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02/18/2021 04:32 PM 

dear -----,

Elanor Gamgee FOS

02/18/2021 09:05 PM 

Hiding in the Music

Elanor glanced over her shoulder for what was probably the twentieth time since nearing the far end of lake. Her sanctuary had been a secret for a few years now, and she'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much. Carrying her guitar made her stand out more than she thought. Seeing that no one was near, she slipped into the reeds that consumed the area here. Careful not to trample any plants, Elanor stepped into a large rock that jutted into a small pond. The reeds seemed to encompass the area perfectly, blocking the sight of anyone who may be near the lake. The growth was tall enough that it wasn't obvious there was a clearing here. Sitting on the edge of the rock, with her feet in the water, Elanor began tuning the guitar. She did so quietly, not wanting to attract the attention of any of the numerous hobbits at the other end of the lake. She was near the woods here, and her neighbors rarely went near it. 'Too much like an adventure', they always told her. That's why this place was perfect, and all hers. Once the guitar was tuned, Elanor started playing a song that had been stuck in her head and heart lately. It was one she might even play for her friends one day, to show them how much she cared. That day was far off. She wasn't good enough yet to perform in front of others, and she was sure her friends would tease her if it was too bad. Thinking of her two dearest friends, Elanor smiled before she started singing.  I've been aloneSurrounded by darknessI've seen how heartlessThe world can beI've seen you cryingYou felt like it's hopelessI'll always do my bestTo make you seeBaby, you're not alone'Cause you're here with meAnd nothing's ever gonna bring us down'Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' youAnd you know it's trueIt don't matter what'll come to beOur love is all we need to make it through...Now I know it ain't easyBut it ain't hard tryingEverytime I see you smilingAnd I feel you so close to me...And you tell me:Baby, you're not alone'Cause you're here with meAnd nothing's ever gonna bring us down'Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' youAnd you know it's trueIt don't matter what'll come to beOur love is all we need to make it through...I still have troubleI trip and stumbleTrying to make sense of things sometimes...I look for reasonsBut I don't need 'emAll I need is to look in your eyesAnd I realize...Baby, I'm not alone'Cause you're here with meAnd nothing's ever gonna take us down'Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' youAnd you know it's trueIt don't matter what'll come to beOur love is all we need to make it through...Oh, 'cause you're here with meAnd nothing's ever gonna bring us downCause nothing, nothing, nothingCan keep me from lovin' youAnd you know it's trueIt don't matter what'll come to beYou know our love is all we needOur love is all we needTo make it through... Slowly removing her fingers from the strings, Elanor smiled again. Maybe she'd get teased for all this talk of love, rather than her playing. Setting her instrument off to the side, she relaxed back on to the rock to watch the clouds pass her by. (Not Alone Music & Lyrics by Darren Criss  If you have never heard this song please do look it up. It's saved my life.  )

Just a Baby Alien. {Waiting 4 Arin}

02/18/2021 12:44 PM 

For Arin

When we met, you were a good friend.That's the way it always starts: close friends.We went out for coffee just to chill out.I had fun just chatting and chilling.Our love of coffee connected us both.I wasn't expecting anything.We were only close friends.But that moment you asked me...I had to say yes.Our lips touched for the first time.I was on Cloud 9.Then you asked me out for coffee againAnd suddenly...We were an item.In the past, I was desperate,Just hoping for love.And when it fell in my lap,I gladly grabbed hold.You were a keeper.I was happy to call you mine.You were my EgoAnd I was your Alien.There were no downs,Just up, up, up.Nothing could break us.I was sure it would never stop.We planned so much.We were hoping for a future.And it kept getting betterWhen you said you wanted a baby.A mom.A mother.It's what I always wanted to be.What made it even better,Was that you would be the dad.And then that questionThe one I've always wanted to hear.You didn't even have to get on one knee."Will you marry me?"My life was becoming complete.A best friend.A lover.And now husband-to-be.Everything was perfect.All we needed was the ring.But then the worst happened.You were no longer there.Was it because of me?The fear of not being good enough.You no longer wanted me.Those were my first few thoughtsWhen you were no longer by my side.But maybe you justMoved on in real life.I still hope you want me.I still hope you care.But how long can I wait?Before I accept you're not there?I can't let you go.You were all I wanted.I'm afraid to move on.I'd wait for you forever.But I know at some point,It's no longer healthy.Clinging to lost hopeMight only make me feel more lonely.I'd hate to move onAnd then learn you've returned.I'd hate to feel likeI was the one that couldn't hold on.So still I waitTil all hope seems lost.I don't want to loseWhat I felt was so perfect.So I'll wait.At least for now.These tears are for you,The one I'll always love.I miss you, Arin.


02/17/2021 11:05 PM 

Custom Premades



02/17/2021 10:53 PM 

You're fired.(a drabble)pt2

                              “       ”       I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyeria. I am the dragon's daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming.                   not having spoken  with either any of the members  Lindsey decided  it was a law suit taking the band for 50% of their earnings if this was a war he was only going to  at least try to win, if this meant going to court and facing the rest of the members of Fleetwood mac  when hardly any of them had exchanged any words apart from a few abuisve phone calls from Mick Fleetwood an email from Christine of shame and regret  which Lindsey hadn't  this wasn't the first time they'd kicked him to the core kicking him out of the band.  It just didn't seem like they ever appreciated the efforts and contributions  to the bands music, He wouldn't stop going as far as he could with the lawsuit  at least  he knew there wasn't  going to be a thank you.   "You're fired"    those words didn't sit right this wasn't even his idea to ever leave Fleetwood mac  but if that's how Stevie felt as front woman and managed to get the rest of the members to agree that Lindsey should have been fired he still couldn't even fatherom he was angry and pissed the hell off that honestly  that they could even think that firing him was a good option. He hadn't even spoken to Stevie nor, Christine or John mostly between Clifford and Mick there had been heat a throw in the face about his affair  almost forgetting that it just wasn't on his part either Stevie also had the affair with Mick himself high on cocaine. The only things were even spoken were between lawyers, there hadn't really been a civil conversation about reaching the settlement, Honestly he wanted to look Stevie in the eye and just ask why? at this point he'd learned  Neil Finn and Mike Campbell were set to replace him in the band.         Walking in the court room sharply dressed Kristen by his side and his three children he had eye contact with Stevie this point his blood was boiling, "I'm going to talk to her" dropping his hand from his wife's marching towards the blonde his youngest daughter followed behind him "dad no, now isn't the time leave her alone" Stella was practically running after her father  who stormed over to the blonde. He may have been pissed but apart of him wanted her how much he loved her killed him  that she could do such a thing." F u c k  you Lindsey, you really think i would do that sh*t? you didn't think for a second it wasn't me? I wouldn't have gotten you fired don't you think it's a bit much to be making accusations when clearly Cliff is the one who said i said without any proof." Stephanie spoke getting up into the male's face nose to nose "well you didn't say a f***ing word to cliff then?why didn't you at least try to stop the whole situation  don't f***ing lie, Stevie this was to kick me out so you could replace me once again." Lindsey spoke  this might have been a war that he was not ready to loose between all five of  them  and now that they have Neil and Mike "and to f***ing replace me with Neil and Mike that's gotta be a f***ing joke" a huff came across, as Stephanie shifted her weight "I would beat the sh*t out of you right now Lindsey. f*** off,  if your kids weren't here i would now go back to your wife."    "You're fired"   It was clear in the court room Lindsey didn't say much  it was more of a bickering between all five lawyers, it clear Lindsey was wanting to take more than most of the members were clearly wanting. just to be a greedy f u c k  The pain had been inflicted by  thanks but we already got two guitarists to replace you. even if they had decide they wanted him back this was the straw that broke the camels back.     "You're fired from the band" why  that's a reason he'll never understand.            

