The Weight of the World...
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the original X-men characters.
Continuity: Xierra Series post '9 Months in a Day'.
Characters: Ensemble X-men
I know indeed what evil I intend to do, but stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury, fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evil.
-Euripides, Medea (431 B.C)
A bloodied fist shot through the air, striking the stumbling man in the solar plexus. He stumbled back into the crowd, gasping for air and praying for energy. He'd met with the floor of the rank but unused loading bay many times that night. The stench of fresh sweat and dried blood had filled his nostrils, made him dizzy from disgust. His eye had swelled from the knock he'd received earlier and blood seeped out from the torn and enflamed skin. It was unclear whether once, his features had been pleasant. A bloodied mass had replaced any kind of recognition one human being might have for another. He'd continued on because he had money riding on this fight, a fight which he'd thought would be an easy win when he'd first seen his opponent. Amidst the shouts and cheers, he realised that he was outmatched. The overhead lights swam in and out of clear vision as he tried to regain his feet. He tried to breath steadily, but the injuries, coupled with the stifling smell of sweat, beer, urine and a hundred bodies was overwhelming. No one thought that the stranger would last five minutes against him: a seasoned fighter and favourite in this underground ring. He'd thought this young fighter was the same, cocky breed that came to the fights every so often; thinking they could take on the 'old timers' and landing up with a face full of their own bullshit. But he wasn't. This kid was an animal.
At a good 6"3, he had towered over the ailing man's own form when they'd first faced up. He'd laughed before the fight began, thinking he'd resembled a male model more than a kick boxer. Once the fog horn had sounded, he'd seen the change in his opponents face, muscles and manner as they prepared to fight. He'd seen it then: not anger, or rage, but something else. It was the look of a man who was about to indulge, and savour every moment. His body was lean, strong; every muscle could be seen to full effect, rippling beneath a thin film of sweat. Bronze skin in stark contrast to the snowy, white hair; wild and disheveled. His deep-set grey eyes were framed by silver brows, eyes that bore pure ferocity, and fear when coupled with the canine-like set of teeth which he bore more often than not. At some point, he was sure that he'd heard the kid growl. But even though this man seemed but a step away from becoming a beast, he moved with fluidity, speed and grace. Not effeminate in any way, but a marvel to behold and respect. He was at ease in this blood sport. When the fight had begun, he'd thought the young man to be out of his league, but now, it seemed to be the opposite.
Those moments of thought passed in mere seconds, seconds which he'd used to recover somewhat. The kid suddenly stopped his skilled footwork, spat to one side, and wiped his mouth with the back of a partially bandaged hand. He stalked to his opponent, jaw clenched, teeth glinting, and with one powerful strike to the defeated man's jaw, shattered it.
Logan turned onto his back, and groggily opened his grey eyes. Sunlight streamed into the room, a warm breeze following it through the almost always, open French doors of the loft. He moved his hand across the bed, alarmed that he didn't feel the beautiful form that had stolen his dreams. Dreams. He realised then that he'd slept through the whole night, uninterrupted by the nightmares that had plagued him for months. He sat up, glancing over at Ororo's cellphone for the time. "Shit." He got out of bed and reached for the jeans he'd worn the night before. As was his custom, he lifted his arm and sniffed. He was still good. He began his morning routine in the en-suite bathroom, relieving himself and feeling all the better for it. Next came the obligatory cup of mouth wash, which Jubilee had demanded of him some time back.
He pulled his T-shirt over his head as he made his way downstairs, greeting two pupils along the way. Remy was standing at the kitchen door leading to the garden, one foot in, one foot out. "Bonjour, mon ami." He greeted, cigarette in his far hand. 'No smoking in the kitchen' was the new house rule. Logan lifted a finger as he dug in the fridge. The mansion seemed quiet, it was summer vacation after all. Most of the students had roped Bobby into chaperoning a day at the beach, accompanied, of course, by Rogue. The few that had stayed behind had kept to themselves for the most part. Remy's eyes sharpened as he took another long drag; exhaled. "What's it like bein' a father, old man?"
