Rated a very stern R for some really, really nasty concepts and implied m/m sex. If'n that sort of thing bothers ya'll skedaddle:):) Ah found this idea on the Requests list at X-Men Slash Central, so don't blame moi! *Ah* didn't think of the idea! But once Ah saw the idea ... it wouldn't leave moi alone. Somehow, Ah doubt that this is what the Requester had in mind. But it was sure the first thing that sprang to *my* mind when Ah saw the Request. Take the warnings on this one to heart, folks! Not for the easily offended.
As always feedback is craved and eagerly responded to!
A Tale Of Mutant Retribution by Dannell Lites
"W - why?" he gasped, confused. He curled into a small, tight ball, trying to make himself as small a target as possible. His blue gray eyes, dazed with pain, tried to meet the other mans. So alike. So very much alike. "I - I don't understand. What did I do? What did -"
"Damn you, Magneto!" cried the other, who was no longer smiling now and kicked him again. "Shut up, old man!"
"But, I'm not - " he whispered.
Of course, there was no longer anyone there to hear his soft denial. He was alone.
As Magneto deserved to be.
************************************************************************************** Gambit was the one who found him, on his knees in the bathroom, curled around the cool porcelain, retching into the bowl. Slender, elegant hands, skilled in many things, pulled back the long, bright silver hair to keep it from the foulness. With a wet cloth, Remy laved the smooth angular face, then held him until the other, younger man had emptied himself.
"Go away," the newest X-Man gasped, pain and humiliation leaving his rich voice a mere echo of itself. "Please go away. Let me be."
LeBeau drew in a sharp breath at the sight of the battered, swollen face and the blood.
"Mon Dieux," he murmured. "Who did this to you, homme, eh?"
Joseph flinched and tried to crawl away, out of the reach of the touch of Remy's hands.
"It was an accident," he whispered. "I - I made a mistake ..." Gambit shook his head.
"Dis be no mistake, I t'ink, mon ami." He reached out and touched the intercom on the wall.
"No!" Joseph cried. "I'm fine! Please! I -"
Joseph grasp for the wash basin, trying to pull himself to his feet using it as a lever. Gambit caught him just in time to keep the silver head from hitting the hard tile floor.
"Remy?" Hank McCoy's deep voice rumbled, brimming with concern, "is something amiss my fine Cajun friend?"
He was there in less than two minutes. It never ceased to amaze Gambit how fast Doctor Henry P. McCoy could move when a patient needed him.
"Oh my stars and garters!" gasped The Beast when he saw what awaited him.
************************************************************************************** "What happened?" demanded a grim Scott Summers. "Was he attacked?"
"Oh yes," agreed Hank McCoy, distracted. "Brutally."
Nervously the mutant physician slipped his stethoscope into a pocket of his now no longer pristine white lab coat. The dry cleaners would be complaining again. Blood stains were almost impossible to remove once they were set into the fabric. Unlike people the cloth had a long memory.
The furry mutant could almost see the wheels turning in Cyclops mind. Alert the others. Prepare to defend themselves against an enemy incursion. He didn't miss the concern for Joseph that flashed so briefly across his friend's alert features for a brief instant, though. He watched Scott push his own feelings aside, reaching for the intercom to do the practical thing. Hank sighed. With one blue hand he reached out and covered the founding X-Man's hand with his own larger, clawed one.
"That won't be necessary," he said sadly. He could see Scott's brows knit above the heavy ruby quartz of his protective glasses. He had often speculated that one of the reasons for Scott's undeserved reputation for coldness harkened to the simple fact that no one could see his eyes.
"I know who did this." McCoy explained quickly, "and none of the rest of us are in any danger." Cyclops' frown deepened and then faded. He was all business now.
"What's going on here, Hank," he inquired, his voice level and outwardly calm.
"Something very, very nasty indeed, oh Fearless Leader," The Beast growled and then rapidly caught control of his voice. When Scott's eyebrows lifted eloquently skyward, McCoy scribbled the last of his hasty notes on the patient chart in his hands, then carefully set it aside.
