Midnight Shadows Guided Games GENEsis: DOFP Genesis In Character Days of Future Past [NYC] Hurricane [Paige / Alex]


11-12-2018
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11-12-2018, 09:40 PM
Hurricane [Paige / Alex] [Post #1]
21 Chelsea Piers, Unknown Apt



She should be dead.

Hundreds of diamond point bullets should have ripped through her entire body.

Because she had hesitated.

The Sentinel should have cut her down with ease.

Because she had hesitated.

Instead, she was tucked safely against a warm chest that overloaded her senses with a scent she was familiar with, intimately so. But it belonged to a man that was supposed to be dead. His voice in her ear, still echoing in her thoughts to put her head down, to stop fighting him as he snatched her right out of the Sentinel’s reach.

She inhaled against his collarbone and her grip in his shirt tightened.

She should be dead.

It itched at the back of her throat, desperate to crawl its way forward to the tip of her tongue, but each and every time it struggled to be free, she would swallow his name back down into her chest. It had been guarded deep within for so long, that uttering it seemed almost traitorous. Not necessarily to him, but the void his death had wrought. She had mourned him. If Victor had a say, she was sill mourning him.

For good reason.

Perhaps she was dead and-

“No.” She straightened slightly in his arms when she realized he was heading them into the Theater District in Manhattan. “Chelsea.”

Their motion forward decelerated gradually and he hovered. His hold about her firmer, and she wondered if he was weighing whether or not to breach the silence she had allowed to envelope them. But she couldn’t return to the theater, not yet, not…

Paige exhaled and lifted her arm to glance at her watch.

“Four minutes.” She said and pointed her hand in the direction she wanted him to take. They continued to hover and she bit at her lip. “If you won’t take me there, then put me down so that I can get there myself.”

“You wouldn’t make it in four minutes.” His voice ran a shutter down the length of her spine.

“I need to get there.” She replied. “In four minutes.”

His fingertips bit in against her, threatening to leave bruises and she pressed her teeth together. Thankfully, however, he relented and had them at the building with thirty-three seconds to spare. She directed him to the fifth floor, corner apartment and nearly jumped out of his arms to clear the balcony railing.

“Six.” She called forward as she reached for the French doors. She pushed the open without thought and hurried into the living room. She turned abruptly to the left down the hall towards the bedroom and found it empty. “No.” She breathed as she rounded about and headed for the front door where she found the suit waiting with its right hand raised and the repulser activated, waiting. A small form dressed in at least what appeared to be a hoodie sweatshirt and practically swaddled in a blanket.

“Abort access code.” Its metallic voice insisted.

“Genosha.”

The light on its palm extinguished and it lowered its arms. “Thank you, Miss Guthrie.”

“Thank you, Six.” She offered and immediately reached for the small boy that it held and drew him close to herself.
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[In-Character] [Post #2]
Alexander Summers. The name sounded so alien to his own mind. It was an instalment of himself from a different lifetime. He had once carried that name. Son of a mother who had not told him about there being an older brother; pawn to a woman who would make him her bodyguard. Mutant, as a term, had meant something to him then. Now – mutant was no more than the state of a person, a faulty gene; a disease.

Alex. He could not remember when anyone had called him that last. Alex was the hot-tempered, impulsive kid brother of one Scott Summers. He cared more about a certain girl with the shade of amethyst to her dark hair than his duties. He wasted more time fighting his older brother than appreciating that he had even had one.

Had

So much time wasted.

The thought was always like a sledgehammer to his head, his heart. How much time had he spent fighting first Scott and then Gabriel? Why had he felt such a fundamental need to go to war against his brothers?

Time wasted.

And now? Now none of it mattered anymore – none of the reasons he had felt had been so justified at the time. Now he was a face amongst a thousand, fading into the background. Or so he had been for the past years. A human, he had been able to experience that life first hand. Always two small tablets close to his heart. One to deactivate the gene – one to jumpstart it. A genius mind had concocted them for him – much like he had created the arm that now replaced Havok’s left one. That arm the explosion serving as a decoy had cost him.

Ever since then, those tablets blocking his gene had been his daily companions. Shrouded in normalcy he had spent his time. There was no aim, no destination for him now. The security jobs paid good money and he could hide in plain sight. Without an active x-gene, he was of no interest to the SFG. The medication did its job. He had passed multiple scans for mutations as no more than a baseline human. So he had accepted that life. Normal, quiet. What regarding his reflection in the mirror, Havok would insist that this was the case. That he had chosen the security job, bringing him closer to mutants once more, only for the money and the decent health plan that came with it.

So that he had been on site when a handful of mutants dug their way into the compound, to the lower levels not even he had access to, was just a(n un)lucky coincidence. Really, it could not be more. Clad in the customary black combat attire that reminded him more of a black-ops mercenary than a security guard, he had been ordered to shoot on sight. No questions to ask, no warnings to shout. If it moves, he was to shoot.

