Mixed Feelings

BY : Panduki
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 827
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: Welcome to my story! Please read, enjoy (hopefully!) and review!


The Sadie-Hawkins "Girl's Choice" dance was only about 5 minutes from opening by the time the Xavier Institute students arrived. Logan and Ororo had both been driving cautiously due to the light snow that was falling once again, but they had fortunately left early enough that it didn't make much difference. After being dropped off in front of the school's main entrance, the students immediately went inside to get out of the cold and made their way down the hall toward the gymnasium. Music could already be heard, as well as the excited chatter of the other attendees and faculty, and the Xavier students felt their own excitement growing, as Bobby and Ray were already apparently taking bets on who would win their "dance-off" later tonight.

Kurt and Kiro walked side by side, arm in arm, and he found his heart racing, not unlike he had felt on their first date, as they approached the movie theater. This was it: Another big step forward for them, and he found himself hoping, desperately, that it went well. Rounding a corner, their group entered the main hall leading to the gym's main entrance, and just as they did so, the gym's doors were opened and people began to assemble in lines at each of the sets of double doors to exchange their tickets and step inside, the music from inside the gym growing louder as a result.

"Right on time!" Scott said with a grin, and beside him, Jean rolled her eyes, but smiled. Kitty let out a sharp whistle and then waved, and Tristan soon approached out of the crowd to join them and head over to Kitty's side, after a moment of gawking at her. "Wow, Kitty, you.. you look amazing," he said quietly, as she took his arm. Tristan didn't look too bad, either, with his hair neatly combed and wearing a rather well-fitting navy blue suit. Rogue smirked and nudged Kitty's side, before saying, loud enough for all of them to hear, "Well, he cleans up nice, doesn't he?"

Kitty just smiled, and looked up at Tristan beside her, "Yeah, even if he is wearing his dad's suit!" She playfully teased him. Tristan, to his credit, laughed and shrugged, "Hey, dad offered, and I figured why not? Haven't got one of my own yet. Usually don't dress up, y'know?" It was then that he noticed Kiro standing beside Kurt, "Oh, hey, miss! Are you-.. wait a second, Kurt? Kiro?!" His expression went from surprise, to shock, to sheepishness, all in about a second. Kitty, Rogue, Jean, Scott and Kurt all immediately started laughing, and Kiro just blushed and gave a small wave. Tristan looked duly embarassed, and grinned, "Oh man, sorry! You had me totally fooled. You look good! All of you do," he added, gesturing to the group of Institute kids.

Soon enough they were waiting in line, but only for a few minutes, and Kurt had a momentary panic before he remembered the pocket in which he had kept his and Kiro's tickets. Not that it would have mattered, really, he was sure, but he was happy to see that there was a Bayville Police officer at each entrance, polite to everyone who passed, but clearly on the lookout for anyone suspicious, given the recent events.

In a way, Kurt was grateful, but he found himself hoping that eventually things relaxed enough so that the police would no longer be necessary. All of those thoughts soon vanished, however, when they finally handed over their tickets and stepped into the gymnasium, already full of their fellow students. The room was lined with tables and chairs, and the central floor was full of couples dancing to the music. Kurt couldn't remember the name of the song playing, it sounded like one of the pop groups that Kitty loved.

"Hay, broface, Ah think Ah'm gonna hit up the punchbowl for now, y'all have fun!" Rogue said to them as she passed, favoring them a wink. Kurt glanced over and saw a few of Rogue's classmates by the bowl, and he smiled. At least she wouldn't be alone all night! Kurt grinned and said, "Don't drink too much, sis! You never know what they put in those things!" Kiro smiled as well and gave her a wave, and while they watched Rogue go, and the rest of the Institute students wandering around to join the festivities, Kurt was surprised by a voice beside him.

"Well, well, Mr. Wagner!"

Ms. Harrison!

