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11 January 2007 @ 12:16 am
You've Got to Go There to Come Back - Chapter 19  
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 19: “You gotta protect yourself.”

I was in so much shock that the Friends of Humanity had managed to get this far that I sat silent for a few minutes, as did Rogue. I even forgot for a second to be pissed at her for her patronizing of me, although my feelings would probably return pretty soon.

Rogue, who was feeling good enough to sit up now, finally broke the silence by saying, “I just can’t believe it. Poor Hank.”

“Yeah,” I mumbled.

“Y’know… Bobby said he would try to contact the mansion if they found out the location. Just to tell me if they’d be goin’ in or not,” she said in a shaky voice.

“You’re actually worried about him?” I asked. “That they’re not going to make it back, or something?”

Rogue shrugged, but I could see the tension in her face. She wasn’t about to confide in me, and I didn’t want her to, but I couldn’t help adding with the air of confidence that had rubbed off on me from Magneto, “They’re going up against a bunch of humans. Terrorists, yeah, but they’re humans. Any one of us could take them.”

“That’s probably what they’d like us to think, isn’t it?” Rogue said. “But they’ve outwitted us once – they got Hank, and we thought he could do anythin’. And they’ve got an incredible advantage right now with that virus, don’t you see?”

When I didn’t say anything, Rogue continued, “Sure, we as mutants have our powers, and they don’t. Which is why they’ve come up with their own ways of fightin’ against us.” I nodded. “And John…”

I looked up, at the sudden use of my real given name, instead of the one that Magneto had said was my real name.

Rogue continued, “I’ve never felt the need to apologize for this – it used to just make me mad – but I never told you. I never meant to make you feel alone by takin’ Bobby away from you. At first I was just mad that you resented me for somethin’ that wasn’t much my fault, but I know how much you’ve felt alone in your life. And I never meant to do it to you myself.”

I was mystified, even more so than angry at first. “Why are you telling me all of this? And what do you mean, you know I resented you? Rogue, I never said a word to you, so don’t you go messing around with me thinking you know shit about me –”

“I do know it,” she cut in suddenly. “I do know.”

I was just giving her a nasty look while I collected my thoughts and tried to make sense of how the hell she was saying all kinds of things about me – all kinds of things that were true. And I should’ve known, even before Rogue told me, “That day you attacked the policemen. At Bobby’s house. You were in my head.”

“I didn’t know that happened,” I admitted. I remembered feeling dizzy, and like I was out of breath and maybe about to faint, as my powers were being sucked out of me – and I knew that Rogue had taken my powers but I didn’t know that she had taken my thoughts, as well. She had done a good job of never revealing to me that she’d been in my head. This girl, who had once been a friend but not much more than an acquaintance since I knew her through Bobby, had a peek at some of my mind’s thoughts and I didn’t like it. She knew that everything she had taken from me was the truth, so I couldn’t even use the defense that she didn’t know if what she had seen was real or not.

I shifted around nervously. I suddenly felt very exposed, so, defeated, I narrowed my eyes at her and said, “You’re never allowed to tell me I’m rude again. Pretty much.”

Rogue ducked her head and let out an embarrassed laugh, and said, “I’m sorry. I really am, about that. It was one of the most… uncomfortable parts about my power. I never liked takin’ memories. From anybody. It just lingers. And I know I didn’t do it again when you touched me back in the kitchen, but somehow at that moment, everything from you that lingered in my head just kind of came rushing back in a wave.” I raised an eyebrow.

“Did that… ever happen before?” I asked.

“No. It was just then. Just this… incredible feeling of loneliness,” Rogue said, and then quickly looked down.

I heaved a sigh. It was one thing to have people feel sorry for me, which was bad enough, but it was completely another to have them actually feel your own emotions. I hated it, but there was nothing I could do about it now. “Must’ve been the old memories,” I said.

“I don’t know. I wouldn’t have been able to tell. But if you say so, John,” Rogue conceded.

Then I asked what must have been on everybody’s minds. I just said it straight out. “Are your powers coming back?”

Rogue looked down and shook her head in a confused way. “Honest? I don’t know. I really don’t. I didn’t ever feel sick before, when I first got them. But when I talked to Kitty, she told me she used to get headaches when she was gettin’ hers. So now I’m scared.”

At the mention of Kitty I suddenly realized that I was actually glad I was talking to Rogue instead of her. Rogue definitely wasn’t my favorite person – but I didn’t know if I could face Kitty yet. I just didn’t know what I would say to her. And if she asked me any direct questions, I would rather not answer them right now. So I wasn’t altogether too upset to be talking to someone else right then.

