San Francisco, One Week Later

The sunlight glinted off the sunglasses that Kitty Pryde wore. She was dressed in a black blouse and black jeans; the colour seemed appropriate considering where she was. She stood on a lush green hill overlooking the graveyard. Kitty had never liked graveyards, they always gave her the creeps but still, she had to visit them quite regularly, since most of her friends were dead. She had tried to put off this meeting, to be honest, she was afraid she might have to admit her feelings, and that was something she was very uncomfortable with.

Kitty moved down the hill slowly, picking her way through the headstones, looking for one in particular, the person she had come to meet. She still didn’t know what had possessed her to come to San Francisco, to visit this place, it just seemed like the right thing to do. The right thing to do…Kitty mulled that over in her mind, she had wanted nothing more than a normal life and yet, her time with Ben had taught her a lot, it had been a week since their collective run-in with the Brotherhood of Scrier. In that time, Kitty had been amazed by Ben’s resilience, his sheer force of will, he had faced so much, easily as much as she had, and he had endured it, if his life was torn apart, he simply got back up and started a new one. His optimism, his devotion, they were a source of inspiration. He lived his life by one ethic, “With great power, there must come great responsibility,” and his words shamed her. She had left the X-Men, wanting to be left alone, wanting to live in peace, and yet she had incredible abilities and a sharp mind, and she was wasting it on her own selfish ends. It dented her pride to admit that she had been selfish, and not just about her college life.

Time to balance the scales a little, she thought. She found the headstone she had searched for, and although she had prepared herself, she burst into tears when she saw the words engraved on the cold stone. She tried to control the sobs but the outpouring of emotion was too much. She sat cross-legged on the ground in front of the grave, tears still falling freely. She reached out and traced the name on the headstone, Peter Wisdom.

She remembered his face, his voice, and his laugh. The memories of their time together, the long days fighting alongside each other, the nights they had spent in each other’s arms. Pete had been a mutant, her boyfriend while she had been a member of Excalibur. He was several years older than her, an ex-spy and an all round scoundrel, but she had loved him, and then she had broken his heart. Kitty had always mourned the fact her teenage years had been filled with conflict and pain, she wished she had been normal, young, just a regular girl. That’s what she had told Pete, that she felt old. That she felt old…with him. She hated the fact that she had said those words, implied that somehow Pete was holding her back, he wasn’t, he was the love of her life, but she was too stubborn to admit it. Here she was now though, at his grave. Pete had been murdered while he was working on an assignment with X-Force. Shot in the head, in this very city too.

She didn’t attend his funeral, she didn’t even know he had been killed. She hadn’t found out until weeks after the event, when Sam Guthrie tracked her down in Chicago, full of anger and indignation. That changed quickly when he realised she genuinely didn’t know he was gone. Still, she had to come here; she had made her peace with all those who had died, except Pete.

You’re probably wondering why I’m here, especially now. Well, I got a kick in the teeth by a guy who feels responsible for every human being on this planet. Responsibility. I think that’s why I kept going on about my lost youth, children don’t need to be responsible, that’s an adult thing. Funny, I thought I was an adult, but I was nothing more than a spoilt little girl, I just hid it better. Now I have to finally grow up, I only wish you were here with me. I pushed you away because I was selfish and I am so sorry that I did, and now, well, you’re dead and me, I’m left behind…again. Illyana, Rachel, Doug, Piotr, Moira, they’ve all gone away and I’m left to pick up the pieces and try to go on with life.

You were the last straw, Pete, your death nearly killed me, I drowned myself in drink, hoping that maybe I could escape the pain, escape my memories. It took Ben Reilly to make me wake up. And now I have. I miss you Pete, I still love you too, I realise that. But you’re gone, and I have to keep going. No more X-Men, my future will be to a different tune than Charlie’s marching band. It’s time for the dream to evolve, take a new path, a new beginning. Ben’s with me, and Jubilee, and that’s just the start. People can’t be taught to live in peace, so maybe we should show them.

I love you Pete, more than I can say, and I hope what I have planned will make you proud, that it will make a difference in this screwed-up world. If it works, a lot of people will be safer, if it doesn’t, well; I’ll probably be seeing you a lot sooner than I thought…

Kitty dried her eyes and stood up, leaving a single red rose in front of the gravestone, Goodbye, Pete. She turned and made her way back up the hill, out of the graveyard.

THE END

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