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!




'I'm afraid not, professor.. he still isn't in the room,' Ororo responded, rubbing her forehead with a weary frown.

'It's alright, Ororo. We knew he would have a difficult time adjusting, and it's only been a couple days, after all. How is Kurt?' The professor replied, a small edge of worry in his mental projection as well.

'I still haven't found him, either. I think he's still looking for Kiro, as well,' Ororo responded, her gaze sweeping across Kurt's room. Well, now Kurt and Kiro's room, as Kurt's bed had been moved to make room for Kiro's nearby. Both were quite empty.

No sooner had the thought been broadcast than Ororo was startled by a sudden *BAMF!* less than two feet in front of her as Kurt reappeared in a puff of smoke to stand in his room, causing the normally-composed woman to let out a yelp of shock.

"Ah! Sorry, Storm," Kurt apologized meekly, managing a smile even as Ororo waved a hand to disappate the sulphuric smoke. "Still no luck, ja?" He asked sadly, before looking over his shoulder at the empty bed behind him. Kurt, too, looked worried, as the agitated lashing of his tail would suggest. He was dressed in his typical nightly attire, just a cream-colored t-shirt and loose brown pajama bottoms.

Ororo shook her head sadly before replying to Kurt, "Unfortunately no. I've been all over the mansion and gone for a quick look outside, but I'm afraid I have no idea where he might have gone." Ororo then looked once again toward Kiro's empty bed, and paused for a moment, thinking over the past couple days...

True to Mother Agatha's words, Kurt and Kiro had indeed become quite fast friends, and even Kurt's true appearance had been only a moment's surprise. Perhaps more due to Kurt's ability to conceal it so well than the fact that Kurt looked like a fuzzy demon. If anything, Kiro seemed to think that Kurt looked.. ("Cool?" Kurt had suggested, flashing a thumbs up and a hopeful grin. Once the professor had explained the meaning of the word, Kiro had nodded and returned the thumbs up with a grin).

The two had even been a regular fixture at dinner and breakfast the past couple days, with Kurt chatting excitedly and eager to ensure that Kiro felt quite welcome. They had also been delighted to discover, as Kitty had put it: "Oh my god! He can cook!" While he was painfully unfamiliar with most of the appliances in the kitchen, he seemed to have an excellent knack for preparing a meal with whatever was available, perhaps a skill honed by necessity in the monastery.

But all, it seemed, was not well in his interactions with the other students. The reception from the other students had been, well, mixed. The girls, particularly Kitty and Rogue, had seemed to take to Kiro right away, while the boys, even Jamie, seemed a bit more uncomfortable.. almost standoffish? It was something of an exercise in futility, trying to sort out their feelings on the matter. And it only got worse, once the confirmation went out that yes, indeed, Kiro was a BOY, not a girl. Kurt and Scott, it seemed, were the exceptions. The rest of the male students seemed too leery of the beautiful albino to do more than extend simple pleasantries in passing. Though at least there had been no hostilities yet.

Well, it had only been a couple days so far. Hopefully they would come around. None, at least, had teased him overmuch on his appearance. Whether for his unnerving albinism, pale skin, white hair, and violet eyes, or the almost preternatural beauty that he possessed, many just seemed too struck by his looks to do more than stare, for the most part. As Rogue rather succinctly put it while chatting with Kitty, "He's.. like.. the most beautiful gir-.. boy.. um.. person.. Ah've ever met! Ah'm almost jealous!"

As if the social difficulties weren't enough, however, the other boy also seemed to have a lot of trouble sleeping. Kurt had reluctantly confessed to the professor that the boy had been suffering what he could only guess were very bad nightmares as well. He would wake up during the night, at the strangest hours, with a look bordering on panic in his eyes, and all that would calm him down was leaving the room and either walking the halls, or disappearing for hours on end to, it seemed, find somewhere to hide.

"Not unlike when you first came here, Kurt," the professor had reassured him, resting a gentle hand on Kurt's shoulder. "I remember it was some time before you could sleep comfortably as well. Perhaps he just needs some time and reassurance.."

... Back in the present, Ororo stood in the hall just outside their room as Kurt approached her. "I wish I knew what might be bothering him, but I'm not sure. He just.. doesn't talk, you know?" Kurt said with a helpless shrug, and Ororo responded with a nod and a wan smile, "I know, Kurt. It's troubling. Perhaps the Professor- oh! Kiro!"

Ororo caught a glimpse of the albino out of the corner of her eye, turning toward him with a graceful swirl of her nightrobe around her. Kurt darted out into the hall to follow her gaze, and smiled shyly at the sight of Kiro paused at the top of the stairs, one hand on the banister, his violet eyes wide at the sight of them.

