**Please note that this installment takes place between “Safety Blanket” and “A Pirate’s Life For Me” if you would like context. Of course, all of these “chapters” can be taken as one-shots (I think), but I just thought to add this cute scene ‘cuz I make reference to a situation—like the one in this installment—in a future piece that is currently in the works.
[Name] is playing in the courtyard with the Bamfs again. Kurt and Warren are on a mission and not expected back for the next few days. [Name] hasn’t been at Xavier’s for very long—only three months and she’s been pretty reclusive in those months.
Charles knows that deep down [Name] still thinks she did something wrong to be sent away by her parents. At first the girl vowed to not speak—and she has kept to her vow pretty well. So far, Kurt is the only person at the mansion to hear her voice aside from the first word she spoke (“Bamf”) upon arriving and meeting Kurt for the first time. She only speaks when necessary, but usually she can get her point across without words. Kurt is a very attentive caretaker and he has managed to take care of her well enough without her having to speak much, or at all. Charles has tried to contact her parents, to ask them to welcome her back for the holidays, but there is no progress on that issue as of now.
Charles understands that [Name]’s parents are under a lot of stress and pressure and trying to avoid the stigma of having a mutant daughter—but the longer they insist on not coming to a decision on this issue will mean more bridges burned. He fears that the parent’s choice will cause irreparable damage to their relationship and scar [Name] for life.
Charles fears that the parents will eventually decide to write [Name] off entirely and [Name] will have no home or family to speak of. He hopes that someday [Name] will accept this place as her new home and forge bonds with the staff and students, but it could go either way right now. [Name] is still young—the youngest mutant Charles has ever had to deal with. He worries for her. He has never had to deal with one so young and he fears that even the slightest mishap will leave her scarred for life and afraid of mutants or set her down the wrong path.
Luckily, the mission Kurt and Warren were assigned this week doesn’t look like a dangerous one. The two were sent specifically because the target is a young mutant with a very noticeable mutation; Charles was hoping that Kurt and Warren would be able to connect with the teen because of their obvious physical mutations. Kurt and Warren were overjoyed at the chance to get out of the mansion as well—due to the nature of their mutations the two are usually confined to the mansion while the other X-Men can go out and masquerade as human. Kurt decided that [Name] should stay just in case—he’s grown quite attached to [Name] in the few months she has been here and he refuses to put the girl in any danger, no matter how slight. Because the mission isn’t a dangerous one, Kurt left the Bamfs to entertain [Name] and protect her.
The Bamfs have taken their job very seriously. Some of the more curious students have attempted to make contact with [Name] ever since Kurt left (as wary of him as they were). The Bamfs always kept a perimeter around [Name] and pushed those gawkers away. They may be tiny, but the Bamfs know how to scratch, and they’ve gotten very creative with where they jab their tail-spades. Ororo’s right, the Bamfs may already see [Name] as their new mistress. Kurt may have made a deal with these creatures, but the things seem very attached to [Name]—to the point where they listen to her almost as much as they listen to Kurt.
Out in the courtyard [Name] explores the grounds with the Bamfs and her doll in tow. Back at home, with her parents, she was never really allowed outside. Once her parents found out about her mutation she wasn’t even allowed into the yard anymore for fear that the neighbours would ask questions about why she was not seen around often. She missed the smell of the plants and the sight of flowers.
She feels a tug at her left arm and looks down. Two of the Bamfs are tugging at her doll. She smiles and lets the two take the doll. It looks like they want to play with it and it wouldn’t be fair for her to hog the toy all to herself.
[Name] laughs and claps as one of the Bamfs slow-dances with her doll. Another one approaches and snags the doll from the first Bamf and the two begin to fight. The other Bamfs are watching and making kissy faces—they’re all buying into the game, apparently. [Name] chuckles at the image of her doll being the belle of the ball.
The fight escalates from light pushing and shoving to scratching and puffs of black smoke as things get heated. Apparently, they aren’t pretending anymore. Before [Name] can put a stop to it there is a horrid sound.
