Title: Peace
Author: Ana
Challenge: The Album Challenge
Challenger: morlockiness
Rating: PG
Timeline: Post-X3
Summary: While wandering the streets of NYC, Pyro runs into Wolverine and the two share a small sort of bonding.
Disclaimer: I don't own John or Kitty or Logan. I don't own X-Men. I don't own love. I don't own nobility. I don't own peace. And I don't own Blue October.
Author's Note: This story was written to "Hate Me" by Blue October--I absolutely love the song, by the way. Here are the lyrics to it.
WARNINGS: A couple foul words but nothing too bad at all.


Peace

I thought I'd never see an X-Man again—actually, I had hoped and prayed never to see an X-Man again. I'm lucky, I guess, though, because it could be worse. After all, it could be her that I'm seeing here.

But, instead, it's just Wolverine. Yeah, 'just Wolverine'—I'm sure he'd enjoy that if he knew exactly what I'm thinking. But it's not like I'm afraid of him. Besides, we're just passing by on the street. I'm walking one way; he's walking the other. I'm not even sure he notices me—God, I hope he doesn't.

And, just as we walk by each other, with only one person standing between us, I breathe a sigh of relief as he doesn't look my way. Then, like God himself decided to spite me at this very moment, he sees me.

For a moment, I hesitate, unsure of what to do, and then he pounces on me and pushes me up against the wall of the nearest building, which had been on my side of the New York sidewalk. I can't breathe… but I don't care. Frankly, I don't give a damn whether I die or not. But, then, it's like he realizes what he's doing and he pulls his hand away—but only a little bit, so that he's not choking me anymore.

"Why, if it isn't Pyro," he says, his voice calm yet feral and dangerous. I cough and sputter for a moment, and he asks in that same tone, "How are you, John?"

I shrug as much as I can, still recovering from my coughing fit. "I've been better," I reply, but my voice doesn't come out quite right, "but, then again, I've been worse, too."

"You know," he continues, like he doesn't really give a damn about what I just said (and he probably doesn't), "I always liked you."

I cough a little bit more and say, "Oh, yes, I can really tell," my voice dripping with sarcasm.

"But I never trusted you." He completely ignores my statement—probably a good thing, considering there's little hope that he would have responded well to it.

"Well, how does that work?" I ask, not really expecting an answer.

"Actually," he says, a small devious smirk growing on his face, "I've always seen myself in you."

"Uh, okay," I respond. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be honored or insulted by that. Coming from him, it could be either. "Are you going to be coming to a point soon… or am I missing something?" I snap obnoxiously after a moment.

"Why did you leave?" he asks, his voice never changing tone. You'd think he was trying to scare… but, after all, he probably is.

"Because I had to," I answer sadly. He seems slightly taken aback by my blatant response. I must admit that, over these past few months alone, I've lost quite a bit of the snide, malicious side of me. I suppose that happens whenever you leave the only place you've ever been truly happy behind—and the reason why you were so damn happy, too.

"Why did you have to leave?" His tone is different this time. He must have noticed my own tone because he easily matched his to mine.

I don't answer the question. I don't want to. I already have to block out thoughts of her, and this situation isn't helping in the least. For a while there, it was actually working, too. So much for all that.

But his voice quickly reverted back to its previous tone. "What's so damn important that you had to leave?" he snarls, pushing against my chest harder.

Heaving for a moment, I try my best to breathe, which is a little difficult in this position. I finally say, "Peace," my voice low and resigned.

"Peace?! It's been nothing but chaos since you left, kid! Kitty's—she stopped going to classes."

Not wanting him to know how much I still care about her, I say, "So? She'll get over it," as nastily as possible.

"No, she won't!" Wolverine growls. "That's just what I'm saying. Now, let's get your ass back to the mansion so you can say you're sorry and that you love her." He lets go of me, and I slide down the side of the building into an almost fetal position.

From my place on the ground, I say spitefully, "I'm not sorry. I won't go back just to say I'm sorry. I make it a habit not to lie."

He laughs cruelly at that. "Since when did that happen?"

"Since recently."

"Since you left?"

I shrug. "Before then."

He calms down a little and decides to sit down beside me. In silence, we watch hundreds of others pass us by on the street, eyeing us warily but still passing on. Then, he says, "Why did you leave, Pyro?"

"Peace," I repeat firmly. "The same reason I left the first time. I don't belong there. I'm just out of place."

"Kitty misses you. She loves you."

"I know," I say morosely. After having spent all that time with her, I definitely know. "She told me." Many times over.

"And that doesn't mean jack shit to you, does it?" he snaps, glaring over at me.

I hesitate before saying, "It does, but that's not enough."

"How can it not be enough?"

"You loved Dr. Grey, didn't you?" I say, sending him a sidelong glance to notice his reaction to my question before continuing. "If it was better for her, would you have left? Or would you have stayed there, keeping her in danger of the harm you would cause her when you got too close?"

He doesn't say anything for a while, and, then, "That's awfully noble of you, kid, but I think Kitty knows how to take care of herself."

"She does," I agree, "but, even after Alcatraz, she's still naïve. She takes for granted the fact that she thinks she can change people."

"She changed you, didn't she?"

I shrug noncommittally. "I guess, but some parts of me haven't changed. I'll always be the same jerk I always was. Not even she can change that. It's better this way. It's better for her—even if I love her. That doesn't matter if I end up hurting her."

"I never thought that St. John Allerdyce would be someone I'd know to be noble."

"I never thought so either."

"I've never known you to be so open about your feelings, kid," he says honestly as he pushes himself to his feet. "I've wasted too much time here. Goodbye, kid."

When he starts to walk away, I jump to my feet and call after him, causing him to turn around to hear what I have to say, "Tell her…"

But what would I want him to tell her? That I love her? That I miss her? That I wish I hadn't left? That it's better this way? That she should hate me? That she shouldn't think about me? That she should attend her classes like the good little X-Man she is? That she should never try to reach me? That I was the one that wanted to be alone? That it wasn't her fault? That it has nothing to do with her? Or that it has everything to do with her? That I left because I love her?

I can't, though. She's done so much for me. When I went back to the mansion, I had no one, but she befriended me again for the second time in my life and gave me a second chance. She talked to me when no one else would. She saved me from myself when I started drinking and almost started smoking. She defended me when Bobby was being an asshole. She got others to give me a chance when they had absolutely no reason to trust me in the least. She convinced the teachers to let me keep my lighter and attend classes like just another student at the school. She laughed with me. She cried with me. And, eventually, she loved me.

With everything she's ever done for me, how could I possibly send her my love through a messenger? How could I possibly even remind her of my very existence? If she doesn't hate me yet, she will soon, and that's exactly how it needs to be. She needs to remember that I'm the one that broke her heart—but she absolutely cannot know that I did it because I was afraid that I really would break it later on if I stayed anywhere near her. She can't know that I really do love her. She needs to think that I lied to her all that time. She needs to stay away from me. All I could possibly bring her is pain. I've already done that enough. I don't need to give her any more.

Now all I want is for her to smile again. I can tell from what he says that she hasn't smiled once since I left, but she will eventually. It'll take time, but I just want her to be happy. It's just better this way.

"Yeah, kid?" he asks concernedly.

I shake my head in determination. "Nothing. Don't tell her that you even saw me," I reply, my face stern and cold.

Wolverine seems to understand. He smiles almost bitterly at me and says, "You got it, kid."