Mixed Feelings

BY : Panduki
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1206
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!


"That's wonderful news, Kurt, really!" Liz said, leaning back in her chair with a happy smile. Their session was about ten minutes from being over, and after an hour filled with rather unpleasant therapy, Kurt had decided to change the subject by providing some rather pleasant news, about both what had happened Saturday night, and earlier this morning.

Beside him, Kiro had a warm smile on his face while they leaned against one another on the loveseat. Kurt had explained about Logan's decision to formally adopt Kiro Saturday night (which had been made official this morning by the State Department, though Liz agreed to keep everything secret until the official announcement later that evening at dinner), as well as their intimacy later that evening. Liz made a note in her notebook, and nodded, "The fact that you're still having difficulties is to be expected, Kiro, don't worry. Being able to be intimate with one another after such a short time is a good thing, though, no question about it. The more you two take your love back, and make it yours again, the more the memories of your assaults will be paved over with new, better ones."

Kurt nodded, a swell of optimism in his chest, and grinned as he said, "Ja. They will always be there, I know that now. Even if I try to forget them really hard, like I did before. But, thanks to you, Liz, I know how to fight them now. It's.. it's really wunderbar." Beside him, Kiro nodded several times, and smiled as well. The day had gone absolutely wonderfully...

...Logan himself had come to pick him up at school that afternoon, and Kiro had ridden back to the mansion behind Logan on his motorcycle. It was both frightening and exhilirating for him at the same time, based on how he had looked when he finally slid off of the motorcycle at the Institute and removed the spare helmet Logan had brought along.

Kurt had ridden with Jean, Scott, Rogue and Kitty in Scott's car behind them, and he grinned at the look on Kiro's face. His violet eyes were as wide as Kiro's had ever been, and his whole body was trembling from what must have been pure adrenaline, but he was grinning as well, and when Kurt asked him how he was feeling, Kiro had just shot two thumbs up in his direction. Beside them, Jean laughed and said, "Kurt? You remember the reaction of The Rocketeer after his first flight of the jetpack? When Peevy the mechanic found found him in the water? That's how Kiro's feeling right now. Literally."

Scott had looked at Jean in bewilderment, and grinned. It seemed that Jean, too, had finally gotten to the point where she could sense Kiro's thoughts even without touching him. It may also have to do with the fact that Kiro was, indeed, so excited that he was broadcasting them far and wide.

Kurt laughed and asked Kiro, needlessly, "You LIKE it, huh?" Kiro nodded once again, and surged up to hug Logan just after the man got off the bike, and he smirked, hugging Kiro in return. "Looks like I've created a monster," Logan observed, and when Kiro looked up at him, Logan apparently read something in his expression and immediately shook his head with a wan grin, "No, Ghost, we can't 'do it again!' You and the Elf have got an appointment, remember? Go on inside!"

And they had...

"Well, I have to say I'm very impressed with your progress, you two!" Liz said, closing her notebook as the clock chimed the hour, marking the end of their Monday session. "I'm actually thinking we can dial back the therapy sessions to only one a week, now, if you think that might be a little easier?" She offered, peering at the two of them.

Kurt blinked, and a slow smile came across his face as he realized the significance of her offer, "You.. really think we're doing that good?" Beside him, Kiro seemed just as surprised. Admittedly it had not taken much today to get either of them on the verge of tears. Poking and prodding deliberately at their wounds still hurt, and hurt a fair bit.

But Liz explained that much of what she had done, in medical terms, was to help lance the wound and allow the infection to drain. It would still be sore, of course, and hurt if deliberately picked at, but for now, it was better to step back a bit and let the body heal. "We'll still have a session once a week, of course, either on Monday or Friday, it's up to you two. But at this point, I'm beginning to think you two are doing well enough on your own that we may only need another few weeks together, at most," Liz concluded.

At their surprised expressions, she chuckled and shook her head, "Kurt, remember: when I told you that it could take months, sometimes even years, to work through complex issues, I was giving you the worst case scenario. You and Kiro are both very, very lucky." She explained, crossing her legs as she watched the two of them. "Your issues, Kurt, were allowed to fester for almost two years before I was able to help you, but even before then, you already had a lot of help: The professor, and now recently Kiro. Falling in love, and experiencing a healthy sexual relationship with such a kind and gentle boyfriend, already did a lot of good for you. And it was also a major element in helping you heal once again when your wounds were reopened after his kidnapping."

