Disclaimer: The X-men and their world belong to Marvel/Fox. No profit or copyright infringement is intended

Note: This story is directly related to the plots and storylines in progress at Left Turn at Westchester

 

Before Dawn

Warren and Logan wake after the celebration the night before. This is a fragment.

 

Warren stirred restlessly, still mostly asleep and it was the restriction of his movements that woke him the rest of the way. Blinking blearily, he realized that the furnace heat pressed insistently against him was Logan's peaceful, slightly snoring self.

They were sprawled sideways across the bed and Warren was overheated and cramped. He struggled, wings fluttering to move them both all the way onto the bed.

"What -?" Logan grumbled, opening his eyes and yawning hugely.

"Roll over." Warren murmured. "We're on the bed crooked."

Logan muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'Who the fuck cares?' but rolled over and settled back down under the sheet Warren pulled over them. Warren tried to go back to sleep but shifted again in a few moments. He was still tired - very tired - but couldn't get back to sleep. He wasn't used to someone in his bed when he was sleeping and Logan was hot. With a sigh, Warren got up to go to the bathroom. He got a glass of water and went to stand by a window.

The first grayish film of dawn was tinting the deep black of the sky. The stars were still visible but the moon had already set. Sipping at the water, Warren stared out at the slow growing day.

Approximately twenty-four hours since Essex's labs self-destructed - just one day ago they'd been too late to save - how many lives? He still had no real idea how many people would have been in the building when it blew. In that short time, he'd already failed to prevent another murder. Emma had simply slid into that boy's mind and sent him to his death. Warren's feathers bristled in horror - letting himself feel the fear he'd dared not feel at the time. He'd seen Emma's face. He'd seen that egotistical, horrible joy. Emma had realized suddenly that no one could stop her. That she could kill in a room full of people and never face the consequences. She'd tasted power - a poisonous, sickening power - but power never-the-less.

Warren knew the taste of power. He lived every day with it - there were decisions he made that could cost people their livelihood - sometimes their lives. There was the temptation to forget that - to forget there were consequences for every action he took, or refused to take. It would be so much easier to never lie awake in the gray light of dawn and try to measure a hundred-thousand dollars of profit against the lives that would be affected. He didn't think that Emma had ever been the type to worry about all the unseen 'masses' that her decisions affected and after last night, the only measuring stick she had was the discovery of how easy it was to use her power to hurt.

But, Warren knew, just as he could put a thousand people out of work with the stroke of a gold pen, he could also employ a thousand people. He had the power to offer shelter, purpose, hope to people living in a world where the fear of downsizing and corporate misdeeds was common place. A world where even children got ulcers worrying about their parent's jobs. Power wasn't a knife. It wasn't a weapon. It was a tool. And it could be used to help as easily as harm. The power to do good was a more subtle lesson in the world though - and, if what they knew of Emma and her family was true - she'd never had the chance to learn it.

Warren stared at his own faint reflection, seeing the pale rise of his wings behind him. Despite his nickname, he was no angel, nor was he religious in any true sense but he did want to leave the world a better place for his existence in it. It was a wish he held private - embarrassing him in its nativity - but he would not abandon it. Some people wanted to live forever, or rule the world. He simply wanted to 'make it better' - like any five year old idealist. Still, when he saw people like Emma - all that brilliance and power turned to cruelty - it didn't make him less determined. It made him more.

It was no less work to do harm than do good. Warren's mouth tipped, amused. Despite what Darth Vader said, the dark side was not simpler, not easier. Emma was still going to be getting up tomorrow morning and heading off to the office, just like he was.

Warren reached down and ran a hand down his wing, soothing the ruffled feathers. They were cool and pleasant under his fingers, he yawned and took a slow drink, finishing off the glass.

Behind him, Logan stirred, rolled out of bed and came over. "What'cha thinking?"

Warren shook his head and smiled. "Nothing much. The nature of power, I guess."

Logan snorted, sliding his arms loosely around Warren's waist. He sniffed at the back of his neck. "Y'were scared."

Warren sighed then laced his fingers through Logan's. "No. Just thinking."

"Hm. Y'do to much of that, Wings. This time of night ain't good for thinking."

One of Warren's brows arched and he stroked his finger tips along Logan's forearm. "Is there something else you had in mind?"

Logan chuckled, pressing his mouth against Warren's neck so he could feel the vibration. "I can think of a few things."

Continued in Pale Light of Dawn