Vagabond Vigilanties

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1000 Angry Bees

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The explosions still rang in her ears and Blythe was still shaken up. She had been living so peacefully with Irene for so long. . .and in less than an hour all of that had been yanked out from under her feet. Just like Irene.

It was around midnight, so hardly anyone caught a glimpse of the woman with black and white hair wearing torn clothes. Blythe didn't even bother to wipe off the small blood stains on her skin--what she really needed was a phone.

Obviously going back to the scene of the crim would be suicide. Blythe was barely able to escape and now she felt exhausted. All of the bullets that flew at her and the orders barked amongst the attackers would certainly make an appearance in her dreams later.

As she trudged into town, since she and Irene had lived about twenty minutes away, Blythe was tempted to just fly over to the nearest park and collapse on a bench. But there was no time for that. Whoever it was that took Irene, there was no telling what they could be doing to the woman. When they had tranquilized her Irene had gone stiff like a stone. But the scariest part was that Blythe was powerless to do anything about it. At that same moment she had been shot in the leg and that injury made her calf burn with each step. The dirty gash on her head and the small hole in her shoulder weren't very comforting, either.

Got to find help. Got to find help, she repeated in her head. Blythe peaked around an alley corner to see if anyone was walking by. Having looked as if she were just mugged by a gang of gorillas in the dead of night, Blythe wanted to avoid as much interaction as possible.

Eventually she spotted a pay phone. As unsanitary as those things were, it was Blythe's only hope right now. But how would she get change? Everything she and Irene had was now a pile of ashes at whatever remained of their home, and it wasn't like Blythe wore a nightgown with pockets in it. In fact, what she wore now was hardly her usual nightgown anymore will all of its tears and singed edges.

Blythe heard footsteps tapping on a sidewalk and in a panic she ducked behind the closest building. Were her pursuers still tracking her?

When a dog trotted by, Blythe sighed. She was just being paranoid again. Irene did always tell her to relax more unless she wanted the dyed white hairs on her head to become natural.

Blythe's pure black eyes trailed the dog as it settled down by a sleeping homeless man wrapped in a bundle of dirty blankets on the sidewalk. A rusty tin can sat beside him. When the stray dog knocked it over out of curiosity, a couple of coins clattered out.

It's the only way to get money, Blythe told herself. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

As much as she hated the idea of stealing money from a snoozing hobo, Blythe concentrated on the loose change anyways. Black aura flickered around the coins and--after watching out for witnesses--Blythe waved her hand towards her. The coins floated through the air and into her grasp. It was enough change for one phone call. Luckily, Blythe knew exactly what number to call.

When she dialed the number her hand holding the phone shook. What if he didn't pick up? It was now close to one in the morning, after all. And yet he was her only chance.

The agitation in her leg only grew worse as Blythe slumped against the pay phone. Her shoulder burned and she felt dizzy. After a few rings, she was relived when she heard a voice on the other end.

"Hey, Jeff. It's Blythe. . .Yeah, haven't heard from you or Alex in a while. But listen, I know this is at a weird time, but I need you to give me Alex's address right now. I just really need to see her right now. . .Thanks, Jeff."

Blythe listened closely to the coordinates and repeated them in her head. But just in case she forgot, she payed a visit to a closed corner store and borrowed a pen. The ink on her arm now held all of the info she needed.

On her way out she snatched up a map and a flashlight and leapt into the air. Dark energy clouded around her and, like a nighttime comet, Blythe shot herself into the sleeping sky. She wasn't flying as fast as she usually did, still losing a battle wi fatigue, but all she had to do was fly over a few states, locate one city, and then hunt down Alex. Piece of cake.

A cake that took three hours to bake, that is.

Blythe didn't find the right house until almost four or five in the morning. She really couldn't tell. All she knew at that moment was that she was too tired to wait at the door and knock. The small rumble that followed with her blasting the door down was nothing special and as soon as Blythe stepped in she sighed and collapsed.
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When Jeff got home from his trip to the store that night, it was with a spring in his step and a gleam in his eye. While the overall day had been nothing exciting and his trip to Wal'Mart had been rather unpleasant, the phone call he had received twenty minutes prior to driving up to the small off-white house of his was enough to make him grin like an idiot. His wife was going to be coming home after nearly a month of being away. Today was a good day.

The forty year old man dropped the groceries onto the kitchen island and rolled his metaphorical sleeves before going over to the sink to wash his hands. Despite the fact that it was around midnight and normal people his age would be getting ready to sleep, Jeff had pulled out the first cookbook he could find and flipped through the contents until he found something he knew for a fact his beloved would not have had access to while she was overseas.

