I don't really know where the world is
But I miss it now
Alex knew that look in Darwin's eye, as the young dark-skinned man turned to face him. There was no betrayal—why there wasn't, Alex didn't know, he sure as hell felt like Angel was turning her back on all of them. Darwin—Armando—had a plan. He felt the other's hand rest just above his abdomen, the part of his body that was twice as warm as the rest of him on the inside, the spot where his power was always concentrated unless he let it out.
the first time they were together, when Alex was so afraid something would go wrong—even though he shouldn't have been, he'd been with plenty of men and women and never hurt them but this was Darwin for Godssakes! but Darwin had reassured him, had calmed his worries, had made him feel more than he'd ever felt before
It took Alex a moment to register what Darwin was suggesting, and he felt anger, worry bubbling up inside him. He gave him a shove, scowling, communicating with him in looks and touches more than words, like they'd always done. The thought brushed his mind see, he's crazy, he was crazy for wanting to be with you and he's crazy for suggesting you try and blow these people up but he pushed it away when Darwin gave him another look, reassuring him. It would work. Darwin could adapt to anything. The others would have to run but he, Darwin could adapt, could protect Angel. The others he didn't give a damn about because they were the enemy, and more than being the enemy they had just killed government agents, a bunch of them, including one of the guys that had brought them all together in the first place.
Darwin glanced at the others in their group, then turned away to start toward Angel and the attackers. "Stop. I'm coming with you."
Alex could have smacked the smug look off of Angel's face. The bitch actually thought she was taking Darwin away from them.
"Good choice," the guy that looked like he needed a good Botox injection with those jowls of his praised. "So tell me about your mutation." Alex took the brief distraction as an opportunity to turn and quickly explain to the others what they were planning on doing, moving closer to the door so they could make a quick escape when he summoned his powers, just watching what was going on, waiting.
"Well I adapt to survive," Darwin explained, and Alex could feel that smile, that slightly ironic sort of thing he always did. "So I guess I'm coming with you."
"I like that." The guy smirked, and even more than he'd wanted to slap Angel, Alex wanted to destroy this man who thought he could take Darwin away from him. From them. He watched with gritted teeth as Darwin stepped over to stand next to Angel something's going to go wrong, you can feel it Alex, but now we can't abort because he's over there and you're over here, this is a problem and he hated it even more that the guy patted Darwin on the back don't you dare touch him he's mine not yours—
Darwin's voice was sharp and clear and broke through Alex's thoughts in an instant. The others—Raven, Sean, Hank, "Get out!"—were dodging and it was safe and it was time, and it was effortless to call that power. Darwin was safe, protecting Angel and the power exploded out of Alex in its usual rings we're winning, we're winning...
And then the bastard was absorbing the energy, taking the rings in and protecting his goons. "Protecting your fellow mutants?" It was like nothing had happened, like his powers were nothing. "That's a noble gesture... Feels good." He shrugged his shoulders and turned, blocking Darwin's punch and grabbing his chin mineminemineMINE and leaning in close. "Adapt to this." He was putting something red and glowing in Darwin's mouth and nononononononono forcing him to swallow it.
the only time he'd killed someone with his powers, the thing that had sent him to prison and he hadn't even meant to, he'd been arguing with his boyfriend and it had just happened, they'd gone from fighting to a bright flash of red to the man literally in pieces at his feet... the cops, the judge and the jury had called for massacre and all he could think was I need to stay away from people to keep them safe, I have to do whatever I can not to hurt anyone else
Alex couldn't handle that look on Angel's face you did this, you bitch, it's your fault this is happening and suddenly they were gone. Alex couldn't move, couldn't breathe as he watched Darwin and his mutation struggle to adapt and survive the internal assault, flickering from metal to rock to what looked like molten lava. He reached out for Alex and Alex reached back. Darwin had that look on his face, in his eyes as his face started to go back to normal and all that echoed in Alex's head was I love you, I love you in Darwin's voice, because Darwin had had the guts to say it and then he was gone.
"I love you," Alex whispered a second too late.
Sometimes when I close my eyes
I pretend I'm alright, but it's never enough
Alex didn't look up at hearing Charles call his name, sitting silently in his new room in the mansion. He was already unpacked—not that there had been much to unpack, he hadn't brought much to the CIA facility and he had less now—and was staring at what little he had left of Darwin—Armando, he had to remind himself again. It was a shirt. A simple shirt. Alex buried his face in it, inhaling the scent that had come to mean home to him, love, security...
