Title: Down In Flames
Author: Anatui
Challenge: Challenge 005
Challenger: hazycrazy
Rating: PG-13
Timeline: Pre-X2
Summary: It's hot outside and Kitty can't stand it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kitty, John, Bobby, Rogue, or Jubilee. I don't own X-Men. And I certainly don't own Dominos or their pizza.
Author's Note: This is my first Kyro fanfic, but I've greatly enjoyed all other Kyros that I've read. I took this challenge to help get myself started into the X-Men fanfiction category.
WARNINGS: A little bit of foul language.

Down In Flames

Oh my God. It's so hot. Why is it so hot here? And humid—that's the worst part. I can handle heat just fine, but, when I can't breathe with the air so thick, it's different. I can seriously see a haze along the horizon from all the steam and the heat. Before this summer, I never really thought it possible to have the day so hot and humid, but it is now and I wish I had never stepped outside.

But why did I walk out here anyway? I wouldn't have done that in my right mind, would I? In any way, I'm here—and I do hate it—but I have to be here because Jubilee and Rogue had to go and order pizza. Why? I don't remember, but, whatever the reason was, I'm sure I don't find it as credible as I did five minutes ago.

Why did school have to start so early this year, anyway? Sure, it's August and that's when it usually starts, but it's the beginning of August right now and not the end. I'm just so glad that it's a Saturday and there're no classes right now. I really don't think I'd be able to handle any.

Just as I'm about to give up on that stupid pizza, the sliding glass door behind me opens and out walks John. Of course! Out of everyone in the entire school, John just so happens to be the one to walk outside—just to bug me, probably. He glances around the small patio, allowing his gaze to linger on me for a moment, which causes me to turn away until he says, "Fucking hot." Hmm, an interesting observation from him, considering he's not sweating and probably wouldn't be even if he had been out here as long as I have.

I purse my lips at that, glancing over my shoulder at him and then looking back toward the steamy skies to my front, just before I say, "I do hope you're talking about the weather, John," catching his attention again.

He doesn't respond to my statement. He does shrug, though, and take several steps forward and out from under the patio's small awning under which I'm standing. What a weirdo. All right, so I know he can handle the heat—I do envy him for that—but it doesn't just seem like he can handle it. It's like he actually enjoys it. I guess that just has to do with his powers. It doesn't really matter to me, but I'll never understand how he can enjoy this weather.

Actually, to tell the truth, as he passes me and moves on toward the sun, I can feel the temperature rise. God, he really wants to roast me, doesn't he? Couldn't he tone it down just a little bit? Couldn't he not come anywhere near me? Or is it just to make me suffer? Eh, probably.

We stand in silence. I could say that I at least tried to make conversation, but that'd be lying. And I make it a habit not to lie. Besides, I doubt it'd have worked very well even if I had tried… on second thought, especially if I had tried. He has this little tendency that I hate: doing practically anything just to make me angry. I'm sure that he would have done anything to make my attempts at conversation fail just to see my reaction.

I don't even know why he's out here, anyway?! He's not doing anything. It's like he just came out here because he knew I was here and felt like annoying me. Probably true, too, knowing him like I do.

And so here we are… just standing here… not talking… and I'm sweating like a pig—well, not really. If either of us were sweating like a pig, it'd be John. After all, pigs don't sweat and, apparently, neither does John. Him and his stupid fiery abilities.

With adamant frustration, I crane my neck to see if the guy with the pizza has arrived yet. Nope. No one in sight. No cars coming up in the drive. No one but me and John. …Oh, God, I'm so screwed. Why did it have to be John to come out here? The world hates me, I swear… or at least the pizza guy does. He was supposed to be here five minutes ago! He must have had car trouble or something. Or else he really does hate me. Sure, I don't know him and I've probably never met him, but he can still hate me. Sticking me out here with John. Sweating. In the damn heat. Stupid pizza!

All right, I know that the heat of summers usually isn't that bad. It's just that I've always been more a winter person. It's cool and refreshing and reminds me of ice-skating back home. The heat has always aggravated me, but I do have to admit that it's been more so since I met John. No matter what season it is, he always makes things hotter and the only counteraction I've found is spending time with Bobby.

