A/N: This was written for a challenge at the LJ community of phasefire, and the poem in the fic is from the film 10 Things I Hate About You. I hope you enjoy it.
10 Things I Hate About John Allerdyce
I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair
Kitty Pryde was sitting on the maroon sofa in the lounge room, her legs curled up underneath her and a bowl of Lucky Charms in her lap. It was past midnight but she couldn't sleep, and had decided to get a snack. Lucky Charms were her favourite cereal – she relished in the sugary taste and if it was up to her she would make them the only cereal people were allowed eat at the mansion.
She sat there in the darkness and near-silence, the only sounds coming from the crunching of the cereal, random creaks of the kitchen appliances and people turning over noisily in their beds. She wondered how many other people were awake and couldn't sleep. She hoped she was the only one; she didn't feel like conversing with anybody right now, enjoying the time alone.
She had almost finished her cereal when she heard a thud and someone curse. "Shit! Are there any lights in this place?"
Kitty recognised that voice all too well. It was the voice of cocky, resident bad-boy John Allerdyce. Kitty didn't know all that much about him, except that he had a certain disregard for the rules and pretty much hated school. The only lesson she actually saw him working hard in was English, but even then he didn't try all that much.
Once John had caught Kitty reading over his shoulder – he had been writing poetry of all things and as soon as he realised she was there, he scrunched up the paper and gave her a glare that could rival Iceman's. Since then they had hardly spoken at all, and when they did it was always a snide comment from John (usually about Kitty's height) and a sigh from Kitty as she tried to make an actual conversation with him. John wondered why she never gave up. Kitty wondered why John made the effort to make fun of her when he didn't do it to anybody else.
And what surprised Kitty the most was, here was John, settling down onto the couch beside her, not one remark leaving his lips. Complete silence. What in the world was the matter with him?
And even though they were in partial darkness, Kitty could see that he'd cut his hair. And she secretly hated it.
I hate the way you drive my car
Kitty had a car, and better still, knew how to drive it. As soon as she had turned the appropriate age her parents gave her driving lessons and Kitty had her license before any of her other friends. When the time came to leave for the X-Mansion, her parents bought her a brand new car in hopes it would persuade her to stay. But it just made Kitty jump in the car and drive off further away from them.
John liked cars just like any other male teenager, and he wasn't obsessed or anything. But one day when Kitty returned from the shopping mall in her sporty, royal blue coupe, he couldn't help but glare with envy. His parents would never have bought him things just to make him stay. They couldn't afford such luxuries, and even if they could, they wouldn't have bought anything anyway. John realised this fact rather bitterly.
And so, once John and Kitty had formed, shall we say, an adequate acquaintance, John often asked to borrow her car to make short trips. Kitty was rather reluctant at first, but soon trusted him enough to take care of it. She watched him drive out of the mansion one sunny afternoon, and cringed when he nearly smashed into a hedge (or two) and breathed a sigh of relief when it came back in one piece a few hours later.
When he chucked her the car keys, Kitty couldn't help but say, "I hate the way you drive my car."
John just laughed, a big smirk plastered onto his face.
I hate it when you stare
Kitty loved answering questions in class. It gave her a thrill when the teacher told her she had answered correctly, although she was very modest about it on the outside. She had a great thirst for knowledge, and nearly always read a chapter ahead of her fellow classmates. Her favourite subject of all was I.T. She loved knowing what made computers and machines work, and what lay underneath their box-like exteriors.
John, on the other hand, didn't answer questions in class at all. He was too preoccupied stirring up the other students and flicking his Zippo lighter. He carried it everywhere. His lighter to him was like a baby was to its parent. His pride and joy. He wouldn't even know what the Professor was going on about because he was so absorbed in the one object that was the basis of his very mutation; he felt lost if he couldn't feel the cool metal against his palm.
Now, whilst Kitty went along her way answering a billion questions like a know-it-all, John, apart from being so attentive to his lighter liked to observe people. He observed the way Iceman looked at his girlfriend, longing to touch her soft, pale skin. He noticed how Jubilee would tap her pencil across the table top if she was feeling impatient to leave or bored with what they were learning. He also liked to watch Kitty. He realised she preferred to use big words to confuse people and to sound smarter, and that if she was feeling frustrated over a particular question her hair would get even messier than it was at the start of the lesson.
