Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Storm, Prestige, mild Colossus/Shadowcat
Challenge/Prompt: Christian Pens 2: "Who's Got Me? God!" and beattheblackdog 122: Quote
Warning(s): Slight Spoilers, Christian/Jew Themes
Word Count: 2,970
Date Written: 8 August 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
She should have been terrified, but she wasn’t. Just a year ago, her heart would have been pounding like mad before she ever came onto this stage to meet this famous personality and answer her host’s personal questions, which she would have believed were intentionally being aimed to mess her up, in front of an audience of millions, millions who hated her and her people, who feared her and hers for their differences, who would rather see them dead than talking and laughing on a talk show.
And yet, here she was laughing with this famous stranger, after having related a most private incident that happened at the school. It was private, she knew, but it was also something that could have easily happened at any normal school for human students. Her host pretended to wipe tears from her eyes as their and their audience’s laughter subsided. “But surely, Miss Pryde, not everything that happens at Xavier’s is normal? We have reports of interstellar attacks, the school disappearing and even exploding -- “
“No,” Kitty admitted quickly, “it isn’t all normal, Miss Neal, but that’s the point of it, isn’t it? The reason we are all together at our school is because we are not normal. We were not born normal, Miss Neal, and no matter how much we may try, at times, to hide our differences or make ourselves believe that we can be normal, we are not and will never be normal. That also, unfortunately, tends to make both students and faculty targets.”
“Are you saying some of the incidents we’ve heard of happened only because you are mutants, Miss Pryde?”
“Yes. Unfortunately.” She levelled her gaze with her host’s. “It’s the truth, and I’m not going to try to hide it. We have been attacked in our own home, our own school, simply for being different.”
“Where do these attacks come from?”
“From multiple places. It has, at times, been from our own government, but it has also been as far away as from another galaxy. The sad fact, however, is that they all stem from the same source: fear, hatred, misunderstanding. That’s part of the reason why I believe so much in what we are doing. It is natural for people to fear what they do not understand, just as it is natural for people to make mistakes when they are learning to control something that they themselves do not understand.”
“Are you saying that not all mutants understand their powers?”
“Why, of course, Miss Neal. We aren’t always born with our powers after all. They’re something most of us come into in the most trying time of our lives, in puberty. Trying to learn to control your powers when you suddenly have them and have lived all your life up until that point without them is like . . . It’s almost like trying to learn to control your raging hormones at that age.”
“Bear with me here for a moment. Consider this: A young man who has feelings for a young girl has to rein in his more basic instincts. If he simply acts on his hormones, grabs her, and kisses her, she’s going to slap him, and he won’t stand a chance of taking her to the prom -- or anywhere else for that matter. Now let’s add something to that mix. Let’s say that young man also has the ability to sprout fire from his fingertips, but he doesn’t know how to control that ability. It acts up when his emotions are the most intense, so when he’s near the girl he thinks he loves, it’s only a natural reaction for his flames, both literal and metaphorical, to react. One of our schools in the past actually had the boys’ dormitory explode for something just like that.”
“Yes. Learning to control our powers isn’t easy, and our powers are something for which we have rarely, if at all, asked. In the course of my lifetime, I’ve known exactly two people who wanted to be born mutants and were thrilled when they received their powers. For the rest of us, it’s been a hard journey.”
“My power, for instance, is to make myself incorporeal, to make myself able to pass through any solid matter, like a living, walking ghost. There have been times when I have lost complete control of my powers due to something entirely beyond my control, like an attack on my person, on my very soul sometimes. It also certainly wasn’t easy when I first started finding out that I had the power to pass through matter.”
“When did you first discover you were a mutant, Miss Pryde?”
“It took me a while to realize what was happening, and that was with the benefit of having a superior intellect than most kids my age at the time. I’m not bragging,” she added. “It’s a simple fact. My powers came with intense migraines, but it wasn’t until I fell asleep while suffering with one and awoke on the floor below my bedroom, that I realized something major was wrong with me. That’s what I thought it was, Miss Neal: that something was wrong with me.”
“But being born with powers doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. That’s one of the things I try the hardest to teach my children. That’s something I try the hardest to teach my children. We didn’t ask for these powers, but we were born with them. Birds didn’t ask to fly, but they were born with wings. Animals didn’t ask to walk on four legs or have fur coats, but they do. Cats didn’t ask for whiskers, elephants and rhinoceroses for tusks, fish for gills. None of us asked for the different traits with which we were born, but we were born with them nonetheless.”
“What are you trying to say, Miss Pryde?”