By the time Jeff had everything chopped, seasoned, and in the large pot on the stove, it was nearing 1:30 in the morning. Oddly enough, he didn't feel at all tired, so the man decided to pull his phone out and check his emails; maybe they had received another message about a "to die for" offer that they just could not pass up. He was so focused on flicking through the mail and deleting spam that when the device in his hand suddenly began ringing he nearly dropped it.

After recovering from his initial surprise, Jeff answered after the fourth ring without checking who was calling. There was some static at first but Jeff called out a "hello" nonetheless. The man almost dropped the phone a second time when a familiar voice came through. "Hey Jeff. It's Blythe."

"Blythe?" As much as he tried to hold back his confusion and surprise, he couldn't. Of all people, he had not expected her. "Uh, hey, it's been awhile since I last heard from you. How are yo-"

"Yeah, haven't heard from you or Alex in a while. But listen, I know this is at a weird time, but I need you to give me Alex's address right now. I just really need to see her right now."

Under normal circumstances, Jeff would have thought Blythe was just being rude, but he knew better than that when he payed attention to the fact that the woman was talking a little too quickly to be considered calm. Something must have happened wherever she was and she needed help; that was the only logical reason as to why she would be calling so late and completely skipping out on formalities. "Um, yeah, it's 257, Northwest Lupa street, Bartlesville Oklahoma."

The man wanted to ask Blythe if she was all right, but the woman thanked him and hung up before he could. Well, it must not have been something so bad that she couldn't handle it at that moment then. Jeff did wonder if he should tell Aleksandra that Blythe was due to visit sometime soon but then figured he might as well let it be a surprise.


When Aleksandra opened the door to her home at almost two in the morning she was greeted with the most heavenly smell of her favorite soup cooking. Jeff was at it again, the stupid, charming idiot. He did know he could have slept, right? It wasn't like she had expected him to meet her at the door. Besides, in her state, why would he want to? The sponge bath the woman had given herself before the flight did almost nothing to remove all of the grime that had built up after over a month in the African jungle. She was covered in cuts, scrapes, bruises, and bug bites, and honestly, she just looked like utter crap.

So when a head of black hair dusted with silver popped out from the kitchen doorway and bright green eyes grinned at her, Alex felt just a bit embarrassed. She felt even more so when the owner of those fantastic features was running up to her and wrapping his arms around her waist in order to spin her around. Alex laughed softly when Jeff finally put her down and placed a soft but hungry kiss on her lips. "Welcome home," His whisper brushed against her ear and made Alex shudder and pull away.

"Honestly, you are such a sap!" Jeff laughed at her and shook his head before planting another quick kiss to the tip of her nose. "Yeah, a sap that made you borscht."

Aleksandra rolled her eyes but smiled nonetheless and followed her husband into the kitchen where he was scooping soup into a bowl for her. Three years married and she still didn't understand how or why he put up with her when she was grungy and disgusting. Seriously, how could anyone want to kiss someone who looked like they were jet-lagged and had just walked out of a war movie? Perhaps it was the fact that nearly twelve years of partnering with someone in the field made you immune to their grossness? Maybe.

Jeff set the food in front of her and brushed the blonde hairs that had fallen into her face behind her ear. "Thanks Salt'n'Pepper," Alex murmured before eating.

After that, the night dragged on and Alex took a shower -by herself, much to Jeff's displeasure- and threw on her comfiest pair of sweats along with one of her old band t-shirts. Then, she convinced a tired Jeff to cuddle on the couch with her while she watched the newest episodes of Once Upon A Time. She had just gotten to one of the scenes where Emma and Regina were arguing when the door to the house was suddenly blown inward and Jeff jerked awake in time to shout, "What?!"

Aleksandra didn't know what to think when a familiar figure stepped into their home and collapsed on the floor with a sigh. She did, however, hop off of the sofa with as much grace as an exhausted mercenary could and rush over to the woman with black and white hair on the floor. The first two thoughts that popped into the woman's head were "what's going on?" and "you broke my door", but all that came out of Alex's mouth was a bewildered: "Blythe?"
All Blythe wanted to do right now was just rest here, in what used to be the entrance to Aleksandra's house, but no, she had other priorities. She could catch a break later.

