Author: Kat Lee
Fandoms: X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy
Challenge/Prompt: My own challenge to write something Christian themed every month -- This is May's.
Warning(s): Religious Themes, SPOILERS!
Word Count: 2,806
Date Written: 16 May 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
As quietly as a cat, she pads through the spaceship, phasing through walls and rooms, going unnoticed by the rest of the ship's occupants, even those who aren't fully asleep as she passes through their rooms. She pauses only in Rocket's room, admiring the way the raccoon's body curls so sweetly and protectively in his sleep around little Groot, as she makes her way to the control room. She knew, the moment she woke to a cold and empty bed, where she would her fiance, and indeed there he is, sitting in his Captain's chair and staring out at the cosmos.
She stifles a sigh at the sight of him. She should have known this would happen. She has every bit as much of a thing for brooders as she does for Peters, if not more so. Every person she's ever loved, save one, has had a brooding side, and even she had possessed a darkness unmatched by all the rest. Kitty pauses as she approaches Peter's chair. She knows he's aware of her presence even though she's walked unnoticed throughout all the rest of the ship. Even Drax's worn battle instincts had not stirred him as she'd walked right by his bed, but Peter knows she's there, just as she had known he would be here.
"He's out there somewhere, Kitty," he says as she comes to a stop right behind his chair. She doesn't ask him about whom he speaks. He thinks of the same being countless times every day and night. He lets him haunt him just as she once let Ogun haunt her. "My Father," he clarifies though she hasn't asked. "He's out there somewhere. I can feel him."
"You killed him, Peter," she whispers, but he shakes his head.
"You don't just kill a god."
She knows too well, from her own experiences with the X-Men and Excalibur, how hard it is to kill an enemy and actually have them stay dead. For some, like Sabertooth and Ogun, it seems almost an impossible task. But the menacing aspect of this enemy of Peter's seems more menacing than anyone else she's ever faced before. "You shouldn't have to kill a god," she remarks, draping her arms over the back of his chair and looking out at the stars and galaxies floating in the cosmos from just above him. "If he was really God, you wouldn't have to."
"Oh, he was a god all right." Peter chuckles, but there's no mirth in the sound. Instead it sends a chill racing down Kitty's spine. Outer space has never felt as cold as it does this night. "He twisted creation to fit his purposes. He could do whatever he pleased."
"No," she counters, "he couldn't. If he had been able to do anything he wanted, you wouldn't be here now, Peter. You wouldn't have stopped him."
"That's the thing. Sometimes I don't think I did. Sometimes I think he's out there watching me, waiting, laughing while I make one mistake after another."
"And what mistakes did you make today?" she asks softly, sinking down to sit on the arm of his chair.
He opens his mouth to answer, then pauses and shuts it. After a moment, he admits quietly, "None today, I guess." He scratches his head as though thinking her question is a trick. It's meant to make him think, but not to trick him. "It was kinda a quiet day."
"Yes," she agrees, "it was. And now we're at the end of it, and you still haven't seen your father."
"But I felt him, Kitty. I feel him every day. I feel him watching me, taunting me, waiting for me to fail -- "
"Then don't fail. Keep doing what you're doing, Peter. Keep winning. Keep saving lives." She wraps her arms around him in a gentle, close hug. "Keep doing the right thing, being the hero. Let him see that. Let him see you're not going to succumb to his ways, even if he was a god."
"He was . . . or is." His intent gaze passes over her concerned face and returns to the stars. "That's why I keep thinking about him so much, I think. You don't just kill a god," he whispers, as though he's afraid of being overheard.
"He wasn't a god," she corrects him again. "Or maybe he was a god," she relents compassionately, "but he wasn't the god."
"I never said he was the god," Peter replies, but after a moment, he adds, "but I'm not so sure I believe in the god either."
Kitty's fingers go instinctively to her star of David, an emblem she's been wearing a lot more frequently ever since learning of Peter's father. She remembers when she first met him, recognizing the trouble in his heart and soul and the good his team was doing. She'd thought she could help them make a difference in the galaxies for all species whereas she had no longer felt like she was making a difference with the X-Men. She'd no longer felt at home with her own team, but this isn't her home either. This is a moving ship filled with a family that isn't her own, but it's also filled with people who need help, none more so than the man sitting before her.
