Midnight Shadows Guided Games GENEsis: DOFP Genesis In Character Days of Future Past [NYC] The Workshop [PRIVATE]


11-11-2018
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11-11-2018, 05:46 AM
[In-Character] [Post #11]
She frowned in response to the ‘reprimand’ and folded her hands behind her back. Her gaze slid away from him and she huffed out a trace of a laugh. Forge could be gruff, thick and rough around the edges, yet around him, she often felt her mind focus, and she wondered if it was a suppressed mutation on his part, some sort of calming that he could blanket about himself. Her nose scrunched gently when she considered the bottle of brandy that he had hurled across the room once when a socket head had snapped within an engine compartment.

But it hadn’t been the wrench that had frustrated him.

He perpetually sought to lose himself in his work, in his drinking, in his pretty little drawings and models. But it was her, always her, that sat simmering just beneath the surface taking up his thoughts, winding his insides into knots.

“You were nicer to me last time.” She grumbled, yet he had simply worked, and she had perched herself atop a crate and had just watched as she had let her mind fracture into the well of her thoughts. So truly, he hadn’t necessarily been nicer, they simply hadn’t bothered to communicate beyond a silence acknowledgement of each other’s presence.

Her fingers rolled against her palms and she rounded back to him. “It is a very good secret.” She whispered, loud enough for him to hear halfway across the shop, and then glanced briefly about them as though gauging their surroundings beyond the walls that held them enclosed. “Ears and eyes, everywhere.”

Wanda shook herself and focused back in on the mutant before her.

Center.

Then she moved towards him with near silent steps until she stood close enough to smell the faintest hint of mint and lime on his breath. She searched his face, between his eyes, along the slope of his nose, before she pitched forward further, just enough o lift her chin beside his cheek.

“I’ve seen her in a theater.” She whispered just for him. “Sapphire, then steel, then diamond skin shed in the night to set her free. Blood, so much blood that she should have turned herself to ruby quartz to hid it away from the eyes that found her.” She paused for little more than the moment it took to inhale a new breath. “Bird caught in a cage while a butterfly slipped free.”

She lifted her left hand and created a butterfly out of magic, red initially like all things she drew were, then it shifted, darkening and taking up blue from its surroundings to shimmer a shade of purple.

“The humans make diamond point bullets now.” Wanda swallowed before she looked back up at him. “Did you know that?”
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11-11-2018
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11-11-2018, 04:55 PM
[In-Character] [Post #12]
Over the years, many words had been used to describe one Jonathan Silvercloud. Overly socially as a term had never been amongst them. He knew people – his mutation alone was reason enough for a wide variety of people out there to find it helpful to know him. So he had never been able to truly avoid the knocks on his door, or the having to deal with people in one way or another. Being on his own – alone with his thoughts, his ideas, his inventions – had always been easier. Even as a teacher. He had been good to the kids – had been good at his position as a counsellor. But truth be told, he had always been at his best when he had seen them as a project more so than a human being. He could unravel the knots in their lives more so than figure them out as individuals.

So somehow, being in this shop, left to his own devices, was a little bit like heading back to the roots. The world had gone bad; outright crazy. Well, let it, he had decided eventually. The school destroyed a second time, so many dead. His entire life uprooted. Jonathan had come to a point where he saw no reason in rebuilding it all over again. One too many times he had gone and done that. He had returned from war, lacking two limbs. Worked for Shaw, for Stark … for Emma. Somehow he had always taken it in stride. His upbringing and his beliefs had forced him to move on. Somehow it had just been in his nature.

But all of that was before …. Before lavender eyes had so easily seen him, analysed him – had shown him a man he could be – one he wanted to be.

Forge paused. Contemplating how long it had been since anyone had called him by his given name. Did Jonathan even exist anymore? His left hand gripped his right shoulder, dirty fingers on a dark red shirt peppered with smears and stains from a day of productive work. That spot where a small bulge underneath his own layer of skin gave away where natural bone became metal.

Little more than half a man …

He swallowed, glancing at the bottle of brandy and deciding the buzzing in his head was getting too loud. With it came that voice – high pitched, thin. Grating. It could gnaw away at him, seep through layer after layer of self-protection. It was the awful mirror he never wanted to gaze into. It was the memory when he simply wanted to drown in the endless repetition his life had become.