Magical Mercenary

02/17/2021 09:18 PM 

Rules and Guidelines

coming soon


02/17/2021 09:03 PM 

You're fired.(a drabble)

                              “       ”       "You're fired.                   a phone call came from Fleetwood Mac's manager a call Lindsey wasn't expecting  from Clifford Davis. Honestly Lindsey LOVED Fleetwood Mac a band that honestly gave him best years of his life, and not so great years who was to say this phone call was going to change course of his relationships  with Stevie, John, Mick and Christine.   Answering his phone with Clifford's name flashing up on the screen he was expecting a more civill phone call with the bands manger. "Lindsey you're fired" Clifford screamed  where was this honestly coming from he didn't understand, As a serious but soft spoken guy as Lindsey was he rarely raised his voice."What the f***? what why?" every thought ran though his brain trying to think if he even did anything wrong  to even get this phone call."Stevie." oh f*** what now "what'd she say?" "Stevie said some pretty gnarly stuff  that you made some advances towards her that weren't so pretty smirking." None of this was true he had such a profound love for the blonde something must have set Stevie off to say something, was she high as a kite? After the last event he played at  he was pretty sure he and Stevie were okay. Before the male could even argue Clifford already hung up on him  how the  hell did Stevie manage to get him fired  now.   He felt he was what made the entire band without him the music wouldn't be exactly what it was, Calling Mick the two didn't really see eye to eye  since the affair Stevie had with Mick  and never had the two really been 'close' as pursue. "what the actual f*** Mick?" he said when Mick picked up "Don't tell me  you're the master mind behind this f***ing sh*t? Me being fired if this is your way to  throw Stevie under the bus Because you damn very well know that Stevie would never EVER. say something like that" Mick didn't hesitate to even confirm that it was indeed true."Actually Lindsey she did and we all felt you should have been kicked out a while ago" well that was a punch in the face  to Lindsey for the friendship and the contribution to the band. "are you actually f***ing serious?" the anger grew inside Lindsey's stomach "thanks a f***ing a lot, Mick." hanging up on Mick the anger intensified the next person was Stevie  he knew this wasn't going to be an easy phone call or at least a email to Stevie  whom couldn't even call him herself and talk about it.   Calling Stevie it went to voice mail straight to voice mail assuming she hung up on him "F*** you Stevie, you couldn't even call me and be like Hey linds we all made a  choice, without me you wouldn't have joined that f***ing band." this was a conversation he needed to Hash out why the f*** did she have to get him fired.   Fired, f***ing Fired.   It wasn't believable that Stevie would use those kinds of advances about him and couldn't even call him and apologise about the kind of accusations that were going to come out of Clifford's mouth, how the hell did the band come to a decision to permanently kick the only guitarist they had out of the band. Lindsey ALWAYS had gone up and beyond even if it had been an argument between the son of a bitch Mick and Stevie,  BUT Stevie? f***ing Stevie he loved and adored her.   Fired.                

Miss Nothing.

02/17/2021 08:50 PM 

Moira 10 favourite quotes. Part 10

1. Pain is not recognizing just how bad it is. Pain is... Staring yourself in the mirror and seeing the tears streaming down your face. And then tell yourself, "Why am I crying...?" You don't even know why, but you just repeat the same chantra. 'Hold on.' 2. I hate letting anyone seeing me cry, but then I also realize just how lonely I am. How much I want someone to be there for me, and they're not. Ah... The price of being a bitch.3. The sad thing is the only person I want to talk to is getting annoyed. I don't know what could be worse, finding out the one person you want to care for doesn't. Or finding out just how much I want them to care.4. Sometimes... Happy memories hurt the most.5. I think you understand some parts, but I don't think anyone can understand how I feel. I don't feel or I should say I didn't feel. I grew into that when Bobby saw me and then he taught me certain things, but going with the flow is so easy and acting is simple. I... Thought I knew emotion, but now? I don't even know if I ever did and knowing now scares the hell out of me.6. So what? Was I designed so I would stay alone? Follow orders without having the emotion or drive to disobey them? What is it god, because I sure don't know why you would make a little girl and then leave her in that kind of situation? I might not be human, but I can darn well feel everything you didn't want me to!,7. Sometimes I just wonder why they bother to make me. Someone like me shouldn't have been born at all!8. I don't know what to say, other than... Everything my aunt said was true. You made a key for good, and now you have a monster in place of her. I hope you're happy.9. Do you ever feel so much pain... That you just sit there and cry, not being able to speak?10. It's funny. God says I was never born to feel, but then what is it?

Aria Kennedy

02/17/2021 08:14 PM 

Resident Evil/ The Walking Dead

Aria Kennedy here!! I am the older and clever sister to My little brother Leon s. Kennedy. If you wish to have connection please read my bio prior in doing so. I am cannon to the series and a multipara writer also I'm Not a fan of drama and stupidity since I deal with the undead frequently. So if you think you've got a shot with me than and me a hello! 

Lothiriel of Dol Amroth~ {FOS}

02/17/2021 05:32 PM 

Lothiriel's Journey in Gondor’s Journey in Gondor                                                      “Tall ships three times threeWhat brought they from the founder’s landOver the flowing sea?Seven stars and seven stonesAnd one white tree.”Song Gandalf sang to Pippin                                     **********************************Lothiriel woke early.  She hurried out to the stables, even without breaking her fast.  After whispering a gentle message into the ear of her dark stallion departed Dol Amroth flanked by four Swan Knights.The next day, she woke early….hurried out to the stables, even without breaking her fast. After whispering a gentle message into the ear of her dark stallion departed Dol Amroth flanked by four Swan Knights.She was bound for Osgiliath, the old capitol of Gonder.  The hills of Lebennin were a beautiful break from the rugged plains. Gondor, along the Belfalas peninsula was her home and she would always feel the pull of the sea, but the people of Gondor were a proud people; many descendants of Numenorean, many a mix with the people of the White Mountains which were its boundary. Many had knowledge in stonework and healing, but Lothiriel was most familiar with those that were seafaring and was eager to come to the city of Pelargir, where there lived many of the Faithful , bloodlines like herself.Veering south east she made her way to the port city on the Great Anduin River, not really knowing where she would stay or who she might meet.

Holocaust survivor.(Made in Israel)

02/17/2021 04:38 PM 


1. Don't be rude, it's common sense, if you're rude to me I won't be wasting any of my time on you. Don't boss me around, don't tell me what to do, don't cuss at me or insult me, don't spam me, just be a decent person and we'll be fine.2. Don't be discriminatory, I literally don't give a sh*t how good of a writer you think you are, I will not be roleplaying with anyone who is Racist, Homophobic, Transphobic, Antisemitism (hostile to or prejudiced against Jewish people), etc. Stay away from me.3. I didn't come here looking to build relationships. Don't take it personal if I don't want to be close friends and chat on other social media platforms with you.4. I don't disclose my age, my gender identity and my real name, why? Because those are personal and things that really shouldn't matter when it comes to my writing capabilities. Please don't ask about them. + If your profile states specific rules about these things (especially age) and I add you anyway, please trust that I'm not lying. I just don't feel comfortable giving people specifics.5. I don't write smut. End of story.6. I'm usually very literate, I tend to write up to five to ten paragraphs per response if not more. I'm willing to tone it down if the roleplay is interesting enough, as long as grammar, spelling, etc. stay mostly correct. If you have difficulty with any of these let me know beforehand so I can keep it in mind.7. Romance Roleplay is always welcome but not required. In addition to that I would like to clarify that romance ≠ smut.8. I am not a number on your friend list, if you have no interest in talking to me and starting up a roleplay please don't add me.9. You add you talk.A little bit about me. I served as standard infantry in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) for 3 years between 2007 and 2010. I was trained for 1 year, including full basic and advanced training for 9 months and then 3 months training to be a Combat Medic and yes, I did see combat. I was deployed in Nablus/West Bank for a month, Southern Lebanon for 6 months and then Gaza for another 6 months. War breaks us. It detaches us from our core humanity. War removes us from ourselves and programs us to find enemies in anyone or anything that is unfamiliar. It robs us of our humanity and empathy. War poisons our hearts, minds, and spirits. It reduces us to cold shells —unfeeling, unloving—of ourselves first and then others, and back around. We can break that cycle though. The opposite of war is creation, nurturing, and healing. When we do our work to slow down, feel, and see ourselves in others, we can end wars. But we all have to do it. We all have to do the work to end wars. I had the opportunity to take part in the Israeli/American military exercises. I am a happily married man in real life (8 years) and a proud parent of 2 adorable twin daughters. I am working as a Physician Assistant so my time will be limited but the weekends I will be more active. That's all for now, you better not be the person that makes me add another rule! I won't put you through any tests to see if you've read these rules, but know that you will not get a response from me if you have no respect for them. That's all for now, you better not be the person that makes me add another rule! I won't put you through any tests to see if you've read these rules, but know that you will not get a response from me if you have no respect for them.                                               

Holocaust survivor.(Made in Israel)

02/17/2021 04:29 PM 

בשביל רות(Hebrew Version Of My Writing)

