Dedicated in part to Michele Craighead and Sigil, who made me recognize another character as someone getting a bum treatment from Marvel.

The Hiding Place

From the broken place, from the hiding place, I watch the screens that show me the world.

I can still see. My hearing, my powers, my mobility, all have been taken from me, and for a terrible time there was nothing I could do but lie in a hospital bed, staring into space. Broken, finished, dead.

I knew it when Charles' and my dark sides combined, when we took over Astra to create ourselves a new body, a fresh one, the boy having proven too strong for us to simply take over. And I knew it when our dark self died, and came back in the new body, Charles' parts missing, fractured and broken and thinking it was me.

I have been pleading in my mind for someone to kill it, begging someone, anyone. I hoped the boy would, but as it turns out, he died instead. I hoped Charles would, but it seems that he didn't even know it for what it was. In a way that hurts the worst-- he thought it was me. But then it was not so different from me in my maddest days. Charles' dark side might remain hidden from sight most of the time, but I have, in the past, put mine on display.

Without David's assistance, I would still be in that hospital bed, treated like a helpless vegetable. I have not sensed anything since the death of Onslaught and the rebirth of the so-called Magneto, the second copy; Onslaught's destruction burned out what little ability I had left to sense events in the world.

Broken, fragile, dead. Astra does poor work. She intended the boy she created to kill me. Instead the processes she performed to put my mind back together ended up creating the disease that all but killed me. The stroke took almost everything... but not my sight, and not my mind.

David came back, after twenty years of traveling the timestreams, trying to undo the damage his actions had done, and decided to save me. He says it is his penance for having murdered millions by killing me. In my opinion the millions aren't dead and neither am I. But that is what he says.

He had to sacrifice almost all of his own powers to be allowed to return here. If he had them, so many things might have been different... he might have helped me to stop the impostor. Save the boy Astra destroyed. Save what little is left of my reputation. Save my people from the actions of the man who thought he was me.

He has been able to do nothing. Nothing but speak to me, mind to mind, with the weak remainder of his telepathy, and build at my direction. It has taken us a long time... I had planned to build a robot army, planned to suppress the impostor's powers, planned so many things we simply haven't had time to do. Without our powers, with me a helpless bedridden cripple, there is so little we can do.

I have been unable to do anything but watch.

And now our spy satellites tell us my doppelganger is dead. I watch as Logan stabs the man, killing him. Logan, who always, always knew an impostor, cannot tell. He thinks it's me.

Just as well. The last time we met, the last time he struck, it was me, and it was me who broke him to pieces. Perhaps, now that he has killed the other me, the scales between us are balanced again. I can forgive him his attempt to murder me now that he has done what I have longed for someone, anyone to do. And perhaps now that he has killed me, he can forgive my attempt to kill him.

The nightmare is over. I am dead. I can live again.

David says that now that the impostor is dead and we have nothing to fear from him, perhaps he can contact his father. Perhaps he can get help for me.

I doubt there is any help for me. I have resigned myself to living the rest of my life in this bed. One does not recover from a stroke, not even with all Charles' power, even if he were inclined to share it to help me. But it doesn't matter.

I want Charles to know that it wasn't me. I want him to know I'm not dead. And David wants desperately to speak to Charles again. Perhaps to forgive him, for not being there. Perhaps to ask his forgiveness.

Perhaps soon we will contact Charles. As soon as I am sure it's safe-- the impostor's dead, but his followers are not, and some of them would try to destroy me for being weak and sullying the name of Their Great Leader.

In the meantime, I watch my dark self die at Logan's hands, and for the first time in the years since the stroke, I feel hope.