Mixed Feelings

BY : Panduki
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1078
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 shipment finally arrived at the embassy two weeks later, on a cold Friday afternoon in late November. The day after Thanksgiving, in fact. Some hours later, the professor had received a phone call from Valentina to inform him of the bad news...

"You are certain there was nothing among their possessions that would help?" Charles asked, turning to glance out the window as the late afternoon sun began to set over the bay. He heard a soft sigh on the other end of the line, and Valentina said, "Unfortunately not. It seems Lilliana herself may well have been in much the same situation her son ended up, perhaps a runaway or someone born in an isolated rural village where such papers simply don't exist. Many of the Roma people today live in a similar fashion, and are quite distrustful of the government, since they have almost been wiped out by them many times over the years." She had carefully, and respectfully, gone through the small wooden trunk that had been sent from Romania to search for any possible identification papers. Birth certificates, any medical records, even a simple census card, and found nothing of the sort. She had also thoroughly reviewed Nikita's report before archiving it, though not before she included another copy for Kiro to read, if he wished. There was very little in the trunk. Mostly clothes (Lilliana's and Kiro's), intricate scarves of Romani design, a few items of jewelry, as well as a diary and several books, and small toys, most of them handmade. The sight of a set of Kiro's tiny leather shoes, carefully sewn by hand, had almost made her heart break. She finally sighed and concluded, "You know how isolated that whole region of the country is."

"Indeed, I understand. Most of the country lived that way until the 1900s, and almost half the population still does," the professor lamented, shifting slightly to once again peer down at the document resting on his lap. It was a notification from the post office, informing him that a rather large package would be arriving shortly from the embassy, Kiro's mother's belongings, and his own, from when he was a child.

"Yes, it was unfortunate, but not unexpected. Even if the boy's mother did have any family left, at this point I think it really is impossible that we would be able to find them. But at least we might be able to give the boy some small amount of closure," Valentina said, resignation clear in her voice. Charles responded, "Indeed. About as much as what can be given, considering he witnessed her murder firsthand, and then spent the next three months wandering the countryside at such a young age." The cruelty of people, especially the self righteous, never ceased to astound and disgust him. His former friend, Eric Lehnsherr, came to mind. That a boy, barely five years old, had witnessed such monstrous behavior, and yet still turned out to be such a gentle, loving lad, had given him some small measure of hope. He had only wished that Eric had turned out similarly.

"Well, it should arrive sometime in the next day or two, professor. I do hope young Kiro is able to get some reconciliation from whatever he might find," Valentina said. Charles watched the sun as it began to set, his mind still drifting across the small flood of memories Kiro had, albeit unintentionally, shared with himself and Kurt. "Thank you, Valentina. You've done everything that you could for the boy, and I'm sure he is quite grateful," the professur assured her, and smiled at how well she and Kiro had gotten along when he had visited her office. "I suppose this means that your government will continue with their original plans for his Romanian papers?" Charles asked, and Valentina responded, "Indeed we will. It should not take too much longer at this point, I will keep you updated."

"Thank you, Valentina, for everything. Have a good evening," the professor responded. After goodbyes were exchanged, he set the phone down softly on its cradle, and sighed. Scott Summers, his brother Alex, Kurt Wagner, and now Kiro Popescu. Why were so many good children in the world made to suffer so much, before even being adults? His eyes glanced over at the clock. 5:48 PM. The boys should be finished with their Friday therapy session soon. The therapy seemed to be going rather well, which the professor was grateful for, and Liz had assured him that both boys were making outstanding progress.

The professor steepled his hands and pondered for a moment. Was there really much point in therapy for the boy about his mother's murder? He supposed not really. After all, he had certainly grieved enough for her during the months after her death, as he wandered the countryside alone, and very nearly starved to death himself. He had then spent the next ten or so years of his life among the good sisters in Viscri, perhaps the most loving environment that could be given to him, under the circumstances, and they had clearly raised him to be a gentle, kind soul indeed.

He sighed, "Well, perhaps I'll talk it over with Liz and see what she thinks, after seeing how Kiro reacts to the embassy's little surprise package," he concluded, before he once again moved behind his desk.

