Voices in the Fire
It was always there, in my head. Every time I used it, I could feel its grip on me. People say that I control the fire. The truth is the fire controls me.
It had been getting stronger lately, to the point where I could barely control it. A week before the attack on the school, I'd been in the Danger Room. Our class was allowed in there only because our powers needed the most control. Rogue can kill anyone just by touching them; Bobby can freeze entire cities; Piotr can become invulnerable without blinking; the new student, Steven, can turn anybody or anything's minds off without much effort.
And I have the fire.
It'd started off as usual. The door closed, and we were plunged into darkness. After a few seconds, we heard the machines moving, which meant that the simulation had started, but no lights came on.
We'd have to fight in the dark, and none of us could see in it. Bobby, our appointed Fearless Leader, yelled at me, "John! Give us some light!"
I grumbled back, "Pyro," whilst flicking open my lighter. When I'm using my power, I prefer to be referred to as a mutant, not just any other guy. Still, I held my hand over the flame and a ball of it jumped up, showing the area. The usual robots, nothing exciting. Was the only challenge meant to be no light?
However, when Piotr lost his patience and threw a punch at one, the air around it just seemed to fold in and it then threw his fist back again. They'd been programmed with some kind of force field. Nothing physical seemed to be able to get in.
Bobby had the idea of freezing the air around them so that it couldn't bend to help them. When he tried it, we could see bubbles around each of the robots, showing that they weren't bending air, but also that the shields were invisible. Piotr tried to break them, but as soon as he moved the robots started firing at us, and he shifted his skin to armour to try and block the bullets and stop them from hitting us.
The robots only stopped firing when the ice around them was so riddled with bullets that it just fell apart around them. So, it looked like that idea wasn't going to work. Steven tried to turn them off, but he said that it could take a while. That was time which we didn't have, as the robots were moving closer to us…
I made the fire bigger to show just how many of them there were. I held up my hand above my head so that the light reached further, and some tendrils of the fire broke away to start twining themselves around my arm. It's a strange thing, but when I'm using my power the fire never burns me. It often starts winding its way around my arms, but it never affects me.
That was when I first heard it.
I gasped, the fire going out as I lost my concentration. 'What was that?'
Bobby was not exactly thrilled at being plunged into darkness. "John! What are you doing?"
I blinked and shook my head, trying to convince myself I hadn't it. Besides, it's hard to look cool if people know that you hear voices… Unless you're a telepath, of course.
Flicking open my lighter again, I called the fire to my hand. It flared up, brighter than I had intended, and the others had to cover their eyes. I didn't though. For some reason, it didn't seem to hurt my eyes. It was just there, so large and bright that I couldn't look away. It just seemed so… pure. Beautiful.
I am here…
That time there was no mistaking it. There was something talking to me.
'What is this?'
Look at them…
Bobby lowered his hand, squinting at me, "John, what are you—"
The rest of his sentence seemed to just fade away. I couldn't hear it, and didn't care. I looked up at the robots, and felt myself smiling.
My smile widened as I pulled back my arm, and then I threw it forwards. Fire shot out at the robots, surrounding them. The air seemed to shiver slightly, then fall in on them. From the way they just started melting from the heat, I guessed that that was their force fields collapsing.
Turning around, I fired another fireball at the robots coming from the opposite direction. The rest of the class leapt back, since this one passed very close to them. Bobby yelled something, but all I saw was his mouth going up and down. It was as if all of the sound had been switched off, apart from the voice.
Fireball followed fireball. The voice got louder and louder in my head, until it seemed like it was my own thoughts. My vision began to blur, until I had no idea of which way I was facing or what I was looking at. It felt as if my whole body was on fire.
Then my vision seemed to snap back, but it wasn't the same as before. I was seeing everything as fire saw it, as simple heat and light. Turning my head slightly, I saw a group of differently coloured flames nearby. It wasn't until later I realised I was seeing their life essences.
Then my vision blurred again, and there was only fire.
It didn't seem to matter if I didn't know where the fireballs should go. They seemed to hit a target every time, and I assumed that the voice knew where to point them.
Then… Cold. Ice. Bobby.
My vision snapped back into its normal focus as the voice stopped. Looking down, I saw a patch of ice on my front that was already melting.
Then sound returned.
"—think you're doing, you almost killed—"
Bobby was cut off again, but this time not by the voice. Instead all of them, of the class, just stopped. Then I heard the Professor's voice.
'An interesting display, John.'
The doors opened and he entered. The lights came on suddenly, and I looked around. All I could see were the class and a lot of half-melted metal.
"What happened to the robots?"
"You destroyed them. All of them."
I stared at him. A joke, right? But, of course, the Big X doesn't joke.
"You don't remember? You were laughing during it, if I recall. Enjoying destruction is not encouraged at this school, John."
"But… I didn't…The v—" I stopped. It'd be bad enough telling my friends, the Big X would be even worse. "I must have blanked it out," I finished lamely.
"Indeed." Nope, he wasn't buying it. "We will talk about this later, John."
"Yes, Professor." Well, at least he didn't ask then.
He turned to leave. I looked around at my class, imagined what they were going to be like once they'd un-frozen, and hurried out after him.
I'd assumed that the voice was a one-off thing, or at least it only activated when I was using the fire in extreme ways. Then again, everyone makes wrong assumptions.
I'd pretended that the moment in the Danger Room had been a one-off, and managed to turn it into a joke that they were all scared of me. Of course, most of them were.
Ever since that moment in the Danger Room when I first heard it, I could hear the voice whispering to me. It was usually too quiet to make out any words, so it sounded more like a hiss in my head. Every now and again it would suddenly become louder, whenever I called the fire.
