SPIFFY DISCLAIMER THINGIE!!!

I don't own them (mores the pity!); they're Marvel's and Ah'm usin'em without permission:):) Ah ain't makin' a plug nickel! If ya'll sue me Magnus is gonna be right peeved ...

Andrew, Tess and Monica likewise don't belong to moi! And Ah'm still use'em without permission, so there! And if'n anybody can figure *how* I can make money doing this for God's sake speak up!

Rated PG-17 for violence. So if that sort of thing bothers ya'll, skedaddle:):)

Magnetic Angel

A Crossover Tale Of Mutant Adventure by Dannell Lites

ndrew blinked his green eyes and frowned. "*That's* my assignment?"

He blurted the hasty words as he watched the tall silver haired man disappear, his Acolytes trailing in his imperious wake like goslings.

"That's right, Angel Boy," declared Tess tartly and smiled. "He's all yours!"

"Even if I don't want him?" Andrew wanted to know. Maybe there had been a mistake? He could always hope.

"Oh no, Angel Boy!" Tess was firm. "You don't get to pick and choose! God's love is for everybody. Not just the good folks, but everybody! Even *him*."

Andrew nodded ruefully. He had the feeling he was going to need the practical, older Angel to remind him of that frequently during this Assignment. This was going to be a tough one, he could tell.

"Right now he's playing a game," Tess said. "Practicing with his friend's borrowed technology for the future he's sure is coming. Watch."

Together they watched as Andrew's latest assignment impaled six intruding soldiers on the point of their own bayonets. With a scowl, the garishly clad man lifted one soldier, still impaled and struggling feebly, above his head. With a flick of his wrist the mutant chaos-maker tossed the screaming Marine away like a rag doll and turned his attention elsewhere. They weren't listening to him. They never did. Why did they always force him to hurt them? Why? Damn them! Briefly, when the bullets struck it, the unseen shield surrounding the silver haired man sparked and flared white. The strong smell of blood and ozone burdened the air. With a thought the elegant man rose into the air as the shouting, panicked soldiers fell back and attempted to regroup. Lightning crackled and thundered in the tall man's wake, mirroring his anger; his eyes glowed with actinic fire. With a wave of his hand metal everywhere came alive. Like ripe wheat the fleeing soldiers were mown down, falling to the ground to lie still.

"Reinforcements!" their commander barked. "I need reinforcements!" His radio crackled and buzzed and hurt his ears with its sharp whine. Then it shattered in his hand and he cried out.

Contemptuously the silvered haired man punished them when they displayed the depths of their foolishness. The tank rumbled and shook the earth with its implacable advance. The tall man reached out exerting his control of the electromagnetic spectrum and closed his hand into a fist in the air. Electrons shifted their orbits. The Earth's magnetic fild obeyed the commands of its Master like a well trained hound brought to heel. In sympathy, the metal of the tank shrieked in protest like a lost child until it caved in on itself. From nowhere a stiff wind sprang up, howling over the battlefield. Andrew watched in awe as, one by one, the heavy lead glass windows of the warehouse buildings lining the mutant man's path exploded in the wake of his passage. A maelstrom of glass went whistling through the air, deadly random projectiles aimed at nothing. None of them stuck the tall man, but they sent the embattled Marines scrambling for ground cover.

Surrounded by the violence, at the heart of it, cradled safely within its warm and soothing familiarity, the tall mutant gave vent to his joy, laughing to match the freshening wind until his breath came in short, quick gasps, like a wounded predator brought to bay, at last, by packs of persistent hounds. Slowly, he looked about.

Like the parting waves of the Red Sea before the Israelite hosts, the frightened Marines parted before him as he made his serene way to his goal, with a scowl fit to frighten demons. He took a moment to savor the smile of terror frozen on one youthful soldier's face. Then the young man's gun exploded and he fell to the ground, wounded and blind,adding his screams to the howl of anguish rising on the strong wind.

"Mother of God ..." breathed a stunned Monica. Tess shook her black and silver head.

"God has very little to do with *that* man," the elder Angel assured her. "Not yet anyway."

"Who *is* he?" her companion asked. Tess shook her head again.

"He's got a lot of names," the angelic Caseworker told her. "He uses different ones with different people in his life. To his Acolytes he's 'Lord' ... to his friend Charles Xavier he's 'Magnus' ... to his human enemies, he's terror and destruction personified ... But to his wife Magda he was always 'Erik'. He treats his name the same way he treats the people who love him - they're disposable. He calls *himself* Magneto. But that's not the name he was born with." Monica shivered.

The young Angel shook her silky auburn head and gazed off in the direction of the disappearing Acolytes and Andrew's assignment. "How does someone get like that?" she asked, genuinely baffled. "What happens to make a man so - so - ?" Tess chuckled, low in her throat.

