Melted Snowflakes and Faded Hopes

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters. Colossus is probably one of my favorite characters; it's a shame to have seen him go. R/R and see what you think.

The rain is cold against my skin. There was a time when I believed that whether in flesh or steel form I still possessed the ability to feel, still possessed a heart. Whether or not this is a fact matters little to me anymore. If I possess a heart then it is surely shattered beyond any sort of repair.

I stare at the marble marker. It is a sign of not only one tragic event but of two. In this small clearing I buried my little sister and I buried my belief and hope in a dream that led me to a fool's end. Never did I question the validity of this dream. Perhaps I should've stayed in Russia with my family, refused Xavier's offer and dismissed it as the delusion that it was. Perhaps it would've been better for us all if Piotr Rasputin had never taken the name of Colossus. Nothing is so simple anymore.

I kneel before the marker. If you had told me years ago that I would be here mourning the death of my little sister I would've laughed. There was no way I could've predicted how tragically I would lose not only my sister but also the rest of my family as well. No, I couldn't have predicted that Illyana would die before me and that I, her watchful big brother, would have to surrender her to this cold, unforgiving world.

As I stare longingly at the engraved letters I can only think one thought. I have failed her. It is an absolute certainty that haunts me. Since her death I have racked my mind to try and find something that I overlooked. There had to have been more I could've done. If I had only fought harder and placed more faith in Xavier's dream then maybe this wouldn't have happened. At the very least, I could've been there with her in her last moments. I'm sure the disease was horribly painful. I could've been there to ease her suffering. Yes, surely this is all my fault. If only I had been a better brother or a better son perhaps I wouldn't be the only surviving member of my family.

I lift a hand and trace the lettering with my finger. As I touch the stone, I transform into my metallic form. The rain loses its coldness as I have now become so numb it has no effect on me. Nothing affects me anymore. I am no longer the gentle giant I once was. I am cold, solid steel both inside and out. It is the way I want it.

There is a new battle for me to fight now. It is a war within myself. If I allow myself to break under this pressure then the weight of my grief will swallow me whole. I cannot allow this to happen. As much as I would like to plunge into oblivion I still have some foolish hope that if I just somehow keep going then somewhere I will find a place where my wounds will heal. Illyana, my light, my joy. What would you think of your big brother if you could see him now? You must be so ashamed of me, of the fact that I have become nothing more than a soulless metal automaton. You must hate me for failing you so miserably. I am sorry for all this, little snowflake. I am sorry that the beautiful, innocent child you were placed your trust in someone so incapable and unworthy as I.

She would still be alive if I had not drawn her into this war. My mind flashes back to that day that seems like an eternity ago. I never believed in anything until I met a strange American in a wheelchair. When he spoke of his dream something stirred in me. I have heard people speak of utopias, of paradises full of peace and happiness. Never had I believed these dreamers. I had more pressing concerns to attend to. I had my family to take care of. I couldn't spend time dreaming of a better life. This man, this Charles Xavier, he spoke to me of a world beyond the Ust-Ordynski Collective. He told me that power such as mine should be shared with the world for the betterment of all. Something inside me told me that I could no longer simply tend to the needs of my family. The whole world must be my family. The whole world needed to be protected.

I cannot save this world anymore. I cannot save it for my mother, my father, Mikhail, or you, Illyana. I allowed myself to get caught up in a foolish idealism. I put my head in the clouds and refused to open my eyes to the harsh realities of this world. It is now time I try a new way, a way that I once thought as merely madness. I do not know what will come of Magneto's way but there must be another way than that of Xavier's, a way where no more of my loved ones will die.

There is a noise behind me. Xavier has no security measures this far out, not here in a graveyard.

"It's time to go." The voice is stern yet somehow understanding. Voght stands behind me. I blink and realize that I have been crying. In the rain I could not tell.

"I understand," I reply without facing her. I place my offering upon Illyana's grave, upon the altar that represents my greatest sacrifice. White roses, their color as pure and bright as an untouched snowfall. Their purity reminds me of her. In past times I would've been inspired by such beauty to craft a painting or at least a sketch. That was a lifetime ago it seems. I am no longer that person, the gentle soul who could find beauty in such an ugly world. I no longer have the heart for it anymore.

"I am ready," I tell Voght. She nods and I feel my body begin to dissolve. The sight of Illyana's grave blurs and fades away as I disappear. How fitting. It is not only my sister that has become a ghost. Piotr Nikolievich Rasputin is now one as well.

"But don't you see, Peter? It wasn't the dream that failed you. It was the reality."– Kitty Pryde, Excalibur #71