inhuman rearing

This one is dedicated to both @subject-to-feels one for helping @greyyjoys drag me into this stupid crackship in the first place and @owl-in-the-tardis for egging me on by giving me prompts that people aren’t already doing.

Becca gave me the prompts “I’m going to kill you!” “Eh, no, how about not.” and “Look, I’ve had a very bad day, and you’re holding the last carton of my favorite ice cream!” and challenged me to use them both. So here we are.
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Warren was not having a good day. To be fair, he hadn’t a good day in a long time. He….actually couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a legitimately good day. Maybe before his wings grew in?

The point is, it looked like his luck wasn’t about to change either. The past few months had been shitty. Shittier than usual even. First one of his wings, which were the only things he had that he took pride in, even if that pride came from violence, were burnt and badly damaged thanks to a cage match with a blue mutant that could teleport.

The good that came from that was that he was finally able to escape the ring. Barely able to fly, and with no allies or acquaintances to guide him. But he got out of the hellhole he’d spent most of life in. All he had now was a drafty old warehouse for his nest, the bottles of vodka he was able to scrounge from the streets, and one good wing. The other was still burnt and hurt to move.

(He didn’t understand why, of all the times it could choose to stop healing and growing back, it chose the one time he actually needed them, could use them to get somewhere else, somewhere better. They’d always come back before. No matter what his father did they returned. But now they didn’t. He supposed that was the price of his escape.)

Then the mutant God came. Apocalypse had seen his broken wings and, despite Caliban’s henchman telling him how worthless Warren was now (it’s not like he didn’t know but it still hurt), he’d chosen to restore them. But he also changed them. Twisted them. They’d been so beautiful, soft and fluffy and warm. The blades were useful, but….they were no longer his. They belonged to Apocalypse.

Something in him had screamed and cried and curled up and broken when he first saw what Apocalypse had done. Perhaps it was the last of his hope. The final straw, losing that piece of himself to someone else’s machinations. It hollowed him out. And apocalypse filled him with rage.

He took the deep-seated anger Warren felt, the bitterness and hurt and mistrust he’d always held for humans, for his father, for the world, for everyone who’d ever used or abused him, and intensified it. He lured him in with promises of vengeance, of a fight for himself that he had a chance of actually truly winning, of striking back at humans. And Warren accepted it.

That wasn’t the end of Apocalypse’s corruptions either. He marked Warren again, changed his hair and left lines, tattoos on his face with words in a language that he didn’t understand. He gave him a new name, called him “his Angel of Death” in such sickeningly reverent, almost adoring, tones, his first lieutenant

(Something in Warren burned when he first saw the tattoos months later in the mirror. They were too similar to the ones Apocalypse had. Too much like him. He supposed it could have been worse. He could have ended up blue.).

He’d seen the blue one, the one who’d ruined his wings with the others. He felt something….inhuman rear up, an anger that didn’t feel entirely his own at the sight of the other mutant. He’d been ordered to guard Apocalypse until he was done with the crippled telepath they’d picked up, so when he saw the teleporter again inside the pyramid, he decided it was as good of an excuse for a rematch as he was going to get.

Except he still lost. He ended up right back in a cage, too much like the last one he’d been in. By the time he got out of the makeshift cage and got into the plane they had with Psylocke, he was ready to end this fight. To be done. And as the plane plummeted towards the ground and the telepath’ friends disappeared, the blue one escaping from him again with all his friends….some part of Warren felt at peace. At least now he could stop being used.

He had vague recollections of being semi-conscious for a little bit as voices spoke around him. Someone counted, and he felt himself lifted off the ground. The intense pain the movement brought drove a weak groan and twitch of the bladed wings around him. He heard gasps and sounds of surprise as he was quickly lowered back to the ground.

An accented voice started speaking quickly and a few others responded. He couldn’t follow the conversation. All he was aware of was the pain. It was everywhere, especially around and below his waist. Everything felt crushed, and the wings….the blades were digging into him. He could feel them cutting into his back. He wanted it to end and whimpered. A hush fell over the voices around him, before there was a gentle touch at his forehead and a voice telling him to sleep….

When he woke up, he was in a mansion. Full of mutants. He quickly learned it belonged to the people he’d fought. The ones he’d helped try to kill. The telepath and the teleporter (Kurt, he learned, his name was Kurt) had such bleeding hearts that they couldn’t bear to leave his body behind. Ororo had helped convince the others to search for him, and give him a proper funeral.

Except when they found him, he wasn’t dead. Miraculously, the plane hadn’t killed him. Most of the bones in his body had been broken or bruised, but he was alive and would make a full recovery. The fight had ended two weeks ago and he’d been in and out of consciousness since he’d been brought in. He was in so much pain though that they’d generally kept him under as much as possible.

