Summary: John visits his old school by moonlight and finds something he didn't expect. Kyro Kitty/Pyro

Author's Note: I found this on an old flash drive I was clearing out and remembered being very angsty when I was writing it, so…

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.


It was one of those nights. The ones that seem at first to be all darkness. They seem cold, wet, and pitch black. They make you shudder, they make you afraid, they make you think about just turning around and running away.

But then you see it. There's a glimpse of light somewhere in the darkness. You reach out for it uncertainly, wondering if it's an illusion, a trick.... Until you feel it. Your hand lightly closes down on its warmth. You have the light.

And you watch in amazement as, resting in the warmth of your hand, the light starts to grow.

A lone figure sat in the clearing in the back of the Xavier institute, silent and unseen besides a trail of smoke rising into the darkness and the occasional flick-swish of metal against metal. The figure stood up from the cold marble bench he was on and walked towards the second of two slabs of stone in the courtyard. He lightly traced the name written on the gravestone before taking another long drag on his cigarette.

John Allerdyce didn't know what he was doing at the graves of his former teachers. He knew he had no right to mourn their deaths; he shouldn't give a second thought to those who he left behind. He knew that if he were to be found at the institute, no one would think twice about capturing him and sending him to jail. But somehow, he couldn't help coming here and seeing where they were, if only for closure.

A slight noise brought Pyro out of his thoughts. His head snapped around as he heard a small gasp, flipping open his lighter and grasping a ball of flames in his hand, illuminating his surroundings, along with another figure in the clearing.

"Who's out there?" Pyro called out clearly, staring at the faint outline of the small figure a few paces from where he stood. The figure gave no indication that it had heard him, which made Pyro even more on-edge. "Show yourself!"

Slowly, cautiously, a short girl with curly brown hair stepped into the light cast by his flame. He recognized her as one of his old classmates, a girl named Kitty.... something. It didn't matter. He remembered that she could walk through walls, though. That might be potentially problematic, he thought, wondering if she would try to run and find a teacher. She had to recognize him as one of the "bad guys." If she did, she sure as hell could get there faster than he could get out, and he would not allow himself to be caught and turned in by a fellow mutant.

"John? John Allerdyce?" she asked, looking at him ponderously.

"Pyro," he snapped, wrinkling his nose at her use of his human name. He hadn't heard anyone speak his real name for a year, except for on the news. It perturbed him.

"What.... What are you doing here?" she breathed, blinking at him. Normally John considered blinking to be a habit of rather slow people, but it didn't seem like that with Kitty. It only seemed like she was trying to solve a problem, and was thinking of the best way to do it.

"What does it matter to you?" John replied, curling his lip. "Now don't move anywhere or you're gonna be toast." Kitty remained motionless, except for a slight tilt of her head.

"I won't," she replied calmly, yet with an air of annoyance. John wondered how she could seem so composed when faced with a human flamethrower threatening to burn her up. He fully expected her to turn around and make a run for the mansion, and was astonished when she continued to stay where she was.

"Um, John..." his companion's voice shocked him out of his ponderings.

"It's Pyro," he barked, whipping his eyes back up to meet hers.

"Sorry, Pyro," she said his mutant name with distaste, almost mockingly. His eyes narrowed. "I was just wondering if we were going to stay here all night, or if you had a plan to get us out of this unsatisfactory situation."

"Situation? What situation?" John asked, shrugging one shoulder. "Here's what we do—you stay here and count to a hundred, and I turn and get the fuck outta this hellhole."

"Okay, fine," the girl agreed, almost too quickly for John's liking.

"Wait," John's lip curled up slightly in distrust. "You're not gonna follow me, are ya?"

Kitty blinked slowly at him again. "No." Now, she said that way too slow for it to be the truth. John shook his head and cursed lowly under his breath.

"Just go, I'll stay here," the girl snapped, crossing her arms. John scoffed.

"Like you can ever trust an x-man," he snarled. "Bunch of lousy blood-traitors."

"From what I've heard, it's you who betrayed your friends and left, not the other way around," Kitty shot back defensively, her eyes tightening in annoyance. A few moments passed where the couple just glared at each other before Kitty broke the tense silence. "So?"

"I'm thinking," he replied irritably. "Or I would be if you didn't interrupt me."

"Sorry," she snapped at him, not sounding very sorry at all. They stood in the same positions for a few more minutes before Kitty broke the silence yet again.

"Got anything yet?" she asked, folding her arms across her body. John's hands curled into fists.

"I don't hear you coming up with any brilliant ideas," he shot back. He was desperately trying to think of a solution, a way for them to both leave and not have to worry about him following her to attack the mansion or her tracing him back to Magneto's hideaway.

