True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:47 am

Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Men. Please don’t sue me or steal my story!

NOTE: This story takes place on Earth 723, as seen in my previous stories The Day the Earth Stood Back, An Unsung Hero, and April Fools. Alice, Marta, Suzie, Edmund, Anthea, and Kurti are all my own original characters. Neither they nor their reality plane exist in any official Marvel universe.

NOTE II: The title “True Love Ways” is taken from the Buddy Holly song by the same name. Just to stave off any confusion, Part One of this story is something of a prologue. Most of the meat of this tale will occur in flashbacks. At this early point, it looks like this story will have eight parts, but that might change as work progresses.

Dedication: This story is for Lazerwolf/Phoenix, who requested it. I hope it lives up to your expectations!



True Love Ways
By Rowena


Part One

Kurt Wagner straightened out of the drowsy slouch he had fallen into several miles back, the life slowly returning to his muzzy eyes as he squinted through the deep-forest shadows to the sunlight-dappled roof up ahead. The brownish-russet shingles were all he could see of the little, wooden cottage across the lake.

“Hey Dad,” he called out from the back seat of the rental car, “is that it?”

“That’s it,” his father nodded with a grin. “Opa’s summer cottage. Despite its small size, it really is a remarkable structure. For example, did you know that no mortar was used in constructing the chimney? The stones were cut so that the keystone--“

“What your father is trying to say,” Kurt’s mother broke in with a tolerant smile, cutting off the oncoming architectural lecture before it could begin, “is that you are going to have a fantastic time here, honey. Opa told me that lake over there is simply teeming with fish, and the mountains--”

“Yeah, I know,” Kurt interrupted, surprised by an unexpected rush of anxiety as he suddenly realized how close they actually were to the end of their journey. “Opa told me over the holonet before we left New York. Dad?”

“Yes, Kurt?” his father asked, furrowing his brow slightly at the odd tension in the boy’s tone. “Is something wrong?”

Kurt let out a helpless sigh. “No. I don’t know. It’s just, I feel so nervous all of a sudden.”

“Nervous?” his mother repeated, somewhat confused. “But you’ve been looking forward to this trip for months!”

“I know,” Kurt said. “And I want to stay with Opa. I really do! It’s always so great when he comes to visit. But even so… I’m just scared! And I don’t know why!”

His father shot him a glance over his shoulder, his hazel eyes warm with sympathy as the rented car jostled and jolted its cautious way down the curving dirt road.

“I think I understand,” he said gently. “This place is so different from our house, and you’re going to have to spend a whole month here without your mother and me around. It’ll be just you and Opa.”

“Yeah,” Kurt said slowly, “that’s sort of it. But why am I scared now? I’ve been wanting to come to Germany all year!”

His father smiled sadly. “Maybe,” he said, “it’s because you’ve just realized how much your mother and I are going to miss you.”

Kurt looked over at his father, trying to imagine what it was going to be like watching him and his mother drive away without him, then lowered his head as a lump started to rise in his throat. “Yeah,” he said softly. “Yeah, that’s got to be it.”

“But cheer up!” his father grinned, reaching back to clap the boy on the shoulder, giving him an affectionate little shake. “Sure we’ll miss each other for a while, but it’ll only be for a while. Before you know it, your mum and I will be here to pick you up--but by that time you’ll be having so much fun you’re going to beg us to let you stay!”

Kurt found he was smiling despite himself, but it wasn’t entirely because of his father’s words. Leaning against his seatbelt, the nine-year-old rested his forehead against the back of his mother’s seat, riding out the bumps and jolts of the uneven road as they pulled up beside the pretty little cottage. The front door opened a moment later, and a familiar figure stepped out onto the porch. The instant Kurt set eyes on him, the boy forgot all about his melancholy fears.

“OPA!” he cried excitedly, fighting his way out of his seatbelt and the car, then barreling up the steps and straight into his grandfather.

“Ooff!” the old man grunted with a smile, wrapping his slender, though still well-toned arms around the boy. Although he held a cane, it seemed more a fashion statement than a necessary aide, for the elderly German gave off an aura of vitality that belied his years. His posture was straight and his golden eyes were clear and sharp, and as he hugged his grandson his broad smile brightened his thin, shadowy face like a sunrise.

“Why, hallo Kurti!” he grinned as he crouched down to lift the boy into his fuzzy, indigo arms. “My goodness, you’re getting heavy! One more growth spurt and I doubt I’ll be able to lift you!”

“Are you sure you should be lifting him now?” his son’s concerned voice called from the yard. Its clear tenor was almost an exact match to the older man’s, except that it was tinted with a well-educated London accent while his father’s spoken English carried the distinct flavor of rural southern Germany. “You know what the doctor said about straining yourself…”

Opa shared a look with his grandson then turned it on the tall, pale-blue man who had spoken. “After more than sixty years as an X-Man,” he said, carrying Kurt down the wooden stairs with apparent ease, his long, spaded tail swaying behind him, “I think I should know my own limits, mein Sohn. I don’t need some upstart young Doktor to tell me what I can and cannot do. Besides,” he grinned, cheekily displaying his long, white fangs. “Haven’t you ever heard of the rejuvenating properties of fresh, Alpine air?”

“Dad, you know you should take more care--“

“Speaking of which,” Opa went on, as if he hadn’t heard the interruption. “You look like you could use some fresh air yourself. Tell me, Edmund, how long has it been since you took a real vacation from that architecture business of yours?”

Edmund frowned. “I took a few days off for Christmas,” he said. “You know that; you were there!”

“Six months ago,” Opa observed, nodding slowly. “That’s half a year, you know. And now you’re going off on a new job.” He smiled, turning to face his daughter-in-law as he continued. “At least you get to work with your lovely wife on this one, ja? And how are you, Anthea?”

“I’m fine, Opa Kurt. And you?” the dark-haired American asked, her brown eyes concerned. “How are you holding up?”

Opa’s smile faded, and for a brief moment the old man actually looked his age. Edmund opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say anything the moment had passed and his father’s smile had fixed itself back in place. But it seemed forced now…unnatural.

“I get by,” the old man said, lowering little Kurt to the ground and tightening his grip on his cane. “One day at a time, right? But what kind of a host am I being, making you all stand around out here in the buggy heat? Won’t you come in and have some lunch?”

“Sorry, Dad,” Edmund said, “but Anthea and I have to get going. Our plane for Paris leaves in two hours, and we have a long drive ahead of us. We’re just here to drop off Kurt.”

“You’re going so soon?” Opa said, trying to hide his surprise--though his lashing tail was a clear indicator of his disappointment. “I thought for sure we were going to have time to talk…” He shook his head, shrugging off his regret with a small laugh. “But no, I understand. You’re both very busy and I know how demanding your schedules are.”

Edmund and Anthea shared uncomfortable looks. “Well,” Edmund said, his own pale-blue tail twitching awkwardly behind him, “I suppose we could take a later flight… We didn’t really think--”

“Nein, nein!” Opa insisted, heading towards the car. “Really, it’s all right. We’ll have a proper visit when you come back, ja? When you aren’t so pressed for time. And by then young Kurti and I will have had plenty of adventures to tell you about--right Kurti?”

“Right,” Kurt nodded with a smile, jumping up to sit on the little luggage pile his father had unloaded from the trunk. Opa returned his smile, then opened his arms to his son.

“Come here,” he said, briefly closing his eyes as the taller man stepped into his enfolding embrace. They stood that way for a long moment, dark indigo and powder blue, their long tails wrapped tightly around each others’ waist. When they finally broke apart, they were both blinking away tears they didn’t want the other to see.

“I’m proud of you, Eddie,” Opa said, clearing his throat and stepping back a few paces to address both Edmund and Anthea. “Just be sure you find the time to have some fun in Paris,” he ordered, his golden eyes sharp. “Don’t you two let your work consume all your time together. You got that?”

Anthea chuckled, coming forward to give the old man a hug of her own. “Got it, Opa,” she grinned, pecking his fuzzy cheek with a quick kiss. Opa nodded, apparently satisfied.

“Good,” he said. “Then I’ll leave you in charge of that. You hear that, Edmund? When your wife tells you it’s time to put down the blueprints go out, you go, understand? No arguments.”

“Yes, sir,” Edmund smiled with a mock salute.

“All right then,” Opa said. “As long as that’s understood. Now you two had better get going. Kurti and I have a lot to do, you know. We can’t just stand around here all day chatting.”

“Of course not,” Edmund smirked.

“Kurt,” Anthea called out, gesturing the boy over. “Come on and say good-bye.”

Kurt sighed and jumped down from his luggage, shuffling slowly over to his mother with his eyes lowered. Anthea crouched down to his eye-level, placing a warm hand on his narrow shoulder.

“Don’t look so glum, kiddo,” she said, tapping his chin with her finger. “We’ll only be gone for a few weeks.”

“I know,” Kurt mumbled, leaning forward until his forehead pressed against her shoulder. Anthea smiled and smoothed his short, dark hair back behind his ears.

“You’ll have a great time, sweetie,” she assured him, taking his hand and rising back to her feet. “Now come on and give your father a hug and we’ll all say good-bye, OK?”

“No,” Kurt frowned, pulling his hand away from his mother’s and standing stubbornly straight. “I don’t want to say good-bye.”

“But, Kurti…” Opa started, but Kurt shook his head.

“No!” he insisted. “I don’t like saying good-bye. I want to say see you later.”

Something like relief passed over Opa’s face, and he grinned broadly at his grandson. “A marvelous idea, mein Junge,” he said. Edmund smiled.

“See you later, Kurt,” he said, giving his son a brief squeeze. “Be good for your Opa, now, OK?”

“Yep,” Kurt nodded, watching as his parents climbed into the rental car and started the engine. “See ya!” he called, running down the road and waving madly as the car pulled away and disappeared around a curve. Then he sighed, trudging back up the rocky slope to where his Opa was standing with his cane, his golden eyes fixed on the shadowy forest ahead.

“You know something, Opa?” he said.

Opa looked down, tilting his head slightly as he regarded his grandson. “What?” he asked.

“I’m really going to miss them.”

Opa blinked, then nodded. “Ja,” he agreed. “Ja, so will I. But there’s no need to worry. They’ll be back.”

“Yeah,” Kurt sighed. Opa smiled, reaching out with his tail to tickle his grandson’s side. Kurt tried to slap the spade away, but only ended up tangled in the tail’s strong, fuzzy length, helpless with giggles as the two of them tumbled to the ground.

“Hey,” Opa said, uncoiling his tail and turning over on his side to face his grinning grandson. “At least we have each other now, right?”

“Right,” Kurt nodded firmly, standing up and holding out a hand to help his grandfather to his feet. Opa smiled, gratefully accepting the assistance.

“Come on,” he said, clapping a three-fingered hand on Kurt’s shoulder. “Let’s go inside and have some lunch.”

“What about my bags and stuff?” Kurt asked.

“First we eat,” Opa insisted. “Then we’ll see about the bags. Just wait until you see what I have for you. Roast beef and Swiss cheese, fresh peaches and strawberries and plums…!”

“Plums?” Kurt repeated, his eyes bright.

“And chocolates, too,” Opa added. “Did I mention the chocolates?”

“Oh, wow, what are we waiting for!” the boy exclaimed, jumping in place in his excitement. “Let’s eat!”

“I’ll race you,” Opa smiled, a sly gleam in his golden eyes. Kurt shot a dubious glance at the old man’s cane. Opa’s smile turned into a grin.

“No, seriously,” he said. “And just to make it more interesting, last one in the house has to carry the bags.”

Kurt still looked uncertain, but he nodded. “OK, Opa,” he said. “But what about what Dad said about the doctor?”

Opa rolled his eyes. “Oh, please,” he said. “Come on now, are you ready or not?”

“Ready!” Kurt called out.

“Then at the count of drei, OK? Eins….zwei….drei!”

Kurt leaned forward, but before he could even take a step, his grandfather had already vanished in a loud BAMF of sulfurous smoke. Kurt stopped in his tracks, his mouth hanging open.

“Oh, man!” he exclaimed. “I should have seen that coming!”

Opa’s muffled laughter echoed through the house, followed a moment later by the creak of the front door opening.

“Hurry up and grab those bags, Kurti,” the old man grinned. “The ice cream’s already starting to melt.”

“ICE CREAM!!!” Kurt cried out, dashing over to grab his backpack and two little wheeled suitcases before barreling up the stairs and through the open door. “Oh, man, I knew I was going to love this place!”

Smiling cheerfully to himself, Opa followed his exuberant grandson into the cottage, closing the front door behind him.

End of Part One


To Be Continued! Stay tuned! :D

Please Review!!!!!

:bamf



[Edited on 9/10/2010 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby CurlyyHairGirl » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:51 pm

Awww.
Interesting concept for a story. I like it so far, and can't wait for more chapters.
I think the idea of Kurt being a grandfather is cute as well as his grandson being name after him...*glomp*
Grandparents are cool, I spend most of my time at my grandparents house. I suppose for Kurti it must be really cool being offerd all those goodies to eat...at my gradma's she offers my sis and I food every two minutes and it's all junk food (gotta watch the diet) so we have to turn it down all the time:shrug. I can so see Kurt as one of those gaffers who like to spoil their grandchildren:D

Despite all the current cuteness of this story so far, I keep getting this distinct gut feeling that something bad is going to happen...I think it has to do with all the comments about the doctor and Kurt's health, and how Anthea asked how he was doing and such like that :\ I guess time will tell.

I would like to thank Lazerwolf/Phoenix for requesting this story, because of you, Rowena is sharing this lovely fic.:kiss

Love and peace to all,
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby buri103 » Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:09 am

I feel something bad too, but it has more to do with Lil' Kurt not wanting to say goodbye and how he said he's going to miss them...like he KNOWS something...


:?

Geez, now I've scared myself....

:doh!:hide

*Whimper*
25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying Where is the flaming sword which was given unto thee?

26 And the Angel said, I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.

27 And the Lord did not ask him again.
~Good Omens

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Shadowscrawl » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:23 pm

Ooo, happy family life, little ominous note, good descriptions...When's the rest?
"You've got it allright. Now keep it to yourself"

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:18 pm

Yay! Thanks! :D

The rest is coming as soon as I can get it done! I'm actually working on 5 active stories at the moment as well as RL stuff. Am I insane? ...yes...oh, yes.... ;) But I am working on it, promise! :D

As for the ominous note....sorry for the prolonged suspense but I'm afriad you're going to have to wait and see how your speculations pan out.

