|Fic: "The Thing About Being a Bad Guy Is"
||[Jul. 1st, 2004|11:23 pm]
Title: The Thing About Being a Bad Guy Is
Rating: strong R
Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Men. Marvel and Fox do.
Summary: John realized early on that his romanticized notions of Life as a Bad Guy were perhaps a little naive.
Written for: anneline
Pairing/scenario requested: Magneto/Pyro, condition: angst
Warnings: well, I suppose Pyro technically isn't legal yet, so there is that whole underage sex thing...
The thing they don't tell you about being a Bad Guy is that most of the time, your life is just kinda boring.
John realized early on that his romanticized notions of Life as a Bad Guy were perhaps a little naive. Okay, so maybe it was stupid to think that every day would be another spine-tingling adventure, filled with narrow escapes and daring feats and all their brilliant, Noble Deeds misunderstood by the ignorant masses as Evil Plots (but hey, at least being an Evil Mastermind meant that he'd be, well, a mastermind, live in a totally sweet Evil Mastermind Lair and probably drive a really cool car). But even if all that was a bit beyond the reality, he'd expected to at least be Pyro.
He hadn't realized that most of the time, he'd just be St. John Allerdyce, that annoying kid who tags around after the real Bad Guys. And the Evil Mastermind Lair was not exactly a secret cavernous hideaway with lots and lots of awesome gadgets and technologies, but rather a succession of dingy motels and off-the-beaten-track rest stops.
John dumped his backpack on the ugly, moth-eaten couch of the latest hole in the wall motel suite, barely resisting the urge to set the whole seedy room on fire. He turned to face Erik and Mystique, struggling to keep the irritation out of his voice. "Now what?"
"Settle in," Erik replied calmly. "We may be here for a few days." He disappeared through a door in the back of the room, which presumably led to something resembling a bathroom.
"Yeah, but where is 'here'?" John demanded.
Mystique smiled. It wasn't a nice smile. "If you'd been paying attention on the road, you wouldn't have to ask." Then she, too, disappeared, this time into what was probably the bedroom.
"Great," John muttered, plopping down on the dubious couch. A fine cloud of dust rose briefly at the disturbance, then settled again. He scowled at it. "I could burn you up in five seconds flat," he informed the couch. The couch didn't reply, smug, dusty bastard that it was.
After a few minutes, Erik emerged from the bathroom. "Where are we?" John asked him, hoping for a slightly more helpful response.
"Somewhere in Indiana," Erik said. "Try to contain your excitement."
"Why here?" John tried next, hope fueled by his success.
"We are in the process of tracking down some of my former associates," Erik replied. "And in the meantime, I've found that the best way to disappear in this great big country of ours is to set off in a random direction and not stop until you've found the ugliest, cheapest, stupidest little town in the middle of nowhere, then stay in your room and keep to yourself." He looked around the room with apparent distaste. "Mystique really outdid herself this time."
Erik gave him an inscrutable look. "The ones your former teachers haven't yet killed, I suppose."
John shifted uncomfortably. The couch responded with another exhalation of dust. "Well, you couldn't expect to kidnap Logan's pet student and get away with it."
"Yes, well, it was worth a try, anyway," Erik replied, unruffled. "Although I admit that I did not take favorably to the consequences of that particular endeavor."
The bedroom door swung open. "I think I've located the Scarlet Witch." Mystique said tersely. "She's somewhere in Chicago."
Erik dropped his facade of vague amusement. He strode briskly over to the bedroom, all business now. "Is there any chance of winning her over?"
Mystique shrugged nonchalantly, but John noticed lines of tension in the set of her jaw and rigidity of her spine. "It's chancy, after your last encounter, but I believe..." They closed the door behind them, effectively shutting John out.
The thing about being a Bad Guy is that no matter how all-powerful you think you are, there's always some Evil Mastermind who outranks you. And the thing about being an Evil Henchman is that you need to remember your place. John was to be the brawn of the operation, not the brains, and he'd never really realized just how limiting and lonely that place could be.
He wondered if Bobby and Rogue were real X-Men yet.
* * * * *
John shivered under the thin blanket on the couch, unable to sleep. All right, it might not be the dead of winter exactly, but the autumn nights were getting uncomfortably chilly.
