Mixed Feelings

BY : Panduki
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 730
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men Evolution or any characters contained therein and no profit/money is being made from this story, much as it would be delightful to! My OC, Kiro (a.k.a "Ghost"), however, is definitely mine!

Author's Note: Thank you for reading my story! Please read, enjoy (hopefully!) and review! This is my first ever foray into the world of fanfiction, and this is a story that has been clamoring for me to write for several weeks now. I have often enjoyed AFF-net and the talented authors here, particularly fanfiction involving everyone's favorite fuzzy blue elf, Kurt Wagner. Also!! This story kind of plays a bit fast and loose with the "canon" timeline and events of the series (as you might expect when an OC is involved), so please excuse any head-scratching moments you encounter.




It was 20 past midnight when the call went through the institute, on Saturday, October 21st.

It was the professor, his voice crisp and gentle as always, but with a hint of urgency to his tone that brooked no disagreement. First a telepathic ripple that helped to dip into the muddled pools of the slumbering students at the Institute, and finally, as tousled heads arose from bleary-eyed sleep, a verbal announcement over the intercom:

"Attention, everyone. I apologize for waking you at this hour, but we have a .. matter.. that can no longer be ignored. I need all available X-men down in the conference room, post-haste."

Logan stalked down the hall, grumbling several curses under his breath as he rubbed at the back of his neck with one hand and finished tugging down his t-shirt with the other, "For once in my miserable life I finally get to sleep at a decent hour, and this happens. Sometimes, I swear the universe is just flipping me the bird.."

The Wolverine wasn't the only mutant out of sorts. A rather.. colorful assortment of German was heard from Kurt's room before a sudden *bamf!* produced a half-naked and rather comical-looking Nightcrawler several feet down the hall from where Logan walked. The elf's fur was sticking up all over, and the subtle scent of arousal told a smirking Logan that the elf had no doubt been awoken from a rather pleasant dream. Catching Logan's eye, the teenager made a futile effort to hide the front of his pants with his tail and meekly apologized for his language, "Sorry, Logan.. I was.."

The burly man silenced him with a raised hand, "Right there with ya, kid. But we'd better hurry, Chuck seemed pretty concerned about this. Wonder what's happenin'?"

As the two watched (and Kurt made a hasty effort to finish dressing and smooth down his fur), the rest of the students staggered from their rooms in various states of lucidity and undress. The steady murmur of conversation continued, but a stern glance from Logan soon had the students moving with a renewed urgency.

Something was up. But what?

----

Professor Xavier leaned back from the screen with a weary sigh, resting his head in his right hand as he propped an elbow on the side of his chair. There was no doubt: it was a mutant signature. But there were no records to draw from that Cerebro could find, and rather little that was known about the region the signature came from: except that it was dangerous. Indeed, the only reason that Cerebro had even managed to pick it up was because Kitty had accidentally programed the wrong coordinates into the regular scanning pattern. The Romanian wilderness, particularly in the Carpathian mountains, had always been a region rife with danger: both real and imagined. The titular Dracula of Bram Stoker's famous novel was perhaps the most well known. But lately, the region of Transylvania was overrun not just with lawless banditry, but what seemed to be the beginnings of an insurrection.

What manner of place was this for anyone to live, let alone a teenager whose powers had awakened? Yet the signature had been quite clear. And if any help was to be given, they would have to go into a potential warzone.

"Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to live where we do," a mellow voice said as a gentle hand came to rest on the professor's shoulder. Jean didn't need to read his thoughts to know what the professor was feeling: they had both been attempting to narrow down the signal for the last hour. "It's one thing to just drive out into town to meet with someone's parents... it's quite another to drop into a place like this.." She murmured as she traced a finger around the section of the map. The information about the region was sorely lacking, only that it was an area of the Carpathians that was quite rural and isolated, accessible only by sparse roads and littered with a smattering of small villages, farms, and the occasional castle. Some long abandoned, some not.

