TITLE: Vacant Pryde
AUTHOR: Kuria Dalmatia (kuriadalmatia@...
CODES: Post-X2, Kitty/Bobby
Everyone else mourns the loss of Dr. Grey.
Who mourns for John Allerdyce?
RATING: PG, profanity
Feedback and critiques always welcome. No beta reader, so
please forgive mistakes.
Thanks to "Challenge in a Can"
for the following:
"Kitty Pryde, Vacant, Painkillers"
ARCHIVING: XMMFF. Everyone else, please ask.
DISCLAIMER: Marvel owns the X-Men, 20th Century Fox
owns the movie. I just took them out to play and I promise put
them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying
to get these images out of my head.
PLEASE SEE ENDNOTES.
He was gone.
No forewarning. Not even a hint.
No note. No explanation.
No "Sorry, Kitty, I had to ditch the X-Geeks for someone who
Just Rogue standing in front of me, gloved hands clasping mine
as her pity-filled gaze fell upon me: "Sugar? Um... Pyro... he
went with Magneto."
I really hated it when she went all "Southern Belle", as if using
that accent of hers would make things less painful or inspire
instant forgiveness. To her, calling me "sugar" was probably her
way of comforting me.
I just wanted to kill the messenger.
Everyone else mourned the loss of Dr. Grey. I did too. I mean,
when first came to the School, it was Dr. Grey, Scott, Ororo,
Peter, and Bobby. That was it. So of course, Dr. Grey and I were
kinda close I knew her better and longer than any of the other
girls here but I was closer to `Ro because Dr. Grey was always
doing research and stuff and `Ro was just easier to talk to
I wasn't there when Dr. Grey died. I should have been, but I
wasn't. Scott and the professor told me how proud they were
that I helped the younger kids escape, how I had managed to get
them the safe-house in one piece as quickly as I did and meet up
All I could think was that I wished I had been with Bobby and
Maybe John wouldn't have left with Magneto.
But no one here gave a damned about John. They just wrote him
off, as if he didn't exist. They cleared out his bedroom the
second day after we were all back at the mansion.
After that, everyone declared him a traitor.
Okay, so the adults didn't. Not out loud, anyway. They were too
busy grieving for Dr. Grey or trying to get the School back to
normal. But my friends? His friends? They
Except for Bobby. He never said a word about it. At all.
Rogue called him vicious and dangerous. When asked, she told
everyone what had happened at Bobby's parents, drawling on
with that stupid accent and always emphasizing that Logan had
been *shot in the head* but still managed to make it. She told
them how Pyro had told the cops, "You know all those
dangerous mutants you hear about on the news? I'm the worst
Rogue had *absorbed* Pyro so that she could control the fire he
started; she hadn't even given Iceman a chance to do anything,
even dropping the huge hint that Bobby had freaked out and was
unable to cope with what happened. It was that "I may not have
the most functional mutant ability, but at least I don't choke in
battle" reasoning. That whole thing automatically made her an
authority not only on Pyro, but what had happened afterwards.
She was their center of attention.
At that moment, I knew I hated that bitch. She pitied me and she
treated Bobby like shit now.
I knew she was waiting for me to ask the questions, "So how
does John really feel about me? You would know, right? Does
he love me?"
No way was I going to play her game.
The stupidest thing was that she hadn't even displayed any of
John's personality, not like she had Logan's and Magneto's.
That had been a scary two weeks. So how could she be a
damned *authority* on John if she hadn't even echoed one of
It was supper time on Saturday. Since we were still cleaning up
from what the commandos had done -- had that really been four
weeks ago? -- we usually crowded into the rec room to have
dinner "picnic" style. At least, that was the spin that `Ro put on
I had picked up my covered plate from the kitchen; it was kept
separate from everyone else's because it was kosher. I had
almost pushed through the swinging doors from the kitchen to
the rec room when I heard Jamie say, "They say we're gonna
hafta revamp *everything* because of Pyro. Rules and all."
