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18 July 2006 @ 01:21 am
You've Got to Go There to Come Back - Chapter 6  
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.
Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or any characters used in this fanfiction. This is just for fun.
Author's Note: This is my all-time first fic, and I only JUST created lovethiscity purely to post this it. I'm more of a graphics kind of a person. I absolutely never write. 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, and if you'd be interested in reading more and whatnot. Feedback is the only thing you get in return for writing, is it not?

Thanks very much to everyone who read so far!


Chapter 6: “Hell, I’m taking all of it.”

In all my life, I never imagined that my days would become so dull. I get up, mark off another day, cook, clean the kitchen, read the newspaper, and occasionally do laundry because the only things I came to Xavier’s School with were the clothes on my back and a couple of other clothes that were given to me. And occasionally talking to Storm about rehabilitation options. So far a community service opportunity hasn’t come up that I could participate in from campus grounds, so I haven’t been doing much. I’d sit around in the common rooms sometimes, and people would occasionally say hello to me, or studiously ignore me. Please. Like they haven’t seen a twenty-something mutant convict who’d worked for their headmaster’s enemy confined to their home before.

Never mind. I could see why no one wanted to talk to me.

At any rate, I never liked having this kind of routine in my life. Wasn’t that a huge part of why I left to join Magneto, so I could be out actually making a difference for mutant rights instead of passively sitting around? The newspaper, that was one thing that gave me some mixed feelings. Anti-mutantism was, as always, getting more and more serious and sometimes I felt relieved to be away from it all, just tired from all the fighting. But most of the time I wished that I could be out there doing something about it. At least with Magneto, I’d taken some action. Even if it meant that other people got hurt sometimes.

I hadn’t felt guilty about the deaths of those people in the lab, or the dozens of other people who had gotten in Magneto’s way that I’d taken care of, until that day in the court room. My trial was certainly an awakening experience. From the initial, panicking Oh God, I’ve been caught feeling to the knowledge that I’d never be able to erase this from my past, I spent all day thinking about it sometimes. Funny how being charged guilty will do that to you. I never gave it a second thought before this.

When I was thinking about this, I was sitting in my room fidgeting with a ballpoint pen and wistfully remembered that I always had to have something to do with my hands to keep myself from going crazy. Probably why I always made sure to clean up the kitchen after making my food, so I’d have something to keep me busy just a little bit longer, before I went off to do nothing. The pen wasn’t close at all to the hot metal feel of my old shark Zippo lighter. It was what I had been holding when I first found out that I wasn’t normal, that my life was going to be a lot harder from then on, and I’d kept it as a small but powerful reminder ever since. When I fashioned wrist-bound lighters for myself, I still kept that old Zippo in my pocket. I wished I had it back, and then suddenly wondered how I’d gone so long without it.

I threw down the pen and made my way over to Wolverine’s room. Nobody had told me who had my lighters, but I could guess. It would be the person that I’d be the most afraid to approach. I wasn’t afraid of Wolverine, not really, but you’d have to be able to manipulate the metal on his bones to say he wasn’t intimidating. I’d be able to talk to him about my lighter, though. For awhile I’d sort of avoided him, since I still felt a little resentful and wished I could lay a hand on him for what he’d done to Magneto. I really did hate him for awhile, but those feelings faded a little bit when I thought more about what Magneto had been planning to do and how even he couldn’t stop Phoenix. And besides, Wolverine had also been pretty hospitable to me since I’d been here. We weren’t on opposite sides of a fight anymore, so he couldn’t do anything to me for standing up to him.

I was walking down the hallway where Wolverine’s room was, and some kids were walking through moving between their classes, when Kitty Pryde noticed me and waved. I guess it wasn’t that weird, since she used to be someone I’d sometimes say hello to, an acquaintance, but we never talked much. I didn’t have a reason to start now, though, so I just pretended not to notice. Pretending only gets you so far - until the person you’re trying to blow off is right in front of you. I gave her a half-hearted wave back and tried to look as uninterested as possible as I kept going.

“Hey, John!” she called. She just didn’t give up, did she?

“What?”