Kurt found himself smiling, and nodded as he squeezed Kiro's hand. She was right. He knew in his heart that she was. Even if it had taken him a long time to come to terms with his own feelings for Kiro, he couldn't deny that it had easily been one of the best things that ever happened to him, just like being adopted by his parents, and coming to the Institute.

Liz then turned her gaze to Kiro, and she nodded once again as she looked over the rim of her glasses at him, "And you, Kiro. Much the same could be said of you. Unlike Kurt, your first experience sexually was with him, and because he was so different from your attacker, it was fairly easy to separate the two in your mind. Plus, the fact that Kurt himself was familiar with such abuse, and how it effects the mind and heart, also helped you along in your recovery, even before I came along," she winked. "I cannot emphasize enough how good it is, and how important, that the two of you have helped each other just as much as I have helped you, if not more, and that is exactly the way it should be."

Kurt found himself speechless, and touched, by her words. He slipped his arm (and tail) around Kiro's hips and hugged his lover tightly, and gave a dreamy smile as Kiro kissed his cheek. He then giggled, however, as Kiro apparently got some of Kurt's fur in his lips and spat it out with a sheepish grin of apology.

"Why is it so rare though?" Kurt asked as his attention returned to Liz. Their session had already ended moments ago, but he felt no need to end their conversation prematurely. Liz, however, lowered her gaze with a sigh before she answered, "Unfortunately, Kurt, many couples aren't as fortunate as you two are. Or families, for that matter. My own history is one such example, but.. most of the abuse and rape that I've dealt with, was perpetrated by family members, or indeed by spouses or boyfriends."

Kurt frowned, and Kiro beside him just looked sad, hugging Kurt a little tighter as his violet eyes remained leveled on Liz, as silent as ever. "It makes things exponentially more difficult, Kurt, when your abuser is your own parent, for example. Or even a near relative, like my uncle was, or a cousin. I've even seen instances of siblings abusing one another," Liz continued, rubbing the bridge of her nose. Kurt just nodded silently, remarking to himself, not for the first time, at how this woman, Dr. Lluy, had helped so many people, and seen such ugliness and horror from humankind, against their own loved ones.

"When your home becomes your own prison, and your parents your abusers, I'm sure you can imagine how that would make your recovery much, much harder," Liz said with a sobering look at the two of them. She then, however, smiled, "So, believe me when I tell you, Kurt. Kiro. You two are indeed very, very fortunate. And in addition to each other, you have a house full of family who are some of the best, kindest, and most honorable people I can think of," Liz added, making a sweeping gesture toward the mansion around them.

"And," she concluded with a wink, "you now have the opportunity to call one of them 'father,' don't you, Kiro?"

Kiro nodded at her words with a bright grin. A grin that soon turned into a gasp, a blush, and a face covered behind both of his hands when Kurt pointed out: "A father that he totally had a crush on for the first week here, and I think he still kind of does!"

Liz raised a brow, but said nothing as Kurt giggled and Kiro just blushed deeper between his fingers and shook his head, spilling his white hair down around his shoulders and back.

Finally, however, Liz just smiled before she said with a shrug, "Well, I can't say I blame you, Kiro. That Logan does look rather sexy in a pair of jeans."

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

While the two boys walked Liz to the door of the institute, they were met by the professor and Dr. McCoy at the atrium, and Liz smiled brightly as she gave them the good news. The boys were doing quite well in their recovery, helped in no small part by their love and support of one another, as well as the support they had been given by the others at the school, especially the professor. She was rather confident that, perhaps even after just a few more weeks, she would be able to end their regular sessions and simply place them on a "call if you need me" basis.

"That is wonderful news, Dr. Lluy!" Hank said with a toothy grin. He and Dr. Lluy had surprised Kurt by how well the two had gotten along over the past month or so. Hank had explained one evening during Kiro's medbay tutoring that he had been rather impressed by not only Dr. Lluy's gift for psychiatry, but also her fondness for classical literature, and the two had spent almost an hour or more in the library having a delightful conversation one of the first evenings Dr. Lluy had been here.

"Hank, please, how many times do I have to ask you to call me Liz?" Liz asked while favoring the Beast with a kind smile, a fondness in her gaze that did not go amiss from either Kurt or Kiro, to say nothing about Hank himself. Hank smiled and rubbed his neck in a bashful gesture, "Well, I can't help it, Liz, I feel the need to act as a gentleman around you."

