This was written for the fic album challenge at LJ community Phase & Fire. The song featured is "Your Heart is an Empty Room" by Death Cab For Cutie.

This isn't PARTICULARLY Kyro, but it's sort of implied. There's a bit of angst in this as John's past is involved. Enjoy!

Blazing Inferno

Burn it down till the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue

It had taken only one spark from his father's cold, silver cigarette lighter before the whole house was engulfed in oxygen-craving flames. The fourteen-year-old boy hadn't expected the small, innocent fire on the carpet to spread, nor had he anticipated them to jump hungrily onto the floral curtains and consequently onto everything in sight. And least of all, John Allerdyce had not imagined how good he felt to hear the sound of peeling, crinkling blue wallpaper, to see the scorched leather couches and his mother's prized China tea-set lying broken on the floor, and smell the intoxicating scent of burning wood. He did nothing to stop the fire, did not run for a hose, or the kitchen sink, or even the ceramic vase filled with sunflowers that sat on the coffee table. He watched everything burn with complete satisfaction, all because John had discovered a year earlier that he was not an ordinary human being…

He had always had an unusual obsession with fire. Ever since he was a young boy he would often ask his mother to relight the candles on his birthday cake after he had blown them out, or try and create his own little bonfire with fallen twigs when they went to the local park. One day he even used a magnifying glass in conjunction with the sun in an attempt to singe the helpless ants on the footpath - and it was no wonder, for he later discovered he had the psionic ability to manipulate and control fire. He was part of the evolution – a mutant, his DNA embedded with the X-gene.

The unfortunate thing was, as soon as his parents found out about his mutation, they despised him for it. His father began drinking heavily, and as a drunk he was violent and brutal, taking out his anger on his only son by kicking, punching and verbal insults. He called John an awful disease, an alien, a freak, and other words not to be repeated. John tried to fight him back sometimes but his father was tall and burly, and as John had inherited his mother's slightly smaller frame he had virtually no chance, and took the beatings as they came. "Take it like a man, Johnny boy…" the older man would slur.

His mother, on the other hand, became distant and isolated from him. She could not, and would not look at him. Even when they sat across from each other at the dinner table, she would refuse to acknowledge the horrible purple bruise on his smarting cheek, or the hideous black eye that his father had produced. And after they had finished eating, she would say only one thing: "Clear the plates, John." He didn't know how she did it, but she managed to pass him her empty plate without once meeting his searching eyes, and that hurt him far more than any punch his father threw at him.

So terribly sick and tired of being the innocent victim of his father's physical abuse and his mother's hurtful silent treatment, John had finally taken matters into his own hands.

The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
But you shed not a single tear for the things that you didn't need
Cause you knew you were finally free

Having noticed he was trapped inside the lounge room, the flames encircling him like some tribal ritual, John simply controlled them out of his way with his mind, and promptly left the room and quickly exited the premises, taking his father's Zippo lighter with him. Once outside, he used all the energy he had to telekinetically move the flames higher and higher, the flames inside the house shattering glass and surging through open windows to overcome the outer wood panelling and the corrugated iron roof. Pungent black smoke spiralled upwards and contrasted with the cerulean sky as the combustion consumed the house completely. The fire burning in John's hazel eyes perfectly reflected how he felt inside about his parents, and his fucked up life, and he no longer cared about anything except that he destroyed every inch of floor that had been spattered with his blood, and his mother's avoiding gaze whilst she let her husband violate him time and time again.

Suddenly, he heard sirens from an approaching fire engine and for a split second, the fire completely went out as shock rattled John's brain. But it could not overcome his anger, and so the fire returned once more and he bolted, running in the opposite direction until he could not run anymore.

Almost three hours had passed before John thought it was time to head back to see the aftermath of his destruction. Walking back casually, he felt not only excitement but a sense of anxiousness as he approached the street. What if the neighbours' houses had caught alight along with his house, or his parents were standing there, waiting for him? But when he returned he was confronted by a most comforting sight.

It almost looked like a bomb had hit it. The once pretty little suburban house was completely obliterated by the fire he had started. Charred and blackened, giving off an awful smell, there was nothing left to distinguish it had even been there in the first place. The fire engine had gone, and his parents were nowhere in sight.

And all you see is where else you could be when you're at home

The blazing inferno had done its job, and John, smiling satisfactorily, sauntered back down the street, whistling as if nothing had ever happened. He checked his pockets to make sure he still had everything; he would be on the next flight to New York in just a few hours where at long last he would be free

As soon as he had reached New York he was lucky enough to get through customs without people questioning what he was doing there alone, considering his young age. He had no luggage, just $500 Australian dollars he'd saved up, one of his father's many credit cards, Australian passport and the clothes on his back, which included his favourite brown leather jacket. He actually had family who lived in the United States, but they were from Massachusetts, so John scribbled down their address on the customs paper he was given to fill out, really just to make the friendly airport staff believe he had somewhere to stay.

In all truth he had no idea where he was going as he left the building, and it was bitterly cold outside. John shivered as he hailed a taxi and got in. The driver looked at him impatiently, revving the engine because he wanted to leave straight away. The first place that came to John's mind was Times Square, and so he told the driver that's where he wanted to go. John felt relieved when he realised he had remembered to change the money he had into the American dollar at the airport – although the value that now rested in his wallet was considerably less than what he had had to start with. Bloody exchange rates, he had grumbled.

