NIGHTMARE

BY MADRIPOOR ROSE

Disclaimer: The X Men belong to Marvel Entertainment, no copyright infringement intended.

Astonishing X Men spoilers.

It's the light that wakes her, and Kitty comes to awareness slowly, out of a sound sleep. Peter's room. They've been sleeping together in Peter's room, his bed is bigger. Living together, really, she just keeps her things in her room, and uses her bathroom to change.

It's two forty two am, by the bedtable's clock, and the light is on, and Peter is sitting up, legs over the side of the bed, and she curses Ord yet again, helplessly.

He's had another nightmare.

Two years, alone in the dark.

Two years, pounding on cold walls of alien alloy.

Two years of torture.

It was just the light that woke her, this time, not his sleep-stifled screams.

"Peter?" she calls to him softly, and he turns with a half-ashamed look on his face.

"Sorry. I did not mean to wake you, I was getting up."

"Don't," she tells him, "come back to bed."

He hesistates, and she knows he wants to get up, to get outside. Even the mansion's familar walls are smothering him now, and instinct is telling him to run for open sky. If she lets him go now, he'll go sit on the terrace until the sun comes up.

He won't sleep.

And neither will she.

That's the bait she uses, in the end. "Come back to bed, I can't sleep when you're not with me."

He settles down beside her again. She lowers the light, but doesn't turn it off, and sees the grimace cross his face, swiftly.

Big guy like him, afraid of the dark.

The end.