I felt sick. That deep, dark, pit of your stomach sick that seems to permeate through your body and suck away every ounce of energy in your body. I could barely move, much less get up and do the super stuff that I’m used to doing—you know, being the Elem, master of elemental forces? The mutant who simply fights because he’s lost meaning in everything else, so battle is his only way to sort through his muddled and distant past?
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Sorry, I think I might be getting confused with Wolverine. Great guy. Very different when you meet him in person. He’s really cool once you actually get to know him. I did, during my stint with the X-Men.
Excuse me— I seem to be rambling. I do that sometimes, when I’m not prepared to do something, or it was all of a sudden—you know, those sorts of things.
I was sick. No two ways about it. “Louis, babe, you’ve got the flu. You’re not gonna be doing anything until it clears up.”
Wonderful. Fucking wonderful. But, I thought, that’s just the way these things go. I could try to do something about it. “Could you contact Dr. McTaggert? She might have something that I could take.”
And—as usual, when I say something stupid—she got mad at me. “Louis! She’s not going to rush over here because you have the flu. Just lie down, close your eyes, and take the medicine Will said you should take.”
“Yeah, our resident med student who went to school for a semester. He got too stressed out and his powers manifested in a power failure in the dorms! Shelly, do you really want to trust him on that?” Will was annoying. All he would talk about was how many chicks he’d bagged at college. You’d think a boy who trained with the most powerful mutant in Asia would be better mannered, right?
“You and I both know it’s bullshit to take medical advice from Will. And don’t you have any common sense? You’re a woman. You should know what to do.” Well, I did a great job of sticking my foot in my mouth there.
“Take the damn pills and go to sleep.” Shelly left in a rage.
“Goddammit. Shelly, I’m sorry.” It didn’t matter now. I was in the doghouse. No real way to get out but apologize for what I did.
Mark walked in, black hair waving in the AC. “Said something stupid again, did you?”
“How’d you guess? This seems to be happening a lot more lately. I just don’t get it.”
Mark sat down next to me. “The reason is simple. She’s not used to this yet. Not used to losing her humanity.”
“Huh…that so. Guess that makes sense. She’s still in shock from being freed.”
“In her eyes, she’s been taken prisoner.”
I got angry at that. “Prisoner? What the hell do you mean, prisoner?”
“You don’t let her leave the apartment, screen all her calls, you even told the press that she was dead. Louis, I do believe you went too far in dealing with covering everything up.”
“You sure? She seems okay. She’s dealing with it, right?” I sat up, grabbing the glass of water on the nightstand.
“Louis, I don’t think you and I are seeing the same Shelly Linda Alexander.” Mark paused, his wings spreading—he always did that when he slipped into deep thought. “Let me attack it from a different angle—how does Shelly kiss you when she’s happy?”
I was initially taken aback by the question. “Are you fucking her? If you are I swear I’ll kill you.” Then I assumed he thought I was a dimwit who couldn’t read people very well.
That made me even angrier. “Attack it from a different angle before I hit you in the mouth.”
“Well, how about this: how does Shelly act when she’s happy? Do you notice?”
“Yeah. She goes out of her way to kiss me and grab my crotch.”
“That’s really more than I needed to know, but at least I’ve got a jumping off point. How is she acting now?”
“Well, she doesn’t cuddle with me now, she’s much more concerned with her weight, and she won’t do it doggy style—afraid of how she looks. That’s on top of the fact that she only talks to me if I talk to her.”
Mark looked grossed out. “Are you this open about sex with everyone you meet?”
“Usually. But where is all this going?”
“Put two and two together. You described how she acts when she’s in a bad mood when you described how she’s acting now. Did you notice?”
“………?.....ummm…..?........” My mind groped for a connection. “……..?........ummmmm……?”
“Louis!! She’s in a bad mood right now! Use that giant strategic brain of yours! Think through it!”
Then a gear fell into place, allowing the others to spin in mechanical harmony. “Ah! Yes! Now it all makes sense—“
“Yes, Louis! You’re an idiot! You used to actually pay attention to me!” She came in and threw a blast of sound at me, breaking the headboard. “Now all you care about is saving the world!” She walked out of the room.
“Wait! Shelly! I didn’t mean to be an ass! It’s just been weird lately! I’m—“
A door slam shut, cutting me short. “Hey petite boy! Your foxy plus size just took a trip out!” Will called to me, breaking him away from watching his porn.
“Dammit! I’m SUCH an ass! Mark, make sure Will doesn’t get splooge on anything.” I got out of bed, slapped on some clothes, grabbed a hat to cover my pale white hair, and took off right behind Shelly.
