by heyjupiter/Renata of Doom (renata@...
Summary: Magneto angsts, tries to recruit some new mutants, then angsts
Archive: Sure, just let me know. renata@...
Notes: Vague sequel to my fic "Strange". But you don't have to have read
that to read this, although it might enhance it a bit? 5th in my series
of X-Men movieverse fics based on Tori Amos' album Scarlet's Walk; the
first four being "Withered", "Strange", "Skipping School", and "On
Scarlet's Walk". (Each stands alone, they're only connected by using
songs from the same album.)
Pleaase send feedback if you read this! (No, I'm not too proud to beg!)
(Lyrics are "Sweet Sangria" by Tori Amos.)
Mystique's departure had left Erik shaken. He was outraged at Senator
Kelly's enforced retirement; couldn't she think about how useful it was
for mutants to have an active voice in Congress? He had thought she was
just as dedicated to the cause of mutant rights as he was. And beyond
that, he realized, he viewed her leaving as a personal betrayal. He had
cared for her, and knew that she had felt likewise. And she hadn't even
said goodbye. But, Erik had dealt with abandonment before, and would do
it again. This just meant that he and St. John would have to redouble
their efforts to recruit mutants. It never failed to amaze Erik how
unwilling mutants seemed to be to fight for their own rights. But then,
most of them hadn't lived through what he had lived through; hadn't seen
how seemingly innocent the path to genocide begins...
You say that
The Good Guys
take "so are
me or not"
Not for the first time, Erik wished that he had access to something like
Cerebro. It would be most convenient to be able to locate mutants with
the relative ease that Charles could. Being that he could not, he would
have to settle for recruiting mutants he already knew about, or waiting
for them to come to him. As sitting around waiting was not usually Erik's
style, he considered each of the X-Men in turn, weighing the usefulness
of their abilities and the likelihood that they could be swayed to switch
sides. (Though he didn't really consider it switching sides... more like
switching to another perspective of the same side. After all, both he and
Charles wanted equality for mutants. Charles just had far more naive
thoughts about how to achieve this goal.) He did not think any of the
adult X-Men would be easily convinced-- Cyclops was far too dedicated,
Storm too stubborn, Wolverine... ah, Wolverine might be a possibility. He
certainly had enough anger. And with those metal bones, he'd be easy
enough to control. He made a mental note to find out more about him.
Nightcrawler, he didn't think would be a possibility. If Mystique
couldn't exploit the orphan's desire to learn more about his family, he
didn't think what else would convince him.
As for the children... he had correctly gauged St. John's attitude, maybe
the boy could help him find more students who would be likely to see
their point of view. He decided to pay him a visit; it wouldn't do for
the boy to feel neglected. He walked down the hall to the room St. John
had chosen in the large rural mansion that was currently serving as their
base. They had chosen it for its relative proximity to Washington, DC
despite its isolated location. It wasn't the ideal spot for planning a
guerrilla war against humanity, but it was certainly more comfortable
than their last dungeonesque hideout, he mused. He knocked on the door.
"St. John? May I come in?"
"Oh, ah, sure!" The door opened, revealing what Erik supposed must be a
typical teenage room, as he had no reason to suspect St. John of being
excessively slovenly. He looked with distaste at the piles of clothes,
books, and CDs that had been strewn about. St. John must have noticed his
roaming eyes, for he quickly stammered an apology about the mess. Erik
"It is your room, you may do what you like with it. I have come to speak
with you of rather more important matters... could you please turn that
stereo off? Thank you."
"Yeah... what is it that you wanted to talk about?" asked St. John as he
fumbled with the stereo.
"As you know, Mystique has recently... taken some time off. It is
important that we have as many mutants as possible, who believe as we do
that mutants are a superior form of humanity, and one that needs to fight
back against the imminent oppressive steps that humankind will take
"So you wanna know if any of my old buddies at Xavier's academy would be
interested in turning traitor?"
"St. John! Fighting for the rights of mutants is not traitorous, it is
something to be proud of. However, I am indeed hoping that you could name
some mutants who would be likely to join us." Erik was pleased to note
that this conversation had had quite the desired effect on St. John-- not
only would he hopefully be able to name some mutants, he also felt
trusted. Involved. It would only serve to further cement his dedication
to the cause, and to Erik himself.
"Right. Well... lemme think. Rogue's right out, I'd say... she's not too
happy about you trying to kill her and all."
"A necessary sacrifice, my boy. Xavier is naive to believe that bloodless
wars can be fought."
"Well... Rogue didn't quite see it that way." He shrugged. "Bobby's
probably out too, he's so head over heels for her. Piotr might be a
possibility, but I kinda doubt it. He's got sort of a... you know, noble
streak, I guess?"
"Piotr? Who is that?"
"Oh... he's a pretty new student, I guess. He's from Russia... he can
turn his skin into organic steel, it's pretty cool."