My patience comes to an end just as I see a small, old, beaten-up vehicle drive onto the premises with a Dominos sign on the top. I sigh in relief and glance down at the crumpled bills in my hand, damp from my sweat. When he stops the car right in front of the patio, he gets out as I make my way toward him. He apologizes for being late (something about the traffic—yeah, like I haven't heard that before!), tells me the charge, which I easily hand over, and gives me the pizza box. I quickly check inside to make sure they got the order correct, which they did, and he returns to his vehicle and drives away. An easy task, but it would have been more fun if it hadn't been so hot.

With a short glance at John, who's still just standing there and soaking up the sun, I slip into the building, not bothering to open the door and just easily phasing through. I easily relish the chill of the air conditioning and the fact that my sweating will finally be subdued. I'll be able to get a drink, take a cold shower, and sleep for a long time. Ooh, that sounds so nice. But first I have to get this stupid Hawaiian pizza to Jubilee and Rogue before Jubilee starts coming after me and screaming.

When I reach the kitchen, Jubilee and Rogue are waiting for me. They both look up as I enter. While Rogue just sends me a small, probably thankful smile, Jubilee jumps to her feet and cries, "Where have you been? You were supposed to be here, like, an hour ago!" Can't she give me a break? Not even just this once?

I laugh at her words—not the fun, happy laugh, but the more I-hate-you-people-right-now-so-don't-talk-to-me-like-that laugh—and say, "The pizza just got here. It's not my fault the traffic was bad." I toss the pizza box onto the counter between the two girls, sitting across from each other, and move toward the refrigerator, where I grab myself a Root Beer. I watch them silently, sipping at my drink, as they… attack and devour the pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza.

I sit down next to Jubilee, clutching my soda can protectively, just as Bobby walks inside. He glances over to the three of us and sits down across from me beside his girlfriend, Rogue. He eyes me quite cautiously, probably taking in my disgusting appearance, and says with a small smile, "Spending time with Pyro again?"

All right, I have to admit I'm quite taken aback from that. Where did that come from? When have I ever spent time with John when I didn't have to? …Well, other than just now while waiting for the pizza. But that was a sort-of-have-to—not a really-have-to, but a sort-of-have-to. Bobby should know that more than anyone.

At that, Jubilee looks up, and there's a sparkle in her eyes. God no. She looks like she's about to faint. Now I'm screwed—really screwed. Bobby's going to die, but I'm still screwed.

Before she can say anything, I nearly shout at Bobby, "You spend five minutes out in that heat! You'd be melted in two!"

Jubilee gasps excitedly at that. "She doesn't deny it!"

I groan. "Why would I deny it when there's nothing to deny? God, Jubes, don't start on that again."

As I take another long gulp of Root Beer, I hear Rogue laugh and then say, "'Again'? You mean, this has happened before?"

Bobby shifts in his seat nervously, reaches out to take a piece of pizza, and mouths to me, "Sorry." All right, I know he didn't mean any harm—well, he didn't mean to get Jubilee all excited as he was just kidding around with me as he's prone to do—but that doesn't mean I'll forgive him so easily. I really shouldn't expect any less of him, though. Bobby's like a brother to me.

"Yes," exclaims Jubilee. "Oh, she is in denial!"

And then John walks in, pausing at the door to take in the scene. "Who's in denial?" he asks, not caring and yet curious as the same time. He raises an eyebrow at me for God only knows what and apparently decides to take the seat next to me instead of the other open one beside Bobby, which elicits an odd grin from Jubilee and an inner groan from inside my head—not because he's a bad person but because he has this warmth that emanates from him like a damn heater.

"Kitty is," answers Rogue as if it doesn't matter… and, quite frankly, it doesn't.

John grunts at that and steals the last piece of pizza before either girl can grab it, obviously not caring in the least since he doesn't ask what I'm in denial about. That's good. Jubilee might actually tell him, so I'm thankful that he doesn't ask.

So, here we are… sitting down, this time… with me sweating again because he has trouble with keeping his temperature at the normal level… and it's just plain damn hot. Not exactly my opinion of a good time, but it's not like I really have a choice in the matter.

