Dead on Arrival

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own characters. Angelo's real last name is Espinoza by the way. Someone didn't do their homework when they wrote a later issue where his last name was Torres. Shame on them. R/R and I'll love you.

Death. I've looked him in the eye a few times. Usually he just blinked and turned away. Now I see it was just an act. He was just waitin' for his moment, pickin' his spot. He let me win all those other times. He knew he could hurt me any time he wanted to and he didn't even have to touch me to do it either.

When you're confronted by death the finality of it really hits you. It's a scary inevitability to face, even scarier when you wear black leather with X's all over it. It's something I've never really been frightened of though. I can't die because I'm not even alive to start with. I don't fear my own death, never have really. But this, this is one of those painful things about life you never get used to no matter how many times it happens.

The first thought that occurs to me as I stare at the lifeless body of Angelo Espinoza is how bloody annoyin' a heart monitor can be when someone flatlines. It just goes on forever in one big, long beep. It never ends or changes. It's like Death is trying to piss you off even more. Stupid prick.

Angelo's body begins to lose its form. I never really understood how much concentration it took for him to maintain lookin' semi-normal. Now he's just a big, gray blob. Just a big pile of nothing. I'm sure there's some kinda metaphor in here somewhere but I don't want to find it.

Skin. He was a good kid. He had a rough life but who hasn't had one nowadays, eh? Still, he was a good kid. I'm sure that's what the others will say at the funeral service if we bother to have one for him. 'He was a good kid, always tried to make the best of things. He'll be missed.' I'm sure by now everyone's used to this sort of thing. I imagine Scott has briefed everyone on the standard operating procedure for the loss of a comrade. It's like a bloody fire drill.

Jubilee's crying now. I'm not sure what I should say. I didn't really think she cared about Angelo. Oh sure they were pals and all but I didn't think it warranted this much crying. Maybe she didn't think she cared about him that way either till now. You never know till it's gone.

Angelo was probably my best friend on the team, maybe even my brother in some of his less-annoying moments. Sure he could bug me a lot of times but when all was said and done we were pretty tight. We both knew what it was like to be different from other mutants. Me and Angelo were the freak show of Generation X. In some weird way we bonded over that, the fact that we looked like monsters.

I turn to look at Paige. I haven't really seen her in what feels like ages. There's a lot about her that's different but there's a lot that's still the same. She still gives me this weird feeling inside. In a way it's kinda nice. At least it reminds me I can feel something. Whatever feeling it is I only get it around her.

Paige is crying now too but she's trying to hold most of it back. Poor kid probably blames herself for this. Paige pushes herself to be the best and if anything ever screws up she's the first one to take responsibility whether she should be or not. But there was no way she could've prevented this. She shouldn't feel like it's her responsibility to stop the laws of nature and make sure none of her friends ever die. I catch her staring at me and look away. She's still holding most of the tears back. She'll probably let it all out into her pillow or maybe on the shoulder of Warren. Lucky him.

She looks back at Angelo, which causes me to look back at her. For a second I wonder something. What if I was on that hospital bed? What if whatever inside me that still qualifies me as alive wasn't there anymore? Would she act the same way if it was me? I look back at Jubilee. Would she act that way if it was me? Would she let it all out if I died or would she just keep it inside? Would she tell me she loved me? It's a stupid line of questioning I guess. Why would she love me anyways?

Paige. She's still beautiful. Her hair's still long and wavy, still this golden color like the bloody amber waves of grain Americans are goin' on about it that song. Her eyes are still so blue, so full of life and happiness. Sunshine. That's what I used to call her. That's what she is to me. She's light and joy and hope. I never thought I could feel so much for someone after what happened with Gayle that night. Paige is almost the only thing that's kept me alive since I met her. I wish I still had the guts to tell her all that.

Alive? Am I really alive? I don't think I am anymore. I thought maybe when I came back here maybe I'd see Paige again. I'd had enough of Sugar Kane and bubblegum bullshit. I wanted something real, I wanted someone that gave me that weird feeling inside. I didn't much like what I saw when I got back though. I guess Paige got tired of me being a jackass. She found her own angel, her own sunshine. I shoulda known this would happen. Of course she would pick the most handsome, good-lookin' guy on the team. It all makes perfect bloody sense that she would want the exact opposite of me.

My attention shifts back to Angelo. When I think about how he and Jubilee looked hanging up on those crosses it makes me want to vomit. If I had a throat or a stomach I'd be choking back the bile right now. What bloody right do these bastards have to murder kids? What holy authority tells them to execute my friends for no reason at all? They were under orders from God? Bullshit. I may not be a saint or a priest like Kurt or even a bloody decent churchgoer but I'm still smart enough to know God doesn't like it when you murder people in His name. Any idiot could figure that one out.

First Synch then Skin. Who will go next I wonder? Jubilee? Paige maybe? I don't think I could take her leaving. I'd probably blow myself to kingdom bloody come if that ever happened. What would be the point of existing anyway? Whoever's next, I know it won't be me. I wish it was though. Why the hell couldn't God take me instead? Nobody would've minded. Nobody would've cried. Why'd He have to take my best friend? No, the next one of us to go won't be me. I've learned a lot of things in my life but there's one lesson I learned that seems to be pretty important right now. The good like Synch and Skin die young but monsters like me live forever.

It all sinks in now. It's kinda strange that even though my body's a raging energy furnace I still feel cold inside. They're just going to keep dying on me. One by one they'll all be gone. Some next generation we turned out to be. Yeah, real saviors of the bloody world. I feel Paige's hand squeeze my arm. I look at her. What will she look like when she's dead? Will she be young or old? Her eyes still have that same light in them. What will it look like when that light just goes out? I thought at first she was the one who changed but I realize now that it's me. Synch and Skin aren't the only members of Generation X who are dead. I died a long time ago.