Kitty didn't always know John was staring at her, but when she did she blushed crimson. She hated blushing, and she hated that John made her blush. And she hated him staring at her. But he never stopped.
I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind
One morning everybody was changed and ready for some sparring in the Danger Room. Kitty was wearing three quarter length dance pants, a white spaghetti-strap top and a pair of white sneakers – they were brand new. She thought she was wearing quite suitable clothing. They weren't too loose or too tight, and she could move around fairly easily and it always helped wearing new shoes. Ever since she was young she believed that when you wore new sneakers it made you run heaps faster. Obviously now that she was older she knew it wasn't really true, but she still liked to keep it in mind.
She stood with Rogue and Jubilee as they waited for the boys to come out of their change room. When they did, Kitty almost gasped out loud. There was Bobby and the other boys, wearing quite appropriate clothing for sparring, and then there was John, wearing dark jeans, a brown t-shirt and worst of all, big, brown combat boots.
"Good luck whoever gets him as a partner," Jubilee commented. Rogue laughed, and Kitty sighed. They both knew that whenever they were divided into pairs Kitty always ended up with John. Whether this was intentional or just coincidence, she would never know.
But what she did know this time was that John was not sparring with her wearing those hideous boots. He was going to take them off and she didn't care what he said to refuse.
"So, stuck with me again huh, Kitten?" he said, walking over to her. They were the last students to pair up (as always). "And I suppose you're going to tell me to take off these boots."
How in the world did he know I was going to ask him that? Kitty mused, rather irritated that he had practically read her mind. She ignored his use of her childhood nickname, too.
"As a matter of fact, I was. They're not suitable for sparring and you damn well know it!"
"Was that a swear word I heard?" John teased, and smirked.
Kitty rolled her eyes. "Could you start acting your age?"
"If I did it wouldn't be any fun, would it, Kitten?"
Kitty almost lost her patience with him, and in the end, John kept his boots on.
I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme
In English one morning they were instructed to write a poem about anything they wished. As usual, everybody got to work, except for John. He was not in the mood to write some crappy poem that they had to share with the class. He started looking around, and spotted Kitty, who was at the desk across from him, scribbling furiously onto a piece of paper. Suddenly she stopped. It seemed she had writer's block. John subtly leant over a little and titled his head to try and read what she had written.
I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair
I hate the way you drive my car
I hate it when you stare
I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind
I hate you so much it makes me sick…
And it was there she had trailed off. She was doodling absentmindedly on the page, her brain obviously working overtime to try and finish the sentence. John didn't know who the hell she was talking about in the poem, but he suddenly found a way she could finish it.
"Kitten, ever tried: it even makes me rhyme?"
Kitty jumped, coming out of the reverie. She looked over at him, went pink a little and moved her pad paper away from his view.
"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard," she replied, and turned away from him. But when she thought he wasn't looking, she quickly wrote down what he had said. It even makes me rhyme… Genius!
I hate it, I hate the way you're always right
Kitty didn't like being wrong. She was quite the perfectionist, and people expected her to know everything so if she answered a question incorrectly in class, she felt extremely stupid. Jubilee tried telling her that nobody thought she was stupid if she got something wrong, but it didn't help. And it certainly didn't help that the rebel of the class got more marks than her on a Geography quiz. Kitty had only looked at the mark at the top of the page before her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach. She didn't even bother looking at what questions she answered incorrectly.
"How did you manage that?" she whispered to John, bewildered.
A satisfied smirk tug on the side of John's mouth, and he replied, "Intelligence. Something few of us are lucky enough to have."
"Oh, very funny, John. I just don't understand. I thought I had everything right!"
John didn't know what to say to her, so he grabbed her paper and compared it with his own.
"I see the problem here, Kitten."
"What is it?" she replied, hoping she would finally see what had gone so terribly wrong.
"You know absolutely nothing about Australia."
Kitty stared him, perplexed, and then finally looked at her own answers.
"I swear Sydney was the capital of Australia…" she said, although now that she said it aloud it didn't sound quite as right.
John shook his head. "You never listen, do you? It's Canberra."
"I really can't fathom how you knew that." Since when did John listen in class, anyway?
"Well you see, Kitten, I happen to pay attention to my country of birth when it is being displayed on the board instead of doodling little kangaroos on my paper."
