The Warrior with No Name
By the Odd Little Turtle Named Froggie
(Characters who belong to Marvel are obviously not mine. I'm just playing with them. Zilya, David and his mother were invented for this story by yours truly. She-Ra and the Princess of Power belong to whomever they belong to and are only used for reference.
This chapter has been giving me grief for quite some time. It probably would not have gotten written in this tone—or possibly at all—had Darkbat not complained about the sexual tension in my rough draft. Thank you for your insight on the other peculiarities as well, DB.
Thank you, everyone, for reading, your patience and your reviews.
As always, input is welcome and appreciated.
I feel like I've known Peter forever. I haven't felt this…connected with anyone since Doug. That's not to say that I don't…didn't love Pete. He was a great man. He was strong, compassionate, trustworthy and competent. But, you see, I had to warm up to Pete. Pete had entrenched himself in so many layers trying to hide himself from the world, and possibly even himself, that he never really showed anyone who he really was. Not even to me.
Peter's heart is on his sleeve.
Piotr blinked awake, the last vestiges of the dreamscape billowing away like smoke in the wind. He still vaguely felt the touch of Kitty's lips against his, the taste of her tongue in his mouth, the softness of her hair against his fingers. A wave of emotions raged within him. Piotr didn't know if he should feel relieved or disappointed, lonely or angry. Trapped in his own mind with the image of Zilya haunting him, the experience would have been unbearable had it not been for Kitty. Katya. He and Kitty had been locked in a long, soul-searching kiss when his body had woken up. It was the thought of being able to hold her freely, without reservation, without consequence, that made his heart turn in disappointment, even as he wondered if her body felt as supple in real life as it had in the dream.
It almost felt as though he were returning home from a long vacation and had to resume work that afternoon.
Three suns radiated the strange environment with their varying degrees of light, gold, red and dull white. Startled by the revelation, he awakened fully, adrenaline pumping into his veins. This was not home. This was not the dreamscape he had just been in. The trees of the forest were unlike anything he had ever seen or even imagined seeing. They were thin, like palm trees, but the top branches reminded Piotr of the white, seeded clocks of dandelions, though the needle-like leaves were light green instead of white. The striped brown and green bark flaked like river birch trees, the two-tone bark littering the ground from around where the trees sprouted from the dark brown, ruddy, and lavender underbrush.
The artist in him automatically began color blending combinations, and he knew instinctively that he would end up painting this strange forest with its green and brown striped trees and green poufs of needled leaves. He would need yellow ochre, burnt sienna, umber and cobalt blue. Piotr shook his head. Now was not the time to be thinking about painting. Now was the time to think about how to handle the situation as he should have done in the other dreamscape. Yes, he would definitely ask Scott and Emma to rejoin the team. He, at the very least, needed the training.
The ground on which he lay was spongy and a little moist on his exposed skin. Looking down at his attire, he found that was only in shredded jeans, what he had been forced to wear after transforming in the parking garage when Illyana had reacquainted herself after aging. He surmised, as he gazed up at the trees' strange spherical tops, that that meant he was either in his sister's Limbo or he was in another dream sequence, but he suspected the former over the latter. The area smelled of cherry blossoms, dead wood, decay and something else altogether unpleasant.
Wondering in which direction he should go to find his teammates and his sister, he leaned up, but a sudden wave of vertigo hit him and he was forced to lay his head back down. He put a calloused hand to his head, to stop the world from spinning.
Piotr turned his head sharply at the voice and saw Kitty. He watched her face blur and then split into two identical images before they sprang back together to form Kitty's face again. He blinked a few times before zeroing back on her, focusing his gaze, meeting her eyes.
Kitty was there. She was laying beside him, watching him, curiosity shining brightly in her odd-colored eyes, her head pillowed on a red cluster of ferns. Flecks of gold and green reflected under the light of the three suns as she smiled at him. Her hair was messy, picking up glints of bronze and auburn; some of her ringlets had fallen from the ring of twists while others had stayed. A flush came unbidden to Piotr's face as he remembered again the soft lines of her body against him, the moist, lushness of her mouth on his, the scent of lavender of her shampoo.
"Are we awake yet?" he asked, his lips quirking into a smile of relief and embarrassment. Kitty was safe. She was here—wherever here was. Instant regret filled him. He should have behaved himself before. Hell, they were in danger, probably still were and he couldn't get his mind off her.
An amusing little blush shadowed across her cheeks and nose as she tilted her head and tried to sit up. Piotr's smile faded and a cold, congested expression settled on his face, his dark brows drawing together, the blue of his eyes clouding. Kitty was bound with a rope and fastened in a straight jacket. Fury almost choked him as he sat upright. Ignoring the dizziness he all but grunted his malcontent with the present situation. When he got his hands on David, Piotr's ex-best friend was going to be in a world of hurt. His thoughts cut back to the white sheet of paper and the harsh black letters. Choose. His scowl deepened. Choose? He had no choices what so ever. Illyana had gone through ten years of her life and had come back to save them. To save Kitty. What kind of man was he, if he couldn't save those that he loved?
What good was he?