-------------

"I'm an instructor here, bub, I assure you I can sign for it," Logan growled at the fairly shrimpy-looking postal worker. He didn't recognize this kid. All the more reason for him to be suspicious at the rather large package that was now resting on the patio. Large, and from the way the kid had had to use a dolly to get it up from the drive, heavy. Logan didn't hear any ticking, or smell any explosives, but it still raised quite a red flag, as he hadn't been able to see any kind of shipping label on it.

It was late Saturday afternoon and the delivery had come rather unexpectedly, along with their regular shipment of mail. Most of the kids were out of the Institute, either playing outside, or wasting time in town. Unfortunately for Logan, he was having his time wasted by this little pipsqueak in a Post Office uniform.

"I'm s-sorry, mister, but it's.. um.. it's addressed to, K-Kiro Pop-eh-scew? He needs to sign for it," the boy said, his stammer getting even worse as he tried to pronounce the name. At that, Logan's brow raised. Ghost? Getting a package like this? "Who's it from?" Logan asked, leaning against the doorframe. He wasn't sure where Ghost and the elf were. Hopefully they hadn't left the Institute today. He really wasn't in the mood to deal with this guy again on Monday, if their regular driver was still sick or whatever.

"Oh, um, it's from the Romanian Embassy suite at the State Department office in town," the boy said, peering at the address on the form, which he then showed to Logan. Logan raised a brow. He had heard the embassy would be sending something to Kiro, but he didn't think it would be a footlocker, or whatever was wrapped up in all that bubble wrap and plastic, from the smell of it. "Fair enough," Logan said, "Lemme see if he's here. Sit tight, bub."

About five minutes later, much to Logan's relief, Kiro and Kurt were both at the front door. They had just been hanging out in their room, lounging on the bed and watching something on TV. Some sort of documentary that seemed to be about eastern Europe. Kurt was soon helping Kiro bring the package in. Despite the delivery boy's apparent strain, the package didn't appear to be too heavy, but both of them were still quite uncertain what might be in it. Kiro had just shrugged with a confused look when Kurt had asked him if he had any ideas. That was when the professor's voice entered their heads, 'Ah, good, it arrived today after all. Would you three please join me in my study? I think this is something best opened in private.'

The last of Logan's concerns melted away at that, though he was still mildly curious. "Rest easy, boys, I got this," Logan assured them, and leaned down to fetch the package and heft it up in his arms, "Alright, let's go see what you got for early Christmas, Ghost." Kurt managed a chuckle at Logan's words, though he seemed just as curious as Kiro as the three of them went down the hall to the professor's office.

--------

"Go ahead, Kiro. Open it," the professor finally said with a small smile.

They were sitting in the professor's study, and the freshly-unwrapped wooden trunk was now sitting on the small coffee table between the sofa and two chairs. Logan had claimed one chair, while Kiro and Ghost had sat on the sofa in front of the trunk, and the professor's wheelchair was to Logan's right, between the two chairs. It was clearly very old, and looked hand made, with sturdy brass hinges and an intricate series of engravings on its outer surface, glossy with a patina from what very well might have been decades of use.

It was not altogether very large, but was about the size of a typical footlocker. Enough space to store one person's belongings, if they lived a bohemian lifestyle, as Logan knew the Roma people were wont to do. Kurt seemed both curious and apprehensive, as the professor had explained that the trunk belonged to Kiro's mother, and had contained all that remained of their belongings after that horrific night where she had been murdered and Kiro had run away.

Kiro's hand was trembling slightly as he reached toward the trunk's lid, and he paused, taking a deep breath. Kurt leaned against him and whispered some encouragement, and Kiro smiled softly, before he reached forward to open the trunk. Inside, the clean smell of cedar met their noses, and likely explained why the clothes within were still in remarkably fine condition. And that was mostly what seemed to be in the trunk, at first, other than a thick manilla envelope that they were told would be Nikita's official report, compiled from his brief investigation in Vistrea. Kiro stood and peered down into the chest, trembling a bit, and his violet eyes had grown rather distant.