“Just wanted to ask what’s up,” she said casually.

I didn’t even bother answering. “Don’t you have class?”

“I’m done for the day.” Great. Then she had the whole rest of the day to bug me. “I was kind of wondering what you were doing to pass the time, if you wanted something to do.”

I couldn’t believe it. She was feeling sorry for me. That’s the last thing that I wanted from anyone in this place. Either that, or I hoped she was just miserable that whatever it was she and Peter had before I left the school didn’t work out, and needed company. I only knew this because I’d always seen them together. All of a sudden I come back and from what I know they haven’t said two words to each other. Doesn’t take a telepath to put two and two together, even when one isn’t interested in the everyday dramas of mutant students. “Oh, did you want to wallow in misery with me?” I said, falsely cheery. I leaned in and added, “Just needed to get away from Tinhead, huh? Did it not work out because he was too busy admiring himself? That would explain why Tinhead’s sporting a new muscle shirt. And, yeah, that would also explain why I saw the Tinmobile getting a fresh new wash outside the other day.”

Kitty was unfazed. She just scoffed and said, “He’s not like that in the least, John. Clearly you don’t know him at all.” I didn’t. So?

“Clearly,” I repeated back at her, and turned away.

“Fine,” she called out from behind me. “I’ll see you later, then.”

Later? I wondered what it would take to make her put a lid on it, if that outburst hadn’t.

I was about to knock on Wolverine’s door, but he opened it himself before I could. That damn guy always seems to know things like that. “That wasn’t very nice,” he said, when he saw me.

I shrugged. “Not my problem,” I said dismissively.

Wolverine leaned against the doorpost and said, “It is your problem if you haven’t given somebody the appropriate respect.”

That caught me off guard. Okay, now there was no way that he could’ve known that about me, that it’s something I actually regard as important.

When I didn’t say anything, his expression softened a little bit and he said, “I’ll be honest with ya here. Nobody’s jumping out of their shoes that you’re here, but we’re all ready to give you another chance.”

That made me glare at him, and I thought, You don’t know that.

“I’ll tell ya why I know it, too,” he continued. Damn it. That settled it; the man sensed way more about things than was healthy. “It’s cause I’m still here. You know, when I first got here, people were no happier about it than they were about you. And I haven’t left yet, but that ain’t because I have to be here. There are people who want to help.”

I nodded, because I wasn’t sure what else to say.

“I’d say you owe one of those people an apology.”

I gave him a sheepish grin and said, “You heard all of that, didn’t you?” He raised his eyebrows and gave me an “are you serious?” expression to remind me that his hearing was just as good as his sense of smell.

I remembered why I was there in the first place, and figured I should be on his good side if I wanted to get my lighter back. So even though I had no intention of doing so, I said, “I guess you’re right,” and paused to change the subject. “Logan?” I ventured, not sure what he wanted me to call him anymore.

“Yeah, kid?”

Better just say it straight out. “I thought maybe you had my Zippo, and was wondering if I could get back from you – you know I wouldn’t try anything with a tracking device on me.”

“Oh, really?” he challenged.

“Come on, Logan. I’m over the stove downstairs every day, so having the lighter back wouldn’t change anything.” I don’t know why, but for some reason taking the fire from the stove felt like cheating somehow. It just seemed so lame. “I haven’t caused anyone any trouble. I just want it back, cause it’s mine.” Oh, God. I hoped I wouldn’t have to resort to pleading.

He stared straight at me without changing his unreadable expression. “Well, nobody said I couldn’t give it back to you, John.” The use of my name surprised me. The fact that I was right about Wolverine’s having my lighter did not. “Tell ya what. You come back when you’ve said your apologies to Kitty.”

I should’ve guessed it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Five minutes later, I was knocking on Kitty’s door. She opened the door and, as she was shorter than me, glared her eyes upwards at me.

“What?”

I honestly didn’t care that she knew the real reason for my apology. So I told her, “Hey, Kitty. I’m… sorry about earlier. Didn’t really mean it.”