You stupid idiot, John later told himself as the driver finally reached Manhattan and rushed through streets jam-packed with people and traffic. He could easily be lost in a place like this. He had never been overseas before. But despite the uncomfortable nagging feeling in the pit of his stomach that this was all one huge mistake, he couldn't help but feel awestruck at the sight of the buildings, billboards, advertisements left, right and centre, and the colours and noises associated with the iconic square. Cars beeping their horns; people talking, laughing, yelling; mobile phones screaming to be answered – it was New York City and it was fascinating. But he couldn't help but note that they drove on the wrong side of the road. He told the driver this, who retorted,

"No, sonny boy, we drive on the right side of the road."

John had always been praised for his quick comebacks, and he replied almost instantly, "Sure, you might drive on the right side of the road, but back home we drive on the correct side of the road."

The driver huffed and stopped near one busy intersection, and looked round at him expectantly.

"Well? I haven't got all day!" he said gruffly. John furrowed his brows at his arrogance.

"How much do I owe you?"

"Forty-five Am-er-i-can bucks," the driver enunciated slowly, as if John was illiterate.

"I'm not a fucking foreigner; here's your money." John practically threw it at him as he got out and slammed the door shut.

The taxi entered the slow-moving traffic jam and John was glad to be out and into the clean, fresh air. Hang on, what fresh air? It wasn't exactly like breathing in pure oxygen, but at least it was better than being cooped up in his suburban house in Sydney. John smiled to himself as he remembered what was left of it now.

And all you see is where else you could be when you're at home
And out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone

After such a long flight, John was not only feeling rather unhygienic but quite jetlagged and hungry. He had crossed the International Dateline and being in a completely different time zone was making him feel out of sync with everything that was going on around him. Feeling slightly nauseous all of a sudden he walked over to the nearest bench on the sidewalk and sat down. He watched with tired eyes all the people walking by, the hustle and bustle of the crowds keeping him awake.

Suddenly, a girl about the same age as him came out of a building, laughing. Now, this would have been a normal occurrence if the girl hadn't actually literally come out of the building. John's eyes nearly popped out of his head, and he watched as another girl came out through the double doors of the entrance, and also laughing, joined her friend. Could they be… he let his mind wonder. Maybe he wasn't so alone… maybe there were others like him out there.

The second girl, who was Asian with dark hair and eyes, pointed to the bench John was sitting on, and the two of them sat down together, the girl who had apparently walked straight through the wall closest to him. He listened to their conversation with interest.

"You better hope to God nobody saw me!"

"Oh Kitty, lighten up! If they did they probably would have blinked twice and got on with their life."

"Easy for you to say, Jubes. If you accidentally spark somebody you can just say it was an electric shock."

"Whatever. It was fun. Anyway, do you think we should head back to the school?"

"Probably, but I'm content just sitting here for a moment."

"Listen, I'll be right back alright? I just remembered there's something I want to buy."


John watched as the second girl, probably named 'Jubes', got up and headed into the same shop they had just come out of, leaving him and the girl named Kitty alone. It was now or never – he had to know if she was one of them.

"Uh, excuse me?" he said loudly, turning to her. The girl looked at him with large, innocent brown eyes. "This might sound a little crazy, but… did you just walk through that wall?"

The girl laughed brightly, and John couldn't help but be entranced by her smile.

"It depends," she replied.

"On what?" John asked, intrigued.

Kitty lowered her voice. "If you're one of us."

John smirked, and said, "You don't have to worry then…" He pulled out the Zippo lighter from his pocket and demonstrated what he could do with the flame, letting it lick and bend around his fingers gracefully, and then with one blink, the flames disappeared.

Kitty was in awe. "That's amazing," she whispered, exhaling a breath she didn't realise she had been holding. "I guess you've already figured out what I can do." She took her hand and let it fall right through John's forearm in one quick, sudden movement.

"Whoa, that feels really weird," John commented, rubbing a hand over his arm which was slightly tingling.

"Phasing, yeah. I'm used to it now, though. You're not from around here, are you?" She looked at him seriously this time.

"You can't really hide an Australian accent, can you? No, I'm not from around here. I have to admit, I don't even know where I am."

"Times Square, New York City?" Kitty offered, grinning.

John almost smiled. "You know what I mean."

A thoughtful expression flittered across Kitty's soft features and she looked at John quizzically.

"What?" he asked.

"Do you have anywhere to stay?" She had gathered from his appearance and what he had told her that he had only just arrived in New York, and was probably running away from something.

John looked at her, feeling sort of vulnerable, like she could see right through him. He stared at his feet and sighed. "No, I don't. Know any cheap motels I could stay at?"

"Yes, but that wasn't what I was going to suggest."

John looked up at her and raised an eyebrow.

"Have you heard of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters?" Kitty giggled at the utter confusion on John's face. "Obviously not. Well, my friend and I go there. It's a boarding school especially for people like us, for mutants."

John was interested immediately. "For real? You guys have your own school?"

"Yeah, and I think the Professor would be glad to have you."

John considered it. How did he know whether to trust this girl or not? After all, he had only just met her. But somehow her eyes showed him an unspoken truth. And besides, where else would he go?

"Alright, take me there."

Kitty smiled, and held out her hand for him to shake.

"I'm Kitty Pryde; it's nice to meet you."

"John Allerdyce." And he returned her smile with a cheeky one of his own.