He moved like someone on autopilot, and carefully removed first the manilla envelope, which he set aside, and the letter from Keppet. His eyes widened, perhaps recognizing the name, and he read the letter. It was not very long, taking him only about a minute to read, but it apparently affected him profoundly, and he swallowed down a sob before he raised it to his lips and gently kissed the man's signature at the bottom. He then set it aside, atop the manilla envelope of Nikita's report.

He then began to carefully, gently remove each piece of clothing at a time, with all the reverence of someone handling sacred artifacts. Neatly folded dresses, made of simple cloth but still intricately designed and colored. Scarves, both headscarves and neck scarves, as well as lovely shawls. They seemed to be mostly the clothes that belonged to Kiro's mother. But as Kiro continued to set them gently on the coffee table, he then began to pull out what must have been his clothes. Very simple, as well, and they mostly looked handmade. Shirts, pants, and soft leather shoes, as well as a couple of vests, very small, and obviously stitched by hand, perhaps even by Kiro's own mother. Kurt was again reminded of Kiro's young age, when that dreadful night had happened, and he felt his heart clench.

A smaller wooden box was removed next, and the soft sound of jewelry could be heard inside as Kiro opened it. A little jewelry box, containing some simple rings of gold and silver, a set of golden hoop earrings, as well as one earring that had a rather intricate design of an amethyst inside of a net of gold, and several different necklaces beneath. Kiro lifted one in particular from the box, a simple necklace of a sturdy-looking silver chain that contained a mildly tarnished silver cross. He ran a thumb lovingly over the cross's design, and his breath caught in his throat, before he slowly lifted it to his lips and kissed it. The expression on his face made Kurt want to hug him, immediately, but he held back, sensing Kiro was in a very distant place at that moment.

Kiro then set the box carefully down on the table atop the stack of his mother's clothes, placed the cross back with the other necklaces, and gently closed the lid. His violet eyes then peered into the trunk, and he let out a slow, shaky breath as he began to draw out what remained in the bottom. At first, Kurt wasn't sure what they were. But as he set them down on the table in front of his stack of clothes, one at a time, Kurt felt a twist of nostalgia in his gut. They were toys. Small, wooden toys, that looked as though each one had been painstakingly carved and painted by hand. A horse, a pair of wolves, two figures that might once have been knights, they were both crude and yet adorable at the same time, obviously made with love. While Kurt studied them, Kiro had brought out one last toy, which he set down to rest on his clothes. A teddy bear, the color of warm chocolate, missing one of his golden glass eyes (which, Kurt saw with a smile, had been carefully covered with a small cloth eyepatch), but absolutely adorable.

Finally, Kiro brought out the last items from the trunk. Books. They were clearly very old, and had been read many times, and Kurt was not sure of their titles as they were obviously written in Romanian. He set each one down in a small stack, though he paused at the sight of the last book, as though he had both dreaded and anticipated finding it there. His hands trembling once again, he brought out the last book from the now-empty trunk. This did not look like any book Kurt was familiar with. In fact, it looked more like.. a diary?

Kurt felt himself nodding in confirmation as Kiro slowly sat down and opened the book, peering down at the first handwritten page. The writing was rather beautiful, much like Kiro's had been after he had been taught to write by the nuns, though Kurt knew that this was not his diary, but his mothers. Inside the cover, though, was a picture. A small, color polaroid of a young woman whom Kurt now recognized as Kiro's mother, Lilliana. Unlike the newspaper photo, this was a portrait of her among the camp, perhaps soon after she had joined them, judging from the small swelling of her belly, and she looked heartbreakingly beautiful. It was easy to see where Kiro got his good looks from. Kurt felt himself grow slowly sadder, at the thought of such a loving, wonderful, gentle woman, whom Kurt knew only very briefly from Kiro's flash of memories, being so viciously murdered.