"Oh, that's easy, Miss Wings," She informed Monica. "First of all, it helps if you can arrange to be born about seventy years ago just before a world war when most people were too busy just trying to live to care too much about their fellow man. War is a funny thing, sweetie. It brings out the best ... and the worst in people. Then you have to manage to be born a Jew so you can watch everybody you know and love fall into a mass grave they dug themselves and then be covered over like so much garbage. And if at all possible you need to grow up in place called Auschwitz, beaten, raped and surrounded by the shadow of death everyday. *Then* you need to find out that you're a mutant; that you've got an outlet now for all that rage and fear and that there's very little that can hurt you anymore if you don't let it. But the most essential thing is when you realize that it can happen again; that people are afraid of you and and those like you who are different. Almost as afraid of you as you are of them. And that you are one *powerful* son of a gun who doesn't have to watch it happen this time. You can stop them. After that, all you need is about fifty years of practice at being one of the all around nastiest pieces of work on two legs ..." Her smile was sad. "But mostly what you have to do, sweetie, is *survive*."

The red-haired Angel looked appalled.

"All right, Tess," Andrew said quietly. "What am I here for then?" Tess looked away for an instant. Almost unnoticed, she took Andrew's hand in hers.

"What are you always here for, Angel Boy?" she said and her low, rich voice echoed with deep compassion for both of them: Andrew and his assignment.

"He's going to die," she said, simply.

************************************************************************************* Magneto smiled as he stepped out of the Danger Room. He dismissed his Acolytes with a casual wave of his gloved hand. Absently, he glanced down at his red and purple helmet. It shone brightly, polished and lethal in the harsh light of the corridor. He lifted it and regarded it carefully.

Not a single drop of blood marred the bright expanse of deadly metal. And yet, only moments before it had glistened, as had he, with the lifeblood of his dying enemy. He glanced down at the oiled chain mail of his pants and tunic, pristine and free of blood. He didn't even have to clean up after himself or change his clothes after a work out in the Danger Room, he marveled. He might have smiled if he had been given to such things. There were some advantages to his recently negotiated peace with Charles. He wondered again how long it would last ... this time. Not even he had access to technology quite this advanced. But then, he wasn't bedding the Shi'ar Empress Lilandra, either. He almost smiled and remembered Gabrielle. Charles always did have a way with women.

"Technology is a wonderful thing, isn't it?" inquired a pleasant non-descript voice at his rear. "Of course, not everyone appreciates change," the voice continued as Magneto spun on his heel to face its owner. "I like the old ways best, don't you?"

Magneto found himself facing a smaller blond fellow whose rounded face was as pleasantly attractive as his voice. His shaggy blond hair swept over his forehead above a pair of bright green eyes. It was the eyes that captured Magneto's attention now. Leaning against a doorway, the other man regarded the Master Of Magnetism from out of bottomless eyes the color of old bottle glass. Beneath their emerald depths something disturbing stirred just out of sight. Involuntarily, the man in the garish chain mail subtly shifted his weight; the better to prepare for battle. Silently, he rose into the air, watching his companion carefully.

Magneto's eyes narrowed as he regarded the smaller shaggy haired blond man with the bright green eyes who blocked his path.

"I - know you," he said slowly, almost uneasily.

"Oh, yes," said Andrew, the Angel of Death, and nodded. "You've known me for most of your life. The first time you met me, you were 13 years old. Your father held your hand and covered your eyes so you wouldn't see the bullets. He told you not to be afraid but you were. After that, we met quite a few times. We're old friends, you and I ..." Andrew smiled sadly. "You've given me a lot of work over the years." Involuntarily, Magneto backed away from the strange man. His blue gray eyes never wavered, though, as he faced the other. From the metallic walls of the corridor metal detached itself at Magnus' command, forming into a blade. Sharp metal hovered in the air only inches from the blond man's eyes.

"Who *are* you and what do you wish of me?" Magneto demanded. Andrew pushed the metal shard gently aside.

"My name is Andrew," he said, "and you won't need that ..." Looking unconvinced, the chain mail clad man nevertheless lowered himself slowly to the floor.

"What do you wish of me?" he said again, softer this time. Andrew strolled unhurriedly over and looked up at the taller man with an angelic smile.

"Why, I want to introduce you to someone," he told his threatening companion.

The world twisted, stretched and folded in on itself. In the blink of an eye the harshly lit corridor was gone. Rubbing his eyes Magneto peered into the dimness of a large one-room barracks hewn from rough unpolished wood. Like a sea wave the smell of death and despair assailed him. Carefully, Andrew stepped between two sparse bunks where exhausted skeletal men dozed fitfully and pointed.

"Him for example," he invited Magneto's attention.

