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Cold Hard Reality Blues

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Kurt leaned against the railing that surrounded the back terrace and lifted his head to look at the stars. His beer bottle rested on the rail. Scott was kind enough to drive him to a local liquor store specializing in imports and microbrews, so Kurt now had a stock of good beer, though he'd had to promise to keep it under lock and key in his room. These Americans were so funny with their obsession for "protecting" children from alcohol. He was happy to make the promise if it meant getting his beer. That was something that made him homesick more quickly than anything else, not having beer to drink, or having to resort to drinking the piss that passed for American beer. Despite how well he liked living in the middle of Xavier's cheerful, friendly chaos, he sometimes wished for familiar things.

But homesickness wasn't what had chased him out of the dining room and into the comfort of the night with his good beer in hand. It was Wolverine. Logan, of the handsome face and even handsomer body, of the slate eyes that darkened sometimes when he looked at Kurt. Logan was the kind of man who took his pleasures wherever he could find them, without much forethought and without much attachment. The one exception had been his unrequited love for Dr. Grey and it was obvious that he was mourning her. Kurt knew better than to flirt with such a man, with a man in such circumstances. The nonsense with the cake the day before had been a mistake. Yet another example of Kurt's inability to withstand temptation. If his scars were for stupidities rather than sins, he'd be bleeding himself instead of standing on the terrace drinking beer.

His fingers slipped into his pocket and closed around the rosary there. It was comforting just to feel the beads pressing into his palm, and he knew he'd feel better if he took it out and prayed for a while. But there was a dark pleasure in soaking in the night and feeling the dull pain of wanting things he knew he could not have. He would give himself a few more minutes, finish his beer and perhaps then go about the ritual of setting his priorities aright.

When he heard the door to the house open, he considered 'porting away but reluctantly abandoned the idea as rude. Everyone had been very kind to him here, and if he wasn't in the mood for company, well, he knew how to put on a good act.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you."

Kurt turned to find Bobby Drake looking young and unsure in the amber garden lights. "It is your garden as much as it is mine," he said with what he hoped was a comforting smile.

Bobby crossed the terrace and joined him at the railing, standing not quite close enough to be intrusive. "I saw you leave the dining room and I wondered if you were all right."

"I'm fine. It's a beautiful night and I only needed some frisches luft. Fresh air, yes? But thank you for asking."

Bobby tilted his head and looked at Kurt as though he was trying to see all the way through him. "It's okay to be sad, you know. It's hard when you're new here, and everyone knows everyone else already, and there's just so damn many people around. I'm sure there's a lot of stuff you miss about Germany. It's okay to be homesick."

Bobby Drake was such a nice boy, it nearly broke Kurt's heart. He gave Bobby's arm a gentle squeeze and went back to looking at the garden. "My home ceased to be in Germany a long time ago. But I thank you for your kindness, Bobby. It's good to have friends watching over."

"We are." Kurt looked back to Bobby, trying to understand what he meant. "Friends, I mean. I think of you as my friend, and I hope you think of me that way too. When we're not teacher and student. When it's just us."

Kurt wasn't sure if this was just Bobby being Bobby or if it was related to the puppy love that Logan had mentioned the week before. He searched for what to say, but Bobby sighed deeply and turned out to stare at the garden.

"I miss St. John," he said. "I know he's a shithead and a traitor but I miss him. I miss that constant, irritating click of his lighter, and his dumb jokes, and the stupid macho crap he would pull whenever he thought he was being threatened. I worry about him. Magneto's going to let him get hurt. Johnny needs to learn when to back off and I don't think he ever will now. And there's nothing I can do about it. Just like Dr. Grey being dead, and Rogue being untouchable. It sucks and there's nothing I can do."

Kurt knew he should try to make a wise statement about how a certain kind of resignation is the mark of maturity, or about how the hard things in life make the good things that much sweeter. But Bobby turned to him and started talking again before he could get the English words framed in his mind.

"Everybody here, their love lives are really fucked up and complicated. It seems like everybody's in love with two or three different people, everybody wants somebody that they can't have. The students, the teachers, everyone. Just be careful, okay? Don't expect that it's going to be easy, because the whole thing is just really fucked up." And with that he grabbed Kurt in a big bear hug, thumped him on the back a couple of times and then ran inside.

Kurt scratched at his ear with the point of his tail and took a long drink of beer. He had the feeling that he was missing something and he wondered if it was a problem of language or just teenage inscrutability.

He looked up at the stars again, and realized that some lessons never quite sink in. Bobby was learning that there were facts about which nothing could be done. Kurt had learned that lesson early, blue skin and a pointy tail being very obvious examples of immutable facts. And yet there were still times when he threw himself against the brick wall of obvious fact again and again instead of going around it and moving on.

He swallowed the last of his beer, pulled the rosary from his pocket, and quietly began to pray.