This idea was stuck in my head and I figured I'd work on it since I'm having a little trouble with the chapter of my other story, A Different Path (product placement here). But seriously, if any of the people into that story are reading this one, don't curse me out. I am working on it.
Not a lot going on here, just a short story with no real action. I didn't finish watching season 1 but I am vaguely aware of the happenings. I used the term the Brotherhood instead of Firestorm or whatever it was, because I thought it sounded stupid.
Mutations of the Heart
Marcos' eyes cracked open as he felt the sun rise. The room was heavily draped, no rays had snuck into awake him, but he could feel it. He wasn't sure if it was because of his powers, they did call him Eclipse, or if it was something outside of his mutant abilities. Something he would know even if he was just a 'regular' human.
Right now though it only served to remind him that with a new day brought more work, more mouths to feed, more problems, more, more, more. There were so many things to do lingering would do no one any good. Marcos knew better than to put off the problems of the day.
He rolled over slowly, sitting on the edge of the bed, bent forward, his forearms on his knees as he ran a tired hand through his hair with every intention of getting up and starting in on all the daunting tasks he had to take care of. Marcos remembered a time when he wasn't so cynical but there was now a weariness in his bones that he couldn't shake. One that had settled in years ago. Specifically, the day Lorna had left, taking half their people and his unborn child with her.
After Lorna had left, he and the others had continued on without them. What else could they do? He and the Struckers had tried to get them to comeback. For nearly a year they chased after them whenever they could. They had sent them countless messages, urging them to comeback and stop this madness. All had gone unanswered. They'd left so much of the responsibility of taking care of the group to Clarice and John. It had been Lauren who finally demanded they stop. Saying how it was unfair to leave all the work to them, while they chased after people who clearly didn't want to be here. She would never stop trying to get them back, but they couldn't neglect the people who needed them. She'd reminded them that they had a purpose, which he'd especially needed at the time.
Five years later and they were still out there, the Brotherhood. Causing destruction and mayhem in the name of mutant rights. Making life markedly more difficult for those mutants who just wished to have a quiet life.
They claimed to be fighting the good fight, but their tactics caused more harm then good. Human sympathizers towards mutants were dwindling as their actions became increasingly violent. Those actions warranting them as terrorists. But not just them, all mutants were now considered enemies of the state. Forced to hide even if they had never used their powers or done anything wrong.
He and John had done their best to keep everyone safe. Keep the group moving, dodging mutant services, FBI, Homeland Security, and so many other government agencies all acronyms made his head spin.
The Struckers had been a godsend, for all the trouble they had originally caused. They'd really stepped up after the others left. Kate's medical knowledge was invaluable and the fact that she insisted on the kids with them having lessons, since they could no longer attend school, gave them a sense of normalcy that they desperately needed. And Reed was surprisingly adept at living as a runaway. Coming up with ingenious ideas to keep them hidden and one step ahead of everyone who was hunting them. Lauren…Lauren had become everyone's rock. She took care of everyone. Where he, John, and Clarice focused on the big picture. Survival. She focused on everything else. All the little details that made living worth it. Clothing, games, sleeping arrangements, books, everything. She knew everyone's name and worked to keep families together and everyone loved her fall it. She'd even helped John establish good relations with the local human criminal element. They had no issue selling to mutants as long as they got paid. But a pretty face and sweet smile helped to grease the wheels and lower the price.
Marcos turned his head slightly looking back at the slumbering blonde in question. She was facing away from him, tucked tightly under the covers, her hair trailing down her back in soft curls.
He turned fully, laying back down next to her, his head propped up on his hand, as his free hand began to gently twirl the ends of her hair between his fingers.
When they had met all those years ago, neither one had ever imagined they'd end up here. He had been so in love with Lorna at the time, he couldn't even imagine wanting another woman. But now even the thought of her name tasted like ash.
She had been the love of his life, the mother of his child. And she'd abandoned him, taking his child with her, never letting him even meet her. The only reason he even knew she had a girl was because over the years mutants that had had enough with the Brotherhood's war defected and came to them for refugee. They'd told him that Lorna had a daughter, Lilly. His daughter's name was Lilly and he had never met her. Would probably never meet her.
Did she even know who he was? Did Lorna tell her about him? Did she know how much he loved her?
