Note: This takes place a few weeks after the events of Say Yes, so it's recommended that you read that first. This is the beginning of my own little special timeline (yay!) and for more info go to www.geocities.com/glittergrr/futreindex. PLEASE (I hate it, but I aint too proud to beg :P ) review… it's the only way writers like me know that there is any point in going on and you like what you read. Thanks!

Stars in December

She had taken to walking the halls of the institute at night, barefoot. Every night a different route, every night it didn't matter where she ended up or when she stopped walking. She only slept three hours a night anyway.

She was doing just about everything in her power to burn herself out.

She didn't want to do this anymore. She didn't want the hide behind the tough exterior of fearless leader and pretend she had any clue what she was talking about, pretend that she wasn't scared of death. She didn't want to pretend that she thought she was a good leader. She knew she wasn't.

Lately, just the sigh of her teammates' faces pained her. Jono and Sarah's still enthusiastic youth, Rachael's blind passion for something, anything, to redeem her, it all wore her down. Bobby was both the worst and the best. He understood her in a way she wouldn't have guessed at first. He knew what it was to have simple dreams about a simple life and be forced to throw them away because of a few twisted genes. His face understood; but it also reminded her of what she had become.

Every night, she walked aimlessly for hours. Every morning, she found herself on the bathroom floor, doubled over, leaning over the toilet. Piotr had moved himself into her room but he didn't know about her night walks, and he certainly didn't know about her morning sickness.

Morning sickness. God, she feared that was what it was. She feared it was that simple.

And yet, part of her hoped with all of her heart that it was that simple. She would step down as leader with an understandable excuse to get her out of both the team and the country. Piotr and Charles would have a few choice words for her, but she could take it. In the end, how cruel could they be to a pregnant woman?

And then it struck her.

What if it was Piotr's?

She had automatically assumed it to be Pete's. He was the last one she had slept him. After leaving England, she hadn't let Piotr touch her. Be he had certainly touched her before.

And then she would have been with Pete when she was with someone else's child….oh god.

If it was Piotr's, it was all off. Charles would be overjoyed, another follower into the fold and while she might get out of leading for a while, she wouldn't be able to leave them. She would need them more than ever, for the money, for the shelter, for the support, for the family.

And Piotr- god, Piotr would be ecstatic. She wouldn't be able to hold him off anymore and then it would be all over. She would belong to him and that would be it for the rest of her life. She thought of Jean and Scott, of their ridiculous soap opera lives, of their obligation to everyone else. She felt sick to her stomach and she knew it wasn't just from the morning sickness.

So she didn't say anything. She continued leading them, fighting next to them, training with them and sleeping next to him. She didn't walk so far at night anymore. Instead, she would walk outside and sit on the cold stairs, staring off as far away as she could. She would try to figure out if the institute's gates were to keep everyone out, or to keep them all in.

Every whisper that Piotr had given her, every encouraging smile that Charles had cast upon her, every word of advice Scott had issued her- they all served as another panel of fence, gating her in.

Kitty wasn't used to feeling tapped. She was used to talking through traps, walking through gates and fences. But she was helpless now, prisoner to her faltering heart and her growing stomach.

She was a prisoner to her anxiety, the terror that prevented her from receiving answers. She would take not knowing over the pain of knowledge.

But she couldn't do it forever.

******

He had taken to sleeping every second that he was allowed to, spending every possible moment in a hazy drunken slumber.

He found he could sleep for days on end if he had drunk enough. The time to beat currently stood at 42 hours.

Of course, it was harder to do it now that she was around. Every afternoon if he was still in bed, blissfully passed out, she would come roaring in, tearing off his sheets, cursing at him in a dead language, threatening to do ungodly things to him if he didn't pull himself together.

She had a point. He was making on hell of a shitty leader.

When he didn't manage to stumble to meetings, he would sometimes have trouble identifying the people who sat around him, looking up with blank faces. But he always recognized her, standing in the back against the wall, scowling at him, as three of her four arms rested on various places on her hip, her fourth idly running through her long dark hair.

Part of him was surprised that he hadn't been throw out by now. But he knew she was protecting him, making up some excuse for his behavior even as she acted as leader in his place. All of him wondered what sort of deviant action it would take before they finally got wise and booted him. Why didn't they understand it was what he wanted? To waste away in a filth-ridden bed, his liver sputtering in poisoned gasps.

He wasn't even allowed that simple fate.

As he watched Kali talking to the others, her four arms animating everything she said, he wondered why he couldn't self-destruct in more socially productive ways. She was gorgeous and fierce and would be able to crush the pain out of him for one night. She wouldn't think it meant anything, that it was more than one night and get weird.

He suddenly remembered words spoken to him weeks ago and he felt too hollow to cry.

So what if he decided to drink himself dumb? So what if he was a coward, a ghost of a man, not brave enough to make a simple trans-Atlantic flight and leave his regrets behind? Apparently, his father had been right all this time.

Pete was absolutely one hundred percent pathetic.

Some days, he would amend to make things better and would swear off alcohol, meeting and training the others, even sometimes sitting with them and simply talking. But there was always something.