The tears come almost before the realization of what happened as [Name] feels an overwhelming sense of loss overcome her. The two fighting Bamfs tried to teleport at the same time—to different places—each gripping an arm of her doll.
Her doll—her friend—her one constant in her ever-changing life lies in pieces. The two Bamfs look at her guiltily.
[Name] runs away. She dashes off to the mansion, most likely to her room. The group of Bamfs stand in the courtyard staring at their handiwork. One of the spectator Bamfs smacks one of the ones holding the doll upside the head as though to tell him he was being stupid. They’re all ashamed and wondering what to do. Collectively, they all disappear in a puff of smoke, off to find their master. The broken doll goes with them. Perhaps Kurt will know what to do.
The Blackbird lands in the hanger without incident. Charles and Ororo are here to welcome their comrades back. The mission was a success and the young mutant is explaining things to his parents and packing up to attend Xavier’s within the next week.
Warren exits the jet first because Kurt was flying it. He nods to the professor and heads off to shower and go teach his afternoon flight class.
Kurt steps out of the jet a couple of minutes later, his Bamfs surrounding him and some of them perched on his arms. He has a weary look on his face but it is masked by a grim sadness.
“Kurt, I assume the Bamfs filled you in?” Charles is about to tell Kurt what has occurred at the mansion—to let him know there is another mission he needs to attend to.
“Ja, mein (Yes, my) Bamfs came to me four days ago. Zhey told me ve haf a man down?”
“That’s right. Four days ago [Name] barricaded herself in her room and she would not talk to anyone. We didn’t know what happened. The professor tried to contact her telepathically but only got the feeling that she had lost something very dear to her.”
“Ja. Her friend.” Kurt holds out the two halves of [Name]’s doll. Ororo gasps and Charles massages the bridge of his nose.
To an adult a toy is a trivial matter—to a child, on the other hand. Charles has been in [Name]’s head, he knows how much the doll means to her. He fears that this is the event that will traumatize [Name] for good—set her on a path she cannot get away from. Perhaps she will hate the mansion because of this event. It was more than a doll to her—it was her closest companion and her one reminder of home. The doll has been with her for her whole life and to have it be broken here might make her hate this place by association.
“What are we going to do? Should we get her a new one?”
“I fear that will not solve matters. It’s not a matter of a replacement, it’s about the sentimental value of the doll.”
“Professor, vould you let me handle zhis?”
“Yes, Kurt. I was hoping you would. If anyone has a shot at getting [Name] to open up, it’s you.”
“I’ll head up zhere—but first I need to mend somezhing. ‘ro, could you find me some thread und a needle?”
[Name] sits with her back against her dresser. She pushed the piece of furniture against the door four days ago. It won’t keep Kurt or the Bamfs away, but she has not been disturbed since. She doesn’t want to talk to anybody. This place is different—it is scary. She thought she could handle it, all the change, but without her doll this place is very lonely.
The doll was the one constant thing in her life. Every time something changed around her she just had to look at Bamf to know that things would be alright. Bamf never changed. He got dirty, sure, but it was always Bamf. It has always been there for her, comforting her when she had to stop sleeping in her crib and when her dad put away all of her “baby” toys. Bamf was there when she outgrew her favorite pajamas and when she ripped her favorite pair of socks and had to throw them out. Bamf was there when she had to learn how to drink out of normal cups and when she had to give up her pacifier. Sure, she used Bamf’s nose as a replacement—but she stopped doing it when she was four and Bamf took it like a champ.
Bamf was there when she had to learn how to ride her tricycle. No matter how many times she tripped over the peddles or fell off and scraped her knees Bamf got her through it. She promised Bamf that she would ride someday with Bamf in the back of her tricycle and that dream came true.
When her parents found out about her mutation and she was essentially locked up Bamf was there for her. Bamf has caught all of her tears and heard all of her musings, good and bad. It was there when she used to run free in the yard and it was there, beside her, when she had to watch the flowers bloom from a window. Bamf may have just been a doll, but it was so much more to her than just that; and he is gone now.