לאחר המחנות איבד אריק את אמונו באלוקים. זה אף פעם לא היה אותו דבר עבורו שחגג את החגים. הוא הלך לבית הכנסת לחגים. הוא היה יושב מאחור. הוא עשה צ'ק-אין עם המשפחות ותמיד היה המטפל עבור הילדים בכל מה שקשור לעוגיות קשת נוספות. הוא תמיד הלך לבד. ז'אן ביקש להצטרף אך מעולם לא דחף את אריק. היא תמיד הייתה מכסה על אריק. עם כל מה שקורה צ'רלס בקושי ידע באיזה יום בשבוע שלא לדבר על חגים.  אריק מעולם לא רצה להטריד את צ'רלס או מישהו אחר כדי שהוא יתגנב החוצה. היה נחמד לקבל את הזמן הזה לעצמו. הוא התעלם מהחלק שלו שכמהה להביא את יקיריו, אך הוא לא יכול היה לתת לעצמו להיות כל כך פתוח. לאריק היה קשה כמו ביחסיו עם צ'ארלס. הוא היה צריך לומר לעצמו מדי יום שהוא ראוי שיאהבו אותו, הוא אמר את זה גם כשלא תמיד האמין בכך.  אריק מצא נחמה ביחסיו הנוכחיים עם אלוקים ודתו. היה מבנה. הוא ידע שהוא יראה את נטשה שתמיד תשאל אותו אם הוא אוכל מספיק ומתי הם סוף סוף יוכלו לפגוש את הילד הנחמד שאריק רואה.  לאחר שנכפה על ידי רייבן, צ'רלס למעשה לקח את זה בקלות בזמן שבית הספר היה בהפסקה.  "הו ג'ין ראית את אריק, הוא לא עונה לטלפון שלו ואני לא מרגישה אותו" אם מישהו היה יודע איפה אריק זה היה ז'אן. הוא היה דמות אב עבור המוטציה הצעירה. ז'אן הניד בראשה ואמר לפרופסור שקר לבן. "אין פרופסור, מצטער" צ'רלס הרגישה שג'ין שומר על משהו אבל הוא הרפה לה. חג החנוכה לא היה חג גדול במשפחת להנשר, אך אריק עדיין עבר את התנועות לכבד את משפחתו. לא משנה עד כמה המצב היה נורא הם הדליקו את הנרות בכל לילה. דמעה ירדה לו כשזכר כמה רות תשמח לחג הזה. הוא לא ממש יכול היה לזכור את פניה של אחותו, אך כאשר עצמו את עיניו הוא הרגיש את חיבוקה. אריק היה במערך שלו. ז'אן הקנה לו חנוכיה לפני שנים וזה תמיד העלה חיוך בפניו כשהוא יסדר הכל. הוא וז'אן היו עושים משהו ביחד בשאר הלילות. את הלילה הראשון הוא בילה לבד, כשהוא מחזיק את האהובים שכבר לא היו איתו קרוב במיוחד.  צ'ארלס ראה את האורות כבויים במשרדו של בן זוגו ולכן חשב שהוא יוודא שאריק לא יירדם בזמן העבודה. הוא שמע מלמול של מה שהוא די בטוח שהוא עברי. הוא ידע שהוא צריך היה להיות בטוח יותר אחרי כל הזמן שבילה עם אריק. צ'רלס קילל את עצמו תוהה אם שכח חג או יום נישואין חשוב. הוא נכנס בשקט.  הוא היה באמצע לומר את שמו של אריק כשהבין שהוא קטע משהו. אריק מיד החזיר את קירותיו וניסה להשיג שלווה לפני שפנה לצ'רלס.  צ'ארלס ראה את נרות החנוכה ואז הוא לחץ. הוא גרף את מוחו ועלה ריק מיחסיו של אריק עם החג הזה. "אתה לא צריך-" "זה היה החג האהוב על רות" ליבו של צ'ארלס צנח. אריק התייפח בנקודה והוא רצה שהוא יכול לקחת את הכאב של בן זוגו, אבל הוא ידע מה הוא יכול לעשות. להיות שם בשביל אריק. הוא סימן לאריק לשבת על הספה.  "אתה יודע שאני אפילו לא זוכר איך היא נראית. הם יגעילו את האיש שהפכתי להיות ” זה המקום בו צ'ארלס לא יכול היה לאפשר לאריק להמשיך. "אריק, זה פשוט שקרי. אריק להנשר הסתכל עלי ” צ'רלס לקח את פניו של אריק בידיו "אתה האיש הכי חזק שהכרתי. אם יורשה לי?" אריק הנהן כשצ'ארלס מניע את המצית. צ'רלס אחז בידו של אריק כדי לייצב אותה והם סיימו את התפילות יחד.  כעבור זמן מה אריק אמר, "זוכר מתי מצאת את הזיכרון הזה לפני שנים." אריק הביט אל צ'רלס "אתה יכול לעשות את זה שוב" "אני יכול לנסות" צ'רלס הרגיש את מוחו משתלב עם אריק כשהוא מושיט ידו לפנים. הוא רואה שאריק צעיר נותן לאחותו דובון. הוא ידע שלמשפחת להנשר אין הרבה ולכן המתנה הזו לא הייתה מחווה קטנה. הוא פוקח את עיניו ומחזיק את אריק בחוזקה ככל שהוא יכול כששניהם בוכים מרגיש אסיר תודה על האיש שהוא נמצא איתו. באותו רגע אריק ידע שהוא רוצה להכניס את צ'ארלס לחלק הזה של חייו. הוא בכה עכשיו מסיבות מרובות, היה לו זיכרון מאחותו שהוא יכול להיאחז בה והוא ידע שהוא מוכן לחגוג את החגים באהבת חייו ועם ז'אן. אה, הוא היה כל כך מאושר שהוא כבר לא הרגיש שהוא צריך לחגוג את החגים האלה בסתר. הוא ראה בז'אן בת עבורו ועכשיו הוא באמת יכול לקלקל את הילדה הצעירה.הוא היה נותן לעצמו להיות מאושר, למען רות ובעצמו. 

Holocaust survivor.(Made in Israel)

