FIC: 5 Times Sean Cassidy Knew Something Was Wrong, and One Time it was Right
Title: 5 Times Sean Cassidy Knew Something Was Wrong, and One Time it was Right.
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Warnings: Character death, spoilers for the movie, 1960s-themed issues (light homophoibia, mentions of race and legal issues therein)
Characters/Pairings: Banshee/Havok, Banshee/Darwin/Havok
Summary: Sean doesn't feel right, but he's still okay.
Notes: For rubynye. Unbeta'ed.
Sean knows something is wrong in the seconds after Armando disappears. He feels it, like something settling into his skin, but he doesn't say anything because Angel is leaving and Raven is crying and he doesn't know how to take this.
So he lets the feeling settle over his brain like warmth, something holding onto him, and he calls it grief. He tries not to think too hard about it, tries not to have any feelings about what did – or didn't- happen there.
The ride to New York is long, but it's too short, all the same. Sean and Alex are in the back of Agent MacTaggert's station wagon, and Alex rests his head on Sean's shoulder. Sean tries to ignore how the warmth prickles then, the feeling like a sheen that he's had since the attack comes alive somehow and radiates toward Alex. In the middle of the car, Raven is pressed between Hank and Erik, and Sean spares a thought for the three of them, wondering where Raven's energy points. If she, golden and glowing like Alex is, radiates towards the quiet nerd, or the stoic dangerous one.
(Sean thinks Erik is dangerous, he thinks Erik is a psychopath, but he doesn't know how to say that, how to find his voice to mention his concerns. He sees a darkness there, the same kind of darkness that was in Angel, an anger at the "normals" that Sean can’t quite grasp so he stays quiet and lets the warm whatever that he feels make its silent path toward Alex.)
When Charles pushes him out the window, Sean falls.
What he doesn't do, what he thinks he should have done, is hurt himself.
Sean springs back to his feet, barely scratched form the tumble, and wonders at his unbent arms, his in-tact legs. This isn't right. People who fall five stories, they hurt themselves, especially if they can’t scream loud enough to fly.
(And isn't that just a weird ass thing to need to do?)
He doesn't put it together, then, he doesn't quite know what saved him. But when Erik pushes him, later (psychopath) on top of the satellite dish, he flies and he soars and he feels the warmth, the thing he thought was Alex or maybe just puberty filling him. Maybe it's adrenalin.
And when he takes off his shirt, later, he finds a small dusting of white feathers on his arms.
Something pings in the back of his mind then, something about adapting to survive, but he doesn't dare give it voice. It's too scary, too big. The feathers fall off him like snow, and he sweeps them up quietly and throws them away.
He saves one under his pillow, just in case, but he doesn't tell anyone.
The ocean laps beneath him, and Sean takes a deep breath before he lets himself go.
The flying is more effortless this time, more smooth and free, and the warmth doesn’t arrive until he hits the water, until he feels his neck ripple and it occurs to him, in a little moment before he screams, that he has gills.
Charles takes the news in stride, because they're in the middle of something, and he's just a visitor in Sean's mind, but they both know this will be talked of later. It has to be. He locates the sub, gives Charles the coordinates and feels the water ripple around him as Erik does whatever it is he does, and the sub begins to rise.
He also feels his feet, in his boots, begin to tingle with the warmth, and he wonders if maybe he's growing webbed feet, too, if Armando would have.
Sean knows that he's just wishing at this point, that Armando died in the attack, but something has changed, and now Sean is the one adapting; now he's the one who can survive anything.
So he pushes himself up and out of the water with his voice, pulling air through his gills, and gets back into the fight, his body returning to "normal" as he rises into the air.
Sean tries not to notice when he is fleeing Angel, how he somehow gets that extra push of speed, somehow gets himself and Alex to the beach, when by all logic they should have crashed into the ocean and sunk. He doesn't say anything, but Alex gives him a look, like he felt the warmth, too, like they'll talk about this later, and Sean just nods. They have a fight to fight. They have a day to save.
They get back to the mansion, mostly in one piece. They're missing Erik now, and Raven, and Sean would miss them more if Alex wasn't holding his hand in the back of the plane, if they knew what was going to happen to Charles, if Hank wasn't looking like Sean would be a tasty snausage for his new Beastly appetite.
He'll have time to mourn later.
He lays in bed that night, and he concentrates on the warmth he felt, the times he's known something wasn't right. He's trying to talk to Armando, trying to get him to come out, because at this point, Sean is pretty sure he's absorbed his friend, that the other man is living under his skin.
No voice returns, but Sean's door clicks open, and feet pad across his room.
It's Alex. "Hey."
"Mind if I come in?"
Sean smiles in the dark, and silently asks Armando, if he's there and he must be there, to go away, just for now, just for the moment.
"No, not at all."
Alex slides into bed with Sean, all hard muscle where Sean feels weak and flabby and pale.
"I'm scared," Alex whispers, and Sean reaches out to take his hand, fingers intertwining.
"I think Darwin is living in my skin."
Alex is quiet for a moment, before taking a long shuddering breath. "I think he's in me, too. I should have died, Sean, when I was practicing with the targets. I set the whole room on fire. I wasn't even warm."
Sean leans in and puts a hand on Alex's cheek, and Alex sighs and they press their lips together, slowly at first, but the warmth grows between them like two parts of the whole coming together.
When Sean wakes in the morning, he almost can't believe what happened the night before. He's had a hard enough time being a mutant, but to be a queer one, to be in love with Alex and have Armando inside him and to have acted on it?
Sean knows, for serious sure, that he's a freak. The skin of his best friend's chest is smooth and warm under his fingers, and he doesn't want the moment to end.
And then he opens his eyes.
It's not Alex he's looking at, not miles of pale pink skin and golden good looks. Instead it's something even more illegal than just loving a man, kissing another man, he's holding on to someone who is, without any question in Sean's mind, black.
He sits bolt upright in bed and tries to breathe.
Alex is still there, sleeping with his mouth open like a fish, but between their bodies, somehow, Armando has coalesced, come back into being.
Sean reaches forward and touches Armando's face. He doesn't feel the warmth he felt before, but he feels real, firm flesh. He feels skin and cheek and little hairs, and he feels like crying.
Instead he leans forward and presses a kiss to Armando's mouth, a reverent, light touch, because he came back, he adapted and he survived, and he saved them both, so many times.
Sean knows he'll have explaining to do when the others wake up, things to say, but until then, he lies back down and breathes in the skin of his friends, and tries to be content.