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15 July 2006 @ 01:50 am
You've Got to Go There to Come Back - Chapter 3  
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.
Author's Note: This is my honest-to-goodness, first ever, never-before-done, I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN A FIC BEFORE. EVER. As in, I only JUST created lovethiscity purely to post this fic. 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?

Thank you so much to everyone who read Chapters 1 and 2!

Chapter 3: "It’s time for dinner."

Five long years. Five long years. Five long… the phrase keeps banging around in my head like it’s trying to get out. But it’s trapped in there, just as I’m trapped in the school. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Just how gifted was I when I was so trapped and couldn’t get myself out of it?

No, trapped was the wrong word. Trapped implied that I had been wrongfully captured, that I had to try to get out, but that wasn’t the case. There’s nothing like prison to give you time to think about what you’ve done and what you wish you had done. I was curled up on the bed – my bed, now – in one of the school’s available rooms, facing the wall. I shifted myself around and faced the other way, which gave me a view out the window. It was sunny outside. This hardly was a prison, was it? It was home to so many people, and I was… trespassing on it.

I suddenly swung myself up to a sitting position on the edge of the bed and let out a frustrated groan. Where was I, then? Prison? Or home? Should I be angry at being confined here, or grateful I wasn’t actually in a jail cell? I hated Storm for allowing me back inside this place. I hated McCoy, the appropriately named Beast, for taking me to the attorney general. I hated everyone in charge, and I hated that Warren for finding me in the first place. I hated them but these people had all made it possible for me to not be sitting in a cold, hard jail. I slammed my fist on the bedpost. Whoever first thought of the concept of house arrest probably ended up confusing a whole hell of a lot of people.

I finally stood up and started to pace around in the small room. It was a room generally given to first years in the school; I’d had one of them myself, and here I was again. It was a different room, of course, but it looked the same as my old room did when I first moved in, because of how bare it was. There was the bed, a wardrobe, and a desk. That, and the bathroom on one side of the wardrobe. The walls were all bare, of course. I wondered if I should mark a tally for each day I was a prisoner.

A prisoner. I stopped pacing. I just stopped, and sank to the floor even though the desk chair was right next to me. Sitting with my knees up really made me feel the metal ring on my right ankle. It was right in front of me, a physical representation of my house arrest. A wave of realization came over me as I thought about all those times that I’d blindly followed Magneto wherever he went. I don’t know that I’d call myself a blind follower for what I did, but for the sheer fact that I did it so often. Without thought. Without worry. In the time that I spent with the Brotherhood, I met a lot of criminals, and from what I’d seen, they were all the same in one aspect: denial. I grew up in a suburb when I was younger. My family wasn’t rich, but we were well off and so were most of the people I knew. Whenever people saw horrible things on the news – kidnappings, murders, natural disasters – we all thought the same thing. We all do. It’s not going to happen to me. We all think it, pushing away the nagging voice in the back of our minds saying that yes, yes it could. Of course it could. I haven’t ever known someone who willingly commits crimes on a regular basis to go into them thinking, Oh my God, we’re not going to get out of this without getting caught. No, it’s always, It couldn’t happen to me. That happens to other people, the ones who get careless.

Here I am. Living proof that It Couldn’t Happen To Me Syndrome lies. And now for the rest of my life I was going to have to remember that I was once a prisoner. I hadn’t asked for this kind of guilt when I left Xavier’s school.

A sharp knock on the door made me jump out of my concentration. “Who is it?” I asked warily. I wondered where this sudden train of thought came from. I guess having all the time in the world – well, five years – to sit around could cause someone to do some heavy thinking. Especially when they refused to leave their room.

“It’s time for dinner,” said a female voice outside my door. I thought I asked who it was, not what time it was. Maybe that was her name.

“Not hungry,” I responded. Since when did someone prepare dinner for me? Ever since I got here I’d been eating microwave dinners.

Then the damn girl just opened the door right up. Like my tone didn’t convey that I wanted to be left alone. Time For Dinner was a small girl with black hair, and probably about my age. She poked her head through the door and said just as belligerently, “We figured you might not want to eat with everyone else, but to be honest, people here are too busy to make you something when you are hungry, so you may as well eat now.”

I glared. Who was this person? Then I realized why she was here. Nobody wanted to see me. Why should Storm or anybody else in charge send Bobby, Rogue, or any other of the dozens of kids I knew, when they could send a perfect stranger who had no reason to cause trouble with me? I sighed as I got off the floor. I may be stuck here for what seems like an eternity, but I wasn’t welcome. The proof was the metallic clink of my anklet shifting as I stood up.

I followed the girl to the dining hall, which was pretty crowded. I frowned; this wasn’t how we had done things when I was a student here. Most people just got their meals on their own, but there was some food on one of the tables and a few other tables that were already occupied. I scanned the room. There were a lot of people I recognized and a few I didn’t know. Storm was sitting next to a clean-cut looking blonde with wings. They were so big he was sitting on a stool instead of a chair with a back. He looked like an idiot.

“John, have a seat here,” Storm called. What choice did I have? I nodded, grabbed a plate and some food and walked over to her. I practically threw myself down into the chair and hunched over my plate, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, and was content to just eat my food and go, but Storm tapped me on the arm and said, “John, you should meet the young man who found you. This is Warren.”