02/17/2021 04:27 PM 

Spring Flowers Bring Forth A Worried Father

The sunlight bathed the meadow in golden radiance and the air thick with early morning mist that disputed the rays in between towering Sugar Maple, American Mountain Ash, and Sycamore trees. Woodpeckers with their candy apple red feathered mohawks begin pecking and drilling for their morning meal. Nearby a babbling brook, frogs croaked songs, and dragonflies hovered over the water cleaning their eyes. Overhead a red-tailed hawk swooped downward and snatched an unassuming hare in its talons, before swooping back into a tall white oak tree. Morning dew clung to the grass, leaves, and flowers. Yet, the despite the light, the air was still quite chill and the ground wet with mushy mud. Cicadas raddled a droning a shilling noise throughout the meadow; uniformed bees with their dusted with vibrate yellow pollen, busy collecting their daily quota for the hive; all the while, an iridescent hummingbird licked its fair share of nectar from long royal purple salvia; It was a feast to end all feasts. The world was made new again. Pietro safaried through the tall wild grasses and the multitude of wildflowers, curving and weaving to reach toward the sun; the leaves brushed against his small body. Grasshoppers catapulted away, along with fungus gnats’ swarms scouring for safety, as the sliver-haired mutant made his way through the thick grass and the newly wet soil squishing under foot. “Raven will love this one.” Picking an oxeye daisy. Pietro had spent the better part of the morning collecting flowers. He found Blue violet, bunchberry, field bindweed, buttercups, marigold, pink morning glory, goldenrod, foxglove, Victoria Blue Slavia, periwinkles, cornflowers, bellflower, black-eyed Susan, Indian blankets, milkmaids, daffodils, and lady’s glove. It was great to get outside the stuffy mansion cut off from one another with so many walls between them that just smelled old and moldy like the school building in Europe upright and impersonal. But outside…it was simple and all his previous worries rolled off of his young shoulders and into the dark rich soil, damped from the morning showers. The sky stretched beyond the horizon, beyond the hills, beyond tallest pine needle trees, beyond satellite dish, beyond cold water lakes, beyond where the buzzards circling looking for something, beyond the somethings and the maybes, and the greater watery bodies of the ocean dark and turbulent, beyond the doubter and look-downers, who only saw him as someone to be bullied and belittled because of his unusual hair; which adults grabbed and pulled out bushels of light sliver hair with a great deal of hurt, not really caring about him; that left him with bald spots. It got so bad at one point, where he had to where a beanie or beret, so people wouldn’t touch his hair. There was one woman, who ripped a fist full of his hair inside the loof for no reason. His high-pitched squeak echoed through the art gallery. Why did so strangers want to touch and take a part of him? It wasn’t there’s to keep. His scalp bleed, dripping down his back, leaving a sticky coagulating trail behind into his shirt. Being a mutant was hard sometimes. He had never seen his own Vati so angry, violence bubbling below the surface; he was almost afraid that the glass pyramid would collapse. He picked up on a few words that his Vati said in French and bearing his shark teeth at her. The women flashed a smile, so fake looking and dishonest it reminded the speedster of the Coke-Cola and Cracker Jack commercials in between his shows Batman, Johnny Quest, and Scooby-Doo that he watched on Saturday morning, before breakfast, when Vati was sleeping late into the afternoon. Smiling so hard that her cheeks hurt. For a moment switched to English to say: ‘Exotic.’ Why would he be exotic? Both of his parents were from Germany. At that point, him even angrier. But he couldn’t understand why his father would be so upset. It was just hair; it would grow back. People were bullies and they were going to do what they were going to do regardless of what he wanted. Beyond the great beyond. He never knew the sky could be so big, gazing up to the great blue yonder; the sun near blinding him. Rapidly blinking back to get the dark spots dancing across his dark brown eyes to cease their movements. It was nice having a friend like Raven. She understood him and what it was like being a mutant like him was like. Ravenwasgoingtolove them! She wasgoingtobesohappy!Then she will be  blue all the time and she wasgoingtobehappy.Charleswillbehappybecausehissiterishappy!Everyonewasgoingtobehappy! Raven is going to be BLUE and PROUD! Because she is a mutant and Vati told him that they should be proud.He’s going to be happy and proud because Raven is happy. And Proud. Everyone is going to be happy. He never understood why Charles said kolibri hover. Thebirdiesflaptheirwingsineightmotions. Could he not see it? But Raven was going to be so happy! Everyone would be happy. Why couldn’t everyone be happy? They should be proud of their mutation. Then why should he have to hide his hair underneath a hat? Couldn’t people see it made him unhappy? Couldn’t they just accept them? If they asked nicely, it was just a mistake on their part…They couldn’t be that cruel on their own…Shaw he hurt them. He took away Bobeshi and Zeydee.Was he going to hurt anyone else he knew about ? Charles made his father so happy , along with Raven , Hank, and Alex, and Moira , and Sean. His Vati was going to stop that wasn’t he ? He was stronger than he could ever be. What if he killed him? Alone. Alone. alone. What if he found his mother? His Daj. He didn’t want to be alone. Were other s going to hurt them because they were different. Shaw already did. He was going to hurt Vati again. He didn’t want Vati to be hurt by him. All he wanted to see Daj again. She made him so happy, when he saw her. His Vati needed to be happy. He wanted to him to happy. He need flowers also ! Yes that would do! What flowers did he like again? I can make him something! or! Or! Draw him a picture. That was even better! Food! Challah! No… that wouldn’t work they had that every Friday for Sabbath . It needed to be special. Was he special? His sliver hair made him different from everyone else. Everyone adult gave him this weird smile. It gave him the nervous. WhatifShawtookhim? What if Shaw killed him? Pietro came to screeching halt, dirt and gravel flying up in the air like from a Looney Tunes. He didn’t like that thought. Giving out shallow breaths, and slumping on to the ground, worms wiggling into the free air dislodged from their tunnels that they created when the dirt was kicked up by him. Clinching the sides of head; his thoughts went so fast so sometimes. So fast and frantic that he couldn’t keep up them despite his incredible speed. The young speedster rocked himself back and worth, tears threatening to fall. He couldn’t be so weak for Daj, he had to be strong. It was just a few nasty and speedy thoughts. But still yet they came faster and faster and still yet faster. “Gam Zeh Ya‘avor. Gam Zeh Ya‘avor. Gam Zeh Ya‘avor. Gam Zeh Ya‘avor. Gam Zeh Ya’avor.“ Pietro said to himself over and over. This too shall past. It was a simple mantra that Vati taught him about during their Torah study session, during a very bad episode of Speed Racer thoughts traveling at Mach 5 speed through his mind. Here he comes. Here comes Speed Racer. He's a demon on wheels. He's a demon and he's gonna be chasin' after someone. He's gainin' on you so you better look alive. He's busy revvin' up the powerful Mach 5. Pietro shook his head shaking the Speed Racer theme song out of head. It was so catchy. Once again re-focused on his mantra, “Gam Zeh Ya’avor. Gam Zeh Ya’avor. Gam Zeh Ya’avor. Gam Zeh Ya’avor.”  His father told him about the story of King Solomon or Jedidiah, who one day wanted to humble his Minster Benaiah ben Yehoyada and he tasked him to find a ring with special powers one that: a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy. The Minster searched all spring and all summer, but couldn’t find it. Until he went to the poorest quarters of Jerusalem, where he passed by a merchant, who was setting up for the day and Benaiah asked: ‘Have you by any chance heard of a special ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?’ The elderly man reached down and engrave something on it. Benaish took the ring and it read: Gam Zeh Ya’avor or This too shall pass. Vati applied the lesson to how to cope with his racing thoughts, when he wasn’t around to comfort him and talk him down. He instructed him whenever this happened and he couldn’t be there. He could say this mantra. He heard his father words clearly in his mind: “Thoughts could wonder aimless; go in circles; or flowed like a river into the mighty sea. But they were thoughts and they were fleeting. They would go away. Gam Zeh Ya’avor or this too shall pass.” Slowly but surely his thoughts came down to a more understandable speed and not so overwhelming like huge frigid ocean waves crashing onto the beach, that he couldn’t hope to swim in. A smooth stone, river washed and shined by the morning drizzle. Sunflowers bushing up together, interwoven reaching skyward. Golden brown dead grass crunching and humbling toward the ground to make new life for seedlings. Shiny acorns, dried out pine-cones, and winged pods fluttering toward the ground when the wind gusted through the meadow; spiky brown sweet gum balls that hurt his soles of feet one time during a picnic with both Vati and Daj, a time when life was happier.  Dozens of smells and objects flashing for attention in his mind. Focusing one plant, the twisty, turny, topsy-turvy sunflowers. Pietro leaped to them and pulled on a particular vine to get it free. It wouldn’t budge in its stubbornness as its roots buried deep into the fertile earth. A dried twinge snapping caught Pietro’s attention. The tall grass swooping downward rustled. Pietro sucked in a breath. Was it a wolf, readying to eat him? Or a bobycat? Or bear? Wolverines? Coyote? Dragons of Ashida? Oswald Cobblepot’s killer Penguins?  