X-Book 4 -- Of Politics, Tacos and Other Things that Give You
Chapter 17: A Few Magic Words, A Little Puff of Smoke
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover (with anything I can squeeze in), SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See prologue to book 4
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!
Pyro was sitting on the roof of the Malloys' home, lazily flicking
his lighter open and closed as he watched the sun setting over the
Long Island skyline. Magneto and Mystique had retired to talk
privately (or whatever they did privately), and he was not sure
where Toad had disappeared. So after he had eaten and napped, Pyro
began exploring the strange building until he found a stairwell that
lead to the roof.
From the ground, the upper most part of the house had seemed open
and bare. However, to Pyro's surprise, he found an elaborate deck
and patio overlooking the suburban area. It looked as if it had not
been used for a while, and Pyro figured it was mostly occupied
during the warmer summer months.
All the deck's furniture had been covered with large tarps, so Pyro
found a place to sit on one broad ledge, where he could wait for one
of the others to call him back down. He hated waiting, not knowing
what the plan was or what they would do next. Here he was, finally
off the Brotherhood's island, and he still had to wait.
The idea of being in New York again was a little strange, and tried
not to think about Xavier's school. This was the closest he had
been to West Chester in over eight months, but the bright lights of
the Big Apple still stood between him and those memories, and he
focused on the sights of the great city instead.
Magneto had hinted that Pyro may get the chance to see some of those
sights, but he was not sure how possible that would be. From where
he sat, Pyro could still make out a few passing cars and pedestrians
going about their business below him. Random strangers, men and
woman, maybe mutant or maybe not, he really did not care. It was
just nice to been somewhere different, outside of the Island's
monotonous gray and silver walls.
Pyro hoped they would get the chance to stay for a while.
As the sky grew darker, several small outside lights began to
flicker on, and Pyro decided to head downstairs to see if anyone
else was around. Sebastian Malloy was, according to Magneto, a real-
live vampire...but the dark haired man had not seemed threatening or
really all that scary. Pyro chuckled to himself as he headed down
the steps and wondered if this `vampire' would be more interesting
Sid was in the main living room watching the evening news when Pyro
appeared from the guest room hall. He glanced over at the boy with
surprise and Pyro gave him a friendly nod and grin.
"Hey," Pyro said, and the pointed behind him with his thumb, "Cool
"Thanks," Sid said, still sounding a little sleepy, "It's great on
the fourth of July..."
"Yeah, I bet," Pyro said, sitting down nearby and leaning forward
casually with his elbows on his knees. He stared at the television,
and saw what Sid had been watching.
A report on the CBS evening news was just ending, and by the
footage, Pyro guessed it was about what happened in Chicago. He sat
back in his chair and folded his arms, glancing at Sid
uncomfortably. Pyro did feel bad about what happened to their house
(not that it was the Brotherhood's fault), and he wondered how angry
Sid was about the whole situation. He just could not predict how
either of the twins would react to anything. In less than forty-
eight hours, they had been through more shit than Pyro could have
imagined and they just seemed...used to it. Like it was
normal...another part of their day...
"How long have you been able to control fire?" Sid suddenly asked
him and Pyro glanced at him with surprise and shrugged.
"Since I was twelve..." Pyro answered and then frowned, "I
think...at least, that was the first time I knew I was controlling
Sid nodded, but did not reply.
"How long have you guys had your powers?" Pyro asked.
Sid smiled, sad and almost nostalgic, "As long as I can remember..."
"Oh, right," Pyro said, "You guys are second generation, huh?"
Sid tilted his head thoughtfully, "Third actually...or maybe more..."
"Your mom was the Firestarter," Pyro continued
enthusiastically, "Could your dad move glass, too?"
Sid glanced over at Pyro, and sighed, hesitant to reply. Before he
could speak, Rebecca wandered into the room, cradling her shoulder
with a look of pain on her face.
