Author's note; I know I'm supposed to be working on chapter 3 of "Spider-Man; The Goblin Wars", but my muse was fixated on Astondishing X-Men #4. Can't say I blame her. So here's my little bit of speculation on the big cliffhanger from that issue. If you wish not to be spoiled, READ NO FURTHER!

-----------------------------------------------------

Disclaimers; Marvel owns them, I don't. The song in the background was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Rating: PG-13 for some dark passages.

Spoilers: Uncanny X-Men #390, Astondishing X-Men #4. Plus some speculation on what happens after AXM #4.

Summary: His "noble sacrifice" was in vain, and he became a tool for the enemy. What really happened to Colossus?

-----------------------------------------------------
Close Every Door

by Kirayoshi
-----------------------------------------------------

It was supposed to be the end. Of the virus, of the last legacy of the monster Stryfe, and of his life.

Logan would no doubt spit on his grave and declare him a coward. He didn't care.

Kurt might believe that his act of suicide would damn his soul. He didn't care.

Kitty would probably hate him for abandoning her. He didn't care.

Doctor Reyes tried to talk him down, but he had decided his course. He calmly opened the canister and let the gas do its work. Within seconds, Cecilia was unconscious. And with the rest of the X-Men outside playing baseball, no one would know what he was planning until it was too late.

Peter Rasputin took the syringe in his hand, punctured the skin of his forearm with the needle and depressed the plunger. Hank McCoy had informed the X-Men that, when a mutant injected him/herself with the Legacy cure and triggered his/her power, it would catalyze the formula, spreading it like the virus it was designed to eliminate until all forms of the virus were eradicated. The triggering would also kill whoever took the cure.

With a last lingering thought to the life he was leaving behind, he triggered his mutant ability, letting his body convert from flesh to steel. He felt vertigo, then convulsions, then a sense of nothingness. He knew his body was going into shock, and he welcomed it. An end to sorrow, a surcease of a life of pain.

With his last dram of awareness he found himself thinking of Kitty. Wishing he could see her warm hazel eyes and soft brown hair one last time, and let her know that she was the one true love of his life.

Do svedaniya, Katya, moy angelichek, he said in his mind. Be happy.

As consciousness fled, he could hear Illyana's laughter echoing musically in his ears, could smell her floral perfume, could catch a glimpse of her flowing golden hair. He knew then that he had made the right decision.

Then he awoke to discover that it was all a lie.
-----------------------------------------------------

Close every door to me

Hide all the world from me

Bar all the windows and

Shut out the light.

Do what you want to me

Hate me and laugh at me

Darken my daytime and

Torture my night...
-----------------------------------------------------

He felt cold metal against his back and metal straps binding his arms and legs in a spreadeagle formation. He opened his eyes only to see gunmetal gray walls on all sides. As far from any image of Heaven as he could conceive.

He assumed his armored form, and tried to wrench his arms free of their restraints. His captors were not unprepared. Pain shot through his steel form like the fires of Hell. He was so shocked by the sudden pain that he reverted to flesh and blood immediately, his body flat against the metal gurney.

As his pain-misted vision cleared, he saw a door open in the wall directly in front of him, and an imposing figure walked in. The being was clearly not human; an impossibly large frame, skin resembling granite, with the cold dead eyes of a tyrant. A mutant perhaps. Peter's first thought was Apocalypse, or perhaps Mr. Sinister. But this man was neither.

"Patient 002," he spoke in a voice like ground glass. "I see you have awakened from your coma." The granite-skinned being snarled sadistically at the prone mutant.

Obviously this being was his captor. And Peter felt no desire to capitulate to him. "My name," he snarled, "is Colossus."

"Correction," he snapped at the Russian farmboy. "Your name was Peter Nikolevitch Rasputin. As you have been legally declared dead by competent doctors, you no longer have such luxuries as a name. And I went to great lengths to acquire your body, 002, including creating the illusion that you were cremated. Your former teammate, Shadowcat I believe, scattered the ashes we provided her over your farm in Siberia. For what it's worth, mutant, you may address me as Ord."

Peter attempted to lift his form from the gurney only to receive another harsh electric jolt. "We cannot allow you to remain at large, 002," he chided him. "We require something from your body. You were brought here to fulfill the work of the Benetech Corporation. With the aid of the Legacy cure you still carry in your genome, we will succeed in curing mutancy altogether."

"And if I refuse?" Peter snarled.