Kiro looked at the picture, and then at the first page, but his eyes began to tear up after just a second or two of reading, and he shook his head slowly before shutting the book, not even having turned the page yet, and set it down gently on the table. He then took one of the scarves (a head scarf, Kurt realized, not unlike some that his adoptive mother in Germany occasionally wore), from the small stack of them near his mother's clothes, and held it in his hands briefly before he covered his face in it, much like Kurt himself had done with Kiro's pillow while his lover was kidnapped, and began to softly weep.

At that point, Kurt did hug him, slipping his arms around Kiro and just holding him as he cried, saying nothing. The professor and Logan, as one, said nothing as they moved over to the other side of the study, standing next to the window and then began to talk quietly to one another. Kurt wasn't sure what they were saying, but most of his attention was on Kiro, as his golden eyes once again drifted across the small selection of clothes, jewelry, books, and toys that were all that remained of his only family, and his past, before the sisters had taken him in. Kurt had no idea what to say, and wasn't sure if anything even should be said. He and the professor both knew what had happened, having seen it through Kiro's own memories, but that didn't make it any easier for Kiro, he was sure. Kurt did the only thing that he felt he could do: be there. He continued to hold Kiro as the tears silently fell, and gently ran his hand up and down his lover's side.

It was quite a while before Kiro finally stopped weeping, and he held the scarf tightly in his hands as he mouthed something, silently. Something that Kurt did not recognize, perhaps in Romanian. As ever, he was completely silent. He then carefully folded the scarf, still moist with his tears, and rested it upon the small stack with the others.

"I understand that it may be difficult, Kiro," the professor said, as he and Logan rejoined them, "But we thought it best that you receive your mother's things. I understand that Nikita tried to find where she had been buried, as well, but there had just been no way for him to tell." The professor's voice was rather sad, but Kurt, Logan, and the professor were surprised when Kiro just shook his head. He then once again reached for the diary, and opened it to where his mother's picture rested inside the front cover. After holding it up so the three of them could see, he then gently, reverently, pointed toward her, before putting the same hand to his heart.

Kurt smiled, and nodded in understanding, as did the professor.

Logan, too, smiled as well, "She lives on through you, Ghost. And you obviously take after her, both in looks, and in selfless love. I think, if she saw you now, she'd be damn proud. Just like we are."

All three of them nodded, and Kiro's breath caught in his throat, before his eyes began to shine again, and he gave a playful glare at Logan, even as he was smiling. Kurt could almost hear him, saying with his eyes, 'Aw, come on, Logan, you made me cry again!' He once again found himself noticing the strong bond between Kiro and Logan, and it made him smile even more.

But Logan said nothing, he just opened his arms, and Kiro immediately went to hug him. The professor rolled his chair over to Kurt's side, and he smiled as they watched the two of them, musing quietly, "I think I understand, now more than ever, how Kiro could have such love for seemingly everyone he sees. His mother loved him so selflessly, even up to her own untimely death. And the sisters in the monastery, with their devotion to God, who welcomed him into their home, a poor, homeless child who just showed up on their doorstep one cold night, raising him as their own. The boy had some of the best teachers in the world, in what love is really all about."

Kurt nodded, and wiped his own eyes as he sighed, "I think the world would be a bit of a better place if everyone had some teachers like that." Charles gave a slow nod of agreement, as his eyes again went to the humble possessions on the table. All that remained of a gentle young mother, a mother who had given everything to save her only son's life.

-------

"That was really cool of them, Kiki! Really!" Kitty said as she and Rogue sat on their bed. Kiro had carefully packed everything back into the chest, though in a slightly different order, and he had brought it up to their room with Kurt's help, a quick *BAMF!* making the journey easier. The trunk now rested in his closet, right next to where his robe from the monastery hung, though at the moment several of the scarves and shawls, as well as the small jewelry box, were now beside them on the bed, as Rogue and especially Kitty looked at them with interest and respect.

"Ah had no idea yer mom was a Gypsy, Kiro. What did you say his name was originally, bro?" Rogue asked Kurt, while she gently held up one of the head scarves, its intricate pattern rather colorful but subdued at the same time. A humble woman's headscarf. "Bela," Kurt said with a smile. "Just like Bela Lugosi, I think. I looked it up online after we saw the memories that day, it means 'white,' and 'beautiful.' Rather fitting, ja?" He said with a smile. Kiro blushed beside him, and smiled, though his eyes were undeniably sad as well. Kurt drew him into another hug and rubbed his side with a whisper.