Peter is a brave man when it comes to fighting aliens or almost anything else. When it comes to fighting for what's right, he won't stop until he's won. He's one of the bravest men she's ever known, but when he speaks of his father in hushed tones, she sees the scared, little boy deep within him flicker in his deep, brown eyes. Her heart goes out to him as she hugs him.
"You don't have to believe in God for Him to believe in you," she tells him, "but I get it. I do. There have been so many times when I've wondered if He's real too. We see so much devastation in our lives, so much pain -- "
"My father," Peter says through clenched teeth as he fights down tears, "was a god who killed my Mother. He almost killed my friends and me."
"He did more than that. He almost took your family away not once but twice."
Peter raises his head at her words, but he doesn't look at her. He can't. He doesn't want her to see the tears in his eyes and to think him weak, but she knows all this, having experienced it with others she's loved him before. She knows it, understands it, and doesn't hold it against him, but she does take his hand in hers and give it a little squeeze. "Did you ever wonder how you met your other family?" She knows every bit of his story; he's told her everything. "Why you were the first child Yondu didn't turn over to your father? Why, or how, you managed to meet Gamora, Rocket, and all the others? Do you know what the chances are, Peter, of you all finding each other out here when every one of you needed the rest the worst?"
"I don't know about that," he says, chuckling. "Laying it on a little thick, aren't you?"
He feels the way her eyes shift with a glower at him. "Am I?" she asks quietly. "You were alone, Peter, and hurting, and you found four others hurting just as badly as you were and feeling every bit as alone. How long do you think any of you would have survived on your own?"
Peter's mouth opens to protest her words but shuts again without saying a word, because he knows, deep down, she's right. Even Yondu had been there for him, in his own way, when he'd needed him the worst. The Pirate had pretended not to care about him, but Peter had learned the truth of just how deeply he had cared for him right before his adopted father had died saving his very life. Drax had been seeking his own death, a release from his grief, in his own way as had Gamora as had he himself before they had all found each other.
Together, they had managed to put aside their grief and their sorrow. Together, they had found new missions in life, new reasons to live. Yeah, Kitty was right, and she wasn't the first to have said it: They had found a new family in one another.
"When Excalibur was first formed, Rachel, Kurt, and I were all hurting. We didn't want to go on. We didn't want to live without the family we'd lost. Rachel managed because of me; I managed because of her. Kurt managed, because he knew we needed him and he knew that God wouldn't want us simply giving up. He gives us the people we need in our lives when we need them the worst. They may not stay for long," she tries carefully to explain, caressing his hand and knowing how much he grieved every day for Yondu, "but he gives them to us while we need them."
"But look at all the terror he lets happen," Peter argues, "all the heartache. Look at everything he let my Father do, the millions he slaughtered!"
Kitty nods in understanding, her arms still around him in a hug. "I get it, Peter. I do. It's easier not to believe that there's a God out here who somewhere who cares about us so much when we don't see how much He cares, especially in our lives. I've asked myself so many times -- when my parents split, when my family and friends have died, when I lost Illyana when she was only a child to the most dreadful virus on Earth -- how can He let this happen when He loves us? I don't know how Kurt always did it," she continues, shaking her head and marveling at her best friend's endless dedication, "but he never lost the faith in Him, and he's suffered just as greatly as we have, if not more."
"He used to tell me, and so did Ororo although she'd say it about the Goddess she believes in, not the same as the God we believe in but the same basic principles. They used to say that God only does so much, only allows Himself to do so much. He wants us to love Him freely, and He wants us to have free will. Unfortunately, that free will includes the choice to do wrong, to do painful things to others, to hurt others so badly -- "
"It's not fair," Peter says, and now the tears start streaking down his face at last. He snorts and wipes at them angrily. "But I guess, what can you expect from somebody who lets His own son be killed?"
Kitty's mouth lifts in a little, half-grin at that comment. "Jew here, Peter," she says softly. "We believe in the same God, but I don't know about all that Jesus stuff."
