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Breathe For Me

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Alex sat on his bunk, eyes fixed on the ground as he sat waiting with several other mutant lieutenants. Their group has been quarantined a few days ago and no one was allowed in or out of the barrack without special permission. Alex kept hearing many of the guards throwing around the name "Stryker" being thrown around and though he didn't know much, he knew that guy had to be bad news. The blonde kept waiting and waiting for Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, or just someone to come in and save them from what ever was bound to happen. Alex wasn't sure exactly what this "Stryker" wanted but he knew it was definitely anti-mutant and highly illegal.
        They sat around for probably another hour before someone finally came in. Alex's heart started racing when he saw a young man walk in. From his looks he was probably around 30 years old. He had a black hair cut in a close military fashion and a clean shaven face, accented with sharp cheek bones. He wore a uniform that Alex didn't remember ever seeing around their camp before. The guy - who Alex assumed to be Stryker - started pointing to mutants; all of whom went willingly. But when Stryker pointed to Alex, the blonde bad-boy started to panic. He couldn't go back to any sort of prison. No matter what was going to happen to him he couldn't be in a prison....he couldn't do it. Before Alex was moved to solitary, the men in prison were...unspeakably awful.
        "You need to come with us. And you need to come now." One of the men who came with Stryker snapped.         
        Alex's face paled and his hands started to shake. He saw two people coming up to him, but he couldn't move. He couldn't make himself stand. Alex he could do was say, "No."
        He saw Stryker pull something out of the bag hanging from his shoulder and take a step towards Alex, waving off the other soldiers. "Now, you're going to have one more chance to come with me willingly. I don't want to make a scene."
        Alex locked eyes with Stryker and suddenly felt a wave of defiance rush through him. He wouldn't willingly go with Stryker. After Cuba, he knew he had to stand up for himself and for the mutants who couldn't. His hands clenched into fists and he could feel heat growing between his fingers. "No." He said again.
        Stryker sighed and nodded back at the two soldiers behind him. They rushed forward and had metal bracelets locked around his wrists and neck before he had enough energy for a blast. The metal started glowing and a burst of electricity raced through his body. He fell to the ground and felt a needle stab into his bicep. His eyes rolled back into his head and the last thing he felt was two arms dragging him out of the barrack before he passed out.


 

        What felt like hours later, Alex was jerked out of his unconsciousness by a loud banging. His vision was still distorted but it look to him like he was in some sort of room by himself. There was pitch black on three sides of his and a lighter, fuzzy grey on the fourth. His head was pounding and all his limbs felt like they weighed hundreds of pounds.  He thought it was strange that he was not restrained in any way. There wasn't any special mutant protection that he was aware of. Well this will be an easy escape, Alex though to himself. He then began the tantalizingly slow process of pulling himself to his feet.
        His vision started to come back into focus and  saw that he was in fact inside of a prison cell. There weren't any bars on the front of the cell, but just a grey force-field like this blocking the only way out. He ran a shaking hand through his sweat-soaked hair and felt anger boiling up inside him. He wouldn't be kept there. He wouldn't be made to stay trapped in this cell like an animal. Alex felt his power rising up in his gut, heat coursing through his body as his hands started faintly glowing red. Small red balls began forming in his hands and in a burst of pure anger, fired straight at the grey force-field in front of him. Just as the plasma hit off the wall, it ricocheted straight back at him. The plasma didn't hurt him - since he was immune to his own power - but the force slammed him backwards into the far wall. His head collided with the wall and he slumped to the ground, the room spinning around him. A second re-percussive blast knocked him even harder against the opposite wall.  Alex inhaled a sharp, pain breath before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he crumpled to the ground. His head was screaming and his body betrayed him as he felt his pants growing wet.
        Alex felt out of control. It's not as though he hadn't felt out of control before but at this very moment he knew that everything was completely out of his hands. If it was his power that was out of control then he could reign it back in and eventually be back on top of it, but now...it was other people who had taken that control away from him. He was afraid. He was vulnerable. And there really wasn't anything he could do about it.

A FEW HOURS LATER

        Alex had crawled away from the wet spot on the concrete floor and passed out, the pain in his head having become too much. As he slept, he had heard the voices of Charles, Erik, Darwin, Hank, and Raven floating through his subconscious. In the few moments after he awoke all he could hear was the equivalent of Sean screaming. He didn't remember anything that his fellow X-men had said, but he had remembered a very distinct memory that still haunts him to this day.
        His brother, an explosion, two screaming adults, falling....falling.....
        He never knew what had happened to his older brother. Alex had always hoped that he had survived. His brother only tried to protect then as they fell through the air. 
        Then he remembered blood. Blood from a head wound. Blood from a few scrapes.
        And pain. Pain from broken fingers and wrists, twisted ankles, and bruised skin. The ground had been anything but merciful. 
        Alex remembered crying. Tears streaming from his eyes as his brother wouldn't open his eyes. Tears dripped from his chin and splattered on the tightly packed earth. 
        He remembers the way his heart pounded as they ripped him away from his brother. 
        He remembers the betrayal he felt when they put the him in a separate foster home.
        And those feelings have never left him. And they refused to give him a second of peace. Even now as he is held like an animal. 
        He had curled himself into a fetal position in an attempt to "hide himself" from everything he was feeling. He didn't want to feel anything. He wanted to forget. He wanted it to all go away. He never wanted to be touched by a sliver of emotion every again. All he wanted to do was run away. Run away from everything. He wanted to stop hurting. To stop being afraid of himself. To stop feeling like he always had to isolate himself from everything. To just feel...normal for more than two seconds out of his life.
        He wanted to feel loved. He didn't want to be looked at like he was a freak. Being a mutant was bad enough. But mutant and gay? Could things get any worse?
        Alex had no one to talk to. No shoulder to cry on. No one to hold him. No one to tell him that it would all be okay. No one would help him fall back asleep after a nightmare. He had no one. And he never would. 