"And you certainly do, it's one of the many things I like about you," Liz intoned, and caught Kiro's silent giggle out of the corner of her eye before he flashed Liz a furtive wink and gently pointed towards Hank, before flashing her an encouraging nod and a thumbs up. She returned the wink, before turning towards Charles, who was trying (and failing) to keep a straight face after watching their little exchange. Hank, fortunately, had not seen it, otherwise the poor man probably would have been blushing hard enough to turn puple through his fur.

The professor soon recovered, however, when he steepled his hands with a bright smile, saying, "Well, Liz, I must agree with Hank: you have done Kurt and Kiro a great service, and I'm sure your recommendation is a good one. Perhaps we might even finish in time for the Christmas break and your trip home, Kurt?" The professor predicted hopefully, though his expression faltered a bit at the immediate flood of nervousness that he received from Kurt, and seeing Kurt's expression twist into a grimace.

"Um, professor, actually, I.. um.. wanted to talk with you about that," Kurt began, and his tail twitching betrayed his nervousness as he began to look around. Clearly this was a discussion he would rather have in private. Charles gave him a reassuring smile, however, and said, "Of course, Kurt. Why don't we step aside, while the good doctors continue their discussion on Masefield?"

Hank and Liz nodded, and Liz flashed Kurt a reassuring smile, before she and Dr. McCoy went down the hall to the library. Kiro paused, uncertainly, and Kurt smiled at him, "It's alright, mein engel. Why don't you spend some time with your dad? I'll come find you once we're done." Kiro still flashed him a concerned look, but he smiled and then gave Kurt a quick hug, before he went down the hall towards the elevator, perhaps going to see if Logan was still busy in the Danger Room.

While they walked toward the professor's study, Kurt sighed. The professor was silent and respectful, and waited until Kurt finally spoke. Kurt's voice was quiet, possessing a subtle tremor as he finally explained, "I really don't like keeping him out of it like that, but I'm just.. so afraid. My parents are very old fashioned, very traditional, and.. well.. very Catholic."

"They are also good people, Kurt," the professor replied with a smile. "Don't be so quick to assume the worst about them. After all, they took you into their home without a second thought. Indeed, accepted you as a gift from God, as I heard your mother say once. Despite your rather 'demonic' appearance."

At that, Kurt gave a wry grin and nodded, even as his tail swished in agitation behind him, "I know, professor. But it's what I -don't- know that bothers me right now. I don't know how they'll react, or what they'll say, until I tell them. Especially mutti. I know she's talked about grandkids, and.. I don't want to break her heart," Kurt finally admitted, as they crossed the threshhold into the professor's study and shut the doors softly behind them.

"Well, be that as it may, Kurt, it is a discussion that you will have to have, sooner or later. And preferably sooner," the professor said, ushering him over to one of the comfortable chairs in front of the fireplace, while the professor rolled over to sit beside him. "As it seems you are intending to perhaps stay here over the Christmas holiday?" The professor guessed, and Kurt immediately nodded.

"I think so, professor. I really want to be with Kiro on Christmas. Especially our first one, together," Kurt admitted. "But.. it would be the first Christmas I've spent away from home, away from my parents. And.." Kurt paused for a moment, feeling his breath catch as his heart began to pound. Once again, doubt and fear were boiling up from his gut. Though this time they had nothing to do with past traumas, and everything to do with fear of hurting his parents. Breaking his mother's heart. How could he even begin to tell her?

"Kurt, please, calm yourself, you're working yourself up into a panic," the professor said, gently, and Kurt realized only then that his hands were gripping the chair arms tightly enough for his claws to dig into the wood, and he released them with a mumbled apology. "I'm sorry, professor, so sorry. I just.. I want to tell them, but, at the same time, I feel like it would be so.. impersonal, to tell them with a phone call or with a letter. But if I fly out there to tell them, then I would be leaving mein engel here all alone, and I.." He stopped, and held his head in his hands.

The professor's hand on his shoulder was a gentle comfort, and Kurt sighed as he felt his heart slowly relax and his trembling stop. Trembling? Wow.. he HAD been working himself up. He lifted his head to peer at the flames of the fire, and frowned a bit when he noticed the fire guttering. Rising from the chair, he added a fresh log to the fire, while the professor thought for a moment.