"Interesting. Please continue."
"Well, there's Kitty, she can walk through walls and stuff. I wasn't that
good of friends with her, she was kind of, y'know... girly. She was smart
and all, I mean... but like, she talked a lot. So I don't really know if
she'd... see things our way or not. Um... oh, and there's Jubilee. She
can make little firework things... what'd the professor-- I mean,
Xavier... call them? Pyrokinetic, I think."
"I see. And what is this... Jubilee like?"
"I didn't really know her that well either... um, I know her parents were
killed, and she's an only child... she was pretty good friends with
Kitty. They both liked clothes and shopping and stuff."
"So, is it likely that we might find these two out on a shopping excursion?"
"Oh, yeah! They went into the mall in Salem Center almost every Friday
after school got out, and usually on the weekend too."
"No... usually Jean went with them... um, but I guess probably Storm or
someone would have to take them now... but, usually she'd let them shop
around on their own."
"Hmm. Well, St. John, what would you say about a trip to Salem Center
"You mean you wanna try to recruit Jubilee and Kitty?"
"Actually, I was thinking of just focusing our persuasive efforts on
Jubilee... does this seem like a wise course of action to you?"
"Oh... yeah, she might be easier to convince." He paused. "And then if
she joins us, it'd be easier to convince Kitty!"
she's been gone
have you seen
He did rather wish Mystique hadn't walked out. This whole plan would
have been much simpler if she had been around to help. And besides, he
had gotten rather... accustomed to her. He admired her ferocity, her
intelligence, her dedication... well, her former dedication. They had
made a good team. But no sense dwelling; Mystique would be impossible
to find if she didn't want to be found, and he had more pressing
concerns at the present. He mused over the information Pyro had given
him regarding the two mutant girls.
Thursday night, he and St. John began the long drive up to Salem Center,
New York. (The FFA did not take kindly to unauthorized aircraft,
particularly this close to Washington, DC, and while Erik knew he could
easily have taken care of that problem, he did not want news of anything
suspicious reaching the X-Men and possibly alerting them of his plan.) So
they drove on, and he even let St. John control the radio, such was the
sunny state of his mood.
They arrived at the mall around 3PM, and St. John showed him the stores
that the girls would most likely shop at-- "Express", "Gap", "The
Limited"... odd names, all, Erik thought. Erik was dressed simply, in
slacks and a polo shirt, and he was certain that no one-- save the
X-Men-- would recognize him, unless he suddenly started mentally throwing
cars around. He was a mutation, not a face.
"Now, St. John. I will be somewhere out of sight, but you can always
contact me with your radio if you need help. Do not start a conflict; you
do not want to draw attention to yourself. I will see to it that Jubilee
will be on her own, inside this store." He pointed at the Gap. "Then you
will talk to her, and convince her that helping us is in her best
interests. Do not force her, this needs to be her own decision. Any
"Well... how are you going to make sure Jubilee is on her own, what are
you going to do to Kitty?"
He opened his hand to reveal a small metal dart. "She'll be fine, in half
an hour or so. And she won't remember what happened, she'll think she
just fainted. Of course, when she tells her story back to the X-Men, they
might suspect something... but it'll be hard to prove it." He saw the
look of relief in St. John's eyes when he discovered that his former
friend wouldn't be killed. He knew how to keep loyalty, oh yes, he did.
"Okay... yeah, I'll try to convince her."
"Good." Without another word, Erik walked into the store and let himself
into a dressing room. He'd found that people rarely paid attention to
elderly white men, and of course it had never occurred to the employees
that anyone would want to break into their dressing rooms. He took a seat
and waited. He didn't have to wait long.
"Hey M- Erik?"
"Yes, St. John?" he replied quietly.
"Well, Kitty and Jubilee are here... but so are Rogue and Wolverine."
"I see." He was not altogether surprised; Rogue was a teenage girl as
well, it would be expected for her to be at the mall. And he knew that
Wolverine felt very protective toward her. He was glad he had brought
extra darts; he hoped to avoid a direct conflict. "Well, no matter.
Continue with the plan. Try not to let any of the others see you."
"Make sure that it isn't." Another pause.
"Okay, Rogue and Wolverine went... I don't know, somewhere else, and
Kitty and Jubilee went to Express, next door. So they'll probably be in
Gap next. Jubilee's wearing a yellow trenchcoat, and Kitty's wearing
jeans and a gray shirt."
"Excellent." Erik sighed with relief. This was going almost too well.
Soon he heard two giggling girls, and assumed it was them. It was still
early in the afternoon, and the mall was relatively empty. A quick update
in his ear soon confirmed this suspicion.
"That is too cute! You just have to try it on!"
"Omigosh! Okay, but only if you try on this!"
He quietly widened the keyhole of his dressing room and peered out. He
saw each girl enter a separate dressing room.
