"Man," Pyro slurred and squinted through the wild leaves, jogging a little to catch up with the impossible. "Is that...did I just see a fuckin' terodactyl?"

"I love the rookies." Toad said to the air, and let his tongue loose in the hopes of catching a particularly lazy looking banana slug off a nearby branch. (He missed, but not by a lot). "All starry eyed and whatnot. Didn't anyone tell you where we was?"

The newest Brotherhood member shrugged defensively, and began thumbing his lighter out of habit. "Yeah I know, "the Savage Land," training ground, but I just figured that was Mag's flair for drama. I didn't realize he-what? Mutated lizards or some shit. And anyway you're one to talk. We got lost at least eight times back there. I'm the one who had to find the parking garage and work our way back that way."

Toad blinked like a-don't say it, don't even think it-like a toad, one eye and then the other, and then smirked before blowing a kiss. "I'm a cheap date Johnny boy. Most chaps appreciate it."

"Now you're just being gross," snapped Pyro, a little too quickly and a little too loud. The lighter was flickering. On-off-on-he was only half-aware of it anymore. It was an extension of him. "Please tell me this fancy MOMA looking place up ahead has a wine cellar or something, because I'm only about halfway to wasted and am ready to graduate fucking Xavier preschool-"

"No wine cellar to speak of, Pyro. But I do keep a healthy stock of vodka for precisely such impulses."

Pyro froze at the interloper's already-familiar voice, and watched Toad reign his tongue back in guiltily. He waited until Magneto, who had either been flying, (alright not fly, he kept saying it wasn't technically flying if you didn't have wings, but Pyro didn't care how he did it, electromagnetic flux- whatever, it was cool), or following, made his way to face them, and then he nodded once-his customary show of respect. The lighter went out.


The master of metal laughed, then. Pyro almost didn't like it when he laughed-he sounded like far too nice a guy. Not like someone who bombed shit for a living. "No need, I'm only sorry it was Toad who got to you first on a Friday night and not my Wanda. She's far better company. And she's got a full mini-bar in her bedroom."

"Oi! I'm right here! And Wanda's a tramp."


Pyro also thought, (half thought-fuzzily-ok so maybe he was a bit more than halfway gone), that he would never get used to that sense of humor, sharp like schrapnel and just as hard to predict. One minute the guy was like 'Oh yeah, fuck my daughter, hahaha,' and the next was-

"Hey! Magneto put me down! What the hell do you think you're-ooof!"

Throwing toads against trees like they were beanie babies.

"Toad, go away. I don't particularly care where. I'd like to have a chat with Pyro that requires a few extra neurons, and I don't think you've got any to spare."


"On, now. On."

Pyro liked Toad. He was funny, and had offered him a joint, straight off the bat on the jet. All the same...he was glad to see him go, hunched and sulking back towards the primary base, though he couldn't say why.

Magneto was next to him now, almost shoulder to shoulder. He was in his usual get-up, cape and black suit (no helmet though), and he was standing real close. He was-what was it that they said on Seinfeld? A close talker. (Duh). But it wasn't annoying.

"So how are you fitting in? You did well this week. I don't need to tell you that, but I will anyway. I was young with an ego once."

Pyro tried very hard to walk in a line, and stand up taller. Magneto had a really...large back. "I'm good. No regrets, y'know? I like...everything...Um-"


"Were you serious about getting drunk with me?"

That came out wrong. (Didn't it? That sounded...wrong, somehow. Not like himself). Too familiar, for one. He was always getting yelled at about that at the mansion. He didn't think before he spoke, never had...and when he talked it was mostly attitude. He waited for a reprimand-

And instead Magneto picked his cape up off the ground, and nodded towards the Savage Land MOMA. "I was serious about drinking with you, my boy. I don't think I've imbibed enough for actual drunkenness since...well, the 80's are best remembered through a filter anyway. Still I've got a handle of Grey Goose and chunks of raw iron left over from a re-done railroad track. Lets see if that fire of yours can melt iron, and have a little fun while we do."

"YES. Yeah!"

12 became 3 faster than the shark teeth bit down on his artificial flame. He could melt iron. Fuckin' iron. And Magneto was throwing it at him, with wrist flicks and fake-outs and from places high up against the walls of a real training arena, not that sissy Danger Room bullshit, and the bottle was almost gone. They were drinking it straight, like men, and he was fucked up by now, and a little bit of his hair had been singed. He ran his fingers through it, still orange and glowing with the manifestation of his power-his Godhood-that's what some of the others called it around here...he laughed like he hadn't laughed in maybe forever, and thought it was really cool that instead of offering him a hand to stand up, Magneto got in one of the floor craters with him, and sat casually before passing him the bottle again. Not even his collar was out of place. How did that even...?

