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Sins

by Te

Sins
by Te
May 26, 2003

Disclaimers: Not mine.

Spoilers: Vague ones for X2.

Summary: It is already on his skin.

Ratings Note: PG-13

Author's Note: The Spike put this in my head first. Cassandra helped it along. Bas encouraged. Jenn audienced. It takes a village, yo.

Feedback: Yes, please. teland@teland.com

*

Kurt has sin all over his body.

When he was young -- younger -- it was something between a lark and a game. How much pain could he take? How many sins could be his in symbol, if not in fact?

As he grew older, this changed. No amount of denial (of the self, of the spirit, oh God) could keep him from the knowledge that some sins had been left off. Important sins. Large, mortal ones.

His skin had been hungry for them, and it had made him restless, and more aggressive than was his wont. Luckily, luckily, when you lived among circus people, you lived in a world where the strange rapidly became familiar. No one noticed his anger, or his restless need for something he couldn't quite put words to (not without hurt), and that was that.

And if the reason why they didn't notice perhaps had more to do with the way they (all of them) saw him than with anything else...

Well. The results were the same.

After a while, though, it had become plain. His face, his back, his legs -- even a part of his tail -- was carved and marked with the language of God, and of His children's flaws. But there was still his belly.

His...

And the sins that were missing, ah, yes, surely it made perfect sense that they would be his own. Gluttony for food and sensation, the wrath he did his best to deny, ignore, press down (and perhaps this was why they c aught you, why they could use you, ja?), and.

Lust. He can think the word, though it was difficult then. He lived with circus folk, but his eyes were still golden, his skin still so dark they needed the brightest spots to show him with.

His tail still there.

Lust... lust was the easiest and the hardest of them all. Easy to admit to, to understand -- was he not a man? Healthy and young? Hard, because to admit to it, to understand the depths of it, was to also understand how very likely it was to remain unfulfilled. His skin had not been satisfied with the mark of it.

Not for long.

But he was not a monster. Not then, and not now. Surrounded by wealth and comfort and the staid reality, it must be reality, of day to day life in America. Out of his lovely, crumbling church and into a mansion. Of all things!

But it is not the trappings of the material that holds his attention. Or not directly. His bed is soft and warm, but his bed is empty.

There are people here -- such people! Such power! -- who look at him and look at him, curious, yes, always, but...

They are as curious about his life, about the circus and Germany and the church as they are about his skin, his claws, his tail.

His tail makes the youngest of them laugh, and sometimes, sometimes, he looks at them and sees something like speculation.

And he is not naive, he knows that the same hungers, the same sins lurk in their hearts as do in his own. He may be... inexperienced, but none of it is beyond the realm of his comprehension. There had always been women who came around to the trailers at night, who leaned against the soft cushion of the tents and beckoned with pale and clever-looking fingers. (Show me, demon, is it the same as other men?)

And he could have had them, had them all if he wished. His body functions, and he knows from the communal showers that it is not so different from those of other men. And there were nights when he wished (oh how, so much) he had. That he had the memories of soft, welcoming skin if not the fact of it.

But though he had never counted pride as one of his signature flaws, he had always had enough. Enough to turn them away with a smile, or a kiss on the hand. Enough to leave them wondering, for he would not let them see him want, see him need, when all they had to show him was curiosity, and dreams of perversion.

He is a man.

But here... it is different here, because there is so much possibility. Most of the students are very young, but not all of them. And not all of the people who look at him and see a man, a person (someone who wants so so) are children. There is Ororo, whose name comes so haltingly to his tongue. She touches him often -- casual brushes of her hand on him, and she almost always touches skin.

His cheek, his hand, the point of his tail.

She comes to his room and demands he talk of his faith, and she is so angry, with so much pain. He wants to hold her in his arms and promise things he knows will probably not be true, not in this world or life.

He wants to cup her hand with his own, and press. "Here," he would say, "is my pride."

"Here is the anger I see in you," and he would push her fingers until they traced the pattern of it. "Understand this," he would say, and wish she could have all of it.

That she would want.

There is Scott, who almost never touches, but seems as hungry as anyone else. More sin there, perhaps, but he was very young when he first began to tease the truths he could use from the Book, and do his best to put aside those he could not. It is not so strange.

Scott is grieving, and when Kurt looks at his face, so expressive even with eyes covered, he thinks it is perhaps wrong that he knows this man better than he knew his love. Everything about the man is an invitation to hear of Jean, to know her, and of course to love.

He thinks she must have been very great.

Coiled around his arm is despair, perhaps the very greatest of human sins. That which, in the end, causes even great men to turn from God and deny His power. If he clasped arms with Scott, would he feel it?

