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“Grave”, 1/1, PG-13, X2

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  • zackmendorra
    Grave by D-Prime Rating: PG-13 Author s Notes: Works as a standalone, but is also compatible as a sequel to A Kiss Goodbye . Summary: You wonder about
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2003

      by D-Prime

      Rating: PG-13

      Author's Notes: Works as a standalone, but is also compatible as a
      sequel to "A Kiss Goodbye".

      Summary: <i>You wonder about destiny, and where it all went wrong.</i>

      Click, fwoosh. Click, fwoosh. Click, fwoosh.

      It doesn't make you feel any better. Maybe you're doing it wrong.

      Peter kisses your cheek as he leaves, telling you to call him if you
      need anything. Kitty settles for a hug and a heartfelt "I'm sorry".
      Others pass you by, but you don't see them, and you can't bring
      yourself to respond. You just stand there, numb and cold as you work
      the lighter with nerveless fingers. You wonder why you're not crying;
      you know that you should, and you want to. But you don't.

      The service is over too quickly, it seems; the small group starts to
      disperse. Ms. Munroe leaves a rose on the coffin as it's lowered into
      the ground; you like to think that she's one of the last who cared
      about him, even though she'd only known him as a student. That's
      still more than Mr. Summers with his fucking heartless eulogy, going
      on and on about how <i>unnecessary</i> and <i>unfortunate</i> those
      deaths were, and how it could have been averted, and not a single
      goddamn word about the one they're burying.

      But then, he's been here before. Dr. Grey's grave is right down the
      row, and Professor Xavier's is a little further back. Maybe you can
      only say goodbye to your loved ones so many times until you're too
      empty inside to feel anything at all.

      The sun disappears beyond the horizon. Darkness falls, and then it's
      just you and the headstone.

      <i>St. John Allerdyce

      That's it. Name, date of birth, date of death. No "Beloved Son"; he'd
      run away from an abusive father and his mother had died years before.
      No "Forever In Our Hearts" because even Ms. Munroe thought of him as
      Pyro the Traitor; the only one who still remembers John is you. And
      maybe Rogue… she touched him once, and when Rogue touches someone
      they never really go away. So she could forgive him for what he did,
      because she knew why he left.

      But Rogue's gone too. Not that it came as any kind of surprise, you
      always knew she'd go with Logan in the end. Thirteen Brotherhood
      mutants, torn apart by adamantium claws… the Professor might've been
      more forgiving, but he was gone, and Cyclops took over, and he kicked
      Wolverine off the team and out of the mansion.

      She was there, waiting for him at the front door with her bags
      packed. She never even said goodbye. Sometimes you wonder where she
      is, if she's happy with him. You hope so.

      So you were pretty much the only one who bothered to look for John
      when the Brotherhood was defeated. You found him bloody and broken,
      and he died with his lips weakly pressed to yours. A kiss goodbye, a
      remembrance of better times when things weren't so fucking

      The funny thing is, you tried so hard to keep it a secret, and now
      everyone who knew the truth about you and John is dead. The Professor
      had summoned you both after the First Time; apparently you'd
      accidentally broadcast your climax to every telepath in the mansion.
      He'd been firm but not unfriendly, warning you of the dangers in
      "getting involved with potential teammates" and urging you to be
      responsible. Dr. Grey had at least seemed happy for you, but she
      probably enjoyed watching you squirm through her "safe sex" lecture.

      You think Mystique might have figured it out… and if she knew,
      Magneto knew. But the fact that they kept Pyro with them means they
      never questioned his loyalty, and he never gave them a reason to.

      And then there's Rogue. The biggest "maybe" in your whole damn life.
      Because she kissed you, and she grabbed John's ankle, so she had both
      halves of the puzzle. But you'll never know, because you never asked.

      There's no proof. No witness. No one can tell you with absolute
      certainty that he loved you as much as you loved him. No one would
      understand why you're still here.

      Finally you move, kneeling at the edge of the fresh grave and tracing
      the letters on the stone with a shaking hand. "St. John". He would've
      hated that. He would've rolled his eyes and whispered "I'm no saint"
      in your ear. And then he'd laugh… Jesus, what you'd give to hear his
      voice again. It's too quiet here; too quiet everywhere, really. Most
      of the kids you grew up with – Theresa and Jamie and Jubilee, Artie
      and Dominic and Jones – have graduated and left the Institute, taking
      Xavier's teachings into the world. But you couldn't leave. All this
      time, you held out hope that maybe he'd come back. His half of the
      room is exactly the way he left it – except for that fucking lighter,
      of course, the same lighter you're still clutching in your other
      hand. Now you're not quite sure what to do with all his things: the
      posters and the CDs and the clothes, the brown leather jacket with
      the scorch mark on the left elbow, the half-empty bottle of Jack
      Daniels he'd stolen from Logan's room that one time…

      No. You can't think about that now. You're here for a reason. You
      have a promise to keep, and it's time to get to it.

      You stand upright and concentrate, pulling moisture from the air and
      freezing it. Once, not too long ago, that would've been the limit of
      your cryokinetic abilities. But now you mold the ice as it
      solidifies, forming it into a specific shape and size.

      A shovel.