I told Rogue airily, “Well, since you weren’t sick the first time, maybe you just got the flu or something. Could be anything.”

“It could be,” she said doubtfully.

I then got angry all over again even though I’d just tried to comfort her in a small way. I sat back and hoped that she hadn’t seen too many of my personal thoughts. I knew that she had seen my resentment and that was bad enough. I couldn’t help being mad at her for how exposed she made me feel, including and especially because it had made her sympathetic. “Just because you’ve seen some of my thoughts doesn’t mean you’ve seen the whole picture,” I said. “You still can’t judge me, you know. Or anyone. It’s not your place,” I spat out as harshly as I could.

“I know,” she said softly. “Bobby doesn’t know anythin’ I saw, by the way. I just thought you should know that I didn’t talk to anyone about it.”

I just crossed my arms and said, “Whatever. Just, why don’t you try to stay out of other people’s business from now on?”

“I know that –”

“I mean, it’s really just as well that you gave up your power, since you know, you couldn’t receive massages, participate in relay races, have sex, wear revealing clothing on hot days, or be interesting,” I said, ticking off each item on a finger. “So now that you don’t have your power, get used to the idea that you’re not supposed to be poking around in other people’s messes.”

Rogue had a look on her face that said she was trying very hard not to get mad. She said, “It’s not the biggest deal in the world, Pyro. Like you said, I only really got a glimpse at your thoughts, not everythin’.”

I continued to sit facing away from her with a bored expression on my face. “Suit yourself,” Rogue finally said. “I’d just forget about it if I were you.”

I was about to get up to leave, but before she could finish talking, a beeping sound like an alarm clock went off, which caused Rogue to jump. “That’s him,” she said, and searched around on her bed for a communicator to the Blackbird.

I continued to lazily look at the television while Rogue had a boring conversation with her boring boyfriend. After she said, “Be careful, sugah,” Rogue clicked the communicator off and faced me. “They can’t find him. They’re not comin’ back jus’ yet though. But they’re all worried sick about what’s going to happen if they can’t find Hank.”

Just as Rogue finished talking, there was an enormous crash. It was an explosion. I yelped and Rogue screamed as the floor was rocked. “What the hell just happened?!” I shouted. I couldn’t tell where it was, but a wall somewhere was crumbling, I could hear it.

“A bomb?” Rogue said, bewildered.

“Oh God. They – whoever they are – they know the X-Men are gone,” I said, as we ran out of her room. Rogue ran straight into a guy wearing a ski mask and screamed.

“Who are you!” she demanded. The man gave her a backhanded punch across the face, which didn’t stop her for a second. I’d gotten my lighter out, but I could only watch, stunned, as Rogue stumbled back and righted herself. Then, with both hands, she grabbed the man across the throat in a chokehold. He started to fight her, but then went limp. Rogue had a pained look on her face and let out a strangled gasp.

I almost didn’t believe what I was seeing. It didn’t really sink for me until the man collapsed to the floor and Rogue, with tears brimming in her eyes, said, “They bombed the top floor and they’re goin’ t’ plant some more explosives.”

I stared at her for a second, opened my mouth to say something and then just closed it again. Then I flicked open my lighter and drew the flame out of it. “Okay then,” I replied calmly.

“Let’s go stop them.”

Rogue and I ran down the hallway towards the sound of the explosion, and then I said, “Hey! Did you… I mean, were you able to tell from that guy where they’re keeping Hank?”

“Yes! I mean, I don’t know where it is! I saw it, though, I saw it,” she replied through her tears. She looked more pained than anything. “I couldn’t tell anyone where it is though, I only saw a picture in my head. And I know they’re headed there afterwards.”

“Definitely? You’re sure of it?” I asked hastily.

“I am sure of it!”

Both of us were running down the hall barefoot, which made my metallic anklet clink across the floor. It gave me an idea. “We can get him back,” I assured her. “Don’t worry.”

I wasn’t going to go down without giving some of those creeps a piece of my mind, though. We found a few more of the intruders, no doubt from the Friends of Humanity, and I didn’t hesitate to deliver a serious punch to the face of one of them. I could’ve just burned him, but I wanted to feel my fist connecting with the guy’s skull. A fist that was encased in flame. Xavier’s mansion may not have been the home that I chose, but it was still the only place I had, and I wasn’t happy with being disturbed by outsiders.

