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26 September 2006 @ 05:33 am
You've Got To Go There To Come Back - Chapter 17  
Title: You've Got To Go There To Come Back
Author: sleepall_day
Rating: PG-13.
Timeline: Directly after Alcatraz events of X3.
Summary: After the fight at Alcatraz, Pyro is found and brought back to Xavier's mansion. For his criminal actions he has been given house arrest at Xavier's School and he must learn to adjust.
Author's Note: This is my all-time first fic, and lovethiscity was only recently created purely to post it. As I'm a new writer, I'd appreciate any comments, feedback, suggestions, or Aaron Stanfords that you would care to throw at me.

Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or any Marvel characters. This is just for fun. Any resemblances you find to actual people, living or dead, shows that you have strange friends.

Chapter 17: “What do I look like to you, The Low Self-Esteem Terrorist?!”

I don’t know why, but only a little while after we got the news about Hank, suddenly all eyes were on me. It was a miserable evening the rest of the day, and not just for me. Everyone else was moping about Hank being sniped and kidnapped, and while they weren’t busy moping, they were pointing the finger at me! My appointment with my counselor had been canceled. Storm even suspended me from the community service that I was supposed to be doing, which I ordinarily would’ve been thrilled about. But I felt it was so uncalled for that I protested.

“Are you out of your mind?” I demanded. “Are you?!”

Frustrated, I paced around the mansion, looking for Kitty. She would help me. When I found her, I was shocked to see that even she was giving me a bit of a cold shoulder. “What the hell is going on, Kitty?” I asked her. “Does someone know something that I don’t? Because I honestly can’t think of a damn thing that would make anyone think I was responsible for any of this.”

Kitty looked like she was reluctant to talk to me, but she finally offered bitterly, “Plenty of motive, at least. Everyone knows you hated Hank McCoy for putting you here. You don’t even realize how much he did for you by having you put here instead of jail.”

Hated?” I burst. Okay, maybe I did think I hated him at first, but I was mad at everybody then. “I never said that.” Not out loud.

“Well, you certainly didn’t like him.” And with that, she turned away from me, but not before muttering, “So ungrateful,” to herself. I couldn’t believe it. I’d never seen her so harsh before.

I thought that of all the people that were there, it would be Kitty who would stick up for me. But it was Warren. He told me that he thought it was genuine when I realized the terrorists’ real plan, even though everyone else was convinced it was an act, and that I’d purposely done it just late enough so that my warning wouldn’t be in time. In response to this, Warren said to me, “Look, I don’t really know what to think, but I wish I could believe you. You’ve been a friend, all right?”

What? No, I hadn’t!

Okay, so that did it. Everyone in this school was out of their fucking minds.

I couldn’t understand how only having a dumb motive – not particularly being fond of the blue furball – was enough to finger me as a possible suspect. But later that night I got my answer.

Cyclops had me come into the main office, where they sat me down and handed me a printout of something. It was an email. “This came from your computer,” he said, which just made me even more frustrated about how closely monitored all my communication was.

I stared at it. The email was sent to an organizational member of the Friends of Humanity, and was giving information about where Hank was going to be before his forum at the meeting hall. My guess was that everyone but me had been informed of this in the past hour, just so that they could give me the silent treatment.

“I did not send this,” I said stubbornly. “And so what? Couldn’t anyone have sent this?”

No,” Storm said angrily. “The fact that Hank was visiting a board member of the DMA was off the record. In other words, it was not publicly announced. It’s not like it was secret, but it was casual enough that not many people could have known about it, and –”

I cut her off. “And I agree. And I am telling you: I had nothing to do with it.”

“The fact that this comes from the computer in your room is an indicator,” she said stiffly.

Cyclops said gently, pointing at the paper, “If you could just explain what you were doing at the time this email was sent…”

Storm growled, “Or you could start by explaining how you got this information in the first place.”

I was so mad I couldn’t even think of what to say. I just sat there, gaping at her, and looked helplessly at Cyclops.

Cyclops said, “Do you remember what you were doing?”

