Disclaimer: They aren't mine. Sue me for no reason, and I'll sic
Dom, Maddie and Betsy on you. The song is Dido's "Here With Me"

Notes: Well, it's happened. Other fic has been superseded to
write more in the depressing little world I created/came into
being with Kate's Alley.

R, for subject matter.

Dedication: to Lynxie and Sparks. You guys keep me sane. ;}

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

i::I didn't hear you leave, I wonder how am I still here::/i

She moved restlessly around the apartment, the moonlight only
registering if she stepped into it. He had gone. Well, at least
he'd left her the means to keep the pain away.

The water was taking forever to boil. Forever was too long. She
needed relief, now. Pain flickered on the edge of her dulled
perceptions. Soon, it would blossom and then all she would do
was curl around a couch cushion. Too weary to cry, too awake to
find sleep.

i::And I don't want to move a thing, it might change my memory::/i

She woke up in the shower, her underwear and t-shirt soaked with
sweat. A quick twist sent water cascading down onto her body and
she whimpered. One of the needles had accidentally ripped
through more than she'd wanted. Clumsy of her.

Blood dripped down from the long scratch, and she watched it
swirl down the drain. It was pretty, really. Like his painting
had been. All colours and swirl, and emotion.

i::Oh I am what I am, I'll do what I want, but I can't hide::/i

That last day, standing there in New York, watching the demons.
Sometimes it came back to her in her dreams. People screaming,
running, and none of them able to do anything. And then Sinister
arrived and ripped the heart from X-Factor. The survivors had
tried so hard. But even with their help, Scott had slipped away,
leaving nothing but a shell.

Nothing they could do. And so they went their seperate ways. She
became his model, and in return, he gave her money.

i::I won't go, I won't sleep, I can't breathe, until you're
resting here with me::/i

She missed him. Even with all that had gone before, she missed
him. He was warm and gentle, compassionate and caring. Even with
the scars Maddie had given him, he was willing to help her. To
love her.

i::I won't leave, I can't hide, I cannot be, until you're resting
here with me::/i

The painting had been his idea, surprisingly. He used to watch
Piotr do it, back when the young Russian was still around. It
was after Kitty, Kurt and Piotr disappeared that he started. He
threw himself into it with a furious kind of passion. As if only
through what came out on the canvas could he be calm.

Abstracts, at first. Then faces, hands, feet, legs. One had been
nothing but interlocking middle fingers. Reds and blues and
greens. Sometimes yellow. And always black, for shadow. For

::I don't want to call my friends, Oh they might wake me from
this dream::

Alison called, sometimes. Left messages on the machine. Call me,
she'd say. Betsy erased them after shooting up for the day.
Call. Right. Not an option.

Sometimes, she wondered how Alison could stay so cheerful. The
ex-disco singer was barely hanging on in her tiny apartment in
Greenwhich. But she was always so happy. Betsy didn't even think
she was doing anything illegal. Maybe it was that drug, Prozac.
Or something.

::And I can't leave this bed, risk forgetting all that's been::

Days came when she couldn't move. Would lay in bed and stare at
the wall. There were times it was the floor, and she'd stay
there, watching the tiny drifts of dust. And trying to work
around the raging pain in her chest.

It wasn't real pain. The doctors, when she'd gone to them,
couldn't find a reason for it. But she knew. Her heart had
shattered, that day in Dallas. Because, for a split second,
she'd seen what should happen. And it hadn't.

::Oh I am what I am, I'll do what I want, but I can't hide::

They had been meant to live. To grow and become something great.
Save the world? All in a day's work. Go out and laugh with
friends? They did it every night.

But the golden future was slashed away in an instant. And terror
and pain and death reigned instead.

::I won't go, I won't sleep, I can't breathe, until you're
resting here with me::

Getting rid of the pain, the only way she knew how, Betsy sighed
and slowly sank onto the couch. The room around her spiralled
slightly, and then steadied.

It was like one of his first paintings. All swirly and full of
pain, suddenly. Pain. Pain that shouldn't be there. She cried
softly, tears forming. With an effort, she stood and staggered
into the kitchen, blindly searching for something, anything that
would end the pain. Stop the pain.

::I won't leave, I can't hide, I cannot be, until you're resting
here with me::


The voice penetrated the fog of her mind, and she stared at him.
Pain was still there, a happy friend as it pounded through her
brain. "Alex."

"Give me the knife. Please." He held out a hand.

With a start, she looked at the knife in her hand and whimpered,
"It won't stop, Alex."


"It never stops. I wake up with it, I go to the fucking loo with
it, I fall into bed at night with it. And it never. Stops." She
giggled, then, "And red is such a good colour for me, don't you

"Betsy..." He reached out and brushed a strand of purple hair
off her face, "Give me the knife."

"But you can't promise that it will stop, can you? I know you
can't." A tear tracked down her face, "It should have been so
beautiful, Alex. We would have been heroes."

"We still can."

"With what, a few scattered people who all have chronic pain,
and don't remember even the alphabet?"

"Please. Don't end it like this, Betsy."

"You're right." A short laugh escaped her, "Oh, Alex, you're
right. This is the wong way to end it." With a violent twist,
she turned and threw the knife across the room. It went through
the small kitchen window, shattering it. "Oops."

She giggled, then, the giggle turning ugly as she coughed and
then began to sob. "It's gone Alex. All gone."

He caught her as she began to sag, pulling her into his arms and
knelt on the floor. "It's okay, it's going to be okay." His
hands rubbed her back gently.

And she cried. For real, this time. It had been so long since
she had, that she'd almost forgotten how.

::Oh I am what I am, I'll do what I want, but I can't hide
I won't go, I won't sleep, I can't breathe, until you're resting
here with me
I won't leave, I can't hide, I cannot be, until you're resting
here with me::