Sleep, Don't Weep

PART THREE

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Sleep, don't weep, my sweet love
My face it's all wet 'cause my day was rough

"John–– Stay."

Her words are a dagger, stabbing down inside him, into his heart, and all that red stuff comes rushing out. It's all over his hands and the floor and there is so much of it and he's getting weak.

John is frightened.

Pyro ties the tourniquet. Right over left and under and pull. It stops the bleeding, but it still hurts. It still hurts.

Light filters in the through the gaps in the curtains, colourless and new. Elysium is waiting.

"Stay."

Laughter bubbles up from somewhere. "Here?" Pyro taunts. He doesn't even look at her. The floor is much more interesting. The red stuff glows in the white light. "With the X-Men? Why the fuck would I want to do that?"

He turns on her.

She's clutches her hands tight, her fingers worrying. She's bleeding too. Kitty sucks in a section of her lip and releases it.

"Because I'm here too."

"Yeah. And?"

A tiny frown creases her forehead. "And?"

Pyro pulls tight on the tourniquet, damming the flow, damning him. He takes a step towards the window. Backwards, sneering. Elysium is calling.

"And," he confirms. "And what, Kitten?"

She stares at him. In disbelief. "And … and … Stay. Please."

The conversation continues, unlimited by petty words. The mouth is a puppet of the brain, but the eyes belong to the heart, to the soul. The heart can say please, can plead, without blushing. It's already red.

Will you not stay? she asks.

He takes another step.

Make me

"Fine," she gives up. "Fine, go. Again. I knew you would."

John shakes his head but his feet keep moving. Is it survival instinct? The fact that he knows something of him will be gone, forever, should he stay tonight.

Pyro is frightened now. He pulls tighter. Another step. Dead man walking.

Make me, Kitty, make me stay

Kitty shakes her head, laughing to herself, the laugh of the stupid girl who gave the bad boy a second chance and watch him leave it behind on the bedside table with the condom wrappers and the cigarette stubs and her heart. She grips her sides, shaking and laughing, and laughing and shaking.

"Just go already!" she yells, jack-knifing up, suddenly so very fierce. "Just go. Or stay. Or whatever … Just don't stand there! Don't look at me like that. Don't. Because – because – because …"

For the love of Christ, Kitty, make me stay

John pulls her heart out of his jacket pocket. Maybe he left it behind. Maybe he went back for it, some night, when she wasn't looking. When she was asleep.

"Because?" There is no emotion in his voice. All his emotion is spent. It's all over the floor, red, and fading in the golden light. Light that pours in the window, not light that pours out. Elysium is fading. "Because?"

Kitty shrugs. "Because. Because, because, because, because. Stupid fucking word. There's always a reason with because. Don't eat too many candy because your teeth will rot. Don't leave the lights on in the bathroom because it wastes electricity. Don't throw your heart away because you're gonna get it thrown right back at you, twice as hard, and you're going to miss it, and it's going to fall and hit the ground and break into a million pieces. God never said because. He just said, Thou shalt not kill. Take it or leave it, guys. Don't ask questions, I'm God."

She crosses the room, throws back the curtains and it's all yellow. Kitty stands on tiptoe and reaches for the window. She bangs it shut. Shockwaves ripple through John. He's trapped.

But he was trapped anyway.

She turns away from the window, leaning against it, bracing herself. For what? For him? Chin up, arms folded, knees bent, she's waiting for him to come throw her aside. "Well, maybe I want to be God, okay? Maybe, just for one day, I want to say something I don't need a reason for. Maybe I want to eat candy and leave the bathroom light on and be in love with whoever I want! And if you don't like it, well that's too bad. Sucks to be you. And maybe, maybe I just want to say stay. Maybe there's no because, I don't know. What does it matter? I could give you a hundred reasons and you still wouldn't." Her chin sinks down. Now that the words are gone there's nothing left to hold it up.

The sun kisses her head, framing her in light. She looks like a burning angel, all red at the edges. She even has a halo. She has a halo. Elysium is here.

John catches her chin with a finger, tipping it up. "Give me a reason," he says. Asks. Pleads. "Give me one reason."

"Because I lied," Kitty whispers.

"I do it all the time," he says.

A watery smile fills her face. "When?"

John pauses to think. "When I was five, I lied to my mother. Told her the cat ate it."

"Ate what?"

"I can't remember," he confesses, an apologetic grin. "Something important, I think. I was five. It was a long time ago."

"I lied two minutes ago," Kitty murmurs into his shoulders. He's holding her. When did that happened? How could he not have noticed? Something that feels like this … And that's when John realises this is why you don't notice breathing or your cells dividing or blinking or your heart beating. As a child he always wondered, this thing, it keeps me alive, how come I don't notice it? How come, mummy?

But you do notice it. When something goes wrong, you notice it. When a piece is stolen from the puzzle the picture doesn't look right. But when it's slotted back into place …

"I lied," Kitty whispers, "when I said I loved you."

"Why?" John cries.

After she kisses him, she says, "Because you belong here. With me."

Those times that I was broke, and you stood strong
I know I've found a place where I belong