theothermanofsteel: (sometimes you get discouraged)
[personal profile] theothermanofsteel
He thought about going to Milliways. Outside. There is water there, and trees, and horses, and grass that could almost be a field.

But there's a crowded room in between, and the last thing he wants to see is more people. Friends will be concerned, and strangers will be curious, and -- no.

He can't explain. To anyone. Not yet.

There is no art in him. And if he lets himself move to push or hit anything, something will shatter. Himself or the walls or whatever is in front of him.

He is on Serenity's bridge, hunched in the tiny area in front of the pilot's console, looking up at the stars.

There are so many of them.

He has no idea how long it's been since he left Simon's infirmary.

Date: 2007-08-26 06:05 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
Kate's not as drunk as she wants to be.

But she's generally inebriated, as she walks in and looks at Piotr in silence for a minute.

Part of it is to remember how to be solid.

"Hey." Just that, as she moves forward enough to see his face.

Date: 2007-08-26 06:23 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (and then what?)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
There's a moment where he's only looking at the stars.

And then he turns, just enough to see her, and it's a little closer to the bridge holding the two of them instead of two people alone in themselves.

"Katya."

Date: 2007-08-26 06:27 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"Piotr."

She wants to smile.

She can't.

"...I'm kinda drunk," she admits after a pause.

"Simon and I fought the scotch. I'm not sure who won." Her smile's there, then, and crooked. "Song could be about Mal, huh? Or change 'law' to 'odds' and it's us."

And then the smile's gone.

"I don't know what to do, Piotr."

Date: 2007-08-26 06:58 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (sometimes you get discouraged)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Neither do I."

(He thinks of Illyana, times like these. His beautiful baby sister. She hated the finality of death; she raged at it once, and at him, with every maybe she could find.

He couldn't save her, either.)

He lifts a hand to Kate now, palm up, because he has no more words yet.

And because they're still together, at least.

It's something.

Date: 2007-08-26 07:09 am (UTC)
prydeful: (gone like that)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
It takes her two tries to make her hand not slip through his.

But she manages it, and then she's clutching it.

"We can't have a baby," she whispers after a minute, and when Kate looks up at him she looks younger than she has in years, looks like the girl who woke up from nightmares about dying and thought she would before she ever made love. Looks like she's lost, and the simplest reason for that is that she feels like she is.

"We can't ever have one."

Date: 2007-08-26 07:22 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (seen the world burn)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
It's his turn to be on this side of the conversation, to clutch at every maybe he can find--

And they choke him.

He can't look at maybe. Not now. Because false hope, when you know it's false, is nothing but despair.




"I wanted to meet our child," he whispers without knowing what he's going to say, and it's only Kate and him, and there's a prickling heat behind his eyes.

"I did not think."

If she's clutching his hand, he's holding just as tight.

Date: 2007-08-26 07:26 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I did too," she whispers back. "I wanted our family. I wanted to see him. You and me and him binding us all. I wanted our baby. I did. Maybe I wanted for some reasons that were wrong, but I did."

She's not sure why she feels like she has to say it so much, to make sure he knows it's true.

Maybe because it's all they're going to have.

"I didn't know. When I said we'd try. I didn't know. I wouldn't have asked any of it if I'd known," Kate manages, miserably.

Date: 2007-08-26 08:01 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I'm sorry."

It's not her fault. It's not. She didn't know.

But she wishes she'd never opened his sketchbook.

"I'm sorry, Piotr. I wanted to--I wanted to keep you," she manages. "To not--with your great-grandfather, I never wanted to see you and see him. I wanted to spare you that. And I just," and now she's crying, "wanted our baby. I wanted our baby when I was fourteen and I was stupid and a kid but I still want him now. And maybe if I hadn't--if we'd gotten together sooner we could have him. I don't know. I don't know. I'm so sorry. I want our baby and I'm sorry and I don't know what to do and I can't grieve what we never had but I want to."

Date: 2007-08-26 08:34 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hope makes despair hurt more)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He can't not reach for her. He can't.

"Oh, my Katya."

His hand slides through her, and then abruptly it doesn't, and her shoulders are warm and shaking and painfully tense beneath his arm.

