Very much NSFW fic continued from yesterday:
Fracture Forty-Four: Strength
“I thought it would be damaging to you,” Xavier defended. “I - knew you were having a tough time dealing with the knowledge that Mystique was your mother. That, on top of everything else…” He sighed. “I just couldn’t do it.”
“You thought I wasn’t strong enough,” said Kurt. “You thought I couldn’t stand up to it.”
“Why?” Kurt tapped his head in demonstration as he said, “You *know* me. You’ve seen my nightmares. Glimpsed my memories. How could you possibly think I was weak?”
“It’s still damaging knowledge,” argued the Professor. “The opportunity for self-doubt alone…”
“Do you know what he did?” asked Kurt. “Do you know what he changed?”
“I tried to find out,” said Xavier. “All I got was a shard of memory.”
“I’ll take it,” said the Archivist. It was an order.
“Kurt, *please*… You need help.”
“Then help me,” said Kurt. “Share what you know.”
“I’m sorry for this,” Xavier said, bringing forth the shard of memory. "I really am.“
Running scared. What the hell did he just *do* to her special little boy? He was crying. Poor little boy. Hush, now, please. We have to hide from the bad man.
It was in a tiny nook, a breath of a moment, when her son opened his eyes, and Raven saw glowing yellow instead of the almost-invisible blue of his mother.
_He doesn’t have his mother’s eyes, any more…_
Then the wolves started howling.
Kurt looked incredibly disapointed. "That’s *it*? You were going to fight us over keeping *that* secret?”
“Ja,” said the Archivist. “My eyes could have turned that colour anyway.”
The Perfectionist angled a meaningful glare at him. No sense of scale, no sense of strength.
“I’m stronger than you,” he said to the habitually silent Mask.
Kurt grinned. “Good. You pass. Herr Perfectionist has a nasty habit of trying to grind you down when you’re doing something else. I have to help out. Not babysit you.”
Xavier raised an eyebrow. “Now who’s underestimating whom?”
Kurt sighed. “Mein Herr, I live here. You don’t. Now that the others can merge again, they might try something with you or Jean. You can look after Jean; but I can’t be everywhere.”
At last, he recognised Kurt’s demeanor. “You haven’t slept.”
“Nein. The others need me.”
“You won’t be able to help them if you’re exhausted.”
“Fein. I’ll get Fight and RagDoll to watch over me. Just be wary, ja? Some of the Monsters are still loose.”
“But this is fun! You should watch.”
Jean folded her arms. “Kinder,” she warned. “You said you were going to help me find the Professor. Not show me ‘home movies’…”
“But I *am*,” said Das Kinder. “We stay in one place and he finds us.”
Impeccable logic for a four-year-old. It’d probably work in the little village of Heirelgart. Jean wasn’t so sure how well it’d work in the labyrinthine depths of Kurt’s mind.
“Come on,” she wheedled. “I’m getting worried about him. Can we go look? He might be lost.”
“It’s okay,” said das Kinder. “Kurt’s looking after him.”
There was a creeping shadow on the edge of her awareness. A pair of glowing eyes in the dark shape.
“You’re sure?” she asked.
“Oh, don’t mind the Monsters,” he said. “They don’t hurt anyone on the inside.”
It was getting closer, yet it never seemed to move while Jean was watching it.
Jean repeated herself. “You’re *sure*.”
It was a large one, tattered edges of trauma hanging off it like a garment somewhere between pre-loved, grunge, and the rag bin. Its face, shrouded as it was in darkness, was unreadable. Its eyes enigmatic. Hypnotising. Hungry.
“It’s okay,” said das Kinder. “Really. He doesn’t know how to handle a woman who doesn’t hit him. Poor Monster.”
It was right next to her, sniffing her hand. Jean stayed perfectly still as the inchoate persona investigated her. It looked filthy, wounded and weary. Like an abused animal seeking food.
