tallulahgs: Baffled Tetsuo (Baffled Tetsuo)
[personal profile] tallulahgs
[Title] In Our Differences
[Fandom] X-Men (sort of the Apocalypse movie-verse)
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Kurt has always known how different he is.

Kurt has sometimes thought that he must be a monster, and sometimes known that he is not. Sometimes other people are not other people but humans and they look pale and weak and so slow and heavy, pinned to the earth. Other times, other people are real people and Kurt half-forgets that he is not like them. He catches sight of his reflection, or of his hands, and is half-frightened, and he curls his toes into the ground and pretends that he can’t vanish and reappear in a puff of smoke, even though he can always feel the possibility of it at his back. And sometimes he simply watches people and wonders what it is like to look the same as everybody else, not to even have to search for things that show you who you are and how you should be.

It is different after he has come to the school. In part, it is different because he knows that everyone here is different. That even those who look like other people have something else hidden under their skin. And then, there are those who are as different as him. Of course no one else looks identical to him, but then, most people do not have a twin. He is unusual, but he falls within a recognised spectrum. Some people are tall and some are skinny and some are pink and some are blue, and people ask him what it is like to disappear and appear, or they tell him that he looks good in this or that colour, but they never tell him that he is not one of them, they never seem surprised that he likes or wants the same things that they do. And indeed, as time passes, he rather forgets that in the outside world he is so very different after all.

[Title] Animal Instincts
[Fandom] Animorphs/Dante's Cove
[Rating] PG-13 for sex references
[Notes/Summary] After the war, some of the team have relocated. Marco has some concerns. (Thought-speech in italics.)

“So, Ax is doing all right?” Jake says, after they’ve done the usual bit where Jake pretends he’s fine and doesn’t have any feelings and Marco calls him on it in the kindest possible way. “I mean... I know it was his choice, but it’s got to be a pretty big adjustment.”

“Yeah, he seems like he’s doing okay.” Marco leans back on the chair, gazes out at the glinting sea. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s still endlessly baffled by the differences between Andalite and human but I don’t think he’s regretting anything.” He pauses, glances at Tobias, who’s perched on the back of one of the other chairs cleaning his feathers. They’ve all spent the last three years putting all their problems and life-or-death decisions on Jake, they should probably ease off now they’re done with the whole alien invasion thing.

But Jake’s got practice picking up on weird undercurrents, not to mention he knows Marco very rarely has nothing to say, so of course he asks, “Then what’s up?”

Marco gives in.

“Nothing much,” he says. “Just I think everyone on this island might be part of a sex cult.”

Jake blurts out, “Huh?” his voice crackling over the line, and Marco wishes he could see the look on his friend’s face.

“Okay,” he says. “So it’s a tropical island, so people don’t tend to wear many clothes. So it’s a magnet for backpackers and hippies and crazy kids looking to discover themselves. And, you know, we spent our teenage years fighting the Yeerks, so maybe my perspective’s off, but… literally every time you go to the store the cashier’s eyeing you up and down and then he makes some remark about how this banana’s kind of soft, maybe you should come out back with him to find a firmer one. That's weird, right?”

There is a long silence.

How’s he taking it? Tobias says.

“Tobias wants to know if we broke your brain.”

“No,” Jake says, faintly. “No, it’s… are you messing with me? You’re messing with me, aren’t you. You’re exaggerating a few random encounters to keep the myth going that you’re god’s gift to women.”

“I solemnly swear on… on the lives of the Hork-Bajir that I am not. Seriously.” Marco lowers his voice. “The entire town is full of good-looking people having quickies behind every available sand dune. Oh, and urban legends. There are a lot of urban legends. It’s like we’re in a store-brand porn version of Buffy.”

Tell him I’ve seen things Tobias says. Tell him I’ve seen more things than any hawk or human ever needed to.

“Do you think it’s… god, I don’t know. Do you think it’s a bunch of alien beings trying to act how they think humans act?” Jake sounds tired. “What does Ax think?”

“Ax says it doesn’t seem strange to him, but Ax used to be an alien who never wore clothes and still goes into orgasmic raptures at the taste of cinnamon buns.”

Also, Tobias says, it isn't like we know how and when Andalites make little Andalites. Somehow I never got round to asking. And like you said, we all spent our formative years fighting the Yeerks. Ax hasn't exactly got a frame of reference for...

“Right.” Marco relays this to Jake, and adds, “He did also make the very good point that if it was a faction of rebel Yeerks plotting the overthrow of humanity, then the fact that Tobias and I have noticed means they’re not trying very hard to blend in with the normal people. Plus, he’s… kind of seeing someone. He’s got other things to think about.”

“He’s seeing someone? A human?”

“Yup. Trust me, I’m keeping an eye out for the classic signs of a nervous breakdown. He’s working really hard to make a break with his Andalite identity. I don’t think he wants to see the weird stuff. He wants this to be his new life.”

“Who’s he seeing?” Jake says. “They seem nice?”

Marco was going to say something like I guess but he opens his mouth and what comes out is more along the lines of a despairing groan.

“Right,” Jake says.

“This guy, Jake. I swear to god. Maybe it is a nervous breakdown because I don’t know why else Ax would pick someone so dumb and whiny.”

“Don’t hold back,” Jake says. “Tell me how you really feel. And, hey, maybe he's, I don’t know, another nothlit Andalite, or whatever else is up with everyone –”

“No, I think Kevin’s human,” Marco says, glowering at the sea. “Only a human could bring this much drama. He and Ax must’ve broken up about ten times in the last month. He’s just an idiot. An idiot who happens to fit right in here. His family kicked him out and I can't say I blame them –”

“You want me to come down?” Jake says. “If something weird’s happening… if you need some back-up –”

“No. Nuh-uh. You’re doing important work teaching soldiers how not to make all the morphing mistakes we did. And you’ve done enough fixing things. We got this one. Besides, I don’t think it’s dangerous. Just weird.”

Jake sounds unconvinced but Marco launches into a spiel about how at least a possible sex cult is exactly the right audience for the bar and he is raking it in every night. “And besides,” he finishes, “we've got our eye on the sky and all. Whatever's going on here, even if it sucks me in, it won't affect Tobias…”

“So he’s not getting mobbed by lady hawks from morning to night, then?” Jake says.

“He says not –”

Tobias fixes Marco with the stern glare only a hawk can summon, so Marco carries on, “Sounds like the animal kingdom is its usual everyone-is-trying-to-eat-everyone self. So he'll let you know if things escalate. But I don't think they're going to. I'm just gonna have to... keep a cool head, or whatever, and keep an eye on Ax.”

Jake doesn't sound convinced, but at least Marco's stopped him charging down to Dante's Cove on a rescue mission. It's not just that Jake really doesn't need the stress. Marco also feels his serious, responsible, still-kind-of-traumatised-by-all-the-war-crimes friend doesn't need to encounter the wild unrestrained hedonism of this place. It'd end up being kill-or-cure.


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