Kitty’s “are you serious?” expression could have rivaled Wolverine’s. “Well, I was going to apologize anyway. Really. And then I was talking to Logan, and he kind of made me feel bad about the whole thing, and said he’d give me back my lighter if I did say I was sorry. Just wanted you to know that’s part of it,” I added quickly.

“Uh-huh,” she said slowly, without revealing anything on her face. Man, that fucking X-Men stoicism.

“Would you be satisfied with a ‘Sorry, I won’t do it again’?” I tried.

That I’d like to see.” She shook her head. “You’re not going to go through with it, but I’d love to see you try.” Kitty paused, and then said with a sigh, “Fine. John, even when you’re apologizing you’re just doing it for yourself. But hey, you’re here for awhile. I’m going to count on the hope that you might learn one of these days.”

She sounded exactly the way she did when I took classes with her. Always looking out for the best in people, wasn’t she? I was about to say something along the lines of, “We’re good, then,” and leave, but she stepped outside the room and said, “Come on, let’s go get your lighter back.”

I swallowed another nasty comment and choked it back up in the form of a scowl, and then followed her back upstairs. Wolverine’s door was still open, so Kitty knocked on the wall beside it and peeked in. “Hey, kiddo,” he said, smiling at her. “Did this punk say something to you?” he said in mock anger. I almost wished I had someone to joke around with, but pushed the feeling aside.

“It’s okay, Logan,” she grinned. “He just wants his lighter back, is all. It was more like, ‘Sorry, can I have it back now?’” They both laughed, and I scowled some more. Wolverine reached into a dresser drawer and threw the old thing at me. God, the moment I caught it, I felt something familiar in my hands. I hadn’t had that feeling in so long.

So that’s where it’d been this whole time. In a simple dresser drawer. It felt a little anti-climatic. Did I expect it to be in, say, a safe or something? But no, they had no reason to be afraid of me. If I abused my powers, I had a tracking device on me that would tell them exactly where I’d gone. I rubbed the lighter between my fingers. “Thanks,” I said to him, and caught myself when I felt that I actually meant it.

I gave him a nod and left the room. In the hallway I stopped and flicked it open. Click. I felt the switch strike down on the flint as I had a million times before, but there was no flame. I pressed it several more times, and then I shook the lighter next to my ear. “Son of a bitch!”

“They emptied it, huh?”

I spun around. Kitty was down the hall behind me. “Yeah,” I said simply.

“Sorry,” she said. “I mean – I didn’t know what they were doing with you or anything, I didn’t know about the lighter either. But sorry anyway.”

I nodded. There wasn’t going to be any way I could get more fuel for it, either. Who the hell was going to buy any for me? I loved that old lighter, but this was one of those times that I grew especially angry about the fact that I needed it, that I couldn’t create my own fire.

As if to read my thoughts, Kitty spoke up again, saying, “I know where you can get some more fuel, John.”

“Are you just playing with me, Kitty?” I said. If she really did, I didn’t want to sound too angry, but I was annoyed that she was still there. I was mad and didn’t want her to see it.

“Yeah. I sure do,” she said, actually smiling at me this time.

Kitty lead me to the doors of the basement. “What’s down here?” I asked. I’d actually been down there once before, and it was almost ridiculous how huge it was. After all, it did span the entire area of the whole mansion, in one big room.

“A lot of stuff,” she said, not helping at all. She flipped a light switch and we ventured down the stairs. It wasn’t one of those creepy basements that you had to bring a flashlight into. It couldn’t afford to be, what with being so huge. A person could get lost down there.

“You weren’t kidding,” I told her, as I took a look around. Most of it was file cabinets and boxes, with some furniture scattered here and there. It was dusty, and I couldn’t decide if it looked abandoned or not. It certainly had that feel to it, but there was so much stuff there that people must have been in the basement often enough.

“Over here,” Kitty said, pointing to a stack of boxes next to an old, tired-looking armchair. As I walked over to where she was standing, I felt my heart pound a little faster. PYRO, the boxes were all labeled in neat, careful handwriting. There was something about finding your name on some lost boxes in a basement that felt like seeing your name on a tombstone.