I stared at the time and took a few shallow breaths. I couldn’t remember. My mind was in such a blur from all the accusations being thrown at me, so all I said was, “I didn’t do that.”

Wolverine snarled and said, “He’s the only one who doesn’t like Hank!” I wanted to roll my eyes at him. He’d taken awhile to get used to the blue guy himself, and now that Hank was gone, suddenly everyone but me was Hank’s best friend!

Storm scoffed, and looked exasperated. She looked away, and with her arms crossed, spoke out loud to no one in particular, “I can’t believe he can just sit there and deny it like this.”

“All right, Ororo,” Cyclops said. “I won’t have anyone accused without proof.” When she glared at him, he added, “And we’ll need something a little more substantial than this if he’s saying he didn’t do it.” He gave her a look. At least somebody around here knew I wasn’t a liar.

“I can’t see why you guys are wasting your time trying to get me to admit to doing something I obviously did not do. Shouldn’t you be looking for him?” No sooner did the words leave my mouth than their motive dawn on me. “Ohhhh,” I said. “I get it. You think I can tell you where they’ve taken him! Well, I’m not telling you a damn thing because I don’t know!” I bristled.

Nobody seemed to believe me. I continued to deny it, but nothing happened. Well, that’s not completely true, because the vein in my forehead started pulsating.

A knock came at the door at a most opportune time. “Who is it?” Storm snapped.

“It is… Peter,” he said, rather sheepishly. Storm and Cyclops exchanged a glance.

“Come on in,” Storm said.

Peter Rasputin poked his head through the door and awkwardly made his way in. “I just thought I should share some additional information. I didn’t think it was important at the time. Otherwise I would have said something, I am sorry.”

“It’s all right, we understand,” Storm said. I scoffed. Sure, when someone else slips up…

Peter hesitated for a second, and then said, “The date that this email was sent out? It may match what I saw. Last week I was outside, and…” He paused to look at the date and nodded.

No one was talking, so I offered, “Waxing the Tinmobile?”

Instead of ignoring my dumb comment, Peter said, “Not exactly. But, I was outside, on this day, and I saw someone climbing into John’s window. I know it was his, I have seen it before.” I could vouch for that. I remembered a couple of times when I’d been annoyed by the Shirtless Wonder’s enthusiastic waving from outside the window while I was at the desk trying to write.

“Why didn’t you think it was important?” Wolverine asked, puzzled.

“Because it looked like John. I thought it was him.”

“Why would I climb through my own window?” I asked disbelievingly.

Peter looked thoughtful, and ran a hand through his buzz cut and then suggested, “Forgot your key?”

I smiled at him, because he was trying to help, and said, “No, I can tell everyone here right now that I have never climbed through my own window.”

“It must have been someone who looked like John,” Peter concluded. Duh! I was about to make a rude comment about tinheadedness, but thought it would be better to save it for another time since Peter was practically saving my ass here.

Storm probably still just wanted to kill me so she could blame Hank’s kidnapping on someone, so she said, “Are you sure it wasn’t when Scott was climbing through the window?” causing Cyclops to let out an embarrassed laugh.

“Oh, no, no,” Peter said calmly. “I was in the doorway screaming with everyone else.” I snickered.

“And besides, that was weeks ago. I am going to start locking that damn window,” I announced to the room.

Storm sank into an armchair, defeated. There was no way she was going to continue to accuse me now. She just held her head in her hands and mumbled, “Maybe we all should lock our windows.”

That only prompted Wolverine – who doesn’t even need any added protection – to smugly say, “I do.”

I looked at the email again and laughed. I knew I’d get in trouble for it later, but I couldn’t help it. I just laughed. “I can’t believe this shit,” I muttered. “You have got to be kidding me.”

Cyclops looked at me, sighed, and said, “Look, John… why don’t you just go get some rest for now, huh? We’ll see if we can’t find out more information about whoever it was that Peter saw, and we’ll keep you updated.”