Ord smiled cruelly at his captive. "You seem to be under the misapprehension that I require, or particularly desire, your permission. Or that I even regard you as anything more than a resource. You live only as long as your body is capable of producing the cure." With clinical detachment, Ord unwrapped a sterile needle, before seizing Peter's left arm with his other hand. Even in his armored form, Peter found the grip over his arm to be excruciating. "You should feel proud, 002," Ord glared harshly at his prisoner. "You managed to eliminate a virus that would have destroyed all mutant-kind. And I will make you regret that action."

Peter remained defiant, refusing to give this monster the honor of tears. "They will find me, Ord," he groaned through clenched teeth. "They will defeat you!"

Ord regarded Peter's face quizzically. "They? Oh, you mean the X-Men? I suppose they would have posed a threat...if I hadn't disposed of them already." Peter's face blanched, and this first sign of emotion from the stoic Russian caused Ord to chuckle. "They're all dead, 002. I saw to that myself."

Peter gritted his teeth, denying the monster's words, but fearing that they were true. "Yes, the young one, Kitty, was it?" Ord continued, almost casually. "The poor girl thought she could phase through my hand as I held her neck. But I was able to negate her powers. Just like this..." He twisted his wrist slightly, triggering a charge of energy through Peter's body. Instantly the Russian mutant's body reverted from steel to flesh. With an expression of bland contempt, he immediately punctured Peter's arm with the hypodermic in her hand, emptying the contents of the syringe into Peter's bloodstream. Within fifteen seconds Peter's arm was completely paralyzed, and the rest of his body quickly became immobile shortly afterward.

Without another word, Ord began his work, collecting samples of Peter's blood and flesh, attaching diodes to his skin and monitoring his physical and mental vital signs. As he finished, Ord glanced darkly at the helpless mutant. "Please don't hesitate to inform me if you're feeling any pain, 002," Ord told Peter as he strode out of the door. "It will please me greatly to know that you are." The door whooshed shut with a vacuum seal, leaving Peter motionless in the darkness, with only his rage for company.
-----------------------------------------------------

If my life was important,

I'd ask, 'Will I live or die?'

But I know the answer lies

Far from this world...
-----------------------------------------------------

He tried counting the days of his captivity, but ultimately gave it up as a futile gesture. His cell had no windows, no access to the outside world. His tormentors awoke him whenever they felt the need to 'extract' plasma or other genetic material, and Ord seemed to delight in making the 'extraction' process as painful as possible. And Ord was imaginative in the ways of inflicting pain without damaging his body.

Ord was his only company during his captivity, and he would only arrive to extract blood or plasma from Peter's body, to create this 'cure' he spoke of. Often Ord would strap diodes to Peter's body and run electricity through his frame, all the while negating his powers so he couldn't assume his armored form. Other times he would simply leave Peter alone for days on end, with nothing but his thoughts and memories. As the measureless hours passed slowly into days, familiar voices began to torment his sleep, then over time his waking hours. Each ghost would condemn him, before fading into memory.

"Way to go, bub," Logan would always begin the taunting. "Taking the coward's way out."

"We needed you with us," Ororo spoke in icy tones, her eyes flashing coldly into his soul.

"You left us when we needed you," Kurt continued the condemning litany.

"We didn't have a chance against Ord," Scott declared, his voice almost hollow, devoid of emotion before he faded into thin air.

"Please," Peter pleaded. "I only wanted to prevent others from suffering as Illyana did!"

"Oh, please," Remy shook his head, almost chuckling. "You only sought de easy out! You didn't think about us once when you injected dat stuff into your arm!"

"And now he's gonna use your blood to kill all mutants," Rogue snarled. "Thanks for nothin', sugah!"

He wanted to plead his case to these phantoms, to explain why he took the Legacy cure upon himself. But they only turned their backs on him, fading into the ether before he could beg their forgiveness.

The last two faces to remain were always the same; the faces of the two women to whom he had dedicated his life, and finally his death. Blue and hazel eyes burned holes into Peter's soul as blond and brown hair framed their heads in fire. Kitty glanced briefly at Illyana before the two of them spoke a single word to him; "Traitor." His sister and his beloved then faded, leaving him alone with his despair.

And every time he slept, the ghosts would come back to torment him again.
-----------------------------------------------------

Just give me a number,

Instead of my name,

Forget all about me

And let me decay.

I do not matter,

I'm only one person.

Destroy me completely

And throw me away...
-----------------------------------------------------

A vending device in Peter's cell provided the only food that Ord saw fit to give his prisoner; a daily protein-suppliment wafer, dry and tasteless but sufficient to sustain life. Several times Peter simply refused to eat, to simply starve himself. If he was dead, he'd be useless to Ord.