And that piece of information was enough to make Kitty's eyes pop out of their sockets and her cheeks to flush - simultaneously. She hated the fact he had pointed out a fault of hers; she loved art, and doodling. And she hated that he always seemed to be right. And since when was he Australian, anyway?
I hate it when you lie
Kitty was sitting outside on a fine summer's day, reading one of her favourite books, Shakespeare's Macbeth. She was quite content sitting on the wooden bench, the twittering of birds and laughter from the younger kids playing basketball soothing her. She had just reached the part where Macbeth hallucinates about the dagger when who should come by but John, whom she shared quite a strange friendship with nowadays.
"What are you reading, Kitten?"
Kitty snapped the book shut. "Could you quit calling me that?"
"Why, is it annoying you?" John replied, crossing his arms over his chest and raising his eyebrows at her. Kitty rolled her eyes.
"If I'm so pathetic, then how come I can do this…" and he took out his lighter and opened it, igniting a small flame. He closed the lid, but the flame was still alight, a little bigger now and sitting in his palm. Kitty wouldn't admit it but she liked the way he was so gentle with the flame. She wished she had a talent like that. Phasing didn't exactly make people gasp in awe. Ah, the old 'walk through walls' trick.
"You're such a show-off."
"And you like it." He winked at her. Kitty tried to hide a blush with her book.
"So, you don't actually create your own flame, do you?" Kitty said, emerging from behind her book once she thought her face wasn't bright red.
"Yeah, sure I do," John lied, and Kitty knew it was a lie as the fire in his palm fizzled out.
"You don't have to lie to impress me," she spat out without thinking.
John's characteristic smirk grew, and Kitty placed a palm onto her forehead, grimacing.
"It's alright Kitten, you don't have to deny it. I know you have some massive crush on me."
Conceited little cheat… Kitty thought, frustrated. But then after he had left her alone she considered his words. Perhaps they were true?
I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry
As the year progressed Kitty could see that John was struggling with his work. She heard along the grapevine that if he didn't pick himself up, then he'd fail the upcoming exams. Kitty was shocked by the news, and felt a sudden urge to rectify it.
And so, after an agonising talk with John after Science he finally agreed to let her help him, as long as he got something out of the deal. Kitty had pointed out he was getting something out of it; passing his exams. John had shaken his head and told her learning wasn't fun, so there had to be something else. Kitty said she couldn't promise him anything else and that they were going to start studying right after dinner.
Later that evening Kitty turned up at his door, satchel slung over her shoulder containing a few books and her pencil case. She hoped he was ready to study some Psychology. She rapped lightly on the door, and after thirty seconds had gone by without any movement, she knocked again, this time a bit harder. Still nobody answered. Sighing, Kitty did the last thing she wanted to do; phase right into his bedroom.
When she opened her eyes, she found herself in an unsurprisingly unkempt room. Clothes were strewn across the floor; the desk that sat in the corner was covered with items ranging from scrap bits of paper to CD singles; and there was a huge lump lying on the bed. Hang on a minute – that 'lump' was John himself! By the looks of it he was snoozing and Kitty tried to ignore the fact that her heart was beating faster than average. She chastised herself for thinking he was even vaguely attractive like that, and couldn't help but laugh at the state he was in. All curled up, one hand supporting his head on the soft pillow and the other limp at his side. She tried to stifle another bout of giggles but it was too late; she had woken him up.
He blinked a few times, his eyes adjusting to the bright lights of his room. Then, as his hazel eyes came to focus on Kitty standing there, he leapt up, hitting his forehead on the bar at the head of the bed. "Shit!" he cursed, and sat up, holding a hand where the metal had hit him.
"John! I'm so sorry, are you alright?" Kitty said, still giggling a bit. She dropped her satchel on the floor and rushed over to him.
John kept his hand on his forehead, and Kitty was trying to pry it off. "Here, just let me take a look!"
"No, it doesn't matter, it-" He held his hand down harder but Kitty's fingers were still trying to get it off.
"John, let me see it! Then I can decide if it needs an icepack or not. Please, let me-"
"Kitten just let it go, I'll be fine."
Kitty gave up and sat down next to him on the bed. John didn't even move away.
"But it might not be fine," she said, sighing.
