The Silly, Little Book of One Shots

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2. X-MEN: The Helix Complex (X-23 x Hellion) -CANON

Laura was torn from the nightmare by her own scream. She sat up quickly, kicking the sheets away in an almost desperate manner. The way they clung to her sweaty skin reminded her of the way those men restrained her in her mind. She panted heavily, jumping from the bed and backing away into a corner of the bare, dull room. Two blades sprung from the knuckles of each hand, and one from each foot. She whimpered at the sensation. It was something she should have been used to by now - it was part of her mutation, along with heightened senses and regenerative capabilities - but it still scared her slightly. She took a deep breath and raised her hand in front of her face. She stared at the blades that protruded from her skin - one between the knuckles of her index and middle fingers, one between the knuckles of her ring and little fingers.

The voices of the men from her dream - from her fractured memories - echoed loudly in her mind.

"Weapon X-23 is not capable of withstanding the procedure, sir. After the last twenty two failed attempts, what makes you think this one will be different?" She shuddered at the voices in her head, voices from men she'd met but couldn't remember.

"X-23," they whispered, so regularly. That's what people called her then. She could not remember why. But it was a label she was yet to shake. When she met Logan, and the other mutants - the ones whose DNA enabled them to perform spectacular things like herself - they allowed her to be human, to be Laura Kinney. But still they referred to her as X-23 when in public. They told her it was to protect her identity, so that bad people couldn't take advantage of her, so she didn't question it. But still, she wandered why they had to use that name. The others had chosen their own names, something that suited them perfectly - Wolverine, Cyclops, Hellion. Laura didn't suit X-23; at least, she didn't want to suit it.

X-23 was the label she had been assigned when she was used as a weapon, when they experimented on her young, fragile body. She whimpered again, trying to access the memories that hung just out of reach. She had to rely on others to be told what actually happened in her past. She had to find out from her teachers and peers at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, that she was created to be used. Laura was a clone. Created from the DNA of the famous Wolverine, they experimented on her to eradicate any emotions that could possibly lead her to act as anything more than a weapon. When she was just twelve, they coated the bones that escaped her fists and feet in the indestructible metal - adamantium.

She tightened her fists, and watched as the blades slowly retracted. Her breath was shaky and her heart was beating loudly in her ears.

She stood slowly and made her way over to the mirror on the dressing table beside the door. The way the moonlight reflected off the glass made her appearance even more haunting. Her thick, black hair clung to her cheeks, neck and forehead and her shiny, green eyes were glassy with tears. The shirt she slept in was slashed open, so that in fell off her left shoulder. She made a mental note to ask Julian for another one of his shirts, and to apologize to him. This was the third one she'd borrowed and promptly shredded in the past month. She could smell his scent on the ripped fabric and it was immediately calming.

Julian was really the only one who treated her like a normal person, at least that's how it felt. There were two kinds of people - those who knew about Laura's past, and those who didn't. Those who did tiptoed around her in the most patronizing and irritating way, and those who didn't still crossed the street if she was walking their way. The sharp eyes and dark clothing intimidated people. But Julian was different, because he treated her the same.

Suddenly, a hand touched her shoulder. Her lips pulled back into a snarl, she flicked around and threw her fists towards the intruder, her blades out once again. A hand caught her right fist, her blades seemingly bouncing off the skin and her left hand slowed to a stop in mid-air, as if she was trying to drag it through thick mud.

"Woah!" Julian laughed. "You are so lucky I only have fake hands now!"

Laura looked up at her left hand and noticed a faint green light surrounding it. She sighed as every fell into place. Julian, Laura's on-again off-again boyfriend, was telekinetic - meaning he could move things with his mind - and his telekinetic aura was a perfect, bright green, which was why Laura's fist was glowing that way. He also lost both of his hands in a fight a couple of years back and had them replaced with metal prosthetics.

"Julian!" She sighed and hugged him tightly. Everyone knew Laura didn't hug people, especially Julian, so he immediately sensed that something was off. "I am sorry."