He opened the door, and walked down to the room he had seen Kitty enter.
Silently, a large hole widened in the metal doorknob, and he sent one of
the small darts flying directly into her arm. He smiled as he saw her
noiselessly crumple to the ground. Then he picked up his radio and said,
"St. John, you'd best come back here now!" Then he let himself back into
a dressing room, figuring it to be the best place to hide out.
He heard Jubilee step out, and say "Kitty? Hurry up already!" Then he
heard St. John walk up. "You know, that's not really your color."
"Who asked you?! Wait... John? Omigosh, what are you doing here? I
thought Magneto kidnapped you! Oh, Rogue will be so happy to see you!
"Jubilee, Magneto didn't kidnap me. I joined him. And I came back to see
"Just... can we go somewhere and talk?"
"Well... sure, how about the food court? Let me just tell Kitty."
"No... I already told Kitty. She's fine with it."
Foolish girl, thought Erik. But he was thankful for that.
St. John and Jubilee walked off, and all Erik could do was wait. He hated
Yeah you think
What you Believe
to you and me
He heard Kitty wake up. "Jubilee? Oh... I think I fainted! ... Jubilee,
are you still there? Hey!" She opened the dressing room, and he heard
her run out of the store. Erik picked up his radio. "St. John, you may
have company soon. Kitty has awakened and left the store."
He waited awhile longer, and finally heard St. John in his ear, "Hey
Erik, Jubilee says what we're saying makes sense. She wants to talk to
"Excellent. Where shall I meet you?"
"We're at the food court, in front of Sbarro. There'll be a map of the
mall on your left when you leave Gap."
"I will see you shortly."
Erik saw St. John sitting with a nervous-looking Asian-American girl. He
smiled. "Pleased to meet you, Jubilee."
"Um... hi, Magneto. I... I've been talking to John."
"Well... like, it makes sense, I mean... I kinda learned about humanity
after my parents died... I think... like, mutants need to make a stand."
She bit her lip. "Uh, but could you excuse me a minute? I have to, you
know, use the bathroom."
"Sure." After she had left, Erik smiled at St. John. "Excellent work, St.
John." The boy blushed.
Then they saw Jubilee walk back, holding a cell phone. Soon Rogue,
Wolverine, and Kitty all came running into the food court. "Scheiss."
"Jubilee! Are you okay?" Kitty called.
Wolverine didn't say anything, but his glare required no words.
"You didn't really think I'd leave the academy so easily, did you?"
smirked Jubilee. "I'm not one to take the easy way out."
Erik arched an eyebrow and said "Are you so sure that my way is the easy
way out? ... But I don't think we have time to get into that." He sighed.
"Pyro, I believe that our visit must end now."
"Do you think we're just gonna let you go?" Wolverine snarled.
"Yes, I rather think you are." Mentally, he reached out and grabbed the
metal coating of Wolverine's bones and held him in place. Then he put up
a magnetic field around himself and Pyro as they walked away. Jubilee
tried shooting her fireworks at him, but they bounced harmlessly off.
Rogue just looked at them sadly. "John..."
"I have to do this, Marie," he replied, not looking back.
Kitty ran toward them, but Wolverine called her back. "Just let them go,
Kitty." Erik smiled and let go of his skeleton. He and Pyro walked
steadily out toward the parking lot. He heard a mall security guard
shouting, but ignored him. The X-Men could deal with the humans, see what
the people they were trying to save were really like.
Much of their return drive was silent, although St. John once spoke up to
"Come now, it's not your fault. I expect you tried your best to persuade
the girl, but sometimes it can be hard for people to accept a new point
of view. They'd rather be blind to the obvious. One day they will all
understand that we were right. But you understand, don't you? That we
must fight, not only for ourselves, but for all of mutantkind?"
"Yes. I understand."
What you believe
to you and
When they returned to their rural home, Erik retreated to his quarters.
He needed to think. Not about recruiting more mutants; he was sure that
they would find others willing to join the cause in time. Rather, he
thought about Charles. They had once been close, had seen eye to eye on
many things. It was not to last, however, and soon they fought more and
more frequently. Erik had always thought of Charles as naive and overly
optimistic, convinced that peace was a possibility. He saw now that at
least he was prepared for a conflict, with his "X-Men". Still, however,
there were sacrifices he was unwilling to make. But Charles had grown up
pampered and wealthy, was unused to sacrifices. To stay alive in the
camps, Erik had sacrificed everything-- his pride, his dignity, perhaps
his humanity. ... The only time he had ever truly been angry with Charles
had been when he compared Erik's plans for mutant superiority to the
Nazi's Aryan superiority. He had been so outraged, shouting that ht was
only trying to protect mutants. To prevent another Nazi invasion. Now he
wondered if he had gone too far... if indeed Charles had been right that
evening, if he was willing to become that which he hated in order to
protect himself-- and his people (mutants, not Jews-- he wasn't sure if
he had given up on God or if God had given up on him first, but somewhere
along the line they had fallen out long ago). Even if he was... wasn't it
better? Weren't there some things worth losing?
