Sorrow Burns, She Fans the Flame
"That about does it, y'all. You boys go on ahead. Ah'm goin' stay with Kitty."
Kitty doesn't look up when she hears Rogue, self-proclaimed southern belle, shooing off the men back to the mansion. They tromp past her down the stairs, few glancing back. Rogue settles beside her on the top step.
"Beer, huh? Pass one over, sugah."
Kitty reaches blindly and hands Rogue a beer, then tosses back her head and downs the last of her Miller Lite.
Kitty shudders. That's the million dollar question, isn't it? Will she get over him? Will she forget? She nods despite her doubts. She's left everything of John's behind. She's thrown out all her pictures, left mementos, treasures, back at the mansion, gotten her own place as far away from the memories as she can go. All that had been left was the lighter.
"I will," she states calmly and meets Rogue's concerned gaze, stares into those emerald eyes that sparkle and shift and pierce through her soul as she lies. "I will."
Rogue sighs deeply but drops her probing stare. She looks out on the view. "If ya say so."
Rogue won't ask more questions. She helped Kitty destroy John from her life, just as Kitty helped Rogue when she destroyed Bobby from hers.
The two friends sit on the top step of Kitty's new apartment stairs, swigging beer and watching as the last of the light fades from day.
She drags a blanket in from the master bedroom and settles it on the couch. She heats up some soup in the microwave, sets it on the little end table. It takes her a bit to figure out how to get a fire going, but she succeeds and grabbing the blanket, her food, and the first box, she settles in on the floor in front of the fireplace to begin unpacking.
Kitty smiles at the faces of her family, childhood memories, and her friends from the Institute. Xavier's had been more than a school. It was her second home, when her first rejected her along with her new mutation.
Jubilee had been the first to welcome Kitty among the students, Ororo Munroe among the staff. Then came Bobby and John and Piotr and Paige and Rogue.
She rubs her fingers across the faces, the absence of John among them stinging only slightly.
She flips slowly through the stacks until she suddenly stops—and stares.
She missed one. How could she have missed one?
He's smiling. The only time he ever smiled for the camera. She had begged, pleaded, cajoled to get this picture of him smiling on the front steps on her birthday. Smiling at her.
Kitty cries out and flings it into the fire. The flames flicker at the edges and start to burn.
John would like that.
She cries out again and phases her hand into the fireplace, and fishes out the shot, blows it out, stamps it out on her new carpet. She stares at his smiling face surrounded in the charcoaled edges of her aborted action. She shudders, her shoulders convulsing, and throws it back on the fire.
John would like that, the fire, the burning, the irony.
Sorrow burns. She fans the flame, allowing it to consume her as she finally gives in and cries.