A medium size chicken pattered out of the grasses. Pietro let out an audible breath of relief. It was a very strange chicken with a dark green like a duck glinted out the rising sun’s rays, red painted eyes with a thin white collar around its neck; deep mahogany plumage spotted with black tipped; shades of sandalwood brushed with black; then some of the feathers were reddish-brown with white eyes in them; near the end were gray bristled feathers falling down like a lion’s mine; and several tiger stripped tail feathers stretching away from its body. “Oh…you’re a pretty birdy.” The chicken cocked its head to the side. He wasn’t gone for that long…and a devious idea pop into his mind. Pietro wasn’t even using his full speed. He rapidly blinked to keep his eyes from dry and itchy. The poor chicken ran for dear life fast as its little hocks could take it only a measly eight or ten miles per hour. Flushing into the air. The speedster right on its heels. Flapping its pudgy wings to gain ground away from the speeding mutant in another pasture full of golden wheat ready to harvest. Fluttering down to the ground. Out of breath.  “Uh oh.” Coming across a flattened area among the wheat; along with the chicken’s girlfriend sitting on the nest full of eggs. The bird puffed up its belly feathers, stretching out its wingspan. Charged at the young mutant squawking and threatening claw and peck at him. The speedster fled. He turned his head looking back toward the golden field. Vati always told him to look where he was running. Didn’t see a large tree root nob poking out of the ground. He tripped. Momentum had other ideas, as he was flung several meters into the bottom of a mud bed seep. A leopard spotted with almost neon green tinge, ribbited and croaked; not at all paying attention to the mutant who landed in the swampy muddy water before jumping away. Bright green chlorophyll busted on his thick white and navy-blue shirt causing stains. Pietro pulled his head up. Sticky mud clung to Pietro’s face like a Chimney sweep’s ash and soot after a hard day’s work. The hand drawn sharpie sliver lightning bolt on his converses was painted in squishy mud. Cicadas rattled and the sun was climbing ever higher and warming the area. The humidity stuck to his skin. Water evaporated and leeched from the ground and steaming upwards. He wasn’t going to be out for that long anyway and he’d be returning to the mansion. Not that it mattered, his Vati was probably not even up yet. He’d only been out for thirty minutes, but he wasn’t gone for a long time. He’d be back for breakfast. Pietro walked over to his pile of flowers that he had collected over the course of the morning. Pulled up a parallel veined tall grass to tie the bouquet together. An eerie silence descended upon the meadow. No frogs croaked. The birds stopped singing. The woodpecker stopped pecking. The hawk went flew away to safer ground. Only the trees brushed as the wind swiped through. The brooks babbled. This was not fun anymore and something was very wrong. Pietro sat back up. Bouquet in hand. This was wrong. It wasn’t right. No sound. From animals. Or birdies. A dry twig snapped. In the outer banks of the forest. On the edge of the clearing. Pietro gasped in air. He wanted Vati. Hugging the flowers closer. Pietro ran. Miles, kilometers passing before his eyes as if they were steps. The young mutant went to the first door at Mr. Xavier’s huge house he could find. Which happened to the side door to the kitchen bring in the wind with him like a close friend behind him. Converse screeched across the laminate title floors leaving a long scruff mark on the floor. “Oh! Morning Pietro. I didn’t know you were up.” Raven said, checking the clock, “It’s nearly eleven thirty.” Before adding, and sucking in a sharp breath, “I do not need to be talking to Hank until three O’clock in the morning.” A yawn over came her. Peering over behind Pietro’s back, where he was hiding his flowers. Pietro’s dark soft eyes shifted, finally picking up the social cue that Raven was curious about the flowers he was holding, “I—I- think you look pretty in your blue form Raven. A-and I picked theses for you, so y-you know that you’re pretty. You should be reminded that you are—Pretty.” “That’s so sweet of you, Pietro.” Patting his sliver head, walking over to sink, “I’m going to put theses in a vase in my room.” Opening the cabinet underneath to get a glass vase out, washing it with soap and water, then filling it up with water. Unsheathing the bouquet from its grassy belt and placing them in the vase. Sprucing them up with her hands, weaving in-between the varieties. The shapeshifter checked the coffee pot, the coffee made by Erik that morning had long since became cold and no longer desirable to drink. Raven dumped out the remaining cold coffee down the sink and tossed out the grounds in the trashcan, “Do you want pancakes?” Pietro zoomed over to the table and replied, “Yes, please! And thank you!” Raven came over to the pantry getting necessary ingredients for pancakes: flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil. Out of the fridge: milk, eggs, and butter. Brought out the measuring cups for the recipe, a large bowl, a whisk, and a spatula. Got out the cast-iron griddle that had been used since the Great War, so it was well seasoned by the many uses and had this thick layer of seasoning and a modern 50s housewife might have tossed it out by just how in disrepair it seemed to be in; brought a new and improved consumerist pan that wasn’t made like they used to. “How many do you want Pietro?” Nestling the dense cast iron skillet on the wrapped snakes of the electric stove-top, turning the dial to medium-low heat. “Two—no! Um. Twenty—Ten. Ten. Ten will do!” “A tall stack coming right up.” Raising the spatula in the air. Swirling Crisco onto the griddle as the oil melted and on its outer edges started to minute bubbles formed. Out of earshot of Pietro; Pouring the pancake batter on the griddle top, frying, and caking up on the griddle, “If only more guys acted like you. I would not be having this problem. Not that Charles would understand.”  Mumbling to herself. Somehow the speedster caught her small whisper of self-doubt, “I would date you!” Pietro was this hyperactive ball of pure sunlight and joy, and sweetness with an unmatched kindness that she ever heard from Erik, was that Pietro inherited from his mother. No wonder Erik wanted to protect this source of happiness in his life; would stop at nothing to ensure his son safety. She did not get on that side of Erik. Ever. “Perhaps when you’re older Pietro, then I might.” Flipping the cake over to let it cook on its other side. “But that’s really sweet.” The door nearly ripped off its hinges. “Raven! Pietro is gone, Shaw must have taken him…” All the metal in the small kitchen started to vibrate and clang against their respective surfaces as Erik entered. Before teetering off, all of Erik’s fear, anger, worry, despair, and thoughts of his mother’s death rewound in his mind on repeat, dissipated when seeing his own son, just sitting at the table; seemly unaware of what his own actions caused. Erik could have collapsed right on the spot to see his son unwarily happy just sitting at the table. “Baruch Hashem!” Erik’s eyes rolled toward the sky. His son was safe. Cupping his hands over his mouth, blinking away. He would not cry in front of his son. Not after Shaw almost kidnapping his son. He would shed them after his death. Oh…He could have lost him. How stupid could he be! Licking his chapped lips, dry after so many painful hours shouting his child’s name and running and searching for his lost child. Pietro shifted in his chair toward his father and gave a simple wave like it was just like any other morning, “Shalom aleichem, Vati! Ma shelomcha?” The state of his peace was not serene, it was turbulent like foamy bottomless depths of the North Sea, crashes and unrelenting, until he would be pulled under by his content sorrows. But he could bare that pain. For one more day if Pietro was in his life. The sea would settle and be at peace when Shaw was dead and no longer could hurt his family anymore. Mumbling under his breath, “Du farkirtst mir di yorn!” Erik cursed in Yiddish, gritting his words against his shark teeth, not at his son, but at himself for another subsequent failure of parenting under his watch. A failure to Pietro. A failure to Magda. A failure to his duty as a father to protect, and nurture and care for. A failure to God. Oh, please don’t take him away from me. Erik pleaded and silently prayed. Not another. He couldn’t bare the pain. He already had too many family members taken away from him. Please. Please not Pietro. The infinite light in his life. Not the light and warmth of the sun could eclipse the radiance that Pietro brought to his life. Everything he did to get rid of Shaw and the men like him was for him. He wasn’t the Frankenstein’s monster that Shaw wanted him to be. Pietro proved that. He had to prove that…. “Aleichem shalom.” Unto you peace. Pietro needed peace. Peace of his surroundings. Peace of his family. Peace of mind of his safety. Peace of a unite family, small as it maybe, but together they will be. Peace of stability, where he could prosper and thrive in his education. Peace from violence, direct or indirect; not under threat of the barrel of a gun or inequitable social arrangements of health care as a privilege to the wealthy; dying simply because he couldn’t get a vaccine, that should have been free in the first place. Peace from humans who wanted to steal and use his body as weapons or objects; commodifing, valuing for only its utility, once thoroughly depleted in this unequal exchange to be shucked away, discarded, like trash.  Peace. All he wanted was to have peace. Never again would his child suffer as he had suffered.   