Instantly I remembered the difficulty of functioning while ill—my legs shook, my body felt weak, I started hallucinating—
Wait. I just saw Toad bounce down the stairs to my left as I made my way to the elevator.
Lightning, I thought. I needed lightning. Toad hates it.
The thought caused my body to crack and sizzle with electricity. Time was of the essence. Shelly was the target of this escapade, whatever it was.
Bolting down the stairs, Toad caught a glimpse of me. “Filthy white haired prat! Go on! I ain’t got time for you now! I got your cow of a girl to deal with.”
A bolt of lightning flew from my hands, connecting with Toad’s chest. He hit the wall, conscious but too weak to stand now.
“No one insults my girl, you pile of shit.” I punched him in the face, and then proceeded to vomit on it.
Felt better AND worse now. Wonderful.
Luckily, Mark appeared and grabbed Toad and made sure he was the only one.
“I’m just a scout! I wasn’t here to rough up any of you gits,” he cried, then added “least of all you!” as he pointed at me.
The stairs were awfully long this morning. But since I was already in them, why not? “Listen, Mark, I’ll be trying to speak to Shelly.”
“That’s fine. Just remember to be gentle.” Mark took Toad and walked out of the stairwell, probably taking him to a rendezvous point.
Down on the street, Shelly was enjoying a cigarette, being moody, and completely ignoring me.
Take it slow. Be gentle. Don’t come on too strong. Just like making love by candlelight.
“What’s up?” Seemed like the best ice breaker.
“What’s up? What’s up? You want to know WHAT’S UP?” Her voice was ringing with feedback, like holding a mic in front of a speaker.
“Well yeah. Something’s been bothering you lately, and I want to help.”
She laughed coldly. “Who put you up to this? Mark? He’s the only one who seems to care about me.” Her gaze turned to me and locked for a few seconds, and turned away. “My own boyfriend doesn’t seem to notice that his lover is having a nervous breakdown.”
“Listen, it’s just been so hectic lately. For starters, I’ve had to constantly throw off investigators as to where you are. No one believes for a second that you’re dead, and that’s a problem.”
“So you’re using that as an excuse to keep me locked up in that apartment with you and that annoying skirtchaser? You really know how difficult it is living with you two?”
“There’s more to everything than that. I’ve had a damn lot to deal with, and I regret a lot of what I did in New York. I’m trying to find a way to get you to forgive me.”
“How many times did I tell you, Louis? I don’t care what you did there. You did what you did because you forgot what it felt like to be loved. I’m okay with that.”
“You only say that so you can get away with fucking Pulsar.” That seemed to do it as far as pissing off Shelly was concerned.
“You self centered, egoist, dimwitted prick! Do you really think I say that because of that one night? Honestly?
“No, I mean, Shelly… it’s just that…I’m trying to move on, get past what happened back in New York.”
“Why would you want to do that?” She asked me accusingly.
I had to put on my most sincere face to say these next few words. “Because you came back into my life.”
Some of her anger seemed to ebb from her face, but my work wasn’t over yet. “I’m just trying to busy myself with work to get my mind off of how I’m gonna adapt to living with you, that’s all. I’ve been stressed out beyond measure.”
“You’ve just been trying to get on with life as usual?” She asked, puzzled.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It’s just awkward to admit to something like that. I mean, you woulda thought I was being immature and stupid, and gotten even madder.”
“Oh, babe, no I wouldn’t, it’s just that even when we’ve been dating as long as we have, it’s different when you live together. I was waiting for you to say something about the situation.”
“Well, then.” I plucked the cigarette from her mouth and stepped on it. “You don’t want cancer, do you?” I then proceeded to try to give her a hug.
She backed away, of all things. “Uh uh. I don’t want to get sick, and you don’t want me to get sick.”
I shrugged. “Okay. I’m sorry for being so distant lately.”
“I’m sorry for—“
A low, loud hum began to fill the air. “Lou! Sentinels! It seems like they’ve pin pointed us again! What are we gonna do?” Mark called from a few floors up.
“Wait till they
land is the first order of business. Bring Will out here!” He disappeared back into the building, taking the stairs down. “Need to minimize collateral damage—we don’t have the funds to pay for it. Percussia”—I looked over at Shelly—“Make sure that no people get hurt.”
“Why am I doing that?! And weren’t you sick earlier?”
“Two words, sweetie: woman’s touch.” I ran to join Mark and Will.
Before I could move, she took my arm and pulled me close. “I love you.” Her lips pressed to mine and she kissed me deeply.
“I love you too.” Sentinels began to land in the street. “Off to work we go, love.”
I think sigs are dumb.