Logan brought the milk carton to his lips before stopping it there. "Wish I'd had more time t' get used t' it." He said without looking to him.
"Don't you worry, he be turnin' out just fine, even wit' you as his paps." The Cajun smiled as he received a thick, middle finger salute. "Nice."
"You know where 'Ro's gotten to?" Logan tossed the carton into the trash.
Remy nodded, taking a final drag of the cigarette, tossing it on the floor, and using his toe to end its life. "Last I saw, she be in de lower levels." The short man muttered something in thanks and left him. Remy hadn't spent a lot of time at the mansion since Ororo had given birth. There were too many memories, too many thoughts that hit him like a sledgehammer as soon as he set foot on the grounds. He'd changed over the last few years, and he didn't like it. There were a lot of 'free spirits' within the X-men, his ranking right up there, and recently passing Logan's. He'd always been able to leave this part of his life right where it was when he wanted to. Being able to forget his identity and live with all the freedom that he wished, was therapeutic in itself. To the X-men he was one man, to the world, another. But she had gotten in the way of all that. He'd thought it was love, once upon a time. Now he wasn't so sure. It was an odd kind of obsession that he'd never known himself to have. Images of her had crept into his mind, even when he was away from the walls of the mansion. He couldn't leave her behind with the rest of his life here.
"Would you like me to leave?" He immediately tensed at her voice. That voice. It seemed that her words straddled verbal and mental. It wasn't telepathy, although she possessed the gift, he was sure of it, otherwise his shields would've alerted to the merest hint of her mind trying to enter his. She'd explained it to him once, before things had gotten all fucked up. She'd told him that sometimes, not all the time, a similar effect occurred with her people.
"Remy got a question t' ask." He said softly, stroking her delicate, brown back as he did. She'd held her long, raven hair to one side with a silver comb, and lay across his lap to allow for the lavish treatment. They were comfortable on the carpet floor, him leaning back against the bed, encircled by sheets which had tumbled down with them somewhere in the course of events. His room left much to be desired, but then neither of them really cared whenever they were in there. "When you say t'ings, not de usual stuff, but... important stuff," he wasn't sounding all to eloquent, "you do dis... t'ing."
"What thing?" She mumbled, eyes closed, shifting just enough for him to feel her bare breasts move against him.
"When y' talk t' me, it's like you're everywhere. I hear you wit' my ears, and wit' my mind. It's like, I'm de only person in de world dat you be talkin' to."
"Maybe you are." She said whimsically. Her lightheartedness suddenly seemed inappropriate in wake of the silence that followed. She moved up, not bothering with the sheet. Seriously: "Does it scare you?"
He regarded her contemplatively, his red on black eyes matching her infused, emerald green ones. "Maybe." He answered honestly.
In that instant, she seemed hurt. "It happens sometimes... I didn't know if it could happen between us..." She paused. "There's no real explanation why, but after being together, there's a, connection. What you hear up there," She took his hand in hers, brought it to his temple, "is what is said in here." His hand came down with hers, resting on her chest. "I'm sorry, I've never heard of anyone being able to... turn it off. I should've warned you."
Remy brought a thumb her lips. "Don' worry, mon chouette. It's special, right?" She nodded, and he brought her face to his, planting a kiss on her cheek, which was interrupted by a salty tear. "Does it work both ways?"
"I don't know."
"Non, jus' on my way out." He replied. He grabbed one of Logan's cold beers out of the fridge.
She didn't move as she watched him, trying to find something to say. Finally, she drew a breath and asked: "How're you doing?"
"Don'. Dis won' work, you an' me bein' friends." He gestured casually between them. It was an honest statement, there was too much history between them to just go back to 'being buddies'.
"Rem, I know I screwed up... royally, but..."
He shook his head, silencing her, and left.
