The Difference Between

Chapter I : Empty Memories

Summary: Kitty (Shadowkat) & John (Pyro). He lost everything that he thought made him something. She always knew he was special, but not because of his mutant powers. X3 spoilers!

Notes: Rated a strong PG-13 for language and some possible sexual situations later on.

Hate is a very strong word, he told himself. Mostly, he didn't care that they hated him. Mostly, he didn't care that he hated them. But mostly, he lied to himself all day long and knew it. Mostly.

John Allerdyce flicked his thumb back and forth, almost feeling the lighter he wanted so badly to be holding. He thrust his palm forward, pretending that he could still create flames at leisure… but the empty, cold palm didn't shoot forth flames.

Hate. He hated the man who had invented the "cure" which had been injected into him so cruelly, taking away the thing that made him who he was – the thing that made him Pyro. He hated Magneto, he hated Xavier, he hated every damn kid at that so-called school. He even hated himself. There wasn't anything to love about his traitorous ways, his ruined life.

He remembered the moment that had changed everything. Almost as if it were happening at that very moment, John remembered the dull ache and the woozy welcome back to consciousness. He remembered the sounds fading back in, remembered seeing her above him, shaking him into consciousness.

Kitty Pryde always had a way of getting in his way, and it had been no different that night.

"John…" she cried. He hated her for always calling him by his human name. She screamed something about needing to get away, and he roughly pushed her away and stumbled to his feet, his head still pounding from being hit by solid ice. She was a stupid girl for even trying to help him.

She tugged on his arm, trying to pull him with her as she fled with everyone else, but he jerked away, wildly searching for Magneto, for anyone but her. She tried again to pull him with her, and he shoved her to the ground. Tears filled her eyes and for a moment she looked at him with disbelief. For one moment he felt sorry.

Slamming his empty palm down into the arm of the chair he sat in, Pyro stared at nothing in anger. Kitty had always been so trusting and so damn naïve, and he had felt the hurt in her eyes. She was kind when he was undeserving. Only seconds after he had shoved her to the ground, she turned and left in tears, escaping with the rest of the X-Men in the jet and leaving him with the memory of her sorrow.

It was only after the jet took off that Pyro realized what was happening. One look at Jean, if that was even who she was anymore, had been enough. Pyro had fled into the icy water of the river only to be shot with the "cure" and detained shortly after.

Now, depressed and in prison, he knew nothing but the empty cell – and all he could think about was the empty life he had always led. All he could remember was the kindness Kitty had tried to show him even after he had betrayed her and everyone else. All he could do was wish he had acted differently – and maybe he'd be with her and everyone else instead of a cold jail.