Charles hungrily ate the food which Erik brought him, since he was
really hungry. He normally always ate at distinct times, and now he
hadn't eaten for three days.
Erik was sitting next to him in an armchair, and with amusement
watched his old friend gobble down the food in a way not typical to
"Did you like it?" he asked when Charles was done eating.
"Yes, very much. Thank you," Xavier replied and put his tray
Are you really not going to let me call
home?" he then
Erik sighed. "Charles, we have already discussed this. Not yet.
Don't look at yourself as a prisoner. I will let you go. But not
yet. Be patient."
"But they are worried! They must think I'm dead! Please,
me tell my children that I am alive? We've already lost Jean, and
would be unbearable for them to lose me too. Please, if you're my
friend, you will let me do this."
"What did you say?" Erik asked, completely dumb struck.
just say that Jean Grey is
Charles sighed deeply and felt the pain of Jean's loss returning,
and wasn't really sure how to explain this to Erik. Of course
didn't know that Jean was dead. He left before it happened.
"Yes, she is dead," he said slowly. "My little girl is
how?" Erik asked confusedly.
"She died at Alkali Lake, right after you left Stryker's
sacrificed herself for us. If she hadn't saved us we all would
Erik didn't know what to say. That Jean Grey had died while the
of the X-men made it was something completely new to him. In a
clumsy attempt to comfort Charles, he took his friend's hand in
own and squeezed it gently.
"I'm so very sorry, Charles. I didn't know," he said
"I know you didn't. I just forgot."
"I know how you feel."
"Like losing a daughter
" Charles whispered. "The
children lost a
teacher and role model, and Scott lost his future wife. Nothing has
been the same at the mansion since her death."
"I am really sorry, Charles," Erik said compassionately.
"I know how
it feels to lose someone close."
Charles smiled weakly, despite that tears were gathering in his
"I know you do, Erik. It's just that when someone reminds me
"I wouldn't have brought it up if I'd known," Erik
"I believe you. But let's not talk about Jean anymore. It
me wonder if there had been something more we could have done to
"Do you want me to leave?" Erik asked.
I just want to talk about something else. Tell me how
John is. He lives here with you as well, doesn't he?"
Erik nodded. "Yes. I'm tutoring him at home, and I promise
teach him everything that you would have taught him."
Charles smiled ironically. "Human and mutant co-existence?"
"Save that. In this house we only discuss the mutant
"I thought so
Maybe John is better off with you. He never
felt at home at the Xavier-institute. He always wanted something
something I couldn't offer him. He has found it with
"He would like to see you, he's told me. Would you like
"Aren't you afraid I will talk him into coming back to
"No. I know what John wants. Right now he's worried about
"I might see him
"I will tell him that."
Erik looked at his wristwatch and discovered that it was later than
"Oh God, it's really late
" he sighed. "I have to go
now, Charles. I
have some things that I must deal with. But I'll be back this
evening. I will tell Raven to check on you once in a while and ask
if you need anything. Is that alright?"
Mystique, Charles thought. He wasn't exactly looking forward to
seeing her, but he obviously had no choice. He had always thought
her yellow eyes were freaky.
"Sure, that's fine," he forced out.
Erik got up from his armchair and sat down on Charles' bed edge
instead. His hair was neatly combed back and he was wearing a grey
turtleneck sweater and black cashmere pants. It was obvious that
Erik was dressed for a downtown visit.
"I'll see you this evening. I promise to get you something
great. Will you be alright in the meantime?"
"Erik, I'm no child," Charles remarked, although the
"No, that was not what I meant," Erik replied.
He leaned forward and placed a kiss on Charles' forehead. For a
moment he thought about kissing his lips, but changed his mind. Then
he got up and went to the door.
"Bye Charles," he said before he left.
When Sabretooth returned to Magneto's new "mansion" he
the traitor Xavier was still there. He hoped not, but at the same
time he did. It would feel good to really hurt him
Sabretooth began to growl covetously when he thought of all he would
do to Xavier if he caught him. His mouth started watering, and he
could still taste the blood of the deer he'd killed earlier. He
left the cadaver in the forest.
But Victor Creed was still hungry he always was, it seemed
went to the kitchen to get something eatable. He didn't like
new "lair" very much, since he had preferred something a
primitive, like the rocky island out in the Atlantic Sea.
Mystique was in the kitchen reading a magazine. She didn't even
up when Sabretooth entered, even though she heard him. It angered
him, of course, but he chose to ignore it. Mystique was a bitch, and
she wasn't worthy of his wrath.
"Where's Mags?" he grunted as he took out a steak from
He always ate his meat raw, since it tasted better than ripe meat.
"He had to go on some errands," Mystique replied
without looking up now either.
Sabretooth grunted in reply. "Is Xavier still here?" he then
and leaned against the sink. He tried to see what kind of crap
Mystique was reading, but none of what he saw told him very much.
Anyway, it was crap.