The other boy looked quite different already from the robed, ascetic figure they had first met in Romania. He was still wearing all black, but this time it was loose cotton pants and a loose-fitting t-shirt, borrowed from Kurt in the meantime. Free from the confines of his hooded robe, his white hair fell all the way down his back to the swell of his rear, and it shone with a thick radiant luster, not unlike Ororo's, particularly in the moonlight. His violet eyes were heavy lidded from exhaustion and sleeplessness, but upon catching sight of Ororo and Kurt, who had obviously been looking for him, the boy tensed with a hand on the banister, as though preparing to flee.

"No, no, it's alright, please," Ororo assured him with a kind smile, raising a hand in a comforting gesture. "Kurt and I were just concerned about you," she explained, stepping aside as Kurt waved.

"Ja, it can't be good to miss so much sleep, especially with how Logan keeps itching to see if you are up for some training," Kurt proffered with a grin, playfully lashing his tail.

At this, Kiro nodded and relaxed, slowly padding toward them on soundless bare feet. He had been silent before on the stone monastery floor. Here in the mansion with its thick, plush carpet, he might as well have been a cat stalking its prey. He seemed to prefer being barefoot most of the time, and Kurt imagined that the carpet must feel strange, albeit nice, on his bare feet.

"What could be the matter, Kiro? Is it more nightmares?" Ororo asked, reaching forward to gently touch him, before remembering the boy's abilities and hestitating. It wasn't that it was an unpleasant experience, it was.. quite the opposite. But it always left her with mixed feelings. Like being touched by a lover while together in a hot tub, something she felt rather conflicted about feeling, especially when it was in regards to one of the students!

Sensing her hesitation, Kiro's violet eyes met hers, and he gave a kind smile. He then thought for a moment and shook his head. But then paused and tried to recall something. He then lifted a hand and wiggled it sideways with his palm flat, one of the hand gestures that Kurt had taught him, "Oh.. so, it's sort of nightmares, but not entirely?" Ororo observed, noticing with some relief the way Kurt seemed happy that Kiro was adapting a little, at least, and learning some ways to communicate with them a bit easier.

Kiro then thought for a moment more, and reached up to put his hands over his ears, looking up at Ororo with a small wince on his face. She blinked, and then looked around, following his gaze. Suddenly, it all made sense. "Oh, the noises. All of the noise. The other students, their music, their conversations, the video games, the air conditioning, the plumbing.. even the electricity moving through the institute. It all makes sound, doesn't it? That must all be rather unnerving, if you have never been around it."

Kurt nodded with a grave smile, "I thought that might be it. My parents and I used to live in a cabin out in the countryside, before I came here and they moved back into town. We did not have power or running water either. Those first few nights here, it was.. so strange." He shook his head, and reached out to take Kiro's hand, "So where do you go? Did you go outside? Or .. down to the basement? Maybe one of the storage rooms? That's where I used to go."

When Kiro nodded, Kurt giggled, perhaps also because of the feeling from touching the albino mutant. Storm watched their conversation with a smile. It was always an experience when new mutants came to the institute. Each with their own problems, own life stories, and own issues to work with, plus the unique challenges that their powers brought with them.

Storm watched the two converse (or rather, watched Kurt talk and Kiro respond in a yes or no manner with gestures or expressions) for a moment, recalling the film they had watched in the rec room earlier that evening. A rather fun experience indeed for Kiro, who was still getting used to the sight and sound of a television. That was when a voice down the hall caught her attention.

"Ah, good, you've been found, Kiro. I understand you've been having some difficulties adjusting. You certainly are not the first," The professor reassured them as he made his way sedately down the hall with the soft hush of his wheelchair. "For a moment I was worried you had gotten lost somewhere on the grounds," the professor joked, and gave Ororo a wink, "I was afraid we might have to send out a search party."

At this, Kiro blushed and shook his head, giving another one of his strange, silent giggles. The professor had been quite amused (though also a bit saddened) when Kiro's first reaction upon seeing the Institute (to say nothing about the city of Bayville from above) was to stand, mouth agape, and stare for almost a full minute. All he could do was look this way and that, and see the massive grounds that the Institute was based on, and the enormous mansion itself. Logan had teased him by saying, "Don't wander too far, kid, or we might never see you again," and the boy had seemed genuinely scared at that possibility before Kurt and Rogue had laughed and told him not to worry.

Of course, Kiro had already had a borderline panic attack on the way to the United States from Romania. It had started upon his first sight of the Blackbird, quite afraid of the appearance of the aircraft, to finally almost breaking down into a sob when the aircraft took off and began to fly. Kurt had held him the whole time, whispering to him that it was alright, nothing to worry about! It'll all be okay! And finally the professor had had to give him a mild "dose" of sedation. He had simply never experienced flight before, and, from what the professor had guessed, had never even understood what an aircraft was, despite surely having seen them fly overhead a time or two in his life.

With that in mind, the professor smiled and asked gently, "How about everything.. else, Kiro? Still having nightmares?" At this, Kiro nodded, and averted his gaze with perhaps a note of embarassment on his face. "Well, do not worry, I'm sure they will get better in time. And if not, you are welcome to come and see me. I'm sure I will be able to help you."