She, like most of the faculty, was also attending the dance, though in her case more as a show of support for her students and to assist Mrs. Jessup in coordinating, than as a date. She was wearing an elegant-looking evening dress that hung off of one shoulder, almost like a Greek tunic that Kurt couldn't quite remember the name of. A chiton? She looked quite lovely, and Kurt couldn't help but grin a bit as he saw a few of the male students behind her leering at her, and his grin widened as he waved, "Ms. Harrison!! It's good to see you here tonight!" He said, immediately stepping over to greet her with a hug.

Ms. Harrison smiled and returned Kurt's hug warmly, and then stepped back to peer at Kurt, and then at Kiro beside him, and she chuckled, "Well, I can't say I'm surprised by your fashion choice tonight, Kiro, but I do have to say you look absolutely beautiful. And Kurt, you should dress up more often!" She said with a playful poke to his belly, making Kurt squirm and giggle. "Ja, Ms. Harrison, I.. I think I'm considering it," he said, while Kiro nodded and grinned beside him.

"Well, I'll expect to see you two out there dancing and having a good time, then! Lemme go help Mrs. Grable with the hors d'oeuvres trays," Ms. Harrison excused herself, favoring the two with another encouraging wink before walking past them. Kurt looked around the small sea of couples around them, and smiled before asking, "Hmm, well, mein engel, what should we do now?"

Kiro perked up as a slow dance song came over the speakers, and grinned, a bright gleam to his violet eyes, as he gently tugged on Kurt's arm and pointed towards the dance floor. Kurt grinned as well, and nodded. "Well alright then, mein engel. Time to see how we do, ja?" he said with a wink, as the two of them went to join the large group of their fellow students who had paired up and begun to dance.

Kurt felt many pairs of eyes on them from the other couples around, and a few scattered whispers, as people recognized immediately who the "girl" with him was, but when Kiro took his hand, and rested his other hand on Kurt's shoulder, and those violet eyes looked into his, he soon didn't feel as if any of it mattered. They stepped, in a slow rhythm with the music, and turned in gentle time as Kurt's hand rested on Kiro's slender hip, a bright smile on his face.

They were here, at the Sadie-Hawkins dance, as a couple. And now they were dancing. Their first dance, officially, as a couple. It was almost enough to make him tear up. But not right now. The light above the disco ball overhead finally came on, sending mirrored reflections across the floor, and Kiro looked around in silent wonder at the effect he had probably never seen before. Kurt found himself giggling softly. "Kind of silly, but cool at the same time, isn't it?" He asked, and Kiro nodded with a grin.

A few moments later, the slow dance ended, and a small round of applause went around the gymnasium as Mrs. Jessup came up on the little platform that had been set up at the end of the room. After thumping the mic a couple of times, and thankfully not producing an ear-piercing feedback screech, she spoke, "It's good to see everyone having fun out there already! Remember, we have refreshments available at all the tables around you, and we encourage everyone to mingle: remember, you're here with your fellow students and teachers, too! Not just your dates!"

Kurt found himself giggling a little, and leaned over to whisper into Kiro's ear, "That may be true, but right now, I only have eyes for you, mein engel." It sounded horribly sappy, and Kurt didn't care in the slightest. He felt as light as a feather, right now. Kiro blushed deeply enough that Kurt could almost swear he felt the heat radiating from him, and it had nothing to do with his powers, for once. Kiro looked up at him with a bright smile, and leaned up to gently kiss him.

Their lips met, and even though it was a chaste kiss, he felt Kiro's warmth flow through him and send a shiver down his body. Their lips parted soon after, and Kurt, too, was blushing, when the final part of whatever Mrs. Jessup had been saying came to his ears, "- and be sure to check the numbers on your tickets to see if you win! That's all, folks! Have fun!"

Another round of applause, and the music started once again. Kurt shrugged. Some sort of raffle, probably. It couldn't heard to pay attention when they called numbers, he figured, but wasn't too worried. Kurt found himself grinning at the song, one he recognized, and he stepped away from Kiro with a wink and said, "Hey, mein engel, this is what they call 'club music.' Let's see how you do!"

The next several songs, as it turned out, were "club" music, or "party" music as some preferred to call it. Music that wasn't exactly meant for the ballroom, or for slow-dancing. This was an opportunity for couples to dance in a much more loose and free fashion. Kurt wasn't exactly as good as Kitty when it came to it, but he could still get down when he wanted to. And he found, with delightful surprise, that Kiro was actually really good at it as well.