He had ditched the assault rifle they had equipped him with the moment he had felt it. Even through the block of his inactive x-gene. His body yearned. A single jolt had rocked through him, every cell suddenly on fire as his underlying mutant nature recognised one of its own. His brother.

Gabriel was alive?

A mixture of relief and burning anger had exploded in his stomach. Havok had lived as a damned base-line human for half a decade almost just so the third Summers could go around strolling into a damned SFG compound and get himself killed, incarcerated or worse? He had pulled the dog tags from around his neck, attached to it a small vial that contained the second pill. It was still the same one he had gotten at that Workshop all those years ago.

It tickled on his tongue when he popped it into his mouth only to burn through him like a tornado of fire. It was painful as the medication ripped away the shroud of years of hiding and his entire being breathed, recharging batteries that had lain dormant in a single moment. Before he was fully aware of it, Havok had been up in the air, at eye-level with one of the Sentinels they had deployed no less.

“Well, shit …” he choked out just as his control over his own body and powers flickered. He dropped a good ten feet, coming a bit too close to the ground, but effectively avoiding a blast from the Sentinel that would have cut him in half.

Gabriel was gone. The sensation was no more than an echo in the back of his head, and for a moment Havok wondered whether he had given up his cover for nothing.

“TAKE HER DOWN!” He knew that voice. It was the section chief, head of his division, and on sight tonight to oversee his team finally being equipped with diamond tipped bullets and the proper weaponry required for it. Havok turned mid-air, as the female form emerged from one of the barracks.

Paige?

He did not think, and simply reacted, diving down to sweep her off of her feet and into his arms as behind the bullets tore through the air. From above the Sentinel was closing in. She had stood there, her eyes on … what? Him? Someone? Something? … hesitating instead of running. And much like slipping on an old, comfortable pair of shoes, Havok had done what he still did best: use his powers. She was safe in his arms as Havok breathed in again, gathering what energy he could, and then he exploded upward leaving behind a massive orb of energy that took half the sentinel’s face. It would be enough to stall the thing long enough so that it could not go into pursuit.

Only moments had passed since then – and yet Havok could hardly compute in his mind what had just happened. Had he really blown his cover within the blink of an eye? Was he still that man? Alex … impulsive enough to waste the work of years for a single moment of sensing his brother, and then seeing … Paige. He gulped as her name crossed his mind, lay on his tongue. He wanted to say it but the word did not come. After everything, Paige was the last shred of humanity he had in his memory. The time they had shared, albeit brief. He could not have left that compound to save himself and leave her there. As a mutant, or a human. Of course he would have blown his cover for her had he not done so already for the idea of Gabriel popping up in his mind.

Her hands on his chest, her figure in his arms. It added to the sensation of his every fibre being caught in a constant stream of electricity. This morning, Steven Smith – the name he had chosen for himself – had been certain that he really had left his old life behind. And now? Now, suddenly Alexander Summers was back as a part of his old life now lay in his arms as he rushed them both to … well, where?

He had heard about that theatre. He had stayed away from it on purpose, too worried that maybe just like he was doing the long con, someone else was doing it with him. Maybe the SFG had known all along who he was? Was only waiting for him to go find his brothers to stick them all into hamster wheels and figure out just what made the Summers brothers tick. In hindsight, his own excused sounded ridiculous now. If anything, he had been scared – to face Gabriel, to find that Scott had died. Scared so shitless, and yet he still had worked for the SFG by extension, had worked his way closer to the mutant compounds.

He shifted directions heading for that theatre, knowing that with his own shroud of normalcy gone there was no reason to stay away from that theatre any longer. Still that headless, impulsive kid not thinking it through till the end like he had always been.

“No”, Paige said and briefly he wondered whether she was reading his mind. He exhaled a breath he had not been aware that he was holding when she suggested a different direction. Chelsea? Why Chelsea? He slowed, coming to an almost halt mid-air above a fifty story building. Usually he would prefer flying at a lower altitude. Right now, the height was something he was no longer used to. And yet, up here he could see any Sentinel approaching, any helicopter picking up their trace. But nothing of the sort happened. They were alone – for now.

Paige glanced at her watched and cited what he assumed was a time of arrival. What followed then almost drew a smile to his face. This was the woman he remembered. If you’re not with me, then get the hell out of my way.

“You wouldn’t make it in four minutes.” It was a matter of fact tone he struck, somewhat surprised at how certain he sounded. In this moment he was anything but sure of what was happening right now. Yet, Paige would have none of it. She insisted. Four minutes. Alex inhaled, his fingers digging a bit deeper into her skin where they touched her. God, she felt so familiar against him. He pushed the thought from his mind – no time to get side-tracked by things that lay back so far. He had become a different person, had he not? Who knew what happened to hear. So he shifted in mid-air, and after another deep breath inwards, he did what he could only describe as exhale. He propelled the both of them to the destination she had picked. In time, no less.