"Hey, Sid," she began, "Where's that stuff the Lady gave me? The
"Me and Toad brought it up with the other luggage," Pyro answered
quickly, and walked toward the front door, "It's in one of these
Rebecca followed him and Pyro handed her a small white bottle with a
"Thanks," she said with relief and wandered toward the kitchen to
"No problem," Pyro replied, "How's it feelin'?"
Rebecca smirked through her obvious discomfort, "Ask me in about a
half hour minutes...once these meds kick in..."
"Yeah, right," Pyro laughed, just as the flat's front door swung
Sebastian Malloy stepped inside, also looking as if he had just
woken up. He was in a state of dishevelment that fell mid-range
between Sid's evenly pressed casual khakis and Rebecca's fluffy and
comfy pajama pants.
As he came around the corner, Sebastian spotted Rebecca walking out
of the kitchen. Pyro, remembering the earlier phone conversation,
took a step back, not wanting to be anything more than a spectator
for this exchange.
"Hey, kid," Sebastian said, turning toward Rebecca.
"Hey, Bas," she replied with a strained smile.
"Hurts?" Sebastian asked, glancing at her slung arm.
"Like a bitch," Rebecca replied.
"They give you anything to take?" he asked.
"Taken," she replied with a nod.
"Change the gauze?" he asked.
"Just did...and Sid checked the back of my shoulder," she replied.
"Good?" he asked.
"Good," she replied.
"Classes?" Sebastian asked, narrowing his eyes menacingly.
"Missed `em," Rebecca replied, "Deal with it..."
Sebastian shook his head and grinned before hugging her around her
"Thank God you're both okay," Rebecca heard Sebastian mutter
quietly, his voice hitching a little bit.
"Aww..." Sid said from across the room, "And here we thought Billy
the Bloody was the only over-emotional dead guy..."
Sebastian scowled comically, "Keep it up...and see if I buy new
Sid frowned and smirked, "You didn't buy me the first one..."
"Don't be a smart ass," Sebastian said, "I'm gonna have enough to
deal with tonight with listening to your bullshit..."
Rebecca glanced at Pyro, "You might start missing the quiet of the
Island real soon..."
I doubt it, Pyro thought, though he grinned as he listened to the
three Malloys bicker.
After a short time, Magneto and Mystique appeared from the back
hall, assuming by the increasing volume of the chatter that their
hosts had awoken. Pyro glanced at Magneto expectantly, but the
older mutant simply nodded at him reassuringly and then followed
Mystique to the same sofa they had occupied earlier in the day.
Rebecca was seated next to Sid on the couch across from them.
Magneto glanced up at Sebastian, who was pacing behind the twins,
almost protectively hovering, and glaring at his `guests.'
"Well..." Magneto began, "It's good to see everyone is well. I've
looked forward to this gathering for a long time..."
Sebastian paused in his stride, "I'm sure. But I think we've all
been introduced and we can skip formalities. I want to know what
happened...from the time you set foot on our property to just a
moment ago when you so confidently took a seat in our one intact
Pyro had to suppress a laugh as Sid and Rebecca rolled their eyes in
perfect time, identical annoyance on their faces. Rebecca sighed
and put a hand over her eyes. Magneto, however, took Sebastian's
words quite seriously.
"Fine..." Magneto said calmly, "I will explain...and if I recall
something incorrectly or untruthfully, your niece and nephew will be
able to add their own experiences."
Magneto began to speak, telling all the events from the time the
Brotherhood arrived in Chicago to the flight to New York just that
morning. His words were carefully chosen and well spoken, assigning
blame for the incident on `General' Stryker and his men, with very
little room to doubt otherwise.
Rebecca was listening as the medicine she had taken slowly took the
edge off her pain. She was inwardly amused by how Magneto had told
the events in the house before the Sentinel had arrived. She really
could not point out anything he said that was a lie, but, she had to
admit that he had a way to make the truth favor him and the
Brotherhood. She did not bother to correct or add to what Magneto
said, though Sid did chime in about loosing his sports car.
