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5031The Nightmare Fighter (R) X2 1/1

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  • Jennifer Matarese
    Jun 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Title: The Nightmare Fighter
      Author: Troll Princess
      Rating: R, for language
      Archive: Knock yourself out. Just give me a holler so I can find it,
      'cause I'm needy like that. *g*
      Spoilers: X/X2. Takes place two months after "The Opposite of Sibling
      Rivalry."
      Disclaimer: Can't say as I own any of the characters contained within this
      story. You know, what with the rabid foaming lawyers telling me I don't and
      all. The title is taken from the poem "The Death of the Ball Turret
      Gunner."
      Author's Note: "Sibling Rivalry" was only supposed to be a one-shot deal,
      but it had such a good response (and thanks to everybody who sent feedback,
      which does taste kinda like chocolate chip cookie dough, if you can believe
      it) that my brain spit out another Ronny story. And considering it hasn't
      spit anything else out all day on my muse's orders, I figured, what the hey?


      ********************************
      The Nightmare Fighter
      by Troll Princess
      ********************************

      ... so the notebook I've been using for it, for writing down the dreams like
      the Professor asked me to, is one of those mottled cover ones that you get
      for two bucks at 7-11 or something kind of like it. And I just --

      It's freaky, all right? I mean, I thought the dreams and the visions and
      shit were bad before I came here, but I guess hanging out with the Leather
      Quints will do that to a person.

      Correction. Will do that to a precog.

      Look, it's not like I'm not getting used to it. And it's not like I'm
      bugging anybody important, because it's just me and Bobby sharing a room
      these days and Bobby *has* to put up with all my nighttime antics and shit
      due to the whole blood relative thing. But it can't be all that fun a ride
      for the guy, me rolling around in the other bed every third night if I'm
      lucky, every night for a week straight if I'm not. Excess heat rising off
      of me in thick, choking waves, so hot and heavy the poor jerk's started
      putting up ice walls between our beds just in case. Me yammering in my
      sleep, sometimes making sense, sometimes not.

      Once I spoke Swahili. Jesus, I don't even *know* Swahili. I can barely
      even spell it, but apparently, I was talking up a storm in it.

      Which was probably *why* I was speaking in it. The "storm" bit. So yeah,
      maybe that was a pun, and yeah, maybe I did intend it.

      But anyway, it always ends the same way. With me shooting up in the bed,
      clothes and sheets practically dripping with sweat, breathing like I just
      finished the Boston Marathon in record time.

      And that fucking notebook, clutched to my chest like a cheap, cardboard
      shield.

      It starts that way, and it ends hours later, after I've scribbled down
      everything I can remember and stopped every once in a while to color in the
      white blotches on the cover to kill time and keep my brain from frying. As
      soon as it's all out of my head, every detail and action and consequence of
      the dream, I can finally relax, even if I've been there long past Bobby's
      gotten up, dressed and gone for breakfast. I miss more morning classes that
      way.

      Always the same fucking way.

      For example, take this morning.

      //and the snow slashes down at us, which is a little excessive for Storm,
      I'm guessing. But it's got to be her doing, because I get the feeling
      that's just the kind of cover she'd be using in that situation. Not like it
      matters, because it's her weather so she's fine, and that's Bobby's element,
      so he's okay, and the snow steams right off of me as soon as it hits my
      skin, so it's not like I feel the cold or anything//

      "Ronny?" The gentle rap on the dorm room door gets my attention, but I
      don't bother looking up from the notebook, a part of me knowing that I've
      really got to write this one down.

      Like it's a matter of life or death, me knowing what happens in my head this
      time.

      //so anyway, we sneak in under this awning thing, green or blue -- I don't
      know which one, but dark, nearly black, shiny, metallic. That's why we
      don't see the two guys doing sentry detail on top of//

      "Ronny, you still sleepin' or what?"