But there was no time for a round of applause. Instead she directed him towards the fifth floor, corner apartment and then he let her out of his embrace when the muscles in her body flexed, indicating she needed to move. Slowly, he followed her, trained fingers undoing the utility belt from around his waist and unfastening the bullet-proof vest’s Velcro straps.

All the while, he silently followed her, watching unmoving as the scene unfolded. Eventually he saw himself staring down an activated repulser. Great, he thought. They had outrun a damned Sentinel only to be burnt to crisp by its smaller domesticated sibling. What Alex did not see at first was the smaller form the suit was holding. It was shrouded in darkness at first and only as the light on the suit’s palm extinguished did he see it.

When Paige’s thanked the suit, drawing the form of what could only be a small child into her arm, Alex exhaled, dropping the vest to the floor behind them. His mind was trying to sort the scene out. Her unit. Her … child? Wait. What?

Dizziness rose from his chest to his head. Taking a huge gulp of air, Alex took a step and a half back before his back hit the wall behind him. He closed his eyes as a wave of emotion threatened to rise up in the dizzy spell’s wake. But he forced it down, his eyes opening in the dark and finding Paige’s form holding and rocking that of the child.

So many things to say, so many things to ask.

“You ok?” was all he mustered in a breathless tone.
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[In-Character] [Post #3]
The little body squirmed faintly in her arms, she felt it more than anything else, followed by a dim and groggy ‘mommy?’ that she shushed. Her hips swayed without thought and her upper body gently set into a rocking motion as she crept away from the front door. She barely made sense of the sound of Six resetting the locks and sensors.

She wanted to look up at Alex so badly, as though she needed to reaffirm that he was real, that she had heard him, felt him, that he had brought her home. But it was so hard to trying to allow her mind to seek that point. It promised safety, sturdiness, yet it also threatened to raise and accentuate the cacophony of emotions warring about within her chest.

When she moved to step by him towards the bedroom, his plain and simple question prompted her to look up to meet his eyes, more so decide if he had actually posed it. Her brows pinched in response. Was she okay? Okay? Physically? Mentally? Or emotionally? To what did he want her to reply for? “Am I okay?” She tried the thought out on her tongue and almost spit it at him. She inhaled to speak, took a half step towards him before the weight in her arms reminded her that awareness of her volume and tone was warranted. She swallowed, then, the motion thick and she pressed her teeth together and swayed into the bedroom.

She moved towards the corner of the room where her son’s bed was a simple wooden toddler frame with a mattress and a muted gray bedding. She had angered on more than one occasion that she could not even manage to find her son something brighter for his bed. No Mickey, no Spider-man. She couldn’t just walk into Target to find him something bright. Kneeling, she set him on the little bed and unwound the blanket that Six had bundled him in, spreading it out around him and drawing the thicker blanket up to his chest. The sweatshirt still on him would keep him warm enough otherwise.

The trainset between her and the doorway nipped at her heel in the dark and she silently cursed the metallic object.

Rounding back into the tiny hall, she moved back into the lounge room where Alex still stood, vest and belt in hand, as if he had just returned from something as mundane as work. Her anger, frustration, and pain butted up against her odd sense of relief at seeing him standing whole and alive in her living room. Perhaps a shifter…she moved directly to him and lifted her arms from her sides, her motions hesitant as she reached forward and set one hand careful along his jaw and the other at the side of his neck. She swallowed the accusations that wanted to slip between her lips and instead rolled her hands into fists, drawing back slightly before her emotions settle don anger.

Her eyes dampened and she drew back enough to slap him with her left hand, then brought her stinging palm back to herself to muffle the sad sound that wanted to be loose. “Am I o-kay?” She whispered loud enough he could have heard her on the other side of the apartment. “That’s what you have to say to me?” She hissed. “Tell me how the hell you’re wondering if I’m o-kay?”

She pointed to his left side. “That was the arm they found oh my god.” She pushed her hands into her hair, tugging on the roots and she crumpled and rather than collapsing, squatted down to sit on her heels. “Am I okay?”
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[In-Character] [Post #4]
Alex did not move. He felt out of place. He did not belong here. Vest and belt still in his hands, he gazed into the now empty corridor. The only sounds he heard were the barely audible ones of Paige Guthrie putting her son to bed. Briefly, Alex wondered how life still happened when his own had come to such a grinding halt.

He felt old. Worn out. Like the shoes he stood in did not fit. Part of him willed back the life of non descript Steven Smith. All of this, everything that had happened in the past hour, overwhelmed him. So he remained where he was. Rooted to the spot as he stood in his ex- girlfriend's apartment.

When she reappeared in the hallway, his pulse picked up a bit of momentum. The palm holding the belt was suddenly sweaty. A feat the bionic hand could not copy. It was in her every movement. The way she walked, straightened up to make herself taller.

Still no round of applause for him.

Paige stepped up to him and slowly lifted her hands to his face, his neck. Alex’s eyes shifted back and forth between hers and he wanted to stay still as her touch burned on his skin. But a hitch in his breath gave him away.