When she first came to this new place she was terrified. The room was big and the lightning outside did not look very friendly. She would hear things at night and imagine scary things outside her window. She spent many nights cowering under her covers with Bamf as her only company. She is still afraid of the things she sees outside her window; but where is Bamf now? He can’t weather the storm with her now. What does she cry into now? She doesn’t want to bother Kurt all the time. If she went to Kurt every time she was scared or wanted to cry she’d never get off of him. He would get sick of her so quickly if she did that. But what choice does she have now?
KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.
[Name]’s eyes well-up with tears as she hears the familiar voice, muffled through the door. She wants to run to him; he is just like Bamf—he’s always there when she needs him. She holds herself back this time though.
“[Name], may I come in?”
There is a pause at the other end of the door. Kurt is a little hurt that [Name] would reject him.
“But I haf dinner. ‘ro told me you haf not been eating.”
[Name] doesn’t respond. She doesn’t want to eat. The food here is not the same as home. Her mom used to cook for the family every night. She wants mom’s cooking. She wants to go back to her old, small, bedroom and curl up with Bamf. She wants to go home. She knows she did something wrong but it has been a long time and she still hasn’t figured out just what she did that was so wrong. However, she doesn’t believe anything she could have done warrants being kept in a strange house and having Bamf taken away from her.
“[Name], I am coming in.”
[Name] backs up a little when Kurt appears, crouched, in front of her with two trays of food balanced in his hand. He looks up at the dresser pushed against the wall and offers her a small smile.
“You moved zhis all by yourself?”
Kurt is impressed. The dresser is much bigger than [Name] is. She must have pushed all afternoon to move it from halfway across the room. It was a futile effort—a single piece of furniture could not hope to keep out any of the residents of this school.
Kurt sets the two trays down in front of [Name]. Charles mentioned that the girl missed her mother’s cooking. The staff were at a loss, not knowing what [Name]’s mother usually served for dinner, nor how to prepare it. Kurt went to the kitchen and whipped up some quick dishes. He has watched [Name] carefully over the last few months and has kept a close eye on what [Name] eats first, last, and the most of during dinner as well as her expressions and whether she liked or disliked something. After a quick analysis of his observations Kurt is shocked that the staff could not figure out something so simple. They were all trying to create some fancy mac ‘n cheese or some other traditional dinner dish when the answer was there all along.
Kurt went into the kitchen and whipped up some of the simpler things he has seen [Name] eat. There’s a small omelette with decorative ketchup (in this case, spelling the word BAMF), pancakes, a fruit-cup, and best of all: hot chocolate with seven marshmallows on top. The answer was quite simple—what would a mother make for her children that was quick and easy to do? Home cooking is not usually a five-course meal, nor is it really plated up to perfection. Of course, Kurt has never really had a traditional mother—but whenever he fantasized about living a “normal” life he always imagined pancakes, omelettes, and hot chocolate. The professor told him about a few minor details about the dishes he was going to prepare—the ketchup, the syrup, and the hot-chocolate had to be made a certain way for his plan to work.
“I haf a surprise for you,” Kurt smiles as [Name] perks up a bit. “but only if you clear your plate.” Kurt smiles at [Name] and begins to dig into his own dinner.
[Name] looks down at her plate and pokes at her omelette. Her mom used to do this. Before her mutation manifested her mother used to draw hearts on her omelette with the ketchup. It didn’t matter what was in the omelette—what mattered was that her mom took the time to draw something with the ketchup. [Name] always marveled at how her mom could make such elegant designs with the condiment when she couldn’t squirt a straight line herself.
The pancakes are a little more interesting. Rather than have syrup on the side or let her go to town with the bottle, her mom had an interesting way of measuring the syrup and getting it on the plate. [Name] slices into a pancake and, just like in her memories, a trail of sticky syrup begins to ooze out of the center of the pancake. [Name] almost wants to cry. Her mom always used to fill the pancakes with the syrup, jam, or with chocolate sauce on special occasions. Essentially, what could fit inside the pancake was all the syrup you needed.