"Well, Kurt, I actually have a third option in mind," the professor said, while Kurt's tail finished sliding the fire screen back into place and he went back to his chair. "Was ist es, profesor?" Kurt asked, and Charles smiled, understanding for once without needing Kurt to repeat himself in English. "Well, Kurt, since I was planning on buying you a plane ticket to Germany and then back again anyway, why don't I simply do it in reverse, and buy your parents tickets to come here?" The professor suggested, and Kurt blinked at him in surprise, before Charles continued, "They would come here and stay over the Christmas holiday, let's tentatively say a week? And have a chance to see you and the others who would be staying here, as well as meet Kiro. And then you would have the opportunity to reveal the news to them when ready."

Kurt nodded slowly, and felt his heart thumping again at the idea of that. It was, in a way, the best solution he could hope for. But at the same time, once again, the thought of them meeting Kiro, and having that discussion.. and having things turn sour, worried him. He hadn't seen his parents get angry very often, but it had happened. Particularly his father, and mostly when Kurt was threatened, but still.

"It is up to you, Kurt, but that is what I think may work out for the best," Charles said with a hand still on his shoulder. Kurt nodded again, and said nothing for the moment, his thoughts trying to sort themselves out in his mind. His parents were good people. He knew that, as did the professor. But their faith, much like Kurt's own, could be an enormous problem. Plus their reaction to him being, as his father had sometimes spoken disdainfully about homosexuals, a 'schwuler.' Not quite with the level of hatred that some people had reacted, but with what he had sometimes heard described as a "tolerant scorn."

The same way, in fact, that his father had viewed the Roma people in Germany, now that Kurt thought about it, with a new flicker of fear. The thought of his father, his vati, looking at him, or even worse, Kiro, in the same manner did indeed frighten him. 'Vati, you've always been such a good man, a righteous man, who was both stern and loving.. I.. hate the thought of disappointing you,' Kurt thought, and blinked as a tear trailed down his cheek.

"Kurt, please forgive me for overhearing, but you are broadcasting somewhat loud," the professor said gently, and Kurt blinked away another tear and nodded, mumbling an apology in German. "Kurt, your father.. your parents.. love you," the professor continued, "You know that. And even if they may not take this revelation well, and perhaps even grow angry, and speak in that anger, they -do- still love you. You are safe here. You won't be thrown out onto the streets, or anything of the sort. This is a place of sanctuary. And if necessary, I and the others will do everything we can to keep the peace, and ensure your family can have this discussion productively."

Kurt nodded, and lifted a hand to rest it on the professor's on his shoulder before he replied, "I know, professor. I'm just.. I'm afraid, still, and I think I will be until after we have that discussion, finally." Charles nodded, "As ever, Kurt. The anticipation, I only hope, will turn out much worse than the actual event."

The two sat in silence for a moment, before Kurt finally said, "Professor, I think you're right. I think that will be the best plan. Bring them here over the holidays, when I think it will be just you, me, Rogue, Hank, Kiro, and Logan?" The professor nodded and smiled, "Just so. At least for the foreseeable future," he added, with a glance toward the wall, in the direction of the nearby library.

Kurt didn't miss his glance, and he grinned, "Hank and Liz. Who would have thought, ja?" Charles chuckled, and gently chided Kurt in reply, "Now let's not be too hasty, Kurt. But yes, I have noticed the two of them getting along rather well." Kurt rose from the chair and stretched, producing a couple of pops from his spine and a grunt of relief from his lips. "Well, ok, but no promises on teasing them if things do go well! There is a whole heap of Beauty and the Beast jokes building in my head!"

"One could say the same jokes about you and Kiro, you know," Charles said, quirking a brow with a sardonic smirk. Kurt paused, and then giggled, before saying, "Touche, professor." The professor then led the way to his desk, as Kurt decided it may be best to make the phone call now before his courage failed him.


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

Charles himself made the call to Kurt's parents (quickly apologizing for the lateness of the hour in Germany), formally inviting them to spend Christmas at the Institute with Kurt. Fortunately, Kurt's father did not seem curious about their reasons for altering the "usual" plan of having Kurt come home to Germany, and instead said that he and Kurt's mother would love to come to America for the Christmas holiday. Kurt took the phone to send his love to both of his parents, and also reveal that he had some "important things" he wanted to talk with them about while they were here. And no, mutti, he would not spoil the surprise!

