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 – Such a good mood today.

Holding You
by Moonbeam

Part 05 – Raven

Raven crept in three hours later to find Hank and Alex asleep. She watched them for a while, the way Alex's hand was buried under the bulk of Hank's braid, his other hand settled over Hank's forearm where it was laying on his chest. The way Hank's head was laying over Alex's heart, the fact her hand was curled around his side. She could see their legs tangled together and knew Hank wasn't wearing socks. Hank allowing someone to feel her feet, she wanted to go over and pull back the covers so she could see exactly how they were intertwined. She had known from that very first day when Alex insulted Hank that he was lost, he wanted her and he had no idea what to do about it. She'd watched him stuff up again and again until finally she had cornered him in the bunker just before he started training and had told him in no uncertain terms to pull his head out of his arse, tell Hank how he felt and just kiss her already.

Raven knew how hank felt, she'd guessed from early on, but one day Hank accidently confirmed it when they were down in the lab and Raven had looked at a textbook, one Hank had written and there pressed between the pages was a single yellow daisy. She'd asked the other girl, pressed when Hank coloured and muttered something about a thank you and sweet and favourite flower. Finally Raven had convinced Hank to tell her the story, of going down and testing the breastplate for Alex, of him coming into the lab flushed, he way he had thanked her and thrust the flower out into the air between them. The way she had waited until he was gone to put it in water. As soon as it had begun wilting she'd pressed it into her book, saved forever. Hank had blushed so brightly she almost turned purple. That also could have been the fifth of vodka it had taken to get her to tell the story.

It had been almost a year that their little family had been living here and still Hank and Alex were dancing around one another, it was highly annoying. They were almost as bad as Charles and Erik only they didn't have the advantage of prejudice, repression and sheer mindless will power working against them ever just sorting themselves out.

Regardless, it was time. She moved over and shook Alex's shoulder. His eyes bolted open but he did not move. It was unnerving and reminded her forcefully of Erik. "Time?" He asked.

"Yeah."

Like the previous evening Alex turned his full attention to Hank and woke her slowly and gently. She blinked up at him with a sleepy smile and his entire face shifted into a smile. Raven wanted to bash their heads together.

"I want to have a shower before we apply this time Raven, sorry I should have said something." Hank said as soon as she was fully awake. She pushed herself up until she was sitting next to Alex.

"That's fine. Alex why don't you go and get lunch, Hank and I will come down when we are finished." Raven said.

Alex ducked his head and caught Hank's eye. She nodded to him so he smiled and stood from the bed. "You need anything, just come get me." He said before slowly putting his shoes and sweatshirt back on.

"Okay," Hank said with a smile before Alex left the room. Hank took a moment before she moved across the bed and walked into the bathroom.

"Do you need a hand?" Raven asked.

"No, but could you lend me another one of these tops?"

"Sure, I'll go and get a couple so you have them here. Okay."

"Thanks."

Raven rushed from the room and down the hall to her own, grabbing a handful of halter tops before rushing back. When she is back in the room the bathroom door was closed and before she could call out that she is back she heard the most painful groans she's ever heard coming from the bathroom. Moans of pain between hisses and exclamations. Raven thinks for a second on the pain of running water over a single open wound, she wants to vomit when she thinks how much worse it would be over thirty-six of them. She knows that if she says anything Hank will go back to holding the noises in, she can see the pain Hank holds in every time the salve is applied. Raven sits on the bed and listens wanting to cry and wanting to go and get Alex because he'd have burst in there already and pulled her out.

: :Raven, are you okay?: : Charles' voice is sudden and startling in her head, he hasn't startled her in years.

: :Fine, but Hank, she's in so much pain.: :

: :I know, both of you are broadcasting rather loudly, she has a much firmer grasp on swearing than I would have thought.: : The telepathic words have the desired effect and Raven relaxes just a little and chuckles. : :Regardless of the pain Hank wants to have a shower so don't worry when she is done you can sooth her and Alex will continue to make things better in his own way.: :

: :You mean by standing next to her and loving her as obviously as he can while she is unaware.: :

: :Exactly darling, it will be okay. She is safe now. Her body will heal.: :

: :Thank you Charles.: :

: :Always: : When Charles disappears from her mind the noises have stopped from the bathroom and the water is quieter than it was before. Raven moved over and slammed the door calling out as though she just got back.

Moments later the water turned off and after a few more groans and one colourful swear word Hank opened the door and stood holding a towel over her bare chest. Raven handed over a top and Hank closed the door behind her. Moments later she stood in front of Raven clean and re-dressed.

"You may need to dry my back a little more." Hank said hand over a towel already stained red in a number of places. Hank moved to the bed, laid down on her front and braced for what Raven was about to do.

Raven took a deep breath and set to work, drying the skin and then applying a thick layer of salve. Hank seemed to be in more pain this time whether from the shower or from the lack of someone to hold onto Raven couldn't say but she finished as quickly as she could.

"You are bruising." Raven said when she was finished and washing her hands.

"The blood is being given a chance to gather now that I am healing, it will come out more over the next few days I imagine I will be positively black and blue by the end of the week." Hank said in a pained voice.

"Do you want to go and eat?"

"I need to, between the pain killers, the antibiotics, the healing process and the lack of nutrition while I was away if I start missing meals I run the risk of getting very sick."