He could see it in her eyes. They grew to dark orbs as they remained fixed on him. Anger. In spades. Alex swallowed. He saw the moisture in her eyes just when her flat palm hit the side of his face. Alex closed his eyes for a moment in response.

As he reopened them he watched her draw that hand back to cover her mouth. That image unfolding in front of him made his world tilt. Had he not always seen his act as one of self-sacrifice? Had he not done a good deed to save his brothers? Keep them safe and everyone he cared for along with them.

Never had he considered the pain he brought to those he had left behind. Her voice as she spoke was a shouted whisper, or however one wanted to call what adults did when kids were nearby and not to hear an ongoing argument. She put every last bit of that pain into her words. Alex tried to understand.

He had deemed the others better off. Even Paige. She certainly could have found a guy better than him. More reliable, stronger, offering her something more than a boyfriend hunted for his family's mutation.

Obviously, his plan had worked out quite differently. But why? Paige and he had hardly even been exclusive. There had been that talk… Once…

She went on willing him to explain to her how he was asking her whether she was okay. Alex felt helpless. Why was she so angry? He tried to find words. “They almost mowed you down”, he tried. The threat to see her die had made him move without a second thought.

She pointed at his bionic limb and Alex flexed the fingers of his hand in response, dropping the piece of gear he had still held. He did not know what to do. Alex could barely recall the man he had been. That man then had made the decision to die the way he had. He was certain today he would not make that same choice again. “Paige…” He spoke her name, going down onto his knees as she did. He dropped the vest the other hand still held onto, inching closer to her form.

Who had he been then to bring this much hurt to the people close to him? How could that ever have been a good idea?

He reached out, fingertips brushing against her lower arm. “I'm sorry…” He whispered and the fundamental meaning of the two words hit him. Sorry indeed for the time he had missed. For giving her another death to deal with. For leaving then, and springing the truth on her like this now.
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[In-Character] [Post #5]
She wanted to hit him again, she wanted to scream. His attempt to draw up their most recent history, surrounded by humans and their stupid Sentinel had her features shifting between anger and relief to still be alive. She had considered her death plenty when the helicopter landed and the new round of security and guards had unloaded from it and then a caravan of vehicles. The time that Beth had bought her by destroying the previous contingent had been brief. If Alex hadn’t been there, she would have been dead. Six would have left the apartment with her boy.

Once more, tears surged to fill her eyes and she worked to blink them back, tilting her chin upward to keep them from rolling down her cheeks. She was not going to cry, she had already cried plenty for him. When she had had to accept his absence, when she had had to bring her son into the world, when she had had to hold his little form against her at night and tried to assure him the metal monsters outside would never find him.

Her boy. And Alex was too dense to even string that cord of pearls together. Better that way. He had already left once.

He lowered himself back into her field of view and the sound of her name on his lips did things to her she thought she had wrung from herself. It tickled along her nerve endings, made goose skin prickle up her arms and back. Alexander Summers was alive and he was on is knees in her apartment.

When his fingertips graze her forearm, she snatched it back as though his touch burned her even as his apology chased after her attention. “You were gone.” She breathed. Then her anger chased her grief back to the darker corridors of her mind. “You just left us.” She nearly growled the accusation. “We didn’t even get to bury you! We thought the explosion and that Sentinel had literally torn you apart.” When he reached towards her again, she shoved his arm away from her, even when part of her craved the contact.

She didn’t like anyone touching her, not since-not since- and then it was creeping up from the center of her chest once more, her breaths coming in ragged huffs. “You’ve been..out there..all this time!” She sucked in a sharp breath and attempted to hold in, hoping to steady the pattern. “Doing what?” Then a thought stopped her cold and she exhaled. “You were there.” Her voice dropped. Her eyes swept away form his face to the dark garb he wore, familiar in its rugged build, down the length of the arm that shouldn’t be there and homed in on the utility belt. “You were with them?”

He had somehow put himself in with…them.

“I have to reassure my son almost every night that the hunters outside will never get within these walls.” She ground out through her teeth. “He’s too afraid to make train noises above a whisper, too afraid of getting too close to the windows.” He had hiccuped a month ago and expelled a subtle wave of energy that had dissipated within inches of his own small form, but had sent him into a panic attack. He was three years old and had suddenly become terrified to breathe wrong.

“And you were with them.” She shifted off her kneels and heels and onto her bottom so she could back away from him. Alex had been amongst the human guard number, that was how he had found her. That was how he had gotten to her so quickly, how he had even known anything about her being there. He had settled himself in with humans, and Ben was afraid of being found by them. “How could you?”
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[In-Character] [Post #6]
Alex sat still. Watching in silent yet somewhat dumbfounded fascination as the emotions rolled over Paige’s face and becoming apparent in her entire composure. This was hard on her, he decided, and yet to settle on the fact that only his appearance had put her into this state was so hard to accomplish. Maybe to see one of his brother react in such a manner, he could have grasped. But Paige? Had he not just been a quick fling for her? No woman except maybe for Lorna had ever seen him as more than that.