Wanda’s voice was a little like gasoline to the flame. She was like the megaphone to that little voice. With her here there would be no shutting it out. Forge sighed. He closed his eyes, a small nod; he would humour her. So it was apparently a good secret – and just the tone of her voice was enough to wake curiosity in his mind. He swallowed. The Witch was good at this. A little too good for comfort. Her words so easily conjured up images in his mind. Husk as she shed skin after skin, all tainted in crimson. Forge had no idea whether it was the colour just being the trademark of Wanda, or actual blood. She confused him – even on a good day.

His eyes followed the little creature she created. Out of thin air she drew the red hues that would eventually turn into a deep, saturated blue. Forge sucked in air with a quiver. Why was it that Wanda Maximoff could so easily unsettle him?

“I know.” He spat as she mentioned the diamond tipped bullets. “I know,” Forge repeated pushing air out of his lungs this time. His hands would shake if he allowed them to, so instead he leaned forward, gripping the edge of the workbench with a human and one bionic hand. “What is it you’re getting at?”

Of course he had taken the bait. Line hook and sinker. And no matter how much he cursed that little voice in the back of his mind, it had bloomed again with the deadly certainty of cancer growing anew in a place that had been cauterized countless times.
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[In-Character] [Post #13]
He could be very dismissive, yet she had grown accustomed to that component of his personality. It was one of the reasons that she sought him out when the addled chaos in her mind became too much. He didn’t flinch if she randomly overturned a glass or a splintered crate, at least she wasn’t aware if he was ever angry with her for such actions as she often popped out of existence in the next moment, only reappearing hours later to sit and brood.

“They’re very creative.” She hummed, thinking about humans utilizing that precious stone they had once coveted to tip the point of bullets used to hunt that which they feared. Creative and clever. Hardest substance in the world, and she wondered if it had stemmed from the relentless pursuit of Emma Frost, her glittering legacy now a mimicry by Paige Guthrie. Yet diamond would pierce through near anything and everything else that a mutant could fathom to garb their skin in. Poor Husk had only fallen into that form in desperation.

She trailed her fingertips along the edge of his work bench. “That little bird is free, now, red and red and red.” She assured him. “Safe enough in arms that should be dead.”

A bird landed atop the roof overhead and she immediately glanced upward. “Living, that one, flesh and bone without cords and bolts.”

Then she frowned and snapped her focus back to him. “Why are you still here?” Her confusion washed over her like a tidal wave. He was still standing there with her when he should have been moving away form her and out of that very building. “She’s in a theater where it’s always summer.” She set her hands against his shoulders and gave him a shove. “Should be running, should be leaving me behind for prettier eyes and prettier thoughts.” Then she clamped her mouth shut and her grip on him tightened. “But she hasn’t slept in so long.”

Her eyes widened and she rose up onto the tip of her toes. “You need a door between the air.” She gave a nod as she turned away from him and pushed a circuit board from the edge of the bench so she could move first towards one of the dark television screens. “Not big enough. She always made doors out of doors, not screens to the cyber realm, but she wouldn’t know what that was in her world of steel, dragons, and winter.” She looked back at Forge. “I’ve seen it, half way between this reality and the next one.”

She lifted her left hand from her side and pointed her index finger at a wall, drawing a horizontal line as high up as she could reach. “Your ring still holds tight to her finger, did you know that?” Then she giggled. “All the pain, shock, water, fire, ice, and she never let them take it from her.”
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11-11-2018, 06:14 PM
[In-Character] [Post #14]
Hope was a terrible thing. It swooped in so swiftly, ignoring every lock on any door or window. It snuck through any crevice settling in before one could even brace for impact. And then it sat there, lodged in one's heart only waiting to shatter that heart into a million pieces when another lead would take him to a dead end.

Forge had done it countless times.
The skin of his left ring finger itched. He still wore that band. Simple. Silver. Nothing special to the unknowing eye. Yet, easily his most valuable possession.

He gripped the edge of the work bench's table top. It was hard listening to Wanda. Listening and process. It was so easy to seek out the clues for Beth in any and every little bit of information he received. Too much did he want her still exist in this world. After all, he had not even begun to consider what his life would be, who he would be, without her.

