“You’ve got to get out of here, the hounds will come soon, you’ll die if you stay…”
She was cut off there by the strange serene man before her, “If I don’t stay, I won’t be here to slow them down long enough for Pietro to get the children out. When the Lord said suffer unto me little children, I have serious doubts as a theologian that he meant that they be torn apart like little foxes.”
“…but, you’ll die here…” she began again, desperate to make him see the reality of the situation, the children might still make it, there was no need for unnecessary sacrifice.
“And I will be born to eternal life,” and he tipped his head on one side and those yellow eyes squinted slightly as he regarded her from his crouch atop the wrecked girder, “Do I know you, hubisches Fraulein, are you one whom I took in once? You seem oddly familiar. If you want to help, go help Pietro with the children, and prove me a foolish old man,” he was barely that, all of thirty-five, tops, and here that is old?
She’d frozen there, he was moving and talking almost like her father, in one of his more distracted moods. “Fraulein, Pietro and the children are three mile North-North-West of here.”
Her voice was small, choked, “I can’t teleport, Father.”
“I know, I’ve never met another like me, now run, the scavengers are almost all gone now, it is too dangerous for profit, but be careful.”
And she turned, and ran, tears streaming down her cheeks now he could not see her face. Would it have been so bad to have told a condemned man that there are indeed others like him, worlds full of them, and of ones like her, his daughter. She was still running when she heard the hounds arrive.
He’s looking down at her, the bastard, looking down at her in all his plundered finery, the Iron Cross jangling discordantly like fairy bells. Part of her wonders how much blood he has on his hands, part of her wonders if any of it is her grandmother’s, her uncle’s, her mother’s. She wants to be sick.
Instead she tries to keep her expression neutral, “Okay, you’ve won, you’ve caught me, now make your fuehrer happy and go home,” let him believe that she’s going to make it an easy kill and then take the first opening offered her. She so shouldn’t have possessed that whiny little Britischer Freikorps bastard this morning, fingers on fire or not, the guys could have handled him. And the guys aren’t here now.
The battle’d split. She realises now that it was his doing. She’s looking at the strategic brains of the team. She hadn’t expected that.
“Well, actually, Schatt, I was thinking more along the lines of making me happy. Play nice, and I’ll make you happy too.” Her father’s fangs had never looked dangerous, his looked like they belonged on a shark, a lecherous, sadistic, intelligent shark.
And as he leaned further over her, his perfumed breath like poison on her skin, she raised her knee up…
When TJ was little, she was scarred of the thunder, and no assurance from her Aunt Ororo made the pressure of her fear any lighter. But where the adults had gone wrong was to assume that it was the noise that frightened her. It wasn’t. It was the swiftly heralded return to darkness.
However hard she’d tried to shake it off, it had never quite gone, and the lurching twisted creature in the catacombs of the world between worlds they call Limbo didn’t help. She never thought that she would meet, and more to the point, here in the dark, pray not to meet, pray to the God of her father’s lost faith not to meet, one who never stirred even the faintest glimmer of feeling in her. She had feelings enough for him; pity, revulsion, and ever-quickening fear; but there was nothing of hope, of joy, of love. Sometimes, she’d see one and those feelings would soon be broken upon the wheel of truth but never had she met one for whom the feelings never came at all.
Her foot slipped. He whirled, his blood soaked mouth clear once more with its gross overbite. He’d noticed her.
“Come to daddy, my little pretty one. Come to daddy. Come play with daddy and he’ll show you things…”
Not him, not him, not him.
“Isn’t she so very sweet,” he said as he played with her small questing out fingers, “it is so pleasant to find a universe where not only am I not a dangerous ravening monster, but I am more happy than in my own. Yours is a perfect existence, mein Freund.”
“Even Eden has its thorns,” sighed the field leader of the X-men as he sat beside his doppelganger in the rose garden, “and, trust me, they cut deep.”
“Ja, Herr Professor. Don’t look so shocked, I can not feel the slightest touch of his mind here. And I have grave suspicions of that monument in the courtyard, which will be confirmed anon. And yet, you have made a home here, a family, something I had never dreamed of in my world, I never dreamed that a woman could love me so much…”
Wanda had come into the garden, holding a tray of lemonade with perfect control of her chaos magicks. At once graceful, serene and the embodiment of power, she stood for a moment.
“…or that I could father a child so beautiful, though I think this is more to the fair lady’s credit than mine.”
“Hi da- er, nice dress!” TJ had seen the flash of blue and the glare of blades in the distance, and had run, run ahead of the team, heedless as she rushed headlong down the rigging of the air-ship they had commandeered and leapt a graceful leap like a squirrel only aware of the prize that awaits it in the next tree.
Her father wearing earrings was not unusual, and even, when you came to it, was the dress albeit with a practical short skirt. What surprised TJ were the breasts, and the face that resembled her own so closely it was like a mirror image. A mirror image in which she was a kinky pirate queen who had never heard of the wonder that is hair-straighteners and had opted, rather like a small pudgy thirteen year old in a photo of which her father was devastatingly embarrassingly fond.
The pirate queen laughed, the loops through her ears glinting in the high altitude sun-light, and the hope that she might share flitted briefly through TJ’s mind, “You’re a voyager along the sidereal string, doomed by fate to travel a million worlds ‘ere you return to your own, aren’t you, little one? Like your father was. And so shall you be my guest. For is it not said far and wide that the occurred seeks only to reduplicate itself in the present! And you, sweet child, shall be a guest at my court, as was your father before you. You are so very like him, flower.”
And somehow TJ couldn’t say it, not your Kurt. Not my father, he never came here, he never loved you, and my mother never stole his heart and gave him what you did not. And she can’t say this, and lose this momentary home.
Her dad ran out onto the lawn of the Xavier Institute and wrapped his arms around her, “TJ! You’re home!”
And she was.
1. This is Father Wagner from the Days Of Future Past in Excalibur (I'm not sure actually, uxm.net doesn't have the issue up, but I think it's around 35), he dies horribly at the hands of a hound called Rachel. Hence, irony.
2. This is Lightning Squad Nightcrawler canon Nazi rapist bastard. Excalibur 9-10
3. This is Belasco's warped pet Nightcrawler from Uncanny 160.
4. This one is a reference to one of my fics, Liebe Wanda, was hast du noch getan? in which our Kurt remembers briefly his meeting with TJ and his father as he traveled through realities in the infamous Crosstime Caper.
5. This is Kymli from Excalibur 16 and 17, technically she is a parallel Kurt even if she marries Kurt in The End.