Title: The Little Match Girl (Some Kind of Boy story 9)
author: Tara Ann
summary: John finds something different.
Rating/warning & pairing: G. Pyro/Jill
*Characters do not belong to me except for Jill she is mine and
looks like Claire Danes.
*lyrics taken and rewritten from "She's Not There" by Rod Argent.
** I've liked Pyro from the first moment I saw him in X2. He's
complex with confidence and vulnerability. I only hope I give St.
John Allerdyce the respect and understanding he deserves. He is the
boy with the soft edges and the palest pout.
please don't bother trying to find him
he's not there
his voice is soft and hot
his eyes are clear and dark*
Two weeks and he hadn't seen her since the night they had sex. He
had thought about her, but he decided he didn't have time to get
involved. It was just sex wasn't that the way the world worked?
People connecting to skin. The flesh wasn't too complicated; people
Fire engines roared past him in the street and when he turned the
corner he saw the people gathered outside the apartment building.
Then he realized it was her apartment building. His dark eyes
glanced upwards and his heart screamed silently. The flames sparkled
high in her windows. He ran across the street, but he was pushed
back by the firemen.
"Please step back," one of the firefighters said.
John stared up at the window, his eyes flashing concern. He thought
he saw a figure moving in the window. The firefighter pushed him
back again and John shoved him away, running into the building and up
When he got to her door he tried the doorknob, but it was locked so
he kicked it open. The fire was spreading fast and she was
frantically tearing down her self-made paintings.
"Jill, what the fuck are you doing!? You have to get out of here!"
She glanced over her shoulder and said, "My paintings!"
He ran to her and helped by ripping the pictures off the walls.
Without hesitating he pushed the fire into the opposite corner of the
room. The papers were crumpled in Jill's arms and she started to
cough, the smoke becoming thicker. John took her hand, and led her
out of the apartment and down the stairs, her yellow silk scarf
trailing behind her.
Jill was still coughing when they got outside. Then she collapsed on
to the ground, scraping her chin, her paintings stepped on by the
When Jill opened her eyes she saw John standing by the
window, flicking his shark-mouthed metal lighter and looking out at
the blue sky. She coughed faintly, her throat still sore from the
smoke. He turned to her, his face sullen and beautiful, just like
"There are some footprints on your pictures," he said. "I
think one of them flew away."
"Maybe someone will find it," she said with a small smile.
She was lying on his bed, his brown leather jacket over her.
"You scraped your chin," he said, his voice soft.
She didn't feel like sitting up; she slid her hand underneath
"Thanks," she said.
"Is this where you live?"
"Sort of," said John. "The people I live with don't know
"Will they get mad?"
"Probably," he said. "I didn't know where to bring you."
He had thought about Xavier's school, but he wasn't in the
mood for the attention.
"Is it totally fucked?" she said.
"I think so," he said. "I don't know. We could go back and
check. Try to salvage some of your stuff."
"I didn't really have much stuff."
Me neither, he thought. "What happened?" he said.
"I get careless with the candles sometimes and this time it
went out of control," said Jill.
He nodded at her. "You fell down. Maybe you should go to
the hospital or something. I'm not a doctor."
"No, I think I'm okay," she said.
"You can't stay here."
"I kind of figured that," she said. She rubbed at her head,
her dirty blonde waves untamed.
She noticed the tiny marmalade kitten curled up on the corner
of his bed, its face covered by its little paw. John smiled.
"That's Blazie," he said. "You can have her."
"You don't want her?"
He looked out the window and closed the lighter. "No."
"She has yellow eyes," said Jill. "Thanks."
"Yeah," said John.
"I mean, `Thanks,'" she said. "I guess that was pretty
stupid. I can always paint them over."
He looked at her, her smoky green eye shadow smudged from her
sleep. She looked half-asleep and upside down sexy, her skin white
like jasmine milk.
"It's not that stupid," John said. "Where are you gonna go?"
"I don't know. I'll find some place. I always do."
He licked his lips in his usual subtle way. "Just tell me
when you're ready to leave. I'll walk you out."
Three days later Jillian Ann LaBoy waited for John Allerdyce
to leave the condemned church. She pushed her long hair behind her
shoulders and scurried along the sidewalk to catch up to him, her
satin Chinese lavender, ankle-strap heels clicking against the
"Hey!" she said.
He stopped and turned, recognizing her voice.
She smiled and he wondered if she ever left the house without
her signature smoky green eye shadow. In her hand were an unbound
bouquet of flowers violets, marigolds, pansies, and rosemary. She
held the flowers out to him.
"Here, I just wanted to give you something for not letting me
burn to death."
John stared at the flowers and after an uncertain pause he
took them from her.
"I stole them," she said and smiled. "Rosemary is for
remembrance, pansies are for thoughts. You seem like you have a lot
She put her hands in the pockets of her brown suede jacket.
"And your cat. She's good."
"That's good," he said.
"I waited outside because I didn't want the people you live
with to get angry or anything."
The scrape on her chin was still visible; he wondered if it
"I already tried to be some girl's boyfriend," said
John. "It didn't work out."
Her hazel-blue eyes focused on the collar of his brown
leather jacket and she looked away from him when she said, "Yeah,
well, I don't think I could be a very good girlfriend."
She looked like she was going to cry, but she swallowed it
up, whatever its reason.
"I told you I was scared of fire."
The distant gleam of John's dark eyes was gentle like his
"You don't have to be," he said.
Jill bit her lower lip and gave him a smile tic.
"I don't think I could kiss you or fuck you again," she
said, "but I could try."
He took a step towards her and said, "Did I do something
wrong? Are you scared of me?"
"No," she said quickly. "I like you. It's just kind of
weird being so close to someone. In the physical way."
"You don't like it?"
"I do," she said. "It's just weird. You smell like coconut."
"You don't like coconut?"
"I do," she said.
He went to her, leaned in to kiss her, but she pulled away. His eyes
matched his hair, dark, soft, edged. When she looked closely she
could see the layers in little whispering waves. They turned into
brunette embers at the back of his neck. His skin seemed completely
untouched, like it was ready to shrink away from human contact, but
it cried out for the smallest devoted caress.
Jill closed her eyes and kissed his lips faintly, tasting his
pale pout. She was just as hungry as he was, starved for someone to
love and someone to love her. Everything about John Allerdyce was
warm, his skin, his hands, his eyes, his mouth, his cheeks, his hair,
and he was soft, maybe softer on the outside than he was on the
inside. On the inside he was angry with the world, but she couldn't
tell it from the way he touched her, looked at her, or spoke to her.
He thought maybe he could let her inside; she didn't tell him what to
do and he didn't think she ever would. She didn't try to change him
and when he barely exchanged words with her she didn't push him into
sharing. If she ever wanted to know anything he figured she would
just ask and he realized he would probably tell her.
Her cheeks were blushed with dandelion pink. With her index
finger she pet his bad-boy sideburns and kissed him on the cheek.
For the first time in her life she didn't feel like she was acting
out a human façade. What she was feeling was real; she just didn't
know how long it would last.
Her kiss burned into his cheek like warm milk.
"Pyro," said John. "Everyone calls me Pyro."