Once the professor and Kurt's father had tentatively decided on dates, and Charles assured them that all the arrangements would be made, goodbyes were exchanged and the phone was hung up. Kurt gushed a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding, and leaned against the professor's desk with a sigh. "Well, here we go," he murmured. Beside him, Charles nodded, "Indeed, Kurt. No sense worrying yourself about it, either. Why not tell Kiro the good news and get ready for dinner? I believe it should be ready shortly. And Logan has his own good news to announce then as well," Charles needlessly reminded him. Kurt grinned and flashed a thumbs up, saying, "Good plan, professor! I'm out!"

Kurt then immediately *BAMF!*ed out of the professor's study and appeared in their darkened room. A quick glance around with his golden eyes told him that Kiro was not here. He then *BAMF!*ed downstairs into the danger room's control center, peering down into the room below. The lights were out, and the computer indicated that the last session had ended about thirty minutes ago. "Hmm," Kurt mumbled, and then ported back upstairs to the main hallway before he peered into the rec room. Most of the mutants were there, except for Kitty and Rogue, who Kurt then recalled were in charge of dinner that evening. "Hey, has anyone seen Kiro or Logan?" he called.

Roberto, Bobby, Ray and Sam were busy working each other into a frenzy over their fighting game and did not answer him. Jamie, meanwhile, was playing chess against himself and Kurt found himself wondering what would happen if he won. Or lost. But finally, Rahne answered from where she sat on a chair beside one of the Jamies, "I think I saw them going out to the garage, Kurt."

"Danke, Rahne!" Kurt called, and immediately *BAMF!*ed once again, missing the sudden coughing from Scott and Jean who had been walking down the hall at that minute beside him. "Ugh! Damn it, Kurt!!" Scott cursed in between coughs, waving a hand to clear the sulphur smoke.

Kurt was surprised when he ported into the garage, however, to find that it too, was dark and empty. The vehicles were all here, as well. Except... "Logan's bike?" He asked aloud, peering around. For once, he wished he had a nose as good as Logan's. Doing another quick port outside, he peered around. The skies were clear, though the twilight was darkening, and according to Kurt's watch it was a little after 7 PM. Could they have gone out for another ride? Kurt supposed it was possible. Though normally it wasn't like Logan to do so this near to dinner time.

Sure enough, there was a single line of fresh tire tracks in the snowy driveway, heading towards the gate. Kurt's feet crunched softly in the snow as he took a few steps down the drive, peering down towards where the gate was now mostly in darkness. 'Well, Kiro had enjoyed himself quite a bit during the ride home from school,' Kurt thought with a grin. Not to mention the reaction of several students when "Mr. Logan, that scary looking guy from the Xavier school," came by on his motorcycle to pick Kiro up personally.

Kurt's concerns were finally quieted by the distant, familiar sound of Logan's motorcycle, and Kurt grinned as he watched the bike finally pull into the Institute. A sharp turn at the drive, and a smooth acceleration up the snow-covered path toward the garage, was greeted with a wave from Kurt, and he saw Logan return it as the bike slowed. Behind Kurt, the garage door activated and began to lift, and Kurt backed up into the garage as the light turned on. Kiro was seated behind Logan on the bike as before, his hair flowing freely from beneath the helmet he wore.

Once the two had safely pulled inside and Logan engaged the kickstand, Kiro slid off the bike with a visible sigh. His whole body was trembling, as it had been earlier, but his face was a warm grin of delight as he pulled his helmet off and went over to hug Kurt, who giggled and responded as he returned the hug, "Who would have thought you would enjoy such a thing so much, after normally being so timid, mein engel?"

Logan, as well, was smirking as he pulled his own helmet off, "I was thinkin' the same thing, elf. I wonder what it is about this that's so fun for him? Especially after how much he freaked out on the Blackbird," Logan said with a cringe. Releasing Kiro's hug, Kurt nodded with a wince of his own. That had actually been one of the first instances where Kurt got a full dose of Kiro's power, when he hugged him on the Blackbird to keep him calm, and reassure him that they were perfectly safe as they flew.