Forge wanted to be object and clear minded. Who could it be she was speaking of? Certainly there were other mutants they were still looking…

“Fuck.” A single syllable was all it room for him to forfeit. He gazed up at Wanda and his face had changed. Something about him was younger, more alive. His eyes were bright with a terrible mixture of hope and fear. And yet, the lines around his eyes appeared deeper, the shadows on his face a little darker.

Turning to face Wanda, he tried to make sense of her riddles. Red bird. Was it Beth? But why red? Purple was her colour. Was she hurt? Bleeding? Whose arms was she in? Another one not dead?

Forge let his eyes follow Wanda’s gaze. A bird high up on the roof. Was she talking about it or about Beth? Was she really alive? His heart had begun hammering in his chest and there was a buzzing in his ears now. He felt dizzy. Wanda's gaze came around to find him. Forge could have sworn that her eyes were a bright red. Just for a moment. She was seeing this, wasn't she? This was real and not just her mind making this up.

Her question caught him off guard. “Where should I be?” Forge knew how much of a desperate plea his tone was rather than a question to make sense of a crazy woman's ramblings. But Wanda Maximoff was not crazy. Her mind simply worked in different spheres. She knew things others didn't.

She knew things…

“What Theater? Can you send me there, Wanda. Make a door.” Yes, line hook and sinker. Hope was burning in his veins, in his heart. Beth. Beth. Wanda shoved him and Forge, for the first time in so long, felt a real and honest need to move. He wanted to run, race after whoever had his wife. He needed to. Needed to do so now.

“A door!” He called out. “Where is she?” He didn't even know that he was almost shouting at Wanda now. He was not just humouring an insane woman, was he? His mind insisted That Wanda knew things. And yet, what were the odds? He had been up ever since the wee hours of the night. A cup of coffee with brandy instead of milk. He'd worked ever since. Fatigue was creeping up on him despite being a few hours shy of bedtime. It had been like any other day in his insignificant existence. Nothing special about it. More work, more brandy, less time on his clock.

How was it possible that here and now came the chance that this nightmare finally ended? Had he not refused to even consider that Beth was dead? Refused to contemplate where she could be. Suspended animation. Nowhere to go, nothing to hide from. If he only held still long enough maybe he could pretend that nothing was out of the ordinary.

He swayed as the possibility that lay in this moment pushed into his mind with full force. His real leg threatened to give in. It was the bionic limb that kept him upright as Wanda spoke of what could only be Beth still wearing her ring.

“Get me there. Now.”
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[In-Character] [Post #15]
“Not here.” She insisted, her mind threatening to sweep away. “This isn’t where you’re supposed to be, not right now.”

The thought of Elliot sought to claim her line of thought and she wondered if it was him pushing up against the barrier between this world and the construct he had woven, trying to gain her attention, trying to pull her through. That world was incomplete. Not like this one.

Forge drew her back with the prompt to clarify. What theater? Why wasn’t he listening to what she was saying? She was giving him every answer, everything that he needed to hear. Why couldn’t he understand? He insisted on a door and she winced in response to his tone, then he softened and asked about her.

“You are paying attention.” She quietly clapped her hands together as she rounded back towards him once more. “Here.” She pointed at the wall to her right. “This way.” Then she lifted her hand again and drew the outline of a door. “Such a pretty heretic with pretty words and wings that take her higher into the sky. She makes such quick and easy doors.” She babbled as she set her palm flat against the exposed concrete.

She wasn’t sure how it was done with other hands, how to coax a material object into giving way to reality, but for her it was Pietro. Long ago it would have been easy, but his absence from the world had splintered her already fragile mind beyond comprehension. So she thought of him. She imagined him, his smile, some stupid barb he had offered when they were young, a moment that made her laugh. That was what she envisioned to focus her magic. That was what she thought of when she reached for an otherwise absent doorknob, fashioning one of red energy, and infusing the construct with power enough for it to pull open on makeshift hinges.

Hold tight and think of home.

Rather than the junkyard waiting to greet them, the foyer of the dark theater sat prime for them to step through to.

“I wish it smelled like popcorn.” She said, more to herself as she lifted her foot and crossed the threshold.

