Never Sound in Slavery

Alhazred - [email protected]

X-Men and anything related is © Marvel

It hurt.

Belatedly, Pyro realized the sour feeling in his stomach, the lump in his throat...it was hurt. But he knew why he hurt. He'd known it since he stepped onto the chopper Magneto and Mystique had commandeered, even if he hadn't realized what it was.

He never had to convince himself that this was the right choice. He knew it was. Xavier's wasn't for him, though it had taken him some time to realize that. He felt rather like Magneto, caught between friends...no, not friends. Family. Rogue and Bobby were family. His other friends at the school were just friends. Hell, even Xavier was a friend in some strange way. And in the middle sat Pyro, fought between family and beliefs.

And he had chosen to follow his belief because he couldn't fucking stand Xavier's. He was tired of quaking in his shoes, terrified to sleep at night because someone might invade the mansion or do something else to mutants that was thoroughly not nice.

For the moment, he was just plain tired. The heavy helicopter's engines hummed away, and for the first time, Pyro wondered where they were going. He'd known they were over open water after looking out the window, but other then that...

Magneto and Mystique scared Pyro, a fact accentuated by the constant opening and closing, the flicking on and off of his lighter. Neither of them seemed to care, unlike Bobby's mother. He wasn't afraid in the fear-inspiring sense, it was more of an awe-inspired scare. They were his heroes, they stood up for themselves and...and their family. Bobby and Rogue hadn't done that.

On the other hand, Magneto and Mystique didn't seem nearly as imposing now. They were tired, just like he was. Magneto could barely keep his eyes open. The fact that he tried at all suggested to Pyro that his new home was approaching. Mystique was mindlessly flipping through radio channels looking for actual music instead of a talk show. It happened eventually, and all the while, the chopper went on by itself on autopilot.

Magneto even started to hum the song as it played. On the other hand, Pyro dismissed it as something long before his time and didn't give it a second thought.

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
Among the ranks of death you will find him
His father's sword he hath girded on
And his wild harp slung behind him

Pyro couldn't bring himself to hold Bobby and Rogue's actions against them. He was smart enough to know that he had been just as scared when they'd walked outside and Logan got himself shot in the fucking head. For him, it was do-or-die; the possibility of surrender simply never seemed a possibility at all. In fact, he envied his old family for not being disturbed enough to stand up in the face of a dozen firearms.

But it hurt. Betrayal hurt. Surely that's what they all must think of him by now, the wild one who should have always been regarded as the loose canon he proved to be. The traitor, the Judas. Pyro honestly wasn't sure if that description was accurate or not. After all, it wasn't personal; it was just a belief. Leaving them hurt, but what was he supposed to do?

"Ah, there's home."

Magneto's statement brought Pyro closer to the cockpit than he'd yet been. Mystique resumed manual control, and, for the first time Pyro had known, tried to be funny. "Ah, there's a shower."

"I second that," Pyro chuckled, belatedly realizing that pissing these people off with any degree of his sense of humor would be a far cry from irritating Professor X. He flicked his lighter on and off again.

But Magneto found him amusing. "You don't know the joys of your home shower, my boy, until the one you use for months is plastic and, I might add, quite transparent."

He was supposed to be the bad guy. That was what everyone had said, Magneto was the bad guy, the Brotherhood were bad people...then why did he feel unconditionally welcome already, welcome into what was obviously a close family all its own? Was it his own motivation to carry through with what he now realized was his belief?

'Land of Song!' said the warrior bard
'Though all the world betrays thee
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!'

"Sabretooth's awake," Mystique said.

Pyro's eyebrows went up. Who? For the first time since Magneto had mentioned 'home,' Pyro looked out the window. He saw that 'home' was a nice little island floating against the encroaching twilight in the sky, a helipad clearly illuminated by lights that were likely turned on by this Sabretooth character.

His new home wasn't shabby, either. Sure, it was an island in the middle of nowhere, but he could tell it had class as soon as the helicopter set down. On the other side of the helipad sat a smaller helicopter, a civilian model but painted in government colors and bearing a 'US Senate' label. He didn't want to know how Magneto had gotten that. At least, not until he'd had a few hours' sleep.

"Alas, St. John, I've yet to have need for another room here and I'm rather not in the mood to shape one out of the iron deposits now," Magneto said, he and Mystique leading Pyro towards the main complex.

Memories flashed before his eyes in a split second before he stopped dead in his tracks and asked Magneto, "what did you call me?"

Pyro almost fell over. No one had called him that in a long, long time. Not since he'd told his family - his old, mundane family who had existed only in his life because one of its women gave birth to him - that he was a mutant.

'Freak' had been his mother's word of choice. Days before, he swore to himself he would've burned Bobby's mother to the ground if she'd dared use that word on her son. To her credit, she'd managed to restrain herself. But Pyro had had no such luxuries. His mother stuck with that; his father turned to more varied verbal abuse.

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring that proud soul under
The harp he loved never spoke again
For he tore its chords asunder

'Saint' was never again in their vocabulary from then right up until he'd run away. It had taken all of three days.

Magneto had heard the pain in his voice, the pain that turned it from an ignorant question to a dredged up memory. "My Dear Boy," he said, turning slightly to look at Pyro for an instant as they walked, "I don't need to read minds to get a list of students Charles takes in, and their names."

Mystique looked decidedly more proud as Magneto continued. "Why do you let it cause you pain? Surely you'd derive more satisfaction from embracing what others shun. Remember what I told you."

You are a god among insects, Magneto had said. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Magneto now added something else to it. "Because compared to them, we are gods. Dark gods. And it is our duty to thin the herd. So to speak."