The young boy was in a bad way, that much was obvious. He wasn't old enough to be here, Andrew estimated. He should already be dead. But he wasn't. Instead he was learning a lesson. Towering over his thin frame, the Kapo stuck him again and again with the wooden rod until it was wet with his blood, but the boy made no sound. Already he had learned not to cry. Curling himself into a tight ball to present as small a target a possible, the boy made no effort to avoid the blows aimed at his battered smarting body. It only angered the guards and Kapos more when he tried to run away and the beatings were worse. The first time he had known no better, his fear had overcome him and he ran. Laughing the German guards struck him to the ground. The enraged, humiliated Kapo kicked him until he screamed and lost consciousness. Oh yes, he had learned. He was very bright. He endured the blows drawn tightly within himself. He took himself away from the pain and the scalding anger. "Erik!" his schoolteacher mother scolded merrily, "You have an accent worse than a Litvak! It's 'pardonne moi." He pursed his lips and pronounced the French phrase with the proper Parisenne tones. "Pardone moi," he mumurred and the Kapo redoubled his efforts for a moment. Finally when his anger abated or perhaps when his arm grew tired, the Kapo stepped away. His booted foot lashed out in one last kick of disgust and the young boy who was its target gasped and rolled away. "Jew filth!" the Polish Kapo who did not, of course, speak French spat. "When I tell you to do something do it quickly!" Magneto's hands knotted into fists at his side and he shook for an instant.

"Don't you recognize him?" asked Andrew. "Look closely."

Slowly, the silver haired mutant approached the child huddling in the barracks' forlorn corner. Kneeling, he ran his eyes impassively over the scarred emaciated body and watched him for several moments searching for some spark of rebellion, some sign of defiance. His nose stung with the stink of filth and helpless despair. The boy closed his eyes and covered his head to block out the rest of the world, alone in his suffering. The muscles of Magneto's jaw set themselves into taut chords as he stood.

"No," he said flatly, "I don't know him." Andrew looked unhappy.

"That's too bad," he said. "He could use a friend."

Turning away from the vista of the dirty, hopeless child, the Master of Magnetism paled. "He stole bread from the mouths of staving and dying people. He sold his body for easier work," he whispered. "He stripped the bodies of the dead, this 'crematorium raven'; cut their hair and pulled the gold teeth from their jaws. He kept the ovens running and he hauled away the bodies of his aunts and cousins to be buried in lime. He broke up their bones and tossed them in. He was a harlot and a slave. Forget about him! He's been dead for a long time."

"No," Andrew said quietly, "he *survived*." Magneto nodded and his vise-like grip on the metal helmet in his hands tightened.

"Yes, he was always very good at that."

The blond Angel stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets. Again, reality seemed to spin out of control, to whirl and change, leaving Magneto dizzy and slightly nauseous in the wake of its transformation. In a breath they found themselves standing in the midst of a large crowd. Acrid smoke stung their eyes and the voices of many angry people filled their ears. Andrew pointed at the object of their wrath.

"What about him?" he asked.

The man had put up a splendid fight. But, in the end, there were too many of them. The red garbed State Security Policemen clubbed him to the ground while the townspeople looked on and said nothing. "Poppa!" the little blond girl cried, "Poppa save me!" But he could not. They held him and his cries, his pleas, went unheeded. When she fell burning to the ground he screamed.

And the townspeople died.

In fury he lashed out at them, the ones who had turned their backs on his child, and they died along with the Policemen. In silent agony the silver haired man who was the little girls father began to weep. Andrew was certain that this was the last time in a very, very long time that he would allow himself to do that. It was a luxury, Magneto would soon convince himself that he could ill afford. He was right about that. The smell of burning human flesh was strong and many another man might have been ill with the obscenely sweet, cloying odor. But this man knew the scent of old and so steeled himself against it. Eternally surrounded by the bodies of the dead and the dying, Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, watched in horror as his mind once again opened the doors of the "showers" of Auschwitz and the bodies tumbled forth.

"Oh God!"

Her cry was a compelling union of shock and despair. But even so full of terror he recognized it. How could he not? Its soothing contralto had long been the voice of sanity for him in a world gone mad. How many times had it whispered of desire in the night; love in the face of hate? He could not count them.

"Magda?" he said. "Magda, what -?" She backed away from him in terror and her next words cut his flesh sharper than a knife.

"Monster!" she cried her eyes wide with horror and fled from her husband.

"Magda!" He tried to shout but his voice betrayed him and it emerged a weak and pathetic whisper that strangled itself. He watched her fleeing back until he lost sight of her, too weary to persue. He looked around him at the faces of the dead and his own face twisted almost out of human proportion.

Gazing into his own arctic blue eyes blazing with hate and pain, Magneto actually smiled.

"Now, *him* I know!" he said.