Lorna had betrayed him so profoundly that any and all love he had for her burned away the instant she'd decided to keep his child from him.
Marcos, with Lauren and John's help, had tried for years to contact Lorna. Begging her to let her come live with him, saying it was less dangerous and she could have more of a childhood then she could have living in a warzone. Eventually his pleas had dwindled to simply meeting her. But she'd never even acknowledged any of his attempts to contact her. And in the last five years he'd only been able to catch one fleeting glimpse of her. It was the closest they had ever gotten. The image played at least once behind his eyes each day.
She had a scar running across her cheek, her green hair cut short, closely cropped to her scalp, but it was her eyes that were the worst. Cold and haunting, every ounce of compassion beaten out of them.
Maybe if he had taken her side and joined the Brotherhood with her, she would have let him be in her life. Maybe he could've made sure Lorna hadn't lost herself to blood and the battle.
He discarded the thoughts as quickly as he could. Thoughts like that were dangerous. There had been so many times over the years where he had almost gone to them in those hopes. But in the end, he couldn't. Not knowing his daughter was the greatest pain he would ever know, but he was too afraid of what he would become if he joined them. What kind of man…what kind of father would he be if he gave into that darkness. He'd escaped the cartel, but he didn't think he'd be able to escape the Brotherhood.
Lauren startled him out of his thoughts as she rolled over, still fast asleep. He couldn't help how he began to unintentionally compare the only two woman he had ever truly loved. They seemed so different, but he knew how alike they truly were. Lorna was serious, harsh, and sarcastic. Lauren was reserved, sweet, and generous. Where Lorna could be so impulsive and emotional, Lauren always had such tight control over her own. He would guess it was linked to the fact that she had spent years hiding her powers, controlling her emotions was the best way to do that.
They were both so smart, carrying, patient, and unbelievably strong. But they expressed that strength differently, while Lauren let her concern for people bleed through, Lorna hid it away like it was something to be ashamed of. Lorna thought anger was power, Lauren knew understanding was. He admired her all the more for it. Living this life and not losing that gentleness even if it was protected by an iron steal wall of wisdom and experience.
At first, he and Lauren had gravitated towards each other because of their mutual losses. Her parents had each other to lean on, but Lauren found herself, for the first time in her life alone. Without her other half, her brother. Andy leaving had devastated her. A piece of her had been lost. And because of that, being without him made her feel incomplete. They find themselves seeking out each other's company simply because they felt the other was the only one who understood. John understood loss and sacrifice, but he couldn't grasp the polarizing effect of being abandoned by the person you love most. Lauren did. Marcos did.
Their bond was further strengthened as they were continuously pushed together due to the normal running of the group. She had really stepped up after the others left. He appreciated her tireless effort, even if it was due in no small part to taking her mind off her brother's departure. Appreciation eventually became admiration, admiration grew into friendship, and friendship grew into love.
Marcos wasn't completely oblivious. He had realized it when he had fallen in love with her. But it had only been a few years after Lorna left and he still felt that loss so deeply that he was terrified of moving on. Terrified that he would once again be offered a chance at a happy life with a family just to see it all get taken away again. And how could he justify being happy when he didn't have Lilly in his life.
Surprisingly, it had been Reed who made him believe it was okay to move on. He's not entirely sure Reed knew he was telling him to move on with his daughter at the time. One day, after watching Marcos struggle to make it day to day for so long, Reed had had enough. He'd done it casually enough, but he'd managed to get Marcos alone one day.
"You know it's okay to be happy without her," he'd said without looking at him, focusing on the task that they'd been completing.
"I know," he responded halfheartedly, knowing the words to be true despite not believing them.
"It's also okay to be happy without your daughter." Marcos's hands had clenched in anger then as he tried to quench the rays that had began to ignite. "You can still miss her, still want her without destroying yourself over it." Marcos had been preparing to lash out at the other man when his quiet "Believe me, I know how hard that is to accept," stalled him.
He did know. He and Kate knew what he was suffering. Even though they'd had at least been able to raise their child. They'd still lost him and were now forced to live their lives without him. They had not given up but they'd had to accept the unlikelihood of ever seeing Andy again just as much as he did of seeing Lilly.
"This life is hard. You need to take the good parts when you can get them or else what's the point."
They'd fallen into silence then. Marcos lost in his thoughts, while Reed had said his peace.
