Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: pre-Nightcrawler/Shadowcat (She'll always be Shadowcat to me!), past Wisdom/Shadowcat and Colossus/Shadowcat
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog 71: Vice
Warning(s): Spoilers, Cannon Character Deaths
Word Count: 1,280
Date Written: 2 July 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
She can practically smell the cigarette smoke wafting off of her screen as it takes her mind back. She always thought the second great, male love of her life, Pete Wisdom, was a Bogie type character, but she had never been as confused or helpless as Bacall's counterparts . . . until now. Kitty sits before her television, or her telly or talking box as Meggan had always called it, with her arms wrapped around her knees and hugs herself. Tears are in her eyes, but she's barely paying any attention to the storyline unfolding before her. She knows it all by heart, any way; she's only seen it fifteen times before.
But the problems the movie portrays aren't what's on her mind. She's feeling every inch of her age tonight -- and every inch of the age she doesn't have. She's older than the new generations of mutants, of course, but it wasn't that long ago that she was the youngest X-Man on the team. Every day, now, she leads friends and family members who are considerably older than herself into battle. Their lives rest in her hands. It's a scary, damn position, but it's one she's had little choice in accepting.
Still, she can't help longing for the old days, when her Peter versus Piotr dilemma was her hardest decision and her missing dragon the biggest problem she had to solve herself. She still misses Lockheed, and Peter too. She smirks as her brown eyes flick over Bogie's character's cigar on the movie. Pete always had loved that vice, and Lockheed had hated it, and him, with a "bloody" passion. She remembers all the times he tried to convince her that her dragon was tormenting him, that he was cussing and fussing at him, and all the times she didn't believe him.
But Lockheed, as she had learned several years later, had been able to talk after all and had hidden that fact from her for years. Not for the first time, Kitty wishes she could apologize to Pete. She wouldn't mind having him back in her life. Maybe he hadn't been all that great for her, as Kurt had often told her, but she still misses the comfort of having him near.
As for her other Peter, she knows better than to go there. He's hurt her too many times. Wisdom hurt her, but it was because she first hurt him. Two wrongs, she knows, doesn't make a right, but she was the one who had caused their relationship to end. She was the wrong who screwed up and kissed a boy her age, and that one moment of wishing she could actually feel her age had ended one of the best things she had ever known.
Tears glitter in Kitty's eyes as the movie credits roll. She wishes life was as simple as a movie. She wishes her life could be as simple as it was even back then in Britain. She'd give anything to live those days over again instead of being here. She sighs and unfolds herself from the position in which she's been sitting a little too long. She pads over on silent feet to her window and gazes out at Central Park, the new home of the X-Men, the home she largely made happen for them.
There are few others still awake now. She sees the lit butt of a cigarette down by the pond and figures it belongs to Logan -- not her Logan, of course, but Old Man Wolverine. Her bottom lip trembling, Kitty wraps her arms around herself and pulls her gaze up to the stars. She's lived up there, too, enough times to know that there are no more answers above her than are here below on the Earth, but she still looks to them and wonders, Am I doing right?
She doesn't know any more if she's doing the right thing. She has no idea how proud she's making the Professor or her Wolvy or even Jean and Scott, not that she particularly cares any longer about the latter's opinion. After all, he was the one who started all this mess. He was the one who killed the Professor and very nearly ended their family in the process. Still, she'd like to know just once that she is doing the right thing. She'd like just one person to come along with more age, wisdom, and experience than she herself and congratulate her on piecing together their lives and actually making things work again for them.
But are things working? she wonders. How much longer before a bill hits that they can not pay? How much longer before another X-Man dies, only this time on her watch? How much longer before they face an enemy they can not possibly stop? How much longer before she loses somebody else she loves as she has quite nearly everyone she's loved before?
Tears filling in her eyes, Kitty turns from the window and pads to bed. She's just beginning to lay down when she again looks out her window at the stars. Where is Lockheed tonight? she wonders, missing his cooing reassurance. Would he approve of what she's doing? He's too busy saving the galaxies now to care about her, but she'd certainly love to hold him in her arms even if just once more. Tears spill down her face as she remembers how her dragon used to lick them from her cheeks; she had never been able to stay sad for very long with him near her.
That's what she needs again, she thinks: a friend who will be there for her no matter what, a friend who will approve of what she does no matter how hard she falls on her ass or her face, a friend to lick her tears away. But instead, she wipes them away with her own fingertips and whispers another prayer before bed for guidance. Then she closes her eyes and tries to sleep. Tomorrow will be another day, another day with decisions that she must make, another day with lives upon which she must make an impact, another day with people needing her help, her love, her guidance, and her protection. She gives it all freely and readily, but she can't help wondering if she's doing the right thing or even what they truly need.
And from the shadows, as Kitty tries to sleep, steps another figure. Kurt Wagner's tail swishes, and he shakes his head at himself. He really should stop this, he thinks, but he can't seem to help drawing near when his Katzchen needs him. He stares up at her bedroom window and longs with all his heart to break this vice of watching a beautiful and brave girl much younger than himself and loving her from afar. She's his best friend, but he wants to be so much more. He has for a very long time now, but Kitty doesn't look at him that way.
But she does look at him every day through eyes silently pleading for his help. "Vou're not alone, Katzchen," he whispers, his tail flicking like mad in the rising, night breeze. He'll be there for her every step of the way even if he never tells her how he feels. He won't do that, because he won't let her down, but for that very same reason, he'll never be far away. He'll always be there for her when she needs him, even if she doesn't realize he's the one she needs. "Vou're not alone," he whispers again and prepares for another day of guiding the young, remarkable woman he loves from a safe distance.