“Hi, Wanda.” A little voice greeted and she turned enough to take in the solitary figure of Tony Summers, a pair of goggles in one hand.

“My little dove,” she cooed at the boy. “What are you doing up here all alone?”

The boy pursed his lips and looked to the floor. “Everybody is acting crazy about Beth even though she’s sleeping.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I wanted to get her some flowers.” He looked back up at her, shifting to gaze through the doorway. “She told me she likes lilacs.” He pressed a finger to his temple. “She told me…in my head.”
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[In-Character] [Post #16]
Wanda’s words spoke of purpose, spoke of something that sounded like he had a place to be, a role to play. It was so alien to the ears of a man who had refused to acknowledge that time was passing during the past five years. Shortly after Beth had gone missing, when all the leads had lead him nowhere, Forge had withdrawn. In those cruel moments just as the was about to rise on another wasted night, not even the brandy or scotch had been enough to obscure the fact that Forge had given up.

Not quite the man he had wanted to be. Should he not have gone looking for his wife? Relentlessly, with undying belief that he could indeed save her. She was alive out there somewhere, right? Nothing could mess with one Elisabeth Silvercloud. Nothing. And yet fear had paralyzed him. Fear that she was dead. Forge refused to accept a world in which she did not exist. It still felt like he had only found her. They had battled so much to build their relationship – the idea that it had all been in vain threatened to deepen the cracks in the rough veneer that was the tinkerer, the inventor; threatening to expose the weak side of this man.

So that he still had purpose, after all this time. Forge stared at Wanda, willing her to do as she did. There was a way to understand her. It was a simple one. One had to follow her on her path to make sense of her words and action. One had to trust her. Forge had done it before – and it was then that he had decided that Wanda Maximoff was not insane. She was simply a woman who saw beyond their reality. She saw things others could not gain access to. They were part of her reality, so her mind had adjusted to that. It may have forgotten that not everyone could see what she saw – she was the one-eyed queen in a world of the blind, trying to explain colours.

Forge shrugged out of his heavy lab coat, discarding the dirty item on the floor without another look. Meanwhile, Wanda was drawing that door he had called for. She spoke, of someone with words and wings – and it made absolutely no sense to him. Forge could not just follow her on her path this time. He trusted that what she said was true but he could not ask the questions, or just go out on a limb with her. His inner eyes was focussed only on a single thought: Beth. Lavender eyes. It tore threw him like a tidal wave, once more threatening to make his knees buckle. Oh the things he had silently offered up night after night after night when faced with the empty bed next to him. He had wanted to bargain – with every last entity willing to listen. There was nothing he would not have given to get her back.

And yet no one had answered.

So to find that option offered to him now, here. Forge knew it was a point of no return. If this was another dead end, he would not come back. Not to this place, not to this life.

Despair darkened his eyes. Wanda had to be right. This could not be another dead end. She would bring him to Beth. She would … Forge swallowed and his throat was dry. His gaze was on her face, only to find a silent but nevertheless real longing there much like he felt for Beth. Wanda, Forge knew, had a rather intimate relationship with loss as well.

And then the door opened.

With shaking hands, Forge discarded the gloves he wore. Clad in a simple jeans, and that red shirt, he could sense warmth emanating from the doorway. That scene on the other side, it was not just an image. It was real. A theatre, he thought, thinking back to her words. A theatre where it was always summer. Wanda’s voice was far away as Forge’s vision tunnelled on the pathway in front of him.

He followed, with small but deliberate steps, crossing over right after her – because that voice in his mind had already begun speaking again. It spoke of how Wanda would likely leave him behind if he did not hurry. This was, truly, that one chance. Screwing it up was not an option.

Forge’s gaze followed Wanda’s as there stood the small figure of a boy that looked so familiar. For a moment, he was certain that he was gazing at a small version of Scott Summers. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? Certainly Summers, though. He followed the exchange between Wanda and the boy. Why was it that this boy was not surprised to see Wanda here? And where was here? It was cold in New York. Here? He could smell … warm weather. That certain, strange smell that was a little bit of everything and somehow nothing all at once that smelled like summer.