Storm and Wolverine were looking really reluctant to let me go, but I heaved a sigh that probably reminded them that I wasn’t going anywhere anyway. I got up as Cyclops was saying to the others, “It’s really all circumstantial at this point…”

So, I left the office with the reminder that I would be monitored even more closely now until the sender of the email was found. Cyclops told me that he would do what he could, but I was barely listening. I stormed out of the office in a silent anger. If absolutely everyone had been treating me like a criminal, maybe I could understand. But the fact that Warren hadn’t been trying to alienate me just made it worse. He wasn’t the one who snuck me out to New York City at night, or stayed up late to play cards with me, or taste-tested my loose interpretations of Jean’s recipes. It had been Kitty. She was the one who visited my room just to talk, and stuck up for me when other kids at the school were giving me a hard time about being back. And that was all it took to turn her against me? One little email, that nobody even proved had been from me?

Well, at least now I knew what was going on. I was going to try to find her again so I could explain things. She was in a class that was going to get out soon, so I waited in the smaller, suite common room that was next to the hallway of her classroom. Nervously, I kept fiddling with my lighter. I know it looked awful. I tried telling myself to be patient but the lighter in my hand kept shaking.

The class finally let out, and a stream of students piled into the hallways. I saw Kitty in the crowd, and I know she saw me too. She knew why I was there, and before I could reach her, she turned and walked away with everyone around her. I just stood there.

Fine. If that’s the way she wanted it, I didn’t need her. Fuck her, and everyone else at the school, too.

At least some people had some brains around here. I had a restless night, not getting much sleep after trying to get some things written into my journal, but some things were, fortunately, cleared up the next morning. The local authorities were no help in finding where Hank McCoy had been taken, but it looked like I might luck out anyway.

I was called back into the office. I bit back the remarks I wanted to let out about the idiotic conclusion-jumping that the staff had done, but admittedly, I was grateful to Cyclops. All he had to do was a little sleuthing. All right, so, I couldn’t hold back everything. I did say, “And you couldn’t do this before?” which went ignored.

Cyclops had gotten some people together to question anyone who might have been outside that same day as Peter. Some of the students who had solid alibis for the time the email was sent had been recruited to help question people. Kitty was one of them. When they talked to all of the kids that usually play basketball out there, someone finally found this one kid called Sean, a total klutz. I swear that his mutation is the ability to break things, but he always insists that his one and only mutation is invisibility. I’m positive he controls some invisible force that breaks things.

Anyway, Sean was trying to retrieve a ball that he missed catching (of course) and managed to see the guy that had crawled into my room. I think I might have been on the roof at the time. The guy must’ve known he was taking a major risk trying to sneak in then, even though it was early morning. So as soon as Bobby found out that Sean had seen the guy, Cyclops called the police station and completely freaked out Sean until he explained that he was asking a sketch artist to come in to listen to his description. Totally ruined the fun I was going to have teasing the kid, too.

From there, it was all downhill. The police were also going to handle Jason Payton from then on, so they were sending some other officers along with the sketch artist. The staff asked the local authorities to look into finding the man, and also distributed it around the school. It didn’t take long at all. Charlie identified him as one of the guys who had beaten him up. By this time I was just sitting back enjoying it all. There was no way they were going to blame this on me anymore.

Nobody asked me to leave the office yet, so I just stayed there because that’s where all the news was coming in. So I found out that the Department of Mutant Affairs board member that Hank had been planning to meet, who had to go under some questioning earlier, was in a way connected to the guy who sent the email. But I wasn’t able to get any more information until after a lot of it had been cleared up, which was later that afternoon, when Cyclops told me that they finally found the guy that had broken into my room and sent the email.

But before that happened, the police were leaving with Payton and one of them was collecting the things that had been confiscated from him when we caught him. I was hovering, as usual, trying to see if I could learn anything new. He was looking extremely disgruntled. Storm was talking to one of the officers, and I could overhear her saying, “Why would they go through all this elaborate trouble, sneaking in here to use a computer?”

