The sky outside is tinted with dusky purple and sulphuric yellow when he stumbles inside, soaked to the skin, clutching at his arm to stop the by now only sluggish bleeding. Fingers pressed across the rent in the sleeve of his uniform, blood dripping through between them to soak the fabric with the exact same shade of dirty yellow it already is.
He grits his teeth against the pain and collapses on a piece of improvised crate-furniture that he’s helped put together. Everyone else is out, fled to another hiding post after they got separated. When he scans the curt all-caps message again, telling him that everyone is safe and accounted for, the hammering of his heart slows until it isn’t pushing against the inside of his chest trying to force its way out any more, until it pumps at a somewhat regular pace. He ties off his arm, drags himself to a more comfortable seat, and tries to wait patiently until the storm abates. It doesn’t work.
His blood is ice cold and hot at the same time with a cocktail of hormones that boils in it, driving pain like spikes through his brain. The full potential of his power built up, gathered together, energy collected in his nervous system for one vast, devastating blow, enough to raze an entire army of attackers to the ground. He lets out a frustrated hiss. The order to retreat came at exactly the wrong time, leaving him bursting full of static energy that unloads in random crackles over his skin, zips between his horns like lightning posts and makes his hair stand on end like a messy spiky halo.
Even flying home through a blinding torrential rain didn’t fix the sheer bursting need to blow something up, to let the blind, mindless twitching force of static electricity rip out of him and smash something, anything, anything to relieve this head-aching pressure. If the sky wasn’t pouring itself out he would rush outside, blast the face of a rock wall into finely ground sand, and breathe easier.
But no, he has been ordered to stay inside. No, it sparks and crackles underneath his skin until every movement makes him jolt, it stings on his soaking wet clothes and even in the wound in his arm, where it rushes through the damaged nerves and makes them ache until he’s ready to cry out in frustration. He drags his fingers to the crackling mass that is his hair. Pulls hard. Breathes in and out and in and out and remembers, from his hated training, the pressure relieving exercises he has been taught.
Energy curls around his form, so gradually that it earthes itself, bit by bit, into the floor and walls. At least that is the idea. In reality it feels nearly unbearable. The sparks sit underneath his skin like material things, like sharp little spikes jabbing him from inside, and the gradual release of energy into the atmosphere – a waste, but better than blowing himself to pieces – is too slow, feels like nothing anyone without these senses could understand. The sparks waver and his eyes feel close to bursting, his heart has started thrumming again, beating against his ribs inside hot and so hard that it’s almost frightening.
Another wave of energy release, a hotcold burning chill that comes from somewhere inside his brain stem and rushes in time to his pulse through spine, nerves, bones, blood. Everything is hot and yellow and tinged with redblue that cuts like knives and he presses his tongue to the dry roof of his mouth and gasps, shoulders slumping abruptly against the wall, and vibrates with the static energy forcing its way out through his nerve endings.
Licking against them like a flame, stimulating them with hard sharp pulses as he sits there in the energy field and tries very hard and very consciously not to explode.
The wave, as it builds, grows from something nearly good as it vibrates over the nerve endings, grows stronger and stronger until it hurts and he gasps and jolts from the pain and then it plateaus and then wanes again, leaving an aftertaste in its wake. Humming underneath his skin until his cheeks are burning yellow. He was so close to gathering it together in a storm, lightning in his hands, mowing down everyone who opposed him, and the adrenaline and the sharp pain in his arm and the atomspheric energy, all of it, shivers through him until he squeezes his glowing eyes shut.
And, with a hint of fear and more than a little exploratory curiosity, takes an easy mental grip on the emanating waves of power and pulls them back against his body.
It hits like a blow, so hot that it almost burns against his skin, spreading fast on the still wet surface, lancing through his brain and for a moment he is blind and deaf and everything is noise. And then his whole body jolts, once, and his teeth click together sharply and he can feel his bulge twitch in his pants and nearly knocks his head against the wall.
