God, I haven't written one of these in HOW LONG?!? So, forgive me, I'm a little rusty. Like, a lot! lol — and a huge shout out to my beta, airo25. Gotta love her.
I said maybe
You're going to be the one who saves me
And after all
You're my wonderwall
'Wonderwall' — Oasis
. . .
The First Time
The first time Kitty Pryde saved John Allerdyce they were just kids, maybe fourteen. She was the new girl, he was old school, probably hadn't said two words to each other. It was a party of some sorts, someone's birthday, and they all crowded in the rec room, ready for cake. Jean had bought it from the fancy bakery that just opened in the mall between Starbucks and a shop that sold rhinestone earrings at ten dollars a pair. The pavlova, an explosion of cream and meringue, strawberries and kiwis—Kitty knew this because she made it her business to know these things, to know everything, just like she knew John, that sketchy kid with the OCD lighter habit—clack. whisper. clack—the kind of boy her father wouldn't let inside the house if she took him home. Which she would never do, no way. Nothing against the guy, she didn't know him, like, only he looked super-sketchy and wasn't her type.
His friend, on the other hand...
But Bobby Drake's bone structure wasn't the issue here—John was. Just that morning, Kitty had seen Jean rifling through her bag for something or other—keys, cell, change, gum, gun, whatever—and she took out some HUGE needle, all wrapped up in a little case. Kitty asked what it was for. A needle that big, she had to know.
"One of the students has a serious nut allergy," Jean confided in her, losing the needle again in her bag. "I carry this just in case he eats one by accident and goes into anaphylactic shock."
Or, in the case of Sketchy John, on purpose: for a dare, for a bet, to freak out Summers, to miss a history quiz, for attention. This is what Kitty figured—that's the kind of thing John would do. Not that she knew him, like. She just figured. And for the first time, in a long time, Kitty Pryde was wrong.
Kitty got her pavlova first because she was sitting next to Storm, chief cutter, wielding the bread knife. She was starving and didn't hesitate. Something hard in her mouth, not melting with the cream. Kitty spat it out. A nut (a cashew nut, to be precise, and being precise is important). A mistake on the chef's part, maybe, an isolated incident? Or maybe not.
John sat on the opposite side of the room, blocked off by so many, many people, people all going RAWLRAWLRAWL so there was no way her little voice would carry. She could stand on a table. Tell an adult. What if she didn't get there in time? Storm was serving a green-haired girl five seats from John. Visions of him writhing on the floor in some unimaginable pain but unable to scream, flopping like a fish out of water, eyes rolling to white, stupid lighter clattering to the floor. Where would Jean stick the needle? His leg? His stomach? His throat?
Storm passed along a plate of pavlovato Bobby.
And Kitty ran for it.
"John! John!" She yelled his name, sprinting through solid objects, couches, empty pizza boxes, people. "John!"
Stopped up short two inches from him.
"Don't wear it out," John smirked, a loaded forkful hovering halfway to his mouth. He raised his eyebrows. "Yeah?"
Kitty gestured at the cake (PAVLOVA). "The cake. Pavlova. Don't eat it."
John glared at her as if she was trying to deprive him of his first-born son or his stupid lighter or something equally precious.
"Why the hell not?" He went to shove the fork in his mouth, defiant. Watching her.
Kitty waved her cashew triumphantly. "It's got nuts in it!"
John put down the fork. Poked around with his finger, make sure she wasn't taking the piss (what use was cake if you couldn't fucking eat it, yeah?). He unearthed two cashews. Was it her imagination or had he gone paler? Thinking about what could have been, should have been. Bobby, too, a little green. But soooooooo cute.
"John!" Professor Summers appeared out of nowhere, urgent and professor. "The cake has nuts in it. I've just found one. It might be a mistake but I wouldn't risk it, if I we– " He stopped, looking down at the tiny lumps of cream in John's hand. Professor Summers cleared his throat. "It's nice to see you being responsible about something."
John shook his head. "She told me."