He thought back to when the girl, Rogue, had been his prisoner. She had
asked if he was going to kill her, and he had said yes... In private,
Mystique had asked him if there wasn't another way, if he and Rogue could
work together to power the machine, so neither one of them would have to
die. He told her no, and she nodded. Had never said another word about
it. He had thought she had understood. Maybe she had. But he still
wondered what had caused her to leave so suddenly. Maybe she was having
second thoughts, was not willing to accept the deaths of innocents.
Erik knew better, knew that no one was really innocent. The kind of
hatred that leads to the slaughter of 12 million people-- men, women,
children-- lurks just beneath the skin, waiting for an excuse to come to
And if some were squeamish, well, that was their prerogative. But he
would not, could not, sit idly by and watch another attempted genocide.
Drop him at
time and time
But what about
I ask you
It gave Erik a small amount of pleasure to know that, although he had not
initially set out to have St. John-- or any of the students join him,
Charles would know the pain of betrayal. It was nothing compared to the
pain of being betrayed by one's own wife, who couldn't stand to live with
a man with strange powers. He had tried to explain to her-- that they had
let Anya die, had refused to let him save his beautiful, innocent
daughter. They deserved to die. But she had been terrified of his powers,
of his rage. And so he had lost his daughter and his wife the same day.
Sometimes he wondered what would have happened... if Magda had not left
him, if Anya had not died... Would he have been able to convince Magda to
agree with him? Would Anya have been a mutant? ... but too late for such
thoughts. Only he was left, the sole remnant of the happy family that had
briefly existed. For a short time, when he and Mystique and Pyro had
shared the mansion... it had almost been like a family. But once more, he
had been betrayed, and he and St. John hardly made a family. They were
just two angry men, alone together.
Sitting at his desk in the bedroom that he had once shared, Erik idly
began to play with the steel balls that hung suspended above it. Mystique
used to tease him about his makeshift Newton's cradle-- "Boys and their
balls," she had laughed. But it helped him relieve stress in a harmless
manner. He watched them swing, and thought. Every action has an equal and
opposite reaction. Maybe that applied to relationships... love, and be
hated in return. It was a silly thought, he knew, and yet... it seemed to
apply to him.
He was growing sentimental in his old age. He pushed back the emotion. It
would only be a hindrance to his plans.
she's been gone
have you seen
Yeah you think about that
Glancing at his watch, Erik realized he'd spent more time in reverie
than he had realized. He headed downstairs to eat dinner with St. John.
He prepared a simple meal-- salad and sandwiches-- and they ate it
almost entirely in silence. He and St. John didn't have much to say to
each other. But then...
"Can I ask you something?"
"Something besides that, you mean?" He gave the boy a small smile. "Yes,
"Well... what you said to Jubilee... about this not being the easy way
out? Do you believe that?"
"As much as I believe in anything... yes, I do. I believe that for many
it is easier to be blindly optimistic and think that things will work out
than it is to face the truth and fight. I think you know how appealing it
can be to believe as Charles does, that one day a peace with humanity
will be possible. But he does not see that we are more than humanity. It
is the natural step. Just as homo sapiens became the dominant species
after countless years of evolution, now homo superior is coming into
power. It's nature's course."
"Oh... well, I guess that makes sense... only..."
"Well, I mean, apes and stuff are still alive. And humans didn't kill
them. Wouldn't it be possible for... humans and mutants to live together
"St. John... think of all the humans you know, and how they treated you
when they discovered your gift." He watched the boy's face fall. "If apes
ever threatened humans the way humans threatened us, I assure you that
they would not exist today. Rather, they are peaceful creatures, and do
not protest when humans destroy their land and otherwise abuse them."
"I never thought about that." He frowned. "You make a lot of sense."
"So you are not regretting your decision to join me?"
St. John blinked a few times. "No, of course not!"
"Even though you realize it might come down to the point where you might
have to fight against your old friends?"
"Hey... if they can't face the facts... I mean, well, if they choose to
side with the humans then that's their problem."
"Your practicality is admirable, especially for someone your age."
"Thanks... uh, well, I'm going to go back upstairs... I'll talk to you
later." He glanced at Erik briefly, looking for approval, then walked
off. He was a bit of a loner, and Erik couldn't blame the boy for not
wanting to spend time with a man who was so many years his elder.
Alone again, Erik thought. But it was for the best. Wasn't it?
you give me
a no Window
I ask you,
Someone have to
"All I ever wanted was just peace and love without the pot smoke"
-- Stuart Davis, "Sugar Bullets"