Don't Blink

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters. I just started reading Exiles and it's a fantastic title. This fic is set about two seconds after the end of Issue 22. R/R.

I want my life back. Really. At first I thought this would be no big deal. We just jump around realities and through our hoops. I've reality-hopped before. It's no big deal because in the end you always get to go back home. You just come home, crack open some beers with your buddies, and you celebrate the fact that, hopefully, all of you are safe and sound and back home where things are normal. Nothing's normal anymore and now I know it will never be again. She's gone now, right when I need her the most. I just got her back and then, poof, she's gone.

Nothing lasts forever I guess. I should've known this would happen. I should've spent more time with her. I should've told her how much I cared more often. But no, I'm stupid. It's just so hard to do what we do especially when you come from a world like mine. My world, a veritable utopia considering the hells we've seen. My world where Wolverine and I knock back some beers and tell old stories with our friends and where Jean Grey is alive and well and still the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. My world where the dream of one man was finally achieved through the hard work of men and women who are the finest human beings I've ever known. I never realized how lucky I was to live in a reality where nobility and righteousness still exists.

It's enough to drive a man insane sometimes. Imagine looking people you've come to call family in the eye and realizing they aren't the people you know them as. On our first mission, I had to kill a man I regard as a father. Charles Xavier made me who I am and I owe him everything but yet I had to slay him. Bad enough, right? Next mission what am I forced to do? I have to kill Jean Grey, a woman I've loved since the moment I laid eyes on her. Yeah, it all just gets to you after a while. You see one too many warped versions of your friends and you just start to think, 'What's the point'? Why is all this happening? So I can go home? Can I honestly look those people in the face and not recall all the terrible things I've seen them do in other worlds?

And then there's Clarice. She's had it so hard. I mean even if I screw up and get sent home I still have an existence, albeit a short one since I'll be on death row. If she fails she doesn't exist period. It's not like she had much of a life to begin with. I wish I could tell her she was made for more beautiful things than war and death. But she's gone now and I can't tell her all the things I want to.

It's all so strange now. The time we spent together seems too short now. Worst of all, I'm an idiot for not letting her in. She wanted to help, to talk about it with me, but I just couldn't let her. And then when I saw her and what Forge had done to her I wanted to rip out whatever inside me that still made me human and give it to her so I wouldn't lose her forever. It should've been me. Why couldn't I be the one lying there about to be turned into some cybernetic zombie vampire? It broke me inside. All I could imagine was seeing her as part of the enemy. After fighting so many versions of people I love like family could I fight her knowing that this was Clarice and not just a counterpart? No, I couldn't bring myself to do that. So I took the jet and set off to save the world, knowing that it may not even save the one thing I loved. Then she was with me in that jet and it was all like some horribly cliché action movie. I thought everything was going to be okay then but now she's gone. She's gone somewhere that I can't follow.

The moments we had together, so short. It's as if I blinked and it's all gone. One second she was there beside me and then the next thing I know I'm wearing this dime store piece of junk jewelry and the one person who's helped me stay sane through all this is gone. I guess this whole thing has taught me one simple thing. Any single moment can change an entire world. Any decision can affect the lives of millions. In the time it takes you to blink, your entire life can be turned upside down. In the time it takes you to blink, you can lose the one you love forever. It only takes a second. One false move, one choice, and it's all gone. I feel myself blink away a tear. How does someone fight against all this? I guess it's very simple. Don't take anything for granted and don't ever crack and give into all the pain. Don't stray from the path and pray to whatever God there is that your path leads to a better tomorrow. Most importantly of all, don't blink or whatever you had that you valued most will be gone in an instant and you'll never get it back.