"Are you...dude. . Are you the President of Everything? I think you should be. The President. Not just of America. But of. Y'know-"

"Yes, of "Everything" I'm following, I think. I did run Genosha for a few years before prison. I still receive some taxes. But I'm not very good at desk work, have you guessed?"

Pyro could feel himself smiling like an idiot. "Yeah you like fighting and training and making shit happen. Melting things. That happened."

There was a hand on his shoulder. "That was you, my boy. All you. I just provided the moving targets. You're remarkable-your baseline capability at such a young age, and with Charles's neglect of combat-"

"Fuck Charles. I like you better."

Pyro reached up, and started tracing the lines in the hand that was still on his shoulder. Blue veins and brown lines and long, strong fingers curled around the thermal texture of his shirt. A little jolt went through him (extra fire?) when the hand stayed put. The air felt heavy, so he talked at it.

"You keep saying I'm young, y'know. But you don't...I don't feel it here. And I want to...I've done things. I've had to do things. Fuckin' Bobbie and his little zombie girlfriend. Like talking to a bag of ice, not someone who could make it. It sucked there. I wasn't good at-there. Magneto. God...you...how old are you anyway? You don't..."

He trailed off when his eyes met slate grey-unreadable (patient?), waiting. He wanted to make them flicker. On. Off. On...On. He wanted to make the eyes go on. He moved closer. He sat on the cape.


"Not my name remember?"


"You don't seem so old."

There was a part of him that was like "Holy fucking shit I am making out with Magneto." Weirdly it wasn't all that concerned with the fact that this might make him queer, only that Magneto was sort of like an evil celebrity and at least sixty-

And a really, really good kisser. You could tell he was trying not to be, trying to pull back, slow it down, move away...but there was definitely something going on down south and it was like his face was on autopilot...the kind that Pyro thought Pierce Brosnan must have by now when trying to get the leading ladies into bed...Magneto couldn't help it. Magneto tasted like copper and peppermint and-

Pyro risked letting go of the mouth in the hopes of moving down. His words came out, obscene and low in his throat and in a rush, and fuck familiar, what was a belt-buckle tug or three? "God you're so sexy, why are you so...I mean there was this one guy but you...I've done it before, let me...let me-"


He didn't use his power. He didn't push him or throw iron at his head.

But it was the kind of stop you don't dare ignore. Pyro did, awkwardly, mid stroke, mid...gah mid nuzzle. Magneto waited until he'd slunk across the floor to a safe distance, not so much "unembarrassed" about the raging hard-on through thin suit cotton as "did he even fucking realize it was there?"

Pyro was definitely not going to cry like a girl. Or run away. Or do anything else really stupid. "Ok. Sorry." The floor crater had 33 cracks in his line of vision. He counted them again.

"Don't apologize. You're very beautiful. And you can take solace in your cruising instincts at least. Twins or no, you're what I've looked at twice my entire life, and I'm not ashamed. Please Pyro...when you wake up tomorrow, the first thing I want you to kill is your shame."

"Why are you talking in sonnets? Shame, I don't-whatever. You're whatever and I'm whatever so why don't you just let me suck your-"

"Because I can never be your lover, Pyro. And that's what you want. Love is the object of all young men. I'm your trainer. I am your leader. It's better to leave it at that. Besides I'm..."

"What. You're what?" He was getting pissy, he could hear it.

"Now this is embarrassing."

And Magneto was back to sounding totally chill. Oh.

"I bet it's not."

"I'm married. To the principal of the preschool, as it happens."

It took Pyro way too long to figure out what that meant. Way too long. And when he did he wished it had taken him longer.



"You've got to be kidding me."

"Afraid not."

"He's a bald hippie who can't move his legs."

"Watch yourself." And that was in the danger voice.

"Sorry. Uh...alot to take in."

"My life is not a textbook. You aren't required to understand it."

"No...I guess not. But I thought you and Mystique...?"

"Mystique and I go back a very long way. That's all there is to say, really. Pyro...go to bed."

"I got a bedtime now?"

"No you have a nervous system. And it's shutting down in my training gym. Go home before you fall asleep here, I solemnly promise that it's not comfortable."

"Your husband. Is the Professor."

"Goodnight Pyro."

"He used to be hot then. He must've used to look like me."

"Oh for the love of God."

"Goodnight, El Presidente."

"The dark mountain roast is in the top left hand cabinet."

It was.

And the next morning, as Pyro gingerly nursed a cup and still regretted nothing, he thought about all the big words Magneto used and that faggoty cape and the hand on his shoulder, and he thought about the way it made no sense, for Charles Xavier and Magneto to keep crossing paths like they did, to keep helping each other like they did, and he thought about the Professor with maybe, hair...and he could see it.

Well, all the comic book villians had their weaknesses, didn't they?

Pyro lit the lighter, and wondered what counted as his.