For so long, Xephyr has been cold. It is a given since his natural element, the darkness, bears no warmth. However, Xephyr never realized just how cold he could become until he lacked his brother’s presence. Nexus is the living, breathing embodiment of light. He is all warmth, heat, fire, sun. But at the same time, Xephyr assumes that Nexus burns up at times to an unbearable degree without him and his darkness. Dark and Light cannot exist without one another. It defies all laws of Nature. Nexus and Xephyr always balanced one another out, but on their own…On their own, each boy is an absolute, fucking, self-destructive mess.
Before Xephyr, it is his dark element that picks up on Nexus being nearby. A mere glance at his shadow mirrors a sudden vigilance in the dark doppelganger. The edges of the boy’s shadow flicker erratically. Slowly, ink tendrils of the darkness cast upon the ground slither towards one direction. They lead Xephyr to his brother. Before Xephyr even utters one word to Nexus, he picks up on fragments of his brother’s voice. Whatever Nexus says is nearly incoherent muttering, but Xephyr catches the pent up frustration, the suffocating anger lacing the younger boy’s tone. It’s so strikingly different in contrast to how Nexus spoke before - with warmth, with softness, with laughter echoing between each word. Looks like Xephyr is not the only one who grew jaded and cynical during these past few weeks. Months.
Finally, Nexus lifts his heavy eyes to meet Xephyr’s gaze. Xephyr narrows his eyes as he studies the boy with extreme scruntiny. Something is…off about Nexus. Xephyr doesn’t understand why Nexus is pleading at him when Xephyr hasn’t done anything yet. No indication of attack. No sign of threat. Does merely his presence set Nexus on the edge? Is this what they have both come to? Xephyr does not blame Nexus. How can he? The person he loves the most is wearing the skin of a wolf, a beast, a monster. Or maybe Xephyr has always been one at the very core of his being. It was only Nexus who made Xephyr good.
Xephyr almost closes his eyes when his inner darkness snaps, but he keeps them wide open. He will not run anymore. He will not hide. Nexus’ face remains fairly unfathomable and difficult to read, but even now, the boy’s eyes give him away. There is something fractured to those blue hues, and - dare he say it - lack of luster. Dim. Dull. Xephyr frowns when he sees that the explosion caused an injury upon his twin. Silently, Xephyr pulls off his gloves, then shoves them into his pocket. He reaches out to touch his brother’s face. This is the first time in god knows how long that Xephyr’s skin makes contact with the flesh of another. The fabric of those gloves always provided Xephyr a barrier, so that he could keep himself detatched from his targets. But he doesn’t want to cap one in Nexus, and drag him back to GeneCo. All he wants, for now, is to wipe the trickle of blood off that pale cheek. Xephyr exhales a soft sigh as he runs the back of his fingers down Nexus’ face. A subtle, yet significantly intimate gesture. Xephyr’s eyes flicker with pain and extreme concern. “Nex,” he says in a barely audible whisper. "You’re cold."This isn’t right. Nexus should keep all the warmth to himself. Not let his light gravitate towards him. "Too cold."
Xephyr freezes at Nexus’ following words. Did he just…? “Nexus,” Xephyr says oh-so slowly with chary, “Mother is dead. Gone.” He shifts his hand to brush the too long bangs out of Nexus’ eyes. “She’s not here anymore.” Just as Xephyr is about to give genuinely comforting words, reassure Nexus like he always has, Nexus breaks off into a tirade. Xephyr withdraws his hand as if he was burned. He stares at Nexus with a stricken expression. Each and every word digs deeper into Xephyr’s body than any blade, any scalpel, any knife. The pain is far more excruciating than all of his “training excersies” and “conditioning programs” put together.
But Xephyr does not backdown. He does not play passive. Yes, he may be so fucking tired of fighting, but if it’s for his brother, Xephyr will not surrender easily. Even if it’s fighting against his brother. "You were going to die, Nexus.” The declaration comes out in a sharp hiss. “You were running out of time. Even if we put all of our savings together, it wouldn’t have been fucking enough to save you. We couldn’t even use Alyix’s credits, because he’s been fucked over by GeneCo. And then there was always the danger of any or all of you being taken by them.” Xephyr clenches his fists tightly at his sides. With no gloves, now he can dig his nails into his palms. He lets the skin break. Pain. He needs the pain for release. “I swore to protect and save all of you. I did what had to be done. I even gave you my fucking heart, and here you are, wasting yourself away to goddamned, blasted Zydrate!”
