- Work in Progress
- Abuse - Sexual
- Dark Themes
- Death - Child
- Death - Major Character
- Death - Minor Character
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Murder
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- Discussion - Sexual Abuse
- Discussion - Torture
- Disturbing Imagery
- Permanent Injury
- Suicide - Attempted
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Violence - Graphic
- Violence - Sexual
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
- Challenge Response
- Episode Related
- Fix It
Art by WaterSoter
It should be raining, Alison Blaire thought, water to cool some heads down and wash away the unpleasantness of the whole damn thing. Angry shouts reached her, words that would had made her shrink in shock years ago. Now Alison shrugged them off like a duck water. She’d heard worst things and most hadn’t been by pimpled faced, punk wannabes that would had pissed themselves at the sight at Magneto at his most benevolent.
It should be raining. With the thick, dark, angry clouds overhead. Long ropes of lightning bursting through the sky. Loud booms of thunder shaking windows and setting off car alarms. But it wasn’t. The skies were obnoxiously clear. The sun shining cheerfully, a few fluffy clouds meandering through a perfectly blue sky. It was almost like the earth itself was showing how it felt about everything. Alison wished it was that simple for her.
She stood outside the courthouse. Extra security. Extra set of eyes and ears and, if it came down to it, an able body. She glanced over the crowd, which spilled far beyond the actual building and into surrounding blocks. The cops and national guard had kept them corralled behind barricades so far, but if things turned ugly, she knew whose backs they’d have.
A gaggle of reporters were clustered in their own special spot. Some were smoking, others, glued to their phones. Trish Tilby tried to get Alison’s attention, and got a particularly cold glare back. Alison and Hank might not have kept in touch since Logan’s little Judas impersonation, and Alison had as many mixed feelings about him as she did of everyone involved in this mess; but he was still a friend, one of theirs. And no matter how much that might seem unfair, Alison didn’t much care about fairness. Especially with someone that was very much a bitch with an agenda.
A motorcade of armored cars were at the ready. On one hand, it was an unnecessary risk–they had plenty of ‘porters who could have done the job instantly. On the other hand, the message was irresistible: the perfect, “Fuck you!” to not only the entire city, but the world. A victory lap to wherever they were calling basecamp nowadays.
Yeah, all hail the conquering heroes, she thought, with a bitter twist of her lips. A particularly rowdy group of teenagers were pulled out of the crowd and slammed on the sidewalk. Handcuffs came out, and after a series of curses that would had even Hawkeye taking pointers, the five kids were dragged off.
Alison exchanged a glance with the woman beside her. They looked the part of the security team: black pantsuits, black sunglasses, and earwigs that were mostly for show with telepaths around. No uniforms, no flashy costumes or impractical heels.
Just over-enthused prats, Elizabeth Braddock told Alison telepathically, with a glance at the teenagers. They had been doing their best to ignore each other since this assignment had begun, which was fine with Alison. Better, at least, than the mounting words that wanted to vomit all over the place. This wasn’t the time or the place.
It didn’t mean that she didn’t want to have it out with Betsy. They had been friends, once. Before this whole mess had started. Back in the day, when they were down to the bare bones and Ororo was doing everything she could to keep them together. To keep it together. She didn’t miss those days anymore than she missed the hell that Pax Utopia led to, but she missed the friendships.
There’s too much broken, she thought, as another group of people were pulled out and taken away. She gave another sweep, watched as an anti-mutant punk used his hate spilled sign to brain a pro-mutant woman. That broke out into a brawl with people on both sides throwing insults, punches and a pink vagina? Alison blinked a couple of times but no, she wasn’t imagining it. That really was a pink vagina. Stuffed even.
There was a sudden hush. The reporters stirred, then rushed forward. Every cop and national guardsman tensed. Alison moved into position, and spotted Sam and Paige Guthrie moving to back her up.
Through the chaos, Alison kept her eyes trained on the crowd, the police, the national guard. Focused on keeping the reporters away. Opening a path to the cars. Above them a couple of the kids were flying recon, too low for Alison’s liking. Then they were at the car, and she was sliding into the back seat. Doors slammed, and they were off.
In that time Alison didn’t allow herself to think about anything else. She did her part, made sure no one shot them up or blew them up. But in the car with Roberto driving, she braced herself to finally look at the man she hadn’t seen in nearly two years, hardly recognizable behind the familiar red glasses.
Scott Summers looked nothing like the imposing leader he had been in Utopia, or the avatar of the Phoenix Force. Shoulders hunched slightly forward, too-long hair falling over his glasses that did nothing to hide the fading bruises: yellow-green across his forehead and face that darkened to horrible black and purple rings where they disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt. He looked like a ghost; he was so pale. It also made the dark circles around his eyes stand out like a neon sign.
He’d lost a lot of weight. Weight that he really didn’t need to be losing considering how thin he already was. His cheekbones jutted starkly. She could remember when his suit had been fitted to his every line; now he was practically drowning in it. It was also wrinkled and worn, somewhat out of character for someone as meticulous as Scott was.
Alison looked away. Her stomach clenched and her throat tightened painfully. It wasn’t supposed to be this way–the team, the family, broken and scattered. She gripped hard at the seat’s handrest. Forced herself to clear her head. She couldn’t allow herself to think, not when they arrived at the building or went to the penthouse.
Not when she saw the way Scott flinched away from every touch, kept to the walls and corners. She just kept close, her own mixed feelings oscillating between fury and exhaustion. This was supposed to be a victory, but all Alison could see was blood in the water, and sharks circling them all.