His heart gives an uncomfortable lurch that leaves him with an ice cold sinking feeling in his stomach, a heavy lump, but he feels the pressure even harder now and he tries it again, carefully, letting the threads of energy twist and braid and flow along his nerves before they flicker out and dissipate in the air. He jolts again and squirms his hips up hard, pressing against the insubstantial touch, his face and his limbs and every part of him throbbing and hot.
The power drives in like a spike at the base of his spine and he savours it, harder, until it feels like it’s going to crush the bone into splinters and mash his nerves together if it continues for another second, and he lets it flow out with a sigh of released breath and groans and hisses, eyes shut tight, when that causes another throb in the length of his bulge and makes his skin crawl with static.
The energy writhes and twitches over his fingers, crawling, collecting like something corporeal in the palm of his hand until he’s holding the lightning, and he swallows both fear and common sense and presses one vibrating hand hard into his crotch, throbbing against him with an barely held in force. He bites down on his tongue and feels the danger like a physical force.
If he lets go now, there’ll be nothing left of his body below the waist, and nothing of the wall besides, and his stomach lurches and he rubs his hand in a slow circle, grinding his hips up against them in a discordant rhythm.
Nothing matters besides this slow feeling of release, energy flowing out his clogged nerves and leaving him clean and gasping, as another kind of pressure builds and builds. It could explode at any moment, his pulse is in his throat and in his teeth and ever so hard in his bulge, throbbing with a mixture of fear and excitement until he’s mad with vertigo.
Shoulders digging into the wall as his hips lift and crash down and then he just arches them up hard, stays like this, his hand grinding down still full of enough energy to tear an entire house down to its foundations if he lets go.
A few sparks crack out and lash like whips against the insides of his thighs and he shivers with the sheer mad potential of holding this loaded near-unpredictable weapon hard against himself, reels, feels the energy release wash through him and out of the corners of his eyes like tears and feels the tension build to a tight whitehot itch.
It builds to a breaking point with every wave of power that pumps slow lightning through his blood, and his heart throbs in his throat again, jolted by the static. If he dragged his hand up now from where he’s desperately rubbing it against the straining fabric and held the crackling energy against his chest instead he isn’t sure if his heart would just stop, if he could crush and burn his insides if he goes just that little bit harder, and he pulses with pleasure, pain, pulled as tense as a wire.
He is a wire, his nerves are wires, stretched so tight they hurt and vibrating with the rush of energy and the hard pulse focuses on his handful of death, focuses in between his legs and throbs over the length of his bulge and buried deep in his body until he lets out a low, primal sound. Hair standing on end, jolting with every wave of energy that lashes against him and through him harder, faster, goddamn harder.
The wires snap all at once, and he goes absolutely haywire, in the middle of a flickering electric storm as his hips rut up against his hand, and he moans around a mouthful of sparks, eyes flashing like lasers. He holds on to the sharp deadly energy just barely so that he twitches as he comes, electrocuting himself, holding back the explosion that would tear him apart. It takes so much effort that it hurts like hell and at the same time feels like heaven tearing his brain apart and singing through his nerves.
He glows like a lightning rod in the afterglow as the rest of the energy, instead of ripping him up and blowing him into ashes, fizzes out in a few unbearably slow, long pulses. His skin burns, his heart again going off like a hammer, beating against the inside of his ribs, and he very slowly unsticks his tongue from the roof of his mouth and wipes at the mixture of spit and blood that’s dripped down his chin, and tries to stand up. Unsuccessfully.
His legs fold up, just like that, and in a few motionsick seconds he finds himself sitting on the floor, back against a beaten-up chair, and he gasps in a mouthful of air into lungs that are almost scorched, runs a hand through the charged spikes of his hair, and laughs, weak and full of a wonderfully tight fear, an almost narcissistic arrogance, fearing and loving the power he is a vessel for.