She latches on to the cold fact that if she fails this, fails now, then the undeserved deaths of all the mutants in the world might as well be her fucking fault.

Her hands shake, and she tells herself it's not from fear, but from pain and blood loss and not because she's scared, she can't be, not in front of the Professor, not when the fate of their kind literally rests in her fucking hands-

"You're going to be okay," he tells her, and she nods, and doesn't tell him she's heard him say just moments before, she's lost too much blood. Doesn't call him out on his lie, because a part of her needs to hear him say it for her to believe it.

"If this works, we all are," she says instead, and she hates how thin her voice sounds, but she's rewarded with a smile from him, and it's fucking funny how his smile can still warm her, despite the cold, despite her wounds, despite this. He smiles and holds on to her and comforts her as best as he can, and she closes her eyes and breathes him in. Tries not to think of when his time will come-

-until it does, and her tears flow freer, then, because she can still feel him, like phantom limbs brushing against her skin even as his ice begins to thaw.

what if this works, but when we wake up, we won't know each other anymore?

is that even possible?

The world shakes, and unmistakable sounds of death and the dying fill her ears. Her breath hitches, and without him she finally admits to herself that she's fucking terrified, but with her last ounce of strength she holds on to the tiny, fragile hope:

we'll find each other. don't we always?

When she wakes up, it was to the sound of the alarm clock blaring straight into her eardrums and Peter knocking on her door so hard his fist might as well go through the thin wood any moment now.

Fuck it.

Presentation day. How can she forget?

She changes her clothes and walks with Peter through the hallways and walks him through what they were supposed to do together - a big part of it is showing them that you understand everything about what you're telling them, because you're their teacher, of course you should know more than they do-

With how animatedly she's talking it was inevitable that she'd bump into someone, and it's Bobby Drake of all people, and she murmurs a halfhearted apology and he smiles politely in return - already dismissing her presence when his eyes meets his girl's. Of course.

She doesn't quite get why she feels this sudden heaviness in her chest, but it's there, and it weighs on her as she watches them walk away.

we'll find each other. don't we always?

She shakes her head.

Then Peter's calling her and fuck it, but she's going to be late to her fucking class and-