From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Number One


"/She/ did this to me." (Set within Prometheus custody.)


Blackburn Research Facility - Maine

It's quiet in here, too. The cell is small and sparse, not enough blankets in it for proper comfort. With no windows and only a sickly ceiling light for illumination, it's hard to tell much about the time, right now. Flicker has been pacing, restless and a little clumsy in his erratically weaving loop. The sea green scrubs he's in and the wan lighting don't really help his current pallor. At intervals he stops -- listens intently to the sounds of footsteps or voices in the hall outside -- starts again when they've faded away.(edited)

Jamie has been curled up on a cot beneath a heap of blankets, but at length he stirs and wakes, eyes bleary but wide, breathing fast. He swallows, pulling the blanket around his skinny shoulders, and tries to track Flicker, though his gaze is sluggish still. "Sorry, I shouldn't have...did I sleep for very long?"

"I don't know." Flicker hesitates, his fingers tracing against the wall. He pulls the blanket off of his bed, circles back around to Jamie's cot, perching on the edge of the mattress. Leaning over to drape his blanket around Jamie's shoulders. "I don't know how long I've been awake. It's colder than the last place."

Jamie tugs the extra blanket tighter around himself. "Thank you. I don't know why they always turn the AC up so high..." He frowns, looking at the door. "Has anyone -- been /by/?" He's clearly struggling to contain the fear in his voice. "I thought she would have come to see me by now." His breathing grows quicker. "Maybe they took us from her?"

"No. It's just been us." Flicker starts to get up, but checks himself partway and just settles back again. His knee curls to his chest, his arm folding around it. "I don't know where they took us." His fingers pick at a stray thread in the seam of the scrub pants. "She's not your friend, you know."

"I know. None of them are, but..." Jamie looks down, biting his lower lip. "She didn't allow punishment for noncompliance at her lab, you know? She listened to complaints about abusive guards or researchers and got rid of them most of the time. I know that's a real low bar, and clearing it doesn't make what she does /right/, but -- she took care of us. And I --" He shakes his head. "-- she was interested in me when no one else was." He turns and studies Flicker. "I guess this is...what do you call it. Stockholm Syndrome, right?"

"Being locked in a cage seems kind of like a punishment to me. I don't think you get a /lot/ of points for not letting anyone rape your slaves." Flicker's eyes have trained on the very solid door of their cell, his shoulders tight and curled inward. "Yeah. I'd guess it is. You're going to have to forgive me if I don't share your view of a woman who's keeping us locked up." He's shivering if only faintly, as he scoots back on the mattress to prop himself against the wall. He glances sideways to Jamie. "Besides," he says, softer, "being interested in /you/ and in what you can /do/ for her are different. Things."

Jamie frowns and pulls his knees up his chest. "You know, it's like I never really thought of it as /her/ keeping me locked up, which...maybe I should have. At some point." He shifts uncomfortably. "It's just really hard for me to think anything /bad/ about her, even when I /know/ she's interested in me for my powers." He scoots back, too, and unwinds half the double blankets from over his shoulder tentatively, offering to share it with Flicker.

"When I came to get you -- when we were leaving the cell --" Flicker's brows knit deeply. He picks more fiercely at the loose thread, unraveling it a few stitches. It's delayed, slower, but he inches over, tucking himself against Jamie's side underneath the blanket. "Where were you before you got here? I mean -- when you were outside."

Jamie fusses at the blankets, uncurling their edges to pull around Flicker more snugly. "Was she there, at the time?" His question is hardly more than a murmur. "I don't remember at /all./" He frown again, more deeply now. "That should probably bother me more. It just seems like such a normal part of life, now." He relaxes against Flicker, heaving a contented sigh. "Phoenix. Arizona, mean. My folks...well, I left home, but it wasn't so bad, for a while. Got picked in Sedona, of all places." He's quiet for a moment. "How about you?"

"I don't know. You wanted to leave with me. The intercom came on. A voice said something about emergency lockdown protocol and you --" Flicker's eyes lock on the opposite wall. "Just. Turned me off. That's -- when they got us." His body is tense beside Jamie's, his eyes fixed straight ahead. "Utah. I miss the desert. Sedona's lovely, too."

Jamie's eyes go very, very wide and his entire body goes still and tense, too. "Oh God. /I/ did that? I --" His jaw works silently for moment. "They were...controlling me? Like, with telepathy." The lift of his intonation was minute, fatalistic. "I don't know why they'd /bother/, as cooperative as I've been." He hugs his knees harder to his chest. "Was the best season of my life, that time in Sedona. I guess..." His voice drops low, almost a whisper, and his shoulders shake . "I miss it, too."

"Yeah. You did. But --" Flicker's words are slow, and a little doubtful. "I don't know. I don't know a lot of telepaths who need to call you on a loudspeaker. Wouldn't a telepath just have -- /done/ it? No warning?" The faint tremor within him hasn't subsided, but his tension does ease slightly when Jamie starts to shake. He stops plucking at the thread in his scrubs. Lifts his arm to curl it gently around Jamie's shoulders, instead. "I've only been there once. Long time ago. Can you tell me about it?"