The tears returned to her eyes and she blinked furiously. Alex worked hard to keep his hands to himself. What had her in such a state? Shock from the aftermath of almost meeting her maker? And yet, Paige had faced situations such as this one before. She was a trained mutant, combat experience and everything. Staring down a number of guns would not rattle her in such a manner.

She had avoided his touch, almost aggressively so, still continued to do so, and Alex realised that her shying away from him like this stung more than he wanted to admit. Was she not the sole tether to his old life here and now? It was like she held it all. The secret answers to once more becoming the man, rather than a faceless number amongst countless mercenaries killing for the SFG.

Alex knew he had a world of things to apologise for. He saw it clear in her face. And yet somehow, he knew that faking his death was only one of those things. The words she breathed - reminding him that he had gone, had left them - made him pause and his gaze dropped to the floor. He had. There was no denying it. He closed his eyes for a moment when Paige followed up with the reminder that he had done that much of a thorough job that he had not even left them with something to bury.

This time, she shoved him away. And Alex knew that touching her, somehow grounding himself against her was not an option. He had to stand for what he had done. Alex sank back, slipping off the heels of his booted feet and onto the floor, back leaning against the small couch behind him. He heaved air into his lungs, and suddenly felt like he could not breathe in deep enough. While vest and belt were gone, discarded on the floor now, he still wore the heavy jacket and cargo pants, along with the heavy steel capped boots. The security teams hired by the SFG certainly were not messing around. Equipped like black-ops mercs, paid pretty much like them, too. Requirement for the job was simple: Put your life on the line, and fire on sight. Never ask questions.

Alex fumbled with the zipper of his jacket. The thing got stuck for a moment, and his breathing became elevated as the sensation of the jacket constricting his airflow reached near panic levels. Eventually he got it down, and with frantic motions he shrugged out of it and tossed it to the side. He wore a simple short-sleeved black shirt underneath. On his chain holding the dog-tags with the name Steven Smith on them, was also the second vial. It still contained what would have been tonight’s dosage of x-gene suppressant.

His gaze wandered to his jacket. The same “Smith” mocked him in bold letters as it sat there attached with Velcro to the standard issue combat gear.

Paige continued and her words were accusational, condemning him for the choice he had made. To remain in hiding. He had been there all along. Doing what, she wanted to know, and he let his gaze remain on the jacket on the floor. He could breathe again now, but somehow that did not make him feel any better at all as Paige’s mind spelled out for her what struck guilt into the pit of his stomach now. He had left them in their belief that he had died for all this time.

He nodded, not looking at her, when she stated what he had lived these past years. He had been one of them. She went on, speaking of the child - a son - and his night terrors. Alex’s expression darkened, giving away that listening to her was painful. He was afraid of the hunters - and one of those hunters he had been. Alex ran his hand down his face. The idea that a child grew up with such fears … what had this world come to?!

Her eyes were on him, her gaze sharp in the darkness. It burned on his face. She repeated her mantra - he had been with them. One of them. Hunting the mutants that had attacked the compound tonight.

How could you?

The question - another accusation in disguise - stung as much as her slap to his face previously had. Alex swallowed, dragged his gaze away from the floor and forced himself to look her in the eyes. It felt like the hardest thing he had done in years.

“They were hunting us.” He said, his voice more a whisper than the deep, warm tones of his normal voice. “Gabriel, Scott, myself.” She would know this. “They were closing in on Scott. Just a matter of time until they would have me and grab Gabe as well.” It had been a spur of the moment decision then. After all, if he had planned it ahead, Alex would not have sacrificed his arm. “That Sentinel hit me… as I went down I realised that maybe this way at least Gabriel could stay safe.” No, Alex thought, he really had not thought this one through till the end. It had appeared to be a good plan at the time - but now, in hindsight… they still had taken Scott, and Gabriel? He didn’t even know if either of his brothers were still alive.

“I got stitched up.” Alex omitted the part where Forge had played a vital part in replacing his arm and equipping him with the required medication. “And I decided to hide in plain sight.” He pulled the tags from around his neck. He stared at them, contemplating how they had been with him at all times for so long. It felt like coming out from under a heavy weight to finally discard them. His fingers fished the vial still holding the yellow pill out between the metallic tags. “It blocked my x-gene. Baseline human. I haven’t used my powers since the day I lost my arm … until today.”