Erik came over to hold and hug his son as if it would be the last time, he would see him. “Vati you’re scratchy.” Erik’s ginger bristles brushing against his son’s soft vanilla custard cheeks. Erik responded by hugging him even tighter, hearing his son’s rapidly beating heart. Pietro was alive and safe back in his arms. “Well, it looks like you’re going to be getting your bath early today.” Peering down at the floor Pietro’s converse dripping mud onto the laminate. The dark blue and white striped shirt and dark navy shorts that he had just washed a day go, now stained with mud and grass. Erik inspected his son and let out a sigh, when he saw brush burns on his knees and calves and turned over Pietro’s palms red raspberry abrasives. What on earth did Pietro do? Play football all by himself? The metalbender flipped on the water and opened a cabinet door, filled with kitchen towels and washcloths went over sink and gaped a clean wash cloth; sloshed it under the warming water and slathered it with dish soap; shutting off the water. Folding the cloth a few times and squeezing out the excess water, before making his way back over to the speedster. “But I don’t want to, Vati…” The younger mutant starting to starch at an itchy spot on his shoulder, before moving to his hip, stomach, before stretching down to itch on his calf. His son was not only covered in mud, but also had poison ivy. If this was any other day this would have been amusing. “Well…you look like a mudfish.” Erik began cleaning off his son’s face, “and I do not want a mudfish. I want a son.” Raven, flipping over another pancake, gave a short burst of giggles. “Besides, we’re guests here and I don’t want to ruin a hundred-year-old mansion with my son refusing to take a bath.” Erik paused to let Pietro ponder, before adding: “Or be a mudfish and sleep outside. Your choice.” Pietro grumbled, “I’ll take a bath.” Shifting in his chair as Raven brought over a stack of pancakes, hot and steamy, fluffy and a touch of sweetness filled the surrounding air. Pietro bulldozed through his hotcakes. Crudely cuttings through his thick stack, piled high, as his fine motor skills had yet to develop fully, “A chicken tried to eat me.” Changing the topic, hoping his father wouldn’t notice, and plunged a great helping into his mouth. “It seems you had quite the adventure.” Before asking: “What did it look like?” There were certainly no chickens around the mansion, he figured the Xavier’s were not the type to keep livestock on the grounds, too beneath them. “It had long tail like a tiger, a green head with uh collar...white! It had red paint around its eyes. It was poked-dotted.” A pheasant…that little sneak. He was going to be quite cunning he was older. Teenagers. That…that would be a challenge for sure. It would make his mastering his mutation look like a cakewalk. Lifting a submarine would be easier than dealing with his son as a teenager. At least he would have Magda by his side. Erik was done finally cleaning Pietro’s face, he could at least look presentable, but he still required a bath. “No wonder you’re so hungry. You missed first and second breakfast.” “What is he? A hobbit, Erik?” Raven joked as she was in the kitchen washing up the dishes that she had used for Pietro’s brunch. Before making her own small She was thinking oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal would be great after having one too many shots of tequila; among other mixed beverage, some better than others. “No…but a very hungry mutant. Who hasn’t said his blessings yet.” Erik levitated Pietro’s utensils up in the air out of grasp for his short arms. Pietro’s shoulder collapsed and he held his stomach, growling like a bear coming out hibernation. He was already half way through his meal, but he was still starving, He just wanted to eat. Erik heard it too. Erik put Raven’s noise in the kitchen out of his mind. Gave a weighty breath out, and sang “בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי מְזוֹנוֹת” Pietro following suit, his high-pitched child voice trying his best to follow the blessing. Before repeating it in English: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who creates varieties of nourishment.” This was not how he wanted their morning to go. Pietro missed both Modeh Ani and Elohai Neshamah. Which were both needed for Pietro’s daily routine to make him less hyperactive and more manageable.  Pietro needed peace in stillness; the art of focus as much as his mutation would allow. Their little schedule, if they truly had a schedule to beginning with, was disturbed when moving in with new people. But, there was almost a sense of embarrassment when doing their scared rituals in front of others. Pietro had true friends that cared for him. Alex, who came up to him one afternoon and was the type to be standoffish and hold his emotions to his chest; perhaps being in prison, he had to put on a face of a tough guy or being solidarity so long it changed him; that hanging out with his son reminded him of his own little brother, Scott. Perhaps in the future, Scott could meet Pietro. So, Pietro would have another friend his age. “Erik you’ve taught your son well.” Patting him on his brown leather clad shoulder, “He brought me flowers.” Sipping on her sugary sweet and creamy coffee. Erik looked over to the vase filled with flowers sitting near the kitchen sink. Pietro was still in trouble, sure. But this made what he did no less wrong, but understandable. Raven did need to accept her appearance and not on what other and society expected to look like. The kitchen door opened, it was Charles, hair a mess and heavily breathing; a light sheen of sweat covered his brow. “My friend, I think sensing your child is your sixth sense or a secondary mutation.” Before collapsing into a chair exhausted. Erik came over with a glass of cold water. The telepath drank it down famished by his desperate sprint to catch up to his friend, “Ah, the next thing you will be telling me Charles is that I can move entire continents.” Erik joked, he wouldn't be able to that in a hundred years.  "How long does it take you usually to run a mile, Erik?" Taking another sip of his water.  “I usually clock four-thirty in a mile and five kilometres in fourteen minutes.” Rolling back his shoulders, soothing the overtaxed muscles that were going to hit him tomorrow morning, “Though,” gesturing to his son, as he went back over to refill Charles’s glass, “Pietro could outclass me and Armin Hary without breaking a sweat.” Charles asked to Pietro, genuinely curious as to how the young speedster perceived time, “How long do you think you were gone?” In the hopes of making Erik’s life easier with Pietro more manageable if they understood Pietro’s mutation to its full extent and in what ways it shaped his senses and reality. “Uhm…. thirty minutes…” A piece of pancake fell off his fork and into the thick maple syrup pooling on his plate. As it dawned on the speedster, that he was in trouble. Sank himself into his chair, trying in a desperate attempt to look smaller. Pietro asked an unfiltered question, that might have been considered rude if asked to any other telepath, besides Charles, “Do you have a button on your temple to turn on your telepathy?” The telepath gave a short laugh. “Pietro don’t change the subject.” He could be stern when he wanted to be. Levitating Pietro’s knife and fork to the sink and picking up his plate, bringing it over to the sink, pulling up the handle, so warm water could rinse the plate of maple syrup still left on the plate. Charles stressed, “Pietro… you’ve been gone for three hours.” He added, giving a short glance at Erik to get permission to continue. Erik gave a curt nod, “You had everyone worried sick about you. We had no idea where you were.” Charles don’t parent my child. You have plenty all ready. Erik projected, “Let’s try not to give your father a heart attack, Pietro?” Added, “May he live longer.” Getting up and wanted to have a side conversation with him and turning their backs to the speedster. In a hushed tone, “Do you have any idea where he was? Has he told you anything?” “Pheasants, he told me that he had an encounter with a pheasant.” “Oh, god! He could have been shot!” Before compensating with a snap reaction, “Yes. I know actually where he was.” Hurried off to get the map of the mansion and its acreage.  Raven was just sitting on the counter sipping her coffee, taking a cue for it was time for her to leave, “I’m going to get ready for the day.” Added, “I’ll come back later the vase later. After I’m done with my coffee.” And made her way out of the kitchen. Only leaving Erik and Pietro. He knew he was in trouble, Pietro sank lower, “Don’t think I have forgotten. Now, its time for your bath.” Motioning toward their bedrooms, “Let’s go.” The father and son made their way to their respective right across from one another for safety reasons in Erik’s mind. It felt so odd and his bed was so cold without Pietro besides him. He just gotten so used it over the months of travel with his son. Perhaps this was for the best, Pietro did need to re-learn how to sleep on his own. Erik made his way into his room, almost completely shut door, only leaving a crack behind him. As Pietro waited outside, looking inward. He mediated on the moment calming his nerves, the anger, the rage, the heartache, and the sadness inside him; as he summoned a black metal box, about the size of a shoe box with seemingly no lid. With a flick of his hand a seal of a tight led started to appear, before coming off on its own. Momentos from another life, the few possessions he managed to keep after the Shoah. Pulled out a locket with the last remaining pictures of his mother and father in it. So much was lost in the firestorms of the air raids of Düsseldorf, an industrial center for the Reich. Pictures. Moments locked in time. He swore to himself that he would take pictures of what meant the most to him. The locket sung to him like any other metal, but this…sang a sad song. Fraught with so much sorrow. It was the only way to keep Pietro safe. He couldn’t let him wonder off into the unknown like that again. With the like Shaw on the prowl, the world just wasn’t safe for him. In his sharp parental instinct Pietro knew what he was doing was wrong, but did it anyway. That’s what frightened him so much, especially after the attack at the CIA base. He didn’t tell him what he was doing or where he was going. They were going to have a nice long talk. Erik whisked his hand over the box and sealed it with his powers again; placing the box where Pietro couldn’t find it. The metalbender came out of his room and gently tapped his son’s shoulder, guiding him to his bedroom; shutting and locking the door behind him. Pietro in a flash of sliver took off converse, that required a hose down and handwashed, even his white socks were covered in dried mud. The older mutant sat out a pair of clothes on the bed, and made his way over to the adjoining bathroom. Erik felt the metal and mentally pulled on the hot and cold knobs, letting the water warm up as it came out the spout, before swirling it down the drain. Erik tossed his leather jacket on a chair, he wasn’t going to be needed it, and rolled up his sleeves, before going into the bathroom. He got out the first aid kit, hydrogen peroxide, and Neosporin, that would be used after Pietro bath to address his wounds. Tested the water with his hand, it was the right temperature, not too hot, but not cold either; lukewarm, plug the tub to let it fill with water; squeezing a couple of squirts of bodywash into the tub for a bubble bath. “Let’s skin the rabbit.” Pulling off Pietro’s shirt and tossing it aside in pile for laundry. The younger mutant catapulted into the tub, a wave of sudsy water breaching the tub’s wall and dripping all over the floor. Pietro played with his toy boat and shark. Erik watched him for a few moments Erik’s voice echoed and reverberated off the titles of the bathroom. A song that his own mother sung to him and now was singing to his own son. An old Yiddish song of his people. He sang it was he washed his son, lathering him with soap, the mud drizzled down his son’s skin and into the bottom of the tub. iz di goldene pave gefloygn, gefloygn. un di nakht hot geefnet di goldene oygn, likhtiker mayner, shlof ayn.   di nakht hot geefnet di goldene oygn, bin ikh fidl gevorn un du der boygn, umruiker mayner, shlof ayn.   bin ikh fidl gevorn un du der boygn, un doz glik iber undz hot farlibt zikh geboygn, tsertlekher mayner, shlof ayn.   un dos glik iber undz hot farlibt zikh geboygn, gelozt undz aleyn un farfloygn, farfloygn, troyeriker mayner, shlof ayn.   