        He was snapped roughly out of his thoughts by a high pitched screech. Someone outside had touched a metal rod to the force field and as long as the rod stayed pressed against it, the scream continued. Alex felt like his ears were going to start bleeding at any moment. Finally, after what felt like years of holding his hands tightly against his ears, the scream let up and he heard a sharp bark of high pitched-feminine laughter. 
        "You like that?" She chuckled again; anything but genuine mirth in her voice. "Don't dogs like you respond to whistles? Or am I pegging you too high? At least dogs obey their masters."
        Alex slowly dragged his fingers away from his ears, the ringing fading into the background. "Wh-wh-who...who a-are you?" Alex croaked. With every word he spoke the ringing came back full volume. 
        "Who am I? I don't think that's really your concern. You'll find out eventually. For now you need to do exactly as I say. Choose to defy me and I'll...actually. I don't want to ruin the surprise. I'm sure you'll find out soon enough. You don't seem like the following orders type." Alex could practically hear the scornful sneer in her voice. "I do hope you prove me right. I haven't had the chance to properly punish someone in a long time. Now," She paused and Alex could see her walking back and forth in front of the cell. "There are a few people who want to see you and ask you a few questions, take a few measurements, and whatever else they see fit. That sound good?" She waited a beat and when there was silence, she continued. "Let's get going. Don't make me drag you to them. None of us would be very happy with that arrangement."
        Alex sneered and pulled himself up into a standing position, his knees shaking once he was semi-upright. Beads of sweat rolled down his face and down the small of his back. He took a stumbling step forward toward the force-field and nearly fell against it before catching himself. 
        "Very poise, aren't we?" The woman mocked. The blonde watched her hand move to her wrist and he heard a high-pitched beep. In front of his eyes the force-field vanished and he was less than a foot away from her face. 
        The first thing he noticed was her striking brown eyes; they were so dark that one might classify them as black. Her mocha skin was almost glowing in the fluorescent lighting of the hallway. Her sharp features drew attention immediately to her commanding eyes. Her toned arms were folded tightly across her chest and she wore a military-like uniform. It was an awful olive green color and it didn't take more than a second for an on-lookers eyes to be drawn to the dozens of pins decorating her breast. Her name tag read: S.A. XENA CORTAN. 
        "You done staring?" Xena smirked, a brow arching quizzically. "Cause I really need to be somewhere and I don't have time for your fantasies."
        Alex's eyes remained fixated on hers. A feeling of near recognition flashed through his brain. 
        He was snapped from his daze by a hand snatching around his wrist. He felt Cortan's fingernails digging into his skin as she pulled him forward. "I'm not playing around with you. If you don't fucking come with me now then you're gonna be in for one hell of a ride." She grinned. "I mean...you're in for quite the ride already. No need to make it harder on yourself. Am I right?" Alex remained silent as he trudged unwillingly behind her, stumbling over his own toes in an attempt to keep up with her quick pace. Xena shook her head. "Again with the brooding silence. I know for a fact you aren't going that to pick me. Brooding doesn't get a girl." A quirky smile stretched across her lips. "I should know...but then again. Maybe it picks up guys. If you're down for that." She barked a laugh and whipped him around a corner, pushing him into another room. Despite her short stature she was extremely strong and easily commanded a situation. Her conversation might have sounded casually but her tone was all business. 
        Alex's hands were shaking uncontrollably as she shoved him into the room. Xena stuck out her foot and tripped him, causing him to slide across the linoleum floor - bare skin rubbing painfully against the slick floor. He hissed out a breath as he saw calloused hands twist in his shirt collar and pull him to his feet. 
        "It's so nice to meet you, Alex." A sickly deep voice said. "I've heard so much about you. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to all the information I've extracted from your friends. I always wanted to take a closer look at you. Your powers and the way you absorb energy could be life-changing. Your genes could be the next evolution of solar panels. Our next energy source." The man pulled him over to a metal chair and pushed the blonde down onto it. "All we need to do is tap into that power. Find out what makes it work. How to create more of it. You could be the answer to everything."
        Alex sneered. "If that's all you wanted then why didn't you just ask nicely? I'm sure I would've considered."
        He heard Xena snort and the man turned him back to him. "I'm sure we could've asked. And I'm sure you would've been willing...well...willing until you found out what sort of tests we have to run. Then I'm sure you would be anything but."
        Alex's fingers clenched around the arm rests. "You said that my friends gave you information. How did you talk to them. What did they tell you? Why did they tell you anything?"
        The man shook his head. "Oh. You'll be finding that out soon enough. Until then, I think it's time for a proper introduction." He turned back to Alex. "My name is Antonio Melche and I am going to be the man in charge of taking you apart. Nice to meet you."