Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Shadowcat, hints of Shadowcat/Storm and Shadowcat/Prestige, rather one-sided Colossus/Shadowcat
Challenge/Prompt: halfamoon Day 2: Politics
Word Count: 1,703
Date Written: 3 March 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
I should have brought you with me. Her thought hurdles across the hundreds of miles separating her from the rest of her family before she can stop it. Feeling heat creep up her neck, Kitty lowers her eyes.
Which one of us? Rachel teases. Kitty can feel the tug of her grin despite the distance.
She hesitates just a second before murmuring mentally, Both of you. She glances sideways at Piotr, but he appears oblivious to her discomfort and the fact that she’s telepathically communicating with two of her former flames. She loves him, but although she’s been trying hard lately to make that love into a romantic love, what’s left between them after all this time is only friendship. She can’t say the same about Rachel or Ororo, but she also couldn’t choose one between them if she had to.
Nonsense, Kitten. Ororo’s regal voice is light but determined in her head. You have this.
’Ro, I’m not used to dealing with . . . with people like this. This is more your style, dignitaries and Queens and all that.
Yes, she answers, and Kitty can hear the regret and self-disdain dripping off of her mental voice, and I did so well with it back in Wakanda.
That was a different. They were looking for a man to lead them. And you did fine. What happened wasn’t your fault.
Yeah, Rachel agrees, and Kitty can feel her hand pat Ororo’s. That was totally on T’Challa.
It was a marriage that never should have happened, even if I had the best of reasons for agreeing to it.
The best of reasons for a union but not for a marriage. The only right reason for a marriage is love.
Still a romantic, huh, Pryde?
Kitty grins. Always.
Perhaps the romantic should listen to her own advice, Ororo thinks with gentle, sage wisdom.
Kitty glances again at Piotr, whose gaze is busily watching the proceedings. His muscles are tense, and Kitty knows she’s about to be called. She’s not ready to face this congresswoman, especially not in front of the entire nation! Maybe, she mutters, the closest she’s come to admitting that trying to make things work between herself and Piotr is not the way to go. She’s in a difficult enough position right now. The whole world is watching her, and they already hate her because of her genes. If she comes out as being gay now, they’ll have even more reason to hate her.
It’s not a reason to hate you or us, Kitty, or at least it shouldn’t be any more than us being mutants is.
But they fear us regardless, because they hate us for our differences.
Precisely why I don’t want to give them any more cannonfire. The whole world views her right now as the leader of the mutant species. If she comes out as being gay, to so many millions of people who hate mutants and gays, who hate anyone who is different from their own tiny view of the world, it will simply give them more reason to hate not only her but her entire species. She can’t do that to them, not to their people or to the X-Men, not to her family.
You’re the best person for this job, Kitten.
She’s not the best person, Kitty thinks not for the first time; she’s simply the only one who chose to stand up this time and take the bull by the horns. Unfortunately, taking the bull by the horns also includes taking this congresswoman on in front of nationwide television. Her stomach churns, and she grips Piotr’s hand a little tighter. A girl would have to be gay not to fall head over heels for the hunk beside her.
“You’ll be fine, Katya,” he whispers softly, lifts her hand to his lips, and kisses it.
No, I won’t! she wants to cry. This is all wrong! It’s not all wrong, though. She already knows that. Some of it is wrong, but this next move makes total sense. It also has to be done by the same person who gathered the X-Men back together, and she is that person. To send anyone else in her place would be to admit a weakness in front of the world. She can’t do that. As with all the other decisions in her life since the day she decided to keep her family fighting for the dream that originally gathered them all together, everything she does has to be done with her people in mind. She’s not a Queen or the President -- if she was, mutant rights would already be well established and equal to those of the homo sapiens.
She is a hero. She is a fighter. She’s saved the world more times than even she can remember, and the universe at least a quarter as much. She’s led the X-Men through scarier times than these. She’s gathered her family and her friends back together and saved more mutant lives. She’s bringing the X-Men into a new future that’s brighter than it’s been in a very long time. She may not be a Queen, but she is a leader. She will do what’s right for her people, always.
“That’s you, Katya,” Piotr whispers again, squeezing her hand.
You can do this, Kitten.
Knock ‘em dead, Kitty.
It would be a lot easier, Kitty thinks in open honesty, to just kill them. But killing is never the answer. Killing any of these people who she is about to face would only prove to the humans that they’re right to fear them, and fear has to stop. She’ll fight for mutant rights first, Kitty thinks, rising, and then if that battle is ever won, she’ll turn her attention to the LGBTQ cause. In the end, if there’s any time left in her life, she’ll fight for her own happiness. But her people have to come first.
We may not be there in person, Kitten, but we’re with you in soul every step of the way.
We all are, Rachel adds without a doubt in her mind. She knows her parents and the Professor are right there behind Kitty even if they can not be seen. They’re there behind her. They’re proud of her just as she, Ororo, and all the other X-Men who have watched Kitty grow into their bold, daring, and beautiful new leader are. They’re proud of her, and they know she’s going to succeed where so many before her have failed.
Kitty squares her shoulders, takes a deep breath, and starts reminding herself of every reason why she’s doing this. She thinks of the Professor, of Logan, of Scott and Jean, Doug, and all the friends she’s loved and lost. She thinks about the man slowly trailing behind her now, so strong and brave despite having endured so much pain before. She thinks of Ororo who first taught her what it means for a woman to lead and how she has to put aside all her own desires and focus on what is best for her people. She thinks of her Fuzzy Elf who was almost beaten to death by a mob who feared him simply because of how different he looks from everyone around him. She thinks of Rachel and Illyana, both who she loves dearly and both who had their childhoods stolen from them because of what they are.
She thinks of all the mutants depending on her, and when she faces the cameras, it’s with a smile. When she faces the Congresswoman, it’s still with the same, politely determined smile, and when she shakes her hand, she makes sure the Congresswoman feels just enough of her strength to recognize with whom she is dealing. She’s not a politician; she’s better. She’s not here for the fame or the money. She’s here for lives, every one of which is important to her, every one of which impacts every decision Kitty makes every moment of her day and night.
She answers with clarity and with very carefully chosen words, and in the end, she knows, if she’s made even just one person reconsider their fear and corresponding hatred of her species, it’s worth every moment of fear she’s faced today. Even if doesn’t reach the humans who hate them, if being here on this national television today reaches even one mutant child and whispers to them that it’s okay to be different, then everything she’s gone through today is still worth it. She reaches lives and that is what a leader truly lives for.
She reaches lives. She touches hearts. She does it all for her people, and that, more than anything else, is exactly why Kitty knows this meeting will be a success: She’s not doing it for any other reason to get in front of the camera except one. She’s doing it for the right reason, to help others, to help her people, and as long as she’s doing what she’s doing for the right reason, Kitty knows that, in the end, she’ll be successful. She looks to the future with a smile and answers another question not without being afraid but despite being afraid, and that is what a leader truly does after all. They keep moving forward. They keep their people moving forward all because, in the end, all they want is what’s best for their people. That’s all Kitty wants, and she’ll keep fighting for it every day in every way until their dreams are realized at long last.