Slowly and very, very carefully, she reached out to pet him.
The Monster purred and flexed under her hand, somewhat catlike in his motions. It was like touching a lion.
“Don’t move suddenly or make any loud noises,” advised das Kinder in a whisper, joining her in petting the beast. “He could hurt you if he gets scared.”
Jean could feel the Mask’s thoughts whenever she touched him. He didn't understand this gentle-love thing that was going on between Kurt and Kitty. He just wanted to try and see what it was like, and Jean happened to be available. Jean, for her part, sent calming thoughts to the creature, creating an atmosphere of trust.
Then, as gently as she could, she kissed him on the forehead.
The Monster purred up a storm.
“*Jean*!” It was the Professor.
“Shhh…” she cautioned. “He’s okay as long as you don’t startle him. He was just trying to understand, that’s all.”
The Professor joined her, but didn’t touch the Monster. “Kurt calls them Monsters for a reason, Jean.”
“Yes,” said Kurt. “Its because that’s what they’d be to other people if they ever got out.” He took the Monster’s arm. “Gekommen, knabe. It's time to go home.”
The Monster went quietly, touching the memory of Jean’s kiss over and over again.
“You’re lucky,” said Fight. “That was one of the quiet ones. Most of them still out? They’re the ones that’ll fight *you*.”
Kurt curled up for a little rest. RagDoll, besides being a remarkable observer, also made an efficient pillow. Fight would keep any Monsters who wished to harm him away. There was so much yet to do, but he was so tired. Just a little rest. So he could help again.
Perchance to dream.
Heirelgart was cold and empty. The streets were bare. There weren't any tracks in the foot-packed dirt of the streets. Not even a dog trotted down them.
The houses were empty. Completely empty. They didn’t even hold furniture that had been there longer than living memory. His house was a smoking ruin.
Hess had been here.
The chill that overcame him made all his fur stand on end.
Kurt heard Bluebelle screaming and started running towards the sound, taking a new road that lead him, somehow, to Bayville and the Institute; where he could see his friends and family.
They were turning away from him.
Except Bluebelle, who was lying in the mud and crying.
He knelt in the mud to pick her up, but neither his clothes nor his fur acquired a stain.
“Daddy, it hurts,” she said. “It hurts inside…” And then she crumbled to dust in his arms.
The Monster had been fighting for quite some time. It was good at it. The Perfectionist rather approved of its style. Wild One snapped and growled at it, fencing the creature in while the Professor attempted to calm it with his mind.
Jean couldn’t help thinking that they had it completely backwards. She faded back from the group of Monster-hunters and thought about it. Kurt wasn’t a real fan of force, preferring to use cunning and guile to achieve goals. So how would that work with the Monsters?
Simple. Find what they want and use it as bait.
What they *wanted* was Hess, preferably dead, but definitely as wounded as possible.
But they’d settle for warm memories.
Jean sat, lotus position, and concentrated on what it felt like to be loved.
Just as she predicted, the Monster calmed right down so it could look, and touch, the focussed memory.
The Professor was positively shocked by her choice of actions, but already applauding how well they worked.
Jean opened her eyes before the Professor did. “It’s done,” she whispered. “The Monsters are all rounded up. Whatever happens next is up to Kurt.”
The Professor touched his eyes as soon as he surfaced. He exchanged a look with Jean and they both went morose.
“What? Is it like, bad news?” Kitty’s grip spasmed around Kurt's suddenly-still hand. “Is he going to like, be okay?”
The Professor backed away from the bed. “I’m sure he’s going to be fine. This is - just a secret that isn’t mine to tell. It’s his secret. I shouldn’t have kept it from him.”
Kurt opened his eyes. “Katzchen?”
“I’m here,” she said, squeezing her hand. “Are you gonna be okay?”
“We have to test Bluebelle. She could be sick. She could be dying. Hess and her Lieutenants had her for years. We have to test her. We have to test her *now*.”