Four abrupt explosions penetrated the mingled sounds of the ocean and the wind along with the groan of the vessel. A dark silhouette lunged out of the door and grasped the railing with his right hand, and his side with his other. A few seconds later and a second silhouette appeared from the door, cautiously pursuing the first, his intent a deadly one. The man in the door way raised his left arm, gun gripped firmly in his hand. He fired, once, twice, three times. The loud crack of the gun piercing the other man's ears. His body jerked back with the impact of the bullets. The vessel's bow suddenly dipped into the on coming waves, lifting the bullet riddled body and violently tossing it into the dark waters bellow.

The cold of the water caused a shock to run through his body as he plunged downward, The water swallowing him in a single gulp. He was propelled to the surface, but only for a second and he was once again plummeting downward. Panic started in the pit of his stomach, then it began to swell and spread throughout his body with a rapid pace.

Climb! Climb upwards!

He clawed furiously at the heavy, seemingly unmovable walls of water, kicking his feet as he did. He broke surface once again, thrashing about to stay above the water, only to be sucked back under. A new type of panic took over him and he found himself feet, no yards away from the surface. Again he plunged upward, struggling to break surface once more but he was loosing air fast. His world began to turn dark.

Let it take you. It will bring you to peace, to your nirvana.

His body fell limp and he reached for that light, yearned for that peace and he had almost found it.

His chest heaved upward as if rising from the ocean once more for air, and his eyes shot open all in one liquid motion.

He groaned and, attempted to lift himself into a sitting position, but his body refused and he was forced back to the bed with a barely audible thump. Taking in a sharp breath of air he tried again, this time putting all the effort he had into sitting up. At last he had accomplished the simple but so seemingly difficult task.

When he was in a seated position he noticed he was sweating heavily, breaths coming in short gasps, mind spinning wildly, still trying to get over the nightmare. It felt so real though, everything from the water to the gun shots.

He looked to his right and found an ivy attached to his arm, he inspected it for a short moment before tearing it from his arm then, turning his body sideways he planted his feet on the ground. After taking a quick survey of the room, glancing at the beeping monitors sitting both to the right and, the left of the bed, then the walls white washed walls, he forced himself to stand up. On uneasy legs he took a few steps forward then stopped when a sharp pain ripped through his side causing him to crumble forward. He kept himself from falling by gripping onto one of the monitors for support.

As soon as his hand reached the monitor his body went rigid then, arched backward as the electricity from the monitor shot into his body, traveling in his veins and sending a familiar, odd sensation throughout his body.

Soon his body stopped convulsing and, the monitor went dead.

"What the hell? It's like I just absorbed the electricity...I..I should be dead" The boy whispered to himself, before noticing that he was now standing up right with little to no effort. He checked over himself, and his mobility seemed fine, nearly perfect. He studied his hands, turning them this way and that, nothing about him seemed odd. well besides his bandaged torso and the lack of clothes, away from the thin sweat pants.

A wave of panic washed over him as he fully absorbed the situation. The image of the monitor going dead was still very fresh in his mind. He kept going over the last few minutes, but no matter what theory he put to it, it simply did not make sense, yet somehow, something which was all too impossible happened with the monitor; it seemed to have healed him after he absorbed it's energy.

After a moment of stillness a new realization came to him.

"Where am I?" He spoke aloud as he pushed himself off the monitor and headed for the door.

I'm in some kind of infirmary I know that much... but certainly this can't be a hospital, it's entirely too quite...too small...

He took slow steps toward the door and hesitantly reached for the knob but not before glancing at the small glass window sitting a few inches above the knob. Upon seeing his reflection he stopped moving, and only stared blankly back at the face before him.

Surely this cannot be my reflection, I recognize the face staring back at me right down to the scar and discolored eye, but I do not know it.

That's when the question came to him; "Who are you?" He asked the reflection, bringing his hand to the glass and lightly brushing it up against the reflection, slowly tracing the scar that fell over the reflections eye in a jagged line. His finger stopped at the middle f his cheek, where the scar had stopped and it sipped from the glass, landing limply by his side.

"Who am I?" He asked himself, but no answer came to him. He backed away from the door and squeezed his eyes shut. Who am I? The question seemed to repeat itself inside his head, leaving its never ending echo ringing in his ears.