And then the boy spoke the single word that momentarily made him the centre of Forge’s universe. Beth. Sleeping. Flowers.

Lilacs.

Lavender…

Oh please …

In his head. Forge could not truly follow. Asleep but talking. What? He exhaled with a quiver, sinking down to one knee to come to eyelevel with the boy. His own voice sounded like a faint reminder of old times, better times. It was gentle and kind, hiding away the wish to see his wife that was paired with despair and fear rather well. Though something told him that the boy would maybe see through it all – Wanda most certainly would.

“Where is she? May I see her?”
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[In-Character] [Post #17]
Fear was not what drove him to follow Tony up to the main level. If anything, it was curiosity. When Alex had started manifesting her mutation, he knew his boy would likely follow suit. Tony’s had been…seemingly always present. He had found him hovering in his cradle-asleep-once before he was even six months old. Other signs had been subtler, enough that even Cait hadn’t really detected it. But when he drawn a sphered of plasma into his own hand and held it near the boy while he slept just last month, and his son had unconsciously absorbed it, Gabe had resigned himself to the inevitable.

So amongst all the back and forth between everyone all the lower level once the purple haired mutant had been tucked into bed, he had removed himself from the debate over their next course of action to and watched Tony creep towards the room given to Beth. The way he had leaned forward without crossing the threshold of her room, the tilt of his head, he knew someone was talking to him, and given the mutation of the woman seemingly asleep within, it wasn’t difficult to discern who he was conversing with.

No, it was not fear that galled him into following his son, and his curiosity was seemingly rewarded when Tony headed for a corner of the theater where half a dozen different species of flowers had sprung up near overnight. Lilacs. He knew that was what he was headed for.

The sudden shift in the air and the energy in the foyer, alerted him to the incoming presence, but the snapping red energy that preceded her, and the odd rectangular shape that was pushed forward, calmed the hackles that threatened to rise in response. Her sudden presence from one point in the world to the next was still somewhat unsettling, it was easier to grasp at her disappearing and reappearing.

He smiled when Tony addressed her, confirming his suspicions about the flowers and who had given him the idea. The figure that moved through the tear in reality, though, was a different story all together.

It was odd to see him there, after how many years of him seeming more of an urban legend; a mad man with the intellect of a god hiding out in a junkyard halfway down a bottle of malt.

“I had wondered if Wanda, of all people, would manage to get you here.” He tipped his head and sighed. “Regardless of the manner in which she likely baited you here, she actually possesses the ability to get you here undetected.” He pushed himself up from the edge of the doorway he had settled against. “Though no one actually sent her.”

Wanda stuck her tongue out at that, and with a snap of her fingers, her ‘doorway’ collapsed in on itself.

“She’s downstairs.” He looked to Forge. “She was brought by a human girl, just so you know.” He had his thoughts about Elise. “She said she passed out after apparently vaporizing a prison yard full of military personnel.”
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[In-Character] [Post #18]
Forge could feel a sense of defeat, as the small form of this boy was followed by that of an older version of the same face. Of course, Gabriel. The third Summers. The boy was the spitting image of this one. He exhaled, rising to stand and feeling like somehow his path here had really taken him down the rabbit hole. Like Alice in Wonderland, he now had to face obstacle after obstacle. Once did not just set foot into a dimensional pocket and was presented with the final and ultimate holy grail. One had to work for it.

Gabriel looked better than most mutants he had seen in the past months. Forge let his eyes travel the length of his body. So the whispers were true. There were more of them alive. He was relieved about it, even if it coloured his own decisions in questionable colours. Forge had insisted to stay on the sidelines – not join the battle. Had he let his own kind down?

Had he let Beth down?

He closed his eyes for a moment, a hand wiping across his face, his eyes. He was tired. He would leave this question for Beth to answer. In the end, only her verdict was what really mattered to him. It felt hard to drag his gaze back up to Gabriel – Vulcan the SFG had dubbed him – normally he would sleep now, or help himself to another coffee complete with the finger of whiskey in it. People were exhausting, he preferred the company of his gadgets and trinkets.

So Wanda had made sure the two of them had been undetected. Well, good for her – and him. He shot a glance at the woman, almost a smile on his lips. One that faded however when Gabriel continued, pointing out that no one had sent her. He felt gratitude for her doing so, while at the same time a sliver on animosity rose from his stomach at the idea that they would have kept Beth here longer without him knowing.

