Read Or Die Fan Fiction / X-Men Fan Fiction ❯ Read or Die: Shadowcat! ❯ Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from either the X-Men comics series or from the Read or Die anime. This story starts off during the events of Mekanix #1 and sometime after the end of Read Or Die OVA #3. There are spoilers in here if you have not yet seen Read Or Die!

Shadowcat: Read or Die!

Kitty Pryde wiped off the top of the bar at Belles of Hell with a smooth gesture even as she stylishly poured out a drink for the young man who's ID she had just checked. Since the brown haired woman had started her classes at MIT this job in the college town bar was a real life saver, helping give her some much needed financial independence while also getting her out of her head a bit, keeping her connected to a more ordinary kind of people.

Talking with the customers, listening to their problems, the flamboyant bartending, Kitty had been a bit surprised at how easily it all came to her. Though being a former dance major should have given her a hint she could be that sort of performer. 'I wonder what Ororo would think if she saw me know?' she thought to herself with a slight smile.

Looking up as casually as she possibly could Kitty took in the quiet young woman who was wearing glasses and sitting over there in the corner. The black haired lady was still nursing her first drink, looking clearly nervous about something or other as she read from her book. Kitty had felt her watching her more than a few times tonight, and wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

"It looks like you've gotten yourself an admirer," her slim, dark haired boss Dylan Maguire came up behind her to note with a sly grin.

"Maybe," Kitty blushed faintly before she tentatively asked him, "Do you mind if I clock out early, check it out?"

"Good luck," Dylan clapped her on the back, nearly knocking her over.

"Gee, thanks," Kitty managed.

With a single motion Kitty pulled off her apron and tucked it back behind the bar before reaching into the small fridge there and getting out a bottle of spring water to cool herself off a bit. She drank it down happily, her throat feeling a bit dry from talking so much, then she reached up to wipe off her brow with a towel.

Kitty navigated her way through the dancing crowd, being careful not to bump or knock over any of the partiers who were all around her. 'Glad I've had some practice at it,' she thought. Safely reaching the corner table at last she smiled down at the woman, "Hello."

Clearly startled the black haired woman pushed up her square frame glasses and blurted out in what was clearly her native Japanese, "Oh, hello."

"Is there something I can help you with?" Kitty asked her also in unaccented Japanese. 'Hanging around Logan really pays off,' she thought.

"Sorry," the young woman stood up and switched back to English to introduce herself, "my name is Yomiko Readaman."

"Hello Yomiko," Kitty frowned just slightly, recognizing the name almost instantly. She had been exchanging casual emails with a Japanese school teacher named Yomiko for the last few weeks. 'Could this be her?' she wondered. Getting a handle on her racing thoughts she smiled down at her and said, "My name's Kitty."

"I know," Yomiko looked clearly uncomfortable as she gestured Kitty to the seat opposite her, "I came here to see you."

That remark made Kitty give Yomiko a much more cautious and assessing look. The young lady almost looked like the stereotype of a school teacher, with her brown vest, white shirt and black matching dress and tie. The only thing odd was her general scruffiness, with tuffs of her hair standing up and a look of distraction on her face.

Making her voice sound much harder than normal Kitty said, "You're the one I've been exchanging emails with, aren't you?"

"Hai," Yomiko nodded to Kitty. She hesitated, "Could we talk somewhere a bit more private? It concerns... Shadowcat."

"Lets go outside," Kitty offered Yomiko her hand. She didn't intend to confirm or deny what the lady had just said. 'So all those emails weren't as casual as I thought,' Kitty mused, then, 'I guess I should have worn a mask along with my costume more often.'

They walked along the street silently for a few moments before Yomiko quietly said, "This is why I felt that I had to contact you, and now to come see you." She reached into her coat and Kitty tensed up, relaxing just a bit when she pulled out a simple brown envelope. She popped it open, spilling several pictures out that she handed over to Kitty.

They young woman in the photo's looked eerily familiar to Kitty, despite her feeling sure that she had not met her before. The woman dressed in the tight black leather jumpsuit wielded a machine pistol in one shot, was looking impatiently at the camera in another for some kind of official picture and in the last one...

In the last photo she was phasing through a wall.

"Who..?" Kitty said softly.

"Nancy," Yomiko said softly, "Nancy Mukahari."

Kitty held up the photo's to a nearby street lamp and examined them closely, "If they're fakes, they're near perfect ones."

"They are not faked," Yomiko said to Kitty intensely, "I saw Nancy- san do some of those things right in front of me."

Kitty nodded to herself thoughtfully, realizing that for some reason she believed this young woman. Trusted her, no, especially after those emails, but she did believe what Yomiko was telling her. She also knew why she thought that she recognized Nancy. Except for the hair color and a few other minor details, the two of them were nearly a perfect match.

After a moment Kitty looked over at Yomiko thoughtfully to ask her, "Nancy was some kind of clone, wasn't she?"

"Yes," Yomiko nodded firmly, "the man who claimed he was her creator told me that she was a clone of Mata Hari. But once I found out about the similarity in your powers, and saw the physical resemblance..." She trailed off.

"You want a blood sample, to confirm it?" Kitty asked, hoping that it was that simple, but she rather thought it wouldn't be.

"No," Yomiko shook her head sadly, "Nancy's dead."

Kitty winced slightly. There had been an air of sadness about the girl from the beginning, and now she knew the cause of it. "I'm sorry," she offered.

Yomiko smiled sadly, "I need your help, Kitty-san."

Kitty found herself dreading what she was about to hear, but she just had to ask Yomiko, "Help you with what?"

"I know there's a connection between you and Nancy," Yomiko said softly. "We were... very close, me and Nancy. I have to know what it was, who really created Nancy, both for her and my sake," she explained, "and I need your help to do that."

Yes, she really did not want to hear that. Kitty looked down at the photos again, and thought about what to do. If she bailed out on MIT right now, she didn't know if she could get back in. She was already on probation due to her fight with a bunch of mutant haters, she didn't need any more black marks on her record. But this Nancy... In an odd way, they might be family. This woman with the same powers and a startling resemblance to her, it might very well be her clone.

Kitty looked at the patiently waiting Yomiko. 'She said they were close,' she mused, 'but the way she's acting, she loved her.' When Illyanna had reverted back to childhood, Kitty had felt the need to go see her, to confirm it with her own eyes and when she died Kitty had been there. It looked like Yomiko needed something like that, some kind of closure.

With a soft sigh Kitty said, "I'll do it."

"Thank you," a suddenly beaming Yomiko clasped Kitty's hands in her own. "I've already booked a flight for Japan, we'll take off tonight," she said.

"Tonight?" Kitty went pale, "Wait a minute here! I..."

"We'll buy you some extra sets of clothes when we get there," Yomiko said as she tugged on Kitty's hands to pull her gently forward.

"But I..." Kitty tried, then sighed. "Never mind," she softly muttered as they walked down the street together.

To be continued...