Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: R. Sex, swearing, etc.
Notes: Set sometime... before Kitty was at the university place. This was actually a response to the Identity Crisis challenge on comicsgenfic, the LJ community, but it's not really gen fic, so. Eh. This also has an odd structure (it started that way in my head, and I had to continue it....)

Living Dead Girl by Ana Lyssie Cotton

She can remember falling.

It's not much, yet. In fact it's so small she really just considers it nothing more than a pipe dream.

She can remember falling forever.

Which is more than before, but it doesn't explain why her chest hurts and why she can't feel the bed she's laying in.

Falling forever until she wanted to scream, but couldn't.

And why couldn't she? Was the air too thin? (yes, no, maybe so--I'm sorry, I never meant to lie to you, to me, to anyone at all.)

Screaming would get her killed.

Walls slam into sharp relief around her, static and white noise resolving into a tiny room with someone snoring nearby. There's an arm across her waist, and she can feel his breath on her skin. (his? Who the fuck--)

Her lungs were already burned before she fell. Strafed from an atmosphere that didn't exist.

(how many angels dance on the head of a pin?) The arm doesn't shift when she pokes it, experimentally. He's definitely a he. And he's got dirt on his skin, and other things. And she knows they both desperately need a shower. Her nose wrinkles.

She can remember falling, ozone burning its way inside because she couldn't breathe in and she couldn't breathe out.

Which makes no sense. Breathing is an automatic function. You do it while you sleep, while you dream, while you chase imaginary dragons into the darkness of the unknown in your mind.

The tang of ozone had followed her as she fell to Earth.

His black hair is ruffled, and she runs a finger through it, marveling at the texture. So alike, yet unlike her own brown hair. He still doesn't twitch, the soft snores indicative of a deep REM sleep state. And it's good that he is, because he was so. very. tired. when she found him. (or did he find her? And how did he know where to look when she can't even find herself?)

Ozone and pain because she wanted so desperately to breathe, and you can't breathe when the atmosphere is that thin.

He'd paled when she ran into him. Paled and grabbed her arm, dragged her from the club they were in. It wasn't until the sidewalk that she started to fight him, and then they were in an alley. She pushed him against a wall, then surprised herself by kissing him as if her life depended on it.

Maybe it had.

"I thought you were dead." The voice startles her (and she's supposed to be saying that, but doesn't know why), the head shifts slightly, the lips tracing over her skin.

She remembers her skin hurting with what had to be wind burn, which didn't make sense for a girl who could--

"Not dead." Alive. Very much alive, and his fingers trail down, and even after all this time (time? Years? Months, days, hours, how long has it been since this man touched her like this?) he knows exactly what to do to her.

Kaleidoscopes of stars wheeling around her as she fell.

"Shower," she objects as his fingers continue trailing down her skin. "Need a shower--" she gasps as he finds a particularly sensitive spot and his tongue sneaks out and caresses a line around one of her breasts. And maybe that shower can wait.

She can remember falling back to earth, the wind screaming as she fell through atmosphere and clouds.

Her skin is now slick with sweat and bodily fluids, and she really needs that shower now. A nudge at the hip still slightly attached to her gets his attention, and blue eyes meet hers. "Wha?" The look he's giving her is completely fathomless.

Water would have felt worse, she thought then. Water, because it would have been solid--except so was the air she was falling through.

The shower is a tiny stall and they both barely fit, but she doesn't care because he's alive and warm at her back and even thought they've just had fantastically sweaty sex in bed, he's trailing hands all over her again, and she likes it. It makes her feel real.

She remembers being as insubstantial as a ghost while she fell, because otherwise inertia and gravity would tear her to shreds unless her rate of descent did it first.

Real apparently includes fingers and tongue, and GOD, he's good at that. And then she isn't thinking anymore because the shower's gone cold but it doesn't matter because he looks so fucking beautiful kneeling at her feet.

She can remember calculating her velocity, desperate not to out-run her own molecules as they fell apart before she hit the ground.

"Breakfast?" He suggests while she towels off with the sheet, since the room didn't come equipped with much more than soap (she's going to have to get shampoo and conditioner for her hair, it feels all brittle right now). She considers food, realizes she doesn't know when she last ate, and nods.

She remembers feeling her molecules thinning out as she fell.

There's a mountain of pancakes on the plate, drizzled with so much syrup and sugar she wants to retch. Luckily, he seems to know what she likes (which is good, since she only has a vague clue) and there's a bowl of corn chex in front of her, skim milk to the side. Still, she watches him spread runny egg on his half-burned toast. And wonders if this really does feel familiar.

No memory remains of whether she had last thoughts.

The coffee tastes like oil, but it's better than nothing, and she doctored it with half the packets of sugar and at least six creamers. He claims it's not really coffee anymore. But she needs the caffeine, and she remembers mornings like this, when they would flirt over breakfast and tea and newspapers. And world politics were never her strong suit.

She remembers feeling abandoned when space opened around her, the air freezing in instants of time. Frozen ice crystals dancing over her skin as she fought not to breathe out her last breath.