He took hold of Steven Smith’s dogtags - and his power disintegrated the metal between his fingers. “Steven Smith. Level Beta clearance.” He continued staring at the floor again, his gaze directed to the past rather than the carpet. “I was working on getting transferred to the Delta crew. That’s the minimum level where they let you in on how and where they keep the mutants. I could never even find out where Scott was.” A shadow passed his face at the idea of his older brother having died during these years. “Let alone who they had down there…” He meant the compound. “It was obvious that it had to be at least one Omega. But names? Not a chance.” Alex reached down to loosen the metal clips that held his boots fastened around his ankles. “I’d get word out… enough humans are friendly to the resistance. I would leave floorplans lying around in drop off spots, inform on prisoner movement whenever I could get any information. But I would have needed at least another six months to make it to Delta.” He had never intended on coming back - it was a statement, however, he decided he would not share with her. Maybe he did not need to. Maybe it was obvious.

He looked back up at Paige. “Why are you here? Alone. Why not with the resistance?” Alex knew that there were camps. The SFG had found a sobering number of two during the past years, but there were many more in existence. Alex couldn’t understand why - with a child no less - Paige preferred to do this on her own.
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[In-Character] [Post #7]
Some odd cord of satisfaction lit her up at the sight of him suddenly scrambling to be free of his jacket and further gear, that he was suddenly so uncomfortable that anything much beyond his own skin was suffocating. And when he flinched at her mentioning her son and the fear he had with every waking and sleeping breath, she wanted to scream at him that he had been the thing he had grown to fear. Working with the humans to hunt their own kind, to what? Protect Gabe? One for everyone else?

When he finally looked at her again, himself shoved back to mirror her own posture pushed away, the weight in his eyes was a heavy one to bear. He spoke of Scott and she let her eyes slip shut for a moment, chased the tears back to their origin and wondered for the millionth time if they had killed him. Wondered if he was being kept like something to prod at, something to run tests on, something to keep bound as they had kept Beth. Death was probably better.

He went on and she wanted to tell him to stop, that she didn’t want or need to know more. That he had been patched back together. Watched him tug on the ball chain around his neck to draw her attention to the tags hanging there, probably with some fake name, fake identity, someone else. He had made his choice, yet some stupid voice in the back of her head reminded her that he had just thrown it away to keep her safe. Yet how many years had it been? He had created a new life for himself. One far away from all of them.

Baseline human, what a joke. He wanted to blend in when he had so much power waiting inside of him.

The subtle spark of said powers distorted the tags in his hand until they turned to little more than metallic dust, crumbling against the hardwood floor. Her eyes briefly swept towards the bedroom and wondered about her son’s budding mutation.

He explained to her how the human ranking system worked and she suppressed the urge to stop him, rolling her hands into fists at her sides. She knew enough, had encountered enough of them, had torn apart their cyber infrastructures plenty of times to run across the clearance ranks he was putting forth to her. He had given up who he was, the use of his powers, to be some hunter without enough clearance to even know what he had last been sent towards. She swallowed when he pointed out that he had been searching for Scott, and part of her wanted to feel sorry for her harsh behavior. If it were Sam, if he were still alive, would she go to such extremes? The thought of Ben’s big green eyes and mop of curls halted any further consideration. Her most recent traipse into human held facilities had proven near fatal enough.

She shook her head when he told her he left clues, for sympathetic humans to follow, to utilize whatever he had learned. Six months. Six months and he would have ‘moved up’. That was all he was intent on. Blending in further, moving up all the more. Forever propelling forward. Forever remaining human.

Then he brought the focus of the discussion back to her, asking why she was there rather than with the others, with Gabe.

“Your brother only knows how to be so careful.” She replied, dry. “You were going to take me to the Theater District.” She pointed out, the direction he had intended on until she pointed out that she wanted to go to Chelsea. “If you have even an idea of what is there, then your comrades likely have some inkling of it as well.” If the theater was ever hit, ever raided, most everyone within would be taken. Gabriel was powerful enough to likely keep out of human hands, unless it came down to him children or him. Wanda would likely get out, she was slippery like that, and manage at least a few others.

“It was Beth.” She let him know. The Omega he was certain was kept within that compound he had plucked her from.

“Mommy.” A little voice drew her focus and she hastily wiped at her eyes, sitting up straighter. Ben stood in the hall, the hood of his green hoodie pushed back to reveal his sweet mop of blonde curls. “You need fix Six again.” The boy said, rubbing his right eye, his voice sleepy. “I feeled energy shed.”
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11-14-2018
05:38 PM
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11-14-2018, 05:38 PM
[In-Character] [Post #8]
Alex had registered Paige’s reaction when he had mentioned his brother. And it sat like a loaded weapon in the center of his mind. So none of them had heard anything about him. They had not gotten him out, had not even a lead. She would have said so, right? Closing his eyes, it was Alex’s time to fight tears.

It did not help that all she had for his past of the last year's was contempt. He would not blame her it, had certainly not wanted that round of applause. And yet… Some understanding would have been nice. Understanding for what though? From her perspective he had given up on them, had deserted them. She had every right to be angry. They would have buried him, put a stone on his grave as a reminder that they would have to live their life without him.

The idea that he could have found out anything of value, wasting another half a year, it was ludicrous. Alex frowned as his well constructed card house tumbled and collapsed in on itself. He snapped his eyes shut, willing the tears to stay behind his eyes.