"Fine, then! Check it." John took his hand away and rolled his eyes. Kitty made a point to gasp, no matter what it looked like, just to play around. And so she did. There was just a red mark there, nothing serious, but when she gasped as if it was a giant welt John looked horrified.
"What's wrong?" he asked, concerned. Kitty played along.
"Oh my goodness, I think it needs stitches!"
John was about to fall for it, but he noticed her holding back a laugh. "You little liar!" he exclaimed as Kitty burst out laughing.
"You fell for it! Oh, you should have seen your face!" She was laughing like it was the funniest joke in the world, and John was sitting there, glaring at her albeit rather amusedly.
A minute passed and she was still laughing. John was getting rather impatient. How do you make a girl stop laughing, apart from slapping her in the face to snap out of it? The mischievous side of John kicked in at this moment, and he had to stop himself from smirking or he'd give himself away.
Kitty had stopped for a brief moment to catch her breath, a lopsided grin on her face, and it was then, with one swift movement, John leant in and placed his lips softly over her own. Kitty was shocked at first, her eyes going wide, but when it appeared John wasn't letting go, she gave in and kissed him back, her hand find his and holding onto it gently.
Then as quickly as it had happened, John broke the kiss and let go of Kitty's hand.
"Go… I… I can't do this." He had felt something happen between them but was too afraid to accept it. He couldn't accept it. Not after all the reputation he had built up.
Kitty looked at him in disbelief. So that was it? This was the 'fun' he had been talking about? Using her for a random kiss?
She got up abruptly, and stared down at him. He looked back up at her and saw tears welling in her eyes.
"Kitten…" John suddenly realised she must have misinterpreted everything.
"So that's your idea of fun, huh? Well I'm sick of your stupid games. And don't ever call me Kitten again!"
She picked up her satchel and phased out of the room, tears falling thickly down her cheeks. Oh, how she despised St. John Allerdyce.
I hate it that you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call
It had been only a month since John had left Xavier's School, but Kitty was still absorbed in the fact like it had happened only yesterday. Many questions plagued her mind; why he had left, where he was now, what he was doing. She even worried about if he was getting enough to eat and drink, and if he was being treated alright.
Kitty had been close to tears when Rogue explained to her what had happened. She knew John was impatient and disinclined to sit in the same spot for extended periods of time (she learnt that the hard way when they were often paired up for Science projects) but she never thought he would ever do something like blow up a couple of police cars here and there, and then join Magneto, of all mutants.
She remembered what he had told her as they passed in the hallway during William Stryker's attack on the school.
She stopped in her tracks. Not only because John hadn't spoken to her since that occurrence in his bedroom some weeks ago, but because he called her by her real name and not her childish nickname, Kitten, like he had always done before. Maybe he had something really important to say rather than running away like most of the other students were.
"If this is the last day I ever see you…" he hesitated. Kitty just looked at him blankly. "Then I just want you to know-"
Kitty wondered what on earth he was going on about. And before he could say anything more, they were interrupted by a horde of screaming children as they ran down the hall. Obviously someone was coming. John didn't bother finishing the sentence and started to run after the kids.
"John!" Kitty practically screamed.
John turned around and yelled, "Listen… I'll… I'll call you, okay? Go! Don't get caught!"
And he was gone.
Kitty had felt confused and worried all at the same time. How could he call her – he didn't even have a cell phone… let alone her cell phone number.
But still, he said he would call… and he never did. And Kitty resented him for it.
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all
Hate was a strong word, and it was something Kitty didn't have the capability to feel. She could dislike, of course, but she couldn't hate. And it was safe to say she didn't hate John Allerdyce at all - far from it, in fact. She wouldn't admit it to anybody, and had only recently admitted it to herself, but she didn't hate John because she loved him, more than he would ever know.
Kitty finished writing out the poem on some special paper she kept in a drawer, and folding it gently placed it in a stamped envelope. She sealed it and turned it over, examining the address on the front. She hoped it was the right one… and she didn't even care if John, or Pyro as he was known nowadays, threw it away, or burnt it; she just hoped he received it.
A couple of days later, he did. And he hated that he didn't have the courage to write a reply. After all, a man like Pyro does not often admit his feelings. He loved her too, but he had to let it go… he had to let her go. And he hated himself because of it.