"Indeed. But I think we may be fortunate, Jean. The majority of the fighting seems to be to the southwest of this area. With any luck, we can go in and assess the situation in relative peace and quiet."

Jean's brow furrowed as she listened, "But not for long.. hence the urgency."

The professor nodded, a sad smile on his lips at Jean's intuition, "Indeed. I fear it may only be the calm before the storm. Ah, the others are ready, let's prepare a briefing," he continued as he turned his chair to move to the table. No sooner at he arrived there than the door opened, with Scott leading their group of slightly-disheveled but awake and alert X-men behind. Kurt, ever the attempted optimist, quipped, "Vell, look on the bright side, everyone: at least it's not a school night!"

A collective groan soon followed, and even Logan rolled his eyes, "Alright, elf, let's hear what was so important that it couldn't wait until sun up."

The professor nodded gravely, "I apologize once again everyone, but once you hear what I have to say, I think you may understand our situation a bit better. This is the area where we have detected a signal: A new mutant...."

--------

"But surely you realize how dangerous it is out there, sister? You cannot possibly think to just borrow a horse and ride into town on your own?" The Abbess was kind, but her gaze was stern. "Just this month alone I have heard of three raids, and those vicious rebels just took another village near Sighisoara."

Mother Agatha was a small woman, and had always been slight of build even in her youth. Now in her sixties, her age was betrayed by a slight hunch of her back and a modest tremor in her fingers at dinner. But she was a vibrant woman, as though sustained by the higher power she served, and her warm brown eyes burned bright with a mind that had only grown sharper over the years, helped in no small part by her voracious apetite for reading. Despite her status as the head of their little nunnery, she, like the rest of the sisters, wore only a plain black woolen robe with a black silken cincture around her slender hips, braided carefully with the rosary at her side. The only mark of her status as Abbess was the ebony cross that hung just below her cowl, an heirloom passed down through the monastery for several hundred years.

"Yes, but that makes our situation all the more pressing, reverend mother," Sister Bergita said, her voice growing more urgent even as she attempted with small success to calm her racing heart, "Viscri is such an isolated village. Even if we were to gather all the townspeople behind our walls, how would we get word to the government to send soldiers to help us?"

Bergita was, in many ways, the opposite of the mother superior. She was tall and somewhat portly, with a sturdy build that belied her humble upbringings as a farm girl many years ago. Long hours at the till and the plough, combined with a healthy love of food and drink, had given her a stout strength and size somewhat reminiscent of a bear, and she was affectionately nicknamed "Sister Bear-gita" as a result by both her fellow nuns and the villagers below.

Mother Agatha sighed, "I understand your concerns, but I still think it is far too -" The abbess paused at the sound of a soft knock on the door. Straightening behind her desk, she spoke, "Please come in, my child." Sister Bergita turned in her seat, the old but comfortable wooden chair creaking under her bulk, curious who was at the door. She relaxed immediately on sight of two distinct eyes from beneath the hood of the small, robed person.

Violet eyes, that gleamed even in the soft light from the lanterns in the office, the morning outside the window still dark. Dawn would not be for another two hours at least.

"Kiro, what brings you here, little one? Shouldn't you be at morning prayers?" The mother asked, regarding the boy with a gentle concern.

"Little one" was almost an understatement: the robed figure was shorter than both of them, in spite of spending almost a decade here at the abbey. Standing barely five feet tall, a pale skinned hand reached up to draw back the hood of the robe, revealing a beautiful, delicate-featured face, framed with silvery white hair that spilled down to his.. yes, his.. shoulders. His unusual appearance often earned second glances from those who caught sight of him. Those second glances, however, usually lingered upon sight of his beauty. He was indeed a boy, upon close study, but one that would be considered beautiful, rather than handsome, and this had led many to simply conclude that the albino was simply another one of the nuns living at the isolated abbey.

She could still remember the confusion among the sisters, years ago, when the foundling had appeared on their doorstep. Hungry, cold, wearing whatever he had apparently been able to take off a clothes line, and almost skeletally-thin. 'What manner of fiend could abandon such an angelic child?' She had thought, even as she bathed the dirt from his too-thin body and clothed him in a tunic. She still had no answer to that question, but the boy had been a constant presence among the sisters ever since, and they had all grown quite fond of him in turn.

