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I am an emotional nightmare

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In the days following the fight alongside Deadpool, Colossus is pleased to see Negasonic shape up. He feels vindicated in his approach to – well, everything he's done in the name of training, be it endangering a teenager on the battlefield, working said teenager to the bone off the battlefield, and making sure she eats regular breakfasts rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D. Superheroes need a healthy bone structure in order not to bother their physicians too much.

That reason, of course, is as much horseshit as a lot of what comes out of Colossus' mouth. What do a few broken matter in the grand scheme of infirmary visits when you're already cut up and bruised and bleeding from your many perforation wounds? Not that Colossus ever has to worry about any of it; he just likes being a slave-driver.

Negasonic gets it, training, monitoring your iron intake (shut up about that already), helping your body heal itself, blah blah, but it's not the wounds that irritate her. Or even that she has to learn to treat them herself.

She is in a mood. How could she not be? She'd lost another cell phone in the wreckage that day and had to wait until they got back to Xavier's school before she could check her feeds.

And it didn't just end there.

At first she thought it was the explosions, the gunfire, all of the adrenaline running rampant in her bloodstream and the physical and mental strain she put her body through that wouldn't let her find any rest that night. Perhaps it had been the rapid use of her powers that pushed her system into overdrive, creating swirls of energy that buzz below her skin, waiting to be unleashed again.

The battle flashed in front of her eyes in a continuous loop as she kicked the blanket off her legs to keep herself from overheating. She was bone-tired after that day, barely managing to keep her eyes open long enough to scroll through her timeline and answer the comments on the video she'd tweeted earlier: Colossus getting his ass handed to him by that woman they went up against. Heh. This will never not be funny.

By the time her alarm shredded the last vestiges of whatever good humor 9gag had left her with, Negasonic knew she had a problem. And not the kind that some hitting the sheets or the books could solve.

She couldn't get that woman out of her head.

Okay, sure. She was strong and kicked Colossus' ass something fierce, and a tiny part of Negasonic even wanted to be like her – although she'd never go on record and admit it.

That's what she told herself this thing was: a healthy dose of rivalry. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a grudging admiration she needed to work off.

Which she did. Her teachers are proud to see her wanting to train harder, to test her limits and go beyond them. Negasonic is tireless in her pursuit of perfection.

But she's also volatile.

If she's not beating up dummies or trying to increase her blast radius, the smallest thing can set off her temper: the younger kids playing catch in the hallways and shouting, a clumsy colleague staggering under a tower of tomes and jostling her, a random nobody on the internet disagreeing with her and calling her names. It's all the same to her.

When it's her turn to help in the kitchen (another one of those stupid character-building exercises), dishes are certain to fly. She's broken several glasses and a few plates even when she wasn't on kitchen duty. One or two mirrors are also on her conscience.

The kids who hadn't been intimidated by her before, start running as soon as they catch sight of her. Nobody wants to be close when she explodes. Which suits her fine, because she doesn't want anyone close; she'd just be tempted to punch them.

Her teachers have grilled Colossus on her involvement in the battle against – she thinks the guy's name was Francis; Douchepool even spelled it out in big bold dead body letters – anything that might have happened to evoke a violent reaction in her. As if witnessing mass slaughter wasn't enough of a reason for anyone to be a little unhinged after. Deadpool and Colossus may have been fine afterwards, but neither of them is a posterboy for mental health to begin with. (Then again, what mutant is?)

The thing is, she doesn't want to draw all that negative attention. She never cared if people saw her as a problem child before, but back then she wouldn't have preferred to avoid Professor X at all cost.

If he could—God, Negasonic would die of embarrassment if he'd read her mind. The things inside her head, the ones that are cutting her out of her sleep and her peace of mind, would make even him blush.

It's no longer only that mean smirk or the cocksure attitude or even the way those pants defined her ass that make Negasonic want to jump up in the middle of the night and race around the compound until she's wheezing her lungs out. It's worse than that.

Not only has Negasonic become painfully self-conscious and hyperaware of how she moves and talks and looks, wondering what the woman would think of her if they met again; she's also started daydreaming of said potential encounter. Complete with a clichéd show of force, backs crashing against vertical surfaces and spit changing owners while Negasonic just evaporates their clothes.

The images assault her day and night. She could be brushing her teeth and her mind would supply the woman striding up to her in the mirror, wrapping her arms around Negasonic's waist and brushing her lips against her neck. She could be punched in the stomach during training sessions and it's the woman throwing Negasonic over her shoulder and carrying her off. She could be solving trigonometric functions for her physics homework and the woman would pluck Negasonic's gnawed-up pencil from her tense grip and Negasonic herself from her seat to—Negasonic rubs her forehead in frustration, trying and failing to ban any and all thoughts from her mind.

It's ridiculous how easily she stops breathing just imagining the woman picking her off the ground like she weighed no more than a rag. It's ridiculous how badly Negasonic wants to dig her fingers into those strong shoulders and wipe that annoying amusement off her face. It's ridiculous how desperately she wants to become better just so the woman would see her as an equal and a worthy enemy.

She hates this, every second of it, hates how weak this woman makes her feel, how distracted, how ill-tempered, like a kid who has no control over her emotions. How inexperienced. How dumb. How inadequate.

The worst of it is how much she hates herself for this, for not being in control, for being unable to banish the woman from her mind. She has no place there, so why should Negasonic continue to make one for her? It's all so pointless.

She doesn't even want this woman. If they'd cross paths now, Negasonic wouldn't jump into her arms and ride with her into the sunset. She'd do her best to beat the crap out of her the same way she did that first time they met. Nothing's changed on that front. She might be more vulnerable than before – any insult flung her way would sting that much more – but she'd be no less determined to win.

Even if she's losing her mind to that woman, Negasonic can still hold onto that much sanity.