“What I am saying, Miss Neal, is that we did not ask to be born mutants no more than any being in this audience asked to be born with a particular color to their skin, hair, or eyes, but we were born as we are. Only one person, one being, has control over how every one of us comes into this world. That being isn’t you or I or anyone in this room. God makes us the way we are. We’re born the way we are, because that is what He intends to happen.”
“That’s a very interesting theory, Miss Pryde.”
“It’s the truth,” Kitty responded solemnly, “and it’s something I hope one day all people will understand and accept. We don’t ask to be born the way we are, but we do the best we can with what, and how, we are born.”
“And that’s what Xavier’s offers -- a way to learn how to be, to quote another important body, the best they can be?”
“Yes as well as a safe haven to all and any who are seeking one.”
“So you don’t have to be a mutant to go to Xavier’s?”
“No. Most are, but it’s not required. We welcome everybody, but our goal is to teach mutants how to control their powers and be able to use them to save the world or refrain from using them and simply live normal lives. It’s up to the students and what they decide to do with the gifts they’ve been given.”
“So you are one of those mutants who believes that your powers are a gift from God?”
“Is not everything with which we are born supposed to be a gift, Miss Neal? Is not life itself a precious gift?”
“It is,” the spokesperson conceded. “So you are offering these children a better tomorrow, Miss Pryde?”
“To the best of our ability. Our end game, Miss Neal, is to live in a world where everyone, regardless of species, ethnicity, religion, or any other differences can and will live together peacefully. But until that world exists, people who have been born different don’t have to live in a place full of fear and hate. We will welcome them always with open arms at Xavier’s. We will have them when the rest of the world won’t, and we’ll teach them, to the very best of our combined abilities, to become everything they want to be.”
“So you have them, Miss Pryde, but who has you?”
“You’ve spoken with such dedication and strong, unwavering belief throughout this entire meeting, Miss Pryde, but there are those who will still look at you and scream ‘mutie’ -- “
“Oh, they’ll scream a lot worse than that, Miss Neal, but I’ve learned to look pass hatred, to look pass fear and prejudices. I’m not concerned with what those people who look at us and see us as inferior simply because we were born a different species than they. I’m concerned with saving them if they need our help, but that’s it. I won’t let ugliness like fear, prejudice, and hate dictate my life or the lives of my friends, family, or students. They were born by the same God into the same world as we, and if they can’t see that, then I pity them. I really do.”
“What would you say to the atheists, Miss Pryde, and to the Satanists?”
“To the atheists, Miss Neal, I would say ‘look around you’. Do you see the live all around you, the living, breathing humans and animals, the endless sky, the land rolling beneath your feet? You have to look at this world, Miss Neal, and if you truly see it in all its glory, I don’t see how anyone can not believe that a greater hand than any of ours sculpted everything we see every day, too much of which is taken daily for granted.”
“And the Satanists?”
“I have fought Satanists before, Miss Neal, true Satanists, but I have also known men and women who have banded together with those of that religion because it was the only place where they felt they could be accepted. To them, I say: You can be accepted elsewhere, no matter your differences. Give us a chance, and we’ll meet you with love, not hate.”
“I guess . . . I just never realized how religious you are.”
“I’m a Jew, Miss Neal. My people, both mutants and Jews, have been abused for millions of years, and it all stems from the same thing: hatred and fear caused by a lack of understanding.”
“Well, one day, Miss Pryde, I certainly hope we live in a world far more understanding.”
“So do I, Miss Neal. It’s one of the things we X-Men fight for every day of our lives.”
“But you never did answer my question, Miss Pryde.”
“Who has you?”
Kitty smiled. “I’m sorry. I thought I did. You see, Miss Neal, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of being an X-Man, it’s that in the end, Good will triumph, and that is because, no matter what, God has us. Time marches on. Things change. New people are born into this world. Loved ones are taken from us when their own battles are over, but they will rise again as long as they believe in Him. We will all rise again, and we will triumph as long as we are doing His work.”
“And you believe the X-Men are doing His work?”
“With all my heart, Miss Neal. After all, what else would you call accepting people from all walks of life, accepting the downtrodden and the beaten, those who are feared, hated, and abused simply for the way they have been born into this world, and trying all the time to make this world a better place filled with more love and understanding for all of God’s children?”
“Miss Pryde, you just said a mouthful. How did the daughter of a simple banker in Deerfield, Illinois, grow to become the head of the X-Men and so smart?”
“Because that’s where God has led me. Because someone had to stand up when the dream was crippled and take control again. Someone has to hel lead us into a better world, into the world He wants for all His children.”