But Ord acted swiftly to Peter's effort to starve himself to death. Without words, he simply supressed Peter's powers again, shoved another needle into his arm and forced nutrients into his system intravenously. From that moment he was kept alive against his will.

Occasionally Ord would regard Peter with a gentle, almost charitable eye. He would speak civilly to Peter as he performed his regular procedure of drawing his blood, his voice taking on an almost conversational tone. Peter vaguely remembered something Hank McCoy had mentioned to him once, something called 'Stockholm Syndrome'; victims of lengthy abductions would sometimes feel an emotional attachment to their abductors, especially if the abductors occasionally demonstrated small kindnesses to their hostages. Peter refused to give in to Ord's seeming kindness; he knew it to be a pretense. He never spoke in his presence, nor did he look directly at him. He maintained a white-hot hatred for his captor. Ord had stripped him of his friends, his freedom and his name. Hatred was all he had left.
-----------------------------------------------------

If my life was important

I'd ask, "Will I live or die?"

But I know the answer lies

Far from this world...
-----------------------------------------------------

Ord hadn't bothered to strap him to his bed that night, nor did he feel the need to negate his powers. He knew that he had broken him, and didn't feel the pressing need for any extravagant security measures. The airlock door opened, allowing a glaring red light to stab into the blackness of the cell that had become Peter's universe. Staccato gunshots could be heard from outside. Vaguely curious, Peter allowed his body to armor up as he moved toward the door.

A bullet whizzed through the doorway, caroming off of his steel chest. The airlock door was wide open, and Ord was nowhere in sight. A nagging voice in the back of his head declared, "It is time."

Almost mechanically, Peter lumbered toward the gunmen, not noticing the small brown-haired girl they were firing their weapons at. His anger fueling his motions, he grabbed the first guard within reach by the base of his neck and threw him hard into the floor. He made his way through the sea of suddenly frightened faces, immune to their gasps of horror or any pleas of mercy that they may have made.

"Peter." The voice called but didn't register at first. Peter continued to toss bodies around like cordwood, as those who were still conscious lost their resolve and fled for their lives. "Stop, Peter!" she called again, and a faint ember of recognition glowed faintly, but with growing strength, in Peter's mind.

"Please stop," she pleaded, "you'll kill them!"

That voice. Over the years since he had met her, he had memorized every cadence, every tone, every aspect of that voice. If there was one sound in the world that said 'Home' to him, it was that voice.

Peter dared to turn his head as he reverted to flesh, to look upon her. "Katya?"

She stood before her, her hair tied back behind her head, wearing a modified version of her standard blue-and-yellow uniform, her face frozen in an expression of pure wide-eyed shock. Peter's knees gave out, as his anger faded and all the strength his rage gave him escaped like air from a punctured tire. He half-walked, half-crawled to her, his arms finding their way around her torso as he lay his head on her chest. No longer able to dam the tide of emotions, he sobbed openly. "Oh God," he cried brokenly. "Finally... God, am I...God please...Am I finally dead?"

Kitty stood in awkward silence, praying that this was not an illusion, but uncertain what to do if it was true.
-----------------------------------------------------

Close every door to me

Keep those I love from me

Children of Israel

Are never alone...
-----------------------------------------------------

Peter stood silently in one of the attic lofts of the rebuilt Xavier School building, admiring the M. C. Escher print that Kurt had given him as a housewarming gift. He found the simple images of birds morphing into nothingness as the null space between them gradually transformed into fishes oddly relaxing.

Trasformation, he thought. There's been a lot of that going on here lately. He would have never thought it possible that Emma Frost would ever become Scott's lover, let alone a member of the X-Men. So much has changed since his foolish actions led him into Ord's tender mercies. He shook his head, shamed anew at his act of hubris.

Nearly three years had passed since he had attempted suicide. No noble sacrifice, no 'greater good', he shook his head at those turns of phrase. He tried to kill himself, there was no other excuse. He grew tired of his life and wanted out. And came close to taking his allies with him.

"Hey," Kitty's voice chimed from the stairwell, shaking Peter out of his reverie. "You decent in there?"

"Come on in, Katya," Peter forced a smile on his face as he greeted her. Kitty strolled into Peter's new residence, her arms behind her back and a small purple dragon draped nonchalantly around her neck. Lockheed craned his neck around Kitty's head and observed the spacious surroundings. He had just moved an old chest of drawers from storage into the corner, along with a couple of chairs and his old bed, and was just now considering wall decorations. With the high ceiling and sunlight filtering in from the enormous overhead window, the room seemed almost empty. "Gotta say," Kitty nodded approvingly, "like what you're doing with the place so far."