Thanks again, and the next chapter will be up soon! :D



:bamf
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:08 pm

Edited!!!!! Hope this is better! :D


Part Two

It was a dank, muggy summer afternoon, the air thick and heavy with the threat of a coming storm. Bobby Drake leaned his chair back against his third-floor window, twisting his head around in an awkward attempt to catch a glimpse of the black limo purring its way up the paved driveway to the front of the mansion.

“Who is it, Bobby?” Jubilee asked from the crowded card table. “Please say UPS! I’ve been waiting for my new kung-fu collection to get here for, like, three weeks already!”

“Nope,” the brown haired teenager responded, tilting his chair forward to land heavily on the carpet with a muffled THUMP. “But it looks like the Prof’s back from England.”

Plucking a duce and a four from his hand of cards, he skidded them over to the dealer saying, “Hey, ‘Crawler, I’ll take two.”

Kurt slid him the new cards, only to smile slightly when he noticed the younger teen’s expression falter once he saw what he’d been dealt. Bobby had the worst poker face the nineteen-year-old had ever seen.

“How does he look?” Kitty Pryde asked, her blue eyes concerned as she tossed a penny in for ante. Bobby seemed confused.

“How does who look?” he frowned, throwing his own penny on the pile.

“The Professor!” Kitty rolled her eyes. “Duh!”

Bobby scowled at her. “How should I know?” he shrugged. “All I saw was the limo. Why, is something wrong with him?”

“Well, the last call he made to us was from a hospital,” Kurt spoke up, his long tail twitching in a reflection of his own growing concern. Suddenly, he stood, lifting the dealer’s visor from his short, wavy hair and placing it next to his cards. “I’m going down.”

“But wait!” Bobby started, alarmed as the others nodded their agreement. “What about the game?”

“The game can wait until after we’ve seen the Professor,” Kitty said, heading for the door. “It’s not like you had anything good, anyway. I’m going after Kurt.”

“Me too,” Jubilee said. Rahne nodded. Bobby watched for a moment as his friends filed from the room, then stood up so quickly he knocked his chair to the floor.

“Wait a second!” he called, jogging after them. “I’m coming too!”

Kurt shot the boy a look as he led the small group down the hall to the stairs. Jumping up onto the curving banister, he bounded his way to the first floor, the others pounding down the stairs close at his heels. Once the foyer came into view, however, he stopped short, ending in a startled crouch on the broad, decorative swirl of polished wood that marked the banister’s end. The others clustered around him, eyes wide as they stared at the scene before them.

A slight, slender figure was standing in front of the large, bay window beside the open double doors that led to the front drive. She was dressed all in black, from her oddly old-fashioned hat to the ankle-length mackintosh raincoat that nearly obscured her damp galoshes from view. A thick braid of shiny, black hair ran just past the middle of her back, where it was tied off with a black, satin ribbon. Standing so forlornly before the gloomy backdrop of the hazy world outside, the strange girl cut an almost eerie figure, like a ghost from a Victorian novel. At least, that was the impression that crossed Kurt’s mind before his attention was broken by the sharp sound of Professor Xavier clearing his throat.

“I see you’ve noticed our new arrival,” he said dryly, gesturing for Logan to set the girl’s surprisingly bright, red suitcases beside the floral sofa. The short, burly mutant did so with a grunt, then stumped off to close the limousine’s trunk, firing the group of gawking teenagers a disapproving glare as he went. Kurt flushed slightly beneath his short, indigo fur, slowly climbing down from his perch to stand in front of his friends as the Professor continued his introduction.

“This,” he said, holding out a hand to the girl from his wheelchair. “Is Alice Dhoraji. She’s going to be a student here.”

Kurt held his breath as the girl turned to face them, praying with all his might that she wouldn’t scream when she saw him the way so many new students did…

…”[i]Opa?[/i]”…

Her face was shadowed by the brim of her hat, but Kurt could tell from her posture how very nervous she was as she looked up at them…

“Opa!”

Kurt Wagner sat up in his overstuffed chair with a start, his golden eyes darting around the small living room in disorientation before landing on his grandson’s anxious face.

“Kurti!” he smiled, holding out his arms to allow the boy to crawl up and snuggle into his lap. “What is the matter, mein Kind? Couldn’t you sleep?”

Kurt shook his head. “No,” he muffled against his grandfather’s chest. “I miss my mom and dad.”

“Ach, Liebling,” Opa sighed, dropping a kiss on the boy’s chestnut curls. “It’s all right. Come now, sit up so I can see your handsome face.”

Kurt blinked up at him, his brown eyes shiny with exhaustion and unshed tears. Opa smiled, gently wiping the moisture away from his pale cheeks with the callused pad of his fuzzy thumb.

It was uncanny how much of a resemblance his young namesake held to himself when he was small. His nose, his mouth, the shape of his eyes… But unlike the older mutant, young Kurt appeared perfectly human, from his rounded ears to his perfectly formed fingers and toes. For the old man, it was a source of secret pride that a mutant as obvious as him could have a grandson who looked so normal.

“There now,” Opa said, curling his tail around to rub the boy’s back with the spade. “Is that better?”

“Yeah,” Kurt sniffled, resting his head against his grandfather’s shoulder, his eyes focused on the umbrella stand by the door. “Opa?” he asked.

“Yes, Kurti?”

“Why do you use a cane?”

Opa chuckled slightly, holding up an over-large foot.

“It’s my feet,” he explained, stiffly wriggling the two large toes and the smaller one that served as his heel. “Arthritis has been creeping into the toes, lately. Hands too, I’m afraid. The cane helps me get around.”

“Does it hurt much?”

”Oh, sometimes,” Opa said. “But I have medicine for that. You don’t have to worry about me, Kurti. I’m as healthy as a prize-winning ox, and for a man my age, that’s not half bad.”

“How old are you?” Kurti asked, his eyes bright with curiosity. Opa laughed out loud, shooting a quick glance at his watch.

“Old enough to know that two in the morning is far too late for a nine-year-old boy to be up and asking so many questions!” he grinned, adjusting his position slightly so he could pry himself off the chair. Holding out a hand to his grandson, he said, “Come along, Kurti. It’s time we both went to bed.”

Kurt sighed. “OK,” he said, taking his grandfather’s hand. “But that was a really wussy cop-out.”

Opa raised an eyebrow. “Is that so,” he said.

“Totally,” Kurt nodded.

“Well,” Opa said thoughtfully. “If I told you that I was born in nineteen--“

“No!” Kurt exclaimed, realizing at once where his grandfather was headed with this. “It’s way too late for math problems!”

“Well, there you have it then,” Opa grinned with a laugh as he led the boy down the narrow hall. “If you want the answer, you have to be willing to work for it.”

Kurt scowled, hanging by the door to his bedroom as Opa went in to turn down the rumpled sheets.

“Here we go,” he smiled, stepping back for a moment as Kurt jumped onto the bed, then leaning over to tuck him in. “Comfortable?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Kurt said, staring up at the shadows of the swaying leaves on the ceiling.

“Wunderbar,” Opa grinned, backing away towards the door. “Gute Nacht, Kurti.”

“Opa?”

“Ach, almost made it,” Opa smiled, crossing the room once more to sit at the edge of his grandson’s bed. “What is it, Kurti?”

“Will you tell me a story?”

“Ah,” Opa said. “Thus surfaces the dreaded question all grandparents fear.”

“Well, you don’t have to if you--“

“Nein, nein, mein Kind,” Opa assured him, with a smile. “Your Opa was just teasing you. What kind of story would you like to hear? Adventure? Romance? A ghost story, perhaps? I’m good at those.” He bared his long fangs in demonstration, his golden eyes afire in the dimness of the shadowed room as his spaded tail playfully snaked out to poke his grandson in the side.

“Ack!” Kurt giggled, squirming out of reach. “No, no, nothing scary,” he said once he’d recovered his breath. “I want a true story. I want to know what things were like when you were an X-Man. Before Excalibur and IX-MO and everything.”

Opa raised his bushy eyebrows, an all but invisible gesture in the dimness. “That’s quite a tall order, mein Junge,” he said. “And a lot of it is so scary, it would probably give you nightmares. Bitte, Kurti, ask me something else.”

Just then, he straightened, his troubled eyes brightening as a sudden thought occurred to him.

“Hey, I know,” he grinned. “Why don’t I tell you the story of brave Dr. Peter Blood who was sold into slavery by King James II and became a pirate--”

“No!” Kurt insisted.

“No Captain Blood?” Opa squeaked in a small voice, his eyes pleading with the boy to reconsider. But Kurt was firm.

“No!” he said, his arms crossed over his chest. “I told you, I want to hear a true story!”

Opa sighed deeply, running a fuzzy hand through his slowly graying curls. “The problem is, Kurti,” he tried to explain, “I really wouldn’t know where to begin. All those history book writers and documentary makers have explained it all so much better than I could…”

“But I don’t want a history lesson!” Kurt protested. “I want to know about you! You and Grandma Alice. How did you meet? When was your first mission together? Why did you wait so long to get married? And what about in World War III, when you both…”

Opa closed his eyes, his grandson’s questions fading away in the face of the rushing emotions sparked by the sound of his wife’s name. It had been three months, just three short months since her funeral, and the pain of her passing was still fresh in his heart.

It took several long moments for his stuttering brain to recover enough to register the rest of what his grandson was saying, and even then he didn’t catch it all. It sounded like he was complaining about how his parents never told him anything…

“Kurti, Liebling,” Opa interrupted, suddenly feeling incredibly old. Then he sighed, finally giving up the fight.

“All right,” he said, resting his hand on his grandson’s knee. “You win. I’ll tell you everything you want to know about your grandma and me. But not right now.”

“But, Opa…” Kurt whined, grabbing onto his grandfather’s tail in an attempt to stop the old man from rising. Opa just gave his tail an expert twist, freeing it easily as he levered himself off the bed with a disheartening creaking of joints.

“Tomorrow, Kurti,” the old man promised, leaning down to plant a kiss on the boy’s smooth forehead before heading slowly for the door. “I’ll tell you tomorrow. Right now, though, it’s very late. And I’m very tired.”

Kurt nodded, sobered slightly by the disturbing heaviness in his grandfather’s tone. Sitting up slightly in bed, he called after him, “Gute Nacht, Opa!”

Opa paused at the doorway, turning back to face his concerned grandson with a warm grin. “Gute Nacht, Kurti. Sweet dreams.”

Relieved that his Opa really did seem to be OK, Kurt shot him a grin of his own, then snuggled down into his pillow. He was asleep before his grandfather left the room.


Please Review! :D

:bamf
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Shadowscrawl » Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:45 pm

I still love it ...except...i don't know how to visualize your lil' Kurt. All I know is he has brown eyes and hair. I keep wondering if he 's inherited anything from his grandfather (tail, fur, sticky fingers...). Is it on purpose? Or was it covered in a previous story?
"You've got it allright. Now keep it to yourself"

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:37 am

No, it's not on purpose. Sorry about that! I made some edits to the chapter. Hope it's better now! :D
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Shadowscrawl » Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:24 pm

Thank you!
I feel grateful, pleased, and guilty all at the same time. Readers can be so emotional, ja?
Anyway, this is for you:

http://shadowscrawl.tripod.com/opa_kurt01.jpg

It's still rough but I am planning on inking it.

:bamf
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Shadowscrawl » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:04 pm

...except it's not working!
Argh.
Let's add 'embarassement' to the list.
:gum
Okay, this should work:

http://shadowscrawl.tripod.com/lil_kurt/opa_kurt.html
"You've got it allright. Now keep it to yourself"

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby HoodedMan » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:06 pm

Hey, I like the picture Shadowscrawl! (I've always been a big fan of sketches.) It really seems to go with the story. :D
ACHTUNG! Alles touristen und non-technischen looken peepers! Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen. Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:20 am

GASP!!!!! Oh my--WOW!!!!! :D :D You drew me a picture! :D :D Thank you so much! It's beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!!!!! :D

Please don't feel guilty or anything! I'm glad you pointed that out to me! I should have described Kurti more clearly at the start. :D I guess I should probably describe everyone else right here to make things clearer. I'll work these descriptions into the story as I go along.

Alice is a powerful mutant, but she looks like a normal human. She is of Indian descent (India Indian) with a creamy copper complexion, golden-brown eyes, and long black hair that she always keeps trimmed to just below her waist--even after it goes white. She very rarely wears it loose, though. It's often in a braid or a bun.

Edmund takes after his mother in looks and powers, only he's pale blue with short, straight black hair, normal ears, fingers, and toes, a long spaded tail, and hazel-grey eyes.

Anthea is a normal human with shoulder-length dark hair, light skin, and brown eyes.

Kurti also looks normal, but he has a strong resemblance to his grandfather. He has brown eyes and chestnut curls.

Opa Kurt (in his late 70s) is still a shadowy indigo, but his hair has gone a distinguished salt-and-pepper grey (only instead of white on black, it's pastel blue on indigo).

Marta and Ingrid Susan (Suzie)--Edmund's two older sisters--haven't appeared yet in this story and I'm not really sure if they will at this point, but I'll describe them now anyway because they might come up in passing.

Marti takes after her father in everything but her solid night-goggle green eyes and her short, curly red hair. She's a teleporter with fuzzy indigo fur, three digited hands and feet, pointed ears, fangs, and a long, spaded tail.

Suzie is the only one of Kurt's kids who doesn't have a tail (but she's a shapeshifter so that doesn't really matter ;) ) She has a very pale complexion and sharp features like Mystique, solid yellow eyes and pointed ears like her father, normal hands and feet, and bright, azure hair that hangs to her waist. As a child, she usually kept it loose, pushed back from her face with a ribbon or a hair-band. As an adult she keeps it in a functional braid.

Hope this (along with Shadowscrawl's beautiful drawing! :D ) helps everyone get a clearer picture of this Earth 723 family!!!

Shadowscrawl, thank you again so very, very much for your lovely drawing!!! It's so wonderful! :D I recognized each of them at once! I love their poses and their expressions, and I love how Kurti's holding a little Bamf doll!!!! :D I'm so excited now, I'm never going to get to sleep! In fact, I might just stare at it all night. ;) I can't wait to see what it looks like inked!