"Hey," she huffed out. Blythe rolled onto her back and looked up groggily at the only other people she could trust. "You guys still know how to take out bullets, right? You would not believe how hard it was to get here. I've had one hell of a night, believe it or not."

Blythe used her powers to pull herself up and hovered over to the couch where she plopped down. "Oh, and Alex, blonde really isn't your color."

Ten years of losing touch with Alex and the first thing Blythe noticed was the woman's new hair. How many times has she even dyed her hair? Blythe still wore her signature look--white ombre hair, shiny ebony eyes--and she couldn't help but to notice Jeff had grown older as well.

"I'll tell you guys more about what happened later," Blythe said quickly. Her hand clutched the wound in her shoulder and by now her leg had started to go numb. "I'm gonna need your help first. And maybe a change of clothes."
When Blythe managed to push herself up and then gracelessly collapsed onto her and Jeff's couch, Alex couldn't believe how horrible she looked. Her hair was matted, her clothes torn and singed, and blood was still seeping from a wound in her shoulder and calf, getting all over the black leather sofa.

Aleksandra had to admit, ten years did nothing to change the mutant, she was still blunt and uncarring of how most people saw her. "Oh, and Alex, blonde really isn't your color."

The woman smirked while rolling her eyes and crouched beside the bloody mutant in her living room. Jeff had already gone to the bathroom to grab their first aid supplies, so all Alex could really do at the moment was wait. "Well the Africans thought I looked like a goddess, so your opinion is invalid."

Blythe didn't comment on that and instead went on about how she would tell them what happened after they helped her and got her clothes. "Demanding as always," Alex commented as Jeff came back in and handed her the things she would need to remove the bullets. The blonde held up the bottle of alcohol and quirked an eyebrow at Blythe. "You know the drill. Hold still."

As the woman worked on cleaning around the wound in the shoulder, Jeff worked on Blythe's leg. "No bullet down here," He informed Alex as she grabbed the medical pliers and went to get the metal lodged inside Blythe's shoulder. "It's a clean shot. And the flesh doesn't look to be too agitated. Guess it's a clean wrap."

"Awesome," Aleksandra grunted as she finally got a grip on the bullet and pulled it out with a swit yank. "Hmmm..." The mercenary placed gauze over Blythe's bleeding wound as she studied the metal. "Looks like a 7.62x9mm... Berdan casing... I'm guessing ak-47. It's both military and cavilian and hard to trace because it's so common. Bastards."

As they finished getting Blythe bandaged, Alex couldn't help but think back to the last time they had seen each other. Ten years back, they had ran into each other almost by accident and because of that, the agency Alex had worked for found information regarding a shadow organization Alex had once been a part of. Everyone had thought they had disappeared, but as it turned out, they had just been laying low, and while doing so, had come up with a chemical that was somehow able to surpress the X gene and poison the mutant who was injected with it.Alex and Blythe had been forced to team up, and after nearly three months of working together, they had somehow managed to stop the facility and destroy the chemical that could have led to the extinction of mutants. After that, Blythe and Aleksandra had gone their seperate ways and had never spoken again.

Though that hadn't meant Alex never thought about Blythe, because honestly, she had, a lot. The mutant had been the best partner the woman had ever had since Jeff, and their time together had been cut so short. Blythe had so much potential, and she had just walked away from an opportunity to ever put any of it to good use. Alex had spent many nights up just thinking about it, wondering where Blythe had gone, how she was doing. She had wondered if the woman with ombre hair ever once regretted not taking Alex up on her partnering offer. She honestly wondered if Blythe had ever thought of her at all.

Now, with the mutant sitting on her couch while Jeff once again left the room to grab her some of Alex's spare clothes, the blonde saw that Blythe must have thought about her at least once in a while as well if the first place she thought to come when she was in trouble was here. "So," Alex crossed her legs on the floor and leane against the couch. "Care to explain what happened now?"
When Jeff and Alex got to work on her wounds, Blythe sucked in sharply at the stings in her wounds. She clenched her teeth as the bullet from her shoulder was pulled out and fought back the urge to go to sleep in front of her friend.

After she had been properly treated, Blythe leaned back on the couch--ignoring the small blood stains she had left on it--and sighed. "All sort of shit went down. And to be honest, I'm not sure if you can handle it with this nice suburban home of yours." She smirked at Alex. "And that hair color might be too distracting for me, since it's kinda hard to focus when all I see right now is a weirdo."

In all honesty, Blythe had missed Alex. Sure, living with Irene was nice, but talking to someone different never hurt once in a while, especially if that someone was Alex.