"Kiro, we've been worried about you," Sister Bergita spoke with a gentle smile, "You weren't abed last night. Bad dreams?"

The boy smiled kindly at both of them, and gave a gentle shake of his head at Bergita's questions, the motion causing a trellis of white hair to play across the soft black cloth of his robe. After giving Bergita a warm hug, and kneeling to kiss Mother Agatha's hand before doing the same to her, he paused when he noticed both of the nuns giving each other a quizzical look, "Did you feel that, sister..?"

Sister Bergita was rubbing her arms as she nodded, "What.. I do not know. Kiro, is there something on your hands..? Did you not beat that robe before you donned it?" She asked, her voice wavering slightly as the strange feeling did not go away.

It was not unpleasant, but it was unexpected, especially in the cool morning air. A lingering warmth, as though being wrapped in a sun-warmed blanket, or first settling in to a hot tub of water after a day spent in freezing rain. It was then that she noticed something that made her gasp. Her hand was no longer hurting. The cut on her hand, made by a careless slip of the knife at last night's meal preparations, was gone. It had been bad enough that she feared it might need a stitch or two, yet even as she checked it over with a finger, there was nothing there except dried blood and the barest hint of a mark. And even that vanished before her eyes.

"Kiro.. what-" Mother Agatha spoke, her eyes wide, but one glimpse of the boy's frightened gaze made her reach for him, even as he started to backpedal from her chair.

"Kiro! No, wait!" Sister Bergita called as she rose, but it was too late.

With little more than a whisper of cloth, the black robed boy had fled from their office.

-----

"Viscri?" Kurt asked, leaning over Scott's shoulder as he peered down at the readout. The Blackbird's engines were the only other sound around them at the moment, the aircraft cutting through the night sky at high altitude.

At the professor's urging, several of the team members were dozing in their seats, in hopes that they would be a little more cognizant once they finally touched down. Something about this mission, however, had made Kurt rather nervous. He wasn't sure why, but it felt almost.. familiar somehow.

"Yeah, it's a little village in Transylvania. That's about as close as Cerebro could narrow down the signal to, this far out." He trailed off as a sudden yawn caught him off guard. He, Logan, Jean and Kurt had all taken turns at the console, to give each other extra time to rest. They had no idea what the situation might be like when they touched down, and Logan had cautioned them all to "Be ready to hit the ground runnin', just in case."

Kurt nodded, before brushing some long strands of hair back from his eyes. A little rural town in old Europe. Not unlike how his adoptive parents lived. Perhaps, if they had time, he might persuade the professor to let him swing up to Germany and visit them..

'Unlikely right now, Kurt.. but I definitely think we can arrange for you to return home for Christmas again this year. I know you have missed them terribly.' The professor's touch on his mind was like a gentle hand on his shoulder, and he smiled, 'Thank you, professor.. sorry for broadcasting a little too loud.' There was a soft chuckle across their link, 'It's quite alright, Kurt, we're all a little harried this morning.'

"Kurt..? You with me, man?" Scott nudged him, making the blue elf jump a bit in startlement, "Ah, yes, sorry.. I think I .. erm.. dozed a bit," he lied, though Scott was either too preoccupied with flying or too good-natured to catch him at it.

"Well, we still have another hour and a half before touchdown. Try and get some shut eye if you need it."

Kurt nodded, giving Scott's shoulder a companionable thump before he moved back to the chairs. His nerves still gnawed at him, though. A mutant in a rural village, especially one with what looked like a monastery nearby. He knew full well the hell that could be descending on that mutant right now, and his heart went out to them, whomever they were.

The professor had only been able to give them scarce details. A teenager, who lived in or around that village, and had just recently had their powers awaken.

Well, whoever it was, they were about to meet the X-men. It was time to make a good first impression.



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