Thank you! :D




:bamf
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Shadowscrawl » Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:36 am

:D right back at you!
"You've got it allright. Now keep it to yourself"

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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:32 am

This is a bump to save this story from second-page obscurity. It is also to let all interested parties know that while time constraints have forced me to put this story slightly to the side for a while, I have definately not forgotten about it!!!!
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Sun May 21, 2006 11:26 pm

Part Three

The swaying leaves threw dappled shadows over the soft layer of pine needles that blanketed the ground. Kurt dipped his greasy fingers in the cool lake water to rinse off the residue from the chicken leg he’d just finished eating, breathing in the clean, sweet scent of warm pine. Suddenly, he straightened, his entire face lighting up with excitement.

“Opa!” he cried, pointing a dripping finger towards the shadowed reeds under the trees. “A fish! I see a fish! Look, it’s huge!”

Opa looked up from the picnic basket, rising onto his knees so he could peer over his grandson’s shoulder.

“That is quite a fish, mein Junge,” he grinned, delighted that his grandson seemed so happy. When he had first agreed to watch Kurti, he’d been nervous that the boy would find staying with him to be boring. The holovision programs were all in German, and his rustic little cabin wasn’t equipped with a holo-interactive game room. But Kurti didn’t seem to mind. As for his Opa, finding that something as simple as spotting a fish in a lake could spark such excitement in the boy made him feel very proud.

“I bet he’s really old,” Kurti was saying, his eyes tracking the large fish as it zigged its way slowly through the reeds. “I bet he’s like that fish in the story where the fisherman catches him and gets a wish if he lets him go. I bet that’s why he got so big.”

Opa laughed, sitting back down on the faded picnic blanket. “Could be,” he smiled. “Those old fish can be pretty wily. They can tell the difference between a tasty lunch and a fisherman’s hook. And speaking of tasty lunches,” he said, reaching into the picnic basket. “I think it’s time to bring out the--“

“Cake!” Kurti exclaimed, drying his hands quickly on his jeans and scrambling over to grab a paper plate. “Wow, Opa, did you make this?”

Opa snickered as he cut into the small, chocolate cake, making sure both slices got an equal amount of cherries. “Nein, nein,” he shook his head. “I am useless as a cook. But there is a delightful little pastry shop in town. That’s where I bought this cake.”

Kurti watched eagerly as his grandfather carefully lifted his piece and plopped in the center of his plate, then started in at once on the thick, whipped cream frosting.

“This is my favorite,” he grinned through his mouthful, looking up at the old man with happy eyes.

“Mine too,” Opa grinned back, taking the time to savor his cake, his golden eyes distant with memory. “Your grandma used to make me a cake like this every year for my birthday. Now she could cook.”

“Oh yeah,” Kurti said, munching on a cherry. “You were going to tell me about her. Can I hear the story now, Opa? Here by the lake is a great place for stories.”

Opa swallowed, the cake suddenly tasting like mud in his mouth as his grin faded. “Now?” he repeated, a little weakly. “But I thought that bedtime would be--“

“C’mon, pleeeze?” Kurti coaxed, unaware of his grandfather’s sudden discomfort. “You promised!”

Opa took a deep breath. There really was no reason to feel so reluctant. It was good that Kurti wanted to know more about his family. He knew Alice would have been more than eager to tell the boy all about the adventures of their younger days. She’d always been enormously proud of all they’d accomplished…and very rightly so. All this hesitation and anxiety was baseless, and if Alice could have been there she would have told him so in no uncertain terms.

At that thought, a small glimmer of his earlier smile touched Opa’s shadowy face, and he nodded to his grandson.

“You’re right,” he said. “I did promise. Are you done with that plate?”

*******

Several minutes later, the detritus from the picnic had been packed away and Kurti was sitting with his back against a narrow, young oak tree, waiting for his grandfather to begin his tale.

“One thing you should know about your grandma and me,” Opa said after a long pause. “We weren’t one of those fairy tale ‘love at first sight’ couples. In fact, it was about two months after Alice came to live at Xavier’s school before we spoke more than four or five words to each other.”

Kurti tilted his head. “Why?” he asked.

“Well,” Opa said, “for one thing she was younger than me. I was in my second year of college and she was a senior at Bayville High School. Actually, I think hers was the last class Charles sent there before he decided it would be safer to teach his students at the Institute. Also, she was very mysterious.”

“Yeah?” Kurti said curiously. “Mysterious how?”

“None of us could find out anything about her,” Opa told him. “She wouldn’t talk to anyone. We didn’t even know what her powers were. All we knew was that she was from northern England, that her grandparents were Indian, and that her father had recently died of cancer.”

“But Opa,” Kurti frowned, “that’s how Grandma died. She had cancer too.”

Opa pursed his lips, swallowing back the pain in his heart and forcing himself to address his grandson’s observation.

“Yes,” he nodded. “Yes that’s true. She went the same way as her father. It was a very rare form of mutagenic cancer, triggered by a secondary mutation. Her father never knew he was a mutant and the doctors back then never thought to check, so he was misdiagnosed with lymphatic cancer. But what actually happened was that he experienced a secondary mutation. This mutation triggered the activation of a previously inactive shapeshifting gene and this gene sent rogue metamorphic cells spreading throughout his body, altering and shutting down his organs one by one…”

He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath through his nose, regrouping before he could go on.

“Alice and I-- We prayed so very, very hard that she would never manifest a secondary mutation, but we had known she was at risk ever since we realized your Aunt Ingrid was a shapeshifter. Shapeshifting is a recessive trait, so she could only have been born with that power if both of us carried the proper X-Gene. Understand?”

Kurti squinched up his face. “I think so,” he said. Then he straightened his back, suddenly concerned. “But Opa,” he exclaimed, “does this mean that Auntie Ingrid will--“

Opa shook his head, quickly cutting him off before he could complete the thought. “Nein, Kurti,” he assured the boy. “We were sure to have her tested. We tested your father and your Aunt Marta as well, and none of them were carriers. That means you don’t have to worry either. And neither do I,” he added, anticipating the boy’s question before he had a chance to open his mouth. Kurti nodded, though he still looked a little troubled.

“Is that why Grandma Alice wouldn’t talk to anyone back when you first met her?” he asked quietly. “Because she was so sad about her father?”

Opa sighed. “That was part of it, Kurti,” he said. “But mostly, I think she was scared. You know what your grandmother’s powers were, right?”

The boy nodded. “Yeah. She could sense people’s fears and dreams and make them solid. It’s like the way Daddy can sense a client’s idea of what a building should look like, then make a solid illusion for everyone to see.”

“That’s right,” Opa smiled. “But Alice’s powers were far stronger than your father’s, and far less predictable. That’s why she didn’t want to have any contact with us until she felt she had gained enough control over them to be sure she wouldn’t accidentally unloose her powers on any of her friends…”



Next Time: A Flashback!!! Stay Tuned! :D

:bamf

[Edited on 1/7/06 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby meepdog » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:31 pm

Skeez, that was awesome!
The whole switching back and forth between flashbacks and reality was something that I was never good at.
Urg, I can't wait to hear more!
Anyways, I've got a question about this fic.
Inone of the chapters so far, you had a group of X-Men sitting around playing a game of cards (Kurt, Bobby, Jubilee, and Kitty, I think). Were they all students? Like, how old were they, or something? I dunno, that's jsut kind of confused me. Is this fic kinda like Evolution, or not?
All right, sorry about that, but that's just kind of confusing me a little bit.
But, I really like Kurti Jr., he's so cute, and... Well, you've made him sound just like a little boy would! He's great.
Oh yeah, and I liked the pic, Shadowscrawl!!!
"Guess what? She's dating Chris!" X-MenSG1
"I don't believe it!" meepdog
"She is! It's true!" X-MenSG1
"I find that hard to believe!" meepdog
"I swear by Nightcrawler she's dating Chris." X-MenSG1
"Oh, well then, I HAVE to believe you now!" meepdog
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Rowena » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:36 pm

Hi! Thanks very much!! :D

Yes, Kurt, Bobby, Kitty, and the others were students, all in their late teens. This fic takes place in a made-up universe based on X-Men Evolution as it might be in the future (Earth 723), which is why all the X-Kids are so much older even in the flashbacks.

I'm really happy you like little Kurti so much!!! :D :D

Just to give you fair warning, it might be a few weeks before I'm able to update this story again (school/work/etc.), but please don't give up on it! I always finish my stories, even if it takes me years! ;)

Thanks again!

:bamf

[Edited on 1/7/06 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:47 pm

Wow, an update! It’s been an unconscionably long time since I’ve played with this story, so I felt it was time I gave it some attention. A lot of this chapter may seem familiar to anyone who's read my earlier story The Day the Earth Stood Back, but I felt the story of Kurt and Alice's first real meeting was important to this story as well, so I re-wrote it here. I hope you like it!

Part Four

For a long time, Alice Dhoraji was barely more than a wide-eyed shadow, lurking alone in the background of daily life at Xavier’s mansion. Any attempts by the students to talk with her were met with a small smile, then quietly and politely rebuffed.

“She’s just shy,” the Professor would explain when the children complained about her eerie, silent weirdness, a touch of firmness in his voice. “You remember how difficult it was for you to fit in. She simply needs some time to adjust. Be patient,” he advised, “I’m certain she’ll come around.”

And so, the students ignored her. She flitted through rooms like a specter, ate with her head down at mealtimes, avoided eye contact in the hallways at school. They would stumble across her reading in the dim space behind the sofa, curled up on the windowsill in the attic, standing alone by the big tree at the far edge of the grounds staring absently into space. Weeks turned to months and still Alice Dhoraji remained as much a mystery as she had been when she first arrived.

Kurt had barely noticed. For most of that time, he had been away at college, struggling through his sophomore year at NYU. The powers that be had been reluctant to accept such an obvious mutant into their school, and had accepted his application only on the stringent condition that he wore his holowatch whenever he was in the presence of others. As a token concession, he was given a private room with an en-suite bathroom, and that was the only place he was allowed to shed the hateful hologram and be himself for a few hours—provided he didn’t have company. By the Christmas of his second year, his pent-up frustrations had grown so strong, the nineteen year old mutant couldn’t help but let loose a little when he was finally able to return to the mansion and leave the holowatch behind for a few weeks.

For the first few days, the athletic young mutant had literally been bouncing off the walls, a fuzzy blue streak of hyper activity and slightly wild laughter. He was drunk on freedom, and more than a little giddy. In such a state, everything seemed a joke, and the half-mad urge to dance on his hands and flip down hallways was too overwhelming to suppress.

Alice watched him in silence, secretly awed by his boundless energy and open joy. She herself was so isolated in this place, in this new life she had never wanted. Kurt’s arrival had seemed to make the whole mansion brighter, and that new light only threw her own lonely darkness in to sharper relief. For the first time, she felt she could actually see herself through the eyes of her fellow students, through what she imagined were Kurt’s eyes, and she did not like what she saw…

*******

“The first time your grandmother and I met—really met, I mean, not just nodded to each other from across the room—things didn’t go so well.”

Kurti tilted his head, regarding his Opa curiously from where he was seated on the braided rug by the old man’s worn leather chair. They'd come in from their picnic several hours ago, and Kurti had insisted his Opa take up the story again the moment the plates from dinner had been washed and put away. Opa, still in bright spirits following their day out in the open, was more than willing to oblige his grandson's curiosity.

“What happened?” Kurti asked.

Opa winced a little at the memory. “Well, you have to understand that your grandmother was a very shy girl at this time, and hardly anyone knew anything about her. When the incident occurred, my friend Bobby Drake and I were in main foyer of the old Xavier mansion. We weren’t doing much, just listening to the Professor’s old records and generally goofing around. But suddenly, Alice jumped up from behind the sofa and ran out of the room crying! Scared us half to death.”

“How come?”

”We’d had no idea she was there!” Opa told him. “We’d thought we were alone in the room! I just couldn’t understand it. One minute, Bobby and I are laughing and singing along with the music, the next this strange girl pops out of nowhere with tears streaming down her face. The look in her eyes… She seemed so hurt, accusing even, as though we’d committed some crime.”

Kurti frowned. “Did you go after her?”

“Naturally,” Opa nodded. “I couldn’t just let her run off alone in such a state. Besides, I wanted to know what it was we had done to upset her so. I teleported after her, tried to cut her off, but she ducked around me and locked herself in her room. I tried everything to get her to come out. I begged, I pleaded, I joked, I got angry. But nothing worked. So finally, I said fine. Stay in there and sulk if that’s what you want, see if I care. And then, only then, did she come out...”

*******

“I'll have you know, that was my father's favorite song you ruined,” the slight seventeen year old said angrily, her dark, almond-shaped eyes cold. “True Love Ways, by Buddy Holly? Father used to sing it at night, to put me to sleep.” Her gaze hardened, her delicate features drawn with angry pain. “That was before he died.”

Kurt took a step back, his eyes wide. “I—I'm sorry,” he stammered, deeply shamed by his ignorant insensitivity and at a loss as to what to say. “But we really didn't know that you were there. If there's any way I can make it up to you, please tell me.”

Alice fixed him with an appraising glance, her expression softening somewhat as she sighed. When she looked back up at him, her glittering eyes were filled with challenge. “If you are serious about wanting to make it up to me, I can think of only one way.”

”How?” Kurt asked, eager to be of service.

”I've heard you're pretty good with swords,” the girl said with a toss of her silky, black hair. “That you used them sometimes in your circus act, back before you came to the Institute.”

”Yeah,” Kurt acknowledged carefully, wondering if she was headed where he thought she was and starting to feel slightly on the spot. “Well, I know a little. I haven't practiced in years, though. What of it?”

”I was the captain of the fencing club at my old school,” Alice informed him, her posture straight and confident. “And I challenge you to a bout.”

Kurt stared. This was a revelation. For nearly a year, nothing had been known about Alice Dhoraji beyond the obvious—that she was British and that her father had died. Now, for the first time, she had revealed something personal about herself, about her past. And she had revealed it to Kurt. He felt startled, confused, and strangely flattered all at once. Yet, there was something about her challenge that concerned him.

