by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Thanks to kaly. Here we go again...

The trip home was a nightmare. Kurt made it the fastest way he knew how, teleporting over and over again. More than he should have. It was only after being violently sick in an alley somewhere that he forced himself to walk for awhile, regain his strength.

Hours and miles blurred together and his heart ached every time he had to make a detour. And there certainly were detours. Kurt had never traveled to Washington before. He'd never been to the nation's capital at all. He wouldn't even have known where he was if it wasn't for the unmistakable surroundings he found himself in when consciousness returned.

Consciousness, but not control.

The thought was enough to start him teleporting again, though he hadn't really recovered from overextending himself. Soon he was sick again - bitter bile in his mouth, his stomach clenching, empty. Despite the nausea, he was hungry; his overextended stamina was desperate for fuel, but Kurt didn't know this place.

At home he could hide in shadows and deep coats. At home he knew who wouldn't blink an eye at an occasional flash of blue-tinted skin or yellow eyes and who he could trust when he didn't want to hide at all.

This wasn't home. He'd have to wait 'til he was safe to soothe the ache in belly and heart and soul.

When he had to stop for awhile, when his body just wouldn't go any further, Kurt ran his fingers over the beads of his rosary. He was too scattered to pray properly, despite the comfort he took in his rituals, but he knew that He would hear nonetheless.

Even before pleading for comfort, Kurt wished blessings on the man whose bullet had grazed him. It didn't matter that the secret service agent had had no thought for Kurt's own life. Had, in fact, been trying to kill him. Kurt could only be grateful that the man had found the strength to lift his gun and steady his aim enough to fire a shot that actually found its mark. More or less.

The pain had snapped Kurt out of the mysterious compulsion just barely in time. It would have been the loss of a life, and more than a life. Kurt thought, bowing his head. I'd truly have become the harbinger of doom so many see when they look at me. Mutants everywhere might have been destroyed. And more. Witch hunts are rarely discriminating.

Gathering his strength, Kurt forced himself onwards.

At last he emerged beneath the vaulted ceiling and stained glass of his sanctuary. The mere sight of the pews and the candles and the statuary soothed the ragged edges of his soul.

Painfully aware of the needs of his own body, Kurt forced himself to eat from his own cache before wrapping himself in a blanket and curling up on his bed, hoping for sleep. Despite his troubled heart, his exhausted body obliged him almost at once.

When he woke it was dark, but his eyes were sharp enough to lead him unerringly through the rows of pews and around the remnants of scaffolding. Kurt came to the rows of candles and carefully selected a match with which to light one. The flame flared and caught at once.

Dropping into a crouch, Kurt reached for his rosary and ran his fingers over the beads once before beginning. It was some time, longer than usual, before he came to some measure, but it did come. It always did. When Kurt felt he could bring his mind to the events of the morning without vanishing reflexively, he slowly allowed himself to remember.

How can I have so completely lost control of my actions? he wondered. It had been like watching himself from behind his own eyes. Surely that is what it must be like to be possessed, Kurt thought, but he did not believe he truly had been possessed. It was...something else.

Give me a chance to understand, he asked silently. Give me a moment to put right what I have made wrong. Let me prove that I am not what I appear to be. He came to the last bead on the rosary, and his thoughts and words stilled together.

A moment of silence fell and grew expectant. Then, with a thud and a rush of wind, the doors to the church flew open.