      Finally finishing the last word on the page, I slam the notebook shut, as if
      letting Rogue see what's written there is going to start the apocalypse or
      something. Hell, who knows? It's not like I've had a vision of *that* yet,
      but I've had enough of the visions in the notebook come true (with the sole
      exceptions being the ones that obviously weren't going to happen for years)
      to get me twitchy about things about that.

      She settles next to me on the bed, lightweight and warm and so impossibly
      beautiful it's still hard to believe she really exists in nature. Or that
      she's dating my brother. I have a hard time believing any girl would still
      date Bobby after watching him eat or sitting in the same room with him when
      the Bruins play. It's never pretty.

      "Kurt sent me up to check on you when you didn't come to class," she says.
      "He figured you'd overslept, but Bobby warned him you were probably still
      writin' in that thing."

      She nods towards the notebook, and I almost wish I could toss it into the
      trashcan. Or hey, better yet, concentrate hard enough and hold the damn
      thing until it spontaneously combusts. "I had to get this down.
      Professor's orders." I give the notebook a dirty look, probably flushing
      bright red from neck to forehead, and mutter, "A dream journal. Jesus, I
      don't think there's any way I could feel more like a first-class dork than
      when I'm writing in this thing." Then I scowl and add, "Unless I were
      Bobby."

      Frowning, Rogue punches me in the upper arm, and I don't need to be a precog
      to know that's going to leave a bruise.

      "Hey!" I say after I wince, wondering if she'll buy it if I tell her I've
      had a vision that wild rhinos are going to trample her in the gym and she
      should never work out again.

      I reach up to rub at the spot she hit, and Rogue's gaze fixes on my bare
      fingers. "You're not wearin' your gloves," she says, almost like a warning.

      I shrug awkwardly, my hand dropping into my lap. Going back to the
      motorcycle gloves hadn't been a choice, really. You try deciding between
      that and going barehanded everywhere you go when your brother's on your
      phone on the other side of the room the night you show up, eyeing you
      sideways while you shake your head no over and over again.

      Really, Mom? Just ran off like that, huh?

      He did what? Well, how serious were the burns?

      You know what that means, right, Mom?

      Seriously.

      Sure, Mom. I'll call you if I see him.

      My gaze drifts to the motorcycle gloves crumpled up on the nightstand. "I
      usually don't put them on until I leave the room. It's kind of like ..." I
      fumble for words, trying to grab at some phrase or word or something that'll
      describe the whole --

      "Like pretendin' you're normal for a little while?"

      I glance sideways to see her hesitant smile, grabbing my meaning even before
      I could get a hold on it.

      She raises her bare hands in midair and wiggles her fingers. "Same boat,
      remember?"

      No need to remind me, really. It's the only reason the two of us had for
      talking to one another in the first place. Bobby's always been off-limits
      when it comes to topics of conversation between the two of us. It's just
      ... it's not like either one of us knows where that conversation's going to
      end up, or like we want to know.

      "You're not wearing your gloves, either," I say, giving her bare fingers a
      glare.

      She scowls playfully and tosses her head, her hair moving in a silky ripple
      like a pure chocolate waterfall. "My class got cancelled for this mornin',
      so I figured I'd stay in and bake up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
      They're not half as much fun to make while you're wearin' gloves."

      And I have to share a smile with her about that one, because our thing is,
      we keep adding to this list of things that officially suck to try doing
      while wearing gloves. It's a hell of a lot shorter than I thought it'd be.
      "That's a good way to keep people from eating the dough. 'Touch the cookie
      dough, and die. Really.'"

      Rogue giggles at that, her eyes lighting up at the joke, lame as it was.
      "Actually, I always kinda hope I'll absorb some personality traits or
      something out of the cookie dough. Then I could be perfectly tasty and
      everybody would love me."

      "What's to say they don't now?"

      I blurt it out before I can think about it, and I mentally kick my
      precognition in the ass for not being awake enough to warn me I was going to
      say something that stupid and embarrassing. It's a contest, really ...
      which one of us is a brighter shade of red. If we were sitting out by the
      highway right now, all the cars would stop. Twice.