The boy grits his teeth when Nexus goes on about his daily woes. "Well, I’m glad you have Zydrate and Mom. At least you’re not alone, huh?" He gives a sardonic laugh. "You know who I have, Nexus? This one dick in the superior ranks of GeneCo that’s got me to be his bitch. I get on my knees for him just so he doesn’t give an order to fucking drown Axis in an ocean, or rip all of Alycaide’s wires out." Just because he’s an X-ECUTOR doesn’t mean he’s stopped being a whore. If he needs to suck one off to keep his brothers alive, then so, be it. “I’m so fucking disappointed in you, Nexus.”
His blue hues harden like glaciers as he watches Nexus step away from him. “Cat and mouse?” he echoes. “Fuck you, Nexus. I’m tired of playing games.” Too bad for Nexus, but Xephyr is not in the mood to amuse the his brother. Xephyr just lifts a hand. He snaps his fingers. Nexus’ own shadow expands into a black hole that causes the boy to fall right through it. Xephyr snaps his fingers again to create another null void right before him. As soon as Nexus is surfacing, Xephyr reaches down to grab the back of the boy’s collar. He pulls Nexus out, then throws him onto the ground. Xephyr keeps Nexus pinned underneath him with a hand fisting the front of the boy’s shirt.
"I loved you." His words are broken. Is it because of his ragged breathing? Or the emotions he refuses to acknowledge? “And I still love you. I don’t go a day of my life without thinking about you, missing you, wanting to see you. But…well.” He glances at the track marks on Nexus’ skin. "I can see damned well now that our feelings weren’t always mutual." Xephyr releases his hold on Nexus. He stands up straight. "If this is the life you want, then fine. I’ll go on a kamikaze mission to break Alycaide and Axis out. They’ll be free." He turns away. “I’ll die in their place.” Xephyr had other plans in rescuring those boys. Plans in which he at least took self-preservation into consideration for Nexus’ sake. But now, Xephyr sees how his brother does not need him. If so, then why stay? Maybe Xephyr was right and wrong. Darkness cannot exist without Light, but Light can still shine without the Darkness. Xephyr Kodex has no place in this world - not when his world, his universe is Nexus.
Nexus hadn’t bothered with keeping track of time in these recent months. Keeping track of himself was difficult enough considering just how much his addiction had grown. Grown with good reason, seeing as the younger twin had no need to stop. No reason to, really. Nexus, however, had all the more reason to increase. Mother was far too prominent in his hazed days, far too…vocal. She brought her little ‘presents’ to him, however. Sometimes Alycaide, sometimes Axis…Whenever Xephyr came to him by mothers side however—her ‘consent’—the poor boy didn’t sleep for days. Having to face his own reflection day in and day out, face the eyes of a boy—yes, he still considered himself a boy. The things he’d done in the absence of his brother, his brothers, they were childish. A cry. A terrible, strangled, warped cry out into the silence he’d let himself take on in defiance—for the wrath that had become his existence in such a short time—just a boy who had been abandoned. Betrayed. Left alone in the very world that had turned him away, rejected him…Turned away by the one person who never had. And how he suffered now, even more so physically then inside the confines of his own mind. His very being could only cope so much without Xephyr’s darkness, his shadows and contrast. It was a deep, burning ache. One that chilled him even in the face of the unbearable heat his luminescence would so lovingly remind him he harbored. So was it such a wonder to thin that he’d much rather forget? Forget what made him, who made him, and just how slowly he was truly rotting from the inside out just being away from that all-consuming force. From Xephyr. He would never admit, though, even as he lay on the ground breathing hitched; smirk creeping along those chapped and burgundy stained lips. He would never admit just how much he longed to hold, to be held, to feel as if he wasn’t the one stitched and sewn together like a rag doll barely holding on. Nexus would much rather this all just be another hallucination, and deep down? It didn’t take much to sway the poor boys judgment.
Nexus’ tone is not anything new. His demeanor, his posture, his way of speaking is just a caricature of all he’d been taught in the weeks past. He had built this new persona—Ira— up after weeks of ridicule by fellow Graverobbers alike, despite their acceptance of him—which didn’t come cheap. They’d seen the light in him, fed from it like everyone in the end always craved to; let him know just how vulnerable he was. Taking advantage of him in all the worst possible ways. Nexus had been robbed of so much more being released than imprisoned in some GeneCo. Cell, surely. But he’d coped. He’d dealt. At first it had been toward the expectation of getting up, turning himself back around; to get out with the intention of finding his brothers and running like hell for that far-off dream of home. Of escaping, of salvaging the confusion that had engulfed him. But he’d been shut out at the front gates. Told of lines drawn by the very men who had hunted him all those years he’d run free by the side of his brother. Nexus had been told of the heart beating in his chest and just what contract his newfound life served under. The barrier on his mind had been broken then it seemed, all innocence spilling out over the ridged edges, letting in the horror of a worlds’ tainted motivations. It was in those weeks Mother had come to him. And now she never seemed to leave… So no. Nexus did not believe in this coincidence. Did not believe his brother, his once-love, could truly have come to him. Not in this universe, not after all he’d done. Or no—perhaps, yes. To spite him. Just like mother had all these weeks passed.
