((Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Marvel Comics and whatnot. I don't own them, I can't keep them, so I'm just borrowing them for this exciting little romp. Enjoy your reading!))
Chapter 5: A Little Dose of Elf Mayhem
The den was warm and cozy, the fire crackling with a rosy glow and soft Christmas music drifting from the stereo. The worn-out teens were comfortably arrayed on couches, armchairs, pillows, and what-have-you, warming themselves from the chilly--but hilariously fun--snowball war. Everyone was also cradling a large, hot mug of cocoa, adorned with either marshmallows or whipped cream, depending on the individual's preference. The murmur of conversation and soft laughter filled the air as various little cliques discussed the morning activities--and the males in particular looked rather smug.
Kitty, having been one of the earliest to arrive, had nabbed herself a comfy cushion close to the fireplace, and was staring tiredly into the flames while nursing her chocolate. Holidays were one of the only times she allowed herself to partake in any sort of heavy-calorie foods, so she was enjoying this to the fullest.
Lazy greetings from the gathered crew alerted her to Kurt's rather late arrival; she turned to see the Fuzzy Elf himself come into the room, mug in hand, looking a bit bedraggled but bright-eyed nonetheless. He'd changed into a baggy set of sweats, so she guessed that his other clothing had been filled with snow and therefore soaked.
Jubilee greeted Kurt as he approached, then scooted over closer to Rahne and Amara, giving him the spot next to Kitty. The furry teen plunked himself down and stretched his feet out toward the fire, sighing as the warmth reached his chilled toes.
"So I guess you like, made it through whatever they did," Kitty spoke up, a slight smile on her face.
"Ja." Kurt nodded, slurping his cocoa. "They were nasty, though, so I have to do something elaborate in revenge."
"Really." He leaned closer, lowering his voice conspiratorily. "They dumped me in the snow."
Kitty blinked. "And how is that like, so awful?"
"Normally it isn't," he said, a bit of a ruffled look on his face. "But they dumped me in the snow by the pond. Wet, sticky, frozen snow."
Ah. Now she got it; the kind of snow that balled up and stuck to woolly gloves, hats, sweaters--even hair. And Kurt was covered in snow-trapping fuzz. "Yikes. Like, poor you."
"Ja! They dumped it down my shirt for good measure, too. One serving of iced Nightcrawler, courtesy of the guys' teams." He glared over his shoulder at the still-smug members of the Roaches and Castle men.
She couldn't help but giggle, knowing that ninety percent of his animosity was joking. "You can like, use snow to wake them up tomorrow. Like, equal vengeance."
"Kitty, you're crueler than me!" He grinned. "But I just might do that. Picture this: Door number one. Bamf--splat! Door number two. Bamf--splat! And so on..."
"Like, perfect. Just don't use that on me or I'll like, totally hate you forever."
He blinked innocently at her. "Would I do that?"
"I promise I won't. Trust me?"
She eyed him for a moment, then smiled. "Okay."
By this time, most everyone else had finished their cocoa and moved on. Kitty herself had emptied her own, but stayed by the warm fire to chat with her friend.
Kurt put his mug in the grasp of his tail, freeing his hands to reach out toward the fire. Kitty couldn't help but notice that his tail wrapped the mug up like a little ceramic mummy.
"So like, what's that move called? Cocoa security?"
He glanced at his coiled appendage. "Nein. This is called warming my chilled tail on a nice hot object. The fire's nice and toasty for the hands and feet. I'm half-frozen!"
"Says the guy who like, grows his own long underwear!" Kitty laughed again. "Why don't you just like, wear mittens and shoes or something?"
"Slows me down." He shrugged. "And I like having traction. The boots are nice, but they're stiff. And mittens collect snow like you wouldn't believe."
"I wouldn't know since I like, don't use my hands for walking."
He sipped more of his cocoa. "You should try it sometime. Very fun in the snow!"
Kitty giggled. "Sorry. Like, major structural difficulties, Fuzzy."
"Ach, my poor Fraulein," he sighed theatrically. "To be forced to miss out on so many of life's small pleasures."