"It definitely is, for real," Rogue said with a smile as well, setting the scarf back down with the others. "That is, like, so amazing," Kitty said, peering over the shawl in her hands, "These are all hand-made. My grandma used to make scarves like this, even just a small one takes like a whole week at least, sometimes." Kiro nodded in agreement with Kitty's observation, before he titled his head curiously at Kitty with an inquisitive smile. "Oh, my grandma wasn't Roma, at least I don't think so, but my whole family and I are Jewish. They tend to share a lot in common, like the Holocaust, unfortunately," she said with a frown, "And Jews and Roma have lived side by side for many, many years. I know that some Roma are also Jews themselves," Kitty said with a smile. "Plus, back when I took belly dancing lessons-"

"Was..?" Kurt asked, his mouth hanging open.

"- I used to wear outfits just like this. What, Kurt? You think I was always this good at dancing?" Kitty asked with a wry grin. And Kurt just looked even more flustered. Kiro leaned over and playfully nudged him with a teasing smile, and Kurt recovered, "Sorry, mein engel. I just.. well.. Kitty doing belly dancing is almost as mind-crashing as the thought of YOU doing.. belly dancing.." Kurt gulped and averted his eyes, and both Kitty and Rogue laughed.

Rogue recovered quickly, however, and said with a grin, "Hmm, that's a nice image. Kitty and Kiki belly-dancing. Maybe y'all two should have a dance-off and Kurt can be the judge?"

"Oh My GOD," Kitty and Kurt both said at exactly the same time, and the three of them immediately started laughing once again. Kiro giggled silently as well, before he once again reached into the small jewelry box to retrieve the silver cross. It was probably the simplest item in there, but it clearly held a lot of meaning for him. He cupped it in his hands and looked down at it for a moment, while the three recovered from their laughter.

It was Kitty, however, who spoke first, and her voice was quiet. "Your mother's?" She asked, and Kiro slowly nodded. "She must've worn that a lot, it's got a lot of wear," Kitty observed, and again Kiro nodded. He was still wearing, as he always did, the simple wooden cross he had been given by the nuns, carefully preserved and laquered, and Kurt smiled as he suggested, "Maybe wear that one inside your shirt, and the nuns' cross outside?"

"Seems fitting," Kitty said, looking between the two crosses with a smile. "Kurt? Why don't you do the honors?" she suggested, and Kiro gently gave the cross to Kurt, who frowned with a humorous tone to his voice as he complained, "Ja, give it to the fuzzy dude with clumsy fingers." But the hand-made design of the necklace actually came in handy, as the clasp was a simple affair that was actually rather large and sturdy-looking and easy to manipulate, even by his three-fingered hands. After carefully brushing Kiro's hair aside, long enough that it pooled on the bed beside where he sat, he soon had his mother's necklace clasped around his neck, and slipped down his shirt with a gentle touch.

"Looks like all of this is hand-made. Probably worth just as much in money as it is in sentimental value," Rogue mused as she looked over the other items of jewelry in the box. Nothing overly elaborate, except maybe the "cage" earring with the amethyst in it, but all of it had a sense that it may well have been many years old, perhaps even over a hundred, all made of good quality gold or silver. Kiro nodded at Rogue's observation, and pointed to the case, before he made a curious gesture with his hands, as though backing away from something really expensive or valuable for fear he might break it, and then instead pointing to where his mother's cross now hung inside his shirt, just over his heart, like its black wooden twin outside.

Rogue looked at Kiro curiously for a second, before she nodded, trying to puzzle out what he was "saying." "Ah, so, too expensive or precious to wear usually, so most of it she just kept locked up?" Rogue asked, and Kiro grinned as he gave Rogue two thumbs up, nodding several times.

"Got it in one, sis!" Kurt congratulated her, and the two exchanged a high five as Kitty giggled. "Hey, I knew we'd learn to communicate eventually!"