This is my fault, he thought angrily. David was trying to get back at me for—for what? He voiced his guilt as he leaned over and snapped the rope. His chest was tight and burning. He sucked in air trying to calm himself.
"Peter," she told him gently, moving uncomfortably in her restraints, "there's no point in placing blame on yourself. If David had focused his attention on someone else, it would only be David's focus, not yours. We can control our destiny by controlling our own actions, not the actions of others." She looked at him. "But I got dibs on the first punch." She frowned mightily as Piotr tinkered with the buckles at the back of the straight jacket. "I told you he put me in a straight jacket." She sounded breathless with rage.
"You get the first punch," Piotr said quietly, his flesh sliding into organic steel. "I will kill him."
Kitty's green- and gold-spoked brown eyes widened a fraction in wonder when he impatiently tore through her bonds as if they were paper revealing the spaghetti-strapped halter top. She shrugged away what little remained of the tough material, flicking it with her sculpted nails.
"Wow," she breathed. Her breathlessness had nothing to do with anger this time. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. His eyes, his skin, his hair—everything was coated in steel. The metal of his skin glinted in the light of the strange suns, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination as he was only clad in extremely torn jeans. Wanting to know the comfort of his powerful arms and if he was warm or cold to the touch, Kitty had to fight her overwhelming need to be closer to him. She knew a moment of realization as she studied him. "Now, I know why you were given the codename Colossus."
He looked at her as though seeing her for the first time since changing, the strangeness of his steel-glazed eyes entrancing her. "You knew?" Even his voice had changed. It wasn't hollow or metallic, but deeper with more resonance. Her stomach fluttered as did her heart.
"Just figured it out," she told him with a shake of her head. "Your pictures are in several places at the mansion, but only when you look like this. Not the…the flesh and blood form."
He ducked his head, and then stood, reaching down and lifting her to her feet. She marveled up at him as he towered above her. He had to be at least seven feet and some inches tall.
"You are safe now, Katya" he told her. She stared wordlessly at him, her heart pounding. Kitty didn't think there was ever a time in her life she had felt safer. It excited and frightened her all in the same instant. Flashes of the dreamscape flickered across her mind's eye, the way he had pulled her roughly to him, how persuasive his lips over hers, the heady feeling of euphoria as he kissed her to senselessness. Even there she had felt safe.
"I did not hurt you, did I?" he questioned fearfully as though just realizing his brute strength. "I got impatient with the buckles."
Kitty shook her head, placing a small hand over his, amazed at the cool smoothness of his steel skin and the sheer size of him. "You couldn't hurt me if you tried, Bear King." She winked at him. "I can walk right through you, remember?"
He smiled and her heart turned over. Even his teeth were silvery metal.
"This is the strangest place I've ever been in," Kitty commented as she took in the surroundings. "I feel like I should be in tights and leotard."
He gazed around, nodding, trying to picture Kitty in tights and leotard but ended up picturing her in a teddy instead. "'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy'?" he asked, trying to get the racy image out of his head. In an instant he was thankful for his mutant power unlike he had never been. That image would have gone straight to his groin. He had no bodily responses in his steel form.
"Nah, I was thinking more of The Princess of Power," she told him with a giggle. "I need a magic broad sword, a Pegasus, and a rebel army."
An indistinct female voice yelled nearby, and Kitty and Piotr immediately responded by running in the direction it came from. The shriek that followed it spurned them on, and Piotr was the first to clear the strange striped trees. What awaited him frightened him even in his changeform, and he stopped in his tracks, his bare feet digging great grooves in the white sand of the lake's beach. The metal of his face contorted in shock even as Kitty closed the distance between them and stood beside him. Piotr grasped her by the hand and pulled her behind a tall clump of brown and purple grasses, shielding her with his body.
David Brogan, the man who had kidnapped his sister and his friend and forced Piotr to watch his dead daughter, cowered as a blonde red-skinned, cloven-hoofed woman spoke in hisses to what appeared to be N'Garai demons. Piotr had not remembered them being so large.
But the N'Garai were trapped in…
His mind went numb with the possibilities and, even in his changeform, he felt his body react to the shock. Though his bodily functions were in stasis while armored, the automatic response to swallow worked his throat anyway.
Kitty thought that they were perhaps still dreaming and whispered as much to him, but he shook his head. "Those are N'Garai, Katya," he whispered back in certainty, his eyes never wavering from the spectacle before them. "This is no dream. We are in Limbo. We've got to find Illyana and get the hell out of here."
Kitty opened her mouth to protest, but studied the vicious-looking, insect-like demons closer. They were much bigger than she remembered. When she was thirteen, she had blown up the hanger trying to kill one—one that was much, much smaller than the two before them—before she had remembered Doug's talisman. Dr. Strange had given the talisman to Doug on one of their many magical adventures. But these—these were huge demons.
A baby? She thought in horror. I was almost killed by a baby?
The demon turned to her minions and hissed and tweeted at them. They hissed and clicked in return. Her thick, red-skinned tattooed tail slapped the ground scattering sand. It twitched with a life of its own.