      And for some reason that I don't think about (obviously), I reach out and
      grab onto her hand.

      There's a reason I've gone back to the gloves, other than the whole
      sort-of-setting-my-mother-on-fire thing. Because I'm surrounded by people
      like me now, people just as weird and unearthly and just plain fucked up as
      I am. There's them, and there's us, and everyone once in a while, my brain
      just turns into Cletus the Slack-Jawed Mutant Optimist mode and I just ... I
      don't know. Just get stupid, I guess.

      That's got to be why I grab her hand, got to be. Like some fucking little
      kid on a kindergarten date or something. Like nothing's going to happen
      when we touch except maybe a peck on the lips now and half her peanut butter
      sandwich later.

      I test the waters, my fingers interlacing with hers and tightening before I
      can stop them, and she inhales raggedly, waiting for the usual vein-popping
      out of me that she gets from anybody else but not trying to pull her hand
      away any more than I am. It only takes me a second to realize why it sounds
      so loud, why it feels like I can hear her breathing rattling through the
      blood rushing in my ears. Because the air gets sucked in a ragged whoosh
      from my own lungs, like someone sitting next to us with a giant vacuum or
      something stealing our breath.

      And neither of us can do anything except stare at the point where my skin
      touches hers, and wait for the inevitable sucking vortex of death to come
      from both directions exactly like it's supposed to.

      Okay.

      Any second now ...

      Now.

      Now?

      All right, I don't know if we're going to pass my point of no return of
      thirty-seven seconds, but we've *definitely* gone light-years past hers.

      "Are we doing what I think we're doing?" I hear her ask, her voice a quiet,
      hoarse whisper.

      But I barely hear her.

      Just barely.

      Because I'm staring at our joined hands. Bare skin to bare skin.

      I'm still dreaming. I have to still be dreaming. Because something like
      this -- something like being able to touch someone like this at all,
      regardless of all of our complications -- it's just ...

      Amazing. Strange. And absolutely fucking perfect all at once.

      I have to still be --

      "Ronny! Ronny, wake up!"

      I jolt up in bed just then, my T-shirt and boxers soaked with sweat, the
      heat rising off my skin in intense waves like air from the pavement during a
      heat wave. Everything hits me at once, the fogged-up windows and the thick
      wall of ice quickly melting between my bed and Bobby's, the way my older
      brother's staring at me like I've grown an extra head and the way it's a
      hell of a lot darker in the room than it was a minute ago.

      An hour ago. Hell, whatever time it was in the dream.

      And the notebook, clutched to my chest like a cheap, cardboard shield.

      "Ronny, another vision?"

      I can't even bring myself to look over at Bobby, too busy trying to get my
      breathing to slow down and my heat to a level that's not going to set my
      brother on fire and my brain to wrap around what I know now had to have been
      a vision. But my brain ... all my well-trained brain cells want to do is
      write it down, the Professor will want to read this, the Professor and Bobby
      and *Rogue* will want to know this.

      But stopping myself from putting aside the notebook isn't an option, because
      the spoiled little inner child in my head has a full-blown temper tantrum
      about it, screaming and wailing that if I don't take advantage of knowing
      something like this and having something up on Bobby like *this* ...

      Well, then, I've officially lost my mind.

      "No, not a vision. Just way too much weird shit on my pizza tonight. Go
      back to sleep."

      "You sure? You look --"

      "Positive, Bobby. It's nothing. Trust me."



      Troll Princess
      Flavor of the Moment (http://flavor_of_the_moment.blogspot.com) --
      Because sometimes, leaving your brain at home is a good thing.
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Spike was singing a song to the tune of 'I'm Henry the Eighth'. He was
      making up his own words, and it started cracking her up.
      "I'm Angel the Poof, I am. Angel the Poof, I am, I am. I got shagged by the
      slayer next door, and now we don't get to shag anymore. Cause if we do I'll
      be Angelus. Angelus. The biggest rat bastard of a whore --"
      -- "Spanked" by Echo
      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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