Would he understand why we were always to remember these sins, so as not to live them and turn our faces from God?

He thinks, maybe, this could be something he could do. For Scott -- for both of them -- but for Scott, especially.

And there is Bobby...

He has to sigh, uncurl his tail from around his thigh and let it wave and move and seem to almost taste the air, like a snake. In truth, he knows he's doing all the moving, but when he's restless, when he's trying to think or not to think...

He watches the shadows shift and move and shift. The window seat is just large enough to hold him in a crouch, and he knows no one will bother him, this far away from the games room, the TV room, the other TV room...

And thinking about the wealth around him is enough to make him smile, but what really amuses...

There was a time, not so long ago, when he wouldn't have been able to imagine doing anything but living in the thick of all the humanity that would have him. There had been so few...

But now, there are many. Adults, children, and none of them expect him to perform for his supper, and the only tricks he does are in the large and somewhat terrifying training area. "Danger" room, ja, and the way most of them use it makes the name perfectly sensible. He does not think...

He cannot quite see himself in the black uniform, though Bobby teases that they could make one with a hole for his tail. It isn't that he doesn't think he could be of use to them, or even that he can't see the rightness of their cause. They are an army devoted to peace, an oxymoron that even the United Nations couldn't quite make work.

But then, the U.N. doesn't have Charles Xavier.

They do not put pressure on him, not even the slightest. He thinks maybe someone -- Ororo? -- had told them all how deep his faith ran. Perhaps even exaggerated some? He is not a saint, but Logan sometimes looks at him as though he expects Kurt to attempt to proselytize, suspicious and unwelcome.

He has been told that this is the way Logan looks all the time, and it is not just him, but still, it is daunting.

It had never occurred to him that people could find religion so strange, and yet, he thinks that it makes him more alien than anything his body could do. When he mentions it to Ororo, she seems surprised.

As if there had never been a doubt in her mind that it could be this way, and why was he so surprised? Sometimes, he is sadder here than he ever was in Germany. He thinks that it has more to do with all the possibilities than anything else. If there was beauty, and comfort, and food to eat, and people could still not find what they needed to make them happy...

And ah, he has to ask himself, then what are you doing here, if you are so enlightened?

Because, he could be down there. He could be playing a game or telling a story, or touching someone, anyone, even Bobby with his too-young face and too-old eyes.

He is... very pretty. A perfect sculpture of American boy, and Kurt doesn't think he will be with Rogue for much longer. There is something there he has no experience of, and yet can understand. Jean wasn't the only loss at the dam, and Bobby seems to cling to Rogue for more than just her beauty, and his affection.

He has come to understand that this Johnny, this Pyro, was a good friend.

Loneliness is not a sin, save when paired with despair, but he thinks he could carve a glyph for it onto his flesh, if only to have something more to show to the boy than just... what?

Bobby touches, and talks to him, and stares at Kurt's skin like it's something wonderful.

"I never saw anything that blue," he says, and then drags him out into the night to compare him against the sky.

"God, I can barely even see you," he says, and laughs when Kurt makes his eyes flare.

He enjoys making Bobby laugh. It's natural on him, the way it isn't, quite, for Scott or even Ororo. He has a face made for humor, and sometimes Kurt thinks that if he has any place here, it's for this.

Make them laugh, forget their troubles. (touch) He jumps down from the window and prowls silently through the halls, past the bedrooms which are still empty, and waiting for students.

Bearing false witness coils around his ankle. He remembers being pleased with the design, with the hint of the snake in it. On his ankle, and often hidden, because it's another sin he never saw much of in himself. He is not one of these golden and beautiful mutants, who wear nothing of their power on their skin. Lies have never been available to him, not truly, and he'd always seen it as more of a reminder than anything else.

A little of what he could never have, meant more for whoever could see it than for himself.

And yet, he knows there is a lie here, that he has made himself alone less out of any great need to think than because he was afraid of all the choices open to him. That he walks to join the others (Bobby) less because he wants company, or thinks the boy might need it, than because...

Well, he does want company. Wants more of this thing the others give themselves so casually. Home, family.

Companionship.

He finds Bobby in the kitchen, staring at a bowl of ice cream that, on second glance, appears to be a solid brick. Bobby doesn't look at him as he comes closer, but chips at it a bit. Closer, and Kurt can feel the cold radiating off the boy, and shivers. "Bobby?"

He jerks a little. "Yeah. Um. I'm maybe not the best company right now."

It would be easy to nod, walk away. Perhaps return to his window. Instead, he takes the bowl away and sits next to Bobby. Holds the bowl between his hands. "We could put it in the microwave?"