'Compared to them;' Pyro heard that well. Magneto wasn't arrogant enough to go all the way with that statement. Not that Xavier was arrogant either, but it pleased Pyro to know that he hadn't made a mistake and signed up with a lunatic.

"As I was saying," Magneto led him to a locked door in the rock face, easily opened with a wave of his hand. The hallway beyond led to a beautiful, if cold-looking cavern that stretched out and branched apart. The walkway was hugged on either side by shallow, running water and the walls were decorated with soft florescent lights that gave the place a gentle glow. Above, the natural ceiling had been replaced with skylights for the daytime.

Magneto started pointing to the doors at the end of each walkway on the left side, naming them off. They were all metal. Pyro realized that if the master of magnetism wanted to get somewhere on his island, he was going to do it with little effort. "Kitchen, rec room, computer core, my office. My quarters are on the other side of it; you may use my shower until yours is ready. You may also bunk with Sabretooth or myself for the night, though I suggest not sleeping in Mystique's room. She bites."

"Gee Erik," Mystique deadpanned, "how would you know that."

Magneto gave her a vague dirty look that conceded her victory more than anything, skipping the next few doors in his descriptions. But he did stop at one. "And that would be the medical bay, where Mystique and I should be heading to check on someone. Feel free to explore."

Pyro thought it amusing that the place was so cozy he could give himself a tour. He decided to try one of the doors Magneto hadn't described just to see what else was in store for him.

The doors all pushed inward, but the one he tried to open stopped dead after an inch or so. Drawing his hand back, Pyro received a surprise when the door yanked open without his help.

On the other side stood a massive...animal. No, he was human. No, mutant. Definitely mutant. He gave Wolverine a run for his money by letting off a lion-like roar, and Pyro was effectively scared out of his wits. Not crept out like when he first met Nightcrawler...the blue guy was scary looking, yes, but it took people all of five seconds to realize he was a teddy bear.

This guy was Satan's teddy bear, if he could be classified as a stuffed animal at all. Pyro had enough time to take a meager step backward and go wide-eyed, while the mutant to a massive step toward him, wrapped a pair of massive hands around his arms, just below the shoulder, and lifted.

It was like being tied up with rope. While being suspended in midair. Pyro suddenly found himself face to face with the mutant, and he heard the soft, if vicious whisper. "Scream for me."

Once he finally reclaimed rational thought and reached for his lighter it was too late; he was being hurled through the air with quite a lot of force; right into and through the door Magneto had marked as his personal haunt. He had been tossed sideways and his right arm, he had no doubt, would be rather black and blue soon from crashing into the door. Magneto's quarters were huge and this was only what appeared to be a front room, expansive with a view of the sea and tributaries of water on the island, a plain metal desk with chairs. And Pyro realized as his huge attacker calmly stepped in after him that he'd dropped his lighter when he'd hit the door, it sat on the floor not far from the doorframe and the big guy approaching didn't even notice it.

Pyro kept his eyes off it, no sense in giving away that he needed something he wasn't holding. Quickly he stood up and tried to stare the mutant down, not really expecting his adversary to stop stalking towards him. In fact, Pyro didn't want him to stop right now. He backed up and let him get closer, just a little closer...too close and the large mutant lunged.

He lunged to high. Springing forward, Pyro dived and rolled under his arms, going just far enough to grab his lighter as he came up. He flipped it open and clicked it for the usual sparks he turned into a lighter flame; it was convenient not having to worry about fuel.

The big mutant looked at his small prey curiously; he was apparently smart enough not to underestimate people. Nevertheless, he didn't see the harm a simple cigarette lighter could do and he began approaching Pyro again.

But now, Pyro didn't care, because it didn't matter how huge and muscle-bound this guy was. Magneto had called him a 'Dark God.' Who was he to object, Pyro thought, flames reaching out from his lighter and expanding as they swirled around him and formed fiery, almost angelic wings at his back.

Pyro raised his arms. "Burn for me!"

He clapped his hands together once, and the 'wings' pretended to flap in unison, but as they did so, the flames raced around him and grew once more, engulfing the mutant and burning him down in seconds.

A smoldering corpse was all that remained on Magneto's floor, and as he breathed heavily and tried to calm down, coming off the adrenaline high. Pyro wondered if he should be disturbed by the fact that he was less concerned with what he had just done then with the idea that Magneto might be displeased at the mess he'd made.

Except...the mess didn't stay a mess. As Pyro looked on, the body regenerated, like Wolverine only much faster, and the mutant stood up once more, completely unharmed.

But instead of attacking this time, the larger man tilted his head to the side. "Nifty."

Pyro didn't even notice Magneto was standing in the doorway. "I see you found Sabretooth. He does that to everyone when I first bring them. Almost killed poor Toad before finding out what his gift was."

Pyro clicked his lighter closed. Sabretooth. The name fit, he should've put two and two together long ago.

"Come my boy," Magneto patted him on the shoulder with his gloved hand, "get some rest, we'll all talk in the morning."

Rest; that sounded good. Pyro was still frozen in place when Magneto walked into the room and Sabretooth walked by him to get out, giving him a rather painful pat on the shoulder of his own. From the chuckle Magneto gave, he guessed it was Sabretooth's own way of complementing someone.

And said 'No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery
Thy songs were made for the pure and the free,
They shall never sound in slavery'

This is home, Pyro thought. He knew that despite the fact that he'd just been blatantly attacked for the sole purpose of demonstrating his power. In fact, it almost solidified more that here, he didn't have to be afraid.

'Thy songs were made for the pure and the free,
They shall never sound in slavery'

One thing Pyro knew; he was definitely sleeping in Magneto's room tonight.

~Fin~

"We are gods. Dark gods. And it is our duty to thin the herd." ---Legacy of Kain series