Title – Holding You
Author – Moonbeam
Rating – R (descriptions of whipping for torture but very lightly done)
Summary –
Hank is captured on a mission, when she comes back Alex helps her. Everything that happens causes a change in their relationship.
Warnings – Always a girl!Hank, torture, hurt/comfort
Disclaimer – I don't own anything, I wish.
Author's Notes – I had this thought when I was trying to sleep. In my head Hank was a girl. I was going to change it but it just didn't seem right. I don't know maybe this is crap, let me know.

Holding You
by Moonbeam

Alex opened the door silently. The room was lit by a dull lamp. From where he stood at the door he could see the window being lit by the thunderstorm happening outside he could also see the body in the bed. She was curled around a large pillow, her back exposed to the night air, some sort of t-shirt was covering her but it had been pulled around to leave her back bare, completely bare. Alex had no choice but to see it. He'd been there when they pulled her out. He'd picked her up and heard her pained groans as he'd run from the building. He had had no idea what was under the top she'd been wearing, wasn't even aware of the blood that had covered his arm until they were back in the Blackbird and flying home. He hadn't wanted to put her down but she needed to be strapped it. When he'd placed her down she had groaned and reached for him but that was when he'd seen it, when they'd all seen it; the blood red stain on the back of her top where parts of her X-men suit were ripped away. Alex had reached for her but Charles stopped him, told him he needed to sit down, vacated the seat next to where she was, told him that they needed to wait until they were back at the mansion to assess the damage. Alex had slid into the seat next to her, his hand wrapped around hers as her head lolled to the side held in her harness and she 'slept' through the trip. He'd glared at Eric as the man tried to help him get her out of the plane, he could do it. He'd picked her up, she was still a little taller than him even after his last growth spurt but there was nothing to her but bone and skin so picking her up felt easy, too damned easy he was going to have to start making sure she ate more. He's carried her down to the medical lab, a woman he didn't know was standing there waiting for him. He didn't want to leave her but Charles had been insistent that the woman standing in front of him was an excellent doctor and could be trusted and needed time to assess her injuries. Alex had left, he'd gone to Charles' study found the hardest alcohol he could and went to his room where he stripped off his uniform, crawled into bed and drank until he could sit there and think about something other than how pale she was, the stains that were obviously her own blood, the pained moan when he'd picked her up, the fact he'd left her down there alone with a stranger. Five swigs and the image was still burned there so he dropped the bottle on the night stand and just sat there staring at the wall until the Professor had told him she was back in her room. He had continued to sit there for what felt like hours until it was dark and the storm outside was completely settled overhead lighting the sky outside his room as the windows shook with thunder.

He can see what the shirt and suit were hiding now. He stopped to count, 36, thirty-six marks around her back, red and swollen where someone beat her. His fists clench but then the lightning strikes again and he realises she might not be asleep.

"Alex?" She asks even though she always knows it's him.

"Yeah," her head lifts up and she tries to turn but without moving her back. "Wait, I'll come around there." He moves around the bed and without even thinking about it settles down on the mattress next to her knees, she's almost curled up in the foetal position, her body curling around the pillow to protect her back. He can feel her knees pressed into his side. He should move but likes the press of her, knowing she is right there in front of him.

Alex stares at her for long moments. Her eyes are holding his but flick to the side every time the night sky is lit up.

"Do you want me to open the curtains so you can see properly?" He starts dumbly.

"No, I just like to listen."

"Okay." They continue to sit in silence until finally Alex opens his mouth again. "Hank?"

"Not yet Alex, later, tomorrow, next week. Just not yet." Hank begs her eyes closed.

"Okay," Alex reaches out a hand for her shoulder but the sky lights up and the extra light lets him see the bruising on her shoulder, his hand just hovers over her feeling the extra heat of her skin before he pulls it back into his lap. "I should leave you to get some sleep."

Hank reached out on long, pale arm and rests her hand on his forearm. "Would you," her eyes turn up to him and she seemed to run out of steam. "Do you think…nevermind."

Alex sat there and looked at her for a moment after she closed her eyes. "Can you move?" he asked finally.

"What?" Hank's eyes shot open looking a little dazed.

"Can you lift up at all?"

"A little why?"

"Come on," Alex helped lift Hank's upper body, gently his stomach clenching at the pained groan that slipped through her attempts to stifle the pain he could clearly see around her eyes now that he was close enough. He pulled her pillow out from beneath her and slid himself in its place. When he was laying down she settled back onto him with a sigh.

"Are you okay?" Alex asked as he threw one arm across the bed the other curling around her forearm. Hank wriggled a little biting at her lip before settling half on top of him. "My God we need to feed you. You are way too light." Alex said at the feeling of her draped over him.

"I'm fine, it just hurts when I breathe or move or think too hard." Alex chuckled because that's what Hank had been going for and because she had scrunched her nose up as she said it and if Alex didn't laugh he would have done something very stupid like lean down and finally kiss her.