"Yeah, like that double-chocolate whipped-cream-mountain marshmallow supreme you've got there?" She pointed to his cocoa, which still hosted the pile of both cream and marshmallows atop it. "Like, no thanks. You trying to like, give yourself a major sugar high?"
He licked excess cream from his lip. "Nein, this is just recharging the batteries. I'll need a couple more of these if I want to overdose on sugar."
She cocked an eyebrow. "Like, whatever. You are like, a total calorie junkie."
He grinned impishly. "Gotta love me for it."
Jubiliee stuck her head in the door of the den. "Hey, Kitty--phone." She didn't sound pleased to be announcing that fact.
Kitty turned. "Who is it?"
Now Jubes sounded really disgusted. "It's Lance Alvers."
Kurt's jovial mood vanished in a second, even as Kitty jumped up and hustled from the room, heading for the downstairs telephone. Jubilee made gagging motions behind Kitty's back as she went, which only marginally lifted Kurt's spirits. At least the others felt the same way he did about Avalanche.
"Oh, and Kurt?" Jubilee added. "Ororo's got lunch on the table if you want it."
He caught her pitying look and remembered what Evan said--that just about everybody knew. Dammit, was he such an open book? He shrugged at her. "I'll be along."
When she was gone, he turned back to the fire, his tail tapping the carpet in frustration. Hugging his knees to his chest, he stared morosely into the flames, more depressed than he'd been even yesterday. He'd been so happy chatting with Kitty. It was as if they were really truly that close, side by side, almost snuggling by the fireplace. But it hurt, dammit--one mention of Lance and whoosh! She was gone.
He buried his face in his knees. It was at times like this that he utterly hated what he was. If only he was normal--hell, even a normal mutant. If only he wasn't such a complete freak.
If only I could be the one she wants...
By dinner that evening, Kurt was in his usual happy-go-lucky demeanor, and industriously making Kitty giggle over her meal. By the next morning, things were completely back to normal.
That included the morning "excercises."
Kitty and Rogue were spared Kurt's cheery face in their bedroom that morning, but the loud scream from down the hall woke them anyway.
"Like, who the heck just died?" Kitty wondered blearily, hearing the ruckuss on the other side of her door. There sure were a lot of pounding feet out there.
Rogue rolled over and buried herself in her blankets, as per her usual response. "Aw, Kurt's back in the action. Damn, knew it was too good to last..."
Kitty phased her head out the door to have a peek, and found utter pandemonium as usual. Only this time, it was a boxer-clad Evan chasing Kurt down the hall, bony spikes flying, and the majority of the stampede was everyone else trying to clear out of the way.
Kitty ducked back inside. "Whoa. Like, I did not need to see that."
"Whassup?" Rogue slurred from somewhere in the blankets.
"Oh, it's just like, Evan trying to kill Kurt this time."
"He was like, totally not dressed for it."
"Kurt or Evan?"
Kitty blinked. "Evan."
"Oh. Never mind."
Kitty turned to get dressed, shaking her head. "I swear, you're like, really weird."
She waited for some of the noise to die down outside before she ducked out and made for the bathroom. The tremendous fracas was probably the reason for the lack of line at the bathroom, and she knocked politely before phasing in to finish her morning routine.
Everyone at the breakfast table seemed a little ragged, and Evan was shooting Glares-of-Death at a very smirky Kurt. The table gossip chain passed the news to Kitty; Kurt had indeed used snow for a wake-up call, inflicting his revenge on Evan, who was the one that came up with the pond-snow punishment yesterday. He had mercifully spared the other guys, who were merely acting under Evan's orders.
After breakfast, everyone scattered about the Institute. The results of their outdoor battle had been snowed over the night before, but no one felt like having it out again for a while. Instead, they turned to indoor pursuits; reading, television, video games, snacking, and listening to music. All the while hiding and wrapping last-minute presents, giggling behind closed doors, and plotting Christmas pranks.