"There's /some/ telepaths who can do it with their voices, usually not from far away, but--" Jamie stops abruptly and hunches in tighter, trying to curl into a fetal ball. "I think...maybe it's --" His voice is very small and very doubtful, and whatever he was going to say next seems to stick in his throat. He gives a soft, frustrated whimper. "When you brought up us trying to get out. Even though I don't remember, it's like. I was so sure /she/ must have been there. Maybe it was her. On the intercom."

He squeezes his eyes shut and presses his face into Flicker's shoulder, his stubble scraping softly against the fabric of the scrubs. "Sedona was so beautiful and so /weird./ I ran with a group of kids there." He shifts, fitting himself more comfortably against the other man's side. "Well, not all /kids/ but -- whatever. We took care of each other. That's where I found out about my powers."

Flicker squeezes briefly tighter around Jamie's. "I'm not surprised you don't remember. Your whole mind just went -- went blank. Like flipping a switch. Like you'd been --" He hesitates. His fingers knead gently against the other man's shoulder. "I'm sorry. If we get out of here, maybe -- maybe --" This time it's not a hesitation, exactly, just an unsteady crack in his voice. He drops his head, cheek resting against the top of Jamie's head. He swallows, draws a slow breath. "I'm glad you had them, anyway. That kind of family. Good memories to hold on to in here." After a small pause, a little lighter: "Did you learn how to read auras?"

"Hypnotized? Mind controlled? Programmed?" Jamie suggests, his voice oddly flat. "Probably. Not like they haven't had time to try. Is it fucked up that I'm kind of freaking out she didn't trust me to just...listen to her?" He chokes down a noise of distress and quickly adds, "I /wouldn't/ have, I swear. It's just...stupid. That I care so much what she thinks of me." He swallows, then presses his face harder against Flicker to stifle the abrupt laughter. "I /did/. From a medicine man named Coyote." Flicker can probably hear and feel his smile even if he can't see it, but it fades quickly. "You got family out there? In Utah?"

At first Flicker freezes, fingers tightening against Jamie's shoulder -- he eases back again when Jamie insists he wouldn't have complied. "I don't know about /stupid/, just. This place messes with you. Being a cage for long messes with you. But I don't -- don't think people who care about you. /Program/ you like an attack dog." The breath he lets out is sharp, a little too ragged to properly work its way up to a laugh. "What does mine say?" A small shiver passes through him, and though he shakes his head it's slow, uncertain. "I -- have family in New York."

"Sorry," Jamie whispers. "I think...I would have, if you'd shown up that first night, instead of just talking to me. Might have stopped you even /without/ her telling me to. But. You knew that, didn't you?" His shoulders tighten under Flicker's arm, his breath quickening, though he's obviously fighting to keep it under control. "You -- I can't. Feel you. Right now. But when I /could/ you felt..." He seems to calm, just a little, as he concentrates on verbalizing this, "...steady, determined, bright. Like a beacon in a storm." He pulls back just far enough to look up at Flicker. "Hive. And your...team? They'll come for you, right?" He sounds equal parts hopeful and fearful.

"I knew you were hurting." Flicker's hand shifts to rub steadily at Jamie's back. "And that this was all you'd known for a while. I didn't -- /know/ what you'd do if I showed up but. I could guess it might not be a good idea." He shivers when Jamie pulls back; there's a noticeable brightness in his eyes, though his voice stays steady this time. "Hive," he agrees, his voice dropping to a bare whisper. "And my team. They'll --" He blinks, hard. "I'm sure they'll want to. I'm sure I've got them so -- worried."

Jamie shakes his head. "I would have helped them hurt you. I /did/ help them hurt you, during the raid, and I might have done again even after after talking to you for weeks." His breath comes in great heaves, now. "Your team -- they were right to leave me. I can't even trust my own mind." His eyes lock onto Flicker's, wild and panicked. One of his hands closes around a fistful of the other man's shirt. "/She/ did this to me," he hisses, "and to you."

Flicker's eyes open wider, a sudden tension in him as Jamie grabs at his shirt. His hand drops, resting fingertips lightly against the back of Jamie's hand. "Hey -- hey, no, they -- they made a difficult call and it wasn't the right one." His jaw clenches; he presses slightly back against the wall. "I'm sorry she did this to you. I wish I'd taken you with me the first time. Had a chance to talk about this somewhere -- far away from -- all of this."

Jamie blinks, looks down at his hand, at Flicker's, and very slowly lets go of the shirt. "Sorry," he murmurs, still breathing fast, though whatever just passed seemed to have drained him and he just curls up into himself. "I should have gone with you. You /tried/ to take me. And I stopped you. And got you /shot./" Quiet sobs rack his body. "She did this to me," his voice is muffled, "but still I love her."

Flicker just curls his arm around Jamie again. Rubs slowly at the other man's back. Leans down to press a small kiss to the top of his head. And says nothing.