Nexus can feel his brother’s presence nearing him, but he doesn’t move. He blames Zydrate. Blames tire and wear. The crimson slit on his cheek gives off a faint sting. The warm trickling sensation comforts him. It is soft, light. He hasn’t been this close to another, save Murdoc, in far too long—for that reason alone. Not all touches are soft, warm…not like they used to be. Nexus had grown accustomed to hard hands, cold sarcastic remarks whispered among drugged-up hazes promising protection and reprieve. He’d allowed himself to fall victim. And he’d honestly been repulsed by the very thought of touch, even now. It makes his body shift, the thought of contact in his current state. But from his brother, even if just a mimic of the boy brought into being by his own thoughts, Nexus cannot deny he craves it. It doesn’t stop him from pulling away, just in slight, at the touch. His body defies him, mind even more so. Cold. Nexus, you’re so cold. “Can’t help it.” He whispers in hush with a light shrug of his shoulder, lips pursed, eyes closed. His voice is almost too weak for his newfound demeanor, but he can’t stop the change in himself. Not with Xephyr. His brother skin brushes his, warranting a ripple of chills from deep inside his chest. His heart—Xephyr’s heart—and his own luminescence reacts, nearly burning a hole in his skull as his hues react to the reconnection, forcing his eyes to re-open. Forcing him to see. “It’s one or the other, Xeph’.” Nexus laughs, eyes rising in slow. “Either I’m burning up,” Nexus’ glacier blues flash to a brilliant gold, luster so obviously drained as they flicker between gradient hues. “Or I can’t feel anything at all.” Nexus touches gingerly at his brothers fingers, smile softening to what could have been mistaken for honest sincerity, for something resembling the boy they’d all once known, but no; it is just a flicker, then it’s gone. Replaced by doubt, by hurt, by pain. He pulls Xephyrs’ touch from his wound, shaking his head. “One or the other.” He whispers, dropping his glance.
“She’s not gone, Xeph’.” Nexus reasons, like he always did when defied in the face of what he thought to be his hallucinations, a subtle rise in his tone. Like a child proving a proud point. “She never left me, you damn well know.” All those soft whispers, of doubt, of ridicule…Mother had been there, slumbering, waiting. Xephyr had kept her at bay, kept Nexus safe. But in those weeks, those months away from his brother—she’d come. Full force. And there was no one to tell Nexus the things she spoke were untrue. “ But you were there, all those times. All those nights…Weren’t you?” And suddenly Nexus is a child. Shunned, denied. Crying out with soft anger, trying to keep the voices at bay. The strongest of them all trying to deny the beautiful boy in front of him was ever real. “You were there. You kept her away, kept me fucking safe. Were. Kept. What am I left to now, Xeph’?” Nexus hisses. “Who am I left to now?” Nexus is pleading more for himself than any other. “You’ll never hear me out.” And Nexus truly believes that, despite the reality and form of Xephyr who is wholy, truly, here before him. Nexus just keeps his wall built and bricked. Keeps the fantasy—ironic as it may be—real. “You’ll never know.”
Nexu’s smile, the one reverently redeemed with the name of Ira returns however at his brothers’ heavy words, a soft curve slipping in, skeptical despite it all; hues averted in their usual manner. He was here, yet he wasn’t. Always. Nexus simply couldn’t bring himself to meet Xephyrs’ gaze in those moments. For what had been said. Truth had become such a burdened virtue, Nexus wasn’t sure he could appreciate the honest sincerity he though his own mind created in his brothers voice. Created. Like said before, Nexus would much rather forget…Much easier to forget a memory, forget a hallucination, if you believe you yourself brought it into existence. And the Zydrate at a constant in his system? Well, that certainly didn’t help things along much. Nexus perks his head to the side at that single word. Dissapointed. Dissapointment. A small change in expression falls across his features, vulnerability slipping through the cracks, anger and anguish working at fast-pace to patch up the spills. “What’s better?” His voice was slow as his burning hues resumed their target, the very sight of his other etching his figure back into the sensitive flesh of Nexus’ mind. “A disappointment in life—A disappointment because of something you can’t control. A need you can’t resist…” Nexus swallowed once, holding back a bit of laughter before stepping forward, just inches from the boy he would have given anything to have hold him once more. Just once. “A need your own mind has created in a futile attempt to…cope.” Mother. Nexus ran his scarred palm down the leather binding on the chest padding of Xephyrs’ jacket, smirking at the sensation it brought to him, eyes focused on anything but those eyes. His hallucinations always touched him, beat him, bruised and cut him—but never the other way around. Perhaps he had gotten worse? It wouldn’t have surprised him. The thought of needing more Zydrate, it was almost welcomed. “In a world that warranted your death, condemned it…” Nexus paused, fingers dancing over the laced stitching of the seal that deemed his brother property of GeneCo. He retched his hand away from the brand, blinking hard, glance flickering. “I should be dead.” A small note of anger flashed on the boys features. “Xephyr I-I love you, but-” Nexus words trip over themselves, body and mind trying frantically to keep up with the broken damn letting the flood through. The thought of his brother being forced to…All because of the defection Nexus had been born with. All because, in the end, of Nexus. Responsibility took its toll, blame even more so. But Nexus had been alone, he’d been fine. Without doubt, without blame. With just mother and all her little playthings. “I should be dead.” Nexus’s voice silenced. That was a fact, a reality they’d both been so bent on avoiding. But now, with all that had been done…What was death anymore to a boy who walked the line of both, never truly seeing either?
