He was not made for normal, human interactions. His body was built to do some kinds of things, while it was most certainly not for others.
He was running.
He didn’t know why he was running. Well, he did know, but in the heat of everything he found it hard to think on anything that wasn’t right here and right now. He’d always had a tendency for this, to get so lost in the chase that everything else just sort of fell away. Only this time, he wasn’t the one doing the chasing; he was the chased.
But he could fix that.
His feet were not made to walk along-side another.
Beside him in the dark followed a much smaller figure. Together they ducked and weaved, swiftly navigating the perils presented by city surroundings. Constantly he would check all sides, scanning the area for potential dangers, anything that might get in their way. Almost as constantly, he would glance down at his little female companion, making sure that she was all right, that she was keeping up okay. Wouldn’t do for her to fall behind.
She seemed to be managing well enough, but he could tell she was beginning to tire. He didn’t blame her really; they had been on the move for a while already. Normal, weak humans didn’t usually last that long. He, on the other hand, had a body built to endure. Even if in exchange he looked like a freak.
She stumbled a bit.
His arms were not made to hold something gently to him.
“Are you okay?” he grunted roughly. Trying not to sound concerned. Because really, he didn’t care, but he’d made a deal and unless he had a good reason he generally stuck to his deals. He did have his own kind of personal code after all. They helped each other bust out, and they’d help each other get away, and then they’d go their separate ways until he inevitably caught up to Ben again. Simple as that. Really.
“I’m fine,” she said shortly in return, but he could hear her breath coming in pants. He sighed. They were moving so slow. Those creepy hunters were going to catch up.
“Yeah, yeah, of course you are.” He made a decision then.
He scooped her up.
“Kevin!” she yelped, squirming in his grasp. “What are you doing?!”
“What’s it look like I’m doing, I’m carrying you. You’re moving too slow. Now hold still Gwen or I’ll drop you.” She looked unhappy, but knew he was right. She stopped struggling. Gradually she settled down into his arms, shifting so that she was comfortable. He held her as carefully as possible, trying hard not to crush her in his huge, powerful, mismatched arms. It was difficult. He wasn’t used to doing anything with them without the express intent of harm.
She felt nice there, though.
His eyes were not made to look on with kindness.
She was so relaxed now; even as he ran from danger (faster than they’d been going when she’d been running, too) he could see her falling asleep. She must have been more worn out than she had let on. Stupid, stubborn girl. She could have just told him. She probably didn’t want to seem weak though.
It amused him, how she always wanted to be strong. Kind of like him, just not quite so extreme. And for somewhat different reasons. His eyes softened ever so much as he looked down at her.
Kevin wondered what she would have been like if she had grown up like him. He kind of doubted she would be as crazy as he was (‘cause he knew he was, but he had stopped caring a while ago). She had a sort of moral code. It kept her in line, unlike him. And if he had been in her place?
He couldn’t even imagine.
He also had trouble imagining anyone being so comfortable in his presence, tired or not, as to be able to fall asleep right in his arms. Especially with danger so near. It was almost as if he made her feel…safe.
Kevin had never made anyone feel safe before. He kind of liked it.
His mouth was not made to smile with happiness.
Finally, it seemed like he had lost their pursuers. He could be surprisingly stealthy when he wanted to be, despite the oversized, ungainly body of his. Of course, subtlety had never really been his style, but he could do it. Usually.
It had grown late, so he searched for a place to rest. Choosing a large bridge, Kevin settled himself down beneath it for the night, careful not to disturb the small body carried closely to him. He leaned back, keeping her against his chest, until she lay on top of him, encircled protectively by his arms.
Kevin finally allowed himself to relax a bit, dozing lightly though still alert for any signs of danger. Eventually, he drifted off into a proper sleep, the first he’d had in a long time. A gentle smile, also a recent first, graced his lips.
He wanted it to last forever.
His mind was not made to understand the concept of forgiveness, much less of no longer being alone.
It didn’t of course. Waking up with someone near wasn’t so bad though.
He could tell she was awake, but she made no signs of moving, or even wanting to move. It was as if she wasn’t troubled by his freakishness in the least. And weird as it might be, that bothered him. Shouldn’t she hate him?
“Why don’t you hate me?” he asked without thinking, and almost instantly regretted it. Why did he have to go and ruin everything? Surly now she would remember that yes, she was supposed to hate him. Surly now she would pull away in disgust from his monstrous form. Surly now she would finally be repulsed by him like she was supposed to, like everyone was.
He was such an idiot.
“Because, you’re not a bad person.”
Well, that was unexpected. He sat up, shifting her with him so he could better see her face for lies. They had to be lies, right?
“At least, I don’t think so.”
“What do you mean, I’m not a bad person? I’ve done all sorts of awful things! A lot of them to your cousin!” He should really stop talking while he was ahead, but his mouth seemed no longer connected with his brain and it wouldn’t stop spewing.
“Well yeah, but you were confused. You’ve been surviving on your own for a long time now, right?” She didn’t wait for his confirmation, thought he did give a small, almost reluctant nod of the head. “You don’t know how to trust people anymore. You don’t think there’s anyone out there who could actually care about you. So you act all aggressive; hurt them before they have the chance to hurt you.”
Kevin stared; how could she have possibly guessed all that? “How do you…” She smiled at him.
“Simple human psychology, really,” she said, sounding every inch the studious know-it-all she was. Except not as infuriatingly smug. Normally this might have annoyed him, but right now he was too surprised to care. “You grew up on your own, in a harsh environment; a dog-eat-dog, strongest survive kind of thing. It’s what you know. So, I don’t really think you’re necessarily a bad person, you just don’t know anything else. And besides, you aren’t that much older than me, right? Kids make mistakes; it’s what we do. Everybody does.”