She hadn’t been addressing Payton, but he answered her anyway. He violently jerked his arm away from the officer that was leading him out, and since he was handcuffed, pointed both of his hands at me, even though I was all the way down the hallway. “Because of him!” he shouted. “That goddamn dirty mutant!” My mouth was hanging open.

Payton decided to clarify for the people who were still confused, which was everybody. He started talking to me directly. “That judge that sentenced you? That was a human, scumbag! We’re going to do something about this mutant sympathizing that people are doing. We were going to send you to jail where you belong!”

It took all the rest of the officers to hold Wolverine back. I know he could’ve thrown them off of him if he wanted to, but maybe he actually had the sense not to beat up on somebody in front of law enforcement. Me, on the other hand… Well, they were too busy trying to restrain Wolverine that nobody noticed I had stopped clicking my lighter and was instead holding a flame from it.

The fire was growing bigger, until it just looked like I had a handful of it. As Payton and the police officers passed by me, Cyclops said warningly, “John, don’t.”

All I could do was stare at Jason Payton eye to eye as the fire continued to blaze in my hand. Suddenly, there was a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t put yourself where he wanted you to go,” Cyclops said.

I let the fire go out by having it blow out of my hand and fizzle out into smoke. Then I said to Payton quietly, without losing my temper, “You have no right to judge me. Or any of the rest of us.”

Payton was long gone before I could stop breathing so heavily. My ears felt like I’d accidentally set them on fire. I had been pacing around kicking things. I thought about the mutants I’d been living with these past few months. People hated us so much. People hated me so much. No way those Friends of Humanity creeps went through all of that trouble to frame me just so I could go to jail. They had been angry ever since I went on trial because that’s what they were hoping would happen.

Later I tried to cool off by writing, but I just got frustrated when I found that Kitty was still avoiding me and Rogue refused to speak to me. I was yelling, “Oh, like I ever did some personal harm to you, Rogue!” when Cyclops found me in a suite common room the next morning.

“John,” he called. “Mind coming with me for a minute?”

I shrugged. “What? You guys need a scapegoat again?”

Cyclops pulled his lips into a tight frown and said, “Come on, John, you know that’s not fair. I was trying to make sure everyone knew that we needed more proof.”

I hoped he wasn’t going to start whining again. So I just said, “All right,” and followed him to the office.

Storm was waiting for me there, and said in what seemed like a hesitant tone, “John, we want to apologize for our accusations earlier. But you have to know that we had good reason to suspect you, and I hope you’ll be able to understand. We made some pretty harsh claims that I hope you’ll be able to forgive us for.”

“We?” Cyclops muttered. I looked at him and wondered if he was rolling his eyes behind those glasses. He continued, “Don’t forget, Storm, he tried to warn us.”

She just wouldn't give up. Storm said, “Which was part of the reason why we thought he had to be responsible – but, oh well, I do realize. And it was appreciated, John.”

I was off the hook. Finally. And the X-Men were probably going to be able to locate Hank McCoy soon. I walked through the mansion and let out a long sigh of relief. Then I made my way to find Kitty again. I may have been cool with Cyclops, but I was still pissed with Kitty and even though she was giving me the slip, I didn’t want to. I wanted to get it out in the open. I wanted to yell, make her say something, or have a fight, whatever. I hate being brushed off, and she was doing all too good a job of it.

I’d been pacing around the mansion, walking a little faster than usual from being so mad and using my lighter to make little fireballs trail after me. I just kept making them shoot out of my lighter. My mutant power definitely is a good one for catharsis, but this time it wasn’t making me feel any better.

I finally found Kitty coming back to the common areas of the mansion from the Danger Room. “Hey,” I said challengingly, the way I used to when I was still just thinking of leaving Xavier’s School to join Magneto.

Kitty stopped walking, at least, and looked at me. “What, John?” she said flatly.

I scoffed. “What do you mean, what? Why don’t you tell me? What are you holding against me now, since they’re already after that Barry Sido guy? Or are you just too embarrassed to admit you were wrong, too, along with everybody else?” Sido was the guy who’d broken into my room of the mansion. They’d already taken him in for questioning.

