I do not own x-men first class.

This may or may not be continued into a larger series. Title is from a song by Cartel. Posted to Tumblr and Livejournal too so may as well post here.


"It's time for you to understand
Stop getting up for the let down
Oh, who you are is not up to them
Stop getting up for the let down"

-Cartel

Alex Summers is something of a storm when he enters a room. He doesn't speak, and doesn't need to, even with his lips pressed tight together in a curled smirk, he's projecting sparks of plasma that's ridiculously distracting. Discreet is not a word that the blonde knows nor could possibly comprehend, not with the way that he shines so brilliantly and glimmers to the point it hurts because he's so golden and blinding. His mutation seems to have bled into his personality, as if he embodies the red bursts personified.

Hank can feel him, leaning against the doorway of his lab, gray blue eyes just watching him as if test tubes and microscopes are the most interesting thing in the world—which they are, but that's to Hank and he highly doubts that Alex shares the same interest in it that he does. He doesn't turn around, but he can feel the static on his back like heat lightning. Just the intensity of the look is sending a pleasant jolt up his spine, and all he can wonder is if he's propagating energy towards him through a secret second mutation.

The storm is approaching him, a brewing and whirling funnel cloud slowly descending to the earth before wreaking hell. There's a roaring in his ears and a thunder that comes in the form of quickening thuds of lub...dub...lub dub lubdub lubdublubdublubdub. The air is thicker and settling in a heavy sheet around him, yet it smells sterile and lab like and he knows there's nothing different about it except for the way that he's reacting to the hurricane that he's starting moving into towards the eye of the storm.

It's 2 am, and Alex should be asleep. Hank should be asleep, but he's so close and he can't miss this now that he's nearly isolated that pretty little code from the pretty genes that can change him from his ugly, ugly appearance. His head is light by this time, and his throat is dry with a weird musty taste that he noticed after skipping the last two meals of the day. His limbs are sore, but he's so close.

Not even the storm can stop him.

"Hank," Alex greets, and there's no strangling nickname or insult, just a statement as if he's desperate to gain acknowledgement. He's been there the last half an hour and Hank cares, he does because it's Alex who is too overwhelming and powerful to ignore, but he's so close he can't turn around. His voice sounds gruff, like he hasn't spoken for a while and has just worked up the ability to say his name through that scratchy tone that holds a certain demanding air. Look at me.

Hank can't tear his eyes away from the gorgeous genes under his hands, but he grunts in the acknowledgement he assumes that Alex is looking for.

"What are you doing up, Bozo?"

There it is. His lips twist into a frown, bright red lips contorting to that ruffled expression. He swallows before answering, "Working on the serum."

The serum. Not a serum. The serum. Articles weigh so heavily there, because this isn't just any experiment, this is the fountain of youth in a syringe and the start of a rebirth into something beautiful. This is everything to Hank, and everyone in the mansion knows what the serum is.

He feels a hand on his labcoat, and it finally jerks his attention enough to look at Alex, whose eyes are so deep that for a moment he is shocked by the nuances of darkness in his irises that remind him somewhat of the Aurora Borealis even though he's never seen it personally—but now he feels like he has because Alex's eyes are the scattered protons in the atmosphere, a projectile of solar flares that dance and quiver breathlessly in the sky. And it's enough to get his attention that he sets down the vile and clenches his fingers against his palm.

"What do you want, Alex?" Hank inhales, but it's not the sterile scent of the lab anymore, but the strong smell of dry oakmoss and leather, it's heavy but there's also something like black pepper there and Hank nearly chokes because it's so concentrated.

"You don't need to fix yourself. You're not broken."

His voice is so steady, so sure of what he's saying that it rouses something primal in Hank's gut, and he hates him for ever suggesting that when he's so close to being beautiful, and he wants to scream at him to get out because someone as radiant as Alex could never understand what it's like. But his voice is caught somewhere in his dry throat, and he's just staring back at Alex. Alex who moves closer, and his skin his burning where the other mutant touches his hand in probably what is the gentlest gesture that he's ever extended towards Hank. He still wants to yell at him—is it so you can continue to make fun of my feet?-but the resolution in those energy bound eyes is like a stone wall. It scares Hank, he can feel his stomach dropping because Alex isn't moving and his serum isn't finished.

"Have you—?" his voice croaks.

"Yea, I have and you still don't need to," Alex says and he runs a hand through his hair and down to his neck.

