by Alicia McKenzie
DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Set sometime after the Revolution in a hypothetical future, the basic details of which should be perfectly obvious from the fic. Hopefully. ;) Many thanks to Timesprite, Mitai, Pebbs, Lyssie, PK, and Dia for looking at this 'in progress'.
I remember the first time you said that to me. We were in the middle of a training run, hanging off the side of a rock face, and my rope had broken. My own stupid fault, I remember; I hadn't checked my gear properly before we left. I had one precarious handhold and a lot of empty air between me and the ground.
Trust me, you told me. I won't let you fall.
And you didn't. You took my hand and pulled me up as if I weighed nothing at all. I remember locking my arms around your neck so tightly that you laughed and reminded me that you needed to breathe. And I remember what we did at the top, too. You know what they say about close calls.
Trust me. I got cynical, eventually, about those two little words. I started to see 'trust me' as your shorthand for 'I know better than you do, and I don't have the patience to explain'. So I would try and make a joke of it, but I always knew you saw through me. It never stopped you from saying it, but at least we both knew where we stood.
Still, I had my charitable moments, and you had your honest ones. There was more to us than the secrets we kept from each other. Otherwise, I suppose we would have gone our separate ways long ago.
I had--still have so many secrets of my own. It was a double standard to expect you to bare your soul when I wasn't willing to do the same, Nate.
It doesn't matter? Let me guess--nothing matters. That's what you were going to say, wasn't it? You've made your choice, so none of this matters.
Fuck. Listen to me. I sound like I'm trying to talk you out of killing yourself or something.
Maybe that's apt, though, given what you're trying to do. You're just choosing a more sophisticated way to negate your life.
Don't look so surprised. I know what all this equipment is, Nate, and I know what that suit you're wearing is supposed to do. Chronogear, right? That's what Blaquesmith called it.
You know something's insane when the little rat wants nothing to do with it.
It was Irene, by the way. My 'informant'. I don't know how the hell she found me, but I picked up the phone yesterday to hear her babbling about how you'd lost it and how I had to get to New York right away. She was nearly in tears. I hadn't realized she was that attached to you.
If you say 'it doesn't matter' once more, I'll break your fucking jaw.
It DOES matter. All of this matters. Whether you like it or not, you have a life here, and people who care about you. You threw your lot in with us and this world years ago, Nate, and you don't get the option of backing out now. This isn't just about you.
Oh, spare me the bullshit. Irene told me all about it when I got here; how you snapped and started raving about how you had to go back and start all over again because you'd screwed up so badly.
Frankly, I'd been expecting to hear that you'd gone off the deep end for a while, now. Ever since Scott died, and certainly after I heard you finished the job.
Well. Guess that was my fault. I didn't expect you to react like that.
Shit, Nate, stop gibbering. We've done worse to each other sparring, and I WAS trying to provoke you, remember? I must admit I'm glad you pulled the punch; I like being able to chew my food.
That was a joke.
I--don't, please, Nate. Look--it's barely going to bruise. Doesn't matter, doesn't even particularly hurt. My own fault for not ducking.
You're right. I did say it, didn't I? Oh, bite me, there's nothing in the least bit hypocritical about that. The fact that I goaded you into losing your precious self-control enough for you to try and half-heartedly slug me DOESN'T matter. Frankly, feel free to stay here and try and pound me into the floor if you like. I'd much rather you do that than flip that switch and jump into the timestream.
Yes, really. That was an invitation. Take me up on it, please--
I'm not making fun of the situation. You want me to be logical? Fine. Do you really think what you're planning would actually do any good? I did listen all those times you rambled on about temporal theory, cracks about how you were giving me a headache notwithstanding. I know how it works, Nate--the basics, at least. Enough to understand that all you could ever do is create another timeline where Scott didn't die. Our timeline wouldn't change.
You wouldn't stop hurting.
You know that's what this is about, Nate. I mean, what are you going back to change if not that? You aren't going back to save Apocalypse's life, that's for fucking sure.
It's Scott. All of this is about Scott. He's dead, but you're denying it as hard as you can, because it hurts like hell. What, you think that admitting it hurts is a bad thing? Idiot. Remind me to kick Blaquesmith's ass up between his ears on the way out. I think I smell Askani bullshit in action again.
Think, Nate. God knows you have the right to be hurting, but Scott--your father's dead. He died months ago at Akkaba. All you killed was his body, and his murderer.
I hate the fact that you had to do it. I hate it. I hate the fact that the fucking X-Men are so clueless as to have let you wander off on your own, after what happened. Jean I can excuse; she's got her own pain to deal with. But the others--
Logan told me you broke your psimitar.
Odd, you doing that. If you're going back to start your mission all over again, don't you need your holy weapon? So what profound statement were you trying to make by snapping it in half and throwing it at your father's headstone?
No answer, huh? You know what I think? I think you broke it because you used it to kill him. You broke it because you remember what it felt like to stab him through the chest and blow him to pieces with your TK, and you couldn't bear the sight of the thing that let you do it.
Nate. Look at me. Tell me I'm wrong.
I thought so. You realize it's the most honest reaction you've had to any of this. This--what you're trying to do here, isn't honest. All you're doing is deluding yourself. Nothing you can do is going to change what happened. You could maybe - only maybe - make it turn out differently for a different you, but YOU still have to deal with what happened.
This is just a complicated sort of running away.
Look at me. You did what you had to do. You know that, too. The job's done, Apocalypse is dead--
I know. I know it wasn't supposed to be this way--
We should go. Come on--take that damned suit off and let's get out of here.
Hell, I don't know where. You're asking the wrong person. Anywhere but here, that's my suggestion.
Please--just take my hand, Nate.
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