The characters belong to Marvel and no
money is made from their use.
I'm sure there's further etiquette about these intros. This
is where I'm supposed to threaten you for feedback, isn't
it? "Will threaten for feedback." Catchy. So write
me at GreyHarper@yahoo.com
if you're intimidated enough or if you like the story. Or
if you have constructive criticism; won't turn my nose up
"You wore your Sunday best."
Kurt glanced around at the deep, unfamiliar voice, barely
keeping his tail from whipping in agitation down his pants
leg. He'd taken refuge in the empty church to be alone, not
to have his company sought out by those who wanted to offer
condolences he felt ill-suited to accept. "Yes."
The man was slim and of medium height, and that was all he
bothered to note beyond the dusting of silver hair. "She
was afraid you wouldn't come. Or that you'd use an image inducer
to hide yourself."
Oh, so this was yet another of those who felt as if an inside
track had been granted to them. As if the woman he spoke of
was the sort to offer true confidences to anyone. "I
thought it was most appropriate to come as," a gesture
with a three fingered hand at his own form, "myself.
Considering." And now the man could feel free to leave.
Yes. Leave. Just like that. Turn and go away.
A shift, then the man settled into a pew across the aisle,
perching on the very edge of the seat and not looking very
comfortable in this environment. "Not a bad service at
all, was it? Lots of familiar faces."
"Excuse me, I didn't catch your name." Kurt made
his voice as close to cold as he could manage at that point,
which wasn't as much as he would have liked. Being here at
all was strange. Being here surrounded by the faces of men
and women he'd fought at various points in his career was
beyond that. He was simply too tired to manage frigidity.
A hand was offered. "George Hanran." Accepted and
shaken, then dropped. "Never thought it would happen,
"Truthfully, Mr. Hanran, I tried not to think about
my ... about Mystique much at all." Harsh words to say
at someone's funeral. Cruel words. "It's not very Christian
of me, is it?" he asked wryly, more of himself than his
Hanran sat back, comfortable arrogance in his posture. "Forgive
and forget? Is that what you're trying to resolve? Don't bother.
She didn't want your forgiveness."
Kurt's yellow eyes dropped to stare at his hands, resting
limply in his lap. "Maybe if she had wanted it I would
have been able to find it." Quickly now, one hand raised
to dash a thick finger over his eyes. A few rapid blinks.
He looked up to stare at the crucifix hanging over the pulpit,
seeking whatever strength it might offer him. "How did
you know her?" he asked to distract himself. He was probably
talking to yet another thug. Certainly no one he needed to
open up to.
But Hanran ignored his question. "There were things
I know she wanted to say to you. About who she was and what
she wanted for you."
"She had years in which to say those things." The
flatness of his voice surprised him and he forced himself
to look at Hanran, trying to remember the charity of spirit
he found in his faith. "I'm sorry, mein freund. It has
been a long day."
"I know." Hanran had the most remarkable eyes,
Kurt noticed now, absently. Not their color, which was an
unglamorous brown, but the intensity and the grief in them.
As if he were more truly in mourning than anyone else Kurt
had seen at the funeral. "Tell me, Kurt: do you ever
wonder why men are taught to fear the snake in the garden?"
"Separation from God," he answered automatically.
"When Adam and Eve ate from the tree at the serpent's
behest they lost their place in Eden."
"Eve listened to the snake. Adam listened to
Eve. But the tree was called the Tree of Knowledge, wasn't
it? So knowledge can turn a good man away from what is ...
right. What good men believe is right. Can't it?"
"Some say that," Kurt agreed distantly, his heart
not really in the discussion. "Some say that with any
knowledge gained some innocence is lost. That's part of why
children are so precious; they haven't yet seen enough to
lose all hope in the rightness of the world."
"So sometimes it's best ... not to know." Hanran
nodded, slowly. "Even if that knowledge could change
so much for you."
"What are you talking about?"
Hanran stood. "I'm sorry for ... your ... loss. But
if you continue to make her proud of the man you are--"
"--then perhaps it's worth it." A small, tight
nod. "Goodbye, Kurt."
He could have stopped the man. With a word or with physical
restraint he knew he could have stopped him ... but didn't.
Cryptic references were sometimes the accepted means of communication
around the more shadowy individuals Mystique had known. He
could hardly have expected to escape them here.
Proud of him. Hanran had believed she'd been proud of him.
Was Mystique capable of having pride in her son when his
whole life was about being different from her?
He stared at the crucifix again, thinking of the phone call
that'd carried the news. The hollow grief on Rogue's face
when she picked him up from the airport and hugged him tightly,
the way he'd wanted to kiss her forehead in a brotherly gesture
to soothe her, but couldn't. She'd had to identify the body
herself before she could arrange to have it cremated. It must
have been so very hard for her to say goodbye to the only
mother she acknowledged.
'But if you continue to make her proud of the man you
A frown lined his forehead. Hanran had hardly seemed the
sort to speak of the continuing existence of the soul after
'So sometimes it's best ... not to know.'
Dead. Rogue had said there were enough bullet holes to kill
Rogue. Rogue had said.
"Nein," he murmured, shaking his head in dazed
disbelief. "She wouldn't..."
The sorrow on her face. The catch in her voice as she told
Yet not a tear. Not one. Single. Tear. And Rogue knew how
'Tell me, Kurt: do you ever wonder why men are taught
to fear the snake in the garden?'
Why men are taught to fear the snake.
The crucifix bisected the wall. He'd prayed more than a few
times for his mother's soul. Feared that death had found her
spirit in hell, if there truly were such a place.
"Apparently," he told the cross, "I was a
bit premature in my fears." He stood, tail wrapping around
his leg in a spiral as he made a little bow to the symbol
and what it meant. "Now if you'll excuse me ... I need
to go see a woman about an apple."
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by