After what the two of them went through, the hard times that followed was what distracted Blythe from running back to Alex. This is the sort of thing she had wanted to stay away from, but now she knew that violence and danger is a daily part of life for someone like her.

"It's a long story," Blythe began, "and to put it in as few words as possible, I'd say that a very close friend of mine was attacked. Her name's Irene and we live together. And I don't know how they found her, but I have an idea of who it was. Maybe I can tell your more later. I'm pretty tired right now, if you haven't noticed."
Alex rolled her eyes at the friendly jab at her domestic looking life and natural hair color and couldn't help but marvel at how easily they had slipped back into their roles as fast friends. It was like when they had first met and instantly clicked as if they were long lost buddies from high school or something. It almost seemed like no time had passed since the last time they had seen each other, and even thought they had only known the other for a short amount of time, it was like they had been friends for years.

Aleksandra listened silently as Blythe briefly recalled what had happened that night and any sort of fatigue she had been feeling from before vanished altogether when the prospect of a new adventure rearing it's head. Even though she had just gotten home from something rather exciting, Alex couldn't help herself; she lived and breathed this stuff, and when someone threw in another person's life into the mix, she just couldn't resist. Of course she was also worried about whoever had been taken because she had a bit of a bleeding heart, but since she didn't know Irene personally it was easier to focus on the task only.

So when Blythe said she would finished the story later Alex felt the tiniest bit disappointed, but she also understood because once her mind stopped running rampant, she would be tired too. "Yeah, of course. The guest bedroom is this way." Alex offered Blythe a hand and led the woman down the hall and into an empty bedroom. "The bathroom is right across from you, and Jeff and I are at the very end of the hall." The older woman gave Blythe's good shoulder a small squeeze before walking out of the room. "Night, Blythe."
Blythe returned the gesture by patting Alex on the back. "Night, Alex. I would say that I'm sorry about the door, but it looks like I did you a favor. You should get some remodeling done around here."

She shut the door with a smile on her face. Good to know that there was no awkwardness between them. Nothing like Where have you been? or a few cases of Why haven't you called me?

The clock on the wall told Blythe exactly how late she had been up. It was practically morning for some people now. Also, why were Jeff and Alex awake when she had arrived anyways?

Blythe didn't bother thinking about Alex right now. She had done enough of that after they parted. And now that they were back together, all she could think about was Irene, and whether or not she was safe.

It wasn't as easy as she had thought it would be to fall asleep. Given how tired she was, Blythe should have dozed off in less that a minute, yet she stayed awake for another twenty minutes, occupied by nervous thoughts.

Eventually Blythe just crawled under the covers of the bed and shut her eyes. She could tell Alex about her worries in the morning.
Alex gave a light chuckle and closed the door to the guest bedroom. There were a thousand and one questions buzzing in her head at that moment, Where have you been? What have you been doing? Why did you never once call? But she didn't ask any of those things because if there was one thing she knew about Blythe, it was that she would share when she shared and you couldn't force the issue. Besides, they all needed sleep before discussing anymore of this. It was too late... or early, for chats like these.

She stepped back into the living room where Jeff was holding the door up to the doorway with a frown knitted into his brows. Alex laughed softly and came to stand behind her husband. "Keep it there, a sec, I'll fix it." The mutant closed her eyes and focused on the bolts that had been shattered and lay on the floor and pictured them sliding back together. A moment later she opened her eyes and found three long metal rods in her palm.

"I got the rest of it," She assured Jeff and when he let go of the door, she guided it up to meet it's hinges with one hand and used the other to ram the bolts back into their proper place, and just like that, nobody would ever have been able to tell Blythe had blown a hole in their house in the first place.

"Okay, I know I've seen you do it a million times, but it never fails to impress me." Alex snickered and locked the door before turning to plant a quick peck on Jeff's cheek. "I know. Now, let's go to bed."

Jeff let his wife lead him to their bedroom and as they got settled under the covers and he wrapped his arms around her waist, she let out a tired sigh. It had been a long day and not that things had finally calmed down, she was completely wiped out. "So, what are we gonna do about this?"

Jeff's whispered question made Alex hum and shift closer to him. "We'll deal with it in the morning."


He was beyond tired when he came to the house that had become his secondary home. Flicking through the key ring always kept in his pocket, Kaleb felt for the one he knew to belong to the lock on the front door. When he found it, he pushed the wooden barrier open and closed it as quietly as he could, startling when the small click of the lock sounded like a gunshot. The pain from the sound made Kaleb press a palm to his ear before going to grab at the thick bracelet on his right wrist.