When Gabriel continued, pointing out her location within the theatre, Forge exhaled and nodded. His gaze found the stairs leading downwards and his body seemed to slowly move at its own volition. “I need to see her”, he said with a voice that was on the verge of breaking. Forge didn’t know what to make of Gabriel’s added information. A human girl had brought her in? Then a smile followed in the wake of Gabriel explaining how Beth had levelled a whole prison. That was his wife alright.

“She overexerts …”, Forge mused out loud as he passed Gabriel. As he reached the stairs, he gazed back at Wanda. He wondered whether she would follow, certainly preferring her company over Gabriel’s. And yet he knew he was here on their turf. Possibly Vulcan’s. Was he calling the shots here? They had every right to deny him free movement. After all, Forge was all too aware that some of the deals he had closed these past years had been with agents of the SFG – never to give up any mutant in particular, the alcohol and his will to fully lose himself in his work was making sure that he could never keep track of who was where, and yet some of them had been questionable at best. Anyone working both sides usually got killed in the end. “Withdraws into her mind to recharge …”

His words sounded more like rambling than anything else. More than anything, they were to hid his nervousness. Alice in Wonderland – this situation could not have been more like it. It was surreal and it was striking fear into the heart of this man who could not deny that he could not handle another dead end.

“Please … I need to see her.” He eventually said, bloodshot eyes slipping from Wanda’s face back to Gabriel’s.
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[In-Character] [Post #19]
Yeah, take a good look. It was what he wanted to goad of the older man, the older mutant standing across the entry way from him. We’re still alive out here. Because they were. There were mutants all over the city, all over the state, all over the country still fighting. And many of them, still, were dying. Many of them being taken for dissection of their mutations simply to be turned around and utilized to hunt their own.

“I had intended to send Megan after you.” He continued, picking up on the faint twitch to Forge’s brow. “She’s quieter, a little more sane with her words.” A snap or red magic nipped at his shoulder and he batted it away for a moment before he drew it against his palm for dissipation, his eyes briefly sweeping towards the boy. He wondered if he left the magic suspended if his smaller form would reach for it. His small form was already capable of things that would stun the bodies of mutants three times his size. “I imagine you were offered quite the interesting riddle to bring you here.”

Wanda scoffed, stuck her tongue out once more, then vanished in a wisp of red.

“Yeah.” He gave a nod when Forge insisted he needed to see Beth, and he turned towards the back steps, catching a glimpse of Wanda reappearing nearer the side of the other man. “Come on, Scarlet.

Gabe smiled, yet it twisted into somewhat of a dismissive grimace and Forge’s acceptance and comment about Beth overexerting, like it was natural. He had seen her powers in action before, watched her piece buildings together, watched her pick a person out of a crowd of thousands, watched her atomize a plasma sphere. The idea that she had literally vaporized some thirty men…that was not the woman he had known. He had always known her to take the least confrontational approach. But perhaps he didn’t know her at all.

“Hurry up, Tony.” He called to his son as the boy reached the array of flowers spread across the far wall. The boy hastily plucked at several stems until he seemed satisfied and rushed back in their direction, passing them as he clamored down the steps ahead of them. “Nothing for your sister?”

“She can grow her own.” The boy called back.

Gabriel shook his head. “Here.” He pointed down a dimmer corridor once they had cleared the stairwell. “Wanda says she hasn’t slept in years. But take that with a grain of salt, considering the source.” He paused and Forge turned to look at him, and he appreciated the other man’s presence. All it took was a woman to move a man. He smirked when he thought of his mother babbling on about Helen of Troy. He lifted his arm then, and gestured towards the darker room behind Forge.
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[In-Character] [Post #20]
Forge gazed at the other, younger man – wondering where one Gabriel Summers would be in twenty years time, when he had seen as much as Jonathan had. Some remained resilient to the beatings life had in store for them. Maybe Gabrial was one of those people. Forge knew he most certainly was not. Losing Beth had struck him down, put him into his place – and he had never mustered the strength to get back up.