"Makes sense," Kurt nodded, and Kiro carefully closed the jewelry box before he went back into the closet to safely store it away. Kitty and Rogue had seen the photograph from Miruna, the retired news reporter, and had gushed, both about how beautiful Lilliana was as well as how utterly adorable little Kiro had been beside her, even in the background. Their expressions were repeated, though, when Kiro returned with his mother's diary and once again opened it to reveal her picture on the inner cover. Judging from the date on the first page, the diary had begun to be kept perhaps shortly before Kiro was born, and the picture seemed to have been taken around the same time, just a few years (perhaps five?) before her death, with a small baby-bump to her belly noticeable. She, like her son, was hauntingly beautiful, and had pale skin as well, though her long hair was pure black, reaching down well past her hips, and her eyes were a deep emerald green.

"Oh my gawd, Kiro. She's.. really beautiful," Rogue said, and Kitty beside her just nodded, speechless. Kurt found himself once again looking down at the portrait, and then up at Kiro, and smiled. It was fascinating, almost, capturing so much of his mother's beauty, with just subtle clues as to the fact that he was actually a boy, and in different colors. Kiro nodded in agreement with Rogue and Kitty, gently touching her picture.

"Did she ever talk about your dad?" Kitty asked, "Like, who was he? Was he also a..." Kitty trailed off when she saw the look on Kiro's face. He shook his head at her first question, and then gently tapped her picture, before placing his finger across his lips, and then shrugging. "Huh, so she never talked about him?" Rogue guessed, and Kiro nodded, his expression growing sad.

"Well, I'm sure she had her reasons," Kurt said with a small, pained smile. "Lord knows I have no idea who my dad is, and considering who my -mother- is, I'm thinking I would rather not even find out, at this point," he said with a pained chuckle, one that was echoed, somewhat nervously, by Rogue. "Right there with ya, bro. Irene was a good mom to me, though, so I'm not complainin'."

"Well, hopefully he wasn't a bad guy. I mean, like, I can't imagine that. Especially not with how wonderful you turned out, Kiki," Kitty said with a bright smile. "You don't seem to have a drop of evil anywhere in your body," she continued, before peering at the picture once more. "Well, she's not wearing a head scarf, so that probably means they never married. Maybe he was someone really kind, like you, and she was just really sad because he, like, died, or disappeared, and didn't want to talk about him for that reason?" She suggested.  

Kiro considered it for a moment, and then nodded, pointing at Kitty with a smile and giving a thumbs up, though there was very little happiness in his smile. Kurt understood. It always bothered him, somehow, not knowing who his real parents were. Even now, despite his jokes, he still wondered, deep down, who his father was. Kiro, it seems, had known all along who his mother was, but, as Kurt now understood entirely too well, he had been too heartbroken to talk about her (not that he could talk, anyway), and she, perhaps, had been too heartbroken to ever tell him anything about his father. Perhaps, Kurt mused, there might be something in her diary? But Kiro seemed in no hurry to read it, and Kurt couldn't blame him.

"Well, now that everyone's completely depressed, whadya say we start talkin' about comfort food?" Rogue suggested, breaking the silence and the mood with a smile. Kurt's stomach must have heard her loud and clear, because it immediately growled, making all of them laugh. "Okay, okay, the stomach wins!" Kurt announced with a smile. Kiro nodded and grinned, before he went around the bed and gathered up all the scarves carefully before he went to put them back in the trunk, and Kitty said, "Well, it's Saturday night, and comfort food sounds mighty fine!" She then paused, and said sheepishly, "Oh, wait, that reminds me." Kurt, curious, paused to look at her as he stretched. "Ya got a date?" Rogue asked, her smirk already saying she knew good and well.

"Oh mein Gott. Tristan?" Kurt asked hopefully.

Kitty nodded, and Kurt grinned brightly, "Hey, that's wunderbar, Kitty! Really great news!" Kiro, too, announced his approval by clapping and then giving Kitty two thumbs up, smiling as well. He and Tristan had gotten along rather well, due in no small part to Tristan's comfort with his and Kurt's relationship (plus, perhaps, Kiro's generally warm attitude towards anyone, until given a reason to feel otherwise). Tristan had even earned the respect of most of the X-Men as well, especially after Kitty's rather disastrous relationship with Lance. As Logan had put it, after seeing him after the dance, "He'll do."

