Remedy by Azurine

Kinda Kitty/Piotr, I guess.

Kitty should be happy. Spoilers up through Astonishing X-Men #6, but I assume everyone already knows The Big News.

I started this after AXM #4, but had no ending until I saw the last few pages of AXM #6. Thanks, Joss!

Date Completed November 10th, 2004.

Everyone should be acting happy to see him, Kitty thinks.

Piotr is alive and it seems like everyone should be laughing and hugging and crying, but they aren't. Maybe the X-Men are just too used to seeing dead people suddenly reappear, alive and well, in their midst.

They don't really have time to be overcome anyway, because there's too much going on, and later when they're finally on the plane there's too much to process, and Kitty can't decide *what* she feels. She's shocked and thrilled, yes, but angry, too.

She's still angry at him for doing what he did, for being so stupidly noble. Seeing him alive is like reliving the pain of his death, and the shame of how much she hated him sometimes for not caring enough to live. Seeing him alive is *hard*.

He comes to her room later, dressed in what look like his own clothes, though how they were still here after all this time she doesn't know.

Maybe the X-Men never really give up on anyone.

He looks around, eyes landing on things familiar. On the books and trinkets that were gifts from him. On the sketches and paintings from his own hand. On the photos of them together.

She sits on the bed and watches him, and he makes her want to cry because he's real but he looks just like all those memories that until a few hours ago were too painful to think about.

They're still too painful, actually.

She'd forgotten what it was like being around him, how big he is, and how small it makes her feel. She's hyper-aware of it now as he sits down next to her, making her bed creak.

She feels small inside, too. She feels like hiding.

What do you say to a dead man?

It's been nearly four years since she heard his voice. Four years in which she spent every day wishing she could see him or talk to him again.

Now she can do both, and it's utterly paralyzed her.

"It's good to be back here," he says quietly, and she hates herself for feeling the way she does, and for not knowing how to act around him.

"It's good to have you back," she replies, and then wants to cry all over again because it sounds so trite and so *lame* and this is *Piotr*. She should be able to summon something better for Piotr.

He looks scared and hopeful when he turns to her and asks, "Is Illyana here?"

The question lands like a block of ice in her belly, and her first reaction is fear. Fear that maybe he's been screwed up somehow. Maybe he's confused, maybe they damaged him.

Most of all, she fears what she's about to do. She's about to put an end to his hope.

He's only been back a few hours, and now she's going to hurt him.

"Piotr," she says softly, though no amount of tenderness can make the words she's about to say any less ugly, "Illyana is--"


And that's when she gets it.

Because so was he.

And now he's not.

She shakes her head and barely gets the words out. "No, Illyana isn't here," she says, and now *that* pain feels brand-new, too.

He nods, but he doesn't look all that surprised.

They sit for a few minutes, not saying anything. She's floundering in the moment and trying to make sense of the whole thing, and all she can think about is Scott and Jean, and how very naive she was about what eventually happened between them.

"I would like to go for a walk," he says, getting to his feet and offering her his hand.

He wants her to go with him, and she's still so raw inside that such a little thing is nearly enough to undo her.

She follows him outside, into the fading light of a day she will never forget.

She answers his questions about the X-Men as best she can, but she knows precious little herself, having only recently returned. The strain of trying to carry on a normal conversation with him makes her want to turn and run. Tell him she's sorry but she just can't *do* this, because it's not supposed to feel this way. It's supposed to feel good. It's supposed to feel like it used to, when she stood in his shadow and felt like nothing could hurt her.

She hadn't stopped to think back then that he could hurt her most of all.

He pauses on the lawn, tips his head back, and closes his eyes. "I missed the sun," he says.

It feels like something tears loose in her chest, a pain so sharp and real she clutches her T-shirt in her fist and is scared to breathe.

She looks up at his profile, at the smile-curved corner of his mouth, so familiar and missed, as he feels the sun on his face for the first time in years. She's still reeling, yes, but she loves him, and she'd live with this misery, this not knowing what to do or say, every day for the rest of her life if it meant he'd be here.

If it meant he could feel the sun on his face.

Piotr is back.

He's standing in the sunshine, holding her hand, and he's *alive*.

And she is happy to see him.

The End

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. -- Anne Frank

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