It was like something he had kept shut for the past recent years was welling up to tear free. The endless routine and repetition of his existence as a human was coming to an end. Even in the light of Paige's anger he felt at home suddenly, like he belonged.

When she went on, speaking of Gabe, an air of relief rushed out of his lungs. He leaned forward, hand on the inner sides of his knees. A small chuckle sounding so out of place in this moment escaped him. “He's alive?” Another breath to steady his own sudden shaking. He wiped the corner of his mouth with the back of his right hand, trying to hide how much they were shaking. Then Alex nodded. Gabriel could be… Gung-ho. Way more than him, yet Gabe was better at thinking things through. Way better.

“He's good at what he's doing. They have a few hideout areas on their radar… But no luck. And theatre was a lucky guess…” His voice broke as he swallowed on a dry throat. So Gabriel was in the Theatre District. Words could hardly describe the relief he felt.

Alex pushed to his feet, the boots too heavy for her hardwood floors, but it felt wrong to kick them off. He had a feeling she would have her fist in cement form connect with his jaw if he so much as thought of making himself at home. But he needed to move. Shake his hands, move those legs. Gabriel was alive. And free.

He wanted to ask about Cait, and the twins, but as he turned around Paige cut him off stating who they had gone after at the compound. “Oh”, he noted. Then swallowed. “I'll bet you my other arm that it's not just Beth they had down there…” The words were out before he could check his words. Alex bit his lower lip. “Damn. Sorry” He added knowing what had become a normal fact of life for him was most certainly something she connected to painful memories.


Before he could say anything else, a small voice rang from the hallway. In the dim sliver of a night light stood the small form of a boy. Alex standing at an angle where the kid could Barely see him at all, stares at him finding something so familiar about him. He spoke, and Alex registered the words but could not make sense of them.

Energy shed? What was he trying to say? Alex's gaze slipped down to Paige's form, before looking back at the boy. How old would he be? Two and a half? No older than three.

That was after the explosion…

Something on his mind wanted to pinpoint a single elusive thought. He could not even grasp what it was, but somehow he knew he ought to see it.

How long after the explosion?

The boy shuffled closer half a step, urging his mother to come closer. Alex could see the facial features just for a moment. A mop of hair not unlike that the men in Paige's family carried. Green eyes, so much like his mother's. Or blue? For a moment, Alex could have sworn they were blue.

And then the shape of the small face, his mouth. Those lips and the way he was chewing his lower lip. For a moment, Alex’s head swam. He had to think of the photos of himself as a baby.

Feel the energy? Alex could feel energy. Constantly, around him, inside of him. He could sense it in Paige… And yet something held him back from reaching out to the boy.

No. That couldn't be.

How long after the explosion?

He watched as she got up to go out her son back to bed and the question slipped across his lips in a whisper. “When was he born, Paige?”
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11-14-2018, 07:10 PM
[In-Character] [Post #9]
Someone else there. They had left someone else there. All she had been focused on for months had been finding Beth, all the time she had spent over the last couple of years had culminated in narrowing her location. Because she could tip the balance. Couldn’t she? They had still not managed to unwind and then graft telepathy. No Sentinel had that power.

But what if Scott had been there? What if she had been that close to freeing not just one, but two of them? It wouldn’t make sense to keep two on their magnitude that close to one another. But that could be the perfect reason to do so.

She forced the consideration from her thoughts as she shifted up to first her knees, then her feet as Ben stepped further from the hallway.

Energy shed. It took her a moment for her to realize he was likely referring to Alex using his powers in the apartment, so close to him. Six shifted in the entry way and she lifted her hand to stop the machine from moving further. It gave a simple nod and settled back into an idling mode. I feeled the energy shed. The loose energy it had taken for something as simple as Alex destroying the tags that had been about his throat. It was simple, something so small, and he had sensed it in some halfway place between sleep and waking. Just like when he had noticed the flux in Six’s battery dock several weeks prior.

“It’s okay, buddy, Six will be just fine.” She assured him as she made her way to the littler form. “I got his new parts from Mr. Silvercloud.”

“But I feeleded it.” He insisted with a drowsy huff. “See?” He lifted his left hand and a spark of energy twisted, threatening to grow until she seized his wrist and the little glimmer dissipated.

She bent at the waist and hoisted his little form up onto her hip. “You need to go back to bed.” She murmured against his ear as he tucked his face into her shoulder.

Alex’s quiet question stole the breath from her lungs and she felt herself falter, her step into the hall hesitating, her grip around her son tightening. When was he born, Paige? Her mouth worked, but nothing came out.

“Who is that?” Ben whispered.

“That’s mommy’s friend.” She assured him as she compelled her feet to work for her and take her back into the bedroom where she rearranged him back into his bed.

“But I not want to go to bed again.” Ben protested.