Maybe there was an extra blanket in the bedroom somewhere. If he was really quiet, Mystique and Erik would never know he'd been in there.
The linoleum floor was cold under his bare feet, but he ignored it, tiptoeing over to the bedroom. There wasn't any light coming from under the door; they must be asleep. He'd just look for some sort of closet and grab a spare blanket, then get out. They'd never hear him.
He inched the door open, holding his breath. Miraculously, it didn't squeak. Typical housekeeping, to keep the door hinges oiled and then not bother dusting off the couch. Finally, the door was open just barely wide enough for him to slip through.
The bedroom shades were either open or broken, and moonlight spilled in through the windows. John glanced towards the bed, and very nearly had a heart attack. If he hadn't been concentrating so hard on the sound of his own breathing, he might have noticed the unmistakable signals of sex sooner. As it was, he was faced with the most uncomfortable scene of the great Magneto himself on a flimsy motel bed going bareback with...well, him.
One of Mystique's little games, John realized furiously, once he'd remembered how to breathe. That genderbending witch!
Back on the couch, his heart racing, John sweated through his T-shirt and boxers. He kept hold of the thin blanket as a matter of principle, but he suddenly felt much too warm. The mental image of Erik and Mystique-John played over and over again in his head, until he wasn't sure whether the boy in the bed was Mystique or him.
The thing about being a Bad Guy is you'll never really know what your own fellow Bad Guys will do next. That can be kind of exciting, though.
Not exciting, John corrected himself firmly, closing his eyes tightly and refusing to acknowledge the beginnings of a very curious erection. Not exciting at all.
* * * * *
The next morning, John found himself alone in the suite with Mystique. Erik had gone out earlier, muttering something about finding a decent cup of coffee in this godforsaken Hicksville, leaving his lover and his newest henchman to themselves for a while.
The newest henchman eyed the lover, wondering whether fledgling Bad Guys were supposed to err on the side of ignorance or tactlessness. He eventually decided that while ignorance is bliss, it also just makes you stupid. "So how long have you two been sleeping together?"
Mystique gave him a blistering look, and John suddenly remembered exactly why ignorance is bliss. But instead of kicking him in the jaw, she composed herself and answered him in the mildest tone she could manage. "On and off since he and Xavier split, more or less."
John blinked. Professor Xavier and sex were two things that just didn't go together, in his head. Xavier – well, he was old, and bald, and lacking basic motor function in a certain crucial area.
Magneto and sex were two things that went together all too easily, though, but John wasn't thinking about that.
"I thought I heard you peek in last night," Mystique continued, and John instinctively pulled his lighter out of his pocket – just in case. But Mystique just smiled. It wasn't a very nice smile. "Did you enjoy the show?"
"I..." John started. "I, uh..." He swallowed hard, and somehow found the recklessness to continue. "Doesn't it bother you? The thought that he doesn't want you, just whoever else you can pretend to be?"
Mystique looked neither shocked nor angry, both reactions he was expecting. Instead, she just looked vaguely amused, and that was scarier than anger. Anger was something he understood. This was not. "Jealous?" she asked him, smirking. "Who do you want me to be, John?"
Abruptly, she shifted, blue skin melting into black clothes, coppery hair growing longer and straighter and turning brown with white streaks, face becoming paler and more distinct. Rogue-Mystique reached out and stroked his cheek with a satin-gloved hand. "You could enjoy the little Southern girl more than that ice-boy ever will," she said with a wink. He recoiled from her touch, and she laughed, shifting again. "Or would you prefer your little friend himself?" Bobby-Mystique suggested. John gaped at him, then shoved him away, taking a few steps back. Mystique shifted again, until Erik himself stood before John, with a devilish smile John had only ever seen directed at Mystique. "Or perhaps you want a taste of power?"
Thoroughly unsettled, John turned and fled to the bathroom, Erik-Mystique's laughter following him even after he slammed the door shut.
The thing about being a Bad Guy is that you have no friends, just associates. And your associates are Bad Guys themselves, which means they probably aren't very nice.
