scribbled-in, ink-spattered, and stained with ash

Prompt: arliddian, the improbability of forever.

Author's Notes: "First Fig" was written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. There are various beliefs among practicing Jews, but the story is written from the perspective of just one.


"I mean, you can't love somebody forever," Jubilee was nattering on about Bobby's amorous (and ill-received) declaration to Rogue. "You can love them 'til the end, sure, but..."

Kitty frowned and shifted moodily, thoughts darkening and slithering away from her friend's words toward her own murky history. Could you love somebody for forever? She thought to herself bitterly, he couldn't even love her for two months.

Six weeks of headiness, hands touching her, tracing her hips, her shoulder, her lips. Dark corners on dark nights. They'd gone from a shared book of poetry in the library (hands meeting on the same book, glares, then reticent compromise) to reading all manner of literature to each other in their rooms. Kitty would never have guessed John had a serious streak and a creative genius to go with it. She never would have guessed she would find herself phasing soundlessly and unnoticed into his room just for the opportunity to hear his voice as he read, see his dark eyes smolder as he listened, then hear his soft, dark laugh, taste the bittersweet flavor of him when it became more than just words and fire between them.

Six weeks and his eyes darkened, his face closed, lighter crackling with tension. He was drawing away and the sweet faded into bitter.

"John," she would whisper when he was within her, stroke his hair, try to hold on. "Please." Soft murmurs against the darkness inside him.

He leaned down, gripped her harder, fingers stroking her hips, and kissed her. She was undone. Soft cries, arching uncontrollably. In, out, that breathless rhythm.

In the aftermath, she watched helplessly as flames danced within his palm, light flickering across his face, him lost in a world she could not see.

Kitty was no masochist. She knew when she had lost him and did not seek him out again after Alkali Lake. She cried in his room on his bed, remembering—first fig, first fig—then sobered up and moved on.

"Who cares?" Kitty suddenly demanded testily of Jubilee. "Who f—ing cares?" The words tasted dark but satisfying, like bitter chocolate, drunk with the lost sugar of six achingly beautiful weeks and the spicy aftertaste of pain.

Jubilee stared at her.

Kitty ignored her, stared fiercely at the well-worn book of poetry in her hand, scribbled-in, ink-spattered, and stained with ash. John's book.

Jews did not believe in the immortality of the soul, or at least not that the dead could love. Kitty did not believe in the immortality of fire. Ever-shifting, ever-changing.

But ah, my foes and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light.