"I am so sorry." His head is bowed over her hair, not quite touching. "I did not mean -- we both let ourselves hope," and now his voice is thicker with pain. "I wanted our baby. You and me. I want him still."

"I love you, Katya. No matter what. I grieve too, and I love you."

And they're helpless, and they'll never get what they want in this, and nothing changes it.

Date: 2007-08-26 08:40 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I wasn't going to. Ever. Because I'm--I'm Shadowcat and I don't want to stop being Shadowcat and that wouldn't be fair to a baby. And it sucks to be a mutant. But--but it's you. You and me. And I couldn't with anyone else and with you I couldn't not, but it won't happen anyway."

She's crying harder than she realizes, as her hands fist on his shirt and she won't let herself phase now, won't let go.

"This isn't fair. It isn't fair. We keep losing things and next I'll lose you again and this isn't fair."

The last is louder than it should be, and then she's pressing her face to his shirt and just crying and clinging and whispering through it don't leave me.

Date: 2007-08-26 09:10 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (when evening falls so hard)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He pulls her into his lap, wrapping his arms around her.

And the worst thing is -- he can't say she won't lose him. Not for sure. They risk their lives too often for that.

(He promised Illyana that, and in the end it was a lie.)

"I won't leave you," he whispers into her hair. It's Russian; he doesn't even notice, though he wouldn't change it if he did. This much he can promise, enough to hope he can keep it. "Not this time. Not if I can stay."

I'm sorry, he wants to tell the baby who will never exist to hear it. I'm sorry, I wanted you to live, I want you.

Someday he'll die, and then his brother will never have peace again.

And Kate is sobbing into his shirt, and all he can do is hold her and give her what tiny scraps he can offer.

Date: 2007-08-26 09:18 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"But you always do."

Three times. Four.

She can't count it.

"I hate this. I hate this so much. I want to kill her and I want to kill Pietro and I want to make it better and we can't."

For the first time she feels like Kitty instead of Kate, and it's funny because she knows that's just because of how badly this hurts.

It's hard not to feel young right now.

"I'm sorry," she whispers again and curls against his chest, closes her eyes and doesn't loosen her grip on his shirt.

"I want you."

In every way ever that's true, and so it matters to say.

Date: 2007-08-26 09:44 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (when evening falls so hard)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He can kiss her hair, and hold her as tightly as he can without hurting her, and cling to her in every way she's clinging to him.

And that's all.

And it's nothing like enough.

"I love you. I want you. Always."

Date: 2007-08-26 09:48 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She's breathing shakily, and then she's whispering, "We need to get out of here. Someone'll--this isn't private."

She doesn't know what they'll do in private, really, that they're not already doing here.

But. But. But.

(And part of her thinks, I want you and wants to feel his body moving above hers, skin on skin, and part of her can't stand the thought, and all of her doesn't know if she should ask that now.)

Date: 2007-08-26 10:19 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel and shadow)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
But.

"The ship is on autopilot."

He's shifting his grip on her preparatory to standing, anyway.

Date: 2007-08-26 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"Then I just want to be alone with you," she whispers after a pause, "and not worry about anyone seeing us."

Date: 2007-08-26 09:04 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (when evening falls so hard)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Rearranging is a little harder when neither of them wants to let go of the other for a moment, but only a little; he stands as she finishes speaking, ducking his head away from some low-hanging instrumentation and cradling Kate close against his chest.

She doesn't need to be carried. But.

But he doesn't want to let go of her.

"Da. I know."

It's late, he thinks. They might be able to get from the bridge to their bunk down in the passenger section without being seen by anyone.

Life in the Mansion teaches you how to strategically avoid your friends, anyway. He'll give it a good try.

Date: 2007-08-26 09:13 pm (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
It's a useful skill.

Especially now, and Kate's grateful that they make it to the bunk without running into anyone.

And she doesn't need to be carried, but sometimes--sometimes she feels better knowing she can let him.

Now's one of those times, as they settle on the bunk and she rests her head on his shoulder.

Date: 2007-08-26 09:29 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (sometimes you get discouraged)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
The bed's the main piece of furniture in the room, and takes up a good portion of the space. It's the easiest place to sit.

He feels hollowed out, empty except for the leaden weight of the misery inside him. If there's help to be found anywhere, he can't see it yet; only time to reconcile themselves to the loss that will never go away, and that time seems very far in the future right now.