I was opening and closing my lighter with both hands then, almost like I was about to challenge her to a fight. Kitty just sighed and shook her head. “Fine, so that’s been cleared up,” was all she offered.

She was about to leave, so I grabbed her by the shoulder and demanded, “And you’re still mad at me?”

“Look, I’m not even mad at you anymore, but just leave me alone, all right?” she snapped suddenly. “I’m just…” Kitty just shook her head again.

“Just what? Why won’t you talk to me? Why won’t Rogue talk to me?! Girls are…” I trailed off as I let my hands, which I’d been waving around as I talked, fall to my sides.

Kitty just stared at me for a couple of seconds, and finally burst, “Because I’m mad at myself! I know you’re still the same person that turned against us so you could join a team that we fight against, and God knows if you have or haven’t changed. If that doesn’t mean that -”

“What do you mean, haven’t changed? You think I would’ve spent any time with you before? You think I would’ve?”

By now, some other kids were starting to pass by to get to their classes, but the two of us just kept yelling anyway. I didn’t care. In fact, it felt good. I needed to let it out. I said, “I thought you of all people would think I have changed. I guess both of us were wrong, then!”

“I thought you had, John! That’s the point! I thought you had, but that’s exactly the problem, I’m just too trusting sometimes and maybe I shouldn’t have trusted you! Sure, you didn’t sell out Hank McCoy, but everybody would’ve thought it was you even without that email, at least until we had some more proof!”

I just gaped at her for that, and Kitty continued, “Yeah, that’s right – now you know, huh? Did you really think the staff was starting to trust you? Fine, now you know. Everybody still thinks you’re dangerous, and this whole blowup was enough to make me feel like I’d been stupid for thinking they were wrong. I just didn’t feel like talking to you, okay?”

“That’s not good enough,” I seethed. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard, actually.”

“Well, I’ll just tell you that, for the first time, I started believing what Rogue had been telling me,” Kitty said stubbornly.

I looked at her defiantly and with my arms folded, said, “And are you going to tell me what that is?”

Kitty’s voice was wavering now, but she maintained her composure and said, “That when this is all over, you’re just going to return back to the person you were, and leave the same way you left before.”

I stopped. So Kitty was afraid of something when it came to me. I almost wanted to comfort her, and tell her that it wasn’t true, but I just couldn’t bring myself to. She had made me too angry. I told her, instead, “If I leave, Kitty… it’ll be because you and everyone else here are holding open the door. Which looks like a strong possibility right now.”

Kitty replied, in a choked-up voice, “I don’t care that you are a selfish bastard most of time. Most of the time you are. But the other times, you’re someone that I wish would stay, all right?” She paused. “Are you happy now?”

I let out a disbelieving sigh again. “Then what are you so worked up about? It’s not like I’m going anywhere for awhile anyway!”

“You know that’s not what I meant! Like I said, when this is all over…”

I cut her off, “So why are you so worried about it now?! Why do you worry about when this is all over?”

Kitty and I finally stopped snapping back and forth when Kitty paused and said more slowly, “What just happened with Hank, it… it just made me wonder if I was being naïve for trusting you. And if I should keep trusting you.”

I had my hands on my waist now, and I just stared at her for a bit. “Kitty,” I said sternly. “Are you serious?” She turned away from me, frowning. “I’d climb into my own window? For a stupid email?!” I exploded, pointing into empty space. “And a tranquilizer dart?! Look at me, Kitty.” She did.

“Really, look at me. What do I look like to you, The Low Self-Esteem Terrorist?!”

“Maybe,” she retorted in a cold voice.

I broke my gaze from her then. There were more students passing by now, and I quickened my pace to follow them outside of the mansion. We had nothing more to argue about. She’d told me her side and I told her mine. “I’m sorry….” Kitty called out as I jogged away. And I knew she meant it. But I wasn’t sure if I believed it.

I didn’t, until I’d made it halfway down the stairs and heard her calling again, “I’m sorry,” and I turned around to look at her. A single tear had fallen down the side of her face and she was chasing after me. I stopped running and let her come to me.