His brother’s hold on him is expected, as were much of the beatings he’d taken in recent weeks. Most, to his knowledge, were self-inflicted. He’d sworn otherwise, sworn Alycaide or Axis had come back, blamed him; beat him. Like now. Nexus would have rather it been a beating than the words that followed. Nexus let out a short laugh at the pain rising on his back, the small pebbles and sharp debris cutting into the exposed flesh at his spine. He leans his head back, heat on his tongue as his lips perk up in a short moment before speaking. But he stops. Rather, words stop him. Love. Nexus’ brows pull together, smile straining. No. This was not how it was meant to go. Never had his hallucinations been so cruel, so kind, so creative. They blamed and bantered, beat and broke. They never delve into the fantasies, the needs that Nexus so craved. But they had. Xephyr had. Nexus pulls himself up after his brother, eyes searching, body bracing. But the beating never comes. Realrealreal. His mind is screaming. Reality began to seep into the haze he’d injected into his flesh. No, this isn’t?, Nexus whispers over and over to himself. How could any of this be real? Nexus had been fine with the ghosts of his past, fine with Mother, fine…But to have and to have been able to hold his brother before him, to have had him. “This was all that welcomed me.” Nexus ran a palm over his throat, touching, feeling the soft stings of still open wounds there. His voice remained stoic, questioning. His eyes watched his brother, ears at alert to the implicated coming-of-ends. Of his brothers end. Nexus didn’t even have time to warrant his reaction before his body stepped forward of its own accord. Nexus pulled the other boy toward him, turning him around with a forceful shove, keeping his hands on his brothers chest. “And just what is that going to solve?!” A pitch higher in desperation, fear, surprise. All components that didn’t fit who he was now. They were just an echo, but Nexus continued. “I’m the one that’s supposed to fuck up, okay?” More expletives, courtesy of Ira. Trickles of the old Nexus slipped through in the form of a wary glance, shaking limbs, and burning eyes. “I’m the one who’s all gone-to-hell bat-shit crazy, messed up, and chop-shopped from the inside out, alright?” Nexus felt his breathing shudder as he caught it once more and he hated it. But the words kept pouring. He wanted it to stop. Wanted this nightmare to rip itself apart at the seams, like his chest to its stitching. “If-if you’re here, Xeph’—“ Nexus touches feverishly at the boys chest again, running trembling fingers across his brothers collar bone, up his throat, and against his temple. “If you’re here you listen to me. You just-you-you fucking listen.” The younger twin blinks, gripping his brother’s collar, holding it tight as his own eyes struggled to face those of the boy before him. “You don’t fuck up. You don’t get yourself killed. Because I can live with that. I can live without you if that means you’ll be alive. You’ll be…okay. It doesn’t matter what I wanted. What I want.” His words are blurring, vision even more so. “Because all I’ve wanted was you, was us, was our family. But if you go and blow yourself to hell, where does that leave me, huh? With a hole in my chest, with a heart that no longer belongs to anyone? With Mother.” Nexus pulls himself away, arms wrapped around his own thinning frame as his mind reels itself forward, trying to make sense out of all that has consumed him. Consumed them. “And I don’t want to be alone again, I don’t, but-but you’re okay. You’re alive. Aly’ and Axis—“ Nexus felt his breath hitch on those names, laughter falling through at the absurdity of his own being in those moments. “Maybe I can just go on. For a little long, huh?” A questioning in his tone surprised even him. Nexus raised his eyes, remembering just for a moment how real his hallucinations could be. How deceiving. So his voice softened expression hardening. “But if you’re not here…that’s okay, too. That’s okay, too.” But it wouldn’t be. Nexus would need more and more to fill this hole. More Zydrate. More beatings. More abuse and advantages stolen from him. But he’d welcome it all, if to just erase that pain.