"Yes, he is still here," Mystique replied slowly after some
Now Mystique looked up. The question made her watchful. She clearly
remembered promising Erik not to tell him where Xavier was, because
there was a risk Sabretooth would hurt him. And there seemed to be a
"Why do you care?" she replied, trying to sound nonchalant.
"I asked you a question!" the feral mutant growled, staring
blue "sister". "Tell me where he is, you bitch!"
"No," Mystique said shortly.
"Because you don't need to know!" Mystique snapped,
starting to get
annoyed. "Why do you wanna know where Xavier is? You're gonna
him, aren't you?"
"Maybe. He deserves it! Now tell me where he is, you blue
Mystique didn't even bother replying this time. She would never
him where Xavier was. Couldn't he just get that through his thick
But Sabretooth wasn't going to take a no for an answer. He lunged
forward and reached Mystique in no time. She had no time to react
when he tore the silly magazine away from her hands and then grabbed
Mystique herself, with strength and speed that made the chair she
was sitting on tip over. He grabbed her arms and slammed her against
the pantry door so hard the door almost fell from its hold.
Mystique cried out with both pain and surprise. She had not expected
this, and didn't know what to do.
Sabretooth buried his long claws in her arms and wrenched them up
behind her back. He was much stronger, and she was as good as
helpless. She cried out when his claws pierced her blue skin and
felt her own blood flowing down her arms.
"Now I'm asking you again!" the blond lunatic hissed and
against the pantry door once more. "Where's Xavier? I
a "no" this time!"
"Victor, you're hurting me
" Mystique whispered.
"That's the idea. A little bitch like you has to learn to
when she's spoken to. WHERE IS XAVIER?!"
"I won't tell you
" Mystique croaked. "Hurting me
"No?" Sabretooth triumphed and tightened his grip of
pain made her grit her teeth, but she was not going to betray
Xavier. A promise to Erik was holy.
"Are you gonna tell me, or do I have to chastise you even
whispered in her ear.
Mystique didn't answer. The pain in her arms was driving her mad,
but she wasn't going to give up. She didn't believe Victor
*dare* hurting her for real; if Erik found out he'd get furious.
"Well?" Sabretooth mocked.
A clear and terrified but also angry voice interrupted them both.
"What is going on here?" exclaimed Pyro, who had just
now stood there, staring at them from the doorway.
Victor looked up, and so did Mystique. He froze, but his hold of her
remained as firm as before and she could not break loose.
"What are you doing?!" Pyro screamed when he saw what the
giant was up to. "Let her go right now! You're hurting
Sabretooth started growling again and looked from Pyro to Mystique.
The boy had stuck his hand into his pocket, probably to pick up his
lighter. He looked frightened, but also seemed ready to fight.
For a split second Sabretooth considered whether he could slit the
kid's throat before he got a chance to use his pyrokinetic power.
decided not to, and slammed Mystique against the pantry door one
last time before he released her and rushed outside. When passing,
he pushed Pyro into a wall.
Mystique watched him disappear and felt enormously relieved. This
could have ended up bad. Imagine that Pyro had saved her! Maybe the
boy could be handy sometimes?
John gripped his lighter spasmodically hard for some time after
Sabretooth left. When he realized the lunatic wouldn't come back,
breathed out and slipped his lighter back into his trouser pocket.
Mystique had sunk onto a chair, rubbed her sore, bleeding arms. Her
face expressed clear pain and she still looked frightened.
John approached her carefully, with one hand stretched out.
"Mystique? Are you okay?" he asked slowly and sat down next
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Mystique replied in a muffled
wished Pyro would leave. Right now she wanted to be alone.
"Did he hurt you?" John asked carefully, although the
itself was unnecessary. Sabretooth had hurt her; the question was
"I'm okay," she said shortly. "I'll be fine."
"You're bleeding. Let me help you," he begged and placed
hand on her shoulder.
"I said I'm fine!" Mystique snapped and shook off his
hand. Pity was
the last thing she wanted, and she definitely didn't want it from
"What was your fight about?" John asked instead.
"Nothing special. He just gets like that every now and then.
better get used to it."
"I wish he had never returned
" John muttered.
Mystique smiled sarcastically. "Who doesn't?"
"Are you going to tell Erik?" he asked then.
"He doesn't need to know. Forget it."
"But we can't let him go on like that! What if he kills one
"No, he won't."
"Are you sure?" John asked doubtfully.
Mystique smiled, in spite the pain in her arms. "Yes, I am sure.
know him. He won't kill any of us. I can promise you that.
worry about me. I can handle myself."
"That's not what I meant."
She got up and let her hand rest on the boy's shoulder for a
Really, it was cute of Pyro to worry about her
But she could do
better without pity. She always had.
"I have to go now and check on Xavier," she told him.
"Can you make
sure he isn't anywhere around to spy on me?"
Oh, John thought. Xavier. He's obviously the cause of this fight.
"Sure," he replied. "I'll make sure of that."