This story is the first of three (so far) loosely autobiographical fanfic pieces, that I refer to as the Roman A Clef series. They are set within the larger universe of the Moebius Arc.
Hole In The Bay
I wonder if I'm under mind control. I don't want to do this. But I want to. But I don't want to. But it doesn't feel like a telepathic compulsion. But it doesn't feel like me.
Walk on through the growing noise of your inescapable path/Walk willingly into the dark/Nothing can touch you now
I'm running away and I'm being a coward and I'm being what I swore I'd never be. Said I'd never run out on him like she did. Said I'd never leave my kids to others like my mom did. I thought I was brave, I was strong, I was so-very-tough, hardened superheroine. Hey, I faced death twenty times before I was 14. I should be stronger than this.
There's a hole in the river/Where my auntie lies...
I must not really want to. Because I could just sink into the ground, and I'm not. Is it different, to disappear into the ground or to make a hole in the water?
As I descend from grace/ in arms of undertow/I will take my place/In the great Below
The songs won't stop. They run through my head like a compulsion, like a crescendo of music, a mix tape of death and darkness, the soundtrack to the destruction of Kate Pryde. I could really use some Cats Laughing right around now, but no. I'm getting Crowded House and Nine Inch Nails and Information Society and it's all the dark stuff. fits, though. If I could think of happy songs maybe I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.
Walk to the water. Hole in the bay.
And I'm walking half a mile rather than sinking into the ground because I don't want to. But I do want to. But I don't.
I just want it to stop. Just stop. Just stop, stop. Stop.
Because it's so stupid and I'm such a miserable failure for wanting to die that I have to die to get away from knowing what a failure I am. Because my babies are killing me and the man I love is killing me and what kind of a person says that? What kind of a person is such a bad mother she has to die to get away from her children? Oh god, Magnus, don't tell them why, never tell them why, but you don't know why, I never told you why...
Because I was supposed to be strong enough to take it. I have to support him. I believe in his work.
But I could be a diplomat or a hardass hawkish advisor or a techie or a superheroine or a can of whoopass. I could be a councillor or I could be a warrior or I could be an inventor but I couldn't be a mother. Not when it was all I was. Not when I was shut out of advising and superheroing and fighting and science and everything else because you don't do those things with an infant and a two-year-old, and he won't help, he barely makes time to play with them, and he won't let Pietro help even if he would and he keeps sending Joseph and Lorna and Amelia out to do stuff and they don't help and I don't get to do anything but run around after children. I'm alone.
I never thought this would happen to me. I never through I'd be reduced, that I'd be a mother and it wouldn't make me bigger, I wouldn't be better than my mother and able to be more selfless and a hero at the same time. I never thought I'd disappear. I'm a genius, I'm an inventor, I'm a superhero. Now I feel like my brain is congealed oatmeal and everything I wanted to be and everything I was is gone and there's nothing left but a womb on legs.
And he did this to me. I begged for help but I couldn't ask hard enough because what he's doing is so important and I support it and he loves me, he tells me how grateful he is for what I'm doing with the kids and I hate myself for betraying him like this. I hate myself for leaving like Magda did. But I thought I'd be able to stand up to him but I couldn't stand up to him because what he wants is so reasonable because mothers do take care of their babies and everyone else can do it and it's so important that someone trustworthy be with them all the time and he only trusts me and he loves me so I can't say no when it's just what I selfishly want against their safety and the future of mutantkind.
And I'm a mother. I'm supposed to give up everything I am selflessly and like doing it. I wanted Ian and Atarah. I went through hell to have them. It's not right that I feel like they're destroying me. It's not right that I feel like they took away everything I valued about my life, everything I valued about me in a constant welter of dirty diapers and crying and getting into stuff and not sleeping at night and refusing to take naps and I'm alone and a woman with babies is nothing but a mother, not a person, not a superhero, not smart and strong and self-willed but just nothing. A shiny bright blur to her kids, like the sun with no features, you reach for it but you don't care about it, it doesn't have any thoughts or feelings, it just exists to shine on you. And a woman with babies is invisible to everyone else. A hole in space.
When I was phasing out of reality, when I was 14 and drifting to bits, everyone cared. He cared. He almost sold his soul to Doom to save me. When I'm 24 and phasing out of reality metaphorically he doesn't care and no one else does either.
I can't be a hole in space. I can't drift apart into a gas cloud and live through it. I can't live like this. I'll be a hole in the bay instead.
