humiliation is what she feels by the time she staggers into molly's apartment. it's such a different from the surge of pride she'd felt before. the assurance that she, madelyne pryor, wasn't some clone, wasn't a clump of cells that had reached sentience, wasn't someone who had been created solely to birth a child. she had feltreal in a way she hadn't felt for so long, she had felt with utter conviction that she was better than the original, who was the apex of mutation.

it's a bitter pill for her to swallow that her old, insecure feelings had come back, gnawing at her gut. even after putting up the fiercest fight she could, here she was at the end of it all, fingers gripping the sink, her body aching, and nothing but anger and confusion and shame awash in her.

it felt like being the old madelyne, the one who had never had a spark of power. who dreamt of scott pulling her features from her face, one by one, until he had his jean all over again. who always asked herself if the friends she'd made from the x-men were really her friends or people looking for jean's spark, jean's humor, jean's smile, jean's everything. it was all too familiar in it's pain, and madelyne can't stand it.

the mirror fogs up with steam from the faucet, her reflection tired, her eyes sunken in her face, bruises blooming everywhere she can see. for a resurrected woman, jean still knew her stuff -- and what she didn't, her friends did including emma frost of all people. madelyne grimaces as she brushes her neck with her fingers, knowing that she should give molly some warning. dealing with jean again, remembering her status as a clone reminded her that she should give some courtesy.


the more she looks at her reflection, the more she considers the act of leaving a note of defeat, the less appealing it is, the more shame and anger she feels. the more angry she feels remembering their remarks that she was just a knock off of jean, that she was a fly simply to be swatted.

it used to be so much easier to say the words to herself: i am not just jean grey's clone. i'm madelyne pryor, the one and only.

it's not anymore, faced with defeat and reality itself. her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth, and the feelings of anger and despair are too great to overcome.

it's better for madelyne to care for the body she has, doing her best to keep ice pressed against the swelling, cleaning wounds, and tug on the warmest pajamas molly has. she doesn't leave an email; only a note on molly's screen: i'm sorry for the bruises.

she sinks into molly's bed, and is grateful when the shift comes. next time, things might be different. no; they will be.

when the sun comes up, it's molly who comes to, and instead of shame and humiliation, she has confusion and aches. the last thing she can recall, as she attempts to sit up, head heavy, fingers stiff, is the car. madelyne staring at her, bargaining through the mirror.

"what the fuck," she can see the inflamed, darkened skin on her arms, and can feel how tight her throat feels. frantically, she runs out of her bed and to the mirror, her reflection frightened with the sight of her body. molly isn't prepared to see how extensive things are, the ugly red and blue wrapped around her throat, staining her arms and hands, even her abdomen.

her hands, shake and the last thing she counts on are her emotions tapping the power in her. power she didn't understand, power that she had no idea how to control. she doesn't expect for it to lash out all at once, the mirror cracking and splintering beneath the pressure.

molly doesn't bother to look for a note. she doesn't want to understand, not now. she's afraid of what it could say about the both of them.