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12 April 2009 @ 01:15 am
You've Got To Go There To Come Back - Chapter 20  
Title: You've Got To Go There To Come Back
Author: Iris, “lovethiscity” at Livejournal
Rating: Fairly tame but around 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.
Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or any characters used in this fanfiction. This story is just for fun, and any resemblances you find to actual people, living or dead, shows that you have strange friends.

Author's Note: This is my honest-to-goodness, first ever, never-before-done fic. I have absolutely never written a fic before. This isn't a plea of “Please be nice to me!” It’s more a warning of, "Oh my God, this is going to suck." I'm more of a graphics kind of a person. But I had this plot idea, and I just had to try it out, and I'm hoping against hope that it works. So I'd really appreciate it if you guys gave it a try and let me know how it goes. Feedback is always appreciated!

I am posting to ff.net because someone had expressed interest in seeing this story up there, but I normally post to Livejournal and would very much appreciate any comments left there, too. If reading from Livejournal is easier for you, look for the username lovethiscity. Catch up on updates to the story whichever way is easier for you.

Chapter Note: Many, many apologies to everyone who had been following this story. I neglected to update it in a really long time, and now I'm determined to finish this. Thanks for reading while you did, and I'm grateful to anyone who wants to give this another try now that I'm back to it!

Chapter 20: “Telekinetics are pretty hard to fool.”

That mansion had been my home for months, and now I was watching it burn. I almost choked out a laugh from the irony of it – I hadn’t done a thing to contribute to that fire. The fire I’d built during the fight had fizzled out when I made contact with Rogue.

Oh, God. Rogue. She was… the last I saw her, she was lying face down in a puddle of her own blood. I would never see her again. Just when I’d made a small bit of peace with that girl. I reached out with my mental powers to draw in the fire from the mansion, and maybe use it to take out my attackers. I held my concentration on a small part of the fire and killed the rest of it. Good. Now it would stop burning. That was the last thought I had before one of my captors noticed what I was doing and dealt another blow to the side of the head and I blacked out.

When I awoke, I was unrestrained, but lying on the floor of what looked a bit like a warehouse. I sat up slowly, but fell right back down when I realized my head was pounding. I looked around me. It was dimly lit, but I could clearly see that I was behind a wire cage, the kind that looks like a fence. It was tall enough that the top attached to the ceiling, and it had a built-in hinged door, which was secured with a padlock. I groaned and shook the door angrily. More than anything, I hated – hated – it when my powers made me feel... well, powerless. There was nothing I could do to get out of here. In desperation I patted all of my pockets and even turned them inside out. Nope, nothing. I scanned the room to see if there were any sources of flame, but of course there was nothing. But it did allow me to notice that I wasn’t alone in the room.

The place looked like a tiny Costco, with boxes piled in stacks and three more wire cages like the one I was locked in. Two other mutants occupied them, with one left empty. One of them, a big, black-haired boy that was maybe a little younger than me, appeared unconscious. The other was a small pink-haired girl with actual fairy wings growing out of her back, and she was awake. Upon spying me, she waved at me.

“Psst. Hey, buddy!” she whispered. There was a thick accent around her words. British? Irish? Something weird.

I gave her a bit of a glare. “Am I your buddy?” I challenged.

She ignored this and said hopefully, “You’re awake! I thought maybe they drugged you too, or something.” She had the thickest, weirdest accent I’d ever heard, and in addition, she sounded like she was mumbling, but I got the gist of what she was saying. “They drugged up Julian here, cause he could get us out of here. I can’t. You got anything?”

I scrunched up my face in disgust and had to admit I didn’t. “I control fire. But I can’t make it on my own. I got nothing to work with. And I’m not strong enough to break the lock or anything, either. Damn it all, if Tinhead were here he could do it,” I muttered.

Now she looked confused. After a second’s pause, she offered, “Hi. I’m Meg.” She waved again because we couldn’t shake hands for the space and pile of boxes between our cages.

I held myself still against the fence, and responded simply, “John.” I suddenly remembered the anklet, and snatched up my pant leg. Yeah, it was there, and blinking away with red lights all lined up in a row on the silver ring like a tiny, obnoxious UFO.

“What’s that?”

