Like A Phoenix From The Ashes! last edited by nanaNightwing13 on 12/20/20 12:58PM View full history

Nightcrawler finds solace from a stranger in "The Gift!"

Reprint of and retroactive backup story to The X-Men #101 - Like A Phoenix From The Ashes! (October, 1976).

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The Gift

As Nightcrawler and the other X-men sit in the emergency waiting room, anxious for news about the comatose Jean Grey, he contemplates how frustrating it is that he can provide no more assistance to his teammate than his prayers. Though he knows she's lucky to be alive at all, he struggles with his feelings of powerlessness over the situation.

As he peers out the window, he's suddenly distracted by something in the courtyard below, and teleports to a nearby lamppost to investigate.

In the courtyard he sees a young boy sitting by himself, and becomes concerned that one so young should be out alone so late. Readjusting his Image Inducer to make himself look like Errol Flynn, he approaches the boy for inquiry. The boy says that he's waiting for someone, and Nightcrawler asks if perhaps he would be more comfortable waiting inside the hospital, to which the boy replies that there's, "no place for me in there".

He says that kids are only allowed in the hospital at night if they're sick because adults don't trust them to behave, and expresses some resentment. As Nightcrawler contemplates how to get the boy back where he belongs, a security guard comes around and tells them they aren't allowed in the courtyard at night. Nightcrawler takes the boy into the hospital's cafeteria and offers him some cocoa and pie, but the boy says he's not hungry. Then he introduces himself and the boy says his name is Daniel Cameron. Nightcrawler talks about his frustration with being unable to do anything to help his sick friend and eventually the conversation comes back to Nightcrawler convincing Daniel to get back to his home.

When Nightcrawler is unable to hail a taxi, Daniel says he'd rather walk anyway. They walk for a while and then Daniel runs into Central Park. Now even more fearful for the boy's safety, Nightcrawler teleports ahead of him, baffling the boy a few times before they come to rest on a bench. When asked how he kept appearing before him, Nightcrawler says that it was "magic, of course". He tells Daniel of how he grew up in the circus and tries to teach him how to juggle. Eventually the sun starts to come up and they realize that Daniel should be getting home.

Outside the door of Daniel's townhouse, Nightcrawler suddenly decides to reveal his true form, explaining that he now thinks of Daniel as a friend and does not want to hide it from him. The boy is amazed and gives Nightcrawler a mighty hug, saying that he knew there was something special about him and is glad to have become his friend. He tells Nightcrawller not to worry about his sick lady friend, assuring him that she will be fine.

The next day at the hospital, Nightcrawler asks a nurse about Daniel, inquiring about him by name. The nurse replies that he must be mistaken because Daniel Cameron had died in the hospital the night before. Realizing that he'd just spent the night with Daniel's ghost, Nightcrawler wonders why he was able to see him, but accepts that in that night they were both lost souls seeking comfort from a kind stranger.

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