      You start digging. As the frozen tip plunges into the earth again and
      again, you wonder about destiny, and where it all went wrong. If
      Ronny hadn't freaked out, if they hadn't run into Magneto… Or maybe
      it was sooner, when Rogue first came to the school and you found her
      so attractive, so intriguing. You should've broken it off with him
      then, instead of using him to pass the time. Or maybe you should've
      stayed with him, filing Marie under R for "Road Not Taken".

      That's the thought that tortures you when you try to sleep at night;
      the certainty that if you'd made a choice, John would still be alive.
      But you were an arrogant little fuck and you thought you could have
      it both ways, mooning over the girl you want and can't have while
      fucking the boy you can have but don't want. Such a convenient
      arrangement, and John never said a word; he held it all in until it
      was too much, and then he left.

      People always leave you.

      But you can still do the right thing. You can still make amends.

      The sound of the shovel striking the ground forms a staccato beat,
      one that seems oddly familiar, and <i>it hits you like a hammer's
      blow; the last time you saw John. After Alkali, before the fall of
      the Brotherhood; that in-between time when Xavier was alive and Logan
      was still living with them.

      Almost everyone in the club was out on the dance floor, swaying and
      jerking around to a fast-paced techno beat. A handful of older people
      were at the bar, and so were you. Sitting on a stool, glaring into a
      martini, realizing that Marie wasn't in love with you anymore but she
      cared too much to admit it. A few seats down, the bartender was
      fixing up some special mixture, culminating in lowering a lit match
      onto the rim of the shot glass.

      A fireball twice the size of a human head leapt out of the glass,
      shooting straight up into the ceiling and vanishing into smoke just
      as instantly.

      Your heart skipped a beat, and you whirled around, eyes darting from
      face to face. It was hard to make out any features because of the
      damn strobe lights, and you were just about to give up when you saw

      Black hiking boots. Tight black leather pants. A button-down shirt
      with a flame print, pulled apart so his chest was exposed. Bleached
      blond hair, such a striking contrast that for a moment you were
      thrown, and thought you were only seeing what you wanted to see. But
      you could never mistake that face, that infectious grin. It was John
      Allerdyce, and he was having the time of his life.

      John was sandwiched between two guys; the one in front of him was
      rail-thin, with full red lips and dark makeup around his eyes, and he
      had his fingers hooked in the waistband of John's pants. The other
      one was a walking mountain, bald and rippling with muscles, and John
      was leaning against him. They gyrated together, and Pyro thrashed
      against first one and then the other; but his eyes kept shifting up
      and down, from the ceiling to the floor. He didn't look at either of

      You were moving before you realized it, even though you knew nothing
      had changed, you still didn't have the words. It was hot and other
      dancers stuck to you like glue, but you worked around them until he
      was right there, at arm's length. Your hand shook as you reached out
      to touch his shoulder. Totally on automatic, your mind a whirl of
      confused thoughts. What could you say to him?

      Turns out it didn't matter. As soon as your fingers grazed his skin,
      he grabbed your hand and twisted around with impossible speed, and
      suddenly he was spooned against you, holding your arm around his

      "Hey, stranger." he breathed, rubbing against you at a frantic,
      almost desperate pace. It felt so good to hold him again, even though
      he hadn't turned to look at your face, didn't know it was you.

      "Cold hands." John remarked as he pulled one of your hands up over
      his chest. "I like."

      You'd never seen him like this, wild and uninhibited. You wondered
      what he was doing here, why he wasn't with the rest of the
      Brotherhood, and you tried to say something. Anything. His name. Your
      name. But the breath stuck in your throat, and you could only move
      with him, touch that feverish skin and remember a time when he was

      He was gone a moment later, veering off into the shadows to dance
      with another guy, and you just stood there, hard and trembling and
      more alone than you'd been in a long long time…</i>

      He never knew it was you. But that's how you remember him: beautiful,
      radiant, slick and sexy and alive. Not the pale, trembling mess that
      fell limp in your arms and never moved again, not the awkward and
      sullen teen who'd damn near set your house on fire.

      Your shovel hits something solid, the coffin lid. You clear the dirt
      away from the top of the casket and climb back out of the hole; mud
      clings to your clothes, face and hair, but you ignore it.

      No one listened to you when they talked about the funeral
      arrangements. No one knew John the way you did.



      "If anything ever happens to me… if we get into a fight and I don't
      make it… promise me you'll burn whatever's left."

      "Jesus, John, do you have to be so morbid?"

      Those dark eyes had burned with utter seriousness. "I mean it, Bobby.
      Don't let them put me in the ground. Promise."

      "Okay, I promise…"</i>

      The kerosene is right where you left it. At least they let you pick
      the coffin; you made sure the wood was combustible.

      Click, fwoosh. One last time. You still don't feel better.

      You drop the lighter into the open grave and watch as a column of
      fire is ignited, sending plumes of smoke into the sky. Your eyes are
      fixed on the bright intensity of the flames, so pure and beautiful.
      You'll let it burn, and then you'll put the dirt back in and no one
      will ever know what you did for John, the last thing you can ever do
      for him.

      People always leave you; but you always wait for them to come back.
      You never lose hope that someday your parents will come around, and
      your brother won't hate you because of the way you were born. Maybe
      Marie will turn up again, with or without Logan, and maybe she'll let
      you be her friend. Anything's possible.

      Almost anything. Because even though you live in a world where people
      can walk through walls and fly and read minds, dead is still dead.
      And John isn't coming back.

      Finally, mercifully, the tears come.

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