Has the golden peac*ck flown away, flown away. And the night has opened its golden eyes, Bright one of mine, go to sleep.   The night has opened its golden eyes, I’ve become the fiddle and you the bow, Restless one of mine, go to sleep.   I’ve become the fiddle and you the bow, And fortune has smittenly concerned herself with us, Tender one of mine, go to sleep.   And fortune has smittenly concerned herself with us, Left us alone and flown on, flown on. Sad one of mine, go to sleep. Erik raised a rinse cup water cascading like a waterfall down, clean free of suds, rinsed Pietro’s starlight sliver hair free of shampoo and conditioner. Erik pulled the plug to let the bathwater slowly go down, leaving a swath of dirt amassed behind. The metalbender got a fresh towel and wrapped his son in it, so he wouldn’t be cold and helped his son out of the tub by scooping him out and placing him on a bath rug to let. Started rubbing Pietro down to dry him off. “Vati, I got it.” Pietro step over a few step to the sink, vibrated his body allowing the water droplets to collect on his towel, a blink later came back fully dressed; through his sliver hair was wild. Not as soaked as before, a few drops of water went down his shirt. He would let it air-dry. Erik brushed the locks back. Placed the brush down the counter, touched his auburn bristles.   He would need a shave later. “Let’s fix you up.” Lifted Pietro up to the counter to address his wounds. Unscrewing the hydrogen peroxide dashed a few splashes on each wound one at a time and letting it bubble up, before giving it another dash. Pietro hissed in a slight pain. He did it three times, cleaned up the excess residue with a warm washcloth. Dotted and drabbled each of them with Neosporin, pressed a patch of white gauze and wrapped it in cohesive bandages that were dark beige. Unlike other band-aid that would lose their adhesive after getting wet; theses would not and survive longer on his speedster son, after many trial and error. Erik picked up his son and placed him on the floor. “Now, we’re going to have a talk.” Erik walked out and sat on the edge of the bed. He knew his son wasn’t following him. He steeled his voice, “Pietro.” The sliver hair mutant shoulder’s sank and head down low as he walked over to his father and climbed to a seat by his father’s side. After experiencing what he experienced in the camps and what Shaw did to him. He was never going to lay a hand on his child. Children were a lot smarter than most parents took them for. He just never understood the logic of being a tyrant to their own children and if they broke rules a screaming session would commence followed by a beating or shoving them in a closet and locking it until after dinner. And somehow beating and yelling at a child would make them stop doing the bad behavior. If anything, it would make them rebel and fear. No he had something much more effective and he had to say was: “I’m very disappointed in you Pietro.” “Vati, I...” Pausing as Erik looked down at his son. Trying to form the thought he wanted to express, but not quickly enough. His thoughts moved faster than a freight train on top speed; and his thoughts kept on speeding and wouldn’t stop until becoming a blur of untenable colors and sounds. “I am sorry that I worried you so much. I didn’t mean to do it. I-I just wanted to do something nice for Raven.” “Pietro what you did for Raven was a good thing and I’m very proud of you.” “But what you did was very foolish.” He let the words sink in, “But you put yourself needless danger. When you didn’t need to be.” Erik pointed out to his son, “I didn’t know where you were and you didn’t tell me where you were going. You know the danger of Shaw and the threat he represents to our family. What’s worse is that you did anyway. Did it even occur to you of how much danger you were in?” Pietro rubbed his nose trying to clean his runny nose in a effort to stop himself from crying, “I didn’t mean to Vati. I was having so much fun. I-I no, I- didn’t know.” Then abruptly added, “But when I was leaving…it became silent. Every animal stopped talking. Something was wrong.” Erik’s heart thundered in his chest. Pietro was in real danger. This made the situation even more serious. “Pietro, I am not angry at you. Just so so disappointed in you because you felt that you couldn’t come to me about this. I taught you better.” The older mutant held the younger mutant’s shoulder scooted him closer to his chest, subconsciously trying to protect him. “I was scared.” His voice cracking, the horror of losing another family member to that man. He couldn’t bare it. “But, Vati you’re never scared.” “Pietro, I was scared today. Frightened even. I thought I lost you.” Letting out a breath to steady himself, “I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you. And you didn’t tell me where you were. I didn’t know where you were for three hours and for a moment…” Erik relived that moment in his mind over again, “I thought Shaw had you. And he was going to do you what he did to me, when I was your age. Something you should never have to experience.” Wiped away a tear trickling down his face. “Pietro, I love you so much. You are my world.” Encircling his child in a hug, squeezing him tightly. Letting him go, so that he could bring out the locket that he got from his box of momentos, “Now, I want you to wear this. It sings to me.” Giving a pause, “It will know where you are and if you are in trouble. I find you and protect you.” With the help of his abilities helped him latch it onto the chain.  Before opening the locket, Pietro gasped to see the images of his lost family. “Bobeshi and Zeydee are always close.” Please look after him. Kissed Pietro on the forehead. “Vati, I thought I saw a Keresh!” Erik smiled at his son’s imagination and may he keep it when he is older. The Keresh, the giant deer with its one horn in the forest of Bei Ilai. “Oh really?” Getting off the bed, followed by his son. Suggesting, “Perhaps we can go there for a picnic. How does that sound?”  Pietro hopped up and down in excitement. “Then we can look for the Keresh together?” The younger mutant hugged his father leg, “yesyesyesyesyessssss!”    “Now, I heard Sean had some new comic books something about the Justice League?” Padding him on his shoulder, “Go on, you’re free.” Pietro zoomed out, unlocking the door, and flashed out. Erik went over to the chair to get his jacket and came out of the room to see Charles and Hank talking to one another. “This absolutely fascinating. If what you say is true than Pietro might live in his own reality like the Scalosian in Star Trek; living in a Hyper-accelerated reality. The way he perceives time is extraordinary. At some point the concept of time is not going to matter in his existence.” Coming up behind him, “All very fascinating, Hank.” His hands his pockets, “Charles can we talk?” He didn’t like Hank talking about his son like that. Fully unaware of his cognitive dissonance as talked about his fellow mutant like some theoretical theory or equation. Not recognizing his son’s humanity. He was going to put a stop to it: “But if you find something that’s actually helpful in my parenting of my son. Do mention it.” Gave a pause, “But I do not need to remind you, Hank of all people. That you need my permission to run any medical exams on him. Or are you like Dr. Jekyll? Being your own lab rat. Because my son isn’t one.” There was something that always irked him about Hank, having one foot in human society and the other; but not accepting of either. Fully wanting to be part of human society, but failing in seeing the negating aspect of himself, his mutation, that barred him in participating as an equal in that society. His technocratic solutions to mutantkind ills. Hank backed down; this was the one issue he wasn’t willing to challenge Erik on. Made an excuse to leave, “I got to go clean some lab equipment.” When Hank was out of sight, Charles chastised, “Did you really have to do that Erik?” shaking his head in disappointment, “Hank wouldn’t do that your son, he respects your wishes. He is an ethical man.” Erik gave a sarcastic huff, “Not the way I see it Charles. He is desperate for a cure. You’re very naïve Charles, if you can’t see that in him. Or is it that you don’t want to see it in him?” Erik gave a pause to let his doubts sink in, “He’ll do anything to get it. No matter how unethical or stupid it might be. He’ll keep doing it, over and over. Until he is told no!” Charles changed the subject; they would be discussing this topic during their weekly chess match, “Pietro was in a game reserve.” Erik heart nearly stop right then and there, “My step-father opened up some of the property for hunting to help pay off his debts.” “Pietro thought he saw someone.” “That is impossible. As sole proprietor of the estate, I get final say who can hunt.” “I’m not so sure, Charles.” “Then they must be trespassing.” The telepath objected, leaving the only remaining option, “You think its Shaw?” Erik gave a curt nod. “Then I’ll put on my hiking boots and we can search the area.” “And question anyone who dared thought about hurting or taking, my son away from me.” Charles gave an audible gulp. He and Erik had very two different opinions on what questioning meant.

