Disclaimer – of the following all that belongs to me is the plot, the characters and most everything else belong to Marvel.
A cold rain fell drenching the unfortunate souls still standing in line for their supper. Among those in line stood a boy of fourteen, possibly fifteen, with a black felt cap and patched gray coat. He was shivering as he slowly moved forward; just another number if the etching on his right forearm was any indication. The last two years had been bleak and filled with horrors the boy had thought he would never experience, but here he was wasting away in a concentration camp because he had been born different than the party in power. He had been born Jewish when he should have been born Aryan. He was an outcast, a worthless piece of trash only good for manual labor and eventual death. These were things he was told on a daily basis by the Nazi guards watching over him and his fellow captives with sneers and guffaws following their words.
A shout from the front of the line caught his attention as a surge of bodies moved backwards and soldiers appeared, running to the front with their rifles drawn. The boy craned his neck to the side in an effort to see what was going on, but all he could glimpse was a throng of bodies through the pouring rain. He didn't need to listen to the murmurs around him to know that another beating was currently taking place. They happened too frequently to be considered newsworthy amongst the prisoners. Usually the news was who hadn't been beaten during the day, and that was a rare find in times like these.
Around him the line for supper was beginning to disperse. The boy sighed knowing full well that food in his belly was a pipe dream these days. Wrapping his arms around his body to try and keep the little body warmth he had left, the boy turned away from the chaos erupting close to the mess hall and began making his way back towards the bunk house he had been assigned to. He squeezed his eyes shut as he walked in an effort to drive out the sounds of screaming coming from behind him. Another body would soon be joining the many others already in the pit located on the other side of the camp. He had lost many comrades to that pit since his arrival, and he knew that he would lose many more before he himself joined them. It wasn't a bright prospect, but death would surely be better than his present situation. He hadn't been born for manual labor, he had been born to study and learn and possibly make a name of himself one day…he had never imagined his life turning out like this, nor had he ever thought he would be as alone in the world as he was now. Two years and still no word of his parents whereabouts or well being, not even from other men arriving from different camps throughout Poland. Hope had died so long ago that the boy wasn't sure he would ever be able to find it again.
Pushing the door of the bunkhouse open the boy entered and made his way through the group of men already inside, weaving silently before plopping down onto the bed he had been allowed to call his own. His dark eyes traveled up to the wooden bottom of the bunk above him, seeking out the nooks and crannies he had come to count over and over again in an effort to fall into a dreamless sleep. Usually his nights were filled with images of his past, most specifically of the night he had been separated from his parents once and for all. He still couldn't explain what had happened that night, only that he seemed to awaken another part of him that he had never known before. It was like a hunger. A deep, insatiable hunger that he couldn't control no matter how hard he tried— or one he understood.
The boy brought his hands in front of his face, his eyes growing silent at the sight of them. He clenched them together three times as he tried to feel out the tingling sensation within them. The tingle made him shiver involuntarily. With a wince the boy dropped his hands down by his sides and resumed staring at the bunk above him. What did he know of the tingling in his hands? Thus far he only knew that his hands would feel that way whenever he was around certain things…like metal. The rifles of the Nazis, the fence around them keeping them penned like animals, the buckles of belts, and the tips of nails…all of it gave him an undeniable sense of power and yet the boy understood none of it. He couldn't explain what the feeling was other than a hunger, and after enduring the conditions of the concentration camp he was currently living in the boy considered himself an expert on hunger.
A dip at the edge of his bed alerted the boy that he was no longer alone. His eyes traveled down to the opposite side where an older man was now seated. The man had gray hair and dark eyes with a hint of laugh lines about them. He was dressed as shabbily as the boy, but there was an air about the man that made it known he was once a man of great importance, possibly a teacher or philosopher of sorts. The boy propped himself up onto his elbows to let the stranger know that he had his undivided attention.
"I have been watching you the last few days. You have a gift, boy," murmured the man, his German coming out in a low, but deep voice.
"I am cursed," replied the boy wearily. "I wasn't born like the others. I was born different."
"We are all born different. Do not let Hitler make you think you are unworthy because you are a Jew."
The boy was silent for a moment, his mind troubled. It was odd but he felt that he could trust this stranger in front of him more than he could trust any of the others. This sense of trust also made the boy want to confide in the man that it was more than being Jewish in an Aryan society that made him an outcast, but the monster he would surely be called if people knew what he could do with metal if he concentrated hard enough. Finally, after several more minutes of careful contemplation the boy said, "It is more than that. I don't think I am Jewish."
"No?" The man nodded slowly as though he could identify with the boy's claim. "You have a number on your arm because you were born a Jew. You wore a gold star before coming here, just like everyone else within these walls wore once upon a time. You look like a Jew. If you were not a Jew then you would not be in this camp with all of us, so you must be a Jew whether you want to believe it or not; for if you are not a Jew, then what are you?"
"I don't know." The boy shifted on his bed, moving into a sitting position as he brought his knees to his chest. "I feel different. I feel something inside of me."
"Your soul, perhaps?"
The boy shook his head. "It's something else."
The man smiled. "Your gift."
"I don't think it's a gift."
The man reached across the bed to place a heavy hand atop one of the boy's shoulders, squeezing it sharply to get the teen's attention. "Do not underestimate yourself. Look inside and tell me that you do not believe you were born to do great things. You have a gift, my boy. It is a gift unlike any other. You are blessed amongst the cursed souls we have become. Open your heart and accept yourself for who you really are, or else close your eyes and wait for the inevitable. Wait for death to claim you."
The boy watched as the man stood, letting go of his shoulder to put his hands into the pockets of his pants. From one pocket the man pulled out a small spoon and placed it in the middle of the bed. "Think of what I have said, and decide for yourself if you will watch things happen, or if you will make them happen."
The man walked away, leaving the boy to stare at the spoon on his bed. His heart barely skipped a beat before the teen reached towards the spoon with a single hand, his fingers trembling as he concentrated with his body and soul on that single object. Sweat began to trickle down his forehead but he refused to give up. Images began to go through his mind as he concentrated, using the years of anger, humiliation, anguish and pain into his slender fingers. Then it happened, tears formed and the boy was forced to close his eyes to keep them from falling. Life had treated him so unfairly before now. All he wanted was to push this behind him and move on, never to look back again…but he knew that would never be an option. The beatings, the torture, the hunger…it would always be a part of him. This was who he was now.
With that thought the teen opened his eyes, surprise mirrored in both as he gazed down at the spoon. Where once it had been straight it was now bent around in a circle. The boy felt his mouth fall into a silent oh of wonder as he realized that it had been him who had done that to the spoon. With a trembling hand the youth picked up the spoon and brought it in front of his face, turning it around slowly. His eyes moved to the side where the boy caught the steady gaze of the older man he had been talking to moments ago. The man gave him a nod before the boy's eyes returned to the bent spoon.
"A gift," he murmured, his voice reflecting the awe he felt. "I am a gift from God."
And thus, Erik Magnus Lensherr became Magneto.