“A tracking device. Shit. They know about it. I mean, they as in FOH. They know about me. Shit. Shit! It’s a trap of some kind.”

Meg looked even more bewildered now. “They’re trying to lure some people here?”

“Yeah, and I bet the cops will be the first to get here, too. They’ll walk right into whatever the trap is. The cops have got this thing monitored.” I stopped talking for a moment to get my thoughts together. The Friends of Humanity wouldn’t want any more trouble with the law than they could handle, right? They were most likely trying to lure the rest of the X-Men into some kind of trap by using my tracker. Maybe there was some kind of ambush waiting in this warehouse that I couldn’t see. I shook my head in disbelief. They sure were going to a lot of trouble to take the X-Men out of the picture.

“I think our best bet’s to get Julian up. He can get us out of here,” Meg piped up again. “But I don’t really know what they got him hopped up on. I don’t know if this is any use.” She reached through the wire of the fence and into a cardboard box. She was small and thin enough that she could – I could only fit my hand through the wire. The little cardboard box had a hole in it that I assumed she’d clawed earlier.

Meg withdrew a ballpoint pen from the box and threw it squarely at the unconscious boy. It didn’t make it through the mesh fence, but he was lying right up against it, so the pen bounced off his head. I noticed there was more pens scattered on the floor around and inside the cage. “Nope,” said Meg. “He won’t wake.”

She seemed so confident that all our problems would disappear if this one kid would just get up, so I felt even weaker about my powers. Feeling weak makes me angry. But eventually curiosity won out. “What does he do?” I asked.

“Oh, he’s telekinetic. He could probably do something to the locks or just bash something into the fence. Or pull the wires in the fence apart. Or something. Telekinetics are pretty hard to fool.” That left me feeling like even more of a wimp, and, therefore, angry. I had nothing on me I could use.

“You got any matches on you? Or a lighter? Anything?”

“Nope. I don’t smoke.”

I rolled my eyes at her. “I can control fire, remember? I just need one – even a little spark – to get me started.”

Meg nodded thoughtfully. She started looking around the room, too, for anything I might be able to use. I did too, and right then I noticed a small air vent on the wall, right near the ceiling. Some white mist was slowly sleeping into the room through it.

“Oh, no. Oh, God, no. We’re going to die. I told you it was a trap of some kind. They must be gassing us, Meg!” I pointed to the ceiling.

The poor girl looked as frightened as I felt. Her gossamer fairy wings were quivering as she looked up at the vent. The thick white mist continued to pour into the room, but oddly enough, it kind of stayed together, instead of spreading out like you’d expect a gas to do.

I watched with fascination as dull colors began to form in the mist, becoming brighter within a few seconds. Then long red hair began to swirl out of it and the cloud solidified into my guidance counselor – one Amelia Voght, to the rescue!

“Amelia!” I yelled out, from sheer relief.

“Yeah. It’s me, John. You okay? You hurt or anything?” Now fully formed, she looked just like I’d always seen her – sensible shoes, blunt red bangs across her forehead, and a little taller than me.

“Just from being knocked around a little, but I’ll live. You... you’re like...” I couldn’t even form the words to describe what I’d just seen her do.

“Going to get you guys out of here? Sure. We have to hurry,” she said in her usual no-nonsense way. “We’ll leave the way I came in,” she added with a smile.

Before I had any time to react, she’d swept up her hands and I was gone. I felt absolute, total panic as I realized I couldn’t move my arms or legs or anything, because I didn’t have them anymore. I wanted to scream, but I had no mouth or lungs. I couldn’t even see anymore. All I felt was... nothing. I could think and feel movement and be terrified, but I couldn’t do a thing.

Then, just as fast as it’d happened, I was back in my own body, gasping for air and heart pounding. I was standing on a lawn outside of the building I’d been held in. “Oh my God, Amelia. Please don’t ever do that again.”

“Sorry, kiddo. I should’ve warned you. I can see where I’m going in my mist form, but I’ve been told that my passengers can’t always tell what’s going on.”

“Thanks for getting us out,” put in a small voice from behind me. I turned around to see that Meg and Julian had also been along for the ride. Julian was still slumped on the ground, but Meg was holding his head up on her lap, crouched down to support him.

“Did you use my anklet to track me?” I asked Amelia.

