musamea: (Piotr)
[personal profile] musamea
Title: Steel
Author: Musamea
Fandom: Astonishing X-Men
Summary: On the way to the Breakworld, Peter pauses to reflect. Spoilers through issue 19.
Warnings: Safe for everyone.
Word count: 1000
Disclaimer: AXM belongs to Marvel and Joss.


Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] picfor1000, with this picture as reference:



To destroy a world... it is not as if this is an easy thing, Piotr tells himself, unsure of whether the thought brings reassurance or fear.

He leaves Katya alone, as she had requested. Some other day (some other life, perhaps), he would have confronted her with the graves of her own ghosts, would have pointed out that she was now doing exactly what Emma... what Cassandra had wanted her to do. Even now, he wants to shake her, to pull her to him and kiss her the way he did last night, the way that says this is real, and I am real, and I am not the nightmare she fooled you into believing I could be. But at this moment, with an oracle of world destruction hanging over him, he doesn't think he can use force. Of any kind. On anyone.

So he walks away, from her, from their imagined life together, into a future of his own that has no room for her. That barely has any room for him.

What might a man do to divert the inevitable? Another Rasputin tried once, and look what had happened. An empire had crumbled, countless innocents had died.

Had died, and might do so again.

He stops in front of one of the ship's huge windows and stares out into black space. The world, his world, hangs in the darkness like a bright blue marble suspended in India ink. What would he do to save it, if he knew that some outlander, some being that he couldn't even recognize as human, was foretold to be the destroyer of all he holds dear?

He is so tired of prophecies.

He doesn't destroy. He creates. He saves. He gives his life, if need be.

But even that was taken from him, and what is a sacrifice if the cost to one's self is negated thereafter? If all the others believe he is capable of this kind of devastation, does that make it so?

He finds himself wishing for Emma, wishing her awake, wishing her whole and competent and contemptuous. She would know what to do. And if she didn't, she would convince them all that she did. And then he realizes how strange it is that they are hurtling through space toward some unknown, possibly pre-destined future, and he is wishing for Emma Frost.

It should be Cyclops I wish for, he thinks. Cyclops with his no-nonsense, icy calm approach to battle and his straightforward manner the rest of the time. Cyclops who always lets you know exactly where you stand with him, who gives good advice, who leads.

But this Cyclops, without his visor or his glasses or his closed eyelids to hide his expression... this man is not the one Piotr had always imagined behind the mask. This Cyclops, whose eyes had been so cold and so dead when he pulled the trigger on each one of Emma's manifestations, Piotr thinks he might not know, much less presume to understand.

He is only a man. Piotr has always known that, but dimly, like the knowledge of his mother tongue or the weight of steel over skin. He just knows these things, knows them to his bones, in ways that do not require contemplation or -- it's possible -- belief.

Besides, he can almost predict what they would say to him. Cyclops, no matter what he believes about the oracle -- and how can he not trust to prophecies? -- would clap him on the shoulder and tell him not to worry; he is an X-Men and that identity takes precedence before anything or anyone else he might be, or might become. His team won't fail him, or leave him. Emma would roll her eyes and mutter something disparaging about off-worlders and their foreseeing abilities, which she is sure are, no doubt, stunning.

Maybe, Piotr reflects, he is wrong on both counts, and it should be Jean Grey he thinks of. She, at least, knows -- knew -- what it meant to live with the shadow of an apocalypse always hovering over one shoulder. Resurrected again and again, only to herald more death. Piotr thinks that if there is anything to be said about his situation, Jean would be the one who knows what the words are, and how to say them. In comparison to the lives she has led, this one that he has been born into could almost be termed insignificant.

But Jean is dead. Cyclops has been both blinded and set free by an Odyssean imposter. And Emma... it is probably better if he does not dwell too long on all that Emma has done. Any of it.

Maybe that is the answer. He knows Cyclops, Logan, Kitty... they can all kill him, if need be. But they won’t. Scott is done with helping those he loves martyr themselves. Logan’s entire life has revolved around defying fate. And Kitty... she is angry at him now, yes, but he has seen this anger before, directed elsewhere on his behalf, the night they found him in the Benetech labs. In the end, the last vestiges of Cassandra Nova’s illusion will leave her, and the history that they do share will claim its proper place. She did not kill him in the dream. She will not now.

But Emma. Emma who has survived one holocaust. Emma whose every action since Genosha has been influenced by watching her students die... Emma who will not stand aside and let another genocide happen. For all that she will not betray any doubts about him, Emma can and will kill him if she thinks he will fulfill this prophecy about the Breakworld.

She would see it as her duty.

She might see it as her redemption.

He brings one hand to the window and presses it to the glass in such a way that his palm and fingers block out the Earth that they are leaving behind.

Then he sighs, turns, and walks away.
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musamea

September 2007

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