* * * * *
St. John Allerdyce and Bobby Drake used to be roommates and best friends, but they never really talked. Oh, they would discuss video games or insult each other's mothers or complain about Math class, but they never talked talked. When Bobby had problems, he went to Rogue, and when John had problems, he kept them to himself. None of those ridiculous man-to-man heartfelt conversations, pouring out your souls and all that shit. That was gay.
But the thing was, John always sort of knew that if he decided he needed to talk about something, if he ever couldn't keep it all inside anymore, he could talk to Bobby.
Crickets chirped in the night outside, and if John closed his eyes, he could almost pretend he was back in his room in the mansion, with Bobby snoring softly in the other bed. Almost.
Mystique was outside in the car, doing something technical with some gadget that John didn't really understand. Nor did he understand why she had to do that in the car, instead of hooking it up somewhere in this crummy motel suite. It never occurred to him that maybe she was trying to let him get some sleep. Erik, sure, but he never thought that the same courtesies would be extended to himself.
He could go out there right now and ask her to be Bobby. She would probably do it. She seemed to like that sort of thing. He could get it on with Bobby right in the backseat of that car.
Instead, he found himself knocking on the bedroom door.
Erik was wearing a dark red robe. John wondered if he had anything on underneath it. "Yes?"
"You've had the imitation," John said bluntly. "Wouldn't you like to try the real thing?"
For a long moment, Erik gave no indication that he'd even heard John. Then he smiled slightly. "Imitation is the highest form of flattery."
"Yeah, but I bet it's not as good." John bit his tongue to keep from saying more. He'd probably gone too far already.
"Oh, I doubt that," Erik said, raising an eyebrow, but he let John in and closed the door behind them.
Tonight, the blinds were drawn, but open, so the moonlight lay in stripes across the bed. John looked around the silver-striped room, suddenly unsure of himself.
"If you're at a loss," Erik said, sounding amused, "I'd suggest taking off your shirt, at least."
"Right," John said, hoping the room was dark enough to hide his blush. Awkwardly, he pulled his T-shirt off, letting it fall. Erik came up behind him and put his hands on John's bare shoulders. Erik's hands were old, a little gnarled and leathery, but still strong, and not at all unpleasant. John shivered at the touch.
"Lie down on the bed," Erik directed, a low murmur in John's ear.
John obeyed, felling the rough blanket scratch against his chest and stomach. The bed creaked a little as Erik joined him, accompanied by a rustling sound that had to be Erik's robe slipping to the floor.
With strong, practiced movements, Erik began to massage John's bare back, those wonderfully aged and experienced hands starting at the base of John's neck and gradually working their way down his spine, lightly tracing his shoulderblades. They finally came to rest at the small of John's back, at the waistband of his boxers. John shivered again, caught somewhere between relaxation ad the beginnings of nervous excitement, as long fingers carefully tugged his boxers down and off.
"Relax, Pyro, my dear boy," Erik murmured softly, and John willed the tension out of his body. It wasn't easy. Fortunately, the massage had awakened a certain vital part of his body, which was growing increasingly uncomfortable trapped between John's stomach and the bed. John shifted his hips to accommodate. Yeah, that was a bit better.
Erik was saying something again. John forced his mind to focus. "I assume you'd prefer I use a condom?"
John just nodded mutely. It went along with what Dr. Grey had taught the teenagers about sex ed, anyway. He wondered if she and Mr. Summers still bothered with condoms.
He wondered if there was a condom anywhere that would allow Bobby and Rogue to get it on.
Even with the warning – such as it was – John wasn't ready for the slick, uncomfortable feeling of a lubed finger inserted in his most private of orifices. And even with that most blatant further warning, he wasn't ready for the second finger, either. Or the third. Or the condom-covered cock itself.
Ugh. Ms. Munroe would've been shocked at the uses he was making of her precious English class alliteration. But that was besides the point, and he'd no sooner thought it than he'd completely forgotten about it in the wave of white-hot pleasure-pain. He'd thought his mutation would make him immune to burning, but this was a different sort of burn entirely.
All right, so John wasn't technically a virgin. But that one wonderfully illicit drunken affair with Jubilee was totally, completely different from being bottom to Magneto. This was a whole new ballgame, and at the last minute, he just wasn't ready. It hurt.
