.
The illusion falls with the ice as they fly and 'port and fly,
but it always makes him laugh. Makes Bobby whoop and
hold him tighter.
He thinks they are maybe the terror of everyone else at the
school, but not in a bad way. They make everyone laugh,
and God knew the people, these X-Men, they needed a little
fun in their lives.
Bobby makes snowballs for Kurt to juggle until his hands
Kurt sometimes -- only sometimes, or Scott would make
him suffer -- teleports Bobby out of math class and up into
a tree, where they can hide together until the Professor
tracks them down again. Bobby wraps Kurt's tail around
his own neck, and sighs when Kurt squeezes, just a little.
This closeness between them had been a surprise,
something he had barely had time to want before it
happened. But that is... nothing but Bobby. Quick and
ready and open with everyone, and moreso with him.
"It's okay if you're looking at me," he'd said. "Because
I'm looking, too."
So much bravery, so much possibility, as if the world
was nothing more nor less than a wonderful toy-room
between them both. A place for play, and to find all the
happiness they could get.
It is... *good* with Bobby. Every kiss fully meant, every
touch full of the joy of it. He has never felt so human as
he does with Bobby, and he thinks that there is a lesson
You are never so wise as when you are foolish with love,
perhaps, or something similar. Something that would
make Scott raise an eyebrow at them from behind his
glasses, and make Logan stomp around and snort
It does not matter. His instincts in this are his own, and
he knows to trust them. Nothing quite so good, and easy,
and natural could ever be wrong. And if he sometimes
looks at Bobby and wonders if he was ever quite so
young, then, well, it is the prerogative of a man who will
never see thirty again.
Except in Bobby's eyes, just before a kiss.
Just before they leap through one of Kurt's portals, and
into the unknown.
Sometimes, he doesn't know why he is here.
There is no beauty in this place of metal, save for whatever
transitory art Magneto makes of it. His 'brothers' are more
often crude and angry than anything else, and then there
Mystique who never quite looks at him, and never talks to
him save to perfect his voice and manner of speech.
There are times when it is necessary for Kurt to be in two
places at once.
Still, it's the word 'necessary' that is most important in
He would not be here, otherwise. And that is both
comfort and goad. He is not like the rest of them, these
people who would not know truth did it not come from
Magneto's own mouth.
These people who do not care, necessarily, what they
do, so long as no mutants are harmed. (Or only the X-Men,
The X-Men, and how anyone, any *mutant* could look at
this world and fight so hard to keep it just the same, he
will never know. And he thinks he could, perhaps, respect
them more if they fought the Brotherhood in all things, and
And yet. Mystique is never safer than when she is in Senator
*They* are never more inviolate than when they break into
one of the uncountable facilities that aren't supposed to
exist, when they free the mutants there who can move, and
kill the ones who only wish to die.
And it's true, some of them go to Xavier, but not all. Never
No one understands the need of mutants in this world better
than a mutant who has been under the knife.
Victor, with his unbreakable bones. Henry, who mutates
anew every several months. Now blue and furry, now not.
There is a scar on the back of his neck, and memories of a
time buried beneath the earth. A time spent in Stryker's
care, and subject to experimentation and a very particular
kind of re-education.
Sometimes, if he's very careful and very calm, he can
remember how it started. His cage among the circus-folk,
and the kindly American man full of promises, and with
pockets fat enough with money to make them real. He
remembers a long car ride, and a longer plane ride.
And he remembers... not much of anything at all after that,
save for pain, and the feeling of having his body belong to
someone other than himself.
And no, he had not needed Erik to tell him that he was
different, truly different from all the others -- these X-Men
with their pretty human faces and pretty human toys. He
had known that all along, had it beaten into him in
Germany time and again.
Once upon a time, he escaped from the circus and saw a
church carved with bas-relief sculptures of the saints and
with the sort of lush, empty silence that only stone could
provide. He'd remembered the tales of sanctuary, and
the word itself had felt like benediction.
In his child dreams, in his child way, he had fashioned a
sort of rosary from bits of stone and string.
The priest had taken one look at him and called the police.
No, Kurt knows this world, or as much of it as he cares to.
Sometimes he doesn't know why he's here, but most of the
time he is sure.
He remembers the air forced out of his lungs when he
teleported out of the plane to catch Rogue. He remembers
the children, and how they all fell silent when he went to
get them, then pounced on him and clutched his legs and
clamored to be saved.
He remembers many things, many moments in his life to
be happy with. The secret pride in how he'd tried, and kept
trying to get to Jean before the water could, and the feel of
cold metal beneath his knees as he and Ororo -- mostly
Ororo -- had managed to keep the Professor from
The Professor and he share a faith, though perhaps not
enough of the language to discuss in a way they both want.
But it is good, sometimes, to be able to look at the man and
see an understanding.
The love they share for God, and for all of His works. He
had even learned enough Yiddish to pray with Kitty when
there was no one else.
And there are other things he has learned, as well. Like...
swordplay. Enough of it to live out every fantasy of Errol
Flynn he'd ever had -- if only in the Danger Room, thus
He would not be himself if he could honestly imagine
*using* the sword on another human being, though there
have been times when being an X-Man has made the
But, he has friends, and something like a quest, and all of
it just serves to make him more of the man he has always
wanted to be. More than that -- to make him *feel* like
more of that man. He walks tall. And the sword...
Logan used to talk to him about the sword. He'd known
someone who knew someone who could make him one that
could only be broken -- or beaten -- by adamantium. Kurt
thinks, maybe, Logan related to him most when he was
wreaking ever-so-realistic havoc in the Danger Room.
And he thinks, also, that it was maybe why he never
responded, or responded as well as he *could* have.
He doesn't like that part of himself that revels in the
violence, in all the things he can do with his body.
It is one thing to leap and spin and tumble for a crowd,
and another entirely to use those skills to cripple
someone, even the imaginary representation of an enemy.
"Good moves, there, kid," he'd say, and Kurt would wonder
just how much older than them all Logan really was, and
smile and walk away.
"If you go for the gut immediately, they'll bend and you
can catch 'em at the neck," he'd say, and Kurt would nod
"From the back -- always hamstring first." And Kurt would...
Shut the program down and leave, more often than not.
And Logan never chided him for it, or demanded an
explanation. And now that he has the time and space --
always, so much time -- to think about it, Kurt thinks that
maybe Logan didn't expect any less.
With him, it was the sword.
With Rogue, it was the power between them, and the
memories she could lift from his mind.
With everyone else...
Well, it was always the *wrong* thing, yes?
That which was most likely to drive them away, rather than
bring them closer. When he feels uncharitable, he can
blame Logan for that, if only in his own mind. He was an
intelligent man, and older, so much older than the rest of
them. Surely, if he wanted a way to be a part of them, he
could've paid attention to all the signs and half-spoken
hints they had given him.
Not here, I can't, not like this, and all the ways they had
pushed Logan away.
And now, he was... well, that was the question, wasn't it?
Most of the children believed the man had simply returned
to Alaska, or perhaps Canada. That he would be back
The rest of them... Kurt looks at the other teachers and he
sees the same sick fear in their eyes that lives behind his
own. That they *will* see him again, and this time he'll
be... with people who don't run when he pushes. Who will
welcome all the darkness within him, and never ask for
When he thinks of that, of the man Logan is becoming
without them all, without the slightest effort on his own
part to be a true friend, he has to return to his room, and
to the Book.
And try to find a path to the man he thinks he should be.