He was still staring at her, not saying a word, and it was becoming quite disconcerting; three alien eyes could do that. Nervously, she asked, “What?”
He snorted self-consciously and looked away, crossing his top set of arms on his chest. The lower two remained near hear body.
“You sure talk a lo-”
“Kevin!” Her eyes widened as though sensing some impending doom.
Everything around them exploded.
His hands were not made to touch something softly.
Dazedly Kevin pulled himself out of the wreckage. It looked like the bridge had been blown or something, which would explain the flash of light, bang, and rush of hot air. Not to mention all the debris strewn around. Luckily, a large chunk seemed to have remained intact, both firmly (though that was debatable) encasing him from the outside world and keeping the entire thing from just collapsing on top of him.
Damn it, where was Gwen?
Frantically he began to search the surrounding piles of rubble, looking for any kind of sign of her. Now that he was thinking a bit more clearly, he remembered. Gwen had warned him, somehow know what was going to happen a split second before it did (was it her powers that had warned her?). He had crouched low over her, using his own body as a shield for her far more delicate one; he therefore hadn’t seen the giant piece fall towards them, the one bigger than even him, but staring upwards at the time Gwen had. With a shout of alarm she had cast some random spell that knocked him off his feet and sent him flying away, effectively saving him from being crushed. But what about her? Where was she?
Desperate seconds ticked by as he sought, high and low. He couldn’t lose her now, not like this! She was…she was not like anyone else he had ever met. It was like she cared. And he wanted to know why. Which he couldn’t if she went and kicked the bucket, dammit!
Finally, finally he caught a glimpse of blue amongst all the grey. He pulled it all off, all the heavy concrete and crushing stone, only to find exactly what he had been afraid of. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t moving.
Slowly, carefully, trying to be as gentle as a being such as he could be, Kevin reached out to touch her still figure. When she didn’t respond, his fingers began searching, trying to find some way to know for sure.
Or maybe he was searching for lost hope. Who knows.
His legs were not made to carry another to safety.
But there – there – there it was: her pulse. Faintly, ever so faintly, Gwen’s blood still flowed through her veins. Elated, Kevin leaned over her slender form to better hear what he knew now would be there as well: the slow, steady beat of her heart. The shallow breath of her lungs. She was alive.
That was a start. Hell, who was he kidding, that was all the incentive he needed. He practically crushed her much smaller body with his own as he pretty much melted with relief. She was alive, and she would live. He’d make sure of it, that was certain.
Once again, careful as could be, Kevin lifted her up. She had cuts and scrapes and some places were definitely going to bruise soon. The most worrying injury (visibly at least) was the nasty cut on her forehead. Probably hit by falling concrete. That would need to get checked out. He was no doctor.
But he knew where he needed to go.
The broken bridge was really no barrier to him; a couple well placed fists did the trick. Once he was outside though, he found what had caused the explosion. Or more specifically, who. His and Gwen’s pursuers. The weird people in the masks.
“Not dead yet, eh monster?” one yelled at him. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that for you. Both of you little freaks.”
He didn’t have time for this. Especially not threats on Gwen’s life. Especially not after they’d already hurt her. He needed to move, to be somewhere else. He needed to run.
His body was not made to protect something dear and precious and small.
This was just another of the many times he was glad to have XLR8’s speed. He smashed through the mob of people, using his own body as a battering ram. He didn’t care about that, or them. It didn’t even hurt him. He just needed to get somewhere that could take care of Gwen. So he ran.
And finally found what he was looking for: a hospital.
As much as he found he didn’t want to leave her (in fact, he absolutely detested the thought), Kevin knew that he couldn’t really help her. And if she didn’t get help, she would stay hurt. She might even die or something. And that would be even worse.
After all, he could always find her again.
His heart was not made to care for someone else, much less to love.
In a way that was nearly tender, Kevin set Gwen down on the pavement in front of the tall building. He made sure she was as comfortable as possible (it was a sidewalk, after all). As he made to stand up though, he suddenly realized one of her little hands was clinging tightly to one of his own. Even out cold she didn’t fear him. Almost like she wanted him to stay… Only, of course, that was pretty much impossible.
After a small battle that was more inside himself than with her unconscious form, Kevin pulled himself free and stood up fully. He made his way over to the doors, keeping to the shadows, and peered inside. There had to be someone in there, right? There were always emergencies and stuff like that. There ought to be somebody.
Ah. There was the receptionist. He banged on the doors as hard as he could. Then he ran like hell.
Okay, in reality he dashed to the nearest dark ally. He had to make sure someone actually came out and took care of the girl, right? She couldn’t die on him before she had the chance to answer his questions. Or before he had the chance to really know what being accepted felt like. And, of course, there was that bit where she had saved his life. Kevin didn’t like owing people.
Where were those doctors?
There. Out came the receptionist, glancing around before spotting Gwen on the ground with blood on her head. That should get their attention. Back in she went, only to come running back out straight away with some paramedics and a stretcher.
And then in they all went.
Kevin himself turned around and walked the other way. He was sure she’d be okay now. She was in the hospital, and as soon as she woke up she’d tell them who she was and ask to call her Grandpa and then he would be here and so would Ben and they’d all have some big, mushy, gag-worthy reunion. End of story. She had helped him escape from those masked people, and had saved his life, and he had helped her in return. Fair and square, all paid out even. He didn’t need to do anything more. He’d see them all again quite soon he was sure, because after all he still hadn’t settle his score with Ben, and maybe while he was at it he could check up on her, and maybe talk with her more, and maybe she’d even let him hold her again like he’d done today. Yeah, just as soon as she woke up…
She was going to wake up, right? Right? Maybe he’d have to go back and make sure.
But for her, he would try.