[Name] begins to eat. She saves the fruit cup and the hot chocolate for last. The fruit was meant to be dessert back at home, and it was a treat. The mix of the fruit and the syrup is one of the simpler things she has always enjoyed. The hot chocolate had to be left for last because it was always steaming and much too hot at the start of the meal—just as it is now. The marshmallows are a nice touch. Her mom’s rule was always “only enough marshmallows to count your birthdays”. She was looking forward to the day she could put more than five into her cup. Apparently, tonight she’s allowed to skip two years. Well, it’s not like mom will find out.
With the food gone, the two sit back and sip their hot chocolate. Kurt has been telling [Name] about his mission. He says that soon they will have a new student—a new friend for [Name] to get to know eventually. [Name] isn’t really paying attention. She is still thinking about the surprise Kurt promised her. Kurt smirks behind his mug. He knows that [Name] is hung up on the surprise he mentioned. That was his plan. He wanted to get her spirits up—so he decided to give her something to look forward to, as well as an incentive to finish her dinner.
“Alright. You haf been good. You cleaned your plate. Now, as promised,” Kurt reaches around behind him. He has kept his surprise hidden in a pouch at his belt for the grand reveal. “I vould like to inform you zhat zhe surgery vas a success.”
“Bamf!” [Name]’s eyes could light up the room as she snatches her doll from Kurt. Kurt laughs as she hugs her doll and inspects it.
There is a very fine line running down the middle of the doll—it could pass as a seam. [Name] knows that they didn’t just get her a new one. Bamf was one of a kind and there are small details on her doll you could never hope to replicate. Bamf’s nose is a little misshapen (due to the loss of her pacifier), and there was always a smudge on one of it’s hands that couldn’t be washed off. Lastly, [Name] had been trying to read the letters on it’s collar all her life—she has every scratch on that collar memorized. She looks at it now for a final confirmation and notices something odd.
There is a string of beads around Bamf’s neck along with a small pendant. The whole thing appears to be made of polished wood. [Name] raises an eyebrow and looks at Kurt.
“I vas about your age vhen I got mein rosary. I-It’s a charm, a charm to protect you und Bamf.”
[Name] flops over to give Kurt a hug and the blue mutant laughs before he looks at the dresser.
“Ve should move this, ja?”
In Xavier’s office he smiles when he gets the “all clear” from Kurt. Ororo is in his office at the time and she raises an eyebrow in his direction.
“Everything is fine now.”
“Kurt fixed the doll, right?”
“How did you know he’d be able to do it?”
“Ororo, my dear, you forget Kurt’s past. The man had to take care of himself before he came here. I was sure that sewing was in his repertoire and it looks like I was right. After all, how do you think he acquired the clothes he was wearing when he first came here? A man like Kurt would never resort to petty theft.”
Ororo smiles. She’s been meaning to take her new jeans to a seamstress to alter the hem—it looks like she won’t have to look much further than the mansion now. She hides a smirk behind her hand as she remembers something odd she saw in Kurt’s room when she was sent to get him to eat to dinner last week.
It was only for a moment, but when Kurt opened his door Ororo saw a crude mannequin in the far corner of his room. There were a few strips of fabric pinned to the mannequin that resembled the beginnings of a dress—a dress to fit a small child. [Name]’s parents may still be on the fence about whether to accept her as their daughter or not; but [Name] will be alright. After all, family does not necessarily have to be bound by blood. Ororo likes to think that all of the people here at this school have made a choice to be something like family. Some of the staff and some of the students do not have a biological family for various reasons. They all came together here at this school--like patches on a quilt. As sappy as it sounds, Ororo hopes that one day all the mutants and allies that find themselves here will come together like such a quilt--held together by thin, but strong bonds--like the stitches on the patchy dress in Kurt's room.