I didn’t know it before, but Rogue definitely had benefited from her hand-to-hand combat lessons in the Danger Room, because she was holding her own pretty well. The two of us probably could have taken the mutant haters down, even after we were surrounded and outnumbered. But about four of them were suddenly restraining Rogue, and another had knocked my lighter out of my hand. That didn’t matter though, since I already had full control of a sizeable fire.

“Fucked up muties!” one of them spat out, as he delivered a blow to the side of my head. It hurt like a cold, hard bitch, but I took it. I even let him hit me again, but hell, I was definitely starting to doubt if I could really do this.

“No!” Rogue cried out, even as she was fighting back. “Pyro! John! Hit him back! Hit him back!”

One of them pushed her away, and I went down as my attacker hit me another time. Then I realized – I wouldn’t get away with this. If I let myself be captured, everyone would think it was in an attempt to get away from the mansion. God, I’d love to leave, but now couldn’t be the time – I had to help. I was thinking about Kitty.

I almost smiled to myself as I pictured Cyclops’s Boy Scout-like face, saying, “Always be prepared!” One of the intruders was about to grab me, so I threw myself down onto the ground, stretching my arm out to grab my lighter. I snatched up the Zippo, and put it safely in my pocket. I easily took out the men holding Rogue with my fire, and then I took her by the arm.

“Rogue, take this,” I said to her. Before she could react, I put it her hand an extra plastic lighter and, bracing myself, took a breath and grabbed her bare wrist.

Definitely wasn’t easier the second time around. I was getting dizzy, but trying to stay awake. I fell to the ground, and then said, “Doing this to help, okay? Now you know,” to Rogue just before I felt like I was about to pass out, finally letting go of her.

I was on the ground wheezing. I couldn’t do anything anymore to control any more fires, or to protect Rogue. I saw her getting hit again, and I said weakly, “You gotta protect yourself.” It was barely more than a whisper.

Rogue managed to grab another one of the men and absorb the power out of him until he fell straight to the ground, unconscious, but she must have been in too much shock. She wasn’t controlling herself or paying attention to the rest of the men. The last thing I saw before going down was one of the other men shooting her point-blank in the back. She didn’t even have time to scream, and dropped to the floor.

"Oh my..." I breathed. I reached out to grab her, but the men were pulling me away already. Rogue had definitely been shot to kill. A pool of blood was beginning to form around her.

When I woke up, I wasn’t in the mansion anymore, but I guess I didn’t stay down for long, because I opened my eyes and I was being dragged across the back lawn. I looked behind me and saw the damaged school, smoke rising from some parts of it that had been bombed. My pant leg was covering my anklet, but I knew that right now it must be blinking like crazy. The X-Men would come find me. They’d come. They had to.

Chapters: 1 and 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13, 14, 15 , 16 , 17, 18
Reivencwazy_weiven on December 18th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I got here from ff.net and--WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO UPDATE THIS BRILLIANT STORY?!?!

This is by far my most favourite X-Men movie fic and I tell you, I'm one picky reader. I'm not just saying that to bait you to update, but because it's the truth! You've stopped at such an amazing and delicious moment and if you say that you've discontinued this story then...then I will have just lost my faith in humanity!

Please, please, please update this story because it's cliffies like this that cause congestional heart failure in fanfiction reader; it's a proven fact.

There are people that can write stories that are so in-character that you'd think it was the actual creator writing them in disguise. There are people who write so out of character that you wonder whether they were watching the same thing you were when they wrote it. But then there are stories where characters aren't necessarily in-character, but author managed to write their characterisation so convincing that you wished the actual character was like that in canon. Your story falls into the third category. That's as high as a praise I can give someone without actually dropping to my knees and kissing ass.

I hope that my proverbial, though not really ass-kissing has managed to somewhat convince you to update then next chapter (and beyond), if so...then I have done my good deed for mankind and may sleep peacefully tonight.

Thank you. Many love. Hugs and kisses and your journal is going onto my Journal Alert thing whether you want it to or not. I'll be wishing for blessing from above in my inbox when you next update :3

Irissleepall_day on April 12th, 2009 08:28 am (UTC)
I know this comment is SUPER old, and I apologize, but I don't think I had alerts turned on from this? I'm so sorry! I just wanted to thank you for your kind words about the story. I just... toootally neglected this story forever, but I finally updated again and it's comments like yours that really pushed me forward! :D