During their dance practices over the week, Kurt had encouraged Kiro to just relax and move, when it came to "solO" dancing, and just do what he liked. Or rather, "what the music told him to do." It seemed to spark a memory in Kiro, though, and Kiro had begun to move in a rather exotic fashion that was elegant, beautiful, and even alluring all at the same time. Almost like a belly dancer, but much more relaxed and playful. Kurt found himself grinning as he watched Kiro, and Kiro smiled right back as he playfully mirrored some of Kurt's movements now and then, just like when they had practiced at the mansion, sans Kurt's tail, of course.

"Hey, whoa dawg, just.. whoa!" A voice from nearby came to their ears, and Kurt blinked as he finally recognized it.

"Todd?" He asked with surprise, stopping in his dancing to peer at Todd beside them. Todd wasn't exactly wearing a suit, but he did have a collared shirt and pants on. For him, that might as well have been dressing up in a tux! Todd smiled nervously and waved, "Ah, heya, Kurt! Kiki!" He said. Upon looking at Kiro again, Todd blushed, and said, "Man, you, um.. you really look hot- err... I mean, uh, yeah! Lookin' good, girl! Err, Kiki!"

Kiro giggled silently at Todd's reaction, though he blushed as well at Todd's compliments, and nodded, before pointing to Todd as well and flashing a thumbs up. Apparently Kiro, too, noticed just how rare it was for any of the Brotherhood to dress up in anything other than their usual casual (some might call hoodlum) attire. "I'm surprised you're here," Kurt said, complete honesty in his words, also grinning a bit at Todd's reaction to Kiro. The Toad really did seem to like Kiro, and Kurt found himself wondering, once again, just what had happened to cause Todd to be so nice. Was it really just the simple kindness and healing that Kiro had shown him? Was it that rare for Todd? It made Kurt sad, a bit, and rather self-conscious over the cold and dismissive way that he and the other X-Men typically acted toward Tolansky.

"Hey, y'know I ain't never missin' an opportunity to party!" Todd said indignantly, and Kurt found himself grinning as well, "Same here!" He then peered around, curious about something, before asking aloud, "What about the others? Fred and Pietro? They around?" Kurt's eyes swept the crowd, but he didn't see them. That was when Todd spoke, and Kurt felt his blood run cold at what he said.

"Um, nah, man. They're kinda too afraid to come. Afraid of you," Todd admitted, and shifted a bit nervously. Nervous still, Kurt realized. Nervous because of him? His expression must have been rather transparent, because he soon felt Kiro's hand on his arm, and looked over to see Kiro's violet eyes looking up at him in concern. He smiled, before saying softly, "It's.. it's alright, mein engel, really." To Todd, however, he shook his head, "They don't have to be, Todd. And neither do you. I was, well, pretty messed up, and was really angry at Lance for what he did, but, well, you guys aren't Lance. And he's in jail where he belongs, now, so?" He said with a hopeful smile, and extended a fist towards Todd.

Todd grinned as well, and said, "Hey, no worries then, dawg," before he bumped Kurt's fist in return. After a second or two's nervous look, however, he asked, "Um.. you, uh, mind if I dance with Kiki?" Kurt blinked, in complete surprise, and out of the corner of his eye, saw Kiro's surprised expression as well, soon followed by a warm smile. Todd was just full of surprises, it seemed. Kurt peered at him with renewed curiousity, and started to ask, "So, Todd, are you-?"

"- dawg, please don't," Todd interrupted, a small current of nervousness, or perhaps uncertainty, to his voice, before he quickly disguised it with a confident smile. He then continued, "I just, um, wanna dance. If that's cool with you?" Despite himself, Kurt found himself smiling as well. Maybe Todd was going through something similar to what Kurt himself had many weeks ago. Or, perhaps Kurt was just reading too much into it, and Todd was just happy to finally find someone who treated him with genuine kindness? Either way, Kurt nodded, "That's up to mein engel," he said with a wink.