An hour or more passed before Magneto was finished, and Sebastian
had barely moved the entire time. Even his blinking had all but
stopped. Magneto again wondered at the change in the man since his
unnatural transformation, and Sebastian's suspicion did not leave
"Have I told the events well?" Magneto asked to the others around
him, "Or have I left anything out?"
"No," Rebecca answered firmly, "You guys showed up, giant robot
showed up, X-Men showed up, then scary secret base, X-men left, you
guys left, giant robot...well..."
She grinned, one-shoulder-shrugged, and glanced up at her uncle.
Sebastian shifted his glare down toward her.
"It's not funny," he said and Rebecca nodded.
"My shoulder agrees with you," she replied with a sigh, "But it's
done, we lived...hooray for us..."
"Indeed," Magneto said, "And a new threat to mutant kind has been..."
"Don't start, Lensherr," Sebastian interrupted, "I listened to
enough of your propaganda and terrorism years ago and I'm not
listening to it now. I'll be damned if you're going to start
selling that liberation bullshit to my family again."
The twins both looked up at their uncle with surprise, and then
toward Magneto. What did he mean...again?
Magneto narrowed his eyes as sudden fury rose in his chest. He
suppressed it with a good deal of will power. He knew this was how
the conversation with Sebastian might go, but the idea of a mutant
from a mutant family who had lived long enough to see the injustices
towards mutants in the world could call Magneto's life work
propaganda and terrorism. Well...no matter. Let the undead mutant
say what he likes. Let him rant and scream...get all old vendettas
out in the air. It would only make the tension in the room
greater...put strain on the two children Sebastian cared
about...stress seemed to bring out the best in their powers...
"Very well..." Magneto said calmly, "What would you have me do then,
Sebastian? Apologize, formally and humbly? Fine...I am sorry the
actions of myself and my brothers brought hardship upon your family
again. It was not intentional and the consequences are regrettable."
"Lensherr," Sebastian began, "You and your lackeys broke into my
home and attacked a helpless young woman..."
Rebecca shifted her arm angrily, and muttered, "I'm not helpless..."
Sebastian continued, "...who is completely clueless to what you're
all about and why you would be interested in our family and the
Magneto did not look away from the raging creature, but felt the
temperature in the room rise. Rebecca was glaring forward, and Sid
glanced at her with surprised concern. He felt the change in the
room as well.
"...then you draw the fucking SHOP or Systems Operations or whatever
right back into our lives again!" Sebastian continued
vehemently, "Knowing the fragile state of my niece and nephew
because of what has happened in our past!"
Rebecca suddenly sprung to her feet and faced her uncle in fury.
The motion was so fast, so unexpected, that Mystique and Magneto
started with surprise.
"Shut up, Sebastian!" she screamed, and the air around them suddenly
grew heavy. Rebecca was clutching her shoulder, her control on her
temper weakened by the new pain that exploded down her injured arm.
"Just shut the fuck up!" Rebecca continued, "I am not fragile, damn
it! And you don't need to bring up what happened to me every time
someone starts talking about the Council or about mom!"
On the last word, a grouping of dried flowers burst into flame
behind Sebastian's back. Sid was on his feet the moment the fire
began, lunging for the nearest extinguisher.
However, Pyro was quicker, simply holding out one hand, and
commanding the fire to stop.
The room was silent for a few eternal seconds, the bitter smell of
the smoking bouquet floating through the air.
Rebecca was breathing heavily, with her eyes closed, her left hand
holding onto her right shoulder. She leaned forward, and began to
cough. Sebastian's anger faded as quickly as the flames, and he
glanced at Sid nervously before speaking.
"I'm sorry, Bec," he said, "I didn't mean..."
Rebecca held out her hand and shook her head. He fell silent.
"Don't..." she said, and kept her eyes down as she spoke, "I'm
sorry...I just...lost my temper..."
She moved quickly toward the kitchen, and no one spoke again until
she had disappeared around the corner. Sebastian glanced at
Magneto, and saw concern on the other man's face.
"Erik..." Sebastian began, "This...we shouldn't be doing this now.