"Thank you, I didn't like being here alone." Hank confessed quietly.

"No problem, go to sleep."

"Okay." Hank let out a deep breath and just relaxed against him. He stroked her forearm for a while until her breathing completely evened out and he could feel that she was asleep. He wanted to check her over, see what was done to her but the professor had assured him that the worst case scenario that had been playing in his head since they saw the blood was not the case…they had only beaten her and tortured her to find out something. Alex could feel himself heating up so he turned his head and breathed in the scent wafting off of her neck and the fruity scent of shampoo that hung around her. Alex let his eyes close and let the feeling of Hank back and safe float around him until he fell asleep as well.

Alex woke when someone entered the room. Raven stopped short at the door. "Alex!" she whispered. "What are you doing here?"

"Hank, she didn't want to be alone."

Raven frowned. "I offered to stay with her." Raven shook her head. "Of course. It's time for her medication and more salve. I told the doctor I'd handle it, Hank didn't seem to like having a stranger touch her."

"Okay," Alex curled his hand around Hank's cheek, stroking at the soft skin there. "Hank." He called nudging at one of her legs where it had settled between his in the night. "Hank." Alex said again as she started to stir.

"'lex?" Hank muttered burrowing her head into his chest and nuzzling against him as she woke up.

"It's time for your medication and some salve."

"No thanks." She muttered to his left nipple where it was hidden but very aware under his shirt.

"Hank, if you don't take you medication something bad will happen."

"You will wake up in the morning in huge amounts of pain or an infection could set in." Raven supplied from the door. Alex looked up remembering she was there and found her looking at him with a hopeful, knowing look. Alex couldn't find it in himself to care. Everyone knew he liked the oblivious doctor but her, they had all told him in varying ways and at different times to tell her instead of acting like an arse but she deserved so much better than him and her barely maintained tolerance of him was well known.

"Raven?" Hank asked looking up at Alex.

"Yeah, I'll put the salve on your back."

"Tablet first please." Hank tried to prop herself up but the pull of skin over her back made her sink back down into Alex panting. Alex lifted himself up onto his elbow, propping her up just enough that she would be able to swallow the tablets and water. He dropped back onto the bed slowly. "Thank you." She muttered into his chest.

Raven settled onto the bed behind Hank, pulled over a large jar of something and opened it, the smell hit him strongly, similar to the smell that surrounded Hank but much stronger. Hank curled her arm around Alex's torso and gripped his hip, turning her face into his neck before Raven had even touched the salve to her skin. Hank immediately tensed and Alex lifted his hand to tangle in her hair from where it had been laying on the bed. The other ran up and down her arm trying to sooth her. It took Raven five minutes to coat her back in the ointment, the entire time Hank was pressed tightly against him whimpering as quietly as she could.

Raven went and washed her hands while Hank tried to relax her clenched muscles. Alex continued running his fingers through her hair, sliding his hand up and down her arm. "Hank? Are you okay?"

"Yeah, it's just so tender." Alex could feel the wet area of his neck where her tears were soaking it.

"Can I do anything?"

"Don't let go." She muttered into his skin before she started sobbing against him, her entire body convulsing around him. Alex wanted nothing more than to curl around her, wrap his arms around her and just hold her, but her back, her shoulder, the wrist he could now see was red and swollen in the watery dawn light; she was hurt and he could do nothing but stroke her where he could touch her without making it all worse. He turned his head to bury against her hair and whisper absolute nonsense into her ear to reassure her he was not going anywhere.

A long while later when Hank fell asleep next to him again Alex felt the pressure around his calf let up realising belatedly it was Hank's foot, the human like toes had curled around his calf holding on as tightly as her hands had been. Alex looked up when he heard another sniffle seeing Raven standing above the bed tears streaming down her face.

"They beat her," she said quietly. "How could anyone do that to her?"

"I don't know but we will find them and they will pay dearly for doing it." Alex said feeling his temperature start to rise.

"But that won't help, she'll always carry the scars. The salve is supposed to help but…some of them are so deep." Raven said dropping her head into her hands. It was odd to see her so effected by anything but she and Hank were close, sharing something none of the other mutants in the mansion did, the daily physical reminder that they were different.

"We will help her, we will be here for her and when she is ready we will listen to whatever she wants to tell us and we will do whatever we can to make this better." Alex said firmly.

"You love her don't you?" Raven asked wiping a hand over her eyes trying to stop the tears.

Alex stared at her refusing to answer the question. There was a light knock on the door and then it opened revealing Charles on the other side.

"Raven?" he called looking at Alex for a moment before focussing on his sister.

Raven turned and flew at her brother allowing herself to be wrapped in his arms and soothed by his presence. "Come Raven," he said. "Let's let Alex get some sleep and we can have some hot chocolate." The door closed behind them and Alex dropped his head down to curl into Hank's neck letting himself breathe her in and fall asleep.

TBC...