With the added heat to the room, my thirst grows and I down the rest of my soda quite quickly. And, then, Jubilee starts to giggle again. Great, just great. I glare at her, trying to get her to stop laughing, but it doesn't work, so I settle for touching her and WHAM! She falls through her chair to the floor, but, once there, all she does is continue to laugh. What is wrong with this girl?! What could there possibly be to giggle about?

Then, I stand up to throw away my empty can and pull out another. I hesitate after closing the fridge and look over at my group of friends. I'm not sure if I want to go back to them or not, so I just stand here, catching the attention of Bobby. "You all right, Kitty?" he asks, furrowing his brow at me.

I open my mouth to respond but John beats me to it. "No, she's just standing there because she was suddenly paralyzed," he says with that cocky sarcasm of his as he stuffs the last bite of pizza crust and a slice of pineapple in his mouth.

Jubilee finally hoists herself up and returns to her chair. And she just continues our conversation from before John entered the kitchen. "I don't know why you're in denial, Kitty. It's not like it's a bad thing. He's hot, and he so obviously likes you."

I almost laugh at her audacity. "I'm sure he wouldn't agree with that if he knew what you were saying," I reply as I relax and open my second can. The soda's nice and cold on my throat—which is really good because warm Root Beer is just plain disgusting.

"How do you know that?" she asks half-sadly.

"Jubes, I know him. Even if it is true, which it isn't, he wouldn't admit it." I lean back against the fridge, not wanting to return to my seat nor to leave. "Besides, it's not like I like him, anyway."

She pouts. "You just like ruining my fun, don't you?" I'm not sure if I'm supposed to answer that, but I really don't have one so I don't respond.

John clears his throat, pushes his chair out, and stands up. "Well, you kids have fun now," he says jokingly and leaves the kitchen.

Once he's gone, I say pointedly to Jubilee, pushing myself away from the refrigerator to stand on my own two feet properly, "See, it obviously doesn't matter to him who I do or do not like, so he doesn't like me." I take a sip of my Root Beer determinedly.

Bobby laughs at that and replies, "Didn't you just say before that, even if it is true, he wouldn't admit it? Wouldn't any interest in your love life be a little like admitting it?"

"Bobby!" I groan, slamming my half empty soda can down on the counter. "Fine, choose Jubes's side." And, frustrated, I walk out to clear my head and take that cold shower I've been craving for the last ten minutes.

I walk firmly and proudly, not really looking where I'm going but just knowing the way. There aren't that many people walking around right now, anyway. Most students are sleeping or doing homework (I should probably be doing that, actually) or enjoying their time in the lounge… you know, generally not moving very much. So I'm quite surprised when I walk right into someone—someone extremely warm—but I don't phase through them, and I'm not quite sure why.

I look up into the eyes of my fellow student and have to hold back a laugh at the irony of running into John—literally. Neither of us says anything, and we just stare into each other's eyes. Interesting really. I never thought I'd ever be this close to him, especially when he's always so distant. He's so much warmer this close. And I feel hot all over because of it.

His eyes are so different up close, too. They had always appeared to me to be a simple fiery brown, but they aren't. They're more than that. They're dark and mysterious. They're warm and yet so cold at the same time. They're so different, so strange, so foreign. And they're beautiful. "I like your eyes…" I say quietly without really meaning to speak at all.

"What?" he says, cocking an eyebrow at me.

I flush at that, realizing what I said. "Your eyes," I add a bit louder. "I like them. They're nice." Might as well go down completely in flames if I'm going to crash at all.

"Uh, okay," he replies uncertainly. "'Nice'?"

"Sure," I confirm, biting my bottom lip nervously. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to not watch where I was walking. But it's too late for that now. "Well, I, uh, got to go take a shower," and I slowly inch away from him to carry on with my journey toward my dorm room.

But, just as I'm almost home free, he turns to face me and says, "Kitty," catching my attention and causing me to turn back to him, "I like your eyes, too." Hmm, maybe going down in flames isn't that bad. I might not necessarily be crashing, anyway.