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"Death of a Dream"

Death of a Dream

Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Old Ghosts
Chapter 3: Strange Bedfellows
Chapter 4: Melancholy Memories
Chapter 5: Of Love and Betrayal
Chapter 6: Innocence Lost
Chapter 7: Of Friendship and Discovery
Chapter 8: First Blood
Chapter 9: Cast Out
Chapter 10: Revelations
Chapter 11: Of Love and Hope
Chapter 12: Stolen Lives
Chapter 13: Bad Dreams
Chapter 14: The Ties that Bind
Chapter 15: A Hero's Life
Chapter 16: Old Wounds
Chapter 17: A Time of Last Things
Chapter 18: The Final Countdown
Chapter 19: Battlezone
Chapter 20: Zero Hour
Chapter 21: A Glimmer of Hope

The sequel to this story is "The Resurrection Gauntlet."

Death of a Dream

Chapter 13: Bad Dreams

Kitty was dreaming, twisting the sheets as she writhed in terror, running within her mind from the all too familiar nightmare. It caught her, as it always did, pulling her in slowly, inexorably, until she was trapped within her dream self, knowing exactly what was to come and helpless to prevent it. She watched from behind her dream-self's eyes as the scenario played itself out...

She had returned to the Excalibur lighthouse, now an empty shell of what it had once been. This place held more ghosts now than it did good memories. Rachel, Illyana...her two best friends had passed from this life during her days here, Brian and Meggan were dead now, too, Pete was gone. There was nothing left for her here now that Nightcrawler and Colossus had returned to the X-Men. Yet she had felt the need to return, to gather together the pieces of themselves they had left behind, their say goodbye.

She had scarcely had time to pack anything when the X-Men's distress call had gone out, none of them had. During the horrors that followed their arrival back in the US, most of them had even forgotten they had another life to return to. They were needed there, to continue the battle against the Shadow King, and none of them dared to take off across the ocean on their own. Besides, Nightcrawler and Colossus had hardly seemed to care. They were too busy making plans and training for battle. She wondered if anyone had noticed she was missing yet. She shrugged and continued to gather up her things, doubting it highly.

After a while, she had settled into her favorite old, overstuffed chair, curling up with one of her favorite novels she had found lying about. For a brief moment, she had been swept away by the story, a smile finding her face for the first time in many weeks. She must have dozed off sometime shortly after that, for the next she had known, someone was shaking her gently awake.


"Oh...hi, Kurt," she had yawned, stretching languidly in the chair. "Guess you guys noticed after all."

"But of course we did, Kitty. What were you thinking, taking off like that without telling anyone? It's a good thing I figured out where to find you or--"

"Or what? I'd be dead like everyone else?" she had asked, matter of factly.

He had fallen silent then, not wanting to think about the truth of her words, perhaps, and she had continued her tirade.

"Like the Professor? And 'Yana? And Jubilee, and Cannonball, and Brian and Meggan?" Angry tears had begun to form in her eyes, the pain still fresh enough to bring them on in a moment.

His face sad, he had turned to hug her, and she gratefully fell into the embrace. They hugged in silence for a long time, taking comfort in each other and their friendship. "At least I still have you and Piotr," she said finally, wiping the tears from her cheek. "I don't know what I'd do without--"

She had broken off then, freezing in complete and utter shocked silence as she felt Kurt's hand slide from her waist to her hip. What had been a brotherly, comforting embrace a moment ago had suddenly turned into something much more. She was so shocked, that she would have been dead then and there but for the fact that she drew back in surprise.

His sword missed her heart by a bare inch, driving painfully through her ribs and into her lung. The pain was more intense than anything she could ever recall feeling, but even beyond that was the overwhelming, terrifying fear that she suddenly felt for the man who had been like a brother to her, her best friend. Between the pain and shock, she hadn't even thought to phase, and probably couldn't have concentrated enough to do so if she had.

"Still kicking, Katchzen?" he asked mockingly, looming over her. The shadows that had ever covered his face seemed to have grown, spreading until only the barest features were recognizable, yellow eyes glowing like twin fires in the darkness. Kitty focused hard on simply breathing, but was unable to supress the thought that he now resembled a demon more than ever. "You surprise me, liebling," he said casually, sliding deftly into the chair beside her. "Perhaps there is time for a bit of fun after all, nein?" He had grabbed her forcefully then, pulling her closely to him, and she marveled at his surprising strength even as her mind began to retreat into unconsciousness, seeming to welcome the oblivion.