Collective groans were followed by Tracy sniping, "That
As if John were the reason the commandos had attacked the
mansion and had known where everything was.
I hated them.
So I left.
I didn't go to the main garden or to the gazebo. Those were the
places you ran off to when you wanted to be found and wanted
someone to talk to. I didn't go to the rose garden where they had
set up a memorial to Dr. Grey. Scott was usually there when not
working around the mansion. Sometimes Logan, `Ro, or the
professor, but usually just Scott.
Instead, I headed to the clearing in the woods, the one that took
twenty minutes to get to. Bobby and I had discovered it the first
month I was at the mansion. We'd only shared its location with
Petey. I was almost positive Rogue had never been there; the
three of us had a deal that we would ask each other before we'd
bring someone there. Bobby had never asked.
Halfway there, I started crying.
If they weren't going to mourn for John, I certainly was.
*Pyro* was a traitor, not John. John was just as screwed up as
the rest of us but had the guts to admit that he was. He was the
rule breaker, always pushing to see what he could get away
with. He never quite told me about life before the School, but
we all knew it was pretty bad. Why else would Bobby been so,
well, protective of him that first week? Why else would Bobby
have put up with John's constant insults? Bobby and John were
But they didn't even acknowledge the difference between Pyro
and John. They certainly had distinguished between Wolverine
and Logan. Wolverine had killed all those commandos with his
freaking claws. It was something no one talked about, how
many Wolverine had killed, because he had bought us time to
escape. Logan was the guy helping out around the mansion,
repairing stuff. There was even rumors that Logan would be
teaching us self-defense.
Pyro had been the guy who torched all those cop cars. He was
the one who defected to Magneto.
John was the guy who kissed me on my birthday. John was the
guy who pulled pranks with Bobby. John was the guy who
convinced Bobby, Marie and me to sneak off to the food court
when we at the museum. I had chickened out at the last minute
because I knew `Ro would have killed me and I didn't have the
same status as Bobby did with Scott, but I *had* kissed John
full on the lips on the stairs leading back up to the group.
It was the last time we had kissed.
See? There was a difference between John and Pyro, but no one
was willing to acknowledge the difference.
By the time I got to the clearing, I was sobbing. I stumbled over
one of the stones that Bobby and Petey had dragged all the way
from the mansion so we'd have a place to sit or something when
it was muddy. I almost dropped my stupid plate as I fell to my
That's when I heard, "Kat?"
No one called me Kat. No one except Bobby and even that was
only when we were alone. Peter called me Katya.
I looked up and saw him. He blinked a few times, as if to snap
himself out of whatever vacant daze he had been in. I wanted to be
mortified, that I had intruded upon the space he had staked out
for himself, but I couldn't move. He then got up and walked
over to me, taking my plate away and setting it down on the
mossy earth. He knelt beside me and gave me a hug.
I could always count on Bobby for hugs.
"Why are you here?" I managed to choke out.
Bobby was one of the staples around the mansion. He was our
ambassador, the one who always greeted the new kids and
showed them around. He had achieved the "Kid Brother" status
with Scott that no one else had. He wasn't the type to run off
and hide. Even when he lost control of his powers one night
shortly after I had first arrived and froze his entire room, he
stuck it out and endured the ribbing from Scott, Petey, and me. Even
when Rogue ripped him a new one last week in front of everyone, he
didn't run off and hide.
So for him to be here, during dinner no less....
"I miss John," he said simply.
I don't think he would have said that to anyone else. I know
Bobby. He wouldn't make that admission unless he knew I
"So do I." I whispered into his shoulder. Then, I began to bawl
my eyes out. I hadn't cried that hard since my parents
announced their divorce.
Bobby just held me and didn't say a word. I think he was crying
I don't know quite what happened next. One minute, I was
sobbing into his shoulder and his chin was resting against my
hair, the next my lips were against his neck and his lips were at
Then, we kissed.