“I am. I am sorry,” Kitty said and started running down the stairs faster until she’d fallen into my arms and I was kissing her, because I saw her and I couldn’t help myself. And before I did, I remembered to take a good look at her so I didn’t miss a thing.

People were rushing past us, but Kitty and I were frozen to the spot where we’d both stopped running, and she held me close as she kissed me back. When she did, I knew we’d both been waiting for this.

“It’s not over, yet,” I reminded her when we finally broke our kiss. “We’ve still got so much time.” Why wait for something for so long just to let it go?

I was holding her shoulders as we looked at each other then, and before we went back inside together, I had to stop to pick up my lighter.

This chapter's dedicated to hazy_crazy for keeping me company online while I was writing, and for helping with Sean's mutant power :)

Chapters: 1 and 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13, 14, 15 , 16
lux_apollo on September 26th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
Nice chapter.
Iris: aaron whatever stanfordsleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
Thank you!
skf_uk on September 26th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
"And before I did, I remembered to take a good look at her so I didn’t miss a thing."

That was the nicest sentence I've read in ages :) I'm real happy they kissed and stuff as well!
Iris: aaron whatever stanfordsleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Awww. I don't know what to say, except that I'm always afraid that stuff I write will turn out to be cheesy, so thanks for the encouragement.
amber valentine: x : kyro : miles apart.valentinenoir on September 26th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)

i was hoping they would!
Iris: aaron - O_Osleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Yup! You knew it was coming :O
Shannon: Aaron Stanford All I Can Seeonehappythought on September 26th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
THEY KISSED!! Yes finally! I can`t wait until the next chapter and read more kitty/pyro goodness and find out where Hank is!
Iris: angel needs a bigger partsleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Aww, YAY! You guys will definitely find out more next chapter!
sarah200sarah200 on September 26th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
Wow that was really good! Love to see they finally kissed!
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Thanks a bunch for reading!
Jess: kyro ;; just 1 kiss will make it betterhazy_crazy on September 26th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Awwww!! Thanks SO much for the dedication!! *feels special* ♥♥

I gotta make this quick because I'm leaving for school, but WHOA what an awesome chapter. THEY KISSED!!@#!324 lol xD Finally :P

I hated how everybody just accused him =( That made me angry!

Great chapter overall - now I really gotta go! ;)
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:47 am (UTC)
Aww, you're welcome; well, you definitely were keeping me from getting too distracted as I was writing some of the last few chapters!

I know it would have been kind of random for everyone to just immediately suspect him since he's confined to the mansion and can't really do anything, so it made a little more sense that there was some "evidence" before people started suspecting John. But yeah. And invisibility! :P

Thanks for the comment!
ragingindie47 on September 26th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
This chapter was amazing! I loved it so much...I was so happy they kissed! You write Kitty and John's character soooo well. I can't wait to read more! Great job!
Iris: kyro - luurrrvesleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading! I'm glad to hear you say I write them well, although I still get a lot of writer's block.
Crystal: x-men - kyro - john loves kittypetitebelette on September 26th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
Iris: kyro - stop and show itsleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
:D! Thanks so much for reading!
Mindyarliddian on September 27th, 2006 05:39 am (UTC)
Kiss!! Ahhhh! =D

I don't think I've commented on this fic before, have I? I really like it, especially the way you write John in first person. So much insight!

Iris: pyro - my favorite small iconsleepall_day on September 27th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the comment! Yeah, I don't know that you ever did comment before! I appreciate the thoughts. When did you start reading this?
Mindyarliddian on September 27th, 2006 06:54 am (UTC)
I started reading sometime last month, I think - took me a while to catch up on all the chapters, see.

I really like it =)
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
yes! They finally kissed! (Hope you'll update on fanfictionnet as well)
Iris: charlie closeupsleepall_day on October 15th, 2006 08:04 am (UTC)
gee... I dunno why I didn't! I'll go do that right now.
hep_hey on October 27th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
i found the fight between john and kitty in the end to be quite intriguing. and very believable as well.