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It was hard for him to come back to the mansion.

 

He knew that it was the right thing to do for his brother though, so he couldn’t be selfish about it, because he knew that the school would provide everything Scott needed right now; help, support, guidance, and love. The mansion was bustling with young mutants who were scared, of perhaps even themselves, but they had smiles on their faces and they were learning together, coming to grips with what they could do as they shared the happiness that went with them living with their own kind. Scott needed that. Scott needed the mansion, the red bursts of energy exploding from his eyes clearly showed that. And he knew Charles would take Scott in and give him the right amount of training to control his power the way that the Professor had done for him.

 

It was just so hard. Alex had silently been suffering for years now, almost two decades, but... But he had managed to keep it under control thus far. Going into the army was the best way to do it... He could harness his power and for once in his life give something back to the world... He had done good as a soldier... He just never told anyone why he went. His parents certainly had no idea about the truth. They were just ecstatic to have him back. Alex felt differently.

 

No. He went into the army to hopefully will his body away. He was kidding everyone, telling them that he wanted to be a part of a team who protected their nation, when really... Really he was just hoping that he’d be chipped off. He hoped he would have been shot. He wanted to die.

 

Because he was already dead. Inside. He wanted his body to be limp, just like his heart, because he was aching. He’s been half of a soul for almost twenty years, but he’s managed to quell it down recently.

 

 It wasn’t every day he was plagued with the thoughts of fiery red wispy hair caught in his fingers as he pulls the strands to cause a thrumming gasp... It wasn’t every day he thought of those equally red lips pressed against his own, in a long loving passionate kiss or a quick chaste fleeting touch that still left him weak in the knees... It wasn’t every day he imagined counting all those pretty freckles all over again, as they marked his lover’s body in such an underrated beautiful way... It wasn’t every day he cried as he heard that damn haunting free-spirited delighted laugh ringing in his ears...

 

No. It was just most days. Every thought of that tall angelic, albeit clumsy, redhead usually left him in tears... Or they left him angry enough that he had to take a moment to himself before he ripped poor innocent passers-by’s to shreds.

 

Alex has been dead for a long time, but no one sees it. His parents don’t see it. Scott doesn’t see it. Because they didn’t know. They don’t understand.

 

Sean was just a name to them. They didn’t know how stupid and disorientated the redhead was, they didn’t know how spaced out and addicted to drugs the redhead was, they didn’t know how beautiful the redhead sounded as he sang lazy tunes, whistling to the air to annoy the birds in the trees because his sonic always messed with their radar, they didn’t know that the redhead was so sweet, so caring, that even when a fly died on the table he’d dress it in a white piece of toilet paper and hold a funeral for an animal no one but Sean would miss, and they didn’t know that Alex had fallen for him, fallen so hard in love that he never managed to pick himself back up whenever he fell down in despair at the mere mention of his name, because Sean wasn’t here anymore.

 

They had taken him. And it was all Alex’s fault. Alex should have found him, he should have busted into those damn fucking labs and blasted every fucker who wanted to even touch a poor hair on Sean’s head. He wished he had killed them all. He wished he was fast enough. He wished he was a better person, he wished he had saved the only person who ever saw him cry because Sean was the closest thing he had to a soul mate, and Alex didn’t even believe in that soft mushy crap.

 

He had managed not to leak his ongoing torturous guilt to his parents, to his little brother, to any friend he’s ever had, because it wasn’t him. They saw the Alex Summers they should see. Hard, emotionless, arrogant, cocky, full of brute strength. Only Hank and Charles knew how he really felt about Sean, because they saw it day to day as they’d playfully wrestle in the kitchen or full on make out in the living room of the mansion after having a few alcoholic beverages, because Alex wasn’t the type of man to have sex in front of anybody unless he was drunk. No. He liked having Sean to himself, in private. It was their relationship. It was their emotions. It was their love that no one else should get to see.

 

He used to have nightmares. They used to vividly depict the image of how they... How they pulled Sean apart. Blazing white lights shining desperately on a cold metallic bed that held Sean down with leather binds and metal confines with a gag wrapped around Sean’s mouth, blocking out the intense screams as blunt, dull knives scraped across Sean’s poor, innocent neck, pulling back against the flesh like a saw to locate Sean’s voice box to tear it out and experiment on what made Banshee so special.

 

When he awoke on those nights... Nothing stopped him. He usually always awoke with fire blazing around him. His chest used to continue to fire, his own screams of agony piercing the tents situated around him. That’s why he used to sleep on just the ground. Recently as he begun to sleep at his parents’, nightmares rarely followed. He supposed it was because his subconscious knew that he had his poor parents and baby brother in the same vicinity as him. His brain knew who to protect. He wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again.

 

Being away from the mansion had been easier. He didn’t have every corridor full of memories at his own home, or at the camp base, to whimper and remember all those days with someone he truly cared about.

 

Whimper. Ha. He was no man. He was a childish coward.

 

Now that he was at the mansion... He had his life to face up to. He was there for his brother. He couldn’t concentrate on Banshee when his brother was in dire need of help after starting trouble, though everything in the mansion just screamed Sean. Even when he walked down the pathway to the grand entrance with his brother, one single glance at the satellite caused ghostly sonic screams to filter through his ears, and he had to shake his head to focus on just why he was here, and who he was here with.

 

“Bro? Are we... Are we here?”

 

Alex glanced down at his brother and wrapped an arm around Scott’s shoulders, giving them a gentle squeeze. It was a shame Scott couldn’t see the mansion, it had gotten grander over time.

 

“Yeah. Yeah, Scott, we’re here.”

 

Maybe one day he’d tell Scott about Sean, because it broke his heart to know that no child here right now would even know who Banshee was. But he had to stay strong, and he would stay strong. For Scott.