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Injured but resting Part 2

Posted on Sat Sep 9th, 2023 @ 17:04 by Phoebe Hunter & Matteo Beneventi

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Timeline: Wednesday 3rd November 1992
3307 words - 6.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Phoebe had been the first to fall asleep she was sure of that. She could hear Matt’s soft attempt at waking her but she was far too gone to even attempt to wake up until the sun was shining on her. She mumbled something and covered her eyes but that did little to help the fact the sun was shining through the window which meant it was obviously very late in the morning. “Matt?” She called out trying to work out where he was but with no response she slowly with a groan and protesting muscle shifted from the bed where she had been shifted to from the couch to search for the man.

It was his room, in as much as it resembled the one she'd climbed into the night previous. Aside from the sound system, there wasn't a lot to personalise it. The clothing that hung in the wardrobe was relatively new, with a few well-worn favourites, and a pair of helmets peeked out from the top shelf behind the slightly unhinged door that didn't quite close properly. Stacks of cassettes were piled haphazardly on the bottom shelf of the bedside table and a couple of automotive magazines seemed to be about the only reading material. If this was a snapshot of a man's entire life, it didn't amount to much.

The bed, either a large king single or a very small double, would have been a cosy fit with both of them in it. Matt hadn't avoided sharing as much out of perceived gallantry as it had simply been close to 6:00am when he'd properly stirred from their nest on the couch, which oddly enough probably accommodated them far more comfortably. Relocating Phoebe had been easy enough, she'd barely stirred, and now that it was closer to 9am, the sunny aspect of the bedroom meant that the flimsy curtains did very little to filter out the invasive sunlight.

There was a piece of paper, stuck by a piece of sticky tape, on the back of the bedroom door.

Just a little memory jog. Headed out to do a couple of things, come downstairs if you're up after 8.

“I do not need one.” She murmured but it was nice to think that he wanted to give her a jog if she needed one. She quietly grabbed up her cardigan and pulled over her tee. The days were getting colder now that November had hit.

The fresh morning had brought a little clarity and another phone call with the owners had furnished Matt with a more direct bunch of instructions. The pub was remaining closed, as were most of the stores in town as the local response to the previous day's confusion was now being fuelled by the news reports filtering in from across the country. In a show of true patriotism, the smaller of the two Greggs had been open, however, and Matt had grabbed supplies enough to at least get them through breakfast. The bags full of cooled pastries were still on the bar where he'd left them, his current focus switching between the newspaper he'd picked up and the small television he'd dragged out from the back room the prop up on the bar. He glanced up as Phoebe arrived and his gaze lingered, smile softening his features as he eventually dropped one side of the paper to reach out a hand towards her. "Hey, you're up. How are you feeling?"

Phoebe smiled softly and took the hand offered to her sliding into the seat back to him. “You ran off.” She teased ignoring his question she hurt a lot now that the bruising was coming out. She was was aching in places she had not known existed.

Dark eyes watched her carefully, scrutinising ever hint of discomfort, though Matt only smiled at her complaint and prodded back. "You wouldn't get up." He lifted a hand to gently run his finger against a mark coming up on her chin. "I could have given you a fireman's lift down the stair but I figured that wouldn't go down so well."

“I was tired.” She winced at the touch and looked away for a moment before frowning. “It looks worse than it is.” She lied not at all sure it was for him or for her.

Rather than address his concerns directly, Matt simply settled his palm against her cheek and then dropped it away entirely to rise and move behind the bar, loading a glass with ice before filling it with water and handing it to her. "I went out, a lot of the town's acting like it's a Sunday. Doesn't look like any of the pubs are opening, most of the cafes are closed. The general store on the corner was open but mostly empty. I grabbed you some stuff, I wasn't sure when you were heading back up to the castle." In the bag, seated next to the breakfast parcels, was a packet of painkillers and some Epsom salts.

"I had not considered my options yet." The woman admitted softly looking at the bag and took out the painkillers. She popped double the recommended dose and swallowed them, she was not past taking painkillers when she very much was in pain. "I had not considered anything but getting here and checking you were okay." Everyone else had been fine apart from him and she had worried that if Robert has been involved he might have discovered Matt but Matt seemed to have his own defences so she was less worried about him.

"I know you probably need to get back." As much as his tone was understanding, there was reluctance too, or at least a tinge of regret. "Breakfast first, though," Matt smiled as he gestured towards the greasy packages. "Greggs is still open, of course."

"Eventually. People will be more worried about me." She said sadly wishing she had more time to spend with him but normality needed to be brought back for the kids as well as the local community to make it seem like it was nothing to do with them. "Of course they are." She chuckled picking up a package and started to tuck in.