I kneeled down next to Kitty, who was already opening some of the boxes. She noticed the look on my face, and explained, “We… Bobby and Rogue packed your things away when you left. I mean, I only did a little bit. I was mostly just trying to be helpful. They did most of it.” She paused to rifle through a box that contained some notebooks. “The Professor asked them to, but he didn’t really say whether they should pack it or get rid of it. So they… I mean, obviously, they didn’t get rid of it. I think they were hoping that you would - I mean -” she stopped. I nodded. I knew what she meant. She continued, “They were really the only ones who knew about this, and I only know this is all here because I hung out with them and helped. But I guess everybody else either didn’t care, or just forgot about it when you came back.”

I had been opening as many boxes as I could as I listened to her talk. “It’s all here,” I told her. “All my notebooks and clothes and stuff.”

“Yeah,” she said, “You should bring the clothes back upstairs with you.”

“Hell, I’m taking all of it,” I said. I never looked back when I left, but these things were what I had when I had a home. That meant something, didn’t it? I didn’t miss having my stuff when I was working for Magneto, but seeing all of it again – man, I did miss it. The feeling that I got when Wolverine tossed my lighter at me – it was all coming at me in a flood.

I was so busy looking at a red sweater that had once been my favorite that I don’t think I even remembered why I was in the basement in the first place until Kitty said, “Hey, I found them,” and shoved a small box at me. It was full of stuff I’d kept in one of my desk drawers – pencils, a calculator, other school supplies, and about a dozen assorted lighters.

“Hey, wow…” I said. I picked up one of the lighters and tried it out. It gave me a lovely, steady flame, which I was more than happy to pick up with my thumb and forefinger. I curled it up into a ball, and rolled it over my fingers. I actually laughed. So did Kitty.

I played with the flame some more before throwing it into the palm of my hand and putting it out by clasping my fist over it. I wanted to see if I would be able to put some of the fuel into my shark Zippo.

I was. It was satisfying to feel the click of the Zippo and see it give me a flame again. When that was done, Kitty said, “Want me to help carry some of the boxes up?”

“Wouldn’t object to it,” I said.

The two of us made a few trips back and forth – thank God my room was on the first floor – before all of the boxes with my name on them had been brought to my new room. I idly hoped Storm wouldn’t mind my making it look less like a prison.

I sat back on the bed, flicked open my lighter, and said, “Hey, thanks, kiddo,” using the name Wolverine had used earlier. She gave me a weird look, but said, “No big.”

“No, really,” I said. “Thanks a lot.” I don’t know why I felt like it had to be reiterated. Maybe because I’d actually meant it.

Before either of us could say anything more, we heard a huge slam – the sound the main door of the school makes when someone absolutely just bursts inside and it’s opened too hard and too fast, so that it bangs into the wall. Immediately following it were several loud cries and some shouting. I could always hear everything that went on in the main entrance from my room. Kitty and I shot a glance at each other and we ran out of the room. Or, rather, she went through the door and I had to open it.

Storm was supporting a boy by the waist and helping him walk into the building. It was the boy who was crying and moaning, and with good reason – his entire left arm was mangled and looked like it had been run over by a car. Storm was accompanied by Beast and Wolverine had already rushed downstairs.

“Hank, go on ahead and get the infirmary ready! Charlie, you can do it – Logan, help me! We couldn’t take him to a hospital, there were just too many – Hank, call for help, too!” Storm was harried, trying to talk to too many people at once.

“What happened?” I asked. I was ignored. I noticed that it wasn’t just the boy’s arm. He looked like he was in his late teens, and had light brown hair that was streaked with blood. It was also was running down the side of his face, and he walked with a discouraging limp.

“Too many what, Storm?” Wolverine demanded.

“It’s them again,” she replied tersely. “The Friends of Humanity – they would have followed us to the hospital if we tried to get him there, so we put him in the Blackbird.”

The Friends of Humanity. The Ku Klux Klan of our mutant world. Now that was a name I’d repeatedly been seeing in the newspaper.