"Yeah, that's pretty awesome, Kitty! Where y'all thinkin' of goin'?" Rogue asked. That, at least, she didn't yet know, as Kitty had apparently discussed their arrangements in person. "We've got reservations at Tomasino's at-" Kitty started to answer, before she looked at the clock on Kurt's nightstand and immediately panicked, "-oh my god!! In like 30 minutes!! Sorry guys, gotta run!!" Kitty said, just before she ran through the wall.

"Well, I guess that answers that. Tomasino's, huh? Swanky!" Rogue said, a touch of envy in her voice. Kurt nodded, unable to resist a smile as Kiro came up from behind him and hugged him, and Kurt reached up to hug his arms in return, even as he shivered from a full dose of Kiro's touch. "Yeah, sounds like they're really serious. I'm glad to see it," Kurt confessed. He then peered at Rogue and smiled, "Now, if we could just figure out something for you, sis."

Rogue scoffed, "Like what? A body-condom?" At her rather colorful suggestion, both of the boys immediately blushed, "Well, um, I wasn't thinking quite that extreme. But.. well, there has to be something, I'm sure!" Kurt added. Kiro seemed thoughtful, behind him, resting his head on Kurt's shoulder. Rogue still found it somewhat cute that Kiro was even shorter than Kurt.

"Bro, yer kinda puttin' the cart in front of the horse, y'know? I ain't really interested in anybody anyway," she said, with a faint touch of bitterness in her voice. She had crushed rather hard on Scott when she first came to the Institute, but she had finally accepted that Scott's heart was solidly with Jean, and had wished the two of them happiness.

The thought of even pursuing anyone else had never occurred to her, though Kurt's suggestion made her think it over. "Plus, can't recall anybody bein' interested in me, either," she lamented, lowering her gaze. Her eyes shut as she sighed.

She then let out a soft gasp, and blushed, when she felt Kiro's touch on her arm. "Besides, Kiki, you keep me pretty well satisfied just doin' that. Ohh man.." she said, her blush deepening. Kiro grinned and leaned over to gently hug her, careful not to touch her face with his, and she shivered in his grasp.

Kurt watched with a smile. "It really does feel like the best embrace in the world, doesn't it?" He asked, and Rogue nodded. She drew a deep breath, and sighed, "It's like.. it makes me remember what it was like, before my powers woke up." She shifted her legs beneath her on the bed as she continued, "And it's.. like I imagine it'd feel like, if some guy actually.." she then trailed off as her blush deepened and her eyes grew glassy, and shivered once again. "Okay, okay, Kiki, I think that's enough for now," she said, a note of caution in her voice. Kiro immediately drew away, and looked down at her in concern.

"Nah, it's alright, Kiki, really," Rogue said with a smile, though she was still visibly blushing, and a low tremor ran through her. "Ah just, um.. well, you really probably ain't interested in what Ah was about to do, if you'd've kept holdin' on like that," she confessed, and Kurt looked at her for a second or two in shock, before almost collapsing in a fit of giggles.

Kiro, however, just looked a bit confused, until he apparently put two and two together, and then blushed bright red, sitting down on the bed and giving a bow of apology. "Ohhhh YES," Kurt said, in between giggles, "Revenge is sweet! That's what you get for teasing me so much about Kiro, sis!" He taunted playfully.

Rogue chuckled, "Touche, bro. Though yeah, Kiki, Ah forgot how powerful your touch could be, even through clothes. That's like, some powerful stuff! Ah can still remember how Kitty reacted when you first healed her." Rogue said, shaking her head, before she whispered conspiratorily, "She told me later that she really did almost come, just from you touchin' her hand and healin' her." Kurt immediately cackled again, and Kiro just blushed, though he was smiling and nodding, apparently happy that she enjoyed it so much.