You brought my family back...and I'm grateful...but I won't pretend
I don't have suspicions about your motivations..."
Magneto nodded, and put up a façade of mutual regret. Inwardly, he
could not have been more pleased. He pushed at Sebastian, and
Sebastian had pushed back. Rebecca in her weakened state had become
upset, and her emotion drew out her power. And Pyro...saved the
day, unknowingly achieving Magneto's reason for bringing him along.
"I understand," Magneto said, `accepting' Sebastian's apology, "And
I do hope...we may someday move past our differences...for the good
of your family...and mine..."
Magneto made a motion toward Mystique and then toward Pyro. The
boy's purpose in the mission would be decided in the next few
hours...depending on whether or not Sebastian allows him to stay...
but Magneto would be sure that discussion was privately between
himself and their `host.'
Rebecca stumbled into the kitchen and let the door swing shut behind
her. It was dark, and that was fine. Her hand was shaking as she
searched for the glass she had used earlier. Her shoulder was
screaming in protest every time she moved, but that was okay...it
was something to focus on. With focus, came control.
She picked up a glass from the kitchen table and moved toward the
refrigerator. With some difficulty, she was able to pour water from
a pitcher into the glass, though most of it splashed out over her
arms. That was fine too. The water was cold, and shocked her back
to reality. Coolness against her burning skin.
"Do you want a hand with that?" a voice suddenly asked from the
shadows, and she turned her head in surprise.
Toad was crouching near one open window, and had been listening to
the conversation in the other room with no desire to take part in
it. If Sebastian's words had infuriated Magneto, then what Toad was
feeling was a hundred times that. He had seen part of a movie about
vampires once, and he was considering how difficult it would be to
make a wooden stake and then shove it in the bastard's chest.
Then, the temperature change. He had felt it almost as quickly as
Sid. It had been the same in the tunnels of the base, and when he
smelled smoke, he knew what had happened.
Rebecca squinted to see him in the dark and then shook her head.
"No...I'm fine..." she said shakily, "I just...lost my
Toad heard her swear several times under her breath and glanced
toward the kitchen door.
"Yeah, right..." he muttered, and then added cynically, "Good thing
Pyro was here..."
"Huh?" she said.
Toad shook his head, "Nothing...just let me know straight away if
I'm pissing you off..."
Rebecca chuckled and took a sip of water, "You'll know...hopefully
before you catch on fire. Don't suppose you have any `fire
extinguishing' powers, huh?"
Toad shook his head, but smirked, "Maybe if I spit on it enough..."
Rebecca moved to the kitchen table and sat down. She looked at him
curiously, and Toad shifted uncomfortably.
"What is it?" she asked.
"What is what?" he shot back.
"That spit or whatever," she asked, "What you used on the shrieking
mutant in the tunnel...what is it?"
Toad shrugged, "It's what I do."
"And your regular saliva dissolves it?" she asked.
"If it didn't I would bloody well choke on the shit then, wouldn't
I?" Toad answered and glared at her. Rebecca smiled and nodded.
"Guess so..." she replied, as the kitchen door swung open again and
Pyro came it.
"Hey," Pyro said, "They wanted me to check on you..."
Rebecca waved her hand, "I'm fine...don't worry about it."
Pyro nodded and took another step forward for the door to close. He
watched her carefully for a moment, and sensed the lack of heat
around her. The fire had come from nowhere...just nothing...and
then it was there. For Pyro the experience was not frightening, the
feel of fire just erupting out of control almost euphoric.
"Would a PMS joke be in bad taste right now?" he asked and Rebecca
"After the save you made back there, Johnny-boy," she said, "You can
make any jokes you want."
"Just because, y'know, damn I thought Mystique was bad, but..." Pyro
was continuing, until he heard another voice laugh from behind him.
He turned in surprise to see Toad smirking, his gold eyes gleaming
wickedly in the dim light.
"Don't let her hear you say that, mate," Toad said.
Pyro chuckled, but still sounded nervous, "Not in this
lifetime...cause I'd like this lifetime to last a little bit
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