A/N: Semi-AU. Follows the end of the second season, but because no one knows what will happen next, this will end up not following the show. Focuses on the mutants, mainly the Brotherhood, after the battle with the Sentinels. The Institute is in the process of being rebuilt, and the captured Brotherhood and X-Men members have been rescued.

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.

All That Glitters Part One – Own Me

 ---- "Once you own it, nothing can own you." – Lance Alvers ----

Pain. Pain, now receding, now intensifying. No, no, don't wake up, not now, not when it still hurts…breathe in. Wince. Breathe out.

Eyes open.

Look at the colors. Aren't they pretty? All the colored lights…they're cheerful, almost. He can remember cheerful. Sometimes.

Frown. No, they're not cheerful. They're scary. They'll swallow him up and destroy him. The lights took her and they'll take him too.


Voices. "…special treatment…" "…fast…" Not her voice. Not his either. Confusion. Where was she? Did the colors already take her away?

Cough. Struggle. Speak. "Wanda?" Silence.

Then cold, cold, endlessly cold and piercingly clear: "Give him another dose."


*  *  *


A tall brown-haired boy massaged his foot gently, glaring potently at the object that had dared come in contact with his toes. After a few moments of angrily muttered curses, he picked up the offending trash can lid and slammed it into place with much more force than was necessary, even if the lid did catch sometimes.

Lance Alvers dragged the trashcans to the curb in a high bad temper. Mondays were bad enough, he felt, without having to haul stinking trash receptacles outside. He was sure that his housemate Fred had purposefully filled them with enough pizza boxes to sink the Titanic. Mournfully he convinced himself that the trashcans were always heaviest on his days to deal with them. It just wasn't fair!

It didn't help, of course, that the Brotherhood house now was home to what seemed like many, many more people. After the X-Mansion was destroyed, many of the X-Men had moved in with the Brotherhood. Professor Xavier had appeared shortly after Mystique revealed that she had impersonated him for at least two days. Apparently, he had some sort of business out of town and had left in a hurry earlier. Lance wasn't sure what to make of that – what kind of business would make the Professor leave the Institute without warning? And how had he managed to leave without anyone noticing?

At any rate, both the Professor and Mystique were back now. Xavier had returned to find Mystique holding all of his X-Men in a single apartment. In all honesty, though, her attempt to keep them imprisoned were not at all successful – as soon as she left, the X-Men simply used their combined powers to leave the building without harming the other residents. When Xavier arrived, however, the two of them had a fierce battle of wills that resulted in Mystique leaving town and an uneasy truce between the two teams. Both sides were doubtful of just how long it would last.

Their parents had taken most of the younger students home, but the original Xavier recruits managed to stay in Bayville – even Kitty, though how she had convinced her parents not to come and get her after the Institute crumbled was still a mystery to Lance. Not that he was complaining, mind you.

The final count was as follows – Scott, Evan, and Kurt, as well as Lance, Fred, and Todd, now lived in the dilapidated boarding house, which was currently in the process of becoming less decrepit, thanks to Professor Xavier and his wonderfully deep bank account. It was actually only one more person than they were used to having, but Kurt and Evan ate a lot more than Tabitha and Pietro had. Both of them had either not eaten at all or had scavenged for better food then they had been able to afford. Lance suspected it was the latter – Pietro was fast enough to get away with stealing anything, and Tabitha had been a thief for her father before joining the X-Men and later, the Brotherhood. Hell, he had picked up a few things when the opportunity presented itself, and he was neither super-fast nor an experienced thief. At least, not as experienced as Tabitha.

It was still a sore point for Lance that Xavier was paying to restore the boarding house now that his own recruits lived there, but hadn't cared less about it before then. Still, they had been on opposing sides before. Lance supposed that in all fairness, he really couldn't blame the Professor.

That didn't mean that he wouldn't, though.

The Professor's finances were also going to support another apartment where Rogue, Kitty, Jean, Tabitha, and Ororo lived together. Nominally, Wanda had a place there too, but she skipped town so often that the room that was supposedly hers had become a storage room of sorts. Last Lance had heard, Kitty had moved her entire collection of CDs in there to protect them from Rogue, who kept threatening to burn them.

Logan had disappeared completely. He, too, had a room kept empty for him in the Brotherhood's house, but it had never been occupied. Lance had personally taken it over when he decided he couldn't stand Todd's slime on his clothes anymore. However, the Professor seemed unconcerned about the man's absence, so no one else worried either. Not that Lance would anyway. He had seen enough of Logan to last a lifetime, thank you very much.

And as for Pietro…

Lance's hands tightened involuntarily on the garbage can lids he still held. Pietro had not been seen in Bayville since "the incident," as Kitty had taken to calling it, and it still hurt to think about his betrayal. Lance and the others avoided the topic at all costs.

With an effort, Lance kicked the trashcans the last few feet out to the curb and forced his mind away from depressing topics. He looked at his watch (newly acquired, thanks to Scott – though he didn't know it yet) and swore.

"Get your asses out here, idiots! We're gonna be late!"

There's much more planned, if you want it. What do you think? Please review.