That was the real reason he was there: His device wasn't working and he need Alex to fix it.

The man brought his hand up and walked until it was pressed flat against the hall wall. With that, he felt his way until he found the familiar grain of the guest bedroom. Even if he couldn't tell the exact time, Kaleb knew it was late; he hadn't come across anything but the sound of snoring and late night lovers for the past hour. Alex and Jeff were likely sleeping and he didn't want to wake them, so he would just try to sleep. Though given the fact that he couldn't find one single thing to focus on and was hearing everything, he didn't think sleep was going to come very easily.

When the Kaleb opened the door he immediately tensed when he heard breathing. He clicked his tongue softly and in the black of his vision he saw a small flash of gray, outlining a small figure on the bed he usual stayed in. Alex had company? That was unusual, since she had said nobody else stayed with her except him. Did the Russian know about this person, or were they there without her knowledge?
It wasn't long after falling asleep did Blythe have a dream. She remembered all of the stories Irene had told her about the Red Doves--they experimented on humans and if you weren't of use, they left you to die. But why would they want Irene back after all these years?

Blythe tossed and turned in her head as images flooded her mind. Scenes of Irene putting up a fight was nothing unusual, back in the old days she had always been a tough opponent, but then the setting changed and Irene was unconscious. Her body floated endlessly in a large cylinder of water and a breathing mask was strapped to her face. Surrounding her were other people chatting and tinkering with needles. A screen besides the tank that held Irene's sleeping body displayed her vitals. Blythe clenched around her bed sheets.

As the dream continued, Blythe found her thoughts under more and more pressure.

Is this really just a dream? What are they doing with Irene? Will she be okay?

Blythe tensed in her bed. Her breathes became heavier. She felt claustrophobic inside her own head. Worst case scenarios infected her happy memories of Irene and twisted them into scenes of blood and tears.

Her eyes popped open. Blythe hear someone. Had she been followed?

After what happened to Irene, Blythe wasn't going to take any chances.

It was still dark when she rolled out of bed with crackling eyes. She thrust her palm in the direction of the figure and her black energy held it captive. The pain Blythe felt radiating in her shoulder made her waver, but within a second she tossed up the intruder with her good arm.

"Alex, wake up!" she called. Blythe backed away towards a lamp and flicked it on to gaze at the ceiling where she had pinned whoever it was that had snuck into her room. "There's more company."
The thud that errupted when the figure fell out of bed made Kaleb hiss in pain and his hands flew up to cover his ears in an attempt to block out at least a little of the noise. The man watched as the silhouette thrust it's arms forward and he brought his hands down from his ears just as something was slamming into him and hauling him up against the ceiling.

He heard the perso calling out for Alex and found it was a woman. But what interested him more was how the substance holding him up felt. It was almost electric in a way, it pulsed and emitted a faint hum which he was certain only he could hear. It was almost alive as if an extension of the one who controlled it.

The soft padding of footsteps brought the man from his musings and he heard the cocking of a gun that he assumed was Alex. "What's going on, Bly- Oh, Kaleb!" the surprise in her tone made Kaleb smile a little. Maybe it would have been wise to have callen and given a heads up after all.

"Blythe, you can put him down. That's Kaleb, he's a friend of mine." Alex was assuring thw woman, Blythe, and Kaleb waited patiently to be released by her power.
Blythe looked from the man--Kaleb, apparently--to Alex. She knew this guy? He could have at least knocked, or Alex could have told him there was company over.

Her grip on Kaleb slackened and Blythe's arm dropped by her side. Gravity yanked Kaleb down from the ceiling and onto the floor. Blythe sat back on the bed and rubbed her bad shoulder. "Guess I should apologize, but I'm still jumpy."

She looked at the clock and saw that it was still early in the morning. Either she could go back to sleep and pretend she never flung Alex's friend up like a rag doll, or she could go try to recover from her dream. Blythe chose the second option.

"Excuse me."

She passed by Alex while walking out of the room.
When Blythe released Kaleb, Alex sighed as he grunted upon landing on the hardwood floor. The woman went to say something to Blythe but the mutant brushed past her with a quiet "Excuse me," Leave Alex and Kaleb alone.

"So, is that your old friend?" Kaleb asked and Alex shrugged as she helped him stand. "I guess so, yeah. But more importantly, why are you here?"