Kurt had grown up with a traveling Bavarian circus, but he’d left to attend Xavier’s school before he had the chance to learn much more than the basics of fencing. The carefully choreographed fights had looked good to an audience, especially when combined with a complicated acrobatic routine, but in reality they were little more than beginner exercises. Kurt had always wanted to lean more—it was a not-so-secret dream of his to become an expert swordsman like his childhood hero, Errol Flynn—but the busy life of a full time student who also happened to be an X-Man often kept that dream from surfacing. As it was, he hadn't even picked up a sword since he was fifteen. If Alice was as good as she implied, it was certain he’d look like a rank amateur the moment they stepped onto the strip. She’d clobber him without even breaking a sweat.

Still, despite his doubts, Alice's challenge intrigued him. For some reason, she was opening up to him, and that touched him. Slowly, a broad grin crept over his narrow features.

”Sure!” he said brightly. Then softer, “I'd like that.”

To his surprise, Alice blushed furiously and turned away. “I'll see you in the Danger Room at noon, then,” she said brusquely. “I'll bring the weapons. Don't be late.”

*******

“And with that, she vanished back into her room,” Opa smiled, “closing the door behind her.”

“Did you fence with her, Opa?” Kurti asked. Opa chucked.

“Oh yes,” he nodded. “And she beat me soundly. Twelve times! But I learned a lot from those defeats. Your grandmother was a good teacher. And we didn’t just fence. We talked as well. We talked about her old school, my old circus, places we’d been, people we’d met. We talked for hours. And when she laughed, I can tell you this honestly, it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.”

Kurti smiled, enchanted by the image of his grandparents laughing together over the sound of clashing blades. It was something he’d never seen, but could easily imagine.

Opa’s soft smile indicated he was seeing the same thing. But after a moment, he blinked his eyes and sighed, ready to continue with the story.

“After the match, I walked Alice back to her room. It had been a real surprise to discover that, not only had we missed supper, it was already an hour past curfew! I was over eighteen, so Xavier’s rule didn’t apply to me, but Alice was only seventeen and had to be in her room by eleven. I was just about to say good night, when she did something surprising.”

“What was that?” Kurti asked eagerly.

“She grinned at me,” Opa answered.

*******

Kurt blinked at Alice’s sudden grin, suddenly feeling oddly self-conscious.

“What is it?” he asked, flashing her a rather awkward smile of his own.

”I won,” she stated with a toss of her sweat-dampened hair. “All twelve bouts. That means I get to claim a prize.”

"Is that so?” Kurt laughed, grinning down at her. "Well, I suppose you do deserve something for thrashing me so soundly. All right, Liebling. Name a prize, and it shall be yours."

Alice bit her lip, fidgeting slightly as she struggled against a rising blush. However, when she spoke, it was with the same confident, teasing tone she had used to challenge him.

“Very well, then,’ she said. “For my prize, I want you to take me out to the fanciest restaurant in Bayville tomorrow evening—your treat, of course. The winner never pays for her own victory dinner.”

Kurt raised his eyebrows in astonishment, a slightly goofy grin spreading over his fuzzy features. “If I didn't know any better, Liebling,” he said with some amazement, “I'd say that sounded more like a date than a victory dinner.”

Alice winked, and pushed her door open. “If that's what it sounds like, Liebling,” she shot back with a mischievous grin, “maybe that's what it is. I'll be ready at seven-thirty sharp. See you then, yes?”

Kurt nodded, still grinning. “Sure! OK, yes!”

Alice looked like she was going to say something, but she turned away instead. Kurt was left to stare at her door as Alice once again vanished into the recesses of her room. He was just about to leave, totally confused by her odd behavior, when he heard what sounded like a scream. But before he could teleport to her aid, the screech dissolved into masses of girlish giggles. Pressing a pointed ear to the door, Kurt slowly turned the handle and peered into her room.

Alice was out on her balcony, twirling like a madwoman, her arms spread out to the nighttime sky in ecstasy.

“He said yes!” she was giggling to herself, her face flushed and her eyes shining with joyous incredulity. “I'm going on a date with Kurt Wagner! And he said YES!!!!!”

Closing the door as silently as he could, Kurt leaned against the wall, dumbfounded by what he had just seen. Alice Dhoraji was beautiful and funny, intelligent and strong, and she knew everything there was to know about the art of fencing. And, impossibly, she had somehow developed a crush on him!

Overwhelmed, he stumbled down the corridor in a daze, struck by the sudden realization that he was looking forward to their date as much as she was.

*******

”And that’s how we met,” Opa finished, spreading out his hands with a slight shrug of his shoulders. “There was nothing preordained or fairy tale about it. It wasn’t even all that romantic. After all, she did beat me twelve times, which was just a little bit frustrating for a young man who'd been training in the superhero business for nearly five years. But that date the following evening more than made up for it.”

“Why?” Kurti asked. “What did you do?”

Opa glanced down at him, then chuckled. “We danced,” he said simply, his golden eyes distant with memory. “I called up the restaurant ahead of time to request the song. Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways. Together, we danced the night away, just like in the movies. And that song became our special treasure.”

“Was that when you knew you wanted to marry her?”

Opa shook his head. “No, no, there was no thought of marriage that night. We were just having fun. Besides, we were both far too young to be thinking such long-term thoughts. We’d been dating for two years before either of us even began to imagine we might one day want to settle down and spend our lives together. And it wasn’t until the year after I graduated college that I proposed.”

Kurti frowned, suddenly confused. “But, I thought you and Grandma Alice got married with you were in your thirties,” he said.

“We did,” Opa nodded.

“Then what took you so long?”

Opa laughed. “I’ll tell you,” he said. “But it’ll have to be a story for another night.”

“No! But Opa—“

“Nope, no buts will I hear tonight,” the old man said, levering himself up from his chair with a creak of aging joints and a soft “ooff” of exertion. Grabbing his cane with one hand, he rested the other on his grandson’s shoulder, giving it an affectionate squeeze.

“Come along, Liebling,” he said. “I’ll tuck you into bed.”

“And you promise me you’ll tell me more story tomorrow,” Kurti said.

“Cross my heart.” Opa assured him. “Tomorrow night, after our trip to the village, I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”

Kurti nodded in satisfaction. “OK, then,” he said, and allowed himself to be led off to bed without further argument.

*******

To Be Continued…
:bamf

[Edited on 15/6/2007 by Rowena]

[Edited on 28/1/2009 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT LAST! Please read!)

Postby Feuerstein » Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:34 am

This is really excellent, Rowena. I'm absolutely adoring it, especially this latest chapter. You're a brilliant writer. Better than lots of other writers who have their names on book spines in Borders. This is fantastic. :love
Steyn: Oh sweety, no, the elvis boys are across the street at the wolverine forum
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Steyn: here we do Paul Young
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:59 am

:blush Wow, thanks! I know I haven't been able to give this story as much attention as I should and I'm afraid it shows, and for that I'm very sorry. I'm going to try to remedy that, though. I've had an outline worked out for this story for ages, but whenever it comes down to it I always seem to end up rushed, and the story suffers for it. What I need, what I really, really need is about a week or eight to just sit around and ponder and plan and think and concentrate on one project at a time. Supposedly, that's what summer is for, but not for people who have to work and complete three summer session courses unfortunately! 2 Research Papers + 4 Exams + 3 Book Reviews + 4 oral presentations + 1 new job + 8 active stories + summer heat = extremely fractured concentration!

But I've got a plan. Yep. Sort of. I've just got to find a better balance. No matter what, though, I'm definately going to give this story much more attention. I've been wanting to fill out the backstory behind Earth 723 ever since I came up with the place, and I want to do it proper justice!!!

But thank you very, very much for your very kind comments. You've both inspired me and guilted me into getting a prompt move on the next chapter. It's not finished yet, but at least it's started and that's progress!

And about those names on book spines at Borders... One day, you'll see! I'll be there soon enough!!! That's one of my biggest goals for after I graduate: to get at least one of my original novels published for real! After all the chaos I've been going through these past couple of years getting my double Master's, writing out a novel will seem a true vacation!!!! :D As for the actually sending out to publishers part.... Much scarier and not so fun, but I'll get there when I get there. And I'll get there! First, though, I've got to navigate my way through the crowds around the Tall Ships so I can lock myself away in the libraries of Newport for the next few days researching privateering during the Revolutionary War.... The replica of the Providence is there right now, moored at Fort Adams. The Providence (formerly the Katy) was one of the first ships of the American navy and it was John Paul Jones' first command!!! And I get to go see it and research it and write about it. How lucky is that!!! :D :D
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:38 pm

Part Five


“Opa?”

Opa gave a slight start and his golden eyes flew open. “Wha—was? Oh—oh, Kurti.” He sighed. “What is it?”

Kurti was standing over Opa’s chair with his arms crossed. “Opa, what are you doing falling asleep? You promised to tell me more story tonight!”

Opa blinked twice to clear the cobwebs, then yawned hugely, showing every one of his sharp teeth. Kurti’s frown grew deeper. Opa had to suppress a chuckle at seeing such a disapproving, grown-up expression on such a young face.

“Ach, mein Liebling, I do apologize,” the old man said. “You’re right, I did promise, and I shouldn’t have fallen asleep.”

Kurti’s expression softened and he lowered his arms. “Yeah, well, that’s OK,” he said, climbing over the arm of his Opa’s chair and settling into his lap. “I guess we did have kind of a big day today, huh.”

Opa smiled and hugged his grandson closer with his long, spaded tail. “We did have fun, didn’t we.”

“Yeah,” Kurti grinned. “That village is like something out of a book. And it was so cool getting to see how they make pretzels, and that pie—remember?”

“Ach, ja.” A distant, dreamy look came into Opa’s yellow eyes. “The sour cream apple pie with the streusel topping…”

Kurti giggled. “And the cakes with all the sugar flowers on top, and those awesome sausages we had at that little restaurant!”

“I can certainly see what held your interest, mein Junge,” Opa smiled. “All this about the food—do you remember nothing of the statues in the square, or the little museum with that painting of the horse you liked?”

“Yeah, they were good too,” Kurti acknowledged. “But you wanna know my favorite part?”

“Even better than the pie?” Opa teased.

“Way better,” Kurti said.

“Then I must know. What was it?”

Kurti suddenly looked a little bashful. Ducking his head, he mumbled his answer into Opa’s shoulder. Opa knitted his brow.

“What was that, Liebling?”

Kurti shrugged, his eyes still lowered. “Goin’ all those places with you,” he mumbled, and hid his head again, as if ashamed. Opa’s expression melted into a soft, tender smile. Kurti said, “Those people really liked you, Opa. Everywhere we went, they kept smiling and waving and stuff. It’s like…you really are a hero. And being with you…it sorta made me feel like I’m special too.”

“Oh, Kurti,” Opa said, gently smoothing the boy’s hair, then dropping a kiss on the top of his head. “You are special, and all by yourself. You know that, ja?”

“Yeah.” Kurti sighed a little and rested his head on the old man’s shoulder. “Will you tell me a story now?”

“Anything you want to hear,” Opa smiled.

“Will you tell me about when you first knew you wanted to marry Grandma Alice?”

Opa glanced down at his grandson. “You are a regular little romantic, aren’t you,” he said. Kurti smirked, and the old man gave him a quick hug. “All right,” he said. “You’ve earned it. Now, where should I begin…?”

*******

“Although Alice and I were both foreign transplants, I’d long ago learned to think of the Xavier Institute as home. Alice, though, she never fit in with the group as I did and she was often homesick for England. After graduating from Bayville High, she started out at NYU, but after what was supposed to be a semester’s study abroad, she decided to stay in England to complete her undergraduate degree. Her decision was very hard on us as a couple, and it forced us to really think about our relationship and what we really wanted. The problem was, we were both still so young and searching…we didn’t know what we really wanted. So we tried to put off the question. I accepted Professor Xavier’s offer to become a language teacher at his Institute, and I began a correspondence course to earn my Master’s degree in Education. For years, Alice and I were both very, very busy, but nothing could take our minds off the bleak fact that we were apart for months at a time…”

Kurt glanced up from his stacks of papers with a sigh and just stared at the wall. His brain felt stretched and his eyes were so tired and dry he could barely focus on the colorful old movie posters he’d taped up in place of wallpaper.

“Ach, who ever knew grading essays was so difficult,” he whined to himself. “And I thought it was rough having to write these things! Next time I teach a class, it will be all multiple choice! But who am I kidding, that is no way to learn a language…”

Prying himself up from the bed with a groan, Kurt stretched, then stood and padded past his over-stuffed bookshelves to his dresser. Dropping into his chair, he leaned forward and let his eyes rest on a photograph of a young woman with light, copper skin and dark hair that was stuck into the mirror’s frame. He tilted his head, regarding the picture as he would a painting at a museum. The girl’s nose might have been a little too large and her teeth were just the slightest bit crooked, but somehow when taken together those minor imperfections only made her look all the more charming. Kurt caught himself admiring the slightly impish glint in her dark eyes, the playful quirk to her broad smile, the confident way she held herself as she looked at the camera, and he sighed. The photograph was stunning, but it was nothing compared to the real thing. Kurt missed the silk of her hair, the warmth of her skin… Suddenly needing to hear her voice, he plucked her photo from its place so he could read the neat script on the back.

My darling Kurt”, he read, “I know I told you to try not to miss me too much. Just to make certain you don’t actually succeed, I’m sending you this photo. I do hope it works. Love you! ~Alice.

It was a salve, but not a cure for the ache in his heart. It had been weeks since Alice had returned to her college studies, weeks since they’d last touched, and her absence made Kurt feel strangely empty. Slowly, he slid the photograph back into the mirror frame, his eyes growing distant as he imagined Alice’s return home to the Institute, and to him…

Kurt was snapped out of his warm thoughts by a sharp knock at his door.

“Hallo?” he called out. “Who’s there?”

The door opened and Logan strode in, a slight smirk on his rugged face. “Hey, Elf,” he grunted. “Saw yer light was on. It’s past midnight, you know.”

“Was?”

Kurt looked over to his bedside clock and was stunned to see it was 12:47 AM. Where had the time gone? Realizing he hadn’t yet answered Logan, he said, “Oh? Well, I was just grading papers.” He indicated messy stacks that covered his bed. Just looking at them made his eyes hurt. He raised a hand to his forehead, suddenly feeling enormously tired.

“Somethin’ wrong, Elf?” Logan asked, coming up beside him with a concerned look on his face.

Kurt shook his head. “Oh, no. Nothing is wrong, danke. I’m just tired. Long day today.”

Logan stared at him for a moment, then, to Kurt’s surprise, he started to chuckle.

