- the memories lurk, itch at the back of your head. you don't want to acknowledge them not yet. you're showing rami how to make snow instead of ice cream, you're trying to enjoy this time with yourself, with someone else and not have to think about it, acknowledge it.
that's the thing about death though: it's always lurking around every corner, it's always waiting for you to look it in the eye even if you don't want to.
you joke, you laugh about it but you don't want to die again.
you're so tired of dying. you're so tired of looking it in the eye.
so you don't. you ignore it.
it's too bad that it follows you into dreams.
- alex alex alex alex please please tell them. tell them i was real, i was a real girl. i'm real, i'm real, i'm real i'm real--
- the bullet fires. you're on the ground in new york, begging them not to hurt you or your baby. you're inhaling smoke and ash and fire. you've crashed before, you've survived before. felt the flames lick you, felt yourself climb out of them before. you can do it now, with nathan crying, the oxygen mask on his mouth instead of yours.
you wheeze, you breathe it in.
you look up at him, at the man with a leer as you beg and he fires the bullet.
the image shifts. you're standing now, understanding that whatever is wrong with alex, you didn't do it. you didn't delve that far, and that thing inside of you that shouldn't care, does. it's not exactly your heart, but you do care for him. it doesn't matter what they think; you loved alex before the demons reached inside of you, and that part of you knows that this isn't right.
and the bullet fires.
the bullet fires and it's john greycrow again. he's standing over you, firing, and the skin splits and the blood flows out hot, and you hear alex scream.
- it's a bad replay all over again. layers of the sound of the bullet firing. of you screaming. it plays all over again, with only some details changed here and there. in one version, you are absolutely innocent. the bullet shatters you and you don't remember anything except that a part of you fled, but you don't know where.
in another version, you are madelyne pryor, corrupted. you gave birth. you fled. you died. you came back. you died. always dying at someone else's hand, always angry and hurt, and you're staring up at his face again, but this time you don't have time to beg him not to fire and maybe you earned it this time, to be shot so viciously.
maybe this time you deserve it as your body falls, as you can feel your life ebb away. maybe this time and all the other times you--
- no. no you don't. you don't deserve this. you don't deserve to look up at alex, who had to cut open a hole for a mouth. you don't deserve once again to be told that you aren't a real person. you don't deserve to die, to only achieve personhood in violence, in anger and death. you fix alex's face, and you beg him. you beg him let them remember you as a real girl. a real person. not just the demonic cunt always rising from the dead to make lives hell for heroes, not the bitch who would never let her husband go, not the incubator for a soldier.
you were madelyne jennifer pryor. you had a life before this. you were a pilot, who loved flying in the air, who had the courage to do aerial transport in alaska. you liked flying solo -- being able to do it on your own, to be independent.
you are more, you are so much more and here you are again, dying all over again.
- you wake up, tears sliding down your face hotly. there's nothing to do anymore except to scream.
you want it to stop. you want the memories to stop flowing into nightmares. you can't though. you can't stop hearing alex scream, you can't stop hearing yourself beg to live, to be real. you want it to end, you want it all to stop, and researching it is worse. even if you didn't have your memories to look at you understand what's happened.
you aren't considered real. you're just a clone to them, a nothing being from a nowhere place. you know that they ruled against you, that you're never going to wake up in krakoa. you're never going to be given a clean slate like the rest of them, to live out your life the way you wanted.
and for what?
at their backs is sinister. you weren't sent to the lab on accident. you didn't see him raise the gun in front of you like that without reason. you knew as soon as you saw him, who sent him. when your fingers were deep in his mouth, preparing to rip out his tongue for ignoring you like all the others, you knew he had been sent to sinister less of a way to subdue you and more of a way to let you know who was really in charge.
- it burns. it burns inside of you how sinister could be there on that island enjoying paradise. that every other mutant who'd committed so many sins in comparison to yours was allowed to live, to have something more, to be given the benefit of the doubt. they all had the invitations sent to them and here you were, in the cold, shivering.
you could have told the demons to leave, you could have left your powers as is.
but the silence had grown. the silence had stretched and you knew you knew you knew you--
- what was more insane: to believe that they would ever see you as a person, or to believe that you could achieve anything without violence?