"It's okay," He smiled and stroked her hair in the most calming manner he could manage. "When you're dating a hormonal, seventeen year old mutant girl, a few cuts and bruises are to be expected." He placed a gentle kiss on top of her head. "You okay?"

"Just a bad dream." She murmured dismissively.

"Do you wanna talk about it?" Julian knew the answer immediately, but he had to ask anyway. When she shook her head against his chest, he sighed slightly. "Okay, gorgeous."

"Do not call me that." Her words brought a smile to his face.

"Sure, gorgeous." He teased, earning him a playful - and a little too forceful - punch to the stomach. "Hey!"

"Thank you." She blinked up at him.

"For what?" His lips once again adopted the smile he saved only for her.

"Being you." She kissed him softly.

"Okay." He laughed, lifting the ripped material on her shoulder. "Another one, Laura? Seriously?"

"Sorry." Her cheeks turned a soft pink.

"Here," He smirked, removing his shirt from his toned body. "Take this one."

Laura's cheeks reddened more.

"Are you blushing?"  He laughed.

"Shut up." She giggled shyly. She was usually so strong and cold, but Julian practically turned her into a completely different girl. She yanked the shirt from his hands roughly.

"No, it's fine. You can stare all you like. I know I'm gorgeous." He ruffled her hair playfully.

"Of course, Mr Keller. Whatever you say." She rolled her eyes, smirking.

"Was that sarcasm, Miss Kinney?" He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear gently.

"I am trying it out." She shrugged.

"It doesn't suit you." He laughed, leaning down to kiss her

"Shut up." She kissed him and threw her arms lazily over his shoulders.

"You feeling better now?" He stroked her hair softly - which was difficult with metal hands.

"I think so." She ran her fingers over his bare back gently.

"I should probably go." He regretted the words as he said them. He didn't want to leave her. "If Professor Logan finds me in here, half naked with you, I probably won't be living much longer."

"Thank you for just... Being here." She kissed him one final time. It was like he was a magnet that her whole being couldn't escape. She never wanted to put him down when their lips joined. Sure, she wasn't certain what their relationship was, but she knew it was more than friends. And she knew that the shaky feeling she got in her stomach when he kissed her, or smiled at her, or made one of his flirty jokes, really meant something. She was reluctant to admit that she might actually have feelings for him. All she knew was that she needed him, and more importantly, she simply wanted him.

When their lips parted, Laura noticed the green hue that took hold of Julian's eyes subtly. She stifled a giggle.

"What now?" He sighed, rolling his now green-tinted eyes.

"Your aura is showing, Mr Keller." She teased, knowing that Julian's aura was only that clear when he was using his telekinesis, or was in a situation with heightened emotions. He was definitely not using his telekinesis right now.

"No, it's not!" He blushed, turning his face away.

"Look at me," She laughed quietly. He obeyed her reluctantly. "I think it is cute."

"You do?" A slight smile tugged at his lips.

"Yes." She shrugged. "I like it."

"I like you, Laura." He whispered sweetly.

"I like you too." She kissed him quickly.

There was a moment when the word 'love' hung dangerously in the air between them, both teens too stubborn to say it. Too stubborn and too scared. Their eyes met and the feeling seemed to intensify.

"Anyway," Julian spoke up through the awkward silence. "I should..." He trailed off, gesturing to the door.

"Yes." She smiled, equally uncomfortable. "Thank you for the shirt, Hellion." She used his alias to distance herself from him slightly.

"Sure." He opened the door, turning back to blow her a kiss in the cheesiest way. "Night, gorgeous!"

"Do not call me that!" She hissed, as he shut the door behind him.

She sighed, falling back onto the bed. She looked down at the shirt in her hands and smiled. Despite what people sometimes said, Julian was more than just a typical rich boy. He was... Perfect. The way his scent clung to the air relaxed Laura. She wanted to be with him, always. Now, she could finally see that. Out of everyone she'd known since moving to the Xavier Institute, there'd never been anyone that understood her like he did. Sitting alone now, she realized how much she missed him already. It made her feel weak, but for some reason she didn't care. And in that moment she realized something that terrified her...

She was madly and deeply in love with Julian Keller.

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