The mercenary missed the way the man winced when she spoke, so when he held up the wrist holding the bracelet that surpressed his powers and murmured, "It shorted out again," she felt extremely bad.

"Oh, dammit, sorry, Kaleb. Let me fix it," When she spoke that time, Alex made sure it was barely above a whisper and she undid the tight clasp of the device in order to slip it off the Indian's wrist. "So, how have you been?"

"Same as always," Kaleb replied with a small shrug. "You?"

"Just got back from Africa," Alex offered as she grabbed several different tools from around the bedroom. She always made sure to keep everything on hand so when things like this happened it was easily fixed. "It was fun over there, I guess, if you don't count the assholes that tried to blow my face off."

Kaleb replied to that with a hum and Alex sighed to herself when she finally located the screwdriver and began to open the cuff. The blonde honestly felt really sorry whenever it malfunctioned, because Kaleb already had to deal with the harsh life that came with being a mutant and being blind, and adding the stress of not being able to control one of his powers was terrible. Alex had thought about contacting Stark many a times to see if he could whip up something for her to give her Native American friend, but every time she remembered that she wasn't an Avenger, nor a SHIELD agent, not even an X-Man. She wasn't with them anymore, so why would they talk to her?

So Alex had found somebody smart in a small port in Asia who knew how to make things to surpress mutant abilities, and she had requested something for Kaleb to make his super sonic hearing a little less... super. And it worked amazingly well, but it had lots of shortages that she always had to fix. Like right now, as she was sorting through some of the software she found a wire had been jostled loose. "Did someone try to pick a fight with you again?" The question came out a little frustrated as she pieced the two small strands of copper back together. Alex hated it when people tried to pick on people just because they seemed lower on the totem pole, and she hated it even more when they tried to mess with her friends.

"Yes, why? I it damaged?"

"Not really. Are you hurt anywhere?" Alex finished putting the device back into working order and was screwing the back on when Kaleb replied. "I'm not. A policeman stopped them from doing anything fairly quickly."

Alex snorted and stiffled the desire to make a comment about how for once the police were actually doing their jobs. "I'm glad. Here, give me your arm."

Kaleb did as instructed and Alex clamped the device around his wrist once more, earning a relieved sigh from the man. "Thank you, Alex."

"Yeah, no problem." Now that he was taken care of, Alex looked at the door where Blythe had disappeared. She really needed to check on her and made sure she was okay. The woman had seemed really shaken when she'd first come into the house, so it would make sense if she still wasn't feeling well.

"Hey, Kaleb, I've gotta-"

"Go ahead."

She gave the Indian a quick smile that he couldn't see before ducking out of the room and going after her other friend. She found Blythe in the living room and she tried to be as silent as possible as she sat beside the ombre haired woman. "Do you want to talk?"
After leaving the guest room, Blythe had gone down to the kitchen to quench her thirst. She drank some water from the tap and brought her cup with her to a father part of the house: the living room. Ever since she was a child she had preferred to isolate herself in a room without a word.

As she grew up, Blythe found out just how effective it was when trying to organize thoughts. It was why she never tried to find someone to settle down with or to move in with, even though her father had used to send her frequent messages about it. During that time, Blythe had started to grow a little frustrated with him for not understanding that someone like her with freaky eyes couldn't find a partner so easily. Then again, her dad had been having some troubles herself. Blythe had grown up to be so similar to her mother. Sometimes she wondered what her mother would think if she saw her now.

Blythe was sitting in the corner of her room with her legs drawn close and with her cup of water cradled in her hands. She busied her mind with concentrating on the water, using her psionics to make it slither through the air. It was just one of the many tricks she had eventually picked up while living with Irene. There was so much that Alex didn't know about her, and there was so much that Blythe didn't know about her friend, either.

"Do you want to talk?"

Blythe looked up at Alex sitting next to her. She sighed and let the water flow calmly back into her cup before taking a sip of it. "One way or another I'm gonna have to."

To really make sure that Alex would understand how dire this situation was, Blythe knew that she would have to tell her friend about Irene.

She had never told anyone about Irene. The two had met and had become enemies in their late teenage years. Sure, the media would often cover their battles, and many scrutinizing readers would comment on the amount of damage they caused to public and government property, but then Irene had just disappeared without a trace. After that, Blythe eventually disappeared as well.