That made me look up. I knew how this would be solved if I didn’t have a fucking anklet on my foot. “You bastard! You fucking son of a bitch! If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be a fucking prisoner!”

But, I did. I cleared my throat and quietly said, “Nice to meet you. Uh, thanks, I guess,” and resumed eating. I was definitely lying when I said I wasn’t hungry earlier.

“You’re… John, right?” Warren said, probably feigning politeness, as he clearly already knew who I was. I noticed he had extended his hand, so I took it and gave it a quick shake.

“Yeah. John.”

Anyone could sense that the conversation wasn’t going to be going anywhere, so Storm put in probably the first thing that popped into her head, “Warren Worthington’s our newest member. We’ve just assigned him the codename Angel.”

“Angel, huh? I’m…” But I wasn’t Pyro anymore. Not since they’d taken away all my lighters. I just stuffed more food in my mouth to keep myself from talking, and thought that this Warren guy must have possessed more angelic qualities other than the wings – until I noticed that he was sitting directly underneath a chandelier that gave off a warm glow. I rolled my eyes at myself.

Wait. “Worthington? You mean you’re… you’re that…” Man, I must’ve been really off my game. I couldn’t very well say, “the son of that guy whose lab I incinerated.” I just trailed off again. Everyone at that table must’ve thought I was incapable of coherent speech.

But Warren seemed to be okay. He just helped out with, “Yeah, my dad owns Worthington Industries.”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I said, like I’d been trying to remember the name or something. God. Not a good thing to bring up at dinner. I wanted to talk about something else. “So,” I said, looking at Storm, “what’s the occasion?” indicating the dinner.

“No occasion. Just a potluck we have every so often. It’s not really a set time when we do them, but, the Professor felt a bigger sense of community was needed here after… after we lost Ms. Grey, before she was found again,” she said right out. “Of course,” she quickly continued, “we’ve done other things as well, but this is just one of the steps our staff took. The kids have really been coming through with pulling their weight with the potlucks and getting out and talking to each other, so it’s a good start.”

I looked around. She was right, everyone was talking to someone else. A lot of the kids I knew were talking to people I didn’t know them to hang out with before. Kitty used to always sit with Peter and now she was sitting with Jubilee. Time For Dinner was sitting with them too, and was eating so much that I decided to keep such an appropriate nickname for her. The three of them were having fun. Storm’s comments made me realize I really was as alone as I felt I was when I was moping by myself in my room. I kept eating, but then I saw that Warren wasn’t exactly sitting with anyone except a teacher, too.

Even though I got to the dining hall late, I finished eating faster than a lot of the people there, and finally got up to leave. I said a quick goodbye to the people I’d been sitting with and walked back to my room. I was really annoyed, though, when I heard the click of heels behind me.

“John, wait,” Storm called. When I didn’t respond, she said, “Let me just say something. You’ve been here for three days already and all you do is sit in your room. House arrest does not mean that you have to confine yourself to a single room. It means you have the chance to do something with your time.”

I didn’t even turn around. I don’t need any lectures. “I’m fine,” I said through gritted teeth, and kept going until I reached my door. No one wanted to see my face, and I wasn’t going to see anyone else’s either. I slammed the door shut and locked it, and then flopped onto the bed on my back. What was wrong with me? Storm and Warren had both been friendly enough, and… today’s dinner had tasted better than any microwave dinner. So why wasn’t I happier about the chance to have dinner with some actual people instead of a kitchen island? I didn’t really know, but I did know that five years is a long time when you’ve got nowhere to go but your room.

Chapters: 1 and 2
sharkiesharkbait_ha on July 15th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
Aw...poor John! Well, at least he's in character!

Hopefully John will make a friend...

Great chapter, I think that you write John well.
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on July 15th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I'm really glad you think he's in character! He's difficult to write, as I'm sure a lot of people have found recently. Ah, friends for John. Hmmm.
Faiya Zanzia: White tigerannavignola on July 15th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
You write John extremely well!!

I like how you got into John's thoughts and feelings about his house arrest. Not to mention, I love the quick update! ;)
Iris: pyrosleepall_day on July 15th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks a bunch! I'm going to try to keep up the pace, but I may not be able to sometimes. Let's hope I can.
Crystal: x-men - pyro poutpetitebelette on July 15th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, I really like this.

Poor John...
Iris: pyromaniacsleepall_day on July 15th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks SO much for reading and for the comment :)
lux_apollo on July 16th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
Nice characterization. Especially his thought out asides, the things he almost says but doesn't.
Iris: SeducTEVE FINLEY - frisky!sleepall_day on July 17th, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you noticed those :)
Jess: pyro - after all the miseryhazy_crazy on July 18th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
Okay I actually only just started to read your fic (Sorry, I didn't get around to it til now) and I must say I love where it's going! I cant' believe this is your first fic ever - it's brilliant! Have you been hiding your writing talents?! lol

You've definitely got a hold on John's character; and let me tell you, I know how hard it is to write him! (But I managed, and it seems you are too!)

Now I'm off to read the subsequent chapters.

Oh and that Time for Dinner girl made me laugh out loud ;)
Autumnpenelopeblack on July 21st, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, still really enjoying this. Off to read the next chapter. ;)