Chapters: 1 and 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
 
 
 
skf_uk on July 18th, 2006 10:14 am (UTC)
Definitely the best chapter so far, Kitty's so adorably helpful and John so adorably aloof :)
Iris: angel needs a bigger partsleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
Ooh, you really think so? I hope that means I'm improving... *crosses fingers* Thanks for the comment!
Jess: pyro/kitty - otphazy_crazy on July 18th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
Loved this chapter!! =D

Yaaay he got his stuff back :P

I had to look up the "Friends of Humanity" on Wikipedia... and now I know it's an anti-mutant hate group. =)

Love the incorporation of comics and film!
Iris: jarrod is my kiefer lookalikesleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
Great, I'm so glad you liked it!

Reeaally?! I tried looking them up on Wikipedia too - but I couldn't find an article about them. I searched "Friends of humanity" and it just gave me some unrelated results. How did you find it?

And yup, you got it! I'm pretty sure there's nothing else that the FOH could have represented except for the KKK, but there's always the possibility that I'm overthinking these comics too much :)
Jess: pyro - only manipulate the firehazy_crazy on July 19th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
Really?! wow lol here's the link I tried and it worked::

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friends_of_Humanity

It's a very short article.
Teganshadowcat47 on July 18th, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
This chapter was sooooo good. This story is really great. I love how you write. Great job!!! Update soon!!!
Iris: 643 boyssleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! Thanks for the support, and I'll try to get another chapter up soon.
lux_apollo on July 18th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
Excellent.
Iris: franco bwsleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading :)
(Deleted comment)
Iris: pyro - can the world survive?sleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks a bunch! I'm glad you liked it. I hope you enjoy the rest of my chapters too - I need to keep in mind what you guys tell me is good!
Hailey Burdenskepticalwriter on July 18th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
John's an ass, but then again you portrey him perfectly. Keep up the great work. I love it so far!
Iris: washburn has the elvis lip curlsleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh, he IS, isn't he? I really hope you guys think I'm keeping him in character! Thanks again for reading.
Crystal: x-men - never let you gopetitebelette on July 18th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
This chapter was good.

I love this fic, really- I can't wait to see what happens next.
Iris: pyro - can the world survive?sleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks a lot. Both for reading and for the comment. And let me just tell you right now, you'll find out soon enough!
{oh these tumbled stars}: x-men - pyro - control of flametumbledstars on July 18th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
Wow! This was a good one! I loved the Kitty/John interaction and the apology scene, lol!! Also, the plot gets more interesting with every chapter! I loved this line: Please. Like they haven’t seen a twenty-something mutant convict who’d worked for their headmaster’s enemy confined to their home before. LOL!!!
Iris: jarrod is my kiefer lookalikesleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I really enjoy when people tell me which lines they liked, so thanks :) And I'm pretty tickled that you said the plot's getting more interesting, too!

By the way, I LOVE that icon! Very cool.
pat_nosferatupat_nosferatu on July 18th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous chapter:) Kitty and John are really adorable together. Can't wait to read more.
Iris: steve - i wanna be your sledgehammer hehsleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and the awesome comment! I hope to make them cute together, yet still believable. :)
Linea: Fidget Kyronayerzish on July 18th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
*sticks on Nayerzish's seal of approval*
Iris: eckstein - yaaaahoo!sleepall_day on July 18th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
*displays it proudly*
sharkiesharkbait_ha on July 18th, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
this was my favorite chapter yet! Mainly for the interaction between Kitty and John.

But awesome idea with the FOH...

Can't wait to read more
Iris: angel needs a bigger partsleepall_day on July 19th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
Thanks! This was my favorite chapter so far, too. I hope people like what I end up doing with the FOH, and I'll be putting up a new chapter as soon as I can!
onewaystreet64 on July 19th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)
loved it! update soon!!
-Courtney-
Iris: i am not obsessed with steve finleysleepall_day on July 20th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comment! I'll try to get an update up as soon as I can.
Autumn: holding too tightly afraid to lose contrpenelopeblack on July 27th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Oh yay, really liked this chapter. I loved John and Kitty's interaction. And how you're including Logan is nice as well. Looking forward to reading more. ;)