"Someone," he began in a quiet voice where contempt and anger warred with one another for supremacy, "hit our young friend. Again and again and again. In point of actual fact, someone hit Joseph well over fifty times." Under the healthy glow of his tanned skin Scott Summers paled.
"All over the body," Hank continued. "In the face, in the chest, in the abdomen and ... other ... places. Now none of the blows were extraordinarily damaging. Whoever did this was no stronger than the average human. But there were a lot of them. In a very, very short period of time." The muscles of Cyclops neck and jaw bunched like cords. Hank nodded, pleased to see that he was understood.
"He didn't fight back," he told the leader of the Blue Team. "There's not a single mark on his hands. Our amnesiac charge struck nary a blow in his own defense. He didn't have time. Whoever did this to him was fast." He let the words lie there for an instant.
"Very, very fast." he said again in his bass voice that did not lend itself easily to such softness.
"Indubitably," Hank nodded his angry agreement.
For a long moment Scott looked very tired. It was hard for Hank to remember, at times, that Scott Summers was over thirty now, a man twice married, once widowed, with two children. And I'm older than he is, McCoy marveled. When did this happen? In a small stubborn part of Hank McCoy's mind his friends would forever be as he had first known them: young and dedicated, reaching out to live life to it's fullest. He shook himself back to reality just in time to catch Cyclops by the shoulder before he could stalk off in cold, furious search of their house guest.
"I'm afraid that's not all," he confessed. He could feel himself blush beneath the protective cover of his silky blue fur. But, of course, no one could *see* it, could they? This wasn't going to be easy but it must be done.
"There's *more*?" Scott hissed, not wishing to believe it.
For many long moments Hank studied his bare, clawed, omnidextrous feet assiduously. Finally, his reluctant voice returned to him. He drew a deep breath to put off the unpleasantness as long as possible.
"I examined Joseph very thoroughly. Before he was attacked," McCoy said bluntly, leaving no room for mistake, "he was engaged in sexual intercourse."
Scott Summers looked very much like he wanted to be quite ill. "Oh Christ!" he said. "Are - are you *sure*?"
"Positive," Hank assured him. Scott's hands fluttered in front of his face like birds startled from a violated nest.
"Hank, that's - that's - sick," he finished wanly. Hank McCoy's lips curled in anger.
"No it isn't," he almost snarled. "Not from Joseph's point of view, at any rate."
"What do you mean," Scott choked. "Hank, it's *incest* for God's sake!"
The X-Men's resident physician ripped the stethoscope from around his thick neck and jammed it into a pocket of his lab coat. For a moment it was so quiet in the small medical bay that Cyclops could clearly hear the cloth of the coat rip from the force of Hanks gesture.
"Is it?" He challenged, his voice leaking bitterness. "Is it indeed? We don't know that! What if Joseph isn't Magneto and never was? Have any of us ever considered that?" He watched the muscles of Scott's face settle into lines of harsh disbelief.
"And if he is Magnus and it *is* incest, as you say, then whose fault is it?" he demanded. "Not Joseph!" Scott's guilty silence hung heavily between them.
"We never told him, Scott," he accused them all, not least among them himself. "He doesn't know who Pietro is! We never told him," he cried. "He doesn't know that Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff, is Magneto's son! He doesn't know what he's done!"
"Hank, we've been through all this before." Cyclops level words were calm, but the corners of his mouth curved downward in a frown. "We decided that it was best if Joseph knew as little as possible about Magnus."
"Why?" McCoy clenched and unclenched his hands, excising his anger with his muscles. "Because we're afraid of Magneto?"
"You're damned right I'm afraid of Magneto!" Scott was almost shouting. "Anyone in their right mind is afraid of Magneto, Hank! You fought him an an X-Man and as an Avenger! Have you forgotten what he's *like*?"
"No," came Henry's quiet reply, "but *he* has."