Kiro's violet eyes met Kurt's blue-eyed (thanks to his inducer) gaze, and he smiled with a nod. Kurt grinned, "Okay, have a good dance. I will be over there, I think some of those snacks are calling my name!" He said, pointing over towards one of the tables with hors d'oeuvres on it. As he walked away, Kurt smiled and shook his head again. Todd? Gay? He wasn't sure what to think of it. He didn't seem like the type to be. But then, most people said the same thing about him, including himself, until recently.

He had just begun to browse the snacks on offer (and was surprised by a growl from his stomach) when Scott appeared at his elbow with a shocked expression, "Is that.. Tolansky? Dancing with Kiki?" Kurt flashed a grin up at him and nodded, before explaining, "Ja, mein kapitan! It is! Todd surprised us, well, first by being here to begin with, and also for asking to dance with mein engel. I'm.. not really sure what to think of it."

"Definitely caught me by surprise, too," Scott mused as he offered Kurt a cup of punch, which Kurt gratefully accepted, while they took turns sampling some of the snacks. Kurt wasn't sure whether the meatballs were Swedish or Italian, but he knew for sure they were good! Further on down the table were more regular party foods like hamburgers and hot dogs. Perhaps he would sample some of them later. He turned to look over the crowd, and grinned as he saw Jean, Rogue, and Amara having a three way "dance off" nearby. "I was so nervous," Kurt said with a sigh, "All week, but it seems like this dance is going pretty good!"

Beside him, Scott nodded with a grin, "Damn right it is, Kurt." His brows then furrowed, however, as he pointed, "Though it looks like your date has attracted even more attention," he warned. Kiro and Todd had finished their dance, and Todd was saying something that made Kiro giggle. But beside them, a few of the football team members had approached. None he recognized by name, but he knew them to be of Duncan's ilk. Perhaps it was because of the low light of the dance floor, but they seemed to think Kiro was a girl they hadn't seen, at least for now, especially since his hair looked almost blonde in the low light.

A rather large one, a redheaded guy that Kurt had seen occasionally hanging out with Duncan Matthews, leaned over to put a hand on Kiro's shoulder, and seemed to be asking him to dance. Kiro's reaction was a nervous glance, and a subtle flinch that Kurt could see even from where he was, "I'd better get back over there," Kurt said, and Scott nodded beside him.

Todd was talking, and seemed to be trying to give Kiro a chance to pull away, but the footballer was either insistent, or didn't seem to care. The others with him seemed to be leering at Kiro as well, and Kurt wasn't sure he liked the looks on their faces. 'They must not recognize him, I do NOT want mein engel to be anywhere near them when they do,' he thought with an undercurrent of fear.

Kurt went across the floor, weaving his way between the couples and others who were on the dance floor, and tried to make his way quickly towards Kiro, Todd, and the trio of football players. The redhead still had his hand on Kiro's shoulder, and Kiro was looking more and more uncomfortable. He said nothing (of course) but just shook his head.

When Kurt drew nearer, he could hear Todd saying, "Yo, c'mon, ain't y'all ever heard of no means no?" And found himself adding a few brownie points to Todd's total at those words. He stepped forward and cleared his throat, "Hey, everything alright here, mein engel?" Kurt asked, pointedly looking at the three footballers. He hoped the tone in his voice would clue them in.

Unfortunately, it did.

"Hey, wait a second, that's Kurt Wagner," one of the footballers, a tall brown-haired boy said, realization sparking in his eyes before he added, "So that must mean.."

"Oh FUCK.." the redhead said in disgust, immediately shoving Kiro away from him and looking as though he had just touched acid, and was about two seconds away from puking. "Fucking fags!!! And a goddamn trap besides!" He snarled.

Kurt caught Kiro to steady him, and immediately stepped between him and the trio of footballers, glaring at the three. "Excuse me, that's my boyfriend you've been harassing, kindly go flirt with someone else?" Even as he made his request with as much sass as he could muster, Kurt still felt himself tense up. Please, don't let this start a fight. Not tonight, of all nights.

