by Adriana



Disclaimer: They're Marvel's. No money here, so don't sue. This -short- story goes for the 'Let them think about it' Challenge at AT' Archive. (At least! :) So-big THANKS to Alicia, who made time for my handicapped verbs (you're the best, Ali!), plus the almost-traditional-thanks to very-busy-Jeff (the only person alive that can make me giggle with an email that actually contains the prhase- "HULK SMASH!" ;) Will bleed for feedback... (Care to try and write some in Spanish? Italian? ::evil grin:: Okay, so I'll settle for English... :)

-Continuity? What continuity?- *confused look*

Closing his eyes against the faint moonlight, Nathan Summers tried -maybe for the tenth time that night- to gather his thoughts and focus enough to meditate.
He couldn't.

The moon was hypnotizing, chilling-- calling his name.

This moon--
This moon was the same that would someday quietly float upon him and his token mother, while she will try to teach him the basics of controlling his developing mutant powers.

At that time, he didn't know he was a mutant, not at all.
He just thought of himself as a freak.
Some kind of joke of the universe, a-- mistake.
Something his real parents despised enough to leave behind.

Actually, he had never thought that the ones called 'mutants' were very nice. In the future where he grew up, the title stated a separation that connected the so called 'Homo Superior' -another term he never quite get used to- and Apocalypse.

*The* Apocalypse.
The self-proclaimed High Lord. The despot. The murderer.
Stryfe's mentor.
Evil incarnate, as far as he was concerned.

--It had felt so good, when he -the beast-  disappeared in a burst of fire. So-- purifiying. For a minute there, he'd known a peace inside him, utterly... Until *they*  disappeared, too.
When 'Redd' and 'Slym' left him--
When they...Bright Lady, it still hurt to think about it...
--the only thing keeping him together trough the hard, dark times that came next was -ironically enough- that same 'mastering' over his increasing virus...over the strange energies that sometimes gave him headaches, and made his left eye-- glow?
THAT was odd...

Then the Askani showed up, and they were nice enough.
But somehow...he always felt it was...well, weird. The way they treated him.
Like if he was--
Like if they were-- waiting for...something.
What he could possibly *do*?
What was he supposed to do?
And a more scary thought-- what did they wanted in exchange for taking care of him?

Everybody wanted something.
He had discovered -the hard way- that his foster parents were a rare breed, one that did not asked for anything in return for giving warmth and *love*. The rest of the world was a lot greedier.
The thought wasn't very comforting.
Not a bit.

Then one day, what the voice in his head --Rachel?- used to said to him, suddenly become reality.
A frightening-beyond-words reality.

Nathan remembered the odd looks he got that morning, when the light blazing from his eye was as bright as the sun, and the Clan was preparing for its first real battle against the Cannanite army.
He remembered the way his entire body had felt stiff and sore, like if coming out from a long, exhausting night of walking through the swamps around the last camp. And how he couldn't control the trembling of his hands...

He tried to fight it. Really tried.
The feeling was close to what he had felt when his...infection had gotten worse, the night Slym had spent beside him, strong hands clasping his. Close, but not quite. This was something more-- determined. Something with a will of its own.
Something struggling to come out... To-- escape him. Out. OUT.
He tried to fight it, fearing one more thing trying to stand in his way to survival.
He tried to stop the feeling from merging with his soul.
He knew controlling it was his only chance to 'normality'.
He lost control.

At dawn, the settling sun witnessed a burst and an explosion that made the earth tremble.
And a boy, lost in a sea of light and fire, raising from a pit of darkness and death. Raising from a battlefield, where the souls of the wounded and the dead had just began their journey.
Raising, and leaving a wake of-- nothingness behind him.

He could still remembered the last looks in some soldier's faces.
Being a telepath meant also that you're condemned to remember.
Every single detail.
And all the philosophy on the world couldn't really help.

Back to the camp, he remembered going straight for his quarters, covering his face from the sudden burn of the virus rampaging, his eyes stinging with tears, and forcing himself to NOT look around, to not acknowledge the new flames that appeared in his comrade's eyes. Not wanting to be different. Not wanting to be treated MORE differently. Not wanting to felt an outcast in his own Clan...
That would come later. And at first, it didn't seem too was an honor, actually. To be the 'Chosen One'. But the responsibility-- and being all the time--
Forced onto a pedestal too high for anyone to reach him.
So alone.

And then came Ebonshire.
And Aliya...

Nathan forced himself *not* to think about her.
Not. Her.

Focus on things that could be changed.

Yes-- Styfe.

Stryfe's dark shadow floating around him.
Never quite allowing him to forget that despair, that terrible loneliness that the discovering the extent of what he could do-- of what he *was*-- Existing as a terrible reminder of his power and the destruction it could bring. He. They. Both.
Never letting him escape his own nightmare.
His 'mission'...
Never letting him-- breathe.

Stop it.
Get a grip.

Just think -he scolded himself sternly- that there is also a bright side of the matter.
Of being a mutant.
There it were, for example, the obvious -and the not-so-obvious- advantages of telekinesis.
The fact that he had managed to survive the T-O infection, for starters...
And the telepathy...
It gave him an insight that made it near-impossible sneak up on him, and that had save his life more than twice.
It gave him the ability to stare directly into other people's souls. It made easier to show things like concern...and love-- without the always difficoult use of words. He was deeply grateful for that chance.
It was-- it could be a way to connect with the universe.

But he felt so lonely...

The old saying, repeated hundreds of times trough hundreds of years, came into his mind without effort, almost automatically--

'What is, is.'

And, not for the last time, Nathan Dayspring found it soothing.
Now, if he could just--


The moon was hypnotizing, chilling-- calling her name.

Her given name. There was no chance in telling lies to the moon.
Not to *this* moon.

This was the same moon that had floated quietly above when her screams over the dying form of her mother had torn up the night...
The same moon that had lighten the sky the night her father had told her about some people that were called 'mutants', and that she could be one of them, but that they weren't sure...
The same--

"Dom?" A hand over her shoulder and a well-known deep voice interrupted her thoughts.
She was wildly grateful for it. That particular voice had washed over painful memories before, comforting.

"Yeah, Nate?"

She turned, troubled violet eyes meeting his blue-gray ones. Finding the same haunted feeling lurking behind them.

"Come inside with me?" His voice -usually so strong and yet reassuring when talking to her- felt somewhat-- small. Hurt.

Sudden concern filled her voice, and her mind.

"Is there something wrong--?"

He quietly, slowly, caught her hand on his, shaking his head ruefully; though his voice was steadier when he finally spoke.

"Nah. Not really. Just wanting to-- don't know...'feel' you around."

She couldn't help but to smirk, automatically trying to hide from him the warm feeling his words conjured.

"Okay, I'm coming... --Nate?"

"..." A silver eyebrow arched quizzically...

"You're gonna 'feel me around' for the next century or so. Start dealing with it."

His smile, though still small, could have lit up the whole city, Domino thought.
It certainly lit up her heart.


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