Nameless Interlude– by Victor Moore
Disclaimer: Once again, the mighty entity known as Marvel Entertainment owns these creatures of imagination that have touched us in some form or another. No money shall be made from this. Sadly some Girl Scout cookies did not survive the making of this tale.
Archival Status: I don't mind, just as long as you let me know :)
Continuity Watch: Just after Uncanny X-Men #258.
An endless choir of screams, bounding and rebounding across a sea of blackness, followed her as she ran. Desperately she covered her ears, only to hear it louder with excruciating clarity. She stumbled over something, a body of a young girl with lifeless eyes following her every move. Horrified, she turned away and noticed the ground now littered with corpses. They were of various ages and cultures staring at her accusingly, the source of the screams. Laughter overpowered those screams, strangling them till they were no more than a whisper. It chilled her to her very soul, for it was her own.
In front of her a boy's head exploded as an armored foot crashed down upon it. A woman, wearing silver and midnight blue metallic armor of an Oriental design and a blue cape that waved in an acrid wind, smiled evilly at her with dark slanted eyes. The headpiece had inverted wings and allowed her dark purple mane to dance about freely, and every finger had a jeweled ring and grasped a katana. All of it covered in blood.
She could see her reflection in that armor. Her pink skin wearing no adornments or clothes, blonde hair blowing in the wind, and blue eyes wide with terror shone back at her. The sword rose as the woman smiled, then in a flash it tore into her shoulder sliding down into her chest, slicing flesh and bone like a razor shearing silk. Pulling out, the motion was repeated upon through the other shoulder. Leaving the katana sheathed in its fleshly scabbard, the woman kissed her passionately. With each second that they were connected, her essence was absorbed by the other.
She tried to push away, but had no strength left to fight. She screamed...
... And bolted out of the cot she was sleeping in. Her breaths echoed the thundering of her heartbeat. They began to slow as she shook off the covers.
Getting out of the cot, she saw Jubilee stare at her with mixed emotions in those blue eyes. The teenager's thoughts radiated distrust and disgust so strongly; it felt as if she was drowning in them.
"Stupid nimbo-mind slut. Screaming and moaning every night, I can't get my sleep." Came the mumbled response from Jubilee before she tossed the blanket over her head and went back to sleep.
Elisabeth Braddock went topside of the junk to see the full moon reflecting off the surface of the waters. To the left she saw Nick and Carol look her over warily, but she ignored them. Leaning on the rail she hunched her shoulders and sighed.
"Same dream?" A gruff voice laced with concern came from behind her.
Turning around, she saw him manning the helm, as always, without his shirt. His body was still a mass of bruises, ones that should have healed days ago, especially with his abilities, but did not.
She nodded. "Worse this time, Logan. Much worse." Shuddering, she held herself.
"Considering what you been through Betts, that's saying a lot."
After tying off the helm, he stood by her side. They were contrasting pair. She was tall, lean, and graceful. He had a short frame packed with power and a hint of wildness.
"That is not encouraging."
"Just a statement. The Hand and the Mandarin worked their magic on you darlin'. And then you went into my mind, which ain't a nice place to be, not by a long shot. That's enough to give anyone the shakes."
"I did some horrid things when I was controlled by the Hand, Logan. I killed people. Not in self defense, nor for Queen and country, I murdered innocents... and the truly horrific thing about it was, that I... I..."
"You liked it?"
"More than that, I took pleasure in it. In some twisted way I received a rush, a thrill as I would end a life."
"I know the feeling, Betts. Out of all the X-Men, I know."
Silence hung over them as the waves crashed against the bow. Grasping his hand, she formed it into a fist the put his knuckles over her heart.
"It would be so easy wouldn't it? To give up? To no longer be haunted by my demons?" She looked sadly into his eyes. "Would you end it for me, if I asked you to? Release me from my pain?"
He said nothing, but his eyes gazed upon her intently.
"I'm frightened Logan. More than I have ever been before. I don't know if I can cope with this." She dropped her hands to her side. His remained. "If you're asking these questions darlin', then you'll survive."
"How do you know?"
"You're an X-Man."
"Don't give me that."
"It's true, but more than that, you're a survivor. You always have been, you always will be. I guess were more alike in that respect.
"But this isn't something that will go away quickly. It will take time. A lot of time." Finally he let his hand fall.
Unsurely, she hugged him and did not let go. He responded in kind surprising her with the gentleness of his action. The silent support calmed her troubled emotions. After a couple of minutes, she ended the embrace and kissed him on the cheek.
"I suppose now you'll start spouting something about giri and honoring those the Hand made me kill by fighting them?"
"I see you read my mind." Logan chuckled.
Shaking her head, she sensed Jubilee spying on them from the hold; heated anger broadcasting loud and clear over the affection Logan was showing Elisabeth. However she ignored it.
Instead she vowed to conquer her fears and become stronger for it. She had done so before, after the incidents with Slaymaster and Mojo, but this would be more difficult. As Logan said, it would take time, but she was determined to succeed and put to rest the ghosts from her nightmares.
Much thanks to Chris and Jim for UXM#256-258 which I have practically memorized. Nods go to Shin and Luba, because, gosh darn they're cute. :)