Inching the door open he peered out into the hallway, and when he was sure no one was there he slipped out the door. As he walked down the hallway he kept as close to the wall as possible, should someone open one of the many doors and find him sneaking about.

He didn't know why but all of this seemed so natural to him, like he had done it before, although he had no recollection of ever doing it.

Who am I?

Slowly he made his way down the short hallway, then paused when he reached its end. Looking to the left then the right, he decided the coast was clear and he turned the corner.

What is this place...some sort of school perhaps?

Where am I?

"He can't stay here, we don't know anything about the guy. For all we know he could be a mutant hater, give our position away and get us all imprisoned." A male voice echoed down the hallway and put a pause to the boy's walking.

"You don't know that Ayden! He needs help, and that's just what we're going to give him. Once he's stable he can leave if he wishes, but for now he's our responsibility." Another voice replied to the first. This one sounded more feminine, angry perhaps.

The voices stopped when the boy lost his balance and nearly fell over, but caught himself before he hit the ground.

That's strange I was perfectly fine just a minute ago and now it feels like a heavy weight is pressing me down, along with an ever growing pain in my side, and chest..especially my chest...

"Did you hear that?" The feminine voice from before asked followed by the sound of footsteps. The boy winced as the pain got worse and he looked down at his chest. His eyes widened when they fell upon the crimson colored blood seeping through the white bandages around his chest. He gasped in pain and clutched his wound as he pushed himself up against the wall.

It's as if the energy I absorbed was only temporary...

The boy drug himself across the wall, trying to get as far away from the voices as possible. A dark red line was left on the wall, glistening under the florescent lights. As the boy moved the trail behind him grew in length.

"Hey hey hey! What are you doing out of bed!" The feminine voice rang from behind him. His heart sped up as the footsteps closed in on him and a fear like no other took hold of him and wrapped it's grimy arms around him, sucking him into a deep abyss.

Images flashed before his eyes, but they were gone as quick as they came. He saw hands made into fists, heard yelling along with the screams of a young child. Each scene was nearly the same and they all ended in red.

The boy yelled, trying to stop the images from coming, to stop the fear, and the pain alike. The boy slipped from the wall but was caught before he hit the ground.

A boy who was of medium height and weight alike held the other boy up. His large light blue eyes flickered from the boy to the girl standing just a few inches away. The boy in his arms groaned and tried to pry himself from the other boy's arms but he was far too weak.

"Who am I?" The boy muttered in a barely audible whisper. The boys eyes rolled to back of his head when the pain became too much and he fell limp.

"He's out" Ayden said to the girl standing by him. Ayden's features were contorted in a mix of fear and worry. He didn't know the boy, in fact he didn't even want him here, but he didn't want his death on his conscience or on anyone else's in the group. The group was small, and the people in it haven't known each other for too long, they were all thrust together when the war came close to an end. The after math the war left is almost worst then the war it'self. If the group hadn't of found each other, a groups of mutant haters would have gone after them one by one, ripping them to shreds.

"Get him back to the infirmary. He's opened his stitches and he'll bleed out if we don't stich em' back up." white pupils flashed toward the girl as Ayden nodded in understanding. Ayden fixed the larger boy in a better position where he was now draped over one of his shoulders. The girl took her spot under his other arm and they half carried half dragged the unconscious, bullet riddled body towards the infirmary.

Ayden watch silently as the girl re-stitched the unknown boy's wounds, her fingers working with rapid and precise movements.

"Vel" Large hazel eyes broke the concentration they had on the needle and slowly found their way toward the source of the voice. Ayden leaned up against the wall opposite of Vel, his eyes focused on the floor, strands of dark brown hair fell from his pony.

"What if... what if he doesn't make it?" Ayden said in a whispered voice, then glanced up at Vel, taking in her chestnut colored hair and angelic face.

"Don't say that! He's going to make it, his wounds are re-stitched and as long as he rests he should be fine" She paused before continuing.

"What I don't understand is how he was able to even get out of bed. With those kind of wounds...he should be dead" Vel concluded in a whisper, glancing back at the sleeping boy on the cot, taking in his ruffled dirty blonde hair, sharp features, the way his mouth was twisted in pain. She hoped he wasn't in pain at the moment.

Her thoughts trailed off as she took notice of a scar on the underside of his left arm. Stepping closer she realized that this was no ordinary scar, it was in the shape of a phoenix and it looked to have been burned into the boy's skin.