“What?” Kurt asked, furrowing his brow. “What’s so funny?”

”You are,” Logan stated bluntly. “Alice is going to think you’ve completely lost it when she comes back home this weekend.”

”What do you mean?” How did Logan know he’d been thinking of Alice? Was he that transparent?

“Just relax, Elf,” Logan smirked. Then he shook his head. “Don’t tell her I told ya, but I remember she used to do the same thing back when she was waiting for you to come home from college. She’d get herself so worked up the night before that she’d stay awake all night watchin’ TV or rearranging her room or somethin’ like that. Countin’ the minutes, you know? Then, when you showed up at the door she’d act like she was surprised to see ya.” He snorted. “Crazy kids. S’not like yer not in constant contact or nothin’, what with yer cell phones an’ yer internet.”

“But, Herr Logan—“

Logan just grunted, then reached out to clap him on the shoulder. “Look, kid, it’s only December. You two’ve got the whole winter break ahead of you. No use goin’ crazy now. What you need is to take your mind off things. Wanna split a six-pack? I’ve got some Molsons chillin’ in the fridge.”

Kurt smiled, but shook his head. “I would say yes, but…” he glanced apologetically back at his unfinished work. “I did promise my students I would hand their papers back tomorrow. And it is hard enough to concentrate as it is.”

“Duty before drinkin’, right. Another time then,” Logan agreed, striding from the room only to turn back with his hand on the doorknob. “’Night, Elf.”

And with that, he was gone, pulling the door shut behind him. Kurt stared after him for a few moments, then sighed deeply, leaning against the dresser for one last look at Alice’s picture before he forced his brain back to work.

*******

Two hours and a meager five essays later, Kurt was awakened from a dozy dream by the sound of something scuffling outside his window. His instincts kicked in even before his mind was fully awake, lending to his keen senses years of stealth training. Pushing the half-graded essays aside, he first leapt to the edge of his bed, then teleported outside to perch on his balcony railing. As he did, the intruder, who was clearly trying to pick the lock on his balcony door, gave first a startled gasp, then a squeal of delight.

Was—“ Kurt started, only to be cut off when the intruder enveloped him in a powerful hug.

“Hello, love,” she smiled, stepping back just far enough so he could see her flushed, grinning face. “Miss me? I just couldn’t take the waiting so I decided to come home early. I was done with exams anyway, so there really was no point leaving it until the weekend to catch my flight. You can help me bring my bags up from the garden shed tomorrow.”

Kurt straightened, his head whirling as he hopped down from the railing to stand beside her. “Ah—Alice?” he stammered. “But…but…”

”If you’re wondering why I came up here,” she said, leaning in close and brushing her nose against his with a wicked smile, “all the doors were locked, so I climbed. There’s a very convenient drainpipe just beside your balcony, didn’t you know?” She giggled, her grin broadening as she pulled him closer. “Very romantic, don’t you think?”

Kurt could only stare at her, at a complete loss for words. He shook his head slightly, his mouth opening and closing like an asphyxiating fish. Then, he looked into her bright eyes and suddenly, without warning all the feelings in his heart—his weeks of loneliness, his anger at her for choosing a school so far away when NYU was right there, his annoyance at being startled out of bed (and failing to finish reading through all his exams)—all of it melted away, leaving him only with that moment, with his beautiful Alice warm and smiling and safely in his arms.

“Kurt?” she frowned, concern marring the brightness of her eyes. “Love, are you all right?”

”I’m fine, Liebchen,” he smiled warmly, pulling her close to him and ’porting them both out of the cold of night and into his bedroom. Planting a kiss on the top of her head, he said, “Now that you’re here. Welcome home, meine Liebe.”

Her grin was back, as was the playfulness in her expression. “That’s what I was waiting to hear,” she said with a low chuckle. She held him tightly, resting her head against his shoulder and taking in a deep breath. “I’ve missed you so much. The odd mission, school holidays, and summer break…it’s not enough.”

“It’s just one more year, meine Liebe,” Kurt assured her, gently tucking a stray wisp of shiny, black hair behind her ear. “And then you’ll graduate and come to work here and before you know it we’ll be sick of the sight of one another and fighting over the most trivial things.”

”Mmm,” Alice said, snuggling even further into his shoulder. “Something to look forward to.”

“Absolutely,” Kurt agreed, kissing the top of her head again, then reaching out with one thick finger to raise her chin so he could look into her eyes.

“I love you,” he said softly.

Alice smiled, her coppery cheeks flushing prettily as she leaned forward, running her slender fingers up the back of his neck to tangle in his short, wavy hair.

“If you love me so much,” she said, “then why don’t you kiss me?”

“Why did you take so long to ask?” Kurt chuckled, resting his fuzzy forehead against hers.

“Why do I even have to—“ Alice started, but she was cut off as Kurt pressed his lips to hers in a sweet, passionate kiss. It was a long time before either of them even thought to come up for air.

Alice sighed, then kissed his fuzzy cheek, breaking away from the warm circle of his arms and tail to sit on the side of his bed. Kurt walked over to crouch beside her on the floor, taking her hand in his.

“Are you still planning to throw that masquerade dance for the students next Friday night?” she asked, running her thumb slowly over the fine, velvety fur on the back of his hand.

“Definitely,” Kurt nodded, looking up at her with bright, yellow eyes. “Are you still planning to wear that lovely eighteenth century gown with the powdered wig?”

“Only if you’re still planning to wear that wonderful pirate costume I love so much.”

“What, that old thing?” Kurt said, making a face. “Are you certain you wouldn’t rather I go as Zorro? I can do the accent, you know. Or, perhaps as Scaramouche with his painted mask?”

Alice raised an eyebrow. “You go as a pirate,” she said, “or I return that gown to the shop from whence it came.”

Kurt laughed, causing Alice to lose her haughty demeanor as she laughed along with him.

“Never fear, meine Liebe,” he assured her. “I was only teasing. For you, I shall be the most dashing, the most dangerous pirate who ever sailed the seven seas. No man shall be safe from my sword, and no woman will be able to resist my,” he winked, “devilish good looks.”

“As handsome as all that, are you?” Alice teased.

“Oh, yes,” Kurt nodded solemnly. “And I’m charming too. You’re going to have a rough time of it, beating the crowds of adoring young women away from me all night.”

“And if I don’t? What if I just step aside and leave you to be smothered?”

Kurt smiled, rising up to sit beside her on the bed. “Then I’ll just have to tell them to find somebody else to lavish their affections upon,” he said, kissing her hand. “My heart already belongs to another. A woman superior to all others in looks, talent, brains, wit--”

”Careful,” Alice interrupted with a smirk. “If you put me up so high, I just might lose my balance and squash all the hot air out of your pretty compliments.”

”You needn’t worry about that, meine Liebe,” Kurt smiled broadly. “I’d be certain to catch you and teleport you safely to your rightful place at the top once more.”

Alice snickered, shaking her head in defeat. “Well, in that case, Herr Wagner,” she said, taking his hand, “I shall allow you to escort me to my room. The night is waning and I’m afraid I must to bed before I fall asleep right here, in your arms.”

”Would that truly be such a bad thing?” Kurt teased, scooting closer to her side.

“No,” Alice allowed, “as long as you’re willing to explain the situation to Mr. Logan in the morning.”

“Ah,” said Kurt, leaping to his feet with a slight bow as he gallantly helped the yawning Alice to rise. “In that case, it would be both an honor and a pleasure to escort you to your chambers, milady.”

“Let me assure you,” Alice smiled, leaning in to peck his cheek with a quick kiss. “The pleasure is all mine.”

Kurt smiled back, then swallowed, his heart suddenly too full to keep up the game. Alice tilted her head, recognizing something serious was simmering behind his golden eyes.

“Alice,” he said, “Alice, I cannot even tell you what it’s like for me when you’re away. I…it is like I am only half here. The other part, the better, smarter part, it always leaves with you.” He ducked his head. “But I sound silly…”

“No,” Alice said, cupping his cheek with her hand. “No, Kurt, it’s the same with me. And it’s not just because I miss your sexy bod—“

“Alice!” Kurt exclaimed, blushing under his fur. Alice smirked, but her eyes were dark and serious. “No, Kurt, it’s because I love you. You’re always in my thoughts and in my heart. It’s not just a physical thing that I miss, like a look or a touch or a smell. It’s not even your smile. It’s just you. Who you are…and what you mean to me.”

Kurt’s heart melted and he held her close, rocking her gently as he wrapped his tail around her waist. “I’m going to marry you someday, Alice Dhoraji,” he sighed, his velvet cheek resting against the warm silk of her hair. “I swear it by all I hold dear.”

Alice smiled, her eyes still closed as she tightened her arms around him. “You mean by your special edition boxed set of Errol Flynn DVDs?” she teased lightly, tilting her head up for a peck on the lips.

”Definitely,” Kurt nodded, obliging her unspoken request without argument.

”And by your Rafael Sabatini novels?”

”Of course.”

”And your swords? Do you swear by your swords?”

This time, she really kissed him, smiling as she felt his tail tighten around her waist.

”Meine Liebe,” he said, breaking the kiss with a grin. “I swear by my swords before you, before me, and before God Himself. If you are willing to be my wife, I will treasure your heart to the end of my days.”

“If that’s an offer, Kurt Wagner,” Alice whispered, kissing his cheek right next to his ear, “then I accept.”

*******

“And just like that,” Opa said, “your grandmother and I were engaged. I don’t think we fully realized it at the time, but it wasn’t long before it dawned on us both that it had happened, that it was real, and let me tell you, it was the best feeling in the world.”

“So, what happened next?” Kurti asked. “If you were so happy and everything, how come you didn’t get married right away?”

Opa sighed. “Well, Kurti, it wasn’t as simple as all that. We did announce our engagement at the masquerade ball that Christmas, and we did have a tentative sort of idea that we wanted to be married in June. But, Alice still had a year of school left. And beyond our little problems, in the world outside things were getting pretty bad for mutants.”

“You mean the war?” Kurti asked.

“It wasn’t war yet,” Opa told him. “Back then, the battle was still contained to the Senate. You see, many people didn’t like mutants in those days. They were afraid of us, of what we looked like and what we could do. And I must admit, we X-Men did do a lot of damage ourselves with our far-too-public fights against cruel mutants like Magneto and his group. So a movement started up among the non-mutant population urging the government to force all mutants to be registered. This was the beginning of what came to be called the Mutant Registration Act.”

Kurti tilted his head. “What does that mean?”

“Well, it means that every mutant in America would have their name and address and job on a list, and they would have less privacy than everyone else. If anything bad ever happened, like if there was a murder or a building blew up, or even if there was a car accident on the highway within two miles of a mutant’s house, the government would have the right to arrest the mutants on that list and hold them in jail for as long as they wanted, and they wouldn’t even have to tell them why they’d been arrested! By doing this, they were trying to suspend our right of habeas corpus, and this was very, very wrong.”

“Yeah, I’ll say,” Kurti frowned. “But what’s all that stuff got to do with you and Grandma Alice getting married?”

“Well, remember I told you we’d planned to be married in June?” Opa said. “As it turned out, we didn’t have that long. Professor Xavier, Jean, and Doktor McCoy were spending most of their time down in Washington D.C. trying to convince the Senate to vote against the Mutant Registration Act. But while they were doing their best to appeal to the Senate’s reason and conscience, another group led by Rev. William Stryker was appealing to their fears. He appeared on television every night speaking of the dangerous, unpredictable nature of mutant powers and warning of the anti-human feelings of powerful mutants like Magneto. His speeches really got to people, and when he was found dead one night outside his apartment, people quickly jumped to the conclusion that he’d been murdered by a mutant.”

“Was he murdered by a mutant?” Kurti asked.

“Nein, mein Junge,” Opa told him. “It was discovered much later that he’d been killed by a human man who had a mutant son. The man was so ashamed his son was a mutant, that he killed the Rev. Stryker hoping to start a war so he could wipe out all the mutants in America. He was a very sick man.”

“Sick in the head, you mean.” Kurti made a face.

“Indeed,” Opa nodded. “But the sad thing was, his plan worked. The murder of such a prominent anti-mutant figure forced the Mutant Registration Act through the Senate. It was a very slim majority, but even so it got past the President’s veto. By that time, civil war had already broken out between humans and mutants and the rest of the world was poised to join in and help lay waste to the United States. The Supreme Court, which should have crushed the Act as unconstitutional, made an exception for wartime, and the Act became law. They stooped so low as to cite Abraham Lincoln as a reason for doing this thing. All this had happened by May. By June, the whole world was fighting.”

“Wow,” Kurti frowned, looking somewhat subdued. “From Christmas to May…that’s, like, five months. Who’d think the whole world could go crazy like that in just five months?”

“That is the way of things, Kurti,” Opa sighed. “You can never truly know what lies ahead. You can just pay close attention and make your decisions according to your best educated guess.”

Kurti wrinkled his nose. “That kind of stinks,” he said. “So that’s why you and Grandma Alice put off your wedding? Because of the fighting?”

“We couldn’t make such a commitment in such an uncertain time. We didn’t know if we would survive the war, and we certainly couldn’t risk bringing children into a world where mutants were shot on sight. Also, if one of us went missing, I wanted Alice to be free to find another man. I didn’t want her to waste her life waiting for a husband who might never come home. Alice was very much against that line of reasoning, needless to say, but I could not in good conscience marry her under those conditions. It just would not be fair to her.”

“So you waited,” Kurti said.

“We did,” Opa nodded. “And I still believe it was the responsible choice. Especially when, a few years later, I was captured and held prisoner by the enemy.”

Kurti narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, that’s right,” he said. “Isn’t that how you got those scars on your arm? All those funny numbers…”

Opa stood up and straightened his back, the chill of the past causing his tail to shudder. Kurti looked up at him in surprise.

“I think that’s enough storytelling for one night,” Opa said, and the look in his golden eyes warned Kurti not to protest. “We can continue the story another day, but tonight…”

Kurti nodded, but didn’t say anything. After a quiet moment, he said, “Hey, Opa?”

“Ja, Kurti?”

“You wanna play some chess? I could make us some hot chocolate and…well…that is, if you want some, and—”

Opa looked down at his grandson, a warm light shining through the painful memories in his eyes. “A game of chess would be lovely, mein Junge,” he smiled, lowering himself back into his chair with a grunt. “You fetch the board and pieces from the closet in the hall, and I’ll wait here for the hot chocolate.”

