Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men. Marvel does.
A/N: Writer's Block buster for the "post anything you write" challenge. Just a drabble. Inspired by "The Block" … I like Writer!Sean.
I haven't written anything outside academic papers in weeks.
Rating: Eh. T.
Alex looks at Sean and sees a shimmer of something darker in his eyes that his tone never hints to.
Not darker like he is darker, knowing how it feels to watch someone die in front of because of something you did. Not darker like Erik is darker, the kind of darker that comes from crushing someone's windpipe or aiming a gun in their face just to pull the trigger. Not even the kind of darker that flitters in cringes across Hank and Raven's faces when they stop and think about the pain that dogs after every step they take, panting Iseeyou Iseeyou Iseeyou. No. The darker that makes up Sean is something more raw than what they all possess. Something more wet, like a bone twisting in blood as it slips from its joint. That kind of darker. That kind of pain.
And Alex is intrigued.
It's during the nights, when sleep is foreign.
He watches in the nights as Charles slowly coaxes Erik away from ledges and pulls him into the shadows of the mansion to share in the pain that binds them like barbed wire. Observes as Raven and Hank stab each other with the sharp words they have always heard, only to share in and comfort the resulting wounds.
Watches as Sean slips away before anyone can be for him what others are for each other. Because that is what they are - what they've somehow managed to become. Pairs. The other halves. The missing pieces. It's scary to all of them – never having needed anyone, never having had anyone. But it just fits.
One night, he waits until they have gone, and then goes to find his own - the figure of red and pain trapped in this gothic structure of Hell no one speaks of. Follows the sound of muttered whispers and sharp scratching to the other boy.
Sean is in a room far from his own, made up more of wood than carpet, bare and dusty and decayed. His head is bowed over an old wooden table, and in the lack of light his hair is more brown than red. His arms are spread wide, working furiously, the paleness of his skin almost blending in with the white of the papers around him. Liquid drips from his skin, smudging paper, pooling at his feet - too dark, just right, to be blood. Ink. It's ink. And the violent scratching - a fine-tipped fountain pen he's seen Charles slip to Sean on more than one occasion.
He either does not hear the door open, or does not acknowledge it - either way Alex slips forward, silent, until he's almost on top of the younger boy. Until he sees the papers completely, the words that continue to pour over them in thick wet ink like spilling blood and falling tears, the shaking hands that continue to form them. And his breath catches.
Words spilling out faster than voices can speak them, hands pressing and trembling harder than can be soothed.
"You know why you don't sleep at night?" Sean's voice is sudden, unexpected, but Alex is too enthralled to jump. Just listens, because the words are still forming. "Why you wait for the sun to come up, just a little? It's because you think it's a cure for the nightmares. That's why Erik doesn't sleep - why Charles gets them both smashed on Scotch every night. It's why Hank works in his lab so late, filling his head with all those equations or whatever. Why Raven beats at her punching bag until it's hitting her more times than she can hit it. Nightmares, dude. Nightmares." The hand holding the pen quivers just enough to deform a particularly heavy and otherwise elegant D. "This place is full of them."
"And you?" It doesn't need to be asked - the implication is more than enough - but it comes out anyway. "Do you have nightmares, Sean?"
"Not sleeping doesn't cure the nightmares, you know. It just ... gives you a way to not have to surrender to them." Eyes a half-breed mix of brown and green dart up to meet his, vacant and agonized. He taps the papers thoughtfully, and a bit of the ink splotches up to speckle Alex's arm. "They still come." Another look. "Like you have."
A question in a statement. What little moonlight there is makes the shadows that never leave dance across them both. Waiting.
Alex doesn't answer. Every night at the facility, he knows he sang Sean and the others to sleep with his nightmares. He doesn't need to say anything else about it. But Sean has been waiting.
"Let me?" He gestures to the papers of literature and past.
Another clot of ink drips onto the floor. Sean blinks.
It doesn't have to be for them what it isn't.
But nightmares are a good place to start.
"… okay. Okay."
Alex sits beside him
You know what keeps a writer sane? Writing.
I've started a book. Like…for real. Real book.
But I'm still going to be working on these stories. Let me try not to flunk college while I'm at it, and I'll get it.
Let me know what you thought?