When Kurt thinks about it- and he does think about it, late at night when he's all alone, long after Papa has sent him to bed- all he can remember is a woman in blue and a wisp of red smoke.
He doesn't remember much of the circus, and what he can makes him glad he doesn't. There was a cage, fingers and sticks poking at him through the bars. He flinched and shied and crawled away, but that only made it worse, made them laugh and jeer more.
He doesn't know how old he was when it happened. He remembers the sound of it, the rushing wind ripping the big top right open, the sound of metal on metal as the whole place opened up like a flower. In the middle of it all was a man in red and purple; he came down like the angel of the Lord, and Kurt shook with fear.
There were screams in the night; Kurt huddled against the bars of his cage, turning his face away, hoping he wouldn't be next. It was for nought; suddenly the top of the cage rolled up like a window shade, and there was the man, looking down at him with a smile on his face.
"My beautiful boy," he said, his voice full of pride, and Kurt wondered who he was talking to.
And ever since he has been here, in Papa's big house. It was scary at first, the guards and the closed-off research wing, but it's home now. The adults don't seem to have time for him and the twins are just babies, but he has Papa, and that's what matters.
There's a knock at his door; he's sitting on the top of the wardrobe, just like Papa doesn't like him doing- he doesn't mind Kurt using his gifts, far from it, but the wardrobe isn't bolted to the wall- and Papa opens the door and catches him at it before he can move.
Papa sighs, but he doesn't look too angry; he holds out his arms, and Kurt jumps and twists and falls into them. "Have you done your work?"
"Of course, Papa," he replies, not mentioning the fact that the last few pages of his math papers are mostly full of drawings. "Can we go down to the lake?"
Papa kisses the top of his head. "Of course. I just need to take care of a few more things, and then-"
"Magneto, are you listening?" Miss Emma's crisp voice says inside of his head, breaking in. "We have company." He can't hear Papa's responding thought, but Miss Emma's silvery laughter follows it. "I'd tell you, but you said never to mention her name again."
Papa's grip tightens suddenly. "Wait here," he says coldly, in a voice that sort of scares Kurt; he lets Kurt down, and Kurt sits on his bed, nodding.
After Papa leaves him, Kurt creeps onto the landing, his tail curling around the balustrade as he peers down into the foyer. There's a woman down there; she's tall, but not nearly so tall as Papa, and she's wearing a pretty white dress that brushes the floor between her bare feet. What's more interesting, though, is that she's blue, just like Kurt is; he's never seen anybody else like that.
"Where is he?" she demands, speaking in English, and Kurt has to concentrate to understand. "I want to see him."
"Go back to Azazel," Papa sneers.
"Azazel is dead," she says sharply.
"I'm sure that's what he wants you to think," he scoffs.
"You wouldn't say that if you'd been there." She sighs angrily. "What am I saying? Of course you would."
"If you won't leave, I won't hesitate to remove you."
"Not until I see him."
"You'll never see him again. You used up all your chances."
Kurt watches as the woman's hands ball into fists. "You have no idea what it was like for me."
"I don't need to," Papa says, his voice icy. "All I need to know is that you made the wrong choice."
She takes a step forward. "You should be the last one to separate a son from his mother."
Papa clenches his jaw. "You're no kind of mother," he says flatly. "A mother loves her children, and she never lets go."
The woman relents, reaching out to him. "Erik, I shouldn't have-"
"Get out of my house."
Her hands drop, hanging uselessly at her sides. She turns and looks up at Kurt before she leaves, just once, and her eyes are the same color as the ones he sees in the mirror.
Kurt raises a hand to her, but she leaves anyway.
Papa collapses into a chair, and Kurt runs down the stairs to his side. He's full of questions, but he doesn't say a word, knowing somehow that he shouldn't.
"Come here," Papa says softly, and Kurt climbs into his lap; Papa holds him at arm's length, his hands tight on Kurt's arms. "I love you, Kurt," he says fiercely. "No matter what happens, never forget that."
Kurt nods, pressing his face to Papa's chest.
He doesn't see the woman again, not for a very, very long time.