"Why would he do this to himself?" Vel whispered to herself before she took notice of Ayden standing behind her, confusion etched onto his face.

"Who is this guy?" Vel asked aloud.

Who am I? The boy's word's came back to Ayden, echoing in his head.

"I don't know" Ayden replied in a low voice.

I don't think he even knows...


Fingers fumbled inside of an old coat pocket, grazing over a small box, and picking at its opening flap. Once the flap was open, a finger wedged between it to keep it from closing, and two others found the object they were searching for. The fingers paused for a moment still within the pocket, holding the object delicately between them, taking in its smooth paper like texture; the familiar texture that brought reassurance and, a sense of comfort to the owner of the still stalling fingers.

I shouldn't do this! I promised him I would quit! Screamed the voice inside the owners head, but his body screamed in protest, and the hand slid out of the pocket, slowly, shakily making its way to the lips of the owner. With the thin papery object pinched between his lips, his hand once again plunged into the same coat pocket. Once his fingers brushed up against the cold metal object they wrapped around its body, and brought that up to his lips too.

One hand brought the lighter up to the cigarette, and touched it to its end; the other guided the lighter downward about a fingers length, making sure it was close enough to the cigarette. A small flame kissed the end of the cigarette, and brought it to life.

The hooded figure slouched against the wall, and took a long and deep drag from the cigarette. His body loosened up from act; he seemed to melt right into the wall.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! How could you think this will solve anything? You made a promise…

The hooded figure slid the sleeve of his right arm up, only a couple of inches above his wrist, and felt for the familiar object which always slumbered there. Slowly he ran his fingers along the tiny rounded beads of the chain, and found his way to the two rectangular objects attached.

"You don't understand how much I miss you Mirko, how much I need you." A soft voice with a touch of an Italian accent whispered to the sky.

"I've done something terrible, something I can't fix. No one can fix it." The figure sighed, and took another drag of his cigarette before speaking again. All the while, his fingers delicately traced the name etched into the small metal rectangles.

"The blood of an innocent woman stains my hands. She was such a sweet woman, she was different then the others Mirko. She loved me like her own, really loved me, she wasn't afraid of me…. She was so good to me, and I …I killed her Mirko!" The figure cried out, balling his hand into a fist, and clenched the dog tags to his chest.

"How many more will fall by my hands before I can gain control? Mirko, I can't let this happen again, I won't let this happen again!" The figure said, standing up, and reaching into his other pocket.

"That's why I've decided to join you Mirko, that way it will be impossible for me to hurt anyone else." The figure said, pulling a flask out of his pocket.

"I know I've made a promise to you all those years ago, but I'm sure you won't mind one last cigarette…one last drink?" The figure asked. Removing the cigarette from his lips, he allowed his right hand to flop to his side, the cigarette resting between two fingers. His other hand tightened itself around the flask, pausing for a moment then, slowly opened its lid. He lifted the flask to his lips, and arched his neck as he took a deep swallow of the clear liquid. The figures face contorted from the bitter taste of the alcohol but, he savored the way it burned his throat as it made its way to the pit of his stomach. Immediately a wave of warmth washed over the figure, putting an end to his shivering from the cold.

"I will be with you soon brother." The figure whispered, pushing himself from the wall, pocketing the flask, and stamping out the cigarette. With his left arm outstretched, he drug his fingers along the wall as he walked, stepping to the side every so often to avoid running into dumpsters, and various other items you would expect to find in an alley way.

The figure walked with a steady pace, taking a drink from the flask every so often.

The figure had made his way out of they alley, and down the road, constantly keeping contact with the wall, as it gave him a better idea of where he was.

You can't do this! What would Mirko think eh? He'd think you were a selfish bastard, wasting your life like this!

As the figure walked the sound of passing cars pierced his ears, letting him know he was getting close to the road. He stopped for a moment and, took hold of the dog tags around his wrist once more. He unwound the chain from his wrist and held it close to his heart.

"The only thing I regret is never being able to enjoy one last sundown. It was in a book you read to me once. I can't remember its title, but there was this man who was dying and, his wife sat there with him in his bed, facing a window and they watched the sun go down together. When the sky became dark, the man took his last breath." The figure paused, and took a deep breath before continuing.

"Will you watch one last sunset for me brother?"

The boy walked straight into the busy street of New York, allowing the speeding cars to decide his destiny for him, his last sentence still hanging in the air.