"I thought you might," was Andrew's sardonic admission. Once more reality flowed and shifted to find them standing in New York City's Times Square. Around them people thronged, the Brownian motion of their restlessness a painful reflection of their uncertainty and fear. But the huge crowd came very close to being absolutely silent.

"And him?" The Angel Of Death wanted to know.

The helmeted figure stared out at the crowd from the huge television screen like an angry demon and quoted Robert Frost, his favorite poet. His rich baritone voice carried heavy traces of an accent but there was no mistaking his meaning nor his intent.

"Earth will be at peace or it will be destroyed," he told his world wide audience. And they believed him.

Fear took hold of the crowd rapidly then like a spreading infection. They began to run sprinting for cars or the subway; some means of leaving, some way to get away from the man on the screen. Within moments the crowd had dispersed in an explosion of moving feet, a cacaphony of honking horns, shouts of anger and a great stink of fear.

Magneto laughed soundless mirth that never reached or warmed his blue eyes. "Now *he's* a force to be reckoned with!" the tall man declared.

"Oh yes, " Andrew conceded, "he's great at keeping the world at bay; at frightening people so they can't hurt you anymore. But, then, that's what he's for, isn't it?" The mutant with the frozen soul scowled and brought his hand up in a mocking salute.

"So is *this*," he replied and the metal still hovering near Andrew's eyes twisted and flowed like water until it was almost unrecognizable.

"You don't need that here," Andrew reminded him. Earnestly he pleaded with the mutant, "Don't you see? You've been granted a second chance here. Don't blow it! Mutants and humans don't have to hunt one another. It doesn't have to be 'them or us', rule or die. You can make a difference here. Your friend Xavier and his students need your protection. No one will try and imprison or kill you. And no one will hurt you unless you hurt them. You don't need to frighten them to be safe." Magneto blinked and began backing away.

"I don't believe you!" he cried. Andrew nodded his head sadly.

"I know. Maybe someday you will. That's part of why I'm here but there isn't much time. There's peace and joy for you here if you'll only reach out and take it. Wouldn't you like that? In the beginning it was all that beaten little boy wanted. Just ... not to hurt anymore." The man who called himself Magneto stared at the smaller blond man, but it was 13 year old Erik Magnus Lehnsherr who was forced to look away. Then, without a word, he spun on his heel and left the Angel staring at his broad back.

"Didja really think he'd listen?" inquired a deep voice rumbling with the accents of Canada. Smiling, Andrew turned to face his fellow, but very different, incarnation of Death. Another old friend.

"Why not?" Andrew said mildly. "You did."

Logan snorted through his oft-broken nose then inhaled deeply on his cheroot. "And it only took me a century," he observed with sarcasm. "Gotta be a record." Andrew laughed.

"Not really John," he said. The feral X-Man grew still.

"Now there's a name I ain't heard in a real long time." Logan looked away. "Don't call me that. He's dead. Dead as Weapon X and a lotta others like him." Andrew raised one pale eyebrow in inquiry.

"*Is* he? As dead as that little boy?"

The former intelligence operative straightened up and brushed the question aside.

"I ain't the reason yer here," he pointed out slowly. He gestured in the direction of the disappearing Magneto. "He is. Got your hands full this time, bub." Andrew rubbed the back of his neck and made a face.

"Definitely," he agreed with a heartfelt sigh of exasperation. The small man lit another foul smelling cheroot with pensive fingers.

"He's gonna die, ain't he? That's why you're here." Andrew nodded. Logan took a single deep drag on his cheroot then flicked it angrily away.

"Soon?" The angry shadows in his dark eyes were the only thing that betrayed the Canadian, his voice was steady as a rock.

"Soon enough," Andrew replied softly. "I'm here to help him find his way Home."

"Why bother?" asked Logan. "Is he that important?" The Angel of Death smiled.

"Everybody's important," Andrew said softly. Then he smiled widely. "Oh no, Angel Boy!" he cried in a perfect imitation of Tess' vibrant contralto, "You don't get to pick and choose! God's love is for everybody not just the good folks! He's all yours!" Logan didn't laugh but a small smile scampered past his guard before he could summon it back. For a moment he relected on the irony that Death was one of the only people who could make him smile. Logan decided that it was a good thing for one soul to laugh with another. When silence reigned once more Andrew laid a hand on the smaller man's shoulder.

"Why is he important? I don't know. Why is anyone important? He's important because he lives; because he suffers. And, maybe, because if there's hope for him, then there's hope for all of us." At first Logan said nothing but there was a gathering storm behind those eyes that were the exact shade of dying Autumn leaves. He snorted hot derision and ground out another cheroot under one booted foot.

"Did anybody ever tell ya that for The Angel O' Death yer a wuss?"

"All the time," muttered Andrew, "all the time."

THE END