“Sure did,” she answered. “Don’t worry. You’re not in any trouble. At least, I don’t think so. We’ll wait for a few minutes – police are getting here.”

I shook my head. “This feels anticlimactic,” I told her. “I totally feel like I lost some of my manly points not being able to get out of there. Plus, being rescued by your guidance counselor is a little lame,” I teased.

Amelia looked truly offended. “I’m not just your guidance counselor, I’m a psychiatrist, John. Didn’t you know that? I have an MD!”

I actually did not. I just shrugged at her, because I didn’t think that required an apology, or why it mattered.

She gave me a disapproving look, but she did have a glimmer of a smile on her face. “Just because I don’t make you call me Dr. Voght. You don’t actually know a thing about me, do you?”

In all our counseling sessions, I never really did ask her about herself much. But why should I have? Wasn’t it all about determining whether or not I was being a good little prisoner? I shrugged again.

“Just saying. There’s more out there than you know, John,” Amelia said, and then reached into her pocket. She pulled out my shark Zippo, which made me grin. She tossed it to me, but just before I caught it, it dissolved into a tiny cloud of white mist. Amelia pulled the mist back towards her, and showed me the Zippo, solidified again and back in her hand.

“Show off,” I grumbled.

“I have talents,” was her reply, and this time she threw the lighter to me for real.

“I am going to have to strap you to my wrist again,” I said sternly to the little shark face on the lighter. It made Amelia give me a strange look.

“People keep taking this from me,” I said by way of explanation. I loved that thing.

Fortunately, before she could accuse me of being crazy, we heard the sirens approaching. It wasn’t quite what I expected. There were the police cars I knew I’d be seeing, but there were also paramedics, and a bomb squad. Wow. I’d suspected there was some kind of trap, but the gravity of the situation seemed to sink in just when I saw them unloading from their cars. The white letters on the backs of their dark uniforms that signaled who they were scared me a little.

I was loaded into an ambulance with one of the officers accompanying me. I guess you didn’t get that kind of special treatment when you weren’t under house arrest. Amelia came along for the ride, too. I told the paramedics I was fine, but of course they wanted to check me out anyway. I actually didn’t mind too much. It was kind of fun riding in the ambulance. Besides, I never would’ve guessed before tonight that I would be outside of my confinement, and get away with it, too! I started looking forward to the hospital, just for a change of scenery.

On the ride over, Amelia filled me in on what had happened. The police had raised the alert as soon as my tracker showed that I was out of my limits, and fortunately, a few of the X-Men were returning to the mansion then. What they found showed that I hadn’t exactly broken out, and they tracked me to the warehouse. Wolverine was able to smell the explosives that were planted, with the outer door as the physical trigger.

“Definitely a trap,” Amelia confirmed.

“I knew it!” I exclaimed. “I totally called it, Amelia.”

“Yes, you’re a genius,” she interjected with dripping sarcasm, before continuing with her story. “They were going to use Kitty to phase through the walls, but Storm didn’t want to risk her. That’s why it took a little while. They were contacting me to get you guys out, instead,” Amelia explained.

“Wow,” I breathed. “I really had no idea what your powers were,” I finally admitted.

“It’s okay. It’s an eye-opener, isn’t it?” she said. I nodded as they hustled me into the automatic sliding doors of the emergency room. I barely had time to think about the fact that there was so little I didn’t know about the world.

The hospital was just as bustling and busy as one on TV. Before a doctor examined me, the police officer I was with used his laptop to turn off the silent alarm my anklet was setting off. He’d be hanging around me until I was within the limits of my house arrest, I guessed. Amelia took her leave then, having done her good deed for the day, and ruffled my hair before walking back out the sliding doors.

The doctor was brisk, and said I had a mild concussion but that I’d be okay. “I know,” I told him. “That’s what I said earlier.”

“Yes, but it only matters when someone with one of these says it,” he answered, pointing with his pen at the wall. I turned my head and saw that it was a framed degree declaring that he was, indeed, a medical doctor. Wiseass.

I decided to tell him so, too. “Thanks, Dr. Wiseass. We all had as many opportunities as you did to move up in the world and get an education.”

“Oh, you’ll be fine. You said so yourself. Move along, now,” he answered, ignoring my rudeness, which prompting me to hop off the examination table. The officer was waiting for me right outside the door, and escorted me to the waiting room.