Ororo left the war room, the heels of her shoes clanking against the metal floor. She was making her way to the elevator when the doors slid open. A smile graced her lips as Logan stepped through. "I was just on my way up to call you." Without a word, he brought his arm around her slender waist and pulled her into a kiss. His tongue slid past her lips, searching for and finding her own. The sudden burst of passion caught her off guard; she was as inept as a schoolgirl experiencing a first kiss. He pulled her in tight, the expression of need forcing her to bring her arms around him. Her fingers rested in his hair, getting lost in the thick mass. He pulled away from her, grinning at her satisfied features. "Milk." She whispered, eyes opening slowly.
There was a moment of silence. "Milk." His voice was flat. All the strength he could muster couldn't keep him from laughing. It wasn't a regular event, but when it happened, the deep, rumbling sound commanded attention to nothing but its own embellishment. "That ain't the response I'm used ta gettin' darlin'."
She laughed with him; a light and soothing tune that somehow seemed to compliment her partner in every way. "That is not the response I'm used to giving." Her lips brushed against his forehead, sending a mild chill through him. "But then," she said, the words breath filled, "I can never quite control myself around you."
Laughter could be heard from further down the corridor. They waited, and greeted Hank and Cecilia as they came into view. The casual 'hello's' were exchanged, and Cecilia informed them that she was on her way to a medical conference in Dubai. "I was trying to persuade this big lug to join me." She nudged at her blue companion. "But alas, he's refused my offer for a few days of sun filled fun."
"A bunch o' eggheads spitballin' 'bout medicine, followed by a couple o' margaritas on the beach. An' you'll be in the company of a good woman the whole time. What about this isn't soundin' like Shangri-La to ya?" Logan asked Hank.
"I've said I'd consider it," the doctor grinned as he defended himself, "but circumstance has yet to allow me such freedoms." With a few last parting words, Cecilia left, leaving her best wishes with them.
"Tell me Henry, have you completed his physical?" It was for this reason she'd been on her way to call Logan. They needed to hear the results together. Having their son race through infancy into adulthood had been a shock, to say the least. The pregnancy had progressed with much the same speed. Hank's initial tests had revealed that his cells metabolized at a rate that dwarfed Logan's own. The life that should've taken years to flourish, had taken mere weeks. If the cells continued at that rate...
Hank was puzzled. "I would've thought that you knew." He said, brow creased.
"Knew what?" Ororo asked.
Kai lowered himself through his room window, hitting the floorboards with less than a thud. He took the strap of his duffle from across his chest, and tossed the bag to one side. He began a slow walk to his bed, his shirt gliding across his rippled torso as he pulled it off. The button of his jeans was the next to be freed as he slid off the filthy sneakers that had carried him from the fight, down back alleys, and into clubs the night before. He was about to remove the denims that hung dangerously low, revealing the curved beginnings of the muscles they clung to, before he caught his reflection in the mirror. "Shit." He growled, moving closer and examining the bruises over his ribs, briefly noticing the sound of the school bus returning from its trip, and sidelining it. They looked worse than they felt, and they felt pretty bad. Adrenalin had stopped him from feeling the pain earlier, determination to get back had made him ignore it.
His attention shifted to the sounds of heavy footsteps in the hallway. He opened the door, bringing his head out just enough to see what was going on, and just long enough to have it grabbed and jerked by a large and familiar hand. Kai stumbled out, hitting the wooden wall across from his room. "What the hell are you playin' at?" Logan was not a happy man.
"I don't know what you're talking about, dad." Kai answered, composing himself.
He assessed his son, not sure where to start. "First you're gonna explain why you couldn't give a shit about turnin' up for your physical. Then you're gonna tell me when you started thinkin' it was alright ta sneak out, then haul yer ass back in here at noon in the mornin'."
"I didn't sneak..." He was cut off, glaring down at the arm pressed hard against his chest.
"You got a weeks worth o' cigarette, sweat an' booze on ya kid. Don't fucking play dumb with me." He snarled. "An' last, you're gonna tell me what the hell happened to ya."