He's gesturing with a slice of pancake and dripping syrup on the table, and she's not really paying attention to his voice, but just listening to it. It's a cadence she's wanted to hear for a while and hasn't. And there's melancholy under the surface, and experience, and she thinks it could have been so much worse if he hadn't found her in the club.

Abandoned for principles, left to die in the depths of space. But she was a fighter, and so she remembers letting gravity tug her down into the atmosphere.

'Where are you?' he'd asked. 'Lost,' she'd replied. And then she hadn't been, his arms around her, his tongue down her throat. Which had felt so right, whether he thought it was wrong--he tried to stop, at some point, but she was too needy and too willing to do anything to make him touch her.

She remembers that she was wearing a space suit. Ice crystals coated it before it caught fire from the friction of the upper atmosphere.

"Hey." He's finally noticed she isn't listening to his words, and his eyes are almost concerned. "What's the matter?"

Someone had told her your life was supposed to flash before your eyes as you died. They were wrong.

"Nothin'." She pokes at the last of the chex and lets out a sigh. The questions she wants to ask crowd her mind, but she refuses to ask them yet. Doesn't want to acknowledge the reality of reality. Which is a damn shame, because it means he might give her up. (again. He gave her up long ago, but she won't touch that, either)

Memory says that she fell to earth at a velocity greater than an unladen swallow. Memory can't be right, because she would be dead if she fell to earth.

A hand touches her arm, slim finger slide around her wrist (flash of memory says this isn't the first time he's restrained her, but it was much more fun last time). "Talk to me. I don't bite." (not even if I want you to?) But she only avoids his eyes and stares down at the bits of cereal floating in her milk.

She remembers bits and pieces of battles and life and death situations. Laughter that edged on hysteria and tears that bordered pain unfathomable.

"Don't lie to yourself." His voice is suddenly harsh, the vowels and consonants clipped. And she knows he could do so much more with it. Flay her alive, rip the emotional skin from her bones and leave them dry as dust in the desert. But he's worried, his eyes tell her that. And he isn't pushing. Yet.

Falling forever gives you a whole new perspective on yourself, and she can remember the ground coming up much too fast.

"Why would I lie?" (I don't even know who I am to lie to myself. Can you lie to something you can't place, a name or a face that isn't yours when you look in a dirty motel bathroom mirror?) She shakes his hand off and moves back in the booth, the vinyl creaking under the cutoff shorts he threw at her to wear. They must have been his, the waist had to be safety-pinned to stay on.

Calculating velocity versus momentum versus molecular weight while trying not to lose consciousness is one of the last things she remembers.

"Don't do this." He's suddenly pale and gaunt, as if realizing that this is not all correct and proper. And he suddenly looks like he hates himself a little bit more (good, a petty part of her thinks. He should hate himself). The waitress appears with their check.

One of the first things she remembers is playing with a stuffed raccoon. Rory, she'd called it. Her parents had thought it was so darned cute.

Her voice is bland as she walks next to him down the sidewalk. The sun is glaring down, but her skin doesn't seem to mind it (burnt and blackened in the friction, but that was only metal and plastic and she was all right, she had to be all right--) and she wonders if she ever tans, of if she's like Moira and just gets all bright red at the drop of a hat. "Do what?"

She remembers changing her own density until she had slowed to a crawl down through the air. Once out of the atmosphere, it had been safe to do this. Except she couldn't breathe the air yet, and her lungs ached for oxygen.

Another alley, but he's leaning against the other wall negligently. And she wonders if it is always like this for them. Sex and pain and emotions neither wants to admit, or if its just the stark light of morning that makes her think like this. He refuses to touch her, his body sliding away before she can reach it. Presently, he speaks, "Grapevine said you were dead."

The memories are closing in, now, getting shiftier and less cohesive. Or more cohesive and less something she wants to remember.

"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." She tries to smile, but it falls flat, suddenly, and she knows she's remembering too much now, because she knows they aren't supposed to be doing this anymore. "Why aren't you dead, by the way?"

Complications and heartache, and the scream of blood through her veins when she finally gets solid enough to breathe again.

He lights up a cigarette and studies her through the smoke. "I never have been easy to kill. You should remember that, Pryde."

Kitty Pryde can remember falling to earth, her lungs aching to breathe and her body fighting for oxygen she couldn't give it. The X-Men had left her behind to die. She decided they didn't deserve to have their way.

"Oh, come on, Pete," Shifting memories have finally settled. "It just takes a little effort."

Her last memory before hitting the ground is of a grave side.

"Effort?" An eyebrow raises, scoffing at her. Gone is the desperate frightened man who fucked her against a brick wall, gone is the man who knelt at her feet his fingers buried inside of her. In their place is a man who suddenly remembers who they both are, what they've done to each other in the past. And he doesn't want her anymore.

She remembers being so very very cold in space.

"I'm sorry." It's not enough. It never will be. So she turns, leaves him standing there in the alley. Walks away from something that might have been her life.

Ice in her veins, heat and burning against her skin as friction destroys everything around her in the upper atmosphere.

He isn't coming after her.

There is no solace in being able to remember who you are.