“John!” said a bright voice above the hubbub of the crowd. Kitty jumped up out of one of the chairs, and headed towards me. “You’re okay!”

“Hey, I’m indestructible, Kitty-cat. Didn’t you figure?” I told her casually as I gave her a light one-armed hug. I would’ve made it a real hug, but Storm was standing right behind her. She looked totally frazzled. Her normally immaculate white hair needed to be combed, and it wasn’t looking as sleek as it usually did.

“I’m glad you’re okay, John,” she said with a tired smile. “We have a car waiting for you out front.” I nodded. “The other two mutants you were with will be coming with us, too. Actually, one of them has family – they were contacted already – and they were going to meet us at the hospital but they’re not so close to here. They’ll come to the school in the morning.”

I registered what she was saying, but my mind was swimming with questions then. Didn’t Amelia say that the X-Men had seen what a wreck the mansion was? What about Rogue, then? Shouldn’t they have been all shook up over that? Why did they look so happy to see me when they should’ve been upset about her?

Those questions were replaced by even bigger ones when Logan pulled up to the curb in a shiny, black SUV, and the tinted passenger’s side window rolled down with a smooth hum. “Hey, sugah.”

I had no words to respond to that, but that was okay, because my facial expression said Holy shit for me. Frozen to the spot, I made no move to get into the car, so Storm opened the back for me. She and Kitty climbed in, and I finally made my feet move and got in after them. There were three rows of seats in the huge car, and Julian and Meg were seated in the middle. We had to squeeze past them to get into the back.

Julian stuck out his hand as I sat down. We made some half-hearted introductions while Logan took us out of the parking lot and back to the mansion. Before I could ask, Rogue turned around in her seat to face me. “Remember that guy I took out with my powers? Which are all the way back, by the way, as you know. He was a healing mutant. And –“

I cut her off there. “He what? But wasn’t he part of the group that was attacking the mansion?”

“Yeah. It’s a long story, actually. I’ll tell you as soon as we get back. But yeah, that’s what he was. And I stole his powers when I touched him – you were still there, then, you remember? – and then I got shot, and when I woke up, you were gone, but I was all healed. Logan says it was lucky the bullet wasn’t still in me when it happened.” Logan grunted at the mention of his name.

“I wouldn’t have gotten out of there alive though, if you hadn’t given me your powers. That’s how I knocked out the rest of the attackers,” Rogue continued. She looked at me seriously over the tops of the heads of our middle seat passengers. “Thank you, John.”

“Oh. Yeah. Damn… Well, I’m glad you’re okay. I really thought you were gone, Rogue. That was some scary shit.”

She nodded, and then turned back around in her seat to face the front. I took this moment to look out my own window. We were in a pretty nice suburb area, and there were chain stores and restaurants I hadn’t seen in months. We passed a McDonald’s and it made my mouth water. Hey, fast food’s terrible for you, but if you haven’t had it in a long time, it tastes good.

“Logan, Storm. You guys mind getting me a hamburger or some tacos or something before I have to go back? Starbucks, even? Or, I don’t know, just anything? Restaurant stuff, or fast food stuff! Please?”

Kitty laughed, and patted my knee. Julian and Meg probably thought I was just hungry after our ordeal, but no explanation was necessary for the rest of the car. “Sure,” Storm said gently. Logan said nothing, but in a few minutes he pulled into a drive-thru.

I weaseled them into getting me a bunch of tacos and a latte from Starbucks, but in the end, everyone in the car had to eat something. It wasn’t long before each of us was loaded with paper bags. I would wait until we got back to eat, so I set my food on the floor and my latte in the cupholder, and leaned back into the soft upholstery. Kitty looked up at me and smiled. Soon we would be back at the school, which was home to everybody else and prison to me. I wanted to keep watching the stores and houses whiz by the car window just a little while longer.

“Hey, Logan,” I said softly.

“Hmm,” he growled. It was a response, I guess.

“Can you drive a little slower?”

After a moment’s pause, he looked at me through the rearview mirror and said, “Yeah. Sure, kiddo.” It was the second time someone had called me that tonight. It was also his way of saying he was sorry about the way he’d joined in on the accusations the staff made against me about Hank McCoy. I smiled to myself, because I knew I’d forgive him as soon as I bit into my food later, which he’d paid for.