It was hard to resist, I can tell you that.
It wasn't really a problem, until the next week, when we were forced to go to the museum. Still, anything that gets you out of lessons…
It was going just fine when those two idiots showed up. The Big X is… was always giving me lectures on how just because I have a lighter, it doesn't mean I should smoke, so I decided to let them suffer too. Hey, the fire gives off more than enough smoke, so why can't I use cigarettes like everyone else?
Then the larger and distinctly uglier one just grabbed my lighter and used it. Used MY fire! A kind of territorial instinct flared up in me, and the voice responded before I'd even moved.
A wink. That was all it took. Just one wink, and that invader was up in flames. It was funny how easy it was to make him scream, really. I couldn't stop laughing.
Yet again though, Bobby cut in on me. Freezing that… intruder. And once again, the Big X froze time. He always seemed to be doing that around me.
As we made our great escape, I could see him looking at me. I knew I'd probably have to face the third degree the next day.
Well, it turned out we didn't have that little talk after all. Never thought I'd be thankful for Stryker's attack.
We'd decided to hide out at Bobby's house. Of course, he forgot to mention the minor detail that they didn't know what he was. So, of course, he had to tell them.
When those cops showed up, I knew what had happened. Bobby's family had betrayed him. Served him right, the frozen freak.
No, I don't mean that. But I do. My thoughts have been much more… confused since then. I think things that I've never even considered before. It's what the fire is thinking.
They shot Wolverine. The two cowards immediately lowered themselves to the floor. Then the cops wanted to hurt me.
"We don't want to hurt you, kid."
'A kid? Is that all they see?' I thought.
"You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about on the news?"
'I'm more than a kid.'
The voice was there instantly, reassuring me.
Of course. You have the fire.
'I am more powerful than any of them.'
Yesssss… You have me.
"I'm the worst one."
Then the fire was leaping from my hands, cutting down those fools. More swept into the house, killing those in there. The family only survived by running to higher ground.
The police cars were next. They went up in flames in seconds. As before, the sound vanished and my vision blurred. This time all I saw was fire, leaping and twisting. I could feel its heat on me, in me.
I was immortal, unstoppable. I was the fire from creation, which shaped the world as it is now. I was the spark that brought life; I was the judge that brought death.
Now you and I are one.
The voice sounded different. Less like a hiss and stronger… More powerful. As if it was feeding off something. Off something… from me.
This thought was barely complete when I felt the power fade. My vision and hearing returned, not gradually this time but with a sudden jolt. A sudden flash of cold around my ankle told me I'd been grabbed. As the hand began to warm up as I grew colder, I realised it was Rogue. She was stealing the fire. My fire! Just like those arrogant idiots from the museum.
This time though, I couldn't lash out. She had taken the power, so all I could do was watch as she destroyed the flames I had created.
It was as if the voice and I had joined. The thought was mutual, said at exactly the same time and the same feeling. It was true what it had said.
We were one.
I didn't think that anybody could understand how I was feeling. My thoughts were changing from a normal teenager's into a hybrid's. Mine and the fire's.
But Magneto knew. I could tell by the way he looked at me. He knew that something had happened.
"I can only control the fire. I can't create it."
My only weak point. The fire still couldn't create itself.
"You are a god among insects. Don't let anyone tell you different."
That was when I decided. When we decided. The X-Men were bound to question us; to fear us. Magneto would never do that. He would let us use the power we wanted. He would let us truly join with each other.
When I saw the helicopter, I knew there was no other choice. Our destiny was with him.
I stood in the mall, watching them. Those insects that call themselves the human race. The dominant race. The race Magneto had told me to send a message to:
Their time was up.
As I sat there, I focused. I opened my lighter and joined with the voice of the fire. I knew that that was what it was. That voice was the fire of the world, expressed through my mind. It had been born into me when I had been conceived.
The flames lashed out from my hand to anyone near to me. Their clothes caught fire, and they screamed. I love it when they scream.
Make them scream more. Make them do what you want.
We love it when they scream.
For a moment there, though, I paused. It was like I caught a flash of something else. A flash of… ice.
There was a slight flicker as the flames started to die down. I thought I could hear a voice for a moment… Not the voice, but a familiar one…
The voice cut across it, and I caught myself. This was no time to indulge myself in strange fantasies.
The flames flared up again, some breaking away to swirl around me. I was on fire, but I couldn't feel it. This was what I had left my friends and home for. This power. This… burning.
People say I control the fire. The truth is the fire controls me.
Author's Notes: Oh, ye Gods. This took slightly longer to write than I thought, so the idea behind it changed a lot. Originally, it was simple: Write Pyro's thoughts as he changes from being a potential X-Man to a member of Magneto's organisation.
Then, in a similar way to one of my other stories, the voice turned up. It fitted in with my starting paragraph, so it stayed. Okay. I toyed for a while with the idea of Pyro being conscious of what he was doing whilst burning things, but dropped that for his vision blurring, etc.
Slightly later, I sent this story when I'd just reached the first time that Bobby snaps John out of it to a friend of mine (Archangemon, or Archy as I call him). He suggested that this voice was actually a way of showing the homicidal part of John. I said Cool, and it changed to that.
THEN I saw Revenge of the Sith, and went back to typing this right after I got back. The fire became like John's dark side, and I believe it is still like that.
Oh well. It ended, that's all that matters. Except, if anyone's interested, I have an idea for a sequel from Bobby's point of view. Anyone want me to write that?
Now, at the end of one of my longest Author's Notes ever, disclaimers: I don't own the X-men, either of the movies, John, Bobby, Rogue, Xavier, etc. I do own the idea for this story, the Voice of the Fire and Steven (the random student at the start).