Why does Alex even care, Hank wonders and the thought is burning in his mind like acid. Why does it even matter to Alex if he makes himself normal after so many years of looking so grotesque. It's 2:17 am and he shouldn't care, and they both look exhausted, and Alex was still standing there like a heavy oak refusing to be uprooted.

"I like you like this," Alex gestures to all of him, "And so does everyone else. Even if you're a dork. Because I actually like that a lot too."

"Alex, just leave," Hank nearly wants to plead with him because it is 2:20 am and he doesn't want to deal with this. He doesn't want to have all his ideals ripped apart and rerooted when he's so close and everything he believes is about to be torn from him just because Alex can. He just waltzes in, like a typhoon all unabashed, taking what he wants greedily and no concern for the discord he's leaving in his wake as the waters reside. And he's maybe afraid that he'll believe him.

"Hank."

Go away.

"I know you're not an idiot."

Stop. I just want to be beautiful. I just want to be normal. Stopstopstop.

"But you're apparently blind or something. You helped me get my shit under control, and for the first time in my life I don't hate that I have this weird ass red shit coming out of my chest, because even if I could make it go away, it's not a bad thing anymore."

Because you're Alex Summers and you're beautiful and so so gorgeous.

"And there's nothing wrong with your feet. Or any of you. You need to eat something, and don't do that shit where you throw it away when no one is looking, I see it."

You're always looking. ...is he always looking? At me?

"And you're not a girl so this is weird, but you're beautiful, okay Hank? So it's stupid for you to change any of that because I like your feet and your dorkiness."

Hank stares back at him and his chest is tight with the breath that he isn't able to exhale. The storm is wrapping around him, the gusts are lifting him up and he can't feel the ground anymore, and god he wants to cry, he really does. Because everything is hot, tight pressure and it's being released like puncturing a balloon.

It's 2:34 and Hank can finally breathe, and he feels so tired, like the weight of the world just melted off his shoulders in a lethargic slide. The exhaustion is clear on Alex's face too, and he still wonders why Alex is up so late, and in his lab for that matter, but he looks like he's been mulling over something. His hair is ruffled and his eyes are drooping, but he's still so gorgeous.

He wants to blame it on the exhaustion, the sleep deprivation and lack of food—which he knows if he tries to eat normally right now all he'll do is throw it back up—but believes Alex, and lets him make soft noises as his shoulders shake; the walls are crumbling down, his world is plummeting to somewhere unseen, and it hurts, like someone has just ripped his skin from his bones, but he can see Alex and can cling to that in the shambles of whatever he has left.

Glass hits the floor, the shattering a noise that will probably stick with Hank for the rest of his life. Clear liquid is seeping through the cracks into a puddle next to his feet, and there it is, the answer to his beauty on the ground. Everything that he had worked for is now gone, willingly discarded so easily, because he believes Alex and wants it to be true that he isn't broken. He's not close anymore, but he's wondering what he's chasing now.

Alex offers him a tired smile, and he doesn't say anything because at that moment, if he tried it would probably be crude and harsh, so it's better not to mess it up anymore than he has. He half carries him back to his room, Hank staring blankly ahead as his long limbs trudge up the stairs in what is more like a stumble because he's much larger than Alex.

At some point, he ends up in his bed with his fingers curled around the blonde's wrist as he turns to leave. He stares up at him with wide cerulean eyes that are bright red around the edges from so many factors by this point. He hears the other voice mumble something about needing sleep, but the mattress dips under his weight, and Hank lets out a shaky breath.

His head tucks under his chin easily, and maybe he's clinging to him and this is something that Alex would tease him for later, but by the way that he twists the fabric of Hank's shirt in his fingers against his chest, he somehow doubts that. Alex is so warm. If he were anymore coherent, he would have laid awake just to watch him in this vulnerable state. Instead, his eye lids fall, heavy and easily.

Hank doesn't feel like hiding himself as he drifts into a hazy sleep with Alex flush against his chest. He believes him, and prays against the tendrils of sleep that this feeling isn't just for the night. He listens to the other's breathing for a moment, a soporific rhythm that eventually lulls him down into sleep.

When he wakes up, there's light streaming in against the wall and reflecting off golden hair. He's still there, body tangled in longer limbs and heat soaking under the covers. Alex smiles at him lazily before his eyes flutter shut again and he mumbles something like, 'too early go back to sleep, bozo', and Hank feels like he's breathing for the first time.