And then he was crying, no, sobbing into the fabric, bent double. The memory assaulted him, again and again he had to watch Armando implode in his mind's eye. He knew there had been no stopping it, no stopping Shaw from doing what he did, but it was still his power, his mutation that had done it. He wasn't able to sleep, he could barely eat and he sure as hell couldn't forgive himself. Stupidstupidstupid idea, shouldn't have let him go through with it, should have known something would happen why did we think we could stop him—
Calm your mind, Alex. Please. Armando would not have liked for you to suffer.
Alex looked up to see Charles standing in his room, looking almost stoic. For a moment, all Alex wanted to do was take his pain, his rage out on the other, for looking like it was nothing that Darwin was gone, even though he knew Charles was suffering too. So he simply looked away, clutching at the shirt still while he closed his eyes, attempting to do what Charles had told him—but it was so difficult, trying to clear his mind, trying to get rid of the memory...
"I know it's hard, Alex," Charles said quietly; Alex felt the weight of a hand on his shoulder the weight of the world on his back, how were they going to save it from a man who could absorb even his power and he sighed, finally letting go of the shirt, letting it drop to his feet. "I know what he meant to you, but you cannot let your guilt weaken you now. The others are already training... and they are worrying about you. We only have a week."
"I... I know." He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I hate struggling with this. I wish I could just... move on, but I can't Charles. I can't help thinking that we could have done something else, that I could have saved him somehow..."
"I know, Alex." Charles sighed. "I have something I want to show you that I think will help us greatly in controlling your mutation."
"A containment chamber?" Alex muttered.
Alex paused, looking up at Charles. "A bunker?"
Charles smiled faintly. "You'll see. Come on."
Alex hesitated, standing up. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. I'm sorry, Darwin. I'll do anything to make this right. I love you.
As he walked out, he felt a presence that made him shiver, and he heard once again those words in his mind, in Darwin's voice: I love you, I love you.
I don't wanna be down and
I just wanna feel alive
It was all over. Shaw was dead... and half their team was gone. Charles was freshly out of the hospital, and in a wheelchair, for the rest of his life the doctors had said. Hank secluded himself in his lab and Sean... Alex just couldn't talk to the kid seriously. Not about what he needed to talk about. There was no one to talk about that except Charles and he didn't want to bother Charles with that when he needed to be healing.
If you need to talk, talk, Charles's voice brushed against his mind. We both lost the men we love. I know how you're feeling.
At least Erik's still alive, Charles. At least you still have a chance of getting him back. Darwin's gone.
The telepath didn't answer to that. Alex didn't blame him. Instead, he simply stared at the shirt he still had, hung on the door to his closet. He willed Darwin to show up, to just appear in the shirt with that lazy grin of his.
Alex. Charles's voice was sudden, sharp in his mind and it almost hurt.
I thought I made it clear that I didn't want to talk.
Yes, Armando. Darwin. The love of my damnable life who's dead and— Alex's thought cut off as the door opened, and his eyes lifted to meet a pair of dark, dark brown eyes.
"Alex." That voice... that voice that sent a stake through his heart, not possible, you're hallucinating or it's Mystique or Charles is fucking with your mind forced him to his feet, brought tears to his eyes. It was with blurred vision that he took in the sight of the other, and the sound that escaped him was less than human. He shook his head, stepping back as the other stepped forward, grief and relief and rage burning inside him and he was so happy he could control his powers now because he could have blown up the entire mansion otherwise.
"What the fuck?" It was the only thing he could think to say.
"It's a long story, Alex—"
"Don't give me that shit!" he shouted, unable to keep his voice any lower. "That's absolute shit, Armando! Long story my ass!"
"Alex, I know." Darwin stepped closer, causing Alex to back up again, hitting the bed and falling back slightly, sitting as he stared at the man who had died right before his eyes. "I know but I don't even know how to explain it all. I was gone, and then I was... I was different. I was air, I was light, I think it was whatever I had to do to adapt. I've been here the whole time, Alex. I never left."
"Fuck you!" Alex blindly swung at Darwin as he leaned over him, knuckles grazing something and then he was being pinned down and Darwin was part-rock, part human, brown eyes staring down into his... and then he was shaking uncontrollably and the tears were coming hot and fast down his cheeks and he hated how weak his sobbing made him sound. They were rolling and suddenly he was held fast and strong to a chest he knew so well, one he'd explored and memorized night after night.
"I'm here." Darwin's voice was in his ear, taking over everything Alex thought he controlled, and the fire within him died as he curled close to the other, allowing him to envelope him completely. They rocked, cried together, hands brushing up and down, touching, nothing sensual, just recognizing that they were there, they were together again. "I'm here, Alex and I'm never leaving again."
"You better not," Alex growled, wiping the tears from his face before he curled close to Darwin again. "You better fucking not, Darwin. I barely handled losing you the first time. I can't do it again."
"You won't have to," Darwin promised.
Alex sure as hell hoped he was right.