To Be Continued…

:bamf


[Edited on 10/8/2010 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:59 am

Part Six

The bus lurched over the ruined earth like a boat on a choppy sea. Captain Kurt Wagner rubbed the sleeve of his jet-black uniform against the crusty window, only to realize most of the filth clouding his view was on the outside of the glass. Not that there was much to look at out there. Just chewed up trees and burnt out homes; the bomb-crater remnants of what had once been a pretty suburban town. In Kurt's experience, this was a pretty standard view, not just in the US but around the world. Only to be expected after nearly six years of war.

"You know, I had a girlfriend once, lived round here."

Lieutenant Walters' voice brought Kurt back to the people inside the bus. There were four of them besides himself, all of them seasoned soldiers...and all of them fighting for the opposing team. Captain Emily Saunders, their mission leader, sat at the front near the driver, Corporal Miranda Turner, her black cap pulled low over her sandy-blonde curls. Lieutenant Steve Walters and Sergeant Keisha McAdams sat together at the back of the bus, chatting among themselves. Kurt sat nearer the middle of the bus. Under normal circumstances, the outgoing mutant would have joked his way to the center of attention, but this was his first solo undercover mission and, for the time being, he felt it would be best to keep a low profile.

It wasn't that he feared doing or saying something that would give him away—Kurt was a professional and he'd been trained by the best. All those sessions with Professor Xavier, working on his mental discipline—he was confident he could pull off this role. No, it wasn't his training or any doubt of his acting ability that kept him from joining in with the others. It was his verdammt holowatch. Hard-light technology was still pretty new, and Kurt didn't want to run the risk of anyone accidentally brushing against his fur or feeling his three, thick fingers in case the solid illusion that hid his mutations went soft.

"Yeah, that was her house," Walters continued as the bus lurched over a pothole. Kurt twisted his neck so he could see him, sitting in the seat behind and to the left. Like the rest of them, the strain of their missions was beginning to tell on the young man. The lieutenant's dark face was lean and shadowed with dirt, and he looked like he could use a good, hot meal.

"452 Begonia Street. I picked her up there for the Hopkins Jr. High Winter Social, just two weeks before the place closed its doors for the last time. I joined up after Christmas. Always did wonder what happened to her, though. Julie Tayner."

"Heh." Captain Saunders turned in her seat and laughed around the smoldering black cigar she held clenched between her teeth. "Junior High. Man! And here I was thinking Granger was the kid in this outfit."

Kurt smiled a little and gave a shrug as all eyes turned to him. Well, not exactly to 'him', German-born mutant Captain Kurt Wagner. The man they saw was Corporal Stewart Granger, a pale kid from Boston, Mass. with green eyes and chestnut hair. The name was a tribute to Kurt's obsession with old swashbuckler movies – Stewart Granger had been the star of the 1952 film Scaramouche, which boasted the longest swordfight in movie history.

"Hey guys, what can I say," he said in his best impression of a Boston accent. "I'm older than I look."

"Yeah? And how old's that? Twelve? Thirteen?" McAdams teased, reaching over the back of the chair to ruffle his curly brown hair.

"Yeah, come on, Granger," Walters said. "If I'm seventeen and a half, you can't be more than, what? Eighteen? Twenty?"

Try twenty-nine, Kurt thought to himself. And I'll be thirty in November…an old man in this group.

Out loud, and back in character, he said, "I'm twenty-two. Hell, I was supposed to graduate college this year. Guess that won't happen. Not now the universities have all closed."

"College." Corporal Turner snorted. "No loss there," she called back from the driver's seat. "I hear all they taught at those places was mutie-lovin' propaganda bull. It's 'cause those rich muties ran the top schools behind the scenes, you know? Funding their biased curriculum with all that money they got through threats and mind control."

The rest of the group shouted their approval. Kurt grit his teeth, hard. That kind of mutant-conspiracy garbage always sparked his ire, but he couldn't let his personal reaction show here. He took a few deep breaths and, when he was able to unclench his jaw without fear of releasing some choice words in Turner's direction, he said, "Yeah, I guess you're right. But I did kinda want to get a degree, you know?"

"What were you planning to study?" Saunders asked.

"I dunno. Genetics, mostly," Kurt said without missing a beat. He, Logan and Xavier had worked hard plotting out Granger's entire backstory. They had drilled together for weeks until Kurt knew it almost better than he knew his own. "Actually, that's why I'm here, sir—why I joined up with the LGP. I wanted to have a hand in finally discovering humanity's true genetic code. Our purest essence."

It was hard to get the words out while keeping a straight face, but Kurt managed it.

Until recently, the LGP, or League for Genetic Purity, had been just another radical Anti-Mutant sect. But, in the four years since the public school system collapsed, it had grown into a full-fledged cult, drawing most of its members from the masses of young soldiers in their teens and twenties who had been children when the schools shut down. According to Xavier, these kids were looking for answers, and had no faith in human goodness or government. To them, human intelligence was a joke and progress was a cruel illusion. Many of the LGP members had lost their families to the war, their childhoods, and few of them had more than a basic elementary school education. All of which made them perfect fodder for the LGP cult.

The LGP preached that humanity had in fact been created in the image of a perfect God, but over the millennia their pure genetic essence had been polluted as the various races interbred. Sumerians married Babylonians, Celts married Romans, Africans married Indians, Swedes married Malaysians, all resulting in a confused genetic muddle as far from the divine as it was possible to get. These 'devolved' humans were violent and selfish, which accounted for all the suffering humanity had inflicted upon itself throughout its history. According to LGP propaganda, the rise of the 'Mutant Menace' was the ultimate proof of humanity's genetic corruption—a punishment from God, as it were. The only way out of the endless cycle of violence was to rediscover the 'pure' DNA of the original 'divine' human template and create a race of 'perfect' clones. Once these clones were established, all 'imperfect' humans and mutants alike would be destroyed in a glorious Doomsday that would put an end to war forever, 'cleansing' the Earth of their corrupting presence and leaving plenty of room for the 'pure' race, who of course would be the only survivors, to multiply and flourish.

The whole thing was built on biological and philosophical fallacies that would have been laughable if the movement didn't have such a dynamic and devoted following. As it stood, the LGP was a eugenics-inspired nightmare at its most dangerous; a direct path to mass suicide fed by anger and ignorance. Kurt's mission was to infiltrate the cult from the inside, to try to find a way to diffuse the suicidal tinderbox before it was set alight. All that stood between him and discovery was his wits, and a thin shield of excited photons.

Captain Saunders smiled around the smoking stogie wedged into the corner of her mouth. "Looks like you're in luck, kid."

"Sir?" Kurt asked.

"The Divine Code," she said. "It may be in our grasp sooner than we thought. We're headed to a lab down in North Carolina where, if our Intelligence serves, those damn mutie-lovers have been working on tracing the human genome. Trying to make some case that the X-Gene's a normal step in human evolution." She spat. "Devolution's more like it. But here's where we come in. Word has it those so-called scientists there may have cracked the Code at last."

"Whoa." Walters grinned. "So what's our role? Infiltrate the lab and snatch the Code?"

Saunders' skewed smile stretched into a crooked grin. "If we pull this off, we could have pure, perfect humans cloned within the next three months. The self-proclaimed 'superior' mutant-kind will be obsolete, all their genetic flaws and defects shown for the revolting disease they are. Then, the world will finally glimpse humanity's true potential. Humanity's true perfection. Doomsday may well be at hand."

The devout group raised their clasped hands to their lips, then pressed them first to their hearts, then to the tops of their heads.

"The war will be over," McAdams sighed, stretching her arms up and wiggling her fingers toward the roof of the bus. "The Earth will be purged of its sickness at last!"

Kurt had to swallow the rising bile in his throat before he could dredge up a convincing grin. It was clear to him that the hypocrisy of their so-called 'divine mission' was completely lost on these people. He could sort of understand their desire to create a race of 'perfect' humans, humans to whom war and cruelty was completely unknown. He understood that, in their minds, the only way to achieve that 'purity' was to sacrifice everything that had come before – in other words, human civilization itself. But it amazed him that none of these people had made the connection that messing around with human DNA to shape a so-called 'perfect' clone was no different than Magneto's attempts to create an 'improved' mutant army. Kurt knew better than to bring that up, though. There was no quicker way to lose a fanatic's trust than to start questioning their deepest beliefs, no matter how flawed and violent those beliefs might be.

As the bus rolled on, past mile after mile of ruined land, Kurt quickly got to know the rest of the team. He learned McAdams was the youngest, at fifteen, and that Captain Saunders, who looked about thirty-four, was really only twenty-six. She was the only one of the group (besides Kurt) who'd earned her high school diploma, and she'd been working as a secretary at an engineering firm when the war broke out.

"But why the LGP?" Kurt asked, the relaxed, friendly atmosphere encouraging him to test his boundaries a little.

"We Americans," Saunders said gruffly. "We were supposed to be the world's melting pot. There wasn't one kid in my town who wasn't of mixed heritage – Polish, Irish, Italian, French, German, Chinese, Russian, Cambodian, Mexican, Guatemalan, Bengali, you name it. When we drew our family trees and stuck them to the back board at school, it was like looking at a map of the world. And look at us now. Different races, different faiths, they were never welcome here. Mixing our blood only caused us to hate ourselves. And what came with all that hate? Cancer clusters, mutant children—it's more than just a fluke of nature. Our corruption goes down to our very genes. The great American experiment has failed. It's past time we wiped the board clean and started fresh."

Kurt shook his head, his heart heavy with pity for this young woman and her twisted, defeatist philosophy. "My mother had MS," he said softly, covering his pained expression with a bit of Granger's made-up backstory. "She wasn't a mutant, but her genes killed her just the same. And I've always been scared they'd kill me too."

"Granger's got a point," Walters said. "We're all of us ticking time bombs."

"It's God's wrath," McAdams said confidently. "We are imperfect. Flawed. Our sacrifice is our only hope of proving we are worthy of salvation."

"Doomsday," Saunders said with a smoky smile. "When it dawns, let it dawn brightly. Let its fire cleanse us of all our flaws and sins."

Kurt closed his eyes and turned his head back to the window. He didn't say another word until the bus stopped, letting them off about a mile from their heavily guarded destination.

More of this story is coming soon! The finale's just ahead, so please stay tuned! :)
:bamf
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:36 am

Part Seven A

Opa woke slowly to the mechanical tune of his house comm. He gave a little groan and started the process of standing up to take the call. That's when Kurti rushed into the room, all excitement and energy.

"Don't get up, Opa," he said, "I'll get it!"

Opa sank back into his welcoming chair and watched as Kurti touched the old fashioned wall screen. The old man couldn't quite see the face of the caller with Kurti's head in the way, but he thought he recognized his son's voice. Opa was about to get up to say hello himself, when Kurti ended the call and came blasting into the sitting room like a model rocket.

"Opa, Opa, guess what!" he exclaimed. "That was Mom and Dad on the holonet! They got done with their work in Paris early and they're coming here tomorrow!"

Opa felt his heart give a sudden lurch. "Tomorrow?" he said. "But I thought we would have another week together."

"We do!" Kurti said, "But Mom and Dad will be here too! And then we can show them the big old fish in the lake, and that painting of the horse that's leaping out of the picture and that shop where they make the pretzels and everything!"

The strength of Opa's relief frightened the old man. He had felt so strange when he'd thought Kurti would be taken away, like there were a thousand dark shadows hiding all around him and it was only Kurti's presence keeping them all at bay. His life had been so bleak since his wife's death. He'd existed in a fog, unable to move forward, unwilling to look back.

But now… Now that Kurti had forced him to look back at his life, to remember Alice, to remember himself as they'd been so long ago…

Kurti stopped talking and looked at his grandfather with concern. "Opa?" he said. "Opa, are you listening to me? Opa, are you OK?"

Opa shook himself out of his thoughts with a very small smile. "Yes, yes, I'm all right, Kurti. It is wonderful that your parents are going to be joining us. I am very happy."

"You don't look very happy," Kurti said.

Opa chuckled and opened his arms to the boy. Kurti climbed onto the arm of the chair and snuggled up next to him.

"I want to tell you the rest of my story now," the old man said. "It is a difficult tale to tell, so I need you to stay here close to me, OK? If you are brave enough to listen, I will not be too scared to remember."

Kurti looked up into his grandfather's eyes. "Is it really that bad, Opa?" he asked, concerned. "Because if it's that awful, you don't have to remember it. Not for me."

"No," Opa shook his head. "No, I do have to remember it. For me." Kurti looked confused. "I've been keeping these memories back too long," Opa said. "It was the one thing I never shared with your grandmother. The one thing that kept us apart those times when we needed to be closest. These memories have been a poison in my soul, mein Junge. But I will share them with you because you are like I was. And because you asked why Alice and I could not get married for so long after the war was over."

To Be Continued...

Next time: Nightcrawler is captured by the enemy, while WWIII spirals towards Doomsday. And then - The Conclusion! If you're still reading, please stay tuned! This story will be finished soon! :)

:bamf
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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True Love Ways: An Earth 723 Nightcrawler Fic (COMPLETE AT

Postby Rowena » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:32 pm

Part Seven B

"That's Stark Labs up ahead, kids," Captain Saunders whispered. "The Holy Grail."

Only a neatly manicured lawn stood between the lab and them. The small team had managed to take out the perimeter guards with silent air guns, hitting them with tiny darts filled with a concentrated puffer fish poison that paralyzed while it killed. The affected guards would have had no time to set off alarms or even realize they'd been shot before the poison took effect.

It was a horrible, torturous death, and Kurt had so far managed to avoid using his own gun. But how long could that last? How long could he remain hidden within this fringe group before he was forced to shoot at one of his own people?

"Look alive, Granger!" Walters hissed from up ahead. Jolted out of his dark thoughts, Kurt saw a sizable gap had grown between him and the rest of the team. He rushed to close it, when he realized his boots felt…wrong. With the hard-light hologram to shield him, he shouldn't have been able to feel the grass between his long toes. Unless the hard-light shield was no longer working...

Kurt's heart froze in his chest. Already his holographic image was starting to lose its photo-sharpness, looking pale and slightly cartoonish. It could be a temporary thing, the shield could pop back at any moment! Or, it could be a symptom that his holowatch was going into cascade failure.