"Oh, I see. Well done, Kitty. That's what I like to see. Friends looking out for each other. That's the right attitude." He left Kitty glowing with pride, but a part of her worried that John would laugh. Call her a teacher's pet. That's the kind of thing he would do, right?
Kitty jumped. Unexpected. She looked down to see him looking up at her. His eyes weren't brown, not like she'd expected, or green, or that gross hazel colour that can't make up it's fricking mind. They were blue. And nice.
"It's okay," Kitty said breathlessly. "No big deal."
John nodded slowly. "How did you know?" he asked, curious. "About me?"
Kitty panicked. "Kinda saw the needle. Totally by accident, like I wasn't stalking you or anything. Just Jean took it out and I was there and I aske– " John laughed and this made her relax. "I'm sorry. For knowing. I shouldn't have asked. Sorry."
"Don't be. Still alive, ain't I?"
"No, man, I'd have saved you," Bobby said through a strawberry.
John snorted. "If I'm relying on you, I might as well take my chances with a switchblade."
"A rusty switchblade."
"But you'd be dead, so how could you get AIDs?"
"I wouldn't die the second I cut my throat. I'd have to bleed out first– "
"Which would take, I dunno, ten seconds. Can't get AIDs in ten seconds."
Kitty opened her mouth to say that, actually, like, you couldn't get AIDs from a contaminated knife, only HIV, but the words never came. John had cream on his nose.
"What would you know?" he demanded. "You got AIDs?"
She retreated. Finished her pavlova. Jubilee asked questions but Kitty had nothing to say. John still had cream on his nose when Scott told them all to go to bed.
Jubilee had gone ahead, something about straightening her hair before she had a shower, and Kitty meandered slowly back to their dorm. Thinking. About saving people and Bobby's cheekbones and her bed and the cream on John's nose and the calculus test on Friday.
Outside, across the courtyard, a shortcut. Kitty drew her cardigan tighter about her thin shoulders. It was mohair—her mother brought it back from vacation in Milan—but not warm, and Kitty shivered.
"Hey. You. Nut Patrol."
She stopped, looked around, eyes stinging in the dark. A frail light flickered and smoke rose upwards, footsteps, light and fast. John took a drag and threw her a grin.
"Hey. You. Too." Kitty scuffed her All Stars (pink, with black laces). She could recite the first fifty elements in twenty-nine seconds but boys made the words dry up. She hugged her cardigan, hiding last week's nail polish in the long sleeves.
"Thanks. For tonight. You, uh..." He ran a head through his head, a little hesitant, a little awkward. "You saved my life."
Kitty blushed. "I hardly saved your life, like. Just some hassle. Jean would've totally spiked you with her way huge needle and you'd be fine. I saw it this morning."
John shook his head.
Kitty frowned. That made, like, no sense. "But the needle? The shot?"
"It's epinephrine. Not magic fairy dust."
Epinephrine. Also called adrenaline.
So it would go into his heart then.
"So you'd be ...?"
Kitty shivered. John did something magical, made this fireball. He held it out to her. Kitty hung back.
"I won't burn you," he said. Nervous, she inched forward. "C'mon. You're freezing. Hold out your hands."
She did as she was told.
With the touch of mother, John deposited his baby in her cradled hands. The fire ball hovered, small and hot and red, some tiny sun, burning all for Kitty Pryde.
"Figured I owed you," he replied lightly, lighting up again. "Ever saved a life before?"
Kitty shook her head. Thinking. How faint is human life if one little nut, size of her thumbnail, can kill? Thinking things like that hurt. She shivered.
"C'mon," he said, throwing away the cigarette. "Walk you in."
They reached the door. She wanted him to walk her back to her dorm. Say nice things in the corridor, just loud enough for Jubilee to hear through the door. But he turned left, saying, "Later, Nut Patrol."
The first time Kitty Pryde saved John Allerdyce, he didn't even know her name.
"John," she called after him, because she knew his name, sketchy jerk.
"You've got cream on your nose."
So..... What are we thinking? I'm thinking of expanding this into a shortish fic. Yay or nay? Thanks, plonksie