Ever the studious one, Kitty had parked herself in the den with two books--the German dictionary from yesterday, and a German grammar primer. Remarkable what the Professor had stored away in his personal library.
She was reading quietly and peacefully, figuring out the pronunciation of a few basic phrases. The usual things you start with: "Hello," "Goodbye," "Please," "Thank you," "Where's the restroom?" and other such.
Bamf! "Honk honk!"
She'd already jumped from his sudden arrival, but the pair of icy hands that lightly touched her cheeks made her leap clean out of her chair. "Kurt!"
"Sorry," Kurt apologized--but he looked entirely unrepentant.
"Like, where have you been?" she demanded a bit sourly, collecting her scattered books.
"Outside," he replied. "There's a beautiful new layer of snow. I couldn't resist."
"By yourself?" she asked, brows raised.
"Of course!" He spread his hands wide, grinning. "It's fun--running through the snow, breathing the fresh air, listening to the wind... It reminds me of back home."
"Like, whatever." She sat back down in the armchair and tried to find the page she'd lost in the grammar book.
Her chair shifted a bit when he leaped up to perch on the back of it. "Vas ist das?"
"Like, just some reading."
He squinted to make out the words on the pages. "Ach! Another German book?"
"Yeah. I'm like, trying to broaden my horizons. Got a problem with that?"
"Nein! Not at all!" He seemed rather surprised. "In fact...es ist wunderbar! Would you like some help?"
"So...you like, don't mind?" She glanced up at him.
"Why should I mind?"
She blushed a little. "I might like, totally butcher the language..."
Kurt had to laugh. "Everyone has to start somewhere. My first attempts at English would have made you fall over laughing. Even today you and the others put up with my mistakes--"
"No way!" she protested. "Your English is like, totally cool! I haven't heard a mistake from you in like, ever."
"You're too kind." He leaned down so that his head was almost level with hers, freeing his hands to turn pages in the book. It looked like an awkward posture, but it was one of those Kurt-only things. He chuckled at a few things he read, frowned at others, and finally settled on a chapter. "Don't always believe what the textbooks say," he informed her dryly. "I learned that lesson early. Good thing there's helpful little me here to assist you. If you speak only formal textbook German, then you really sound like a foreign tourist, ja?"
She giggled. "Ja, dude," she replied, teasing him with his own distinctly non-textbook English.
He smiled too. "See what I mean? Instead of sounding like a silly exchange student, I really blend in."
"Like, yeah right."
"Here, Fraulein--try this one." He pointed to a line.
"Um..." She was a little embarassed to try, now that a native German speaker was almost literally sitting on her shoulder. "Uh... Mir ist kalt."
"Sehr gut!" he praised her. "See? It's not so hard."
"'I am cold.' Like, that one's for you, Fuzzy. I'm nice and toasty."
"Mir ist warm. Ha ha. Like, very funny."
"Ach. Es tut mir leid."
She blinked, then looked down the list of phrases until she found it. "Oh." After that, she had to search out a suitable reply. "Ich hoffe es."
He all but burst out laughing. "You're catching on, Fraulein!"
"Yeah, but I'm sure I have like, a totally awful accent in German..."
"Nein, not too bad. That goes with practice." He winked at her. "I'm sure you've noticed, I have a totally awful accent in English..."
"It's not awful!" she blurted. "I think it's like, cute."
"Danke sehr." His grin was contagious.
She blushed. "Like, don't let it go to your head, Fuzzy."
"No problem. So...how many chapters of this book have you finished?"
"Like, not that many. I was like, totally stumped by the verbs for a while."
"Okay. We can look at that if you want..."
Outside the den, Ororo quietly shooed away the few observers who had gathered near the door. Smiling gently at the pair in the armchair, she softly slid the door closed.
To be continued...
|"Miss" or "Lady"|
"Vas ist das?"
|"What is that?"|
"Es ist wunderbar!"
"Mir ist kalt."
|"I am cold."|
"Mir ist warm."
|"I am warm."|
"Es tut mir leid."
"Ich hoffe es."
|"I hope so."|
|"Thank you so much."|
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