"Nein," Kurt whispered, tapping at his holowatch, his chest tight with a hundred desperate prayers he couldn't say out loud. "Nein, don't fail on me now. Bitte…"

"Hey, Granger, you OK?" Walters asked, jogging back to him with a concerned expression on his dark face. "You look kind of pale."

"Shhh!" Captain Saunders hissed from up ahead. "Whatever's wrong back there, get over it! Now! You're slowing us down!"

Kurt grit his teeth. "I…uh… I'm sorry. But I really have to…you know…" He squirmed a little and nodded his head toward a tall bush by the stairs that led up to the main lab building. If he could hide there, out of sight of the team, he might have a chance to swap this fading holowatch for the spare he kept in his pack.

Walters eyes lit up with understanding. "Cap, Granger's gotta take a leak," he said. "Nerves. I'll stay with him."

Saunders' eyes flashed. "We'll all wait," she grunted, her tone leaving no doubt how angry she was about the delay. "Anyone else need to use the potty while we're here? Take your time, kiddies. No rush."

Kurt ignored her and dashed behind the bush. It wasn't the best cover, but it was something, and if he crouched low and worked fast he just might make it work.

*******

"Opa?"

"Yes, mein Junge?" the old man asked.

"What exactly is a holowatch? I mean, what did they look like?"

"Well, they…" he started, then shifted his position in the chair so Kurti was no longer touching his leg. "Wait here, and I'll be right back," he said, and vanished in a BAMF of purple teleport smoke.

Kurti was just starting to get curious enough to get up and go looking for him, when the old man returned, entering through the door this time. He was holding something in his hand, a sort of black rubber strap attached to a bulky, squarish digital watch face surrounded on all sides by black buttons.

"Whoa, is that it?" Kurti asked, rushing over to him as his Opa shuffled his way back to the chair, his spaded tail swaying like an acrobat's balance pole.

"It is indeed," he said. "It's not the same watch, mind you. That was confiscated and most likely destroyed. This is a different model. A self-charging model. Unfortunately, it was developed too late. At least, too late to be of much use to me."

"Can I see how it works?" Kurti asked.

Opa seemed to hesitate. "It's been so many years now," he said. "I may not remember what all these buttons do."

"Please?" Kurti pleaded. Opa sighed and strapped the watch to his wrist. After much grumbling and finagling, there was a sharp shimmer and before his grandson's startled eyes, the graying old man transformed into a young and vibrant figure: Nightcrawler himself, grinning from ear to ear in his classic red and black uniform.

"Ha, did it!" he said proudly. "So, mein Junge, what do you think? This is how I looked the last time I used this device."

"Wow!" Kurti exclaimed. "You look just like your picture!"

"Ja?" The midnight blue mutant took his cane from its place beside his chair and strode just out the door to take a look at himself in the hall mirror. He stared quietly for a long time, until Kurti came over and joined him.

"If only I could feel this young again," he said. "And Alice would be here, and Logan." He turned a wistful smile on his grandson. "Hard-light or no, this image is only a shadow. Underneath, the reality will always be the same." He pressed a large button on the side of the watch and the youthful image faded away. "Just as it was that terrible day when this false façade failed me all together."

"What happened, Opa?" Kurti asked, trailing the old man back to his chair. Opa sank into it with a grunt, putting his cane aside as Kurti climbed up next to him.

"Well, I managed to make the holowatch swap," he said. "Just in time too-the holo-image failed completely mere moments after I was out of sight. Crouched behind that bush outside the lab, I thought for sure I'd be found out, but Walters respected my privacy enough to keep his distance. The spare watch I kept in my pack passed its start-up check and in less than a minute I was shielded in hard-light once more."

"But Opa," Kurti said, "if the spare watch worked, what was the problem?"

"No matter how noble his purpose, the liar is only as good as the lie he tells," Opa said. "Like all liars, as long as I relied on that watch for safety, I was living on borrowed time. I know I knew that at the time, intellectually at least, but I was too young to truly understand my danger. I must have thought, if I hoped hard enough, the watch would last as long as I needed it. After all, when you're young, you never believe the truly terrible thing can actually happen to you. That is a fear that must come with experience."

"What did happen?" Kurti asked.

"There was a man, Nathaniel Essex," said Opa. "He was a very talented geneticist, possibly the most gifted scientist of his generation. He worked for Stark Labs alongside my dear friend Hank McCoy and Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who later joined Excalibur. This Essex was to have been my contact on this mission. Should anything go wrong, I was to find him and he would help me escape to safety."

"What did he do?"

"I'll tell you," Opa said.

*******

Stark Labs was a labyrinth of corridors, but Captain Saunders led the team through with a firm confidence that reminded Kurt of Wolverine. Her GPS wrist-map would have set off the security alarms, so she had committed the building's blueprints to memory. They had passed the stem cell lab and were winding their way toward the east wing complex when Kurt felt a sharp sting in his wrist. He bit back a gasp and looked at his watch, just in time to see it let off a fierce electric spark. The pain of it traveled all the way up his arm and into his shoulder.

Kurt had been taking up the rear, but now he fell away and ducked around a darkened corner. The image the watch was projecting seemed steady enough, but the sparks were getting worse and the watch itself was starting to feel dangerously warm on his wrist. He had to take it off, now, before it shorted out completely and took half his arm with it.

Xavier and Logan had always known a technical malfunction could endanger the mission, and Kurt had been briefed on exactly what to do. He was to find Nathaniel Essex, a man who, according to Hank, was decent enough, but still a strange, stand-offish type who practically lived in his laboratory, up on the top floor of the main building. From Essex's office Kurt would be able to contact Xavier and together they would decide whether to proceed with the undercover mission or make due with whatever Kurt had already managed to learn and simply cut the terrorists off at the pass. Personally, Kurt didn't feel he'd learned nearly enough about the group's workings or its ultimate plan to be recalled quite yet. All he needed was a new holowatch and a good excuse to explain just how and why he'd gotten separated from the team. And maybe a prize of some sort, a document or something he could present to Saunders to prove he hadn't been idle or afraid and that he wasn't a double agent.

The painful shocks kept getting worse as Kurt dashed down corridor after corridor searching for the main staircase. He stumbled across an elevator instead and quickly dove inside, hitting the button for the top floor with his elbow as he hurriedly tore off his sparking holowatch and tossed it into the corner, where it self-destructed in a burst of acrid smoke.

Kurt was wearing his uniform, but he suddenly felt quite naked. He was alone now in a strange place, without a disguise to shield him. Fortunately, when the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened, he saw the corridor ahead was dark. Keeping to the shadows, the indigo mutant crawled up the wall and onto the ceiling, peering around to get his bearings. Essex was pretty much the only scientist working up on this level. Most of the rooms Kurt passed were for storing equipment, except for one large room that was almost completely filled with the largest telescope Kurt had ever seen.

Reading upside-down, Kurt managed to follow the signs to Essex's lab, another large, darkened space. Silent as a cat, he dropped to the floor and tested the door. Unlocked. Walking through, Kurt called out softly, "Hallo? Hallo, Doktor Essex? Are you here?"

"Kurt Wagner. Or, do you prefer Nightcrawler?"

The voice that met Kurt's pointed ears was deep and British. He turned to face the direction it seemed to be coming from, peering through the dimness with his night-adapted eyes.

"Herr Doktor?" It was unnerving to hear the man's voice without being able to see him. "I-I need your help. You see-"

"Yes, yes I do see," the deep voice said. "And I will help you, Kurt. You and all those like you."

That didn't sound good. Kurt started to back away toward the door, but a sudden streak of energy shot across it, like a shimmering golden bar.

"You can't keep me here," Kurt said, focusing on the hallway outside and initiating a teleport.

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" he screamed. Pain ripped through him, a thousand times more agonizing than the sparks from his holowatch. Kurt collapsed on the floor of Essex's office in a panting heap, half-paralyzed.

"On the contrary, mein Herr," the smooth British voice said, and now Kurt could just see the toes of the traitor's polished, black shoes. "You'll see that I can. You are mine now, mine to use and mine to learn from. Welcome, Herr Wagner, to Weapon X."

To Be Continued...


[Edited on 3/10/2010 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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The Conclusion

Postby Rowena » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:21 am

Part Eight: CONCLUSION

“The things I suffered at the hands of those…of those…” Opa clenched his fists, his entire body tensing like a spring. Kurti scooted back a little on the overstuffed arm of the chair to avoid his grandfather’s lashing tail.

“They told me I had been betrayed, that the Professor had given me up to them in exchange for backing on some policy vote. I do not remember which,” Opa said. “They told me my holowatches had been tampered with at the source, by one of their operatives who had learned these devices were being used to shield physical mutants. They said they’d been designed to fail, and that the Professor had known this when he sent me out on my undercover mission.”

“You didn’t believe them, did you Opa?” Kurti asked.

Opa sighed and squeezed his bright eyes shut. “Kurti, I must admit to you, there was some part of me that did,” he said. “And as the weeks of my torment stretched into months with no sign of rescue, that small part grew larger.

“But Opa, I don’t get it,” Kurti said. “What was Weapon X? Why did they want you?”

Opa looked away, his tail shuddering behind him. When he spoke again, his accented voice was choked and bitter.

“War,” he said. “It has a way of condoning practices that, in peacetime, would be found entirely abhorrent. It desensitizes people, Kurti, causing many who would otherwise be honest and moral to become the devil’s bedfellows. With so much death and destruction…cruelty becomes easier. You find ways to rationalize it.”

“What’s ‘rationalize’?”

“It’s a way of making excuses,” Opa said. “It starts with excuses of self-preservation: Oh, this man is one of the enemy, if we do not shoot him, this man will shoot us. This man is a mutant, we must defend ourselves; this man’s powers could hurt us. Then it becomes a matter of blame: This man is one of the enemy, the enemy bombed this town. This man deserves to die. This man is a mutant, mutants burned my house, this man deserves to die. Very, very quickly, the distinctions between ‘the enemy’ and ‘the man’ blur. The man disappears, there is only The Enemy.

“The Enemy is not a person, it is an idea, and an idea has no humanity. It is a uniform, a skin color, a number, a specimen on a slab to be sliced open and gutted like an animal.”

Opa closed his eyes again and leaned back in his chair, trembling all over as he strove to regain his composure.

“Weapon X had started out as a secret government-funded operation,” he said. “Quite an old one too, from what I gather, dating back to before the Cold War. Possibly to before the Second World War. I do not know where its funding came from at the time of my capture, nor did I ever care to learn its history, but Logan knew everything about them. He had been their prisoner once too.”

Kurti nodded, remembering pictures he’d seen of the Wolverine and his sharp metal claws.

Opa said, “The so-called scientists at the Weapon X base wanted to learn if there was a way to adapt the X-Gene for military purposes. A way to make an extract or a serum they could inject into their soldiers to give them mutant strength or speed or agility or what have you. They wanted me because I was not just a mutant, I was the son of a mutant. I had not just a single power or attribute, but many mutant adaptations. Yes,” he snarled angrily, “Mr. Sinister was very happy to have me in his collection.”

“Mr. Sinister?” Kurti asked.

“That traitor geneticist. Dr. Essex,” Opa said, his golden eyes frighteningly dark. “After he trapped me in his laboratory, he gave me a drug to keep me unconscious and took me to some horrible damp base that was hidden beneath a lake. There, it was always dark, always cold. The tortures…the tortures were terrible. They, they doped me, kept me groggy, injected me with strange colored liquids that burned in my veins. There were others there, other mutants, prisoners like me, but I never saw them in all my time there. I only heard their screams.

“I had no way of seeing myself in that place. There were no mirrors. The only water I was allowed came from tubes, much like the tubes used for hamsters. The scientists treated me like an animal. They branded my arm with an identification number so they did not have to use my name, and they never once spoke to me, only to each other. But I knew they were changing me. My coloring became darker, my eyes and even my mouth began to give off a light of their own. It was a side effect of their experiments, their fumbling attempts to learn the source of my teleportation ability, my ability to cling to walls, to see in the dark, and to hide myself in shadows.”

“How did you get away from them?” Kurti asked.

“I listened,” Opa said. “We prisoners may not have been able to see each other, but that did not mean we could not communicate. Over time, we developed a system of tapping on pipes, on the bars and stones of our cells, on anything that could make a sound that would carry. Using this system, and with the aid of a powerful telepath named Ginniyeh, we were able to keep each others’ spirits up in that awful place. Ginniyeh was a very angry young woman. Her power was the ability to tell truth from lies, and to re-grow any part of her body that had been damaged, which made her very valuable to those so-called scientists. But when they took her eyes….” Opa shook his head. “Those, she found she could not repair.”

Kurti gasped. “Wait, you mean they blinded her?”

Opa shuddered hard and levered himself off his chair. “I should not be telling you this,” he said. “These things are not for children to hear.”

“No, Opa, please,” Kurti said, jumping up and taking the old man’s hand. “You already told me this much. It’ll be worse if you don’t finish.”

Kurti could see it took his grandfather a great deal of effort, but after some hesitation the old man shuffled back to his chair and sank down into it. Kurti sat on the carpet by his feet.

“Perhaps it was because she was blind. Perhaps it was because she never spoke aloud,” Opa said quietly. “But one day, after her session with the scientists was done, the guards forgot to lock Ginniyeh’s cell. That night, she came to me. She’d seen into the guards’ minds, and she knew a way out that would not trigger alarms. It was a small, back passage the guards used when they needed to smoke. She didn’t want to use it herself, but she wanted me to get out. She chose me because I could teleport, and because she believed if I could find my friends, the X-Men I still believed I could trust, I would return to free the rest of the prisoners and shed light on what was being done there.”

“Did it work?” Kurti asked. “Did you get out?”

Opa pursed his lips, his eyes distant with memory. “I found the passage Ginniyeh had shown me in my mind, and I made my way out into a warm, fresh-smelling world of stars and trees and a breeze I had not felt in more than a year,” he said. “But there were perimeter guards and a helicopter that circled the base on a regular schedule. My teleporting had always been a smoky affair, but now I discovered that, after what those monsters had done to me, it swirled and glowed like fire in the night. I was spotted by the helicopter and the guards opened fire on me. Unable to teleport to safety, I stole an all terrain vehicle and tried to outrun them all. I was shot, here, in the shoulder, but I kept going until I reached a terribly high cliff. There, my pursuers thought they had me trapped, but I reached down inside myself and ’ported to the bottom of the chasm below, vehicle and all. Down there, I hid in the underbrush until morning, when my ’porting would be less visible. Then I followed the river until I stumbled across a road, and from there I very gradually made my way back to the X-Men, keeping out of sight as best I could until I was finally home.”