"Take more than a series of catastrophes to close their doors," Matt joked, a little weakly. A hand reached up to scratch at his ear, and for a moment the pensive mutant seemed to be searching for the start to a difficult conversation. "There's a lot of speculation already. So soon after the attack at the station, people are jumpy. News reports seem to be all over the place but there's some big-wig claiming he and his wife were terrorised by mutants in their home. Practically burnt it to the ground." Concerned eyes watched her face. "Seems like it could get messy."

”It was only a matter of time.” Phoebe said sadly. They were going to be entering a tumultuous time with mutant hatred. “Lots of people want that to happen on both sides to justify their stance on the world.” Phoebe knew that neither side of the extreme would let it go.

"I still want to help." In the light of a new morning, it surprised even Matt somewhat that the urge hadn't faded. "I've been trying to think of how I can do it without cramping Leo's style."

He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth to buy himself time to proceed carefully.

"There's lots of talk of property prices in the area plummeting. People are wanting to sell up. I, uh... Leo and I have some money stashed away from Dad's estate. Never really knew what to do with it, wasn't as if investing in a single place was really our style." He cleared his throat nervously. "Might be a start, making things a bit more permanent here, at least while he's finishing up with you guys over the next few years. Would make me feel better to be out of here outside of work hours too. They're good people. I don't want them to get caught up harbouring a mutant they know nothing about."

Phoebe picked up an ice cube from the top of her drink and gingerly put it against her aching cheek. “Happening everywhere at the moment. But that is something you should be discussing with Leo and not someone who climbed through your window though I would love you to stay around.” She said in earnest. She wanted him stable and happy.

"I will." Dark eyes studied her carefully. "But I'm not just staying for him. You're all trying to make a difference, right? Push back, stick up for the underdog." Furrowed determination, whilst tempered by his usual reserved disposition, was no less pronounced for its lack of pomp and circumstance. "That doesn't feel like something I want to ignore anymore."

“Right.” The woman said softly. She did not see herself as the underdog but she knew what he was trying to say. “It’s quite attractive when you speak like that.” She said flirting just a little to temper what was being said and what needed to be said.

It was, as he was sure she was only too aware, the last thing Matt had expected Phoebe to say. Coyness rendered him a little lost for words, and a sheepish laugh saw him drag his hand backwards through his hair. "Not the intention but good to know." He watched her for a moment and then reached across to wipe a pastry crumb gently from her chin. "I like this early-morning look," he reciprocated, though it drew immediate attention to the fact they'd spent the night together for the first time and done little more than sleep. He cleared his throat again. "And climbing through my window's not the worst way to get me to stick around."

“Maybe next time it will involve less pain killers and ice on my cheek.” She said softly putting the ice down and putting her hand over his. “Thank you for everything last night.” It was not easy for her to own that she needed the rest and him but she said is aloud.

"I'm glad you felt you could come here." With a tired huff of laughter, Matt added, "And that you remembered you could." His expression softened towards a more thoughtful hesitation. "My window's always open. Well, you might have to jimmy it a bit, it's too cold to leave it actually open." In a rare moment of boyish mischief, he winked.

“I am falling for you fast.” She said smiling at his wink. He needed to know that after everything she had rushed there to check on him. “Your abilities do not work unless you really want to force the subject. I’m sure it will but just here and now it won’t.” She was sure that if he forced the subject she’s not be able to resist his ability to make her forget. She almost wished she could forget last night.

As far as comments went, they were a hell of a combination to hit a person with. Taking a moment to sit with both, Matt eventually leaned across to plant a kiss on the bridge of her nose. For the time being, at least, it seemed to have avoided injury. "I will admit, I didn't factor in meeting anyone all the way out here. I haven't been tempted," he reassured gently. "If anything, I've been waiting for it to happen naturally but apparently I've met my match."

She closed her eyes at the kiss on her nose. She was not going to break but she was thankful that he was taking lengths to not hurt her more. “I am most people’s match. Most likely why I’ve been single a while.” She laughed relieved that he did not run a mile at her revelation.

Not to do her a disservice, Matt had spent a good portion of the previous night in front of the television reflecting on her powers and the challenges they posed. She had been asleep for most of it and, as he'd trailed fingers through her fiery locks, there hadn't been a lot of desire to ply her with questions anyway. Most of Matt's understanding of the scope of mutant potential had been learned firsthand through the powers he'd personally encountered. He didn't know a lot about pre-cogs, only that they were considered rare and, in some circles, highly valuable. That, more than consideration of his own vulnerability, had struck him the most. He couldn't imagine that his future was peppered with all that much intrigue and, as a man very used to closing the door on things, Matt wasn't even sure that he was very curious to find out. His entire existence had involved snuffing out any trace of itself; if anything, he had to wonder whether she found him exceedingly dull.

"Either that or you've just encountered a lot of blind, stupid idiots."