It was clear as day to Forge that Gabriel appeared to not agree with the path he had chosen. Defiance still stood in every last bit of the man’s composure. There was a resistance. Forge knew this – had known all along. But with Beth being gone the will to fight had gone out of him. What good was this world that kept taking away everything he cared for? It most certainly did not make him a man to honour – but it made him an honest one.

Forge stood just a bit taller, his height matching that of the younger man. His physique was not quite as trained anymore. Still, Forge could quite possibly match a round of pull ups against Gabriel for a good long time. The alcohol had often dulled his senses – but Forge knew better than to let himself go. The bar attached to the frame leading to the small room upstairs serving as his bedroom was one he still used daily.

Gabriel seemed to struggle with Forge’s comment about Beth’s power. The older man contemplated whether to explain: That Beth would always put every last fibre of her being into her battles. She would go all out. Even if the cost was the ultimate price. Beth would never think of her own security, her own life when fighting for something she believed in. That kind of determination was part of what he had fallen for in her.

Forge barely noticed the exchange between Gabriel and his son, instead his eyes were fast on the darkness in front of them, as they wandered down the steps and finally turned into a smaller corridor. This was when once more Gabriel’s attention was fully on Forge. Yet where the older man had thought to find animosity before there was now a surprising sense of appreciation. Forge didn’t know what exactly to make of it. He repeated what Wanda had mentioned before, that Beth had not slept in years. Forge shrugged at this. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it was actually the truth.” He knew of some of the experiments they did on mutants. “Don’t be so hard on her …”, he added, speaking of the Scarlet Witch. A sense of appreciation of his own rang in Forge’s voice. He felt protective of Wanda Maximoff.

Only then did Forge notice that they had come to a stop. Gabriel gestured to a door behind him. Throat going dry, Forge eventually took the hint and turned to face it. Just that it wasn’t a door, there was none in this frame. Just another room beyond the threshold, darker than the hall they were in even. Forge’s feet moved and he felt like he was in a trance. None of this felt real. Half an hour ago, he had lived in a world where he refused to acknowledge the passing of time because she had been gone without a trace and now here he was, approaching the place where his wife – alive and breathing – was resting after killing thirty men with a single flicker of her powers.

He exhaled into the darkness, slowing pushing ahead while his eyes adjusted to the lack of light.

And then, there she was. Motionless but whole. No limb was missing, nothing had changed. Maybe some weight was missing from her form – she looked fragile at best. “Oh god, Beth …”, he name escaped him without him wanting it and then his feet moved on their own. He reached her side, and a shaking hand reached out to find that spot on the side of her neck that would throb with the pulse of her blood for every person alive. The index finger found it, and a jolt tore through him.

Alive. She was alive.

“How long?” he asked. “When did you get her out?” His voice betrayed the state of his mind and heart. Shaking, uprooted, uncertain. He had no idea what to do with this. Part of him wanted to shake Beth’s psi-powers, make her connect with him. She was obviously conversing with Gabriel’s child in her sleep – she could talk to him, too? And yet at the same time, he almost dreaded seeing her. What if none of this was real? What if he was to wake within the hour and find all of this had been a dream?

“Gabe, we need you”, a voice rang from up the stairs. Only now did he notice that there were voices, someone was shouting for help. Forge turned around to the other man, willing him to leave while considering to beg him to stay. He had no idea when exactly he had become this level of uncertain … Why? Was it guilt he felt at the sight of his wife? Guilt for giving up the search for her when she had been alive all this time?

“GABE!”

Forge looked at the younger man while another voice rang down the stairs. “Leif! Stop it!” Was this Kitty Pryde’s voice? “We’re here for their help. Please. She’s lost a lot of blood.”

What neither of them could see right now was the woman with the brown hair and wild eyes. She looked possibly insane, bathed in another woman’s blood. Behind her stood the tall form of her eleven year old son – a boy that had truly inherited his father’s genes. Leif Thorson – tall, fair and handsome, and with strength that could rival his father’s. He, too, was the shade of crimson from the neck down and he held the unmoving form of one Madelyne Pryor.

“Those are diamond tipped bullets. One headshot.” She didn’t mention the other two bullet wounds. “She’s still breathing but if you don’t help her she won’t for long.”
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bury my heart next to yours


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