Despite the date, Kiro had only had some small experience with motor vehicles, and had never ridden in one. His own experiences riding anything had been limited to horses or donkeys, or a cart pulled by them, and then only when the nuns brought a cart into town on a rare trip for supplies. The occasional sight of airplanes overhead had been a curiousity, but nothing more. But for some reason, Kiro did not mind cars or vans, and it seemed neither did he mind motorcycles. At least as long as it was Logan driving.

"Well, perhaps it will be another mystery until you can write us an answer, mein engel," Kurt said with a grin. "Speaking of answers, though.. my parents will be coming here for Christmas," Kurt announced. Kiro's expression immediately went from a grin, to a concerned look, remembering Kurt's revelation in the car the other night. Logan, too, did not miss Kurt's announcement, "Hm, well that's a switch from the usual. I figured you'd want to stay here, but you still want to tell them, don't you?" Logan surmised as he came over to join them.

"Ja. They deserve to know, and I'd rather tell them face to face. Plus, I want them to meet Kiro, too!" Kurt said, and smiled, despite his pounding heart and nervousness. This was, in a way, the last hurdle towards acceptance that he still had to cross. Himself, his fellow mutants at the school, Bayville High.. and finally, his parents. Kiro's touch on his arm drew Kurt's attention, and Kiro smiled warmly up at him before he moved his hand up to touch Kurt's heart, and then drew back to flash Kurt a thumbs up before nodding several times.

"Thank you, mein engel. I think so, too," Kurt said with a warm smile. He hoped things would work out, he really did. But knowing Kiro was there to support him regardless, made him feel a lot better, no matter what the outcome ended up being. "Things'll be alright, elf. Your parents are good people, and I have a feeling that even if they may not like it, I doubt they'd throw away a 16 year long relationship over who their son falls in love with," Logan said. His words ellicited a nod from Kiro, who pulled Kurt into another hug, and Kurt chuckled, "Ja, I feel the same way, Herr Logan. But I won't know for sure until that chat comes, and.. well.. ja," he concluded, a ghost of a frown on his face.

"Head on inside, you two," Logan ordered, setting his helmet on his bike and Kiro's on the nearby shelf. "I'll be in in a minute," he continued as he pressed a button on the bike which made the garage door start to close. Nodding, Kurt and Kiro made their way into the kitchen through the garage's interior door, and shared a quick kiss once they were inside. "So, you enjoyed the ride, mein engel?" Kurt asked with a wink once their kiss parted, and Kiro nodded several times, grinning brightly.

"Hay broface, Kiki!" Rogue called from the stove. She and Kitty were there, each working on a dish, and the whole kitchen smelled of a rather interesting combination of aromas. Southern cooking and what smelled like some kind of casserole or lasagna, along with dinner rolls and the like. Kurt grinned and waved, alongside Kiro, as they both stood in the doorway respectfully.

"How'd all three of you fit on the motorcycle?" Kitty asked, bemusedly. Apparently she had assumed that Logan, Kurt, and Kiro had -all- gone for a ride together. The thought made Kurt snicker, and Kiro beside him giggled silently as well, before a voice behind them said, "Use your imagination, Half-Pint." Logan stepped up behind them and put a hand on each of their shoulders, peering into the kitchen in curiousity as well.

Rogue snorted, but she was grinning at Kitty's thoughtful (and perhaps somewhat confused) expression, before she called over, "Dinner'll be ready in 5, guys, why don't y'all have everybody set the table?"

"Jawohl, dear sister!" Kurt responded, and Rogue stuck her tongue out at him playfully before returning to her dinner preparations alongside Kitty. While Kurt and Kiro went into the dining room to start setting the table, Logan went into the rec room to send out the call: "Dinnertime soon, runts! Anybody that doesn't wanna starve had better get into the dining room!"

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

Soon enough, all of the students at the Institute had assembled, as well as the teaching staff, the professor, and even Dr. Lluy had been invited to join them. She had been acquainted with the students, with most having seen her regularly coming and going twice a week over the past several weeks, but this was the first time she had joined them for dinner. Seated as she was beside Dr. McCoy, Kurt had to admit they made quite an interesting pair, and he found himself smiling at the thought that maybe, as he and the professor had briefly discussed earlier, there might indeed be something blossoming between them.

The professor finally raised a hand to settle the students down to silence, and smiled from his place at the head of the table, "Well everyone, another week has begun and we gather as a family to break bread together. I understand that we have some special announcements to make, as well! Kitty, why don't you begin?"