"He's forgotten a great many things thank to me," sounded a familiar voice at their back.
Scott turned to face his mentor and teacher Charles Xavier, the founder of the X-Men. Summer's mouth set and his brow wrinkled in a frown that made him look older than his years. But not as old as the man he faced. McCoy polished his glasses and tried to occupy himself with that harmless bit of random movement. As always his thick, round lenses were immaculate, in no need at all of cleaning.
"Professor," Scott's greeting was a triumph of level headed practicality. "I'm sorry to involve you in this mess." He gusted a self denigrating breath of pure sadness and regret. "I should never have let this happen. It's partly my fault for not paying enough attention to the team." He ran his fingers through his thick brown hair, shaking his head.
"I'll take care of it, sir."
McCoy was not surprised to see Xavier shake his smooth head in denial.
"No, Scott. This is my mess, in so many, many different ways. This is my house. And it's about time I started to clean up after myself, don't you think? I'll take care of Pietro." His eyes were hard and chill, but his voice held the tattered remnants of sadness and great passion. Scott Summers opened his mouth to speak, then thought better of it.
"Let me do this for you," he finally asked, quietly. "That's part of my job." Xavier's smile was warm with gratitude and affection.
"It always was, wasn't it?"
His deep, deep breath was liberating. Once the decision was reached then everything else fell naturally into place. It seemed a great relief to him, Hank thought.
"Not this time, Scott," he vowed, not without regret. "I'm afraid you can't shield me from this. I've let you do that too often, of late. I've never been very fair to you have I? To any of you, really ... " There was genuine sorrow in his next words. "I'm so very sorry about that, truly I am. You may never know *how* sorry. But it's going to stop. Now. A lot of things like that are going to stop. Starting with this."
Scott glanced away and Hank winced, wishing himself somewhere else.
"That's not important right now, sir," the X-Man's once Deputy Leader pointed out.
"It's important to *me*," Xavier's answer was soft. "I've failed you; I've failed all my X-Men. But no more. That will be the first thing to change If I don't accept the responsibility for this, then I'm worse than the doddering old fool I feel like at the moment. I *have* to do this. Leave Quicksilver to me."
After a moment, Charles Xavier's most loyal adherent nodded his understanding. On his way out the door he lay a consoling hand on his mentors shoulder.
"If you need me, sir, you know where to find me."
The wheelchair bound telepath, the strongest mutant mind on Earth, nodded in his turn and his small half smile was very heart felt.
"I always do," he replied.
McCoy smiled and returned his glasses to rest on his furry nose. In silence, Xavier's hoverchair turned to face him. His teacher's face lost all expression save anger and Hank McCoy frowned in worry. If Xavier noticed he gave no sign of it.
"There's no possible mistake here, Henry? We can't afford to be wrong about this." The mutant healer shook his shaggy head. His reply was simple but immutable.
"The body doesn't lie, Charles. I'm not wrong about this. Would that I were."
Xavier seemed very tired, of a sudden, as if a great weight had been added to an already overwhelming one.
"I had hoped ... well, my hopes are irrelevant. We must deal with reality. And reality is waiting for me in the West Wing, I fear, in the shape of a terribly confused man named Pietro Maximoff." He glanced in the direction of the Medical Bay and the sleeping Joseph. "And in there."
"Joseph is my patient, Charles," Henry was firm. "He's my responsibility, now." Xavier looked stubborn but McCoy matched him will for will. Finally, the Nobel laureate lifted his square chin in guilt.
"I allowed this to happen, too, Charles," he said. "We *all* did. There is more than enough blame to cover each of us, my friend. You've no monopoly on that. I'll feel better about myself if you allow me to do this. The purging of past sins is cathartic, I think." He blinked back great shame that shone like a beacon out of his bright, intelligent eyes.
"For all our sakes ... I hope so."
As he moved away, borne on his noiseless cushion of alien, Shi'ar technology, Charles Francis Xavier, mutant telepath and dreamer could only pray that his most honored student was right about that.