Tearing Away

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. A little something with Paige because I'm interested in learning the explanation for her craziness as of late. R/R.

My skin itches. It itches all over like a million tiny bugs are crawling underneath it. Every day, I try to tear off as much skin as I can. I rip and claw at it. I peel back layer after layer like I'm an onion but I can't find those damn bugs. They just keep crawling all over me and driving me crazy. I lay awake at night and scratch endlessly. It's not like I would get much sleep in this place. It's better than the Jean Grey School. It's better than life with the X-Men.

They probably think I'm crazy. They don't know what I've suffered. They haven't tried to rip their skin off every night just to get some sleep. They haven't had to watch their little brother get put in the cold ground. They never suffered the way I have. All their dead friends come back to life. Mine don't; they just stay in the ground like good kids. I was a good kid once. People said I was gonna lead the X-Men one day. I peeled off that skin a long time ago. You'd think it would be really hard to do, shedding the person you were, but really it's not. That girl, she died too but they didn't put her in the ground. No sir, she didn't wanna go there. She wanted to get up to Heaven like her ex-boyfriend the Angel or like her friends and her little brother did. Instead, she went somewhere else. I still wear that same skin but I ain't her. That's one more thing I lost thanks to bein' an X-Man.

My skin itches all the time. I scratch off everything that's dead and there's so much of me that's dead now. The dead girl I was, she buried too many dead people. Let's see Kitty Pryde do that and then she can lecture me about who's crazy. Maybe when she has to carry her dead brother's casket to his grave, she'll get it. No sir, she'll never get it. She'll never feel like a million tiny bugs crawl under her skin all the time. I peeled off that X just like an old skin I didn't need and I walked straight outta that school because I knew it was time to change. That's what I do: change.

I can't stop scratching. I can't get my skin right. No matter how much I husk . . . I can't still be that girl again. I rip off all this skin because I think that maybe I'll get back to being her but I never can. Sooner or later I'll hit the bottom. I'll scratch and rip straight down to the bone, straight into my soul, and then everyone will see how ugly I am. Maybe then I'll die. I should've died a long time ago. Maybe I already did. Maybe that's why I'm at the Hellfire Academy. I was never gonna get to Heaven anyway. I was never gonna see my brother again.

Mortimer would still love me no matter how ugly I am and I feel so damn ugly. I . . . I love him don't I? Did I keep that layer or did I already rip it off? I can't tell anymore. I can't tell what skin I'm wearing, what side I'm on, what girl I'm supposed to be. I'm not crazy. I swear I'm not and if you think that then maybe I'll rip your skin off. That's . . . that's the girl I am now, right? I don't know anymore. Maybe I'll know tomorrow. Maybe I'll be the good girl tomorrow but then I'll end up having to rip that skin off again.

All the X-Men are going to end up dying. They'll die screaming like the friends I've buried for them. They'll come back though, the X-Men and not my friends. My friends don't come back and that's why I don't have any of them anymore. They wouldn't like the new me anyways. Mortimer would love me no matter what skin I'm in. I have to keep scratching. I have to scratch down to my soul so I can see what I really am. The girl I was is gone forever. My skin itches all the time. I keep scratching.