Kitty blinked, and gulped, her cheeks immediately coloring as all eyes at the table moved to her. "Well, gee, I was kinda hoping you'd, like, go in alphabetical order or something..!" She stammered, and there was a polite round of chuckles while she rose from her seat. "But, um, I did get some good news earlier from my parents. They received a letter from the STEM coordinator at Columbia University, kinda just a 'We've got our eye on you' thing, but the fact that they, like, even noticed me I guess is a good thing!" Kitty explained, and a round of applause and whistles went around the table.

"Indeed it is a good thing, Kitty," the professor said once the applause had quieted, "You've always possessed unique gifts with electronics-"

"- You can say that again, Chuck," Logan interrupted with a smirk, earning him a swat on the arm from Ororo beside him.

This earned a "Hey!!" from Kitty, and another round of chuckles at the table.

"But your performance at school so far has been exemplary, and you certainly seem to have come into your own when it comes to the programming and operation of advanced computer systems, to say nothing about how much you have helped Dr. McCoy, Jean and myself with making tweaks and improvements to Cerebro," Charles continued, and beside him, Hank nodded with a toothy grin. "So, as long as you continue to excel in your studies, I can see no reason why you would not have a welcome place at Columbia University once you've graduated," the professor concluded, and another round of applause went around the table.

Kitty blushed bright red, obviously rather touched by the professor's encouragement, and jogged up to the head of the table to give him a hug and a whispered thank you before she returned to her seat, soon receiving hugs from both Rogue and Kurt as well. Kiro leaned over to touch her shoulder from behind Kurt's back, and Kitty giggled at his powers before thanking him as well.

"Now, I understand that we have one more announcement to make. And this one is quite special indeed," the professor continued, and his hands steepled beneath his chin before he nodded. "Logan, the floor is yours, old friend," Charles invited, and beside him, Logan nodded. His face was somewhat guarded, and there was a mild bit of tension to his shoulders as he rose from his seat between Ororo and the professor.

"Well, many of you know that Kiro is a ward of the Institute, much like Scott," Logan began, gesturing to the two boys as he spoke. Scott and the others had been rather curious about Logan's reason for picking Kiro up personally at the school today, though Kiro (of course) had been quite silent about it, as had Kurt, out of respect for Logan's wishes.

They had had a feeling that something was going on, and now, it seemed, they were about to find out what. "After coming to the Institute, those without parents are effectively adopted by Professor Xavier when they arrive, and Kiro was no different," the Wolverine continued, and this ellicited scattered nods around the table.

"That, however, is no longer the case as of today," Logan then said, and all activity around the table seemed to pause. Why? What was going on? "C'mere, Ghost," Logan said, and that half-smile was on his face once again. Kiro rose from his seat (after furtively giving Kurt's hand a squeeze) and went around the table to stand at Logan's side. The burly man wrapped an arm around Kiro's shoulders, and he nodded before saying, "After a lot of thought, and talking it over with some important people," here Logan paused to give a grateful glance to both Rogue and the professor, "I offered to formally adopt Kiro. And Kiro accepted that offer."

The reaction around the table ran the whole gamut of surprised emotions. Scott just sat with his mouth hanging open, Kitty looked like she was torn between squee-ing and exclaming 'What?!', Rogue just folded her arms across her chest and nodded with a satisfied smirk on her face, and Kurt was grinning like the Cheshire Cat on a sugar rush.

The rest of the students around the table had similar reactions, with even Roberto looking quite stunned. For their part, Hank and Ororo both seemed somewhat bewildered, and Dr. Lluy's face was a pleasant smile, clearly already knowing the news.

Charles finally broke the silence as he smiled and said, "It is quite true, everyone. Logan and Kiro are now officially father and son, as of earlier this morning." The rest of the table still seemed quite stunned, and all eyes were on Logan and Kiro as some scattered whispers were heard, until finally Bobby spoke up: "I'm actually glad that Kiki can't talk, I'm not sure how I'd react to hearing anybody call Mr. Logan, "daddy."" That, however, finally caused laughter at the table once more, and not even Logan's stern glare that he shot at Bobby could keep the half-smile off his face for very long.

Ororo rose from her chair amidst the laughter, and applause, drawing Kiro into a hug of congratulations, and then hugging Logan as well. Hank and the professor did the same, followed soon after by Dr. Lluy. "Wow, like, wow!!" Kitty exclaimed as she came over to stand in front of Logan, "I never would have guessed! But I can, like, totally see it now!"