Kali would jokingly mention the trials of being a mutant goddess and he would think of the wind witch, the mother in law from hell.

Hugh would prattle on about the advantages of magik over mutant powers and he would think of the best friend, the dead blonde girl that he might have shared her name with a possible daughter.

Cloe would sit and speak carefully, watching him meticulously and he knew she was analyzing him and he would think of the only thing that could possibly make him better.

Will would be fine, until Pete started noticing his German accent and he would think of the blur furred gypsy priest, of the Scottish island and the laughter at night.

Red would flirt with him ruthlessly, and he would look into the wide eyes of this girl and he would think of another pairs of eyes that were liquid, containing so much hidden fear.

Kent would try hard, commiserating and the flighty nature of birds and he would think about the idiotic nature of blokes.

And then it would be back to the drinking and the sleeping and Kali's disgusted looks. Hey, he told himself, maybe he wasn't functioning, but at least he was predictable.

He went on half of the missions drunk. He didn't care. He would run into the enemy fire first, crazed with bloodlust and drunk off his ass and as long as he brought all of his kids home, he didn't care. He kept waiting for the enemy to outfox him and he would fall to the ground, dead. It hadn't come yet.

But his luck wouldn't hold up forever.

*****

Marrow caught her on one of her midnight barefoot walks. Kitty was heading to the front door when she cut her off, looking suspiciously at the older woman.

"What are you doing, pretty Kitty?" Sarah growled. No matter how much rank Kitty had over the Morlock girl, the nickname wouldn't go away.

"I'm walking. What does it look like I'm doing?" Kitty snapped back. She took a deep breath and was about to apologize when she realized this was Marrow. Snapping at her only made the girl respect Kitty that much more.

Kitty continued walking, ignoring Marrow even as she followed her out of the door and out onto the stares. When she sat down, the girl was right next to her.

"I don't think Petey would appreciate his kitty running out on him in the middle of the night," Marrow said. She smirked. "What are you doing, meeting some tomcat, or somethin'?"

Kitty sighed, inwardly grinning at Marrow's conceit, corny as it was.

"I thought I was the leader here," she said, smiling slightly at Sarah. "I get to ask you why you're up and about."

Marrow shrugged, looking out at the gates in the distance. "Jono snores in my head when he sleeps. I need someone else's problems to distract me."

Kitty raised an eyebrow. "You and Jono?" Kitty inwardly kicked herself. She had been so hung up on her own problems, her own pathos that she hadn't even noticed that two of her teammates had begun sleeping together. It was only natural, of course. Jono and Sarah understood each other, and the force of battle often made instant couples, the desire to share a bed with someone almost undeniable.

She felt like crying. She understood that desire.

"Hey, fearless leader?" Kitty snapped back to attention, looking back over at Marrow. "When you think your gonna get around to telling everyone your knocked up?"

Kitty's mouth fell open. "You knew?" she finally managed.

A noncommittal shrug from Marrow. "With the Morlocks, we didn't have any doctors or nothing. You start to get real good at recognizing the signs of being in the family way pretty quickly." She looked over at Kitty, smirking. "So who's the fellow fornicator?"

Kitty snorted out a laugh and then sobered. "Would you believe me if I said I wasn't sure?"

"Oh, Pretty Kitty's popular."

Kitty smiled. "Shut up." She needed this conversation, this feeling of girl talk even if Kitty was older than Marrow, even if they were on two different positions of power, even if they had completely different backgrounds.

Marrow stood to leave. "Look," she said, her voice serious, "I don't like giving advice about as much as I don't like getting it. But I think its time for you to suck it up and talk to McCoy."

She listened to the footsteps, the sound of the door closing, the faint footfalls on the other side of the wall. She knew Marrow was right. She placed a hand over her stomach and didn't feel so alone.

*****

He was back in his more drunken period, except now Red had ganged up with Kali and neither were letting him sleep all day. The two were trying to draft Cloe into their mission to sober him up, but the woman was too sophisticated to dirty her hands in Pete's vomit.

Not that Pete could blame him. Even he didn't want to dirty his hands with himself anymore.

He sighed, leaning against the window and gazing out at the London streets, the cars, the huddled people. He had drunk so much that even the idea of alcohol instantly put him into a hangover. Red was tagging around more than ever, batting her pretty eyes and whispering things in silky Swedish. The weeks since had had last seen Kit were slowly filtering by.

It was just a matter of time before something gave.

*****

Kitty stumbled out of McCoy's lab. She had sworn him to secrecy, so that she could be the one to deliver the good news.

Good news. Heh.

She had hated how Hank had beamed at her, how Charles had insisted on being there when the results were announced, how he had assured her that he knew definitively that the paternity test was accurate, how he had boasted that he was maintaining some telepathic contact with her unborn child, even giving away the fact that it was a girl. No surprises. She hated how she needed to be reassured, needed to be convinced that yes, this was her fate.

She put a hand on her stomach and hated herself for hating the life growing inside of her.

She walked back to Piotr and she knew she was trapped.

******

So what do you all think? Reviews please! I'll love you forever, give you shout outs AND name my first born after you, lol.