"Yeah, they're actually some really cool powers to have, Kiki. Makes me glad you're here with us, y'know?" She mused as she composed herself and slid off the bed. She was silent for a minute as Kurt recovered from his giggle fit, but her expression slowly shifted to a frown and her next words were not exactly pleasant.

"Ah heard Logan talkin' with Ororo the other night, up in her garden. They were basically sayin' how glad they were you were here with us, instead of still.. like.. wanderin' the streets somewhere all alone," Rogue began, and Kurt blinked at her, while Kiro looked equally surprised. Kurt knew that Logan and Ororo had been spending more time together recently, but.. Logan had been talking about Kiro? Worried about him?

Rogue apparently missed their glances, and continued, "Especially out in eastern Europe, with the child sex-trafficking out there. Logan was talkin' about how he'd seen, and helped to shut down, places that would just love to have a good lookin' boy like you, Kiki, especially with your abilities." Kiro nodded, and shivered. He had got a little taste of sex-trafficking, himself, courtesy of Lance Alvers and Janus Kloviciak. Kurt trembled as well as he saw Kiro's reaction, more out of anger than fear.

"Places that'd have like a dozen girls or boys as basically sex slaves, locked up somewhere until some suit wanted to have some fun with them," Rogue had an undercurrent of fear and disgust in her voice, as well, at the possibilities. After all, all three of them were orphans, and could just as easily have been snatched up by one of those places if they had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But Kiro's abilities were especially alluring to them, and frightening. He seemed to realize this, as he hugged himself and sat down on the bed, trembling even more.

Rogue shook her head as she looked at Kiro, and reached out to gently touch his shoulder before saying, "Ah'm sorry, Ah didn't mean to blab. It just, well, it got me thinkin' about the same thing, y'know? Especially findin' out about your mother tonight." Kiro shivered, and nodded, wrapping his arms around his middle. Kurt watched him with a frown, feeling his anger rising.

"'Ro was pretty spooked too, and you know how composed she usually is. She asked Logan what brought that on, and apparently Logan had had a really bad dream about it," she confessed. "Guess he felt the need to vent a little, and that's sayin' something, considering the kind of nightmares he's probably used to havin'." Kurt nodded, and stepped away from the two to rub the back of his neck, his tail lashing in agitation. He had had similar nightmares as well, that Kiro had been kidnapped again, and he had no idea where to find him. He felt the fear, and the anger, rising once more, and took several deep, slow breaths to calm himself. 'C'mon, just like Liz taught you, deep breath in.. hold for a few seconds.. deep breath out..'

"Ah'm glad you're here with us, Kiki," Rogue concluded, and drew the boy into another hug. Kiro smiled as well, despite his trembling at the unpleasant memories she had dredged up, and Rogue sighed as his powers once again affected her, saying nothing for a moment. "Ya damn lovable teddy bear," she finally said with a smile, before reaching up to ruffle his hair and let him go, before giving a glance at Kiro's own teddy bear that was now sitting on his nightstand beside the bed.

She and Kitty had both awwww'd at the sight of Kiro's chocolate-colored teddy bear, and even Kurt had confessed that he thought it looked adorable. Kitty had asked what "his" name was, but Kiro had just looked at her for a moment before she had smacked her forehead, "Right, sorry, you can't tell us, or write it yet, at least not in English," she had said with a grin.

Kurt turned and grinned at the two of them, having fully quelled the brief flash of anger and fear, and stretched once again, feeling a soft pop in his spine and his tail. "Well, mein engel, where did you want to go for dinner?" Kurt asked, and favored his sister with a wink as well, "Rogue, did you want to come with us?"

"Nah, it's alright, guys. Ah reckon Ah could do with some jambalaya tonight. Y'all have fun!" Rogue said with a smile, giving the two of them a wave before she stepped out of the room. She also felt the need to apologize to Logan, for eavesdropping, albeit unwittingly, on his chat with Ororo a couple nights ago. She had noticed Logan and Ororo spending a bit more time together as well, and found herself wondering at the possibility. As much as they seemed to love to snipe at one another, she couldn't deny there was definitely some chemistry there.



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