Kai leant in close to his father. "Wow, that almost sounds like genuine concern." There was a thick tone of mockery. He pushed Logan away, his predatory stare finding its equal. Without a word, he made his way down the hallway to the ground floor.
"Hey." Logan called. "Hey, don't you walk away from me." He followed him down the stairs, grabbing his shoulder and spinning him once he'd caught up. By this time, a few members of the returned field trip had already found their way into the lounge area. This was irrelevant.
Kai moved in again, inches away and baring his teeth. "I don't have time for this!"
"Make time." Logan retorted, doing the same. Finally Kai moved back, raising his hands as though in defeat. "Where're you goin'?"
He said this as he walked back: "I'm gonna see a doctor about a physical." Then he turned, and continued to the elevator.
Logan turned to the growing group, grunting at Bobby's amused expression before stalking off. "Testosterone's so thick around here, I could skate on it." Bobby said to Rogue, removing his shades as the rest of the students came in.
Ororo walked into the infirmary, smiling as she met the eyes of her son. He appeared irritated, allowing Hank to do his work but not seeming very eager as he did. She stopped, arms folded, at the bed next to his own. "I am just about..." Hank paused as he scribbled a few notes on his clipboard, "done." He gathered the samples he had taken earlier on in the physical. "I'll have completed my analysis in the next few hours, then we'll have conclusive results."
"Thank you, Henry." Ororo said. He bowed slightly and looked between both of them, before heading to the lab. "So...?" She sighed.
"So?" Kai retorted in the same tone.
"Where were you last night?" She asked, moving across to his bed and seating herself.
"Not sure whether you noticed, but a school's not where anyone my age wants t' be on a Friday night." He looked down, watching both their feet dangle off the edge. "And you and the old man won't let me set foot outside, just incase I die while I'm out there." She winced at the mention of it. "Don't ya get it, mom? If I've only got a month left to live, I wanna be out there living," he gestured to the window, "not in here, dying."
"We understand. It's just, difficult for us." Ororo took a deep breath. "I will permit you to go out, as long as you tell either your father, or me, before you do." They were silent as she observed the bruises on his body. Simply: "What happened?"
"I met this girl. Then I met this guy, who was with the girl." He didn't need to explain any further. "Thanks." He said after a time. "For... you know." Silence again.
She leant to her side, and nudged his shoulder with hers, coupling the act with a curious expression.
"He's just such an asshole." Said Kai, knowing the words behind her look.
"He's your father."
"Doesn't stop him from being an asshole though, does it?"
"He loves you."
"Maybe too much." She used her hand to gently turn his face to her. "He loves you." She said again.
He slid off the bed and made his way to the doors. They slid open as he stopped. Without looking at her: "Likewise." Kai left her there, going back to the upper levels. He contemplated the events that had transpired, grinning to himself as he did. He'd cleaned himself as best he could when the blood sport had ended. He'd gone to every club within ten blocks of his fight, toured eight pubs after that. He'd done everything he could think of to loose the scent of his opponents' blood. It must've worked. His father aside, his mother was an all too easy mark. However, there was one thing still causing him concern. "I'll have to do something about that." He said to himself.
"I've kinda got a question to ask." Lizzy said shyly. She'd gotten sidetracked midway through completing her sculpture. The three other students she sat with had requested extra art classes through the holiday, under the guise of extra credit; although the fact that it was a group of the quieter ones seemed to tell something in itself. Her teacher smiled, prompting her to continue. "I heard from some of the other students that... I guess I just wanted to know whether... Are you, magical?"
Xierra smiled at the girl of thirteen. Having classes outside of the studio seemed a good idea, until it had brought about a series of obscure questions, ones which she assumed were to wile away the time in the pleasant setting. She'd almost completed a painting of the sunset, streaking the canvas sky with pink and gold while adding shades of green to its floor. The brushes that painted, seemingly on their own, stopped. "Depends on what you think magic is. A hundred years ago, people might've said that this was magic." She said, taking the brushes into her hands.