“Mostly likely both. A lot of men do not like a strong and straightforward woman.” She said with a shrug. It was hard to fathom why she found him irresistible other than the fact he was handsome but she did and she liked the way he generally seemed to care and she could not forsee that changing. “I am just happy you are you.”

"Too much effort to be someone else," he smiled ruefully. It was not without some chagrin for past mistakes but his was hardly an unusual story. Life hadn't been easy, he'd done what he'd need to at the time. "And, ultimately, not a lot of point to it if I can turn a corner and cease to exist. I figured out a while back that altering memories wasn't really necessary. It's, uh. I don't like that I can. Staying off their radar's a lot different to filling a person's heads with lies. It got..."

He'd never really tried to talk about it before and, though he still wasn't sure he wanted to now, there didn't seem a better way to do this differently than to open up the parts of himself that he usually left tucked away.

"Addictive," he admitted. "I was a shit of a kid really, took advantage way too much of being able to set things up however I wanted them."

“You can try all you want, Matt, but I might just have a post it note set up somewhere to remind me of things.” She grinned at him appreciating the candour that he was using. It was needed between then. “But I appreciate you sharing with me that things have been different for you.”

The repeated threat brought a twinkle to Matt's eyes, though his attention drifted thoughtfully towards further disclosure, or at least what he was comfortable talking about for the time being. "It's not really that complicated," he decided in the end. "For a long while, I was too focused on what I could get away with, how I could make my life easier by dodging around responsibility." He lowered his gaze. "The foster system's horrendous enough when you're not a mutant. Wasn't much easier after I got placed, though things did change a bit when Leo wound up on the scene. Once it was just the two of us, it became less about what I could get away with and more about what he needed from me." Looking at her again, he smiled faintly. "It's a work in progress."

“We are all a work in progress, Matt.” Phoebe could not judge in the slightest. Everyone was work in progress whether mutants or human. It was just harder for mutants as they had abilities that were not always easy to control. She slowly stood from her seat and moved to stand in front of him. “I want to work with you and be part of that progress if that’s okay.” She whispered touching his jaw gently with her thumb.

He'd have been lying if he'd try to say some of the old compulsion to run wasn't there. Habits were hard to break and Matt had done a pretty thorough job of setting his in stone. He wasn't a teenager anymore, though, and whether he liked the responsibility adulthood was intent on thrusting him into or not, he was stuck with it. Somehow, the idea of facing it alone had less appeal than risking the complications of trying to make something work. At the very least, he could make sure she remained on the upright-and-walking side of okay, even if her current state left him impatient to do a little better than that.

His large hand settled over hers and, lifting it slightly, he pressed a kiss to her palm. "You should take a bath before you head back." It was a practical answer and probably not the one she'd been looking for, so he added, "I'll be here."

The woman raised an eyebrow and looked at him confused. “Maybe. Once I’ve finished some food.” She compromised having not expected that answer at all.

A sheepish, almost embarrassed smile saw Matt avert his eyes for a second. He was out of practise, certainly not all that adept at thinking on his feet since his normal strategy was to just stand there whilst the rest of the world accommodated itself around him. He hadn't meant to stomp on the tender moment, the Epsom Salts had been a moment of empathy but he realised now that it did probably seem kind of odd. "You can take the stuff with you too if it's easier."

“Stuff?” She questioned shifting away to look in the bag. “Ah. That’s makes sense. Practical.” She approved with a nod and a smile. Epsom Salt had never been proven but just soaking in warm water with it could help relax muscles and loosen tensions. All the things she currently has in abundance thanks to the previous day.

Matt offered a self-depreciating shrug. "Figured I'd help with the small stuff first." His dark eyes studied her for a moment, still absorbing her overture, and the fact that she seemed intent on exerting effort to stay in his life. "Do you, um." He stopped, uncertain of how to phrase the question. "I'll probably spend the week doing some research, do you want to, you know, check out some houses with me maybe? At some point?" He winced slightly at the inelegance. "I have no idea what I'm doing, I could use the second opinion."

“Small stuff are the most important.” She said softly. She had been confused but now she had gone through the thought process she was struck by how incredibly sweet it was. “Completely. I have brought and sold a couple of houses so I know what to look for.” She promised leaning out to touch his hand.

She had, Matt decided, probably lived and functioned as an adult for years longer than he'd ever attempted and he was struck for a moment by the naivety of thinking he could go about the rest of his days living off the radar. Existing, yes, but living? This was the first time in a very long time that the mutant felt any sort of concern regarding the passive effect of his powers, the repercussions that weren't intentional and therefore fell mostly outside of his control. Watching the world burn around him didn't seem all that appealing, now that it was fast becoming a possibility.

A finger caught beneath her chin gave him a moment to regard the emerging blemishes that spoke of her recent struggles and then provided leverage for a tender kiss that lingered. He couldn't do anything about his failure to be there this time but the future; that was something he could work on.


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