"Alright, Half-Pint, don't give yourself a short circuit!" Logan warned, but he was still smiling. Kitty seemed to heed his advice, at least in part, and immediately hugged him and Kiro once more, almost phasing through the both of them in her excitement. "I'm super happy for you, Kiki! And like, oh my gawd, having Logan for a dad?" Kitty gushed once she stepped back from the hug, and bounced on her feet a couple of times.

Scott, meanwhile, leaned over to Jean and whispered, "Well that definitely sheds some light on how he and Logan have been acting lately, but I'm not sure whether to congratulate him or give him condolences, since I bet Logan's not going to cut him -any- slack in the Danger Room over this." Beside him, Jean chuckled and shook her head, before responding, "Oh, are you kidding, Scott? You've seen how Kiro's latched onto Logan since the first day he came here, I'll bet it'll just make him happier to have an opportunity to prove himself. Though hopefully he doesn't get busted up too bad on the obstacle course again," Jean added with a wince, remembering yesterday's training session where Kiro had (unfortunately) gotten rather well acquainted with the ball launchers after a misstep on the obstacle course. He had been back on his feet after just ten seconds or so, but Jean knew (from experience) just how much it must have hurt. Scott, beside her, cringed and nodded as well.

Once the congratulations and excited chatter had died down, Kiro gave Logan another tight hug and even leaned up to kiss his cheek (elliciting startled gasps from the boys at the table) before he went back around the table to his usual place at Kurt's side. As Logan resumed his seat, he blinked at Ororo as she whispered something to him. Whatever it was, it made him smile again, and he lifted his shoulders in a shrug, saying nothing to her in return.

After everyone was settled once more, the professor once again spoke, "Well everyone, Thanksgiving was just upon us last week, and I know we rang in the occasion with another family dinner, and a round table with everyone mentioning something they were thankful for. But I would like to take the opportunity, briefly, to remind all of you how thankful indeed I am to have you here, both as students and as family."

Leaning back in his chair, Charles steepled his hands and continued, "We may not always agree, and sometimes the trials we go through, both as human beings and as X-Men, can strain not just our tempers and hearts, but also our bonds as a team and a family, but it is times like this, when we come together at one table to break bread, and share the events of our lives, that I am reminded of just how fortunate we all are to be here together."

Around the table, there were nods of agreement, and Hank said softly, "Hear, hear!" Beside him, Dr. Lluy leaned over to touch the professor's arm, and Charles smiled and nodded to her. Liz then addressed the table with a gentle smile, "I wanted to emphasize, everyone, how important the professor's words are. As you all know, I've been a regular guest at the Institute for the past month, helping Kurt and Kiro, but I've also been a friend and colleague of Professor Xavier for years."

"It's given me a chance to see first hand just how much good this school has done for so many. Not just the students and teachers here," Liz continued, "But also, and just as importantly, the people you have helped, saved, and protected. Whether they be members of the public, or indeed your fellow students." At that, her eyes landed on Kiro, and Kurt beside him.

"Not all families are like the one here at the Institute," she continued, "And indeed, some of the most vicious acts of cruelty I have helped people recover from, came from their own family. Cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings, even their parents." Liz sighed, her gaze darkening a bit, before Hank's gentle hand on hers brought a smile to her face, and she continued, "So, yes, everyone, please be thankful for being here with your X-Family, so to speak, and remember that even if things can be difficult sometimes, a family that stands together and helps one another is one of the greatest blessings of all."

Charles nodded at the head of the table, and smiled, saying softly, "Well said, Liz, very well said indeed." Around the table, there were nods of agreement, and both Kitty and Kiro seemed rather touched, to the point that Kiro leaned against Kurt and just hugged him silently. Well, as silently as he always did anything.

Jamie, however, finally broke the relative silence, asking meekly, "Umm, can we eat yet?"

After another round of chuckles, the professor nodded before saying with a gesture of welcome, "Of course, everyone. Please dig in! I understand that we have Kitty and Rogue to thank for tonight's meal, and if the smell is anything to go by, I think it will be a good dinner indeed!"

With the soft rumble of conversation, and the clatter of plates and silverware, another family dinner at the Xavier Institute finally began in earnest.



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