"Yeah but I know that that's telekinesis." Lizzy slurred, her braces glinting. "It's just that, I heard that you... weren't just a mutant." The other students stopped molding, listening with interest. It had been spoken about for the past year, ever since an army of warrior women suddenly appeared in the institute's backyard, ready for battle. Little things like that tended to get people talking. "So like, what's the deal?"
A laugh escaped Xierra's lips as Lizzy caught herself being too casual. "The deal?" She repeated. "My mother came from a world beyond this one... an alternate plane of existence." Xierra elaborated. "People from this plane have had experiences with those from the other. Creatures come through accidentally, or intentionally, when the planes overlap and form gateways. Creatures like... Bigfoot."
"No way." Dean exclaimed. "What about the Loch Ness monster?"
"Mermaids?" Lizzy asked.
She nodded again. "My mother was a Banshee, and so am I."
"What about Meyrin, the professors wife?" Lauren queried.
"Meyrin, is my grandmother, and she's a Banshee too."
Lizzy rolled her eyes. "She can't be your grandmother, she's too young, and old." Her brow creased. "I mean, she's too young to be your grandmother but she's old enough to be the professor's wife." She finally smiled, having clarified herself.
"The Banshee don't age like human beings do. Days on Earth pass a lot faster than days on our world. She's pretty old in human years."
"Three hundred and fifty two... or three, I can't quite remember." The children's eyes widened.
"Will you get that old?"
Xierra looked up at the sky, closing her eyes. "I honestly don't know, sweetheart."
"But you can do cool stuff right? Like spells?" Lizzy again, eager to find out.
Xierra searched for a way to explain. Her eyes began to flame green as an unformed mass of clay lifted from the wooden board at her crossed legs. It blew apart, small balls of no more than a few centimeters hung in the air between her and her students. "Magic isn't quite like that. Think of these balls of clay as anything and everything, from a person, to animal, to planet.." A long, thin piece of wire threaded itself between them. "The wire represents the forces that bind and connect us. Magic, is the ability to feel, and understand the forces," the wire suddenly straightened and the balls moved together, "and bend them to your will." Lizzy's face stared back at her from the clay.
"So, if I practiced really hard, I'd be able to do magic?" The teen asked, taking the artwork.
"Maybe. To actively use those forces, every cell in your body has to be just as aware as your mind." She explained.
Xierra took a scalpel from the board, and used it to cut a piece from a single strand of her hair. She then followed the strand to its root, and pulled it out. "Answer that question for yourself." She said, handing the strand to Lizzy. "Pack up and get ready for dinner, remember we're having it in the hall tonight. Class dismissed." As they gathered their things, she inspected the strand, suddenly deciding to tug at it. She tried again, attempting to break it. She gritted her teeth as she tried to pull the strand apart. Lizzy left with the rest of the class, preoccupied with it.
It was a welcomed end to the day. Xierra had managed to keep her mind away from the thousand thoughts that shaped her dreams, and nightmares. But then, there was always that one thought, that one person that she couldn't tear herself away from no matter how hard she tried. She'd felt her heart skip a beat earlier on, having gotten more words out of him then than she had in the past few months. Leaving a over a year ago was the only option she'd felt she'd had; an option that had destroyed her relationship. She left without a word to anyone, spent a year in the same fashion, and returned a changed woman to his, changed man. The life she'd lead in that time seemed all too distant now. Was it worth it? She asked herself. Equipment packed, she made her way up the stone steps and into the mansion, following the winding root to the classrooms.
A shot of liquid filled her mouth as she rounded the corner. It was cold, bitingly so. Her body went limp. The bag and easel in either hand dropped to her sides as she met Kai's eyes. "Easy there." He whispered, catching her. "You really should take a look at the stash Hank's got in the infirmary, it's enough to make an addict, weep." Carefully, he lowered them both to the floor. "You and I, need to talk."
"Ms. McIntyre, I forgot to..." Lizzy covered her mouth as she turned the corner. "I am so sorry." She blushed, spinning on her heel and running back.