“So, the X-Men didn’t rescue you?” Kurti said. “You had to rescue yourself?”

Opa leaned his head back and sighed. “I learned later, from Scott, that they had found where I was being held and were planning to rescue me. I just beat them to it,” he said, his voice edged with bitterness. “We did go back and free the others. We destroyed that base completely, using the lake to flood it out. I was awarded a medal for valor and for being wounded in combat. I was promoted, and for a while the media spoke of me as a hero. But I did not feel like a hero. So much had changed in the time I’d been trapped there. The war had changed. I’d changed. And it was a very long time after that before I began to feel like I could trust the X-Men again. Especially Professor Xavier. Mostly, I stuck with Wolverine. We had something in common now. And Dr. McCoy started me on genetic therapy treatments to undo most of what those Weapon X monsters had done to me.”

He sighed and lowered his eyes, his voice becoming thick and a little raspy. “Alice had been horrified to see me like that, a midnight demon with eyes and a throat that burned sulfur yellow. It was the first time I had ever seen that look of fear on her face, and it tore me up inside like nothing I had experienced before. I could not bring myself to talk with her about that, though, or what I had been through, and so we fought instead. It was row after bitter row, until we could no longer look at each other without the anger boiling up. And then, in November, when my recovery leave was over, I was promoted to Lt. Colonel and assigned to service in Britain. I left just before Thanksgiving, without even telling her good bye.”

“That’s so awful,” Kurti said. “Was she really mad?”

“Worse,” Opa said. “By that point, she was happy to see me go. Almost as happy as I was to leave. She even began to see someone else, a normal human she’d been working with while on assignment in California.”

“So, what are you telling me, then?” Kurti asked. “That you guys broke up?”

“I suppose we did,” Opa said. “It was more than a year before I saw her again. But by then, things had changed for both of us.”

“Changed how?”

Opa smiled a little. “I found a place for myself in Britain,” he said. “A place where I belonged, where I was useful and my talents, not just as a mutant, but as a person were respected. It had been a very long time since I’d felt needed, like I was a real part of something larger than myself. There, my team again became my family. With them, I was not ‘the teleporter,’ I was Kurt Wagner. And in the end, I think that is what healed me.”

“What do you mean?” asked Kurti.

“When I first arrived in Britain, I was assigned to work with a man called Captain Britain,” the old man said. “He was a very famous war hero, and he lived in a lighthouse off the coast of England, not too far from London, with his long-time girlfriend, an empathic metamorph named Meggan. Our task was to work together to organize a new X-Man-like organization in Europe, an organization that would work closely with UNIT and MI-6 to seek out and stop mutant terrorists. I was quite intimidated by the idea. I had never done these administrative things, and Captain Britain was a super big-shot. But I soon learned this famous hero had a terrible, terrible weakness.”

“What was it?”

“Captain Britain was a drunk,” Opa said. “An angry drunk. I remember when we first met, I had to teleport him into the freezing sea to sober him up. Because of his addiction, all the responsibility for the creation of our new team fell to me. There was so much to do, I had little time for the self-pity and doubt that had overcome me since my escape. I saw I was not so badly off after all, and that there were many others who—like the Captain and poor, neglected Meggan—needed the help and support only I and this new team could provide. Meggan and I ended up doing the organization and recruiting work, while Brian mainly sulked and raged at us. We got him sorted in the end, though, and when it came time to elect a leader, even he cast a vote for me. Only time he showed any gratitude to me for setting him on the road to recovery.” Opa smiled. “He and Meggan were married that March, and on Boxing Day—the day after Christmas—their twins, Samuel and Eliza, were born.

“By this time our new team, which we named Excalibur, was up and running. Dr. MacTaggert and Kitty Pryde had joined us in February, and Professor Alistaire Stuart had transferred over from UNIT in September. His sister, Alysdane, chose to stay with the UN, and later became a Brigadier and head of her own team, called W.H.O.—the Weird Happenings Organization. Our two teams often worked closely together after the war. Then there was Rahne Sinclair, Pete Wisdom, Piotr Rasputin. Even Logan stayed a few months. I think he wanted to keep an eye on me. But I was busy and I was needed and I’d finally gotten my confidence back. For the first time since the war began, I felt I was where I belonged. Logan sensed that, I think. That’s why I am certain it is no coincidence that less than a month after he returned to New York, Alice put in an application to transfer to my team.”

“What did you think of that?” Kurti asked.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Opa said. “In fact, initially, I turned her down. But she showed up at the Lighthouse anyway. Things were awkward at first. Very awkward. But once we started talking, we found we just couldn’t stop. All the anger, all the fights we’d had after my escape from Weapon X, it all seemed so very far away, like it had all happened to two different people.

“I won’t say our relationship went back to the way it had been before the war. We were both older now, she was thirty, I was thirty-two, and we now had baggage. We’d both seen and done things we’d never be able to undo or unsee. It was different. But in many ways, it was better. Wartime has a way of bringing into focus what’s really important. We each knew who we were now as individuals and as adults, and we had clearer ideas of what we wanted from our lives together. That July, the official treaty to end the war was signed in Geneva, Switzerland. One month later to the day, on August 7, your Grandma Alice and I married on the grounds of Braddock Manor, with the smell of summer flowers and sea spray filling the air. And at the reception, the two of us danced as we’d done on our first date, so many years before, to the tune of Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways.”

Kurti sighed, picturing the scene in his mind: his Grandma and his Opa, both young and happy and dancing in the sun. But then a thought occurred to him that blotted out the happy scene.

“Opa,” he said, apparently interrupting the old man’s own warm thoughts, “you said the war ended in July. But wasn’t Doomsday in December?”

Opa tensed a little. “It was,” he said. “You see, Kurti, by the end of the war, the political situation had become very complicated. This had not been a war between states and nations. It had been a war of race, a war of economics, and a war of ideas. There were not two sides to this war, but many factions, some larger than others and each with its own goals and ideologies that crossed borders, cultures, and languages. The war was ended by the groups that still recognized the UN and the World Court as legitimate organizations. But there were many smaller, radicalized groups that refused to accept the peace treaty as binding because they refused to acknowledge the UN’s authority. One of these groups was the one I had been sent to infiltrate years before—the League for Genetic Purity.”

“The ones who wanted to destroy the world so their super-pure clones could take over?” Kurti asked.

Opa nodded. “They and the threat they posed did not disappear just because I was no longer assigned to spy on them,” he said. “Despite her ill informed views, Captain Saunders was a clever and dedicated soldier, and there were many in the group like her. That is what made them so dangerous. The LGP and similar factions believed it would be better if the world ended right there and then rather than give flawed humanity yet another chance to rebuild, then screw things up. And they had the people who could pull it off.”

“But Opa, how did you know what they were planning?” Kurti asked. “I mean, everyone knows it was Excalibur that stopped Doomsday. Well, Excalibur and the X-Men too. That’s why IX-MO was founded and why we have a World Government now. But how did you do it?”

“It was our job, Kurti. To track and stop terrorists," Opa said. "The LGP was one of the largest anti-mutant terrorist groups still active, and we kept very close tabs on their activities and their contacts. When word came that they had actually succeeded in creating a cloned human, I knew they would already have a plan in the works for Doomsday. We worked as quickly as we could, tracing their funding and their supply lines, trying to figure out exactly what shape this Doomsday would take. We learned they had gotten their hands on a disused military satellite, and that they were adapting it to spread deadly radiation over wide areas. The problem was, now that the war was over, the various world governments were no longer interested in providing our relatively small, predominantly mutant X-Men organizations with the support we needed to stop these lunatics before they managed to shoot their satellite into space. UNIT and MI-6 were busy with Reconstruction in Asia, so it was only us. Fortunately, we had Forge. He and his team of engineers adapted one of our aircraft into a sort of self-propelled space shuttle. Storm and I were chosen to pilot the craft—me because of my reflexes and spatial perception and Storm because, if necessary, she might be able to use her power over the elements to deflect at least some of the radiation the satellite could emit.

“The LGP wasn’t about to just let us destroy their satellite without a fight, of course,” Opa said. “They had set up quite a defense net around the thing. It took everything I had to avoid becoming a frozen piece of space debris. Unfortunately, while we were fighting for our lives, the LGP managed to initiate their radiation beam. Storm and I destroyed the satellite only a few minutes later, but the effects of that beam were still devastating.”

“Yeah,” Kurti nodded somberly. “Everyone in that whole area around the UN building in New York where they shot got wiped out.”

“That was the cruel genius of the LGP’s plan,” Opa said. “Their beam killed the people, but left the buildings and the technology intact. For their clones to use later, I suppose, although without anyone around to teach them I’m sure I don’t know how the clones were supposed to learn how to use it all.”

Kurti nodded again. “So, that’s how IX-MO got to be so important, then?” he asked. “Because they had to fill in for the UN?”

“Not exactly fill in,” Opa said. “Our new International X-Men Organization helped to rebuild the UN, which in turn sped up the process of forming a truly representative world-wide government. We started IX-MO branches in every world-region, working to gain the support of local leaders and help even the poorest, most rural communities see themselves as an important voice in the new world state. We’d expected a great deal of resistance, particularly from businesses and richer areas that would not wish to take on the burdens of aiding poorer areas. But Doomsday had really shaken people. Images of what had happened in New York stayed in the media for years afterward. Because the UN had been the focus of the attack, there was barely a nation on Earth that had not lost a representative. This was taken as a warning, that we couldn’t let ourselves fall back into our old, selfish ways. The only way to truly prevent a real Doomsday would be to put aside the territorialism of the past and forge new identities as nations within a larger, global state. The men and women who had died in the attack became international martyrs, and Doomsday became a global day of remembrance.”

“And Excalibur?”

“We became one of the IX-MO branches,” Opa said. “Our region was the European Union. But we were never as politically oriented as, say, Scott’s X-Men team in New York or Storm's in Africa. Our specialty remained counter-terrorism.”

“And now you’re a hero to everyone in town,” Kurti said proudly. “Opa?”

“Ja, Kurti?”

“Are you sad my Daddy didn’t want to join Excalibur like Auntie Marti, or become an MI-6 agent like Auntie Ingrid?”

Opa blinked. “Why do you ask me that, Kurti?” he said. “Of course I am not sad. Not everyone is suited for the life of an X-Man. It is more of a calling than a job, and there are many burnouts. I am proud that your father realized that about himself early on and followed his talents rather than any expectations others may have held for him. It was brave of him to go out and make his own path. I love him a great deal, Kurti.”

“And me?” Kurti asked.

“Yes, mein Kind,” Opa said, squeezing the boy’s hand as Kurti climbed up onto his lap. “I love you too. Very much.”

“Do you think I could join Excalibur someday?”

“You will have to work harder at math if you want to pass the entrance exam,” Opa warned. “There is more to counter-terrorism and tracking supervillains than fancy aircraft and training exercises, you know.”

Kurti groaned a little and leaned his head against his grandfather’s shoulder. “I guess I could do that,” he said. “If it means I can grow up to be like you.”

Opa chuckled and held the boy close. “Thank you for that, Kurti,” he said. “But I will be happy for you to grow up to be like you. My own sweet boy.”

The old man kissed his grandson soundly on the forehead, then set him down on the floor and rose from the chair. “Now, Liebling, it is time for bed. I have told you my story as you asked, so I expect no argument.”

“OK, OK, I’ll go,” Kurti said. “But…”

“What is it, Kurti?”

“But what about you, Opa?” he asked.

Opa smiled. “It is past my bedtime too,” he said. “I think I’ll just grab a cup of tea and—“

“No, I don’t mean that,” Kurti said. “I mean…”

Opa frowned at his grandson’s frustration and held out a hand to him. “Come here, Kurti,” he said. “Tell me what is bothering you.”

Kurti shuffled slowly toward his grandfather, then rushed forward and grabbed him in a hug.

“I love you, Opa,” he muffled into the old man’s stomach. “I don’t want you to be sad and all alone.”

“But I’m not alone, Kurti,” Opa said, stroking the boy’s soft curls. “I have you, and your father and mother are coming tomorrow—“

“Only for a week, though,” Kurti said. “And then we have to go home. And then what will you do, Opa?”

Opa smiled softly, deeply touched by the boy’s concern. “I will be all right, Liebling,” he said, raising his grandson’s chin so he could look him in the eye. “It is true that I have been feeling alone since Alice…” He swallowed and shook his head. “But no more of that. Telling this story, our story, it has made me think more of her, of what she wanted for me. And she would not have wanted me to sit here in the dark. I think, when you have gone home, I will go to see my old friend Logan. And then, when the holidays come around, perhaps I will come to visit you at your home.”

“You really would, Opa?” Kurti asked.

Opa smiled. “If there is one thing my years as an X-Man has taught me, it is that it is always best to be where you are needed,” he said. “Having a purpose is what keeps you fighting. And you give me a purpose, Kurti. You and your father and your mother and your Aunt Marta and Aunt Ingrid. As long as I have all of you, I will never be alone. Here,” he placed a hand over his heart, "where it matters." His smile softened. "And I can thank your Grandma for that too."

Kurti burrowed his head in Opa’s side. “Opa?” he asked.

“Ja, Kurti?”

“Will you tell me a story?”

Opa laughed. “What will it be this time, then?” he asked. “Another tale of Excalibur?”

“No,” Kurti shook his head. “I'm done with the real stuff for a while. I want a story sort of story, with pirates and swords and action and things!”

“Ach!” Opa exclaimed happily, leading his grandson to the hallway. “Then I have just the tale for you! Have I yet told you the story of brave Dr. Peter Blood? He was an Irish doctor who was sold into slavery by King James II, only to throw off his chains and rise to became the greatest, most feared pirate in all the Caribbean…”

THE END


Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time!

:bamf

[Edited on 8/10/2010 by Rowena]
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do."
~The Doctor, Survival

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
~The Doctor, Robot

"If this isn't civilization, why am I standing in a bomb crater?"
~Hawkeye Pierce, M.A.S.H.

Rowena Zahnrei's Stories: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/526713/Rowena_Zahnrei
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