Peter nods. Kitty's always been very open to allowing every one to believe in their own way, but she's right to an extent: The God she believes in is the same God his mother believed in, the same One she taught him to believe in.
"On the other hand, the Bible does say there are other Gods. Remember the commandment that there should be no other gods before Him? So yeah, it's possible that your father was a god, just like the X-Men have fought gods before. But they're not the God. They're not the One who cares about us, the One who's Father to every one of us. And any other god," she continues quietly, rubbing his shoulders, "can be defeated. You stopped him. Maybe you killed him; maybe you didn't. Maybe he is going to come back, but you're not going to have to face him alone. I promise you that."
He reaches up, takes her hand in his, and gently entwines their fingers. "You'll help me fight him?"
"Of course." She's beginning to realize that it was a mistake to come here to outer space with him, to abandon her own family, friends, and cause in trying to help another. She'll return home to stay one day -- she's sure of that already -- , but even if she's back on Earth by the time his father returns to his life, all Peter will ever have to do is call her, and she'll come to help him against anything. "And I won't be the only one." She kisses his cheek. "That's what family's for."
He wipes the tears from his eyes and face, glad she never actually commented on the fact, that he was crying and pulls her down into his arms. "And what about your family?" he asks, gazing intently down into her face.
Kitty pauses, but tonight is a night for truths, for being open and honest with each other and helping one another. Lies never help in the end. They might help in the short term, but lies always lead to pain. "I'll go home to them one day," she answers. "They'll need me again one day. But I'll always be just a call away."
He could ask her why this wasn't going to work out between them, but he already knew. They have their own separate causes, and although they might have been together for a while now, eventually, they were going to have to part. Eventually they were going to have to live their own lives and fight for their own causes, fight alongside their own families. He tucks a strand of loose, brown hair behind her ear and lets his hand hesitate there, his palm resting softly on her smiling, trusting face. "I'm going to miss you, Pryde."
"I'll never be too far away, Starboy," she says, leaning up and kissing him softly, almost chastely. "You'll just have to come visit Earth."
"I will," he vows.
"And, Peter . . . " Her eyes search his. "Any time you need me, or you just need a friend to help you stay on the right track . . . "
"I'll call," he says, ducking his head toward hers. "I promise." He kisses her. This new kiss between them is no longer chaste, no longer the brushing of lips of two friends about to part; it's long and deep instead, a remembrance of everything they've shared.
She touches his face softly, draws her thumb across his cheek. She wants to always remember the way he's smiling at her as he pulls back only slightly. She ran away from her own troubles to be with him. She ran away to a cause she thought she could help and a man she knew she could both help and love. She never wants to forget this, no matter how long the war she's going to be fighting when she returns to Earth or how battle weary and fatigued in her very soul she'll be when it's all over. She never wants to forget him. "Come back to bed now?" she asks softly.
He nods, stands, and lifts her up in his arms as she does so. She wraps her arms around his neck. This is a man who's moved her very soul, and it's been a very long time since she's felt her soul move in such wondrous ways. She will never forget him, she vows, and a part of her will always, always love him. "Don't forget what I've told you tonight," she whispers, gazing deeply into his sweet eyes, still moist with more, unshed tears. "For as many horrors as He lets be visited upon this life, as many terrors and heartaches as we all have to endure, there are miracles He gifts us too. New families when ours are taken, new friends who are so much more than friends, new babies to have new chances at righting the wrongs in the galaxies -- "
"New loves," Peter says quietly, pressing his forehead against hers and gazing directly into her eyes, "who know how to speak to a man's soul even if they're not together for long."
"Maybe one day you'll come to Earth to stay."
"Maybe one day you'll come back to us to stay."
Kitty smiles, but there's sorrow in her smile. They're not meant to last. They never were, but she believes she's helped him this night and will take her victories where she can. "New loves to reach together through the galaxies, to come together for the right causes -- "
"You could stay -- "
"You could come -- "
But neither would happen, they already knew. "I do love you, Peter."
"I know." For once, he doesn't flash her a smile full of bravado. Instead, he whispers quietly, "I love you too, Kitty," and shuts the door behind them.