"Well, ain't that some shitty luck?" He asked, propping her back against the wall. "I'll have to take care of that later. And you'll forgive my crude tactics, but I needed to be able to face you without expecting, anything really." With a deep and satisfying sigh, he closed his eyes. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you've been avoiding me. I gotta tell ya, this isn't a good start to our relationship."
"..." Her breathing was laboured. Whatever the drug was, it clouded her mind and repressed any conscious connection she had with her abilities
"Keep tryin'." He reached into his back pocket and examined the label of the vial he now held up. "You should still be able t' talk. It might be a little tough on you though. Until then, I'm happy doing the talkin'." He shifted. "Did you enjoy the fight last night?" Her eyes searched the air. "Don't act coy, I saw you there. And somewhere, in all the excitement, I felt you there. It's times like those I admire what we share."
"... share nothing." She finally said. "You, evil."
He grinned. "You gettin' all traditional on me? Well, fine. So, I carry a pitchfork and you bear a halo? Doesn't change the fact that you and I were meant for each other. Meant to kill each other, true, but still meant for each other. The battle of good versus evil rages on. Gives you an odd sense of... purpose, doesn't it? Belonging. See, that's what you don't have here at the mansion. Of course, it's largely your fault; going around telling the world that I'm evil incarnate. Can't imagine that's earned you any brownie points."
"I'm only, telling, them, the truth."
"And how's that workin' for ya, angel?" He asked, flashing a smile so deceptively charming, even she was taken by surprise. "Until my head starts doing three-sixties, it's your word against mine. Allow me to let you in on a secret, that might make your life easier." Kai leant in. "Blood is always thicker." He brought himself back. "You thought you caught a break. You thought Logan's dreams would give you the leverage you needed to convince him to join your side. A couple of nightmares about me going postal, just ain't gonna cut it. And Ororo? How did that conversation between the two of you pan out? Well 'Ro, your son is the embodiment of all evil, created by an ancient and all consuming force. It's my job to put an end to his life, so you should really just let me get on with it." He joked. "Seems like the only person in this world who believes you, is me. There's an odd sense of irony in it, isn't there?" Kai got to his feet, and searched her bag. He took out four bottles of paint, and began spreading the contents on the walls and floor.
"What... what are you, doing?"
"Manipulation, is the surest form of control." He used his forearm to smear blue higher up on the walls. "It's a lesson I learned before I was born." He knelt down to her and dipped his fingers into the bottle of red. He ran them along the side of her face, down her neck, and ended between her exposed breasts. "Kids talk. The drug'll run its course and knock you out soon, but in the mornin', you'll catch my drift." He decorated her arms, ran along her thighs, and succeeded in creating half the illusion. Next, he coated himself. "I'll be honest here," Kai began, scooping her into his arms once he was done, "I do want something from you." He carried her down the hall, up the stairs and to his room. "It's a small thing really." While setting her down on the bed, he made certain to get as much paint on the sheets as possible. "You and I, share the same power from the same life force, yet somehow, I just can't seem to get to it."
"Ain't that some shitty luck." She would've grinned if her body had the strength.
"Cute." He removed her top, considered before removing her bra. "Now I am sick and goddamn tired of pittin' myself against dead end, nine-to-fivers, just so that I can trigger the powers that you've already got. So I started thinking: The only connection I do have to this force, is through you." He unbuttoned her jeans, moving them across her hips and sliding them down her legs. "I could spend years learning how to master what you already know. I could, but I won't." In the moments before he continued, he let his eyes drift over her body, a growl instinctively emanating as he did. Moving back up slowly, he brought his hands to either side of her head. "I want, what's in here, and you're going to give it to me. And after you do," low and fierce: "I'm gonna go play."
To Be Continued...
A/n: The last post I made of Xierra series was a while ago, so I've thrown in back story here and there. This chapter basically establishes a base for the rest of the fic. Still searching for the rest of my series so that I can repost the revised versions. Until then, please enjoy my take on a misguided, sociopathic, X-spawn. (Ain't they the best kind.)