Biting the inside of his cheek hard to keep from crying out, he forced the pain back to manageable levels. There was something nice underneath it. There had to be – his own cock wouldn't be responding like this if there wasn't. Gradually, he figured out how to focus on that spot of pleasure and ride with it, Erik's breath hot against the back of his neck, two bodies slowly establishing a rolling rhythm.
John was too busy concentrating on maintaining the rhythm, getting it right, and he didn't realize how close he was until it was too late to hold it back. He came a little too early, and forced himself not to lose himself in the orgasm, forced his body to keep up that fucking rhythm, until Erik had finished. By then, John was limp and exhausted, and any pleasure associated with the sex was lost to stress and pain and God knows what else.
After a moment, Erik pulled out and delicately removed the condom, then tugged the sweat-soaked blanket off the bed. John rolled over to accommodate, slipping under the sheets, inexplicably embarrassed. Erik lay down next to him, with just enough space between them so that no part of their bodies touched, and promptly went to sleep.
But John lay awake. He could already feel soreness setting in, and he knew he'd have an uncomfortable time of it for the next day or so. And for what, really? A brief distraction? A few seconds of uncertain pleasure/pain? It hadn't solved anything. Nothing had changed, really.
The thing about being a Bad Guy is you don't talk about your feelings or your loneliness or your frustration. That would be showing weakness. That would be impermissible.
John thought about never really talking to Bobby, and wondered why he'd never taken advantage of the opportunity while he'd still had it.
* * * * *
"Why'd you have Mystique pretend to be me in the first place?" John demanded over a breakfast of bad bagels and halfway decent coffee. Mystique had come back inside just minutes before, and headed straight to bed to catch up on lost sleep.
Erik put down his half-eaten raisin bagel and tapped the rim of his cup thoughtfully. "Curiosity," he finally said.
"Do you ever have her pretend to be Professor Xavier?"
After a long beat, Erik pushed his breakfast away and stood. "Do you know why the good Professor is in a wheelchair?" he asked, voice low and calm.
John blinked. "Uh, something about a car accident, I think."
"It happened the day we parted ways for good," Erik said emotionlessly. "We argued. I...lost my temper, and threw a metal pole at him."
John gave a short, confused laugh. "So, what, you paralyzed him in a lover's spat?"
Erik's eyes flashed a warning, and John shut up, poking at his own unfinished meal. "Hardly. You see, I honestly believed -- I still do believe -- that Charles was taking an entirely misdirected approach to his mutant school, and having realized that I would never be able to convince him otherwise, I..." Erik trailed off, then shrugged. "I decided it was best to solve the problem at its source, before it could corrupt the next generation of mutants."
"He said it was an accident," John whispered. His hands were shaking, and he didn't know why. He hid them under the table so Erik wouldn't see.
Erik laughed. It was the harshest, most joyless sound John ever wanted to hear. "The only 'accident' was that he lived. That was my intention, you know -- to kill him." His mirthless smile faded. "Instead, I only ensured that he would never walk again. And what use are legs to a telepath?"
"But you and Xavier...you were friends," John said, surprising himself with the strength of his reaction. "How could you...?"
"A great writer once said, 'all men kill the thing they love,'" Erik said. He stood and turned to leave the room. "He was right."
"Xavier didn't kill you," John countered.
Erik paused at the bedroom doorway. "Of course he killed me, you foolish boy," he snapped. It was the first time John had seen the man lose his carefully preserved cool. "He forgave me."
John just sat on the sagging, ugly couch, staring at the wall.
When he slept that night, lying at the edge of the bed as far away from Erik and Mystique as he could get, he dreamed that he was standing in a field, the rest of the Brotherhood at his back, facing off an army of Xavier's X-Men. Bobby stood at the head of the X-Men, staring at him. John had an open lighter in his hand, the tiny flame tickling his fingers, waiting to be released. Bobby's hand was outstretched, and frost was just beginning to gather at his fingertips. The armies waited, silent and oppressive, for the first strike. Neither John nor Bobby moved.
And that's what being a Bad Guy is, John realized in the moments before his dream self let the fire explode. It's knowing that he would always strike first.
Dream-Bobby screamed, writhing in the midst of the fireball. John woke up with a start, sweating and barely stifling a scream of his own. It would be hours before he could fall asleep again.