He couldn't kiss Marie, but he could kiss me.
I couldn't kiss John, but I could kiss him.
It was Bobby who pulled back, wiping tears away with his
thumb. I must have looked really gorgeous then, with splotchy
cheeks from crying and a runny nose because I didn't have any
Kleenex. I reached behind me and grabbed for a leaf, anything
really, to get the snot off of my face.
"No," he said as he grabbed my wrist. "You really don't want to
He actually blushed. "Promise not to tell?"
My eyes widened. That could only mean one thing: Bobby
Drake was about to admit to something totally embarrassing.
"Promise," I said and held out my pinky.
It sounded completely stupid for an eighteen-year-old guy to
pinky-swear with a seventeen-year-old girl, but it was all I could
think of. When I first arrived, we exchanged "most
embarrassing powers" stories. At my old high school, I had
sneezed hard enough to phase through the wall and into the
boy's locker room. At his old high school, he had sneezed hard
enough to freeze the entire gym floor. That was, of course,
before he had frozen himself inside his room at the mansion.
He grinned and locked pinkies with me. "When I was nine, my
dad took Ronny and me camping. My dad was really hard core
about camping. I mean, roughing it meant *roughing* it. So, it
was at night, you know? And I had to, you know, um... *go*."
He paused and waggled his eyebrows. "I grabbed a handful of
poison oak leaves."
I started laughing. Only Bobby Drake could pull off a story like
that. "No way!"
"Yep. I was nine and had poison oak on my ass."
That caused me to howl hysterically. My sides were beginning
And laughter to Bobby was perhaps the most effective painkiller
of them all. It was his weapon, the one he used with more skill
sometimes than his mutant power. He kept us laughing. He
pulled pranks. He knew how to make people smile. He'd go out
of his way to make someone smile.
He was laughing too, because it *was* funny and he knew I
wouldn't go running and telling everyone at the School that
Bobby Drake had Poison Oak Ass when he was nine. Just like I
never told anyone about him freezing his room, he never told
anyone about the time I had sleep-walked into Dr. Grey and
Scott's room. They were having sex and I had woken up half-
way phased into the cedar chest at the end of their bed. I have
the distinct privilege of being the only student ever to see
Scott's naked butt "in action."
Bobby tugged his sleeve down and wiped my nose. He was
never squeamish about some things. Snot was one of them. He
then looked at me, suddenly serious.
"Pyro torched the cop cars," he said to me. "That's when John
And he would know. He would understand. They had been
friends after all.
I sniffled as I straightened up. "We could, like, have our own
memorial service, you know." Where in the world had that come
from? "Jeez, *that* sounds stupid...."
"No," he cut me off. "I was kinda thinking the same thing, Kat."
He shrugged. "I'm out here, aren't I?" Maybe he was sick of the
constant John-bashing as well.
I looked at him, really *looked* at him. "Tonight? After
"When else?" he grinned.
He kissed me again, briefly, and it was a "I'm your friend" kind
of kiss not something romantic.
It didn't matter.
I suddenly didn't feel as vacant anymore.
************(((((((((((((( FINIS )))))))))))))))))************
For the purposes of this story, Bobby was the first student at
Xavier's School after Jean, Scott, Ororo, and Peter, while Kitty
was the second. With that particular time-line in place, it was
only natural that Kitty would be closer to Ororo because Jean's
research. That's the reason why Kitty addresses Jean as Dr. Grey and
everyone else besides Xavier by their first names.
Finally, regarding the characterization of Rogue, I deliberately
made her harsher, keeping with the notion that she retailed some
of Pyro's outward hostility that was shown in the movie and the
disdain he had for Bobby that was played up more in the novelization.
Kitty makes a comment that Rogue didn't display any of Pyro's
mannerisms, but that's not necessarily true. Kitty's perception of
John and Bobby being "best friends" may be just that, a