I stood in front of the main gates of the school, and surveyed the damage. Actually, it didn’t look too bad. I looked to Storm for an assessment, because she had just gotten off her cell phone with Scott. She said, “They aren’t back yet, but he sent someone to check out the safety. We have damage to some of the walls, and some of the classrooms and dorm rooms are unusable, but we can stay in. Some of us will have to share rooms, I guess.” She heaved a sigh, and I idly wondered how many times that damn building had to be rebuilt.

“So, I guess you guys are staying the night?” I said to Julian, who was annoyingly taller than me, now that we were both standing outside.

Julian completely overlooked me and stared straight at Rogue. “If they all look like you in there, I’m staying for a long time,” he said to her with what I could only call a leer.

Wow. I wasn’t used to being ignored when I spoke directly to someone. People usually at least called me “traitor” before walking away. What a grade-A asshole. I wish I’d known this before, so I could’ve thrown my own share of pens at him.

“Excuse me?” I said to him incredulously.

“Oh, are you with her?” Julian said, as though he couldn’t care less.

I held back a smile. “Yeah. Back off.” I said it because I just wanted to see if I was right: a jerk like him saw that I was smaller than he was and would keep hitting on Rogue even with me right there.

Julian grinned at me, and smoothed his jet-black hair. His smile, which contained about a million shiny, straight white teeth, was as genuine as a Xeroxed signature. “We’ll make her like me better,” he assured me.

Score. I love being right about douchebags. Rogue herself seemed to take this in stride. She was standing on the front steps, arms akimbo, and shaking her head at us. It made the white in her hair stand out.

I was tired and pissed off at this jerk. I had no more witticisms to throw around, and I just wanted to go to my (hopefully undestroyed) room and eat my fast food tacos. I searched my brain desperately for something biting and harsh to say to him as he and the rest of our party trudged up the stairs and through the heavy double doors.

“Hey, jackass, she threw pens at your head!” I finally shouted at him, extending an arm to indicate Meg.

At least I made Kitty laugh again.

Chapters: 1 and 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13, 14, 15 , 16 , 17, 18, 19
(Deleted comment)
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on April 12th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. You're great :)
Jess: f. x-men > you set the fire in mehazy_crazy on April 13th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
AHFSLKFJSEIOrl. I love you Iris. I love you for continuing this for what seemed like a never-ending hiatus! GAAAH. A breath of life into the dead!fandom. <3333 I loved this!!! JULIAN AHAHAHHAA oh Julian. Still the jerk :P And I LOVED MEG. She was so cute!! XD Welsh accents are cool :P

Anyway, I LOVED this and I really hope you continue it soon! :D:D <33
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on April 26th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Yeeeeah, I wish this fandom would come alive again! But alas, there is no Pyro movie :(

Hehehe, I wrote those cameos for you guys :)
Enelya Telemnar: pic#87383260enelya_telemnar on April 26th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Ok, so I'm really stinking mad that I have a research paper to write and I can't just enjoy re-reading everything rightthisveryminute, because I remember this fic and how good it is. I am going to come back and read it all though, asap, and I'm super excited that you're determined to finish it! ^_^ (I should apply that determination to my fic... O.o)
Iris: speiersleepall_day on April 26th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
AWW, thank you so much! Definitely it's the kind words like yours that keep me going! Thanks a lot for the comment :)
Mindy: x-men - kyro - kissarliddian on May 1st, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
IIIIRIS. How did I not see this before??

Don't have time to re-read right now, but I am SO EXCITED you're finishing it!! =D
adirtyangel: john allerdyceadirtyangel on May 2nd, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
I love the story, just started reading it!

I LOVED; “Hey, jackass, she threw pens at your head!” I finally shouted at him, extending an arm to indicate Meg.
At least I made Kitty laugh again.

That was so funny ;D

Soo, write again soon, okay?
doranwen: Reading One Bookdoranwen on January 5th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
I've been following this now and then, and am interested in seeing the rest. Do you have any estimate of when you might be finishing it? *has been leaving a Firefox tab open and checking it periodically, not knowing how better to keep an eye on the fic*