Summary: He's been running from her, but Kitty will make John listen. Kyro oneshot.
Timeline: Post-X3
Disclaimer: All things recognisably X-Men aren't mine - I just like making up my own stories.
Author's Note: Inspired by Headlock from Imogen Heap's Speak For Yourselfalbum.

You say too late to start with your heart in a headlock
You know you're better than this.
You've been running
You've been hiding
And you look half-dead half the time.

He refused to talk to her alone for any longer than ten minutes. He'd always make some excuse to leave, leaving her feeling hurt and confused and more alone than she already was.

The last time she tried to talk to him, he had walked out after seven minutes.

"We wouldn't work, Kitty," he said. "It's too late now. After everything I've done…We can't."

She'd just watched him go.

What she'd wanted to say was that of course they wouldn't work if he thought that way. He had locked his heart in and he wasn't letting it go. She wondered why he was so afraid of something developing between them. Maybe he thought it would save her the pain. Maybe he thought it would save him the pain.

This time, though, she was going to make sure he stayed longer than ten minutes. She was going to make sure he listened.

She phased into his bedroom and locked the door behind her. He looked up at her from his position on the bed, and immediately got up and started for her. Kitty thrust her hand out to stop him coming any closer, her other hand still on the knob.

"It's not too late," she told him.

After an initial confused beat of silence, John replied in frustration, "It is"

"No, it's not."

"Kitty." He ran a hand through his hair, narrowing his eyes at her. "Get out of my doorway."

"No." She lifted her chin defiantly and stared him down. "Stop running from me. Just listen." Kitty waited, expecting him to throw back some bitter, sarcastic remark – but he remained silent and still, watching her.

"It's not too late," she repeated, body still tensed in case he tried to leave. "We can be together. Don't tell me we can't because of all the terrible things you've done. Don't tell me it's because you're a bad person. Stop pretending. I know everything you've done and I know that you're here with us now. So I know you're not a bad person. And you know it, too. Stop hiding behind this stupid 'bad guy' persona, because you know it's not you."

"I am not pretending," he spat. "And you don't know everything I've done. What makes you think I've changed? Just because I'm with the X-Men now, doesn't mean –"

"Would you just stop?" Kitty sagged against the door, the solid weight of the wood supporting her. "Stop walking around like you're expecting a judge to ring up and give you the death sentence. Stop acting like you're already dead, because John – you're alive and you are not a bad person."

She stopped to draw breath and watched him carefully for his reaction. He seemed stunned. His hand slid into his pocket and drew out his lighter, and then a familiar, incessant clicking filled the room.

"What are you afraid of?" she asked him quietly. "Are you scared you'll hurt me? Or that you'll get hurt? Why are you afraid of starting something?"

"I'm not afraid of anything."

"Liar," she snorted. She moved away from the door and walked to him. Gently, she closed his hand around his lighter. Distraction gone, Kitty took his other hand and leaned closer, forcing him to look at her.

"You're not a saint," she told him softly. "But you're not Hitler. I know you've made mistakes. But you don't have to lock everyone out. Don't lock me out. We can work together. Just trust me. You've got to stop strangling your own heart."

John stared at her a moment longer, and something softened in his eyes. Slowly, almost unbearably slowly, he leaned forward and their lips met.

When they broke apart, he slipped his lighter back into his pocket and looked at Kitty with honesty written on his face.

"Show me how," he said.