"Flirt? Excuse me, you little bitch?!" The redhead asked, looming over Kurt with a glare. Of course he would react that way, Kurt thought with a frown, he had to regain his manhood in front of his friends. Kurt silently cursed himself for possibly making the situation worse. Behind him, he felt Kiro clutching at him and trembling softly.

"Hey, Anderson, why don't you and your friends cool it?" Scott said, stepping up beside Kurt. "Normally when a lady says she doesn't want to dance, the polite thing to do is respect her wishes, yeah?" Scott continued, an edge to his voice, "And since Bayville is all about equality, I'm sure you could extend the same courtesy to the boy you just asked. Especially seeing as how he already HAS a boyfriend."

"Yeah, so back the fuck off, yo, or you'll be tanglin' with all of us!" Todd snapped, stepping over to Kurt's other side. Kurt found himself surprised once again, and rather grateful. Three on three wasn't too bad, though he still hoped this wouldn't end violently.

Thankfully, the third player seemed more reluctant than the other two at the thought of fighting, and said rather vocally, "Y'all can waste time on a pissing match all you want, I'm going to ask Saede if she wants to dance," before he wandered off. Beside him, the brown-haired boy glared at Kiro and Kurt before walking off as well.

Finally, the red-head, whom Scott had named as "Anderson," sneered at them as well, and just spat, "Burn in hell, fag bitches," before walking away. Kurt felt himself slowly relax, helped a bit by the warmth flowing through him from Kiro's touch, and sighed. "Just once, I'd like to be able to go out in public with mein engel without jerks like that showing up," he said with a soft growl.

"No kiddin', yo," Todd said, and was about to say something else, when they were surprised by the approach of Mrs. Jessup. "Everything alright, boys?" The woman asked, casting a glance toward one of the footballers who had just left. Scott nodded, and managed a smile, before he responded, "Just a little case of mistaken identity, Mrs. Jessup."

"You're a rotten liar, Scott, even telling a half-truth," Mrs. Jessup said with a stern look, and Scott shrank away from her words. "Come on out here, Kiro, let's have a look at you!" She said brightly, and Kurt found himself smiling as he felt Kiro carefully edge out from behind him. Mrs. Jessup's eyes immediately perked up, as she looked him up and down, and she grinned, "Well! Not bad at all, you little scamp! Come on now, let's see a smile!"

Kiro couldn't help it, he was smiling. Mrs. Jessup was just so earnest, so cheerful, that her grin was contagious. She reminded him, quite fondly, of Sister Bergita. "There, now, that's better! Alright, you boys get back to having fun. I'll have a word with that Billy and make sure he won't cause any more fuss," she said sternly, and soon was bustling off.

"Well, that went a lot better than I was worried it might," Kurt confessed, letting out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Beside him, Toad nodded, "No kiddin'! That ain't the kind of dancin' I had in mind tonight!" He added with a scowl. Scott had turned to speak to Jean, who had perhaps approached them out of concern, and Kurt looked over at Todd with a smile, while Kiro once again leaned on his arm. "Hey, Todd, thanks for the help," he said.

"Don't mention it, blue boy. No, really, don't. I got a reputation, y'know?" He said with a wink. And Kurt nodded, "Fair enough!" Beside him, Kiro smiled and reached over to touch Todd's shoulder, and Todd grinned stupidly for a few seconds before saying, "No problem, Kiki! Ohhh man."

Once Todd had hopped off, perhaps to grab some punch, Kurt and Kiro turned back towards Scott and Jean. Jean looked them over with a smile, "Well, nice to know Mrs. Jessup has our backs!" Kurt nodded as well, and winced at the sound of Mrs. Jessup yelling from across the gym. Apparently she had found Billy Anderson. "Seriously! What's that they say? Beware the nice ones?" Kurt said, and after a second, he, Jean, and Scott all burst into laughter, while Kiro grinned.

