The boy was no older than six, and clearly shaken up from being caught up in the battle. [b "I promise, you're safe with us. We're going to protect you. My name is Alex. Can you tell me yours?"]
[i "Lucas,"] the boy whispered back.
[b "Lucas. It's nice to meet you, Lucas,"] Alex tried to keep his voice light. [b "If you come out, we can take a look at that bump on your head, okay?"]
It took a few more minutes of coaxing, but eventually the little sandy-haired boy wiggled out into the open. He had a nasty bruise forming on his forehead, which was already swollen. When he saw Azazel approaching, Alex rested a hand on the boy's shoulder. [b "This is my friend. He's going to take you back to the castle to get checked up by a doctor, okay? He's not going to hurt you. I'll pinky swear that you'll be okay."]
He held out his finger and waited for the boy to crook his tiny pinky around his in return. [b "Brave boy. There'll be food for you to eat when you get there. You look pretty hungry. Maybe they'll have a cake waiting."]
With a flicker of a smile, Lucas held a shaky hand for Azazel to take. In a flash, the two were gone. Moments later, the red mutant returned to continue collecting survivors. Alex was back on his feet and walking to Ari. [b "This was a disaster,"] he sighed, looking at the half-crumbled buildings.
Ari watched Alex quietly and then signaled for Azazel. "Take that boy and any other survivors back to my castle, please?"
Alex gripped her hand tightly, unsure of how else he could comfort her. Bodies littered the ground, but his heart clenched when he realized that most were casualties. Across the debris, huddled as far back into a corner as he could get, Alex spotted a small boy. [b "Oh fuck,"] he breathed, dropping her hand and rushing over.
[b "Hey buddy, it's okay,"] he crouched when he reached him, trying to meet his level. [b "We're the good guys."]
She nodded and kissed his cheek. "Let's see if there's any survivors around."
[b "Charles will be more than willing to help. I swear, he has more money than he knows what to do with. He donates most of it to charities, and the rest on housing and training us. He'll give us what we need to get this place fixed,"] Alex assured her.
ari sighed and looked around the village. "we'll have to help them fix the village after the war..."
[i "We're fighting a war. Might as well have some fun while we're at it,"] she shrugged, joining them.
[b "It's great that you can play both the good cop and the bad cop. Slightly terrifying, but great,"] Alex smiled.
"mystique, you wanna with our prisoners?" ari asked jokingly and smiled at the woman.
Alex crooked an eyebrow and glanced over to Mystique. [b "She's pretty good at intimidation. And she can make herself look like whatever she wants. Interrogating is right up her alley."]
she nodded and said. "we'll need someone who's good at interrogation..."
[b "Yes, Your Majesty,"] he pressed a kiss to her forehead and tightened his arms around her.
Michael joined them shortly after, looking out of breath but otherwise unharmed. [i "We have a few prisoners chained up. We thought we could use them as leverage. See what their boss' strategies are."]
"I'll be fine for now." She said and leaned against him a little tired. "Just hold me for a few."
[b "The village seems to have emptied itself out, for the most part. I'm sure there's an unlocked house or apartment that we can commandeer to clean up,"] he brushed some hair away from her face.
"i'm fine. just need a shower..." she said looking up at him and touched his cheek gently. "thank you for being so brave."
[b "Are you okay?"] Alex moves closer to rest his hands on her arms, looking her over for any minuscule injury she may have obtained. [b "Nothing too severe?"]
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