contains violence and character death - nothing worse than the comics.
main character: Psylocke
pairing sort of Betsy/Hank, mention of past tense Betsy/Warren
Disclaimer: I do not own Psylocke or any other characters from Marvel Comics. People with more money & lawyers do.
Distribution: please ask first, Psyknife may have it if she wants it.
note: loosely inspired by a description of Psylocke's death in X-Treme X-Men, should not be considered accurate.
They were here in sunny Valencia, their hope being to take a brief few days to relax, to rest and soak up the sun before trying once more to find the Destiny Diaries. Tessa had learned of a few rumors that made them think that someone here might have one of the diaries, so... Valencia, Spain. A chance to work on their tans, to relax and let the sun's warmth seep into their bones. She was personally hoping to let the immediacy of the argument fade, the argument that had caused the team to split. Scott and Jean thought that chasing the diaries would be futile, a waste of energy and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. He had been worried also, because everyone that had let the diaries take up a large portion of their attention had paid heavily for it.
Destiny had gone blind from the strain and intense effort of writing them, and had since died. Mystique had spent many years devoted to Destiny, and her diaries, and while she was still alive, few people would consider her stable, or sane, or a good example for behavior. She could still remember the words that Hank had spoken before they'd left, still hear his deep voice, with it's oddly soothing rumbling undertones. 'But we will have each other.' He'd been looking right at her when he'd spoke, and a small part of her had wondered if he had meant something other than the fact that they were a team, that they had become family over the years.
But that was ridiculous. What else could he have meant? She had spent several years quite firmly involved with Warren, certain that they could find the fairy tale ending, that he would be the charming prince to her fair princess... until the whole fiasco of the Crimson Dawn, until the battle with the Shadow King had left her unable to use the powers of her telepathy. The bonds that she had thought were unbreakable between her and Warren had faded and crumbled, leaving her with memories and regrets. Could she have saved the relationship if she'd held on more tightly? If she'd not sacrificed her telepathy, even if it had been only temporarily, to imprison the Shadow King? She didn't know.
What she did know was that there wasn't anything between her and Hank. There couldn't be. He undoubtedly still thought that she was recovering from her break up with Warren... and before that, she'd had a brief fling with Scott. Why would he even consider the idea that there could be something between them?
He didn't now about the effect that his voice had on her, making her insides warm and turn soft, as if she was being heated from deep inside her body. He didn't know how just the sound of his voice, deep and soothing, made her relax, how she secretly craved the too infrequent moments where she could be close enough to inhale the scent of him, a sort of musk and a hint of something else, like cloves, tantalizing and unique to him. He couldn't know that she tried to avoid touching him so that she wouldn't run her fingers through his fur, wouldn't try to learn the shape and feel of his muscles.
He wouldn't feel that way about her. The infrequent women that he'd dated had always had at least a veneer of demureness about them, an illusion of personal modesty and discretion. Nothing like her, she's always possessed a flamboyant sense of style, and her outfits tended towards the provocative and revealing rather than demure. She had been a model, once upon a time, and had lost any reluctance to show her body to it's advantage that she may have once possessed. That had been a lifetime ago, before she'd joined the X-Men, at least five years now...
But it was no longer the time to remind herself of all the reasons why there could be no future for her and Hank, no Beauty and the Beast happy ending, although she found his fur quite sexy, wondering what it would feel like rubbing against her body...
They had been captured, quietly swarmed and taken away by the armored minions of an unknown person, and they had awoken here, in what seemed to be a maze. They had gotten separated, and she could only hope that Rogue was alright, that Storm and Bishop had been able to watch each other's backs. To hope that they hadn't heard anything because their teammates didn't want to give away their location, not because they were no longer able to contact them.
There were sounds from the right, sounds as if walls were being hit very hard, and the peculiar noise of optic blasts, the sort once generated solely by Cyclops, now used by Rogue as well... They hurried, hoping that it would merely be Rogue cleaning up a few overly anxious guards, fearing that it would be something else.
They burst through the wall, and there was Rogue, fighting against a large muscular man, a man ranting about how mutants were genetic aberrations, how they were a taint to the face of the earth. He was winning, and Rogue looked pale, and her expression bespoke of nearly hidden pain. They joined the fight, but after her initial telekinetic bolt towards the large man, she was attacked by two figures, nearly matching in appearance, one male, the other, slightly smaller and female.
Rogue had fallen, and she was simply remaining there, still and motionless. Betsy didn't know how bad Rogue was injured, but she was still telepath enough that she would have sensed it if her teammate had died. Not that she could do much more than that these days... and then she spotted Hank.
He was on the floor in front of their foe, and it was clear that one of his legs had been broken, the limb bent in the middle of the shin. One of his arms was pulled protectively near his body, and his breathing was coming in labored gasps. Blood was flowing from numerous small cuts, staining his soft fur and making it form sticky clumps. Their foe, who she'd gathered was named Vargas stood over him, his sword upraised in the air, a familiar look of blood lust and triumph on his face.
She couldn't watch him kill Hank.
She focused her will, shaping her own blade from the energies of her mind, a weapon of honed will and psionic energy. She leapt at him, drawing on all the training that she'd ever learned for sword work, and flung herself into the fight. She wanted him to pay for hurting Hank, for breaking his bones, for staining that lovely fur with blood... Even as an assassin, she had never wanted someone to suffer this badly.
She could feel something stirring in the deep corner of her mind where the Shadow King was imprisoned, something composed of impatience and concern and something that felt almost like eagerness. He did not like this... had never been a believer in self sacrifice. He was stirring.. that could only be trouble. If she had to divert any of her attention from this fight to keep him imprisoned, she would bleed for it, maybe even die.
The sword of her foe sliced her arm, and the pain seared through her, far more than it should be... had he coated the blade with something to intensify the pain? Was this some ploy of the Shadow King? Was he sitting there, hoping that if she suffered enough pain, he could escape and possess someone again, once more walk the earth? She pulled the chains that bound that villain tighter, hoping that her moment of distraction would pass unnoticed.
His sword tore into her stomach, the flesh tearing in what felt like excruciatingly slow motion, the pain radiating forth like a fiery explosion, followed by the slightly slower gushing of her blood, flowing in such quantities that she knew that it had been a killing blow. She would die here, possibly while watching him kill her teammates... She had been unable to save them, unable to save the one that had crept into her heart.
His voice echoed, as if coming from far away, and she felt his fingers close around her arm, lifting her upwards. "You are the first, you will not be the last."
She felt herself released, dropped the short distance to land on Hank, feeling his fur against her arm, smelling his soft musk and cloves scent mingled with blood. She felt him put his good arm around her, could feel his concern for her, his fear that she was dying. Things were starting to fade, but she focused her attention on him, wanting her last sight to be his face... reaching out with her mind.
There wasn't even the hope of a future for them now, not with her dying in his arms, but she couldn't go without him knowing how she felt, knowing that she loved him, that she had given her life to save him. She touched his mind, letting him see now what she had been hiding for so long, how he affected her, made her crave his nearness, how she loved the smell of him, the texture of his fur...
She felt what he had been trying to hide, for so long. How he'd thought that she was beautiful, how he'd admired her confidence and grace, how he'd envied Warren for having her at his side when he was too hesitant to offer more than his wishes for a pleasant evening.. how he loved the sight of her hair fluttering in the breeze, swinging as she practiced her skills. How he would have given almost anything for her to love him as she had loved Warren.
Now, when it was too late, their feelings were revealed to each other. And all that could happen was him holding her while she died.