Heavy feet, robotic gears, they followed down the hall until it loomed just beside her. “We can read The Velveteen Rabbit.” Six offered.

Ben sighed and tried to pout. “Okay.”

She turned and moved towards the door as the suit sat in the child sized chair next to the little bed. She used to wonder how the heavy thing didn’t crush the little wooden chair, until it hit her that it was all for show. It held its weight off of it, only appearing to sit. For Ben’s benefit and appreciation. Six was only four lines in when Ben’s eyes rolled back.

Her steps back towards the front room were silent and she took stock of the items that Alex had already shed; vest, belt, jacket, laces of his boots worked free. There had once been a time in her life when she would have helped him further.

“Don’t use your powers so simply.” She told him as she moved back towards him, catching herself yet again form wanting to reach out to affirm his existence. “You’ll just upset my son.”
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11-14-2018
08:23 PM
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11-14-2018, 08:23 PM
[In-Character] [Post #10]
Alex watched in silence. The scene before him was a private one – one that did not require his presence. A child, a mother, and the robotic aid. Paige was at her son’s side, halting the “nanny” because she was not needed. Paige really had made do here. She was in a place probably as good as one could hope for in this world. The low soft tones of Paige speaking to her boy stirred something inside of him. There was a whole new quality to her voice. She had not been a mother then, he knew. Regret sparked in his chest. He had missed out on so much.

In the darkness, his form obscured by the lack of light inside the apartment and him standing in front of the wall next to the window, Alex watched and his interest spiked when the kid was trying to tell his mother something, show her something. There was a shift of energy. It tingled at the periphery of his senses. A small, tiny gesture but very clear to his mind. It was a little like sensing Scott using the optic blast, or Gabriel manipulating energy. Alex breathed in sharply through his nose, wondering what would happen if he were to breathe in here and now, open the channels to charge his batteries. Would the kid sense it?

Alex was sure he knew the answer. But he did nothing, and just watched as Paige made her son let go of that spark. He had noticed her reaction to his question – that one when he had asked for a date her child had come into this world. He knew Paige well enough to know when she faltered. They had fought side by side countless times, had shared a bed long enough.

Then the pair vanished into the child’s room, leaving Alex to himself for the moment. He exhaled, leaning back again, trying to make his mind catch up to the past two hours. His life had taken an unpredictable turn. Certain things were slowly coming to him. He had just reacted before, not wasting even a second on possible repercussions. Now he realised, he was not just out of work, he had no home to return tonight either. The SFG were probably already tearing apart his little one-bedroom apartment. Steven Smith officially no longer existed.

It would only take time until they figured out that he really was Alexander Summers.

His gaze found the items on the floor, and with slow deliberate movements, Alex collected them. He would have to raid the gear. There was a Glock 9mm secured in his belt along with a hunting knife and a tazer. All items he would have good use for from here on out. After all, he was on the run now. For being a mutant, and for having the audacity to con his way into more than one SFG compound.

Paige returned from her son’s room, joining him once more. Her words were a request to not use his powers like he previously had and it perked up his interest. She had not answered his question. She had almost lost her footing instead. Or had she not? Had he imagined it and she had simply needed to adjust her footing to better support the child? Suddenly, he was not so sure anymore about what he had seen.

“Alright”, he conceded while sitting down on her small couch. “I’m sorry.” A child that small already had active powers? A small motion of energy like he had conjured to disintegrate the tags had woken him? That was a serious mutation right there. “What’s his name?” he asked, leaning forward, his elbows momentarily resting on his knees. “He looks a lot like you.” Again, his eyes were glued to her face. Would her reaction give anything away?

He felt exhausted. His entire body seemed to be emanating a low level hum after he had tapped into power levels so high after such a long time without them. He did not know whether he wanted to find a bed and just sleep for a month or simply pass out right here. And yet, he wanted to be here with Paige. Find out all the things about her, possibly chase away her anger somehow. Just that he had no idea how to do that.

Huffing a breath from his lungs, Alex gazed up at Paige. He was not sure whether he really wanted to ask this question after she had slapped him before. He wondered whether he would get to keep his head for what he was to say next. “I doubt you want me here … but … I’ve no place to go tonight.” He looked at his gear, disgust flashing across his face for the remainder of his life amongst the SFG. Suddenly he could barely endure that he still wore some of it. And yet, he had nothing to exchange it for. No money, not even a darned credit card – not that he could use one if he had one – to buy a change of clothes, a razor and shaving cream along with a darned tooth brush. He had nothing.

Alex looked up at Paige. He had just thrown away his life a second time, and he had done it for her, within the blink of an eyes and he did not regret it.

“Could I use your couch? Possibly the shower?” It was strange asking her like this. There had been a time when he had shared her bed, and even her shower. “If you’d rather I leave … then please … I need to get to that Theater…” If Gabriel was there, then that’s where he wanted to be – that was for the case of Paige preferring for Alex to leave her place.

Either way, he realised, he needed her help.
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