And I think to myself as I walk, this is stupid and selfish and evil. And I think, I need help, and if I wasn't a coward I'd ask. But who am I supposed to tell? I told Magnus what I needed and he didn't care. Because he won't let anyone he doesn't trust, meaning no one but me, near the babies. And he offered to build me a robot to help like that's going to do any bloody good. A robot? To take care of babies? He's such an idiot. And I don't know if he'll try robots when I'm gone but I did scream at him and tell him only the sorriest excuse for a father would think of such a thing and no wonder Pietro and Wanda hate him. Which I shouldn't have said because I don't want to hurt him but a robot? Babies need people. But they need more than just one. Okay, they need more than just me because I can't. I tried for two and a half years. I can't. I love them, I'll kill him if he tries to foist them off on a bloody robot for all that's holy, but I can't. I can't.
And I can't ask the X-Men for help. Magnus wouldn't tolerate them really helping me and all they'd do anyway is blame him. And it would get back to Logan even if I asked Kurt or Piotr privately, and I won't give that bastard the satisfaction. I won't let them all know because they'd blame Magnus and it's not his fault, he's busy running a country, he had every reason to expect I could handle being a full time mother. Women have done this since the dawn of time. There's no reason I can't do this. But I can't.
How does Jean do it? When Cable showed up and gave them baby Chris back and Jean quit the X-Men and Scott didn't, Jean didn't snap. But maybe this was always what Jean wanted. And she could do something, she could take over teaching the new generation of New Mutants and be surrounded by the X-Men and they'd all help out every chance they could and we all wanted to take care of the baby and take some pressure off her and we still valued her. She didn't go on missions except in emergencies, and then her mom or Scott's grandparents would take Chris, or Professor X would watch him while they all went out, but even if she was rarely in combat she never disappeared. She got to do what she loved, she got to be a part of things. I'm off in the Baby Ghetto while Magnus and Amelia and Mystique and Pietro and Joseph are all off wrestling with the rest of the council or fighting to protect Genosha. It's all I've become. No one values me for anything anymore.
Is this what happened to you, Mom? Did Dad and I make you disappear? Is that why you couldn't love me, really? Is that why you pressured me to be as independent as I could from as early an age as you could make it happen, why I was making my own breakfast and dressing myself for kindergarten, why in the end you left us? Or left Dad and let me go my own way without any attempt to keep contact with me? Did you feel yourself phasing out of reality? Is that why you ran away from me?
I've hated you for doing that for so long. I wanted to be a mom like Ororo, not like you. But Ororo didn't have to give up everything she was to be my mentor. She wasn't my mother. She knew me when I could hold a rational conversation and join in the X-Men's work. That's the only taste of motherhood I've ever had myself, mentoring younger people, aside from a few brief stints babysitting Chris. I never imagined I'd fail even more spectacularly than you.
And I can't live with knowing what a failure as a mother I am. I can't live knowing that I had to run away. I have to die instead. Because if I ran away and I stayed alive it'd haunt me every day that I left you guys. But if I die I won't know it.
Which means I'm a coward. Because that's the biggest copout ever.
And I'm not entirely sure I really want to.
I'm almost to the bay and my eyes are blind with crying and I just want it to stop. But I don't want to run out on my babies. But I want to make Magnus pay for letting me disappear, for treating me like I no longer have any value except to care for his children and that he doesn't have to help me, he doesn't have to have any role except to be the stern patriarch who says the kids aren't safe, I have to be with them all the time, I don't get a break to be a hero or a warrior or a councillor or a techie or me. But I don't want to hurt him and abandon him like Magda did. But I don't want to live if I can't be Kate. But I don't want to die.
I'm dying already. Dying inside and none of them care. It would serve them all right if it happened for real.
But that's stupid. It's stupid to die for a reason like that. But I can't tell them I want to because I can't be the kind of person who uses suicide attempts to get attention. But if I do it then I'm even stupider than that. But if I don't do it then it will never stop.
I can't see ever feeling right again/I'm on a raft on a river that's roaring away with me/What good does it do me to have what I want/When I'm in no shape to enjoy what I have
And if i have to die better it be with my soul mostly intact. Better to leave my babies when they're young enough to adapt to someone else. Better that they miss me than that they grow up to hate me.
But I don't think I really want to leave them.
I don't think I really want to die. Wouldn't I have done it by now if I did?
I sit down at the pier at the edge of Hammer Bay. I don't want to do this. But I do. But I have to think.
If anyone cared, if anyone was willing to try to help me, to let me be me again, I might not have to. If I haven't disappeared all the way. If there's anyone who still remembers Kate Pryde the human being and not the mother of Magneto's children.
If he cared, if he loved me, he might help me and then I wouldn't have to.
I'm going to sit here and wait. I can do it anytime. Just jump into the water and make a hole in the bay. But once I do it there's no going back. So I'll wait.
If anyone notices I'm gone and looks for me, and helps me, I won't have to. And if they don't notice, then I'm already gone, and I may as well disappear.
Songs, in order, are "Empty" by Information Society, "Hole In The River" by Crowded House, "The Great Below" by Nine Inch Nails, and "Closing In" by Information Society.