"Well then let's go, Alex will probably be a seething mass of worry by now."

Hank reached out and stopped her. "I need the other top, I cannot go out like this." Hank said waving her hand at Raven's top.

"Why?"

"A number of factors, the lack of a bra, the lack of covering, and that everyone would have to see them. It is unnecessary."

"When you are better we are going to go out with you in one of those tops, you don't need a bra, you are covered just fine and you are very pretty in the top. I bet Alex would agree with me."

"Please." Hank said completely ignoring the comment about Alex.

Raven gathered the top and when Hank raised her arms she pushed the top down as carefully as she could until it swallowed the top half of Hank's body.

"Thank you." They both moved towards the door. "Raven? Alex, he said my toes were amazing this morning."

"Finally!"

"I don't understand he is being so nice, he was nice sometimes but now it's all the time. I don't know why."

"He was worried sick when you were gone, he didn't sleep or eat. He sat down in your lab and closed his eyes when people went in so they'd leave him alone. He only left to go to the bunker where he would burn the room."

"Why?"

"Because you were gone and he didn't know where."

"Did you sleep, or eat while I was gone?"

"Yes, but we were constantly searching. Charles spent three days with both hands stuck to the side of his head except when Erik would bale him off to bed. Erik called everyone he knew. Sean kept making toast and tea and forcing us all to eat it. Every time he saw us he feed us tea and toast. None of us knew what to do with you gone. It was terrifying."

"I see."

Raven doubted she did, at least not where Alex was concerned. But it wasn't her place to out his secret and now was probably not the time regardless. Raven stopped and pressed herself against the taller girl, wrapping her arms down low where there were not marks. "I was terrified, I love you Hank, it's like having a sister and I don't ever want you to scare me like that again."

"Never," Hank promised returning the hug. "I love you too Raven."

Raven pulled back and they walked the rest of the way to the dining room. When they got there Alex was staring laser beams at the door, he all but sagged down into his chair when they both appeared. He watched Hank go and collect a sandwich and juice. He watched her sit down gingerly and start eating and then he looked down at his own sandwich and inhaled it. Raven wanted to hug him sometimes, she also wanted to hit him and force him to sort his problems out.

"Now that everyone is here. I have an announcement. I have finally finished wading my way through enough red tape to wrap around Jupiter so we are officially an accredited school as of two days ago when the letter arrived. It wasn't important at the time and I didn't look at it but it appears we are finally a school. The Xavier-Lehnsherr Academy For Gifted Youngsters."

"Pompous prat." Erik said in a huff.

"Well the Xavier-Lehnsherr School For Mutants seemed a bit obvious Erik."

"Pompous prat." Erik repeated. Sean laughed into his orange juice while everyone else smiled at the two men as they glared at each other for just a little too long.

"Regardless, when things settle in the next month or so I am going to begin searching for students to fill our school. And it will be ours, I know we have talked about you all teaching, but it finally looks as it is coming to pass. Sean of course needs to finish his high school education, only his final exams to go and then if he can be convinced higher education is entirely possible. Hank is of course already qualified, and well the rest of you."

"And by that you mean Alex, Erik and I?" Raven said.

"Well yes, the three of you will be receiving credentials within the week."

"Pompous prat who knows how to get things done." Erik conceded.

"Yes well." Charles said smiling.

"Charles." Hank spoke up.

"Yes Hank."

"If we are to be a school, especially catering to mutants I think we need more than my first aid skills. I already have several of the required credits for a medical degree and could probably be finished in eighteen months. I hear Columbia has an excellent medical school, I had started to look into it before. I believe it might be of benefit if I were to return to school and obtain the degree."

"Excellent idea Hank, we will talk about it more. But you are quite right, we will need a dedicated doctor and neither you nor Raven seemed to like Dr Harrison."

Alex hunched over his food, eating slowly now, his appetite gone.

Lunch went longer than normal talk of the school finally starting had most people hugely excited. Alex watched Hank like a hawk, she was excited, she was discussing the different courses to be offered and what she would be teaching, she finished her sandwich and without her noticing he placed a large bowl of fruit in front of her which she ate while she was talking. Sean grinned at him when he came back to the table and elbowed him. Alex hit him on the back of the head. As talk turned to ages of students to be accepted and the size of the student body Hank began to flag. She was no longer sitting up straight and she was participating less and less in the conversation. Alex knew she needed to go back to bed but nothing was going to pull her from the conversation. Twenty minutes later Erik called an end to the conversation and sent everyone off to their afternoon activities. Alex received a meaningful look complete with eye flick to Hank as though he was an idiot who wouldn't have ended the conversation thirty minutes ago.

Alex took Hank upstairs pushed her into bed, crawled in after her and before she was even fully laying down she was asleep or so I seemed since the second she was laying against him she was still. He smiled down at her and grabbed the book from before reading until Raven came back.

Hank came down to help make dinner but no one let her near anything, she sat on one of the bar chairs and chatted to everyone instead.

After dinner they all crowded into the library to read, Hank going as well lasting a little over an hour before she shut her book and stood. Alex was steps behind her. Again she told him he did not need to do this but the relief on her face as he told her he wanted to reassured him that he was in fact helping. If nothing else she was not cold while she slept.

TBC...