Summary: One's not half two. It's two are halves of one. Kyro one-shot.
Timeline: Post-X3 AU or X3 AU
Disclaimer: All things recognisably X-Men are obviously not mine. I just like making up my own stories. I also do not own e. e. cummings' poetry.
A/N: Written in 2006 for the prompt 'love' on the theme of 'firsts' for the kittyandpyro livejournal community.
"one's not half two. It's two are halves of one" – e. e. cummings
His mouth was crushed against hers, their lips bruising in the hunger of their kiss. Her hands clutched at his arms; his were tangled almost painfully in her hair. Breathing wasn't necessary – all that mattered was this, them, their halves creating something whole and achingly beautiful in the moonlight.
It was Kitty who tried to pull away, murmuring his name into his mouth. His only response was to kiss her more fiercely, pulling her head closer. Finally, she extricated herself from his grip, placing one hand on his chest as she stepped back.
Breathing heavily, she gazed up at him with mournful eyes. "John, we can't –"
"Shut up," he cut her off harshly. "Don't say it. Don't kill this."
The way she said his name – his real name, spoken so quietly and filled with pain – broke him like a flood of ice to his body. He pulled her close to him, crushing her arm between their bodies, needing to feel her warmth and not as though she was going to slip through his arms as easily as she walked through a wall.
"Don't say it," he whispered again, voice raw and rasping, and this time it was she who broke. Tears crept into her eyes before she could stop them, and he wiped them away with his thumb.
She shut her eyes as his rough, callused skin touched her cheek, wishing desperately that she could make this moment last. When she opened her eyes again, she could see his lips twisted and pressed together, and knew he was locking down his own tears.
"What are we doing?" she whispered, moving her arms to press his face gently between her palms. "This is…it's not…"
Kitty trailed off into silence. She couldn't say This is wrong, because it wasn't. But it wasn't right, either. They were supposed to be enemies – opposite sides of the same war, fighting for and believing in contradictory ideals.
More tears worked their way down her cheeks, and John wondered vaguely if she could phase through them, leaving them to plummet to the floor behind her. But maybe they were as much a part of her as her skin, or her hands.
"We can't," she said finally, letting her hands drop. "We're so different. We're fighting for different things, different people…we just can't."
"No," John argued, shaking his head vehemently. "We can. We can. This is – we're –" He swallowed and tried to steady his lungs, breathing deeply and inhaling her scent as he tightened his arms around her waist. "I need you," he said in a low voice, cracking on need.
Kitty's eyes widened, and her hands came up to grip at his forearms again, clinging to him like he was keeping her standing. "You…why?"
Was it so hard to imagine? That Pyro, loyal soldier of the Brotherhood, could need someone like Kitty Pryde? He needed her like he needed blood, oxygen, his soul. How could he explain why he needed her to become one whole person? There was only one way to answer her, and it was an answer he had never given before. He didn't know if he was strong enough to say it without hating himself for weakness afterwards.
"Why do you need me, John?" She was the only one to call him by that name, the only one who could say it aloud and not receive a punch in the jaw for it.
He glanced off to the side and didn't answer – or couldn't answer – and she tried one more time.
"Tell me." Her voice was soft and tender, gently probing.
Finally, he looked back at her, and she drew back slightly in shock at the way his eyes glittered a little too brightly.
"Kitty, I…" he whispered hoarsely, clutching her closer to him. "I love you."
He watched in drawn-out agony as her mouth fell open in a silent o of shock. He could see himself reflected in her eyes, fear and hope and despair and caring jumbled into one expression on his face. Still she did not move or speak.
"Kitty?" he tried to prompt her, but her name stuck in his throat.
She stared at him without seeing, and all that ran through her head was How did we get to this? A few weeks ago, maybe a month, they had been nobody to each other, almost enemies – and now, in only a short period of time that felt like a bittersweet eternity, they'd fallen.
His words hung in the air as if they'd been frozen and she could read them, shimmering as brightly as their damp eyes. I love you. Three words that all the fire he could manipulate couldn't burn away, now that they'd been said.
His strained voice speaking her name again made her aware that she hadn't responded. Slowly, her vision focused in on him. The look on his face scorched her silence, melting it into fragmented shards as she gasped out a broken admission of her love, falling forward to press her cheek to his chest, arms snaking around his body. He held her close as she spoke in sobs, close enough to feel her heart thudding with his.
At last, her shaking dwindled, and he tilted her chin. The tear-tracks down her cheeks glistened in the moonlight and her eyes were slightly puffy from all her crying. She had never looked as beautiful to him as she did now.
Gently, he kissed her again, softly and sadly. He knew as well as she did that, despite everything they felt, in the morning they would leave and become separate shadows.
They broke the contact of their lips and opened their eyes at the same time. I love you, she mouthed, and he nodded and brushed her hair from her eyes. They stood there, fitted together, gazing at each other. To them, the other was as much a part of themselves as their tears, their breath, their hearts.
In the morning, they would become separate entities once more. But tonight, they were tears and heartbeats and bright eyes and embraces and sorrowful kisses and love.
Tonight, they could be whole.