He toes off his shoes, moving as little as he can to try to keep from jostling Kate, and lies down carefully. She stretches with the movement, as silent as he, until her body is a comfortably familiar weight on top of him and her head still tucked against his shoulder.

The ceiling holds no more answers than the stars.

Date: 2007-08-27 01:51 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
For a long time she's silent.

It's tempting to nod off like this, in some ways, and instead she makes herself focus a bit. Enough to say, eventually, "I don't know what I want anymore."

Date: 2007-08-27 03:12 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel and shadow)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
His head turns.

He can see the top of her head, the curve of her forehead and cheek, tanned against his shoulder and blurred with closeness. Another time, he would think of the picture it made; other times, he has.

A soft interrogative noise.

Date: 2007-08-27 03:24 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I don't know. I don't know if we should even have tried. I don't know if I just--if I was a selfish bitch who--I don't know. I don't know what I want now. I just know what I can't have. And part of me wants it desperately and part of me thinks this is the best and I don't know.

"I know I want you. That much. But that's it."

Date: 2007-08-27 03:44 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (got one constant in this weary world)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Katya," he murmurs, and turns a little more, shifting under her just enough to be able to look at her better.

"You're not that. You are not. You are anything but selfish."

"We tried," and his voice has dropped and thickened because these words are hard, these thoughts are hard and muddled with aching, "to make life. We wanted a baby."

"No matter what else there was, that is not wrong. We wanted that."

Wanted.

Want.

(Won't have.)

Date: 2007-08-27 03:53 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She can't help but snort a bit at the first words.

"You and I both know I can be. I try," she adds in a whisper.

We wanted a baby he says and Kate closes her eyes tightly.

"Why can't we have anything normal, Piotr? Why can't we have--why is it us?"

Date: 2007-08-27 04:17 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (sometimes you get discouraged)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Because they're mutants.

Because they're them.

Because life never, never gives them a break, life doesn't and death doesn't and nothing in between, and--

"I don't know," he whispers, and in the silent tiny bedroom it's bare and raw even to his own ears.

Date: 2007-08-27 04:21 am (UTC)
prydeful: (hair and shoulder)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I'm starting to hate those words."

Kate smooths a hand over his shirt, tiredly.

"It's so stupid. All of it."

She wants.

She doesn't want.

She wants and can't have.

She doesn't know which it is, or maybe it's all, and it's too much and not fair.

"Can we still have sex?"

Date: 2007-08-27 04:35 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (when evening falls so hard)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
That sparks a fragile smile, a brief and bitter ghost of what might yesterday have been humor.

"Da."

He knows why she's asking.

Because it's love, and it's connection, and it's distraction -- and sex means babies means it's nothing like a distraction at all.

"We are still... us. Yes."

And, softer, "If you want it too."

Date: 2007-08-27 04:39 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She nods, a little, without lifting her head.

And then she whispers, "Can we now?"

Date: 2007-08-27 04:51 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (waited so long for this kiss)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Part of him wants nothing more.

And part of him wants very little less.

Because of what sex is, and what it isn't, right now.

But he loves her, and that is and will always be true, and he wants her, and that has been true for eleven years despite everything else, and -- because they are themselves, and together, and this is what she asks and what he wants to give her -- he presses a soft kiss to her temple.

And then another to the corner of her eye, and another to her cheek, as his arms tighten around her.

Date: 2007-08-27 05:04 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
Kate closes her eyes again and leans into his kisses, sighing shakily and turning her own head to kiss his neck.

It's horrible, and she knows it, and it's going to hurt her heart.

But he's here. And not leaving. And that matters, and she needs to believe, she needs, that it's going to get better.

Not tonight, but--

But it's Piotr, so she puffs warm air against his jaw before mouthing his skin and pulls him closer. She thinks it's closer. As close as she can, anyway, her own arms tightening to match his.

"I love you."

Date: 2007-08-27 05:17 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (nothing in the world but you)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"I love you," he whispers, and covers her mouth with his.

It's soft, and it's very gentle, and (for all of that) more than a little desperate.

"I love you."

No matter how bad it gets, no matter how bad it is -- that much will always be true.

And maybe, this once, it'll be enough.

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