The professor's touch on his arm was a comfort, and Charles paused for a moment, before smiling brightly, "Ah, there you are, Kiro.. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to sense you." At the confused look from both Ororo and Kurt, the professor smiled and reached up with his free hand to tap his forehead, elliciting nods of understanding from the two, and a grin from Kurt.

From even a short distance, it was still something that the professor had simply been unable to do. It was as though the boy did not even exist. He still found it incredible that Cerebro had been able to detect his mutant signature. But his mind, ever elusive, was finally there when Charles touched him.

The... side effects of touching Kiro were immediately apparent, and Charles felt himself smiling and a blush rising to his cheeks as the feelings rose. It was pleasure, yes, but also comfort. Euphoria, but also serenity. Like resting in a lover's arms after a bout among the pillows, or cuddling under a blanket on a winter's chilly morning.

'Kiro, perhaps I could help you with your nightmares, if you think you might need it,' the professor spoke, making Kiro jump and do a double take when he realized that the professor's lips were not moving, 'Do not worry, Kiro, I am a telepath. I have not been able to show you until now, because I believe your walls are simply too strong, or perhaps you have a natural ability to shield yourself in some way. Fortunately I was able to calm you on the flight over,' Charles added with a hint of laughter to his voice. 'It is a fascinating set of gifts and talents that you have, and one I think both myself and Jean could benefit from learning about. Think about it, is all I ask. I am here to help you, always.'

Kiro's smile gushed the gratitude that the professor felt, and although he did not 'hear' anything in return, either from Kiro's lips or from his mind, the professor could feel that the boy was thankful in a way that words could not express. Releasing his touch from Kiro's arm, the professor nodded, "Well then, I think that's enough excitement for one night, yes?" he said to both Kurt and Ororo, who had been watching the exchange respectfully.

Kurt agreed, and ushered Kiro along the hall back to their room. The professor had been surprised when Kurt had volunteered to let Kiro room with him ("At least for a while!") and couldn't help but smile a bit at how the two were bonding. Even from their first moment together, the two had enjoyed a seemingly instant connection, and Charles couldn't help but remember when Kurt himself had first come to the Institute many moons ago.

"It's so different from when Kurt was first here, isn't it?" Ororo mused, perhaps thinking the same thing.

"Or similar," the professor agreed, raising a brow, "Except this time Kurt is the one trying to coax the isolated, shy newcomer out of his shell."

Ororo nodded, "And having some success, I'm pleased to see. Hopefully it continues. Good night, professor."

Charles nodded as well, "Good night, Ororo."

-------

"Oh mah GAWD, are you serious?!"

Rogue stood in the doorway, gaping.

"Alright, that's it, Kitty. You owe me ten bucks," Jean teased, unable to restrain herself from giggling.

"Seriously, guys, this is .. just.. No!" Rogue shook her head, and had to turn her gaze away from the scene in front of her.

If people were confused enough before about the poor boy's gender, this would throw them for a loop ten times over! There he sat in Jean's chair, with Kitty, Amara, Jean and Tabitha all taking turns applying makeup to his face. And the make up wasn't the worst part. He was also wearing a dress, a violet silk tunic dress that looked like it had come right out of Kitty's collection.

That also wasn't the worst part.

The worst part was.. he looked good. Really good. Like, bad enough that if Rogue actually cared about dressing up fancy, she'd probably be envious.

But she didn't. And she wasn't.

"Kiro, have ya lost yer mind? What're ya doin', lettin' them do this to ya?" Rogue demanded, walking forward to lean over and peer down at Kiro.

The boy, for his part, just looked right back up at Rogue with those .. those damned cute eyes of his, grinned, and shrugged. He seemed to be having as much fun as they were.

"Hey, c'mon, Rogue! It's Halloween, and it's his birthday! We're just making him look good for both!" Kitty said with a giggle.

"Ugh, I hope Kurt doesn't catch ya like this, he'd probly freak." Rogue muttered and turned away, only to gasp when she saw who was standing at the still-open door.

Logan, of all people. He was wearing his usual casual clothes of a jeans and t-shirt, and had his arms folded across his chest as he appraised them with a raised eyebrow.

Everyone froze, and all eyes went to Logan.

The silence stretched.

Logan looked at the girls, looked at Kiro, looked back at the girls.

Finally, Logan observed, "Too much mascara. He looks like a hooker in a Singapore cathouse."

Then he turned and continued down the hall.

"I just hope he doesn't know that from experience," Kitty whispered.

Tabby piped up, "Hey, here's an idea, let's go out for ice cream and see if Lance crushes on him."

Kitty lurched up, "HEY!" and swatted Tabitha with a pillow.

As the pillow fight started in earnest between the two girls, Rogue turned back to Kiro, who had risen from the chair and turned to  study himself in the mirror with a bemused expression.

"Heckuva way to close out your first week here, huh?" Rogue asked.



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