Kitty eyed the she-beast, the N'Garai and David as she chewed her lip. Stealing a look at Piotr, she inquired, "We're gonna have to save him, aren't we."
He looked at her sharply. She must be joking, he thought, though the look on her face told him otherwise the moment the thought flickered to the forefront of his mind. He couldn't sigh, but he did shrug his shoulders.
"I would prefer they finish him off," he told her glumly.
She stirred uneasily. "So, what, we just wait for her to chop off his head? It shouldn't matter what he's done. I'm not going to stand by and let someone get killed."
He shrugged again. "And what of Emma, Katya?" he wondered aloud. The thunderous expression on her face told him he was either right or in deep trouble. It was probably both. "Look. Neither one of us stands a chance against the N'Garai. Even if you did defeat one when you were thirteen. And we have no idea what kind of sorcery the woman is capable of."
She was uncomfortable with the fact that he'd spoken the truth, but he was right. Logic trumped emotional response. They had no magic and the demonic woman in front them seemed to be their leader.
The woman raised her sword, the metal of her arm glinting in the suns radiance, and David, limpid brown eyes widened with fear, cowered further, shaking his head pathetically. "You took me and my friend and used us against my brother, David," she yelled. Both Piotr's jaw dropped and Kitty gasped, horror etched across both man and woman's faces. The beast in front of them was Illyana. "For that you will be punished!"
Piotr stood quickly, his mind racing. "N'Garai Demons?" he questioned almost stupidly. Illyana did not complete the blow, just barely able to curtail her swing. She whirled around, her expression a mask of shock and sorrow. His sister's once beautiful face now something that he nearly didn't recognize.
"Illyana?" He became flesh and blood immediately, staring at his sister, his Little Snowflake, horrorstruck. This was too much for him to bear. "What…" His blue eyes darted from her horned head down to her cloven-hoofed feet, his gaze lingering on her armor-incased arm, sword, the flaxen fur of her legs, and the black lightning tattoos that covered almost every inch of her reddened skin. "What has happened to you?"
The demons hissed at him moving forward menacingly and she signaled them to halt giving a hiss of her own. They slithered back but continued to watch as the scene played out.
"This—this is what I…" She looked at her hoofed feet, took a deep breath and met his gaze again. "I defeated the Overlord. I took his place." She sheathed her sword and hugged herself. "Please don't hate me, Piotr," she begged, tears welling in her golden eyes.
Piotr swallowed. His sister was a demon. How could he have let this happen to her? He had not been able to save his daughter and now his sister was...she was... Snowflake... Piotr Nikoleivitch Rasputin, the former X-man known as Colossus, clenched his fists, glaring at David, Piotr's eyes blue stones of hatred.
Kitty approached cautiously, very aware of the acid-drooling N'Garai watch their every move. Piotr and Illyana seemed to be oblivious to them, but David, who trembled on the ground, was not. The strong odor of urine confirmed her first impressions of the man. He was nothing but a coward. Still angry, Kitty wanted nothing more than to hurt him, but chose not to make any sudden movements lest the N'Garai decide they needed a Kitty snack.
Her eyes darted around just in time to see Logan, Spiderman, a red-head—Had Parker and MJ made up…again? She wondered—and the Fantastic Four exit the strange forest. She turned attention back to the N'Garai, to David and then to the murderous glare on Piotr's face.
Sensing Piotr's internal struggle, Kitty took a step forward, but was too late; the Bear King would have no mercy. He screamed incoherently and lunged for David, striking his former friend with a blow so hard it lifted the man and carried him a few feet further than he'd been crouched. Kitty winced, both appalled and pleased.
"No, Peter!" David cried, even as he struggled to crabwalk his way backwards away from Piotr, his nose clearly broken, "No! No! No!"
Piotr punched him, his promise of letting Kitty get in the first punch broken in his anger. Kitty, however, said nothing. Although her anger was just as justifiable for David using her son against her in such a horrific way, she had not been close to the man as Piotr had. She was mildly surprised that Piotr had not assumed his metal form yet.
"You. Had. No. Right!" Piotr punctuated each word with a fist to David's face and stomach. His ex-friend could do little to defend himself. "You took my sister! You took my friend! You tortured me with my daughter's image! Did you not think I would get angry?" David's face was bloody and swollen, several ribs cracked, welts rose on his arms from trying to protect himself against Piotr's fury, but Piotr Rasputin was relentless. The others closed in around him even as he continued his assault, even as David begged for his life. "Did you think I would forgive you? Did you think you were safe because of your mutant powers?"
Spiderman grabbed the big man, tugging him with all his might. "Peter, you gotta stop, man." Spiderman's strength barely held Piotr's in check as Piotr struggled to get free, to harm the man whom he once trusted.
"David!" Amelia was suddenly there, throwing herself over her husband, looking up at Piotr with pleading eyes.
"Why?" He screamed, ignoring the woman. "Why did you do this? What have I ever done to you but call you friend?"
David's voice was raspy and his breathing labored. "You took everything." And he passed out.
(Input welcome. I can safely say "Only two chapters and epilogue left to go.")
Hey, look! Colossus can't "Blooorrch." He doesn't have bodily functions while armored. ;p