"Irene and I go back. And I mean way back," she began. "She was in my life before you were, and that was back when I was still living with my dad after my mom was killed by a robber at the bank she worked at. Irene and I didn't exactly get along."
As Blythe spoke, Alex titled her head and her brows drew progressively closer until a deep frown was on her face. It did surprise her that this, Irene, was someone Blythe had known for so long, because Blythe had never said a word to her about it in the past. The files she had been given by the director when they had first gone on a mission together had told Alex nothing of Blythe's past, other than that she had destroyed a city once, but even the motives behind that had been a mystery.

So given that she hadn't known about Irene, the knowledge that Blythe's mother had been murdered was also new to the blonde. Well, it would seem Blythe was a bit more secretive than she had let on. During their few months together, Alex had been sure she'd worked out most of what was up with the woman. Apparently she had been wrong. And yet even so, she felt like she knew Blythe a lot more than anyone else... barring this Irene, anyway. Maybe it was because Blythe had admitted to never having any real friends all those years ago and Alex had felt an instant spark there.

"...Irene and I didn't exactly get along."

When Blythe stopped there, Alex gave her arm a nudge, trying to coax more out of her. "That so? Why not?"
Blythe let out a small chuckle and focused all of her attention on her water. She levitated it up into the air again to help distract her mind from digging too deep into the archives of her past.

"Things were just different back then. She was just starting out with a new life, and I had just started to become more independent after I helped my dad get back on his feet."

A few years ago Blythe had thought about maybe going to college, or at least do something with her education after dropping out of high school. Any plans she could have made wouldn't have been carried out anyways because that was when news of a rampant arsonist blazed its way across every channel and newspaper. Blythe remembered first hearing about Irene, or "Blaze," as the news reports called her.

"Neither of us really had that much control of our powers back then. You see, we barely knew each other at the time, and our first impressions of each other ended with a lot more burns and destruction that I wanted it to have."

Blythe was about to explain to Alex about how Irene came to be so powerful, but that would mean leaking her friend's past to someone else without consent.

"Irene came from somewhere else," she stated. "And where she was raised, it was a lot different. She had fire powers and was super strong with them, and I had my own powers that scared myself sometimes. But to put it in simpler terms, Irene was bad and I was good. We had a couple of battles and reporters dubbed me with their own little nickname for me after I put some little hexes on Irene, if you know what I mean."
Alex watched Blythe swirl and levitate the water while she spoke and wondered when the woman had picked up the habit. It was interesting and pretty entertaining. She was quiet while she listened to Blythe speak, and evil though the ombre haired mutant didn't say all that much, Alex was able to understand what she was saying.

"So you were a hero and she was a villain, basically?" The very thought was both amusing and very fascinating to Alex. When she had met Blythe, the woman had seemed to hate her abilities and was even afraid of them. If she had been the good guy and fought Irene with her powers, why had she been so afraid? Obviously something had happened during that time that Blythe wasn't talking about, but Alex knew better than to push the issue. With people like Blythe, you had to let them come to you. Even if the woman was much older than she had been when they first talked, Alex could tell not much of her personality had changed. Yeah, she was more confident with the use of her powers, but she was still quiet in her own way. It was like, when she talked, sometimes she didn't even seem to be really talking. Now was one of those times when that wasn't the case though, and Alex wasn't going to let it go to waste.

"I'm guessing somewhere along the line, you and Irene stopped fighting and went your separate ways?"
Blythe dropped her head and the water trickled back into the cup. "Yeah, somethinlike that."

The final battle between her and Irene--or "Hex and Blaze," as the media put it--was not something Blythe liked to remember. Sure, she had seemed to come out victorious when Irene vanished after their fight, but then came the aftermath.

"Irene and I did a lot of damage to public property, private property, government-owned property--basically everything. Not too many people were happy about that. And after such a big battle there were some people injured really badly."

Half of the town she had lived in ended up in charred heap of rubble. Neither she nor Irene had meant to cause such destruction; they were just using their surroundings to their advantage. When caught in a life-or-death situation, resourcefulness could mean the difference between curling up in bed at the end of the day or sleeping six feet under the stars.

"When Irene disappeared. . . I did the same," Blythe said wistfully. "I don't really know what she did with me out of her life, but I basically left my dad and took any money I had to go live on my own. I didn't even tell my dad where I was going and I haven't spoken to him since."

For all Blythe knew, her dad could have moved to another state or even have a new wife. Aside from breaking down into a grumpy drunk after the death of her mother, Blythe thought that her dad could be a pretty decent guy.