But even after that he hadn't given into his feelings. What eventually made him do so was the tiredness. He was just too tired to fight it. He was lonely and angry and tired of being lonely and angry and the only thing that made him feel better was Lauren. Just like he was the only thing that made her feel better. Being with each other didn't make their problems disappear but they made them easier to bear. They had been relying on each other for years, but now they allowed themselves to take joy in each other. Accepting a comforting touch without feeling guilty. Laughing together without feeling the need to stifle them in shame. Sharing plans for their future, even if they mainly consisted of avoiding impending death.
Or just being able to kiss each other when they needed to feel loved.
Marcos leaned forward softly brushing his lips against hers causing her to stir slightly.
He cherished these moments, when she could sleep and forget.
Forget the lost friends, the hardships, how they were wanted criminals and would be running for the rest of their lives. Forget that it had been almost a year since the last piece of hope she had of ever seeing her brother alive again was taken away.
It had been just like every other day. At least it had been, until that normality had shattered with Lauren's ear piecing scream. Her shield had erupted from her with such a force that it broke every remaining window of the abandon building they had taken up in.
He and John had rushed to her side in a panic. Finding her mother and father already kneeling beside her trying to calm her enough to find out what was wrong. But she could do nothing but wail. It was the most broken sound he had ever heard, he could feel the anguish in it. She settled only slightly when Marcos pulled her into his arms and rocked her back and forth, not even trying to get her to talk, just attempting to get her to breath normally instead of the harsh wheezes that were escaping between her cries.
Not even ten minutes later John had subtly caught his attention and directed it towards one of the working screens they had set up in their little command center. A picture of Andy plastered in the corner of the screen, an older punishing looking Andy, in the background was an aerial view of a demolished and smoking building. The scrolling text below stating that a government facility had been targeted by the mutant terrorist group the Brotherhood. When they had been cornered Andy had brought the building down while the others escaped. Killing over 200 people, including himself.
The Struckers had been left speechless. Their loss made all the more difficult as they were caught between grief at their son's death and horror at his final actions in life.
He'd killed people.
How could they forgive that? How could they grieve for him knowing he'd died a murderer?
They had held hope that they would one day get him back. And now that hope was gone. The memory tainted with blood.
In the end they had grieved for both the son they lost the day he joined the Brotherhood. The kind, innocent, misguided son who was trying desperately to find his place in the world. And the man who had died four years later. The still misguided, hard man that had grown up in their absence.
Lauren had felt him die. Felt it as if it had been herself. It had ripped a piece of her away. And she mourned for weeks. But then weeks turned into months and life went on. She went on. She would never be whole again and had to learn to live with the pit in her stomach, making herself believe it had always been there. That it was normal to feel broken.
His troubling thoughts stopped abruptly when he felt a soft hand run softly up his chest. His eyes focused in on Lauren's tired ones blinking slowly open. A soft smile crept over his face as he watched her.
Leaning in she kissed him, "Morning."
"Morning," Marcos' arm reached around her soft body and pulled her against him. Lauren huffed in amusement.
She wiggled trying to get out of his hold. "I have to get up. Too much to do."
He rolled them, trapping her beneath him and began to pepper her with soft lingering kisses that her still fuzzy brain was helpless to do anything but give into.
"It can wait an hour…maybe two."
Marcos felt her smile against their joined lips. "Yeah right. This place would fall apart. We're lucky we got a full night's sleep."
"Very true. Which is why we should take advantage of the calm before the storm."
Her protest was silenced by his lips as his hand slid down her body. Grazing over the swell of her breast, not lingering even when she arched into the touch wantonly. He brought his hand down to the curve of her hip his hand curving possessively under her thigh so that he could lift it to hook around his own hips. The new position allowed him to fit perfectly between Lauren's splayed legs.
Lauren moaned as he ground lightly into her.
He released her lips and looked down at her. Her eyes were no longer clouded with sleep but lust.
"Maybe we can spare an hour," her voice husky with want. The seductiveness only slightly belayed by the brilliant, yet somehow innocent, smile that graced her face.
Marcos couldn't help but smile back as she stretched up towards him. All the thoughts of weariness and frustration he had woken up with melting away as Lauren kissed him.
Their problems were still there. Would still be there in an hour. But right now, he had the woman he loved in his arms. The day could wait.