Disclaimer: Marvel owns Generation X, though they really should take better care of it. Non-canon characters are mine.

Note: I'm ignoring Generation X #40, reasons of which should be obvious once you're read the story. This is set about 20 years in the future. Feedback is greatly appreciated, but flames will be flushed down the toilet.

This one's for Shirinder, the hopeless romantic.


And they lived happily ever after.

There. That was a good story, wasn't it?

Laku noch, love.

I know you can't wait for your birthday, but sleeping really will make tomorrow come faster.

Yes, I promise we'll make Daddy wear a party hat.

Smirking? I was merely... smiling.

Somehow, I can't imagine your father wearing neon green and yellow. But at least it's slightly better than what he used to wear.

What was that?

Did Daddy rescue me like the prince in "Sleeping Beauty"?


Not quite.

Sleep tight, kcyer.

No, it's late.


No, Jenny.

Sigh. U redu.

He didn't rescue me from dragons and evil wizards, little one.

He rescued me from myself.

Hush, I'll try to explain.

You see, Jenny, there's a dark part of ourselves that we keep hidden from others. Our insecurities, fears, longing, the hurt... they're all there, behind a wall like the forest of thorns.

Most people don't let it fester inside them. Being with others, having their friendship and love, makes it easier to deal with. Gradually, they learn to trust some people, enough to let the darkness show.

I haven't learned that at the time. I was trapped in a diamond-hard, razor-sharp skin, untouchable except to very few. I could not talk to them, or even understand their spoken words. I was too afraid to trust them fully. Too afraid that I might end up in Emplate's prison again, which I knew I couldn't survive. I was... alone.

No, child. Don't worry, it's nothing. I'm not crying.

How did Daddy rescue me?


We were kindred souls, your father and I, pariahs in a group of people already isolated from the rest of humanity. He because of his own self-hatred, and I because of Emplate. It was no wonder that we were drawn to each other.

He managed to get through the thorns inside me; not with a sword, but with patience and understanding. He showed me it was okay to open up to someone, to trust and love, no matter what the risk. That I wasn't as ugly as I thought I was.

He said that I did the same to him.

No, Jenny, that isn't why I love him. It may have attracted me to him, but I love him... just because.

I don't know when I started loving him, but I do know when it was that I knew he was the one.

It was the apple pie.

You were expecting flowers and candy, perhaps?

Don't give me that look. I was only teasing you, kcyer.

It was three years after I finally learned how to control my powers, and managed to soften my skin. He got it into his head that I should have a proper anniversary celebration, and actually *baked* an apple pie for me. I walked in on him while he was trying to clean the kitchen. You should have seen what a mess he was -- butter in his hair and flour on every inch of his black jacket!

I still remember how sweet the pie tasted, and the way his eyes smiled when I kissed his cheek.

Nosio joj dar od srca.

I brought gifts from my heart.

No, child, we didn't live happily ever after. We've had our share of tears and unhappiness, perhaps more so than any other marriages. There were times when the pain was almost too much to bear. But I held on, because I can't imagine not waking up in the morning next to him.

Don't worry, you'll understand one day.

Trust me.

Sweet dreams.

Croatian glossary:

Laku noch - Good night
Kcyer - Daughter
U redu - All right

"Nosio joj dar od srca" ("I brought gifts from my heart") is from a Bosnian folk song, written by Husain Kurtagic.

Mail the author, Yasmin M., with comments!