"Time passed, I did whatever I could to live without people knowing about my eyes or abilities, and eventually Irene just became a ting of the past. And then you showed up."
The information Blythe gave was both surprising and expected. Alex had figured something bad had happened and she and Irene split up. Check on that. But she hadn't expected something so... well big, dramatic, and almost comic book worthy. If she herself had not lived a crazy life like that, Alex would have thought Blythe was pulling her leg. But she was a 198 year old mutant who looked thirty and was married to a human, so she knew Blythe was being one hundred percent serious.

Blythe seemed to be leaving a lot out of her story, but the gaps weren't so big that they left Alex in a state of confusion. Just curiosity. But it was late, so she wasn't about to try and decipher what exactly those missing things were. She was content at the moment to just let Blythe speak. Aleksandra was learning more about her friend's past in fifteen minutes than she had in three months after all.

"So... that's one hell of a story." The mutant swiped her hair out of her face and sighed, "So, I take it somehow you and Irene met up again after our whole "Project X Genocide" thing?"
"Yeah," Blythe said quietly. "We did."

Now that Blythe knew how well Alex had been living, with a nice roof over her head and a nice guy to share it with, she felt embarassed. Getting back on her feet and out in the real world wasn't as easy for her as it apparently was for Alex. For one thing, Bylthe didn't have anyone to help her.

Before her mission with Alex, Blythe's shabby apartment had been destroyed and everyone was supposed to have thought she disappeared. And she did.

Blythe had to make a new identity for herself, and to help with that she had cut her hair short and dyed it brown. The excuse of having a severe eye condition helped to explain why she would always wear sunglasses, but luck could only carry her for a little while.

"Irene and I met again on accident. We had barely recognized each other."

Having no resources to develope a complex fake identity, Blythe had found it difficult to find a job. She couldn't risk having someone do a background search on one of her imaginary names just to find nothing. It was because of this that eventually Blythe found herself as a sort of vagabond.

Homeless shelters were always packed around the holidays, especially Christmas. The brisk snow practically drove everybody inside until buildings overflowed. It's what kept Blythe out on the streets most of the time, but it was also what helped her cross paths with Irene again.

Her whole life Blythe had never really wanted to accept help from a lot of people. She brushed off the condolences from people she hardly knew when her mother died and passed down any guy she randomly met on the streets that offered her a drink. So when Blythe had been camping out one morning and a stranger suddenly held out some money to her, she had every right to strike up a conversation and explain how she didn't need that money because she was fine on her own.

"When I met Irene again, she was. . . different. She didn't try to roast me on sight, for one thing."

Blythe remembered the scrutinizing look Irene wore while offering the money. During this time, the dark brown dye in Blythe's hair had faded and her locks hung to her shoulders. She looked nothing like her teenage self that had parted ways with the almighty Blaze years ago.

"Irene and I had started talking. It started out as just us catching up and then it turned into her inviting me over for dinner."

As it turned out, after disappearing Irene seemed to have gotten her life together better than Blythe had. Over the years Irene had managed to meet a wealthy business man, settle down with him, and he even helped her make a new name for herself. All of it had seemed like a dream until they got divorced, but it wasn't because they grew apart.

No, Irene explained, it wasn't his fault. It was just that she needed a little time off. A break from him. They still kept in touch and he would send her checks in the mail and there was no awkwardness to it. Basically the biggest changes were living apart.

"Eventually," Blythe said, "I wound up just staying with Irene."

More like I had no choice, she thought. It was either moving in with a enemy-turned friend or trying not to freeze to death on a park bench.
The information Blythe gave after her question had been choppy and halting at best, as if she was saying the story in her head and just barely remembering to speak so Alex could have a small window into her past. It wasn't much, and Alex was a bit frustrated by it, but she was pining a lot of that on her jet lag and lack of sleep. Besides, Blythe didn't owe her anything, so if she didn't saw too much on her past with Irene, she didn't have to. That didn't mean Alex was going to stop being curious though.

"Well, you really get around, Bly," The nickname rolled of the mercenary's tongue easily, as if just yesterday she had been using it, and once again Alex was shocked by how simple it was to slip back into their friendly roles. "So, someone took Irene? All you said earlier you didn't know how "they" found her. Who are "they"?"

Alex was really hoping it wasn't a rival organization they were dealing with, or even worse, a company she had previously been employed by. She was getting really tired of the "mutant prosecution" shit that, even after fifty years, had not gone away. It was like racism: People liked to pretend it didn't exist anymore, but it was still an issue a lot of the time, even if it was more subtle than years back.
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