After months stuck in a bed he was moved to a room in the manor. He’d been kept there for another month (to make sure he wouldn’t snap and try to kill anyone he assumed with no small amount of anger) before finally being released from his house arrest. Of course it wasn’t that easy. He hadn’t thought it would be but….it would have been nice for things to go his way, just this once.

The other mutants…didn’t like him. To put it mildly. They knew he had helped Apocalypse and was partly responsible for destroying their school, and his wings….well. Warren knew they were no longer beautiful. His hair had mostly grown back in the time he’d been in hospice, but the tattoos were still there, still refusing to fade.

Ororo helped. She’d had all that time to gain the others’ trust, and had bonded especially well with the other young mutants they’d fought in that final battle (he was later told that she joined them in their final bid to destroy him when Raven, the blue shapeshifter she’d idolized for years had revealed herself to be with the X-Men), and helped him establish friendships of his own with them.

Jean was kind to him for the most part. Scott was a bit of an ass, but Warren grudgingly admitted he was alright. And Peter accepted him with an ease that frankly shocked Warren. Kurt was still timid around him, which sort of stung but. He supposed he deserved it.

There had been no sign of Psylocke after the battle, something he couldn’t help but feel disappointment at. During their time time under Apocalypse, all four of them had sort of….bonded. They understood each other, and knew that they’d all been screwed over, forced into too many shitty situations by others. But especially Warren and the girls. They’d been close in age, and had been able to relate to each other more than to Magneto’s-Eric’s tragedies and issues. He hoped wherever she was, she was staying out of trouble.

Eventually, one of the girls who often tagged along with their little posse, Jubilee, offered to teach him how to use makeup to cover the tattoos. He’d accepted gratefully and earned another….tentative friend in the process. It didn’t exactly make things better but…he felt more comfortable.

He still spent most of his time alone though. The others were usually in training wth Raven and the furry blue one, Beast or Hank as he was known (Warren was one of the few who couldn’t train; he had no reason to. The wings had been ruined, half-crushed in that crash just like his body, the metal distorted beyond recognition in some places. Raven, Hank and the professor forbade him from attempting to join any training sessions until he’d recovered more of his strength. It wasn’t like he’d be much use anyway. Without his wings, without the ability to fly, he had no real reason to be at the school, other than the fact that he still had metal wing-shaped constructs hanging from his back)

Sometimes when she wasn’t busy, he and Ororo would sit silently with each other, watching the other mutants go about their day around them. Far around them. Even if they’d grown to mostly trust Storm and tolerate Warren….the fact remained that they were powerhouses. Or at least….Ororo was. And hanging out with some of the other outsiders at the school hadn’t exactly endeared them to the others.

He couldn’t even fly away or get up to the roof to escape for a while. The metal wings had been crushed in the crash, damaged beyond hope of repair. The professor had refused to let him have them cut off, had been horrified, along with the others in the room at the time, when he’d even suggested it. He’d been confident they wouldn’t return if he did; after all they were metal. But he was stuck with them.

The blades were so misshapen and bent that they often fell out or broke off on their own. They also often dug into his back and left longs cuts in their wake. Whenever one bothered him, he’d pull it out himself rather than attempt to shoot it out at the nearest tree. He felt a perverse kind of satisfaction. He’d likely never fly again, never taste the freedom he’d craved for so long, but at least he was slowly losing these corrupted reminders of his failures. And for once, he was doing the destroying rather than someone else destroying him. He’d been essentially crippled, and felt the loss deep in his soul, but at least the monstrosities that Apocalypse had forced on to him were being destroyed too.

Which brings us back to today. He’d felt a subtle pain in his back the past few weeks, not like a blade digging into his back, but a bone deep ache. And today, he’d found the source. A single white feather peeking through the mess of metal on his right side. Some more searching turned up a few more on either side. It appeared the damage done to the metal ones had allowed the bones of his own songs to start growing again and had somehow managed to grow through them.

He was furious. After everything, after refusing to heal after they were burned by the cage, after he’d resigned himself to a life stuck on the ground, a crippled mutant in a place where he didn’t truly belong anymore without his mutation, now they started to reappear? He’d thrown a vase at his mirror in rage.

The pain had worsened as the day went on. It seemed that now that he was aware of the cause, he couldn’t ignore it. He snapped even more than usual at anyone who looked at him the wrong way, cursed out Scott when the boy had called him out, and even managed to tick off Ororo when he’d refused to talk about why he seemed upset. She didn’t understand that even Warren wasn’t entirely sure why he was so angry, or what or who he was upset with.

