By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Just a little commentary on recent events regarding Decimation. R/R.

It feels strange to be back in this city after knowing all of what's happened. It's still going on too. Something happened all over the world, happened to mutants. People lost their powers and were turned completely human. Well, almost completely. It even happened to some of the X-Men, proving that no one was safe. Warren said that we needed to get back. They're family, after all, and I don't need to be told how important family obligations are. My momma taught her daughter that lesson pretty well. But there was another reason I came back here with Warren, a more personal reason. You could also call it a stupid reason or a selfish reason or any other thing you wanna call it. It doesn't really matter to me. I've always been headstrong and nothing will change that.

The mansion was in a state of chaos when we arrived. Damage was still being assessed and a count of who's affected and in what way was still being taken. Those that need medical attention were getting it. The infirmary was full, really full. I had to pry this location out of Cyclops and even then I think he only gave it to me because Warren would've wanted it as a favor. It's the former mutants that need medical attention that brings me here to this hospital. It's funny in some tragic way. I thought there was nothing bad about being a mutant. How could there be, right? I mean we're the next step and you have to figure that evolution is always about positive progression. But that was back when I was young and I've learned a lot since then. It's being what you truly are, human or mutant, that matters and not which is ultimately better in the long run. Unfortunately, now there's a huge chunk of displaced people and some of them literally can't survive if they're something they're not supposed to be.

I stand at the entrance to the private room and think for a few moments of turning and running, running back to Warren or back to the farm or somewhere where things are the way they're supposed to be and even if they're not "normal" then they're damn sure at least predictable and you know what to expect from them. However, Momma Guthrie didn't raise her daughter to be a coward and run out when things get tough. No sir, that ain't me and it never will be. So I screw up my courage and my strength and whatever else is left of my identity. I put on my brave face, the kind I've practiced at in front of the mirror when I was a kid. It sounds stupid now. I figured one day I was gonna lead the X-Men, lead 'em through hellfire and damnation and whatever else could get thrown at us. I don't know about that now. I don't know about a lot of things but I do know that I have to see this through. I have to see him one last time.

I was a silly girl once. I fell in "love" with one of "those" guys. You know the type. Maybe he has a motorcycle and tattoos, maybe he plays guitar and has long hair, or maybe he's the reincarnation of James Dean himself. He's the bad boy, the rebel, the anti-establishment angst case that you wanna take home to your ma just to see the poor woman's reaction. Every girl is entitled to her one crush on "the bad boy", I believe that sincerely. However, if anything is going to be said about Paige Guthrie, it's that she could never do anything the "normal" way. So it shouldn't be a shock that her love life is anything but typical and said crush on said bad boy lasted way longer than normal and might've possibly turned into real love at some point. Yeah, I'm anything but typical but I'm also far from invulnerable no matter what substance I can shift into.

I step into the room and move to the metallic cocoon he now lies in. God, this is so hard. It was hard enough to get over Jonothon Starsmore but to see him hooked up to so many machines and with so many wires and tubes coming outta his body is a nightmare. To see the hole in his body where light used to be but isn't anymore is Hell, pure and simple. However, that's what I'm faced with as I stare down at him. How they're keeping him alive, if you can call it that, is a miracle in itself. Some of his internal organs are missing, I can see the mechanical heart but I wonder about the other ones that got blown away. He should be dead. Anything's better than this. Even his existence before was better than this. I tried to help him see that, help him see the man he was instead of the monster he only imagined himself as. In return, I got slapped down. I've always been something of an idealist and I have no shame in that. But this, this makes even me doubt all the things I once believed in.

"God, Jono," I whisper as I take his hand, "I shoulda loved you more. I should've tried harder. I should've been here." It's all the things I could never say only now they don't mean anything. It doesn't matter that I'm still with Warren. You're always gonna have that place in your heart for the nervous, awkward kid who was too shy to admit how much he cared for you but you could see it anyway. You're always going to have a soft spot for the guy you almost kissed. No matter who you love or even who you marry, that shy and awkward boy that was your first love will always keep a part of you with him. You will still weep when something bad happens to him, even if you parted continually on bitter words of disdain and heartache.

"I hope you can hear me," I whisper to him, "I always loved you, Jono, and in some way I always will. I hope that you can hear me so that when you die you'll at least know that." It's a hollow hope held by a silly girl, one whose dreams are dying just as swiftly and brutally as her friends. It's a prayer said by a young woman whose world is crumbling and cracking, peeling away like the skin she once thought was a gift. Is this the brave, new world we were supposed to be ready to die for or did all that training just prepare us to die with more dignity? I stare at Jonothon Starsmore's body and wonder just what the cost of a dream is these days. Is the cost of three lives enough of a sacrifice so that this generation, Generation X, can learn the cost of growing up and still holding onto childish dreams? I shake my head and feel the tears run down my face. He used to call me sunshine. I stare at the gaping, hollow hole in his chest and realize that this is the day the sun died.

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport." – William Shakespeare, King Lear