'It's only Christmas,' said Jean, soothingly. 'You don't even have to be at service. You just have to be around for the dinner, and when we open the presents. Look, 'Ro celebrates Christmas, too, and not just Kwanzaa.'
'Ms Munroe doesn't celebrate Kwanzaa,' Kitty said, in what she felt was an adequately polite tone. 'She doesn't celebrate Christmas, either. She just shows up for service because you grew up together and she wants to be nice.'
Jean's expression froze over.
'Try to remember what I said about teamwork,' she told Kitty sharply. 'It'd make the others feel more at ease if they knew you were with them, too.'
'I thought being a mutant's all 'bout being proud of being different.'
'Enough back-chat from you, Katherine Pryde. Christmas is – it's a holiday, alright, it's a December holiday. Think of it as that.'
And it was okay for Jean to say that, Jean who had grown up Episcopal in the shade of Bard College, Jean who lived the all-American dream with her girl-next-door WASP charm. Briefly, Kitty wondered what it was like to be brought up like that, so that someone could honestly believe there was nothing more to Christmas than presents and Santa.
'It's okay, Kit-Kat,' Kurt said to her, 'I'm not going for service too. And I'll accompany you to temple for Hanukkah, if you want.'
Kurt was always, always there for her, and the earnestness of his tone meant that she could almost forget that Hanukkah was just a Jewish Christmas even to him.
Christmas dinner went fine until someone asked her to cut the ham.
'What's this I hear about your endangering the team with antics?' Scott demanded.
'It's Yom Kippur.' She returned his glare with one of her own. 'It's Yom Kippur, I'm Jewish, I fast. I'm not endangering your precious team.'
'It's your team too.'
'Well, I don't feel it.'
Her retort must have caught him off-balance, because he shifted his weight against the doorframe, pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed.
'Look, Katherine,' he said, 'I've known you since you were twelve, and I know that you're a secular Jew, so why are you making this an issue only now?'
It doesn't matter was on the tip of her tongue, I'm no less Jewish, and you're no less an asshole; and, hey, newsflash, I'm doing this because I get more and more proud of my ethnicity every time people like you put me down.
'Fine.' Kitty marched over to the door, slammed it in his face, and yelled through the wooden panels in frustration: 'Fine! I won't fast, does that make you happy? My God!'
There was a silence, one that stretched for so long she half-thought he had simply left in cold anger.
Then she heard him say gently, 'I knew you'd be reasonable, Katherine.'
'There's a new girl coming,' said Dr McCoy. 'Logan's bringing her back now. I've been thinking, maybe she could be your roommate.'
'Why?' asked Kitty warily; she hated getting volunteered for shitty jobs.
'Well.' The Beast hemmed and hawed a little. 'She's, well, she's not American.'
'She's from Afghanistan. Quite frankly I don't think she can jabber in anything except Arabic. And she wears that veil and everything. She wouldn't fit in, really.'
'So Jean and I were thinking – you're a Semite, too, aren't you? But very… integrated. You could help her – advise her, coach her. Help her assimilate.'
'I'm.' Kitty blinked once, and cleared her throat. 'I'm not sure that I'd be the right person for her to live with.'
Dr McCoy looked taken aback.
'But,' continued Kitty hastily, 'I don't mind just teaching her the basics and all of that stuff. I'll get her used to Uncle Sam, don't worry.'
'Oh, good.' Dr McCoy beamed, and the relief in his face practically shone. 'Thank you very much, Miss Pryde, this is a great help.'
'My pleasure,' said Kitty, and she hoped he could hear the bitterness in her voice; but he didn't.
It took three months before Kitty plucked up enough chutzpah to ask the Professor about kosher food, and another two weeks before she actually got it. Now, at mealtimes, she has a separate plate set just for her, rather than sharing from the common tureens and platters.
It makes her feel odd, sometimes. Set apart – not distinguished, but different.
Today there's new company, the Afghani girl with the sand powers. Kitty can't quite remember her name – Saira, or Sahar, or something like. She's seated on Kitty's left, wrapped up in a black cloth that's entirely different from the blue one Kitty first saw her in; she doesn't make much conversation, and at first Kitty thinks standoffish, but then she mentally replaces it with scared.
She doesn't pay Dust much notice, no more than she – a senior X-Man – would pay to any newcomer; but then Dr McCoy offers the girl some bacon on her baked potato, and Kitty can sense how Dust freezes up and fishes for a suitable answer.
Oh, Kitty thinks. Oh, my dear, my sister.