---------

Jean had insisted they all get back to having fun after that, and Kurt and Kiro had. Jean had suggested playfully that Scott should ask Kiro to dance as well, but Scott, rather flustered, had said he was quite alright just dancing with Jean. Kitty and Tristan had been at each other's side all evening, and Kurt noticed, not for the first time, that the two seemed to be deep in conversation, even as they slow-danced on the floor.

He smiled. 'C'mon, Kitty! He seems nice enough!' he wished towards her, and lounged beside  Kiro at one of the tables. The two had taken a break, particularly after the past hour of dancing, wandering around and mingling with classmates and Institute students alike, and meeting and greeting with their faculty. All of whom, Kurt was surprised to see, had taken Kiro's appearance in stride, or at least let him off with a little good-natured teasing. Perhaps, Kurt supposed, they were just relieved to see him seemingly so well-recovered after what had happened, and feeling comfortable enough to go out in public at all at such a large gathering.

Kurt had been particularly touched by the appearance of one of the Bayville police officers at their table, when they had just decided to sit down, whom he recognized as one of the uniformed officers who had helped to arrest Lance Alvers that horrible night. The man was about six feet tall, and built like a truck, but he had a friendly face and warm brown eyes, and his hair was thick and brown atop his head, styled almost like something out of a magazine while still being conservative enough for his uniform. "Hey, good to see you doing well! Kiro, was it?" He asked, leaning over to peer down at Kiro with a friendly smile. Kiro nodded as well, and peered up at the officer in friendly curiousity. "Officer Flowers," he said, a bit sheepish about his name, "I was one of the guys out in the woods, that night," he explained. And after a moment's pause from Kiro, perhaps remembering, Kiro's smile faltered, but he nodded.

"Hey, I just wanted to let you know, we've got your back. Both of you," he added, smiling at Kurt. He then lifted one of the sleeves of his uniform to reveal a tattoo up on his shoulder. A rainbow flag. "I mean it. You'll be alright," he said with a nod, and slipped a card into Kurt's hand. It was a small business card, which had a small rainbow logo on it, with the words, "Bayville LGBT Support Group" beneath. Officer Flowers nodded, "Stop by, if you ever want to," he said with a wink.

Kiro looked about ready to tear up, and he surged forward to hug the officer, who chuckled softly, even as his expression wavered a moment, perhaps at the feelings passing through him due to Kiro's powers, "Hey, hey, it's alright. You're here to have fun, not have a cry!" He excused politely as he pushed Kiro gently back down to his seat beside Kurt. Kurt, meanwhile, smiled up at him and reached out his hand, shaking the officer's hand firmly, before saying, "Thank you, Officer Flowers. It's been tough, but, yes, I think we'll be okay."

The officer nodded, repeating, "You will, Kurt. Believe it." With a wave, he returned back to the doors nearby, where he and another officer had been standing guard. More volunteers from the Bayville Police department. Kurt found himself almost tearing up at the thought. Sometimes, the people in Bayville made him want to fly into a rage with how seemingly mean and uncaring they could be. But other times, times like this, he found himself struck by the kindness, even to a stranger. Both good and bad, people would always surprise, he guessed.

Beside him, Kiro drew him into a hug, and Kurt returned it affectionately. "Yes, mein engel, we will be alright," Kurt said softly, stroking Kiro's back through the smooth silken dress. Around them, couples chatted and danced, and the music played on.

--------

"You're sure he'll be alright?" Ororo asked, leaning over with concern as Kurt and Kiro sat on the bench. Kurt nodded, though he only felt reasonably sure of it, as he held Kiro's trembling body. The other boy was no longer crying, at least, though he was still shivering, and it had nothing to do with the cold outside.

Who would have thought they would shoot off fireworks, as cold as it was outside?

But they had. As the dance had ended and they had gone outside with the others, going out to their cars or otherwise departing for the night, the sky above had lit up with fireworks from atop the school. Ordinarily, Kurt wouldn't have minded. In fact, he would have enjoyed it. The other students, parents, and faculty around them certainly were.

But Kiro.. well.. Kiro had panicked. There was no other word for it. He had frozen at the first blast of fireworks above, and the light had startled him, but as the fireworks began in earnest, he had shivered and just taken off running down the sidewalk, wrenched himself out of Kurt's hand in a fright, heedless of Kurt's call after him, soon joined by Kitty and Tristan.