He stalked off in the opposite direction, the metal and feather wings rustling agitatedly behind him. He found himself going past the kitchens, and paused. He’d been generously given permission by the professor to use the kitchens to prepare food for himself whenever he pleased (an enhanced metabolism called for more food than the average human, and even the average mutant; thanks enhanced stamina and strength, and lighter bones! He hadn’t even known that his mutation had made him so bird-like. The professor and Hank were curious about what other ways his mutation had manifested but had held off on tests for now).

He knew the freezer was generally kept well-stocked with all manner of frozen delights, including ice cream. He’d loved it as a child, and hadn’t had it for years until he was brought to the institute. He’d quickly rediscovered his love for the treat and decided that it was exactly what he needed.

Unfortunately, as he stepped inside, he noticed Kurt. The blue boy had pulled out a carton of ice cream, and a cursory glance of the freezer (thanks enhanced vision!) showed no other cartons in view. As Kurt closed the freezer and turned around, he froze.

“Is that the last thing of ice cream?” Warren asked, his voice harsher than he’d intended. Kurt hesitated, before shakily nodding. They stared at each other for a minute, Warren narrowing his eyes.

He felt everything that had been piling up around him, all the shit that he’d dealt with for years finally piling up and fueling the rising anger and frustration as nothing, as usual went right for him. He focused on the younger mutant in front of him, and launched himself at him suddenly.

Of course Kurt simply teleported before he could grab him, reappearing behind Warren, and of course this only served to fuel his anger. And so began a vicious cycle, a pointless game of tag that Warren knew he’d never win. He felt his anger mounting.

“I’m going to kill you!” He screamed, lunging again at Kurt, growling as he vanished just before Warren’s fingers could close around him.

“Eh, no, how about not?” The younger mutant responded, reappearing perched out of Warren’s reach on the top of the big refrigerator. Warren made a few pathetic attempts at reaching him, but he knew it was pointless. With his wings in the shape they were in, and his strength still returning, there was no way for him to reach the other boy.

Warren practically screamed his frustration and fury out, the humiliation and pent up anger seeping out of him in waves. He felt his wings spread unconsciously behind him (they’d started to act more like actual wings, more like his wings, moving with him and his emotions rather than the metal constructs they’d become; wen had that started?). He gasped in pain as the stretch pulled more at his back and some of the metal feathers scraped against his back. He leaned back against the metal table in the center of the kitchen, catching his breath.

Suddenly, Kurt appeared right in front of him.

“Vhat is wrong?” He asked, searching for the cause of his duress. Warren felt a surge of shame in showing such weakness in front of him, for receiving concern from someone whom he’d only ever tried to hurt.

“Nothing. It’s just been a bad day. And you’ve got the last thing of ice cream. I-it just….I’ve been angry all day and that was the last straw.” He said, trying to shrug off the concern.

“If zat is all, I’d be more than happy to share the ice cream. I can’t eat it all on my own anyway. But I don’t think zat is it. Varren, you are in pain!” Kurt looked up at him, concern clear on his face. Warren looked away, releasing a log breath. He spread his wings again, slowly. “I….I’m sorry, I shouldn’t push. I know you must hate me…” Warren looked at Kurt in shock.

“What?!”

“I….I destroyed your wings. They were so beautiful before, and even after Apocalypse changed them, but….I caused their destruction again. I’m sorry.”

Warren shook his head, trying to find the words to explain that he didn’t blame him. What came out instead was an explanation of what was wrong.

“My wings….the blades are so misshapen….sometimes they dig into my back. And lately….my feathers have started growing in. It hurts. I’m fine though.”

“Varren….how long has this pain been happening?”

“It’s fine! It doesn’t bother me. And I-” he swallowed. “I don’t hate you. Or blame you. For my wings, I mean. I told you to fight, and you did. If you hadn’t, we’d both probably be dead. And these ones….you kinda did me a favor. Apocalypse….he twisted them. Turned them into something different. I didn’t want them to be like this. So….trust me when I say that them being messed up isn’t something I’m too upset about.”

Kurt watched him for a moment before tentatively reaching out to take his hand. “I would like to keep you company through this. If you don’t mind. If you’re in pain…you shouldn’t be alone. It is good that your old ones are growing back though I think. Like a kind of…rebirth. The rebirth of an engel.”

Warren laughed harshly. “I’m no angel, Kurt.”

“You could be.”

It didn’t fix much. He still felt so much anger, so much pain from everything that he’d yet to deal with. But something in the way Kurt said it….it felt like a sign. A promise that things could get better. That they were finally going to stay that way.

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This turned into a monster. I really didn’t intend for this to be so long, or go so in-depth into Warren but….my muse took ahold of this and here’s where we ended up. I decided I’d leave off there, with a hopeful slightly ambiguous ending before this grew even more, and maybe do a part 2 if people like it.