Kitty only scowled and turned away from him towards the graves. She glanced back at John from the corner of her eye, and he wondered if she was deciding whether or not it would be safe to make a run for it. He was caught completely off guard, therefore, when she said, "Yeah, I guess they never really mourned the deaths of X-Men at your camp, did they?"

"What?" Pyro spat, wrinkling his nose at her infliction of the word 'your,' like her institute was so much better than his army.

"Well," she answered, uncrossing her arms, but retaining her scornful tone, "I think our current predicament shows that the X-Men and Magneto aren't on the best of terms right now. You probably had a party when Mister Summers and the Professor were killed." Her eyes darted towards him again, and he again wondered if she was trying to size him up to see if she could get back to the mansion safely.

"No," John contradicted, stepping closer to her cautiously, trying to get nearer without her noticing to prevent her from running. "I think calling it a party would be a little too much. We did have poppers, though, and a few wine coolers." He was shocked to see that she smiled in response to his seemingly cruel comment.

Kitty visibly relaxed, her posture became less formal, and the tenseness slipped out of her muscles. John pondered if it was just a ruse to get him to believe that she wasn't going to break for the house, but she seemed to be truly at ease. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"What're you smirking about, Casper?" he shot, regaining his customary sneer.

Kitty's grin only widened at his spiteful name for her. "Nothing, John," she replied, walking past him, making him tense in anxiety. She didn't start running, however, she only occupied his previous position on the marble bench opposite him.

"Really, you'd think a girl'd be more nervous to be alone with a class four mutant (Beta, in the comic books?) on her ass with flamethrowers literally in hand if needed," muttered John just loud enough for Kitty to hear.

"As if you could even touch me," she said, bringing back some of her previous annoyance.

"Same old Kitty, thinking you're above everyone else."

"Same old John, schoolyard bully."

His eyes snapped to hers, his glare darkening. "You don't know what you're talking about."

She only smiled sadly. "Don't I? You haven't changed one bit, John. You're the same sarcastic jackass that you've always been. You're still going with the same "me vs. the world" –slash– "no one understands me" bits that've been done God knows how many times before you. And do you know what, John? We get it. Your childhood sucked. Like you're the only one who has divorced parents who don't understand your mutancy?"

John was shocked at her sudden openness, but Kitty barely paused for a breath before she dived right back in.

"Little piece of information, John—I'm in the same position. It's not something that should take over your whole life. You think that blowing up buildings and rioting will make everything better? You think that that'll just fix everything? The world doesn't work like that. You're still a kid, John. Just a surly little seventeen-year-old kid fighting for all the wrong reasons. You think that Magneto's gonna care about you like they did?"

Kitty stood, slightly out of breath, pointing at the graves at John's back. He turned his head as if to look at them, but then seemed to think better of it. For what seemed like the hundredth time that night, Kitty Pryde and John Allerdyce stood motionless, both staring directly at each other, and both wanting desperately to look away.

"I—I didn't mean to…. I didn't mean to question your loyalty or your judgment," Kitty's statement was quiet, almost whispered, yet John seemed to have heard it. "It's just… We're the same kids we always were, but we have to make decisions… Decisions that we shouldn't have to make yet."

She sat down on the cold marble bench once again, wrapping her arms around herself to keep warm. Her eyes were red and brimmed with tears threatening to spill over onto her cheeks, which were pink from the cold and her emotions. After a few seconds, during which she tried to calm herself, Kitty finally forced herself to look up at John.

He stared back at her small, seemingly insignificant figure hunched over on the bench. If he hadn't known she was there, he wouldn't even notice her. She blended in so well with her surroundings, her messy brown hair merging into her slightly loose-fitting black t-shirt, which led to dark jeans and sneakers. She seemed so much like the ghost that she was often said to be due to her mutation.

But there was something…

Her eyes. They were the same color of deep brown as her hair, and at first glance, John didn't see anything special about them. But now that he was looking at her, really looking at her, they were all that he could see.

And as he walked across the courtyard to meet her on the bench, he couldn't break his gaze. He hovered over her for a minute before he slowly lowered himself onto the bench beside her. Kitty turned her head away from his, glad to be free of his intense stare. She stared at her shoes for a few moments before she felt a light weight drop down on her shoulders. An aroma of used leather and lighter fluid enveloped her as she turned her head, only to realize that she had a leather coat draped across her shoulders. She looked up at John, who had taken out another cigarette and was flicking open his Zippo to light it.

Kitty watched the light of the Zippo flicker as Pyro put it to the end of his cigarette. The light illuminated his face, haggard and tired. When he lifted his eyes up to meet hers, she looked away immediately. His eyes made her feel strange, they were disconcerting. They were…. Burnt out. There was no spark in them, no light. She tried to think back and remember if he had always looked so dead, so dark. She couldn't remember. Maybe he wasn't the same boy who had left the institute.

She was disturbed by the darkness in his eyes. He was addicted to the light in hers.