Bobby taps the spoon on the table. "Broken. Science experiment gone wrong. Well, that was how Jubes explained it."

Kurt nods, and considers blowing on the ice cream. He thinks the bowl will leach him empty of heat before he could begin to melt it. "Then perhaps something else?" He pulls a chocolate bar from his jacket pocket. Pushes it over.

Bobby stares at it for a moment, then blinks. Smiles. Breaks off a piece and pushes it back to Kurt. "You always carry candy in your pockets?" Muffled around a mouthful of chocolate.

"When you work in a place where there are many, many children..." He shrugs.

Bobby nods, sucks melted chocolate off his fingers, one by one, and Kurt wonders what it would be like to have five. He has never had trouble with his own, but still, some things must be easier.

And he realizes he's staring when Bobby stares back. Kurt looks down. "You know... you have been very good to me. Very kind."

Hand on his shoulder, and Kurt looks up again to find Bobby smiling at him. There is a bit of chocolate on his chin. "We're friends, right?"

Kurt nods. "Ja, friends. Friends who talk with each other? You can... I do not know what's bothering you, Bobby, but you can talk to me. If you want."

Bobby squeezes his shoulder, but he's frowning now, and not quite looking at Kurt. "I just... it's a war, right?"

"War is a terrible thing..."

Bobby waves his other hand, dismissing it. "No, I mean... right now. Maybe it's not so big, so... epic, but... we've had to fight. And people..." Another, deeper frown. "People aren't always going to be around. The way... the way they are now."

"Bobby..."

"You know, I see you, the way you look at everyone. The way it's like... you're always so shocked that people want to know you. Touch you."

Kurt tries a shrug, light enough not to dislodge Bobby's hand. Gestures at himself with his tail.

And Bobby still isn't looking at him, not entirely. "And I think that maybe you've been fighting this war all along, like while I was here reading frigging English lit, you've been... out there. Alone."

Bobby turns, just enough that Kurt is hit with the full force of his gaze. Empty and dark and so very sad. And that's not... "Bobby, I had many friends in the circus..." (is it like show me but you're so) He can't finish.

"I think you spent all that time alone, and now that you're here..." Still another frown, frustrated and small despite the depth of feeling in his eyes. "It's just that my room is empty now, and quiet, and it never gets too hot anymore, and I don't. I don't think any of us has time to be alone."

And Kurt can't think of anything to say. Reaches out with his tail instead, up over the hand on his shoulder, down along the length of Bobby's arm. That gets a smile, but it's... different. Not quite happy.

"Do you know what I mean?"

And he wants to say something about how he'd never looked at it as a war, that he thinks it might be dangerous to do so, but more than that he just wants... a touch. A taste of everything in Bobby. Lies on his ankle and lust on his belly and all that anger. So much anger.

He leans in close, and Bobby is already moving, pushing the ice cream out of the way and sliding his hand up over Kurt's neck and into his hair, making it messier, making him shiver at the feel of that cool, smooth palm on his scalp.

Bobby tastes like chocolate and something familiar and faintly bitter that Kurt doesn't have a name for just yet.

He has kissed before, but this... soft mouth and wide blue eyes and he has to close his own, because he hadn't wanted. Hadn't expected... tongue in his mouth and he hears a crash and Bobby jumps back and away and Kurt has to blink, feeling stupid and just a little drunk.

"The ice cream..."

"What...?" And Bobby jerks his chin and Kurt sees that he has somehow managed to knock the bowl off the table. Glass all over the floor, but the ice cream itself remains solid. "Oh, I..." He feels his cheek heat, and wants Bobby to be able to see the blush, but is mostly glad that he can't. "I will... get the broom."

But when he starts to move, Bobby just clutches him a little harder. "You don't... I mean, I think Artie is the only one still awake."

There's something in his chest, wide and hot and a little painful. Hard to breathe around. He opens his mouth to say something, but he has no idea what. And Bobby kisses him again, wet and serious.

He's cool, but not cold, and Kurt thinks maybe if he just kept stroking his head like that, kept tugging at his hair... "We don't have to be alone," Bobby says, lashes brushing against Kurt's cheek.

And he feels... so young. Every scrambled emotion, and so much want. So many years.... "I. All right."

There is, he thinks, some kind of virtue in this. A denial of the loneliness on his skin and an acceptance of everything else. He is covered in sin, but this... surely, this is not so wrong?

Hand on his chest, firm and sure. Kurt puts his own hand over Bobby's, and pushes until it's over his heart.

He doesn't ask if Bobby understands.

It's in his eyes.

End.


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