She fought hard against it, pushing herself to remember her training, shoving him away with all her might and ripping her shirt to shreds in the process. He had held the tattered pieces of it in his hands as he grinned madly at her. "I love it when a woman struggles. It makes it so much more fun." He leapt for her then, but this time, she was ready, phasing through the floor and all the way down to the main floor. Black spots danced before her eyes, the loss of blood threatening to end any chance of escape. She gasped for breath, one hand pressed over the cut in her chest as she thought desperately for a way out. She didn't dare go up into the air, though he couldn't reach her there, with the loss of blood, she was in too much danger of falling, herself. She was distracted suddenly from her thoughts as a sudden bamfing sound and the stench of sulphur and brimstone filled the air, announcing Nightcrawler's arrival. He leered at her evilly, advancing in for the kill.

"Why?" she managed to choke out through her disbelief and pain. "Why, Kurt?"

"Because my master would approve," he answered simply, making another a leap for her.

Pinned beneath his weight, she had stared up into those yellow eyes, those eyes that had always held so much compassion, so much joy for life. She stared for what seemed an eternity, barely noticing as he ripped away the remainder of her shirt, searching desperately for some sign of the soul those eyes had once given voice to. There was nothing...they were flat, empty, cold. Filled with the Shadow King, now, she knew. She shut her eyes tight then, tears squeezing hotly from behind them.

"Oh, now, Katchzen. Don't cry," he had soothed, stroking her cheek. "You might even enjoy this."

She awoke at that precise moment, as she always did. Sweating, shaking, out of breath, just as she had been at that moment. Sobbing as well, she thought, wiping angrily at her cheek. She had escaped the dream, finally, but it never ended there. No, she remembered every last detail of it, to the bitter end.

Still sobbing, she had phased through the floor and into the earth, leaving her clothes behind in his hands. She held her breath for as long as she could, letting the earth rotate about her in its daily cycle. She almost passed out again, the pain in her ribs and her failing lung robbing her of her stamina. She had emerged only after she was sure the ocean had passed by above her, and lay gasping for breath on the mainland of Britain. Someone had found her, though she was unconscious at the time and didn't know who. All the X-Men had said was that they received a call from W.H.O. and had headed right out to pick her up.

She had nearly died from the wound he had given her, spending weeks in the infirmary and hours under the constant care of the little Shi'ar technology they retained. Even now, she still bore the scar from that wound, just below her left breast. It was a constant reminder of that day...and of what had happened to the wonderful man who had once been as a brother to her.

The tears renewed with that thought, she sank back down onto the bed, burying her face in her pillow.

Gambit slowly climbed toward consciousness, the stinging pain in his face calling him insistently forth from the thick blackness he seemed to be swimming in. His vision was fuzzy as he opened his eyes, and it took him a few minutes to adjust to the sudden bright light. He had enough presence of mind to note that the stinging in his face had subsided a bit, and then to wonder just where the hell he was. Last thing he could remember, he had walking down the hallway toward the practice room...then...nothing.

The room swam into focus an instant later, and he realized he was lying down on a table of sorts. Experimentally, he tried moving his limbs, and panicked for a moment when he thought he was paralyzed. He was not much more mollified to find that they were strapped down, instead. Craning his neck to the left, he tried to get a sense of where he was being held prisoner.

"I see you have joined the land of the living, Mr. LeBeau. How very gracious of you." Psylocke's beautiful face wore its usual predatory expression as she moved into his view.

"More than I can say for how you be treatin' your guests," he croaked out.

"I find that hospitality rarely has advantages," she replied, moving closer to him. "It's so much easier to simply take what you need, don't you think?" she asked, now looming over him with a faint smile.

"Not very ladylike of you, though, Betsy."

"I gave up being a lady a long time ago, cajun. I should think that's obvious by now."

He nodded, looking about the room with more interest as his mobility slowly returned. " bring me here to chit-chat, or you gonna get to torturin' me anytime soon?"

"Well, by all means, let's get down to business, then," she said, smiling more broadly and igniting her psi-knife.

Remy cringed inwardly, knowing the damage that weapon of hers could do though he had never experienced firsthand. Still, he kept up his bravado. "You gonna tell me why you're doin' dis, first, chere?"

"Oh, did I forget to explain that?" she asked, smiling sweetly. "Well, I truly doubt you'll just give me the information I need regarding the X-Men, and even if you did, I couldn't trust you, now could I? After what you went through in Antarctica, I don't believe you'd ever betray them again. Besides, this way is so much more fun."

"Den why did you hire me on to spy on dem in de first place?"

"I have my reasons....but don't worry, even though you won't be responsible for what happens to them, I'll be sure you get all the blame. If you live. After all, I only need your memories...not your body.

Gambit grimaced and tested the strength of the manacles which held him, then tested to see how his power was holding up. Nothing...whatever they had zapped him with, or something about these manacles was inhibiting his mutant abilities.

"Now...lie still, this will hurt...a lot." Grinning madly, she shoved her psi-knife deep into his brain.

Gambit's screams echoed throughout the entire complex as she began to tear his mind apart, piece by piece.


Continued in Chapter 14


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