"Thank you, Katya," Peter answered. "I'm just grateful that the attic space was available. It seems that following my period of captivity, I have acquired a rather severe claustrophobia. I've already spoken to Ororo, and she has suggested some meditation techniques."

"Glad to hear that," Kitty answered. "Oh, and here," she added, withdrawing the denim garment she had hidden behind her back. "Logan gave me this after you...died," she explained. "I thought you'd like to have it back."

Peter accepted the denim jacket and looked at it. "You gave this to me on my nineteenth birthday," he breathed. Gingerly he tried the jacket on, marveling as the sleeves slid over his arms and he buttoned up the front. "It still fits."

"It still hangs nice on you," Kitty smiled approvingly. "So, you're gonna be sticking around then?"

"Da," Peter nodded. "Emma Frost wants me to teach English Literature and art appreciation at the school. And Hank has officially dropped the suicide watch, I am pleased to report." Kitty flinched slightly at the word 'suicide', causing Peter's face to grow less animated and more serious. "Don't worry, Katya. I have no plans toward ending my life anytime soon. Logan made it abundantly clear that if I ever made the attempt again, he would insure that I lived long enough to regret it."

Kitty regarded Peter sternly, and for a brief moment Peter was almost afraid of what she would say next. "You ever pull a stunt like that again, Rasputin," she intoned menacingly, "you'd better pray that Logan finds you before I do. What the hell were you thinking, trying to kill yourself like that?" Lockheed lifted his head and nodded once, snorting an affirmative.

Peter shook his head sadly at Kitty's accusations. "If you're looking for me to excuse my actions, don't bother. I cannot. I was only thinking of my own pain. I had the last three years alone in Ord's care to meditate on that fact." He turned his body away from Kitty's, not wanting to face her condemnations.

Kitty allowed her anger to ebb, as she walked toward him, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, Peter, but it hurt me, thinking you had died. I still have a small vial of ashes from what we thought were your remains. It hurt, but I managed to move forward with my life."

"I know," Peter spoke, his voice thick with melancholy. "And I'm glad that you did. I just wish I had had that opportunity. Ord had me believing that he had killed you. That I was the sole surviving X-Man, and that he would use the Legacy cure to destroy all mutants."

"Yeah," Kitty's anger flared, but this time she directed her rage at the monster that had stolen three years of Peter's life. "He hated mutants because he thought we stood in the way of his plans to conquer the world."

"And we will, Katya," Peter assured her. "Believe me, if he ever shows his face again, I for one will be ready."

"You, me and the dragon," Kitty agreed. "I just...I don't know...I just wish I knew what was going to happen next. With us, I mean."

"I don't know either, Katya," Peter answered honestly. "I know I betrayed you, and I will always pray that we can at least find our way back to the friendship we shared."

"Hey," Kitty turned Peter around and placed his arms around his waist. "We've been through too much to stop being friends now." She smiled openly, as a tear traced its way down her cheek. "As for the rest of it, we'll take it one day at a time."

"Small steps," Peter suggested as his arms slowly encircled Kitty's small waist. "I think I'd like that."

"Just promise me," Kitty pleaded with Peter, "next time you feel as low as you did then, talk to me. You're not alone. None of us are."

"I know that now," Peter vowed, "and I thank God for that fact." Peter tightened his embrace, and Kitty gladly leaned into his arms as the two friends and once-lovers hugged fiercely. "God I missed you, Katya."

"And I you, Peter," Kitty breathed joyously as she felt the body of her beloved in her arms again. Lockheed happily draped his tail around Peter's neck, while his head nuzzled against Kitty's hair. His mistress was happy, and that was enough for him. They weren't 'together', in any serious definition of the term, but they had begun to build something again. For now, that was enough.

As Peter reluctantly leaned back, ending the embrace, he asked Kitty, "So, anything else I miss over the last few years?"

"Well..." Kitty pursed her lips in thought, wondering where to begin. "You missed 'Lord of the Rings' in the theatre."

"What?" Peter asked incredulously. "I can't believe they made a movie out of 'Lord of the Rings'."

"You're right," she smiled hugely. "They made three of them. One for each book."

Peter arched one eyebrow, staring quizzically at Kitty. "You're kidding!"

"I got the whole thing on DVD," Kitty announced.

"This I must see for myself," Peter answered.

"Well then," Kitty grinned hugely as she led Peter out of his attic room, "get ready for a night of sensory overload!" The two friends headed for the TV lounge for a long night of fantasy cinema and bonding.

And for the first time in recent memory, Peter Rasputin felt at peace.
-----------------------------------------------------

For I know I will find

My own peace of mind

For I have been promised

A land of my own.