Saints and Sinners (Part Five)

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Last chapter so you should R/R. It's been good to finally get this thing finished. I've had the idea for it forever and it's nice to come home for a bit.

The weather was getting colder. St. John Allerdyce didn't mind that. He always had the fire to keep him warm. Ever since the incident with Julie Claymore, Pyro had kept himself out of everyone's way. He spent most of his time alone, always thinking. He took mental stock of himself on a daily basis. His head felt clearer than it had in a long time. It helped him see things in a better perspective.

The fire was always with him. She comforted him in his loneliness, kept him warm when he was cold. To deny her was to deny an essential part of himself. St. John couldn't do that. The thing he also couldn't do though was let her be in control. Their relationship was different now and he had a spoiled, rich girl to thank for that. Julie was the catalyst for his change, the spark that ignited a new fire in him. He figured he owed her a visit to see how things were going. To that end, he stood there outside the gate that would take him into the Claymore estate. He paused and patted himself down for a cigarette and his lighter. He found both of them and lit one, the glow of the flame standing out on the cloudy night.

"Dad almost had the security guys shoot you."

St. John barely had time to remove the cigarette from his mouth before he chuckled at Julie's statement. He was touched that Claymore even remembered what he looked like. He guessed that saving his daughter's life had something to do with it. Julie looked a little different than the last time he saw her. She carried herself differently and St. John wondered what had caused that change.

"Ya look good," he told her. "Jus' wanted ta check on ya."

"You could've just called," reminded Julie. "I'm doing alright, SinJin. I never got the chance to thank you for saving my life."

"Had to disappear fer awhile," he explained to her. "Yer dad wouldn't 'ave understood."

"You should've stuck around. Dad was going to pay you as a reward."

St. John laughed again after taking a puff on his cigarette. It was good to know that some things hadn't changed. He was still trying to figure out what was different about Julie. She seemed more confident. He could tell just from her posture.

"How are things?" he asked her after giving up on trying to figure it out himself.

"Better," she answered. "Dad's a little nicer about mutants but . . . I still can't tell him about what I can do. I thought about it a lot after that night but I figure he's had enough of people who start fires."

"Probably so," agreed St. John.

"Mom and Dad are better with me now," continued Julie. "We've been doing more family stuff. Dad said you told him I was kind of a brat. I think he's trying to fix that. It sucks and it's annoying but, I dunno, I guess it's good. How about you?"

"Things aren't so bad," admitted St. John. "Still haven't found any work but I've been thinkin' a lot. I'm glad we met, Julie. It was nice ta get a second chance."

"At what?"

Pyro smiled and finished the cigarette. He flicked it away and pulled his coat tighter around himself. "At being a hero and savin' someone."

"You're pretty good at it," remarked Julie. "I bet those people at the Xavier school would want you there."

"Not if they're smart," he cracked. "It's been nice seein' ya, Julie."

"You never told me about that girl," reminded Julie. "You know, the one you said I reminded you of."

"Her name was Olivia," he explained. "She was about your age when she . . . when she died. Her family took me in as a foster kid. We were best mates."

"I'm sorry." Julie looked at Pyro and could tell that even though he was better he was still broken somewhere inside.

"Somethin' I gotta live with," he said. "G'bye, Julie. I promise I'll look ya up if I'm in town again."

"Bye, SinJin. Thanks for everything."

"Ya too."

She watched him go and realized not for the first time how much she owed him. The truth though was that he owed her just as much. He thought about that as he walked aimlessly through the dark streets of Bayville with only the fire and his memories to keep him company.

'Can we start over?'

He never heard her take that tone with him before. There were times when the fire would apologize, would coax him back into her warm embrace. Yet her remorse always seemed so hollow now that he really looked back on it. This time was different though. This time the fire really sounded sorry. All this time, St. John had been worried about what would happen if she left him out in the cold and that fear made it easy for her to control him. Now though, she was the one worried about him leaving.

"I think so, luv," he told her.

Pyro took out the empty pack of cigarettes in his pocket and held it above his lighter. He watched the flames slowly crawl up the empty pack and he used his powers to make them burn hotter. Fire consumed everything. It devoured whatever was in its path until there was nothing left. He wasn't getting devoured again. Things had to change, had to grow. Things had to breathe because only then were they truly alive.

Pyro held the pack of cigarettes inside a fireball and just let it burn away into nothingness. When he was satisfied with his work, he snuffed out the fireball and began walking away. If he was lucky, he could get his gear packed up and catch the last bus out of town. He didn't know where he would go. Perhaps he could go back home to Australia or perhaps he would stay in the States. Wherever he went, he knew he would always have the fire with him and even if he didn't things would be okay anyway. He wasn't afraid to be alone anymore. He didn't need someone constantly around him suffocating him. He wasn't afraid to breathe anymore because breathing was what made him alive. He would go where the wind took him and as he walked away, that same wind carried the ashes of his empty pack of cigarettes and his old life away into the darkness.