“And you think you are capable of doing so, Miss Pryde?”
“I hope so. I pray so every day of my life. And I try hard with all I have to make it happen, to make life better for every student who comes to us. I’ll tell you, Miss Neal. Why don’t you bring a crew out to Xavier’s sometime next week and see for yourself just what we are doing, just what we are offering to the new generation?”
“It’s a deal, Miss Pryde,” her hostess said, smiling, even as Kitty suddenly clamped her mouth shut, realizing, at last, that she’d gone too far. The show wrapped around her with Kitty barely being aware of what was being done or sad. She sat, frozen, in her chair, and when the talk show hostess raised her hand and waved at their audience, Kitty followed her example and waved fingers that felt numb.
Somehow, she found her way backstage to the people who waited for her. Ororo, Kurt, Rachel, and Piotr, whose heart she feared she’d just recently broken by ultimately declining to marry him, stood in the shadows waiting for her. “Kitten, you did wonderful!” Ororo praised as she, Kurt, and Rachel wrapped their arms around her in tight, reassuring embraces.
“Vou made us all proud, Katzchen,” Kurt whispered in her ear, the tip of his unseen, blue tail twitching.
“But -- But I told them to come to the school!” Kitty finally managed to breathe again.
“Yeah, you did.” Rachel nodded. “But we’ll make it work.”
“Together,” Ororo spoke swiftly and simply.
“God has us all, Katzchen, as long as we continue doing His vork, but ve also have you.”
“All of us,” Piotr added in his soft, shy voice. Kitty looked up at him in surprise from the tangle of arms all around her. “Always,” he added with the first trace of a smile she’d seen on his lips since the day she had been supposed to marry him.
Kurt stroked her short hair. “You said right, Katzchen. As long as ve keeping doing His vork, God has us. He’ll see us through this too.”
“He -- or She -- will see us through all of it,” Ororo added, “including the show coming out to the school.”
“It just gives us another chance to prove to them that we’re just normal people doing the best we can with what we’ve been given and helping our students to learn to do that too.”
“But we’re not normal people -- “
“And zat’s somezing to be proud of, Katzchen, not ashamed of.”
“That’s true,” she said and began, slowly, to smile.
Her friends hugged her again. “We’ll get through this,” Rachel told her.
“Together,” Ororo added.
“God has us, and He’ll carry us all ze vay to one day finally making ze Professor’s dream a reality.”
“Do you think . . . he’d be proud of me? Of us?”
“Oh, da,” Piotr said, finally wrapping his strong, muscular arms around the four of them. “We’re doing their work. They’re proud of us, and we will win in the end, Katya.”
The end, she remembered. The end where everyone could live together peacefully, regardless of any and all differences. That was what they were fighting for. That was what God’s people truly wanted -- a world full of love, not hate, fear, or prejudice --, and that was why in the end, they would win. She smiled and hugged her friends and family back until a tiny voice spoke up. “M-Miss Pryde, may I have your autograph?”
She turned around to find a young girl, not more than four years old, with polka dots in her hair and green skin. She knelt before her, took her pen and paper, and wrote down her name -- and a note. When the little girl saw what she had written, tears brimmed in her eyes. She smiled and threw herself into Kitty’s arms. It wasn’t until her mother had finally come to retrieve that Piotr asked her softly, “What did you write, Katya?”
“I told her,” Kitty answered, smiling, “that she’s beautiful just the way she is.”
Piotr nodded, but as he watched her, smiling and shining like the beautiful light she had grown into, he felt certain in his heart that whereas all of God’s children were beautiful in their own right, she was the greatest beauty he had ever known. His heart ached. Maybe one day she would come back to him. All he could do for now was wait, pray, keep doing God’s work, and hope that one day He’d see fit to reward him with the love he’d sought all his life.
“We’re going to make it happen, Piotr.”
Kurt walked up and swung his arm around Kitty’s shoulders. “Zat’s vhat I’ve been telling you all along, Katzchen.”
“Well, you’re right, Fuzzy,” she said, grinning and keeping to herself that she could see the truth today. She could see the truth, see the future, see the love and possibilities in God’s world, and it was all so very, very beautiful. She just hoped she could keep seeing reality as she was now. The Devil did have a way of marring the vision of God’s people, of scaring them, confusing them, and getting them off the right path through the likes of Ogun, Sabertooth, Emma Frost, and a million others. But they were doing God’s work, and as long as they kept holding to His hand, in the end, all would come right. All will come right, she reminded herself and kept smiling, acting, and doing just as she knew God wanted her to do for all His children.