It really wasn't the time for this. Melinda knew that she should have done it sooner, but she had been putting it off. Now the world was ending, and whoever these kids were, they needed each other. However inexperienced, regardless of how much this would shock them, because any one of them could be in the middle of a firefight and need help. They needed to look after their own.
"Phil." She turned from the locked basement room she had barricaded herself into for the process. "You should be worrying about the Avengers."
"I can worry about you too." He put one hand over hers. "Things are a bit messed up here, I think Tori's got the Hub under control. Wherever these kids are, some of them will need help from whatever's coming next."
Melinda shifted, readying herself for the pain that she knew would come. "Izzy's there, you two need to look out for each other." Faint alarms blared in Phil's ears and Melinda looked around the helicarrier to see. "What's going on?"
"I don't know." Phil sounded tense, "I should-"
"Go." Melinda said, pushing him away. "You look after the Avengers. They're not the only ones with superpowers."
Phil pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I love you."
And he was gone.
Melinda gritted her teeth, forcing her breaths in and out through the pain that was building inside her like a wave. The pressure rose, and as it did she could see flickers. A van, with some broken hard drives. Vials of some kind of chemical. A pile of greased parts.
'Even I don't know what it does.' What?
Melinda pushed it from her mind, concentrating on the new cluster that was being born, born to her. The next one looked like the cockpit of a quinjet-
The view of whatever she had been looking at was shattered by ice-cold pain, an inhuman scream coming from her mouth as she convulsed from the agony in her chest.
Not her chest.
She was there with him now. "Phil?"
He pulled the trigger and sent the demi-god crashing through the helicarrier wall. Melinda could tell from the blood that it was fatal. "Melinda." He smiled despite himself.
Now the others were there too.
"Guess the girls won out after all."
"Don't say that Phil." Izzy said, crouching to grasp his hand.
"Come on. We can't-" He coughed drily. "I'm clocking out here." His gaze was on Isabelle now.
"Not an option." Victoria said firmly, also kneeling to his level, tears in her eyes.
Phil wasn't going to cry. He needed them to be okay. "It's okay guys." He smiled weakly. "New kids will need you. And the Avengers... This was never gonna work- not unless they had something to- to-"
All of a sudden Melinda was back in the musty basement of the Triskellion, curled into a ball on the floor. He was gone.
Phil was gone.
She couldn't feel him anymore, he was nowhere. His warmth, his love, his feelings, his abilities, his sights and smells. His... everything.
He was gone.
a.n. A summary if you're confused
'A Sensate is a person who maintains a telepathic and empathetic connection with other sensates, usually in their group, or with those outside a cluster. Although a sensate is essentially human, "one small genetic mutation" allows sensates to be emotionally and mentally linked. This connection allows them to share each other's knowledge and skills, among others. Sensates have two birthdays; the first when they were physically born, and the second, when they were reborn as sensates. A cluster's connection is activated during this second birth.'