Even in his dress, and wearing sandals, Kiro had dashed surprisingly fast across the snow and slush-covered sidewalk, gone towards the distant trees near the food court. At Kitty's urging, Kurt had waited until the others had been notified, having to draw their attention from the fireworks above, and they had followed Kiro's footprints to where they found him, huddled just inside the darkness of the treeline, hugging himself and sobbing.

By then, Ororo and Logan had arrived, and had soon joined them after being directed over by Jean, but Kurt had assured them that Kiro was fine. "It's just fireworks, he's very frightened of them," he had said, even as he gently held Kiro beside him and began to whisper softly to his lover as the fireworks continued, and then slowly stopped, followed soon after by the distant sound of applause and cheers from the students.

Ororo had nodded, and ushered them over to a nearby bench which Kurt led Kiro to, sitting with him as the rest gathered nearby. She seemed to accept it, though Kurt did not miss an opaque glance on Logan's face, perhaps pondering what Kurt himself sometimes did. Maybe it wasn't the fireworks, but something associated with them. Or perhaps similar in sound. Kiro seemed quite frightened of guns, for example.

Soon, however, Kiro had recovered, and looked up at them with an apologetic expression before bowing his head. Scott assured him it was alright, they had just been worried, and Ororo nodded beside him, "Indeed. But it's all right now, yes? Come along then, everyone. Let's get back to the Institute," she instructed, and the group set off once more. Kitty and Tristan huddled in quiet conversation, and Ororo began to ask each of the students how their evening had gone.

Everyone, it seemed, had had quite a good evening, Kurt was happy to hear. And Kurt himself had smiled and proudly reported that the dance had gone very well, Kiro nodding and smiling beside him. Logan, meanwhile, still seemed quiet, and said nothing until he asked the group to split up, "You know the drill, runts. Half with Ororo and half with me, let's go!"

---------

"I dunno, Charles. Maybe it's nothing. But I just got a feeling. People don't react like that when it's just a spook, or gettin' surprised by loud noises. This was terror," Logan explained, leaning against Charles' desk while they met in his study. The students had all returned to the Institute, and most had changed out of their clothes to relax in their rooms, or continue their revelry in the rec room. Kurt and Kiro had decided to go right up to their room, and Logan couldn't blame them. Perhaps some cuddle-time or a little more might finish up the evening on a positive note.

Logan, however, had gone to the professor's study to talk to him about what he had seen in Kiro that evening. He, like Charles, had noticed that the boy had been having nightmares and not sleeping well when he first got here, but Kurt had also mentioned being concerned about Kiro when fireworks in the distance had happened as well, almost sending the boy into a panic attack, even before he had ever been abducted.

"Well, they do sound quite similar to the reports of firearms, don't they?" Charles mentioned, "Or the explosions of small munitions. Perhaps it is due to the fighting in Romania that we rescued him from?" He suggested. But Logan, surprisingly, shook his head. "I don't think it's just that, Charles. He seemed fairly composed at the monastery, remember? Frightened, yes, but not in a panic. I could still smell it on him when we found him, it was almost like he was in fear for his life."

Charles nodded, and then turned in his chair to roll over to his desk, glancing at the phone and the notepad beside it, a fresh note written earlier in the day. "Then perhaps that phone call I got earlier was rather fortuitous," he intoned, and at Logan's curious look, he explained, "The Romanian embassy called me earlier this afternoon, when the students were on their way home to get ready for the dance. Valentina, the woman I spoke with about possibly trying to find information about Kiro's family, has apparently found something. She wants to meet with me tomorrow."

"Found somethin'?" Logan repeated, and folded his arms across his chest. Charles nodded, "She wouldn't say more, but her voice sounded hopeful, at least. I'll have to see what it is tomorrow. But given the fact that Kiro was a foundling to begin with, I do not anticipate the story will be a happy one."

Beside him, Logan nodded gravely before he turned to once again look at the fire in the fireplace.

 



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