Holocaust survivor.(Made in Israel)

02/17/2021 04:23 PM 

Out of Darkness There is Light

"Please, just consider it, Erik," Charles said, near pleading - or at least, as close to pleading as Charles Xavier ever came when it wasn't a matter of trying to talk him down out of doing something he disapproved of. "Why, Charles?" Magneto aka Max Eisenhardt aka die Kleine Erik Lehnsherr replied, sounding almost bored. "You know holidays hold no interest to me and haven't for many, many years" It was true, of course, what he said. Erik had once loved holidays, as a boy. In fact, one of his fondest memories that he was able to hold on to from his boyhood - a memory which he had recovered almost entirely thanks to Charles during those heady, early days in the 1960s before the doomed events on that beach in Cuba - was of his parents and him, lighting the candles for Hanukah. But that was a long time ago. Over 40 years, by his reckoning, and a lot had changed. For one thing, he and Charles had, after long last, finally reached some sort of agreement. A detente, perhaps, perhaps something more. There was potential, they both thought, that the other had moved farther from their original position when they were young and idealistic, to a more practical position of compromise and common ground. Which was why he was back in the old Xavier mansion in the first place, after so many years. After the events of the previous months and years, Charles and he had finally come to some sort of agreement, the capping-off of which resulted in Charles extending to him a position as a teacher at his school. "You're one of us, now," Charles had said. "I am no such thing, Charles," he had countered. "If you're doing this out of some misguided attempt at reforming me or roping me into your X-Men, you can forget it" "I can assure you, Erik, I have no such delusions anymore and haven't for a long time," Charles had said. "I am simply old, and tired, and I miss you, Erik. You are one of my oldest and dearest friends, and I dearly wish we would stop fighting and work together...there are so many young mutants out there that need our help, Erik, and this schism between us isn't helping any of them" It had been a hard sell and one which he still wasn't completely sold on - and he told Charles as much directly, so much as stating that he reserved the right to leave at any time - but he'd been here for an entire semester so far and found that he didn't hate it. Perhaps, he thought, the best way to protect the next generation of mutant-kind from the humans who fear them and would sooner put them in camps than accept them as equals, was to educate them and prepare them for the harsh reality of the real world they would be facing as adults themselves in a few short years. "Please, Erik," Charles continued, moving the chess piece in his hand tentatively. "I know holidays aren't exactly your thing, but I think it will be good for you," he said, continuing as he lifted his hand off the chess piece, confirming his move as he waited for Erik to make his counter. "And besides, there's a student here I think it will be particularly good for, as well," he said. "One of yours, I believe" "One of mine?" Erik asked, slightly confused. He knew there were no other metal-ability mutants at Xavier's school, and he told Charles as such. "That's not what I meant, Erik," he said. "Miss Pryde...her grandfather's surname was Prydeman and was, I believe, in the same place you got that number on your arm" Immediately he understood what Charles meant. She was Jewish, just like him. A doubly-hated double-minority, just like him. Doubly-at-risk, just like him. His heart immediately swelled and ached in sympathy for the poor girl, before immediately quashing it down. He didn't know this girl from Adam - she was probably too young for his classes, since he hadn't had her in any of his lessons thus far - and just because they shared common ancestry and struggles, he was not here to be some surrogate Zeyde for anyone. Every time he opened up and let what was left of his battered humanity take prominence again, people died. It was probably safer for the girl if he had nothing to do with her, whatsoever. "So what exactly are you playing at then, Charles?" he asked, pointedly. "Are we just your pet Jews, then, and you need me to show her the ropes?" "Of course not, Erik, and I would hope after all these years you would know me better than that," he replied, offended. "Then what is it, Charles?" Slightly mollified, Charles continued. "I just thought it might be good for you," he said simply. "For both of you" "Fine," Erik said, after a long, pregnant, pause. "But I reserve the right to leave at any point, and not be hounded by you or anyone else for it after the fact," he said with finality. "Deal" Charles said. "Checkmate," was Erik's only reply, felling Charles' Queen with his Bishop. The halls of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters were well and truly decked for the Christmas holiday. Trees were set up in the Great Hall and common areas on each floor, and covered in beautiful twinkling lights and shining ornaments, and - thanks to Storm - coated in a thin layer of real snow. Stockings of all the students and most of the teachers were hung by the chimney with care. Tinsel and holly wreaths and mistletoe had been hung all over the house-slash-school, off of nearly every surface that could possibly hold the holiday cheer. Most of the teachers and nearly all the students had cheerfully embraced the time off surrounding the holiday to relax and have fun and enjoy the time leading up to the holiday. Hushed and hurried whispered conversations emanated from nearly every hall about favourite foods and holiday traditions and gifts and holiday cheer. But there was one student at the Xavier school who wasn't feeling much in the way of holiday cheer. Kitty Pryde the newest and amongst the youngest students at the school was feeling decidedly left out and forgotten. It was ironic, she thought to herself, laughing bitterly. After everything she had gone through when she had come into her powers, including being abandoned by her own family for being a mutant, to eventually be found by Professor Xavier and be brought to this school, this place, where she thought - as she was promised - she would finally be accepted for who she was, have a family who didn't abandon her, have a place to call her own and not be made to feel like an outsider, alone and abandoned. Here, amongst "her own kind" as some of the teachers had taken to referring to the school, she had thought things would be different. But alas, she sighed bitterly, it seemed that just as it had been back in Deerfield, she was abandoned, shunted to the side, ignored and abandoned; made to feel as if she wasn't accepted or truly part of the group, simply for who she was. For being different. They claimed to be "her people" and that the students and teachers at this school - her fellow mutants - were her "own kind" but yet, that promise seemed to ring hollow. Being the only Jew at Christmas Time, it turned out, was just as lonely as a mutant as it was when she thought she was just a normal human. She missed the sufganiyot her Zayde travelled all the way to the special Israeli-owned kosher bakery in the City to get for the holiday; she missed the songs, and the chocolate coins and the gifts and the way the hanukiyah looked when it was all lit up, starkly reflected against the dark, cold, Illinois winter night. She missed the smell of latkes frying in oil on the stove and her Bubbe's soft voice singing songs in Yiddish she didn't understand. She missed playing with the dreidel and her grandparents telling the story of Judah the Maccabee and their war against the Seleucid Greeks and the re-dedication of the Holy Temple and the Miracle of the Oil. She even missed her Zayde and Dad arguing until each was blue in the face about the real meaning of the Hanukah story - whether it was a story of divine salvation or one of Jewish People standing up for themselves and refusing to be victims - until one would invariably get frustrated, yell, and leave the room until they were coaxed back to the family gathering by the fried deliciousness that was their festive meal. But mostly, she missed feeling at home. Feeling like she belonged. The teachers said that here at the school she was safe, and amongst her own people. But was she? Just because she was a mutant, did that make this school her home? These people her own? These goyim going about their business in oblivious happiness that she was a Daughter of Israel? That she was heir to a proud, 3000 year old tradition that she had no intention of shedding or abandoning, just because she was also a mutant? Why was it that it seemed she had to choose - accept her fellow mutants as her own kind and abandon her people, deny and forsake her 3000 year old birthright, her connection to her ancestors; or live in a constant state of fear and hiding and shame for being born a mutant? Why did it seem like it was one or the other? Why did she have to choose? And why did Professor Xavier who it had seemed up until now was so fastidious and cognizant of the diversity of mutants under his care, seemed to completely forget or neglect her Jewishness? Why was it that for all the Christmas trees and stockings and ornaments, she couldn't find even a single dreidel or chocolate coin? And why was it that in the entire house she had searched top to bottom and couldn't find a single hanukiyah or candle? She sighed again, softly to herself. God doesn't make mistakes, Kitteleh, her Zayde had said to her once, a long time ago. HaKodosh Boroch Hu only sends our way precisely what we need and only what He knows we can handle. Despite hearing his voice in her head and seeing his faded, crooked smile, her spirit was not lifted. She failed to see the wisdom in the words now, in this moment. If God doesn't make mistakes, Zayde, then what am I supposed to do? She whinged to herself. What possible purpose could this serve? Dejected, she walked out of the Grand Hall towards the stairs to go to her room. She needed some fresh air, but it was cold and she needed to grab her winter coat. On her way, she surreptitiously noticed a poster and sign up sheet on the wall proclaiming that on the weekend - the First Night, she noted mentally to herself - would be a "Holiday Party" where all were welcomed and a sign up list was put up for things individual students and staff were planning on contributing for the festivities. She nearly stormed up to her room on the top floor, taking the stairs three at a time. When Kitty returned from her walk around the grounds it was several hours later - just barely before light's out - and her face was flush from a mix of cold, exertion, and emotion. She returned to her room, ready for bed, still as frustrated as before she left. Throwing her coat on her desk chair she made her way to the dresser to get her pyjamas and get ready for bed when she noticed something on her bed. Most notably, a something that had not been on her bed before she left. She approached her bed - and the object on it - with a mixture of shocked disbelief, awe, and appreciation. There, on her bed, was a small, simple hanukiyah. It was nothing fancy and in fact was immensely simple: just a simple bronze crossbeam with four feet, one on each corner, and protruding from the top of the crossbeam were eight evenly-sized branches, in addition to a singular additional branch, slightly taller than the others, for the shamash - the helper. In its centre was a small, tooled Star of David. Beside the hanukiyah sat a small blue box with Hebrew letters on it, declaring that it contained the small, brightly-coloured hanukah candles which were to be used in the candleabrum. It wasn't much, to be sure, nothing like her parent's beautiful, fancy one but it was more than sufficient. It met all the necessary requirements for it to be kosher - ritually pure to meet the requirements of the religious obligations for the holiday - and that was more than enough for her. She had no idea where it came from: it certainly wasn't from her parents, and she doubted it wasn't from any of her fellow students. It might have been from a teacher, she thought, perhaps Professor Xavier, but there was no note, which she thought was strange and very out of character for the man based on the few interactions they'd had so far. Regardless, she didn't miss a beat and immediately ran out of the room and down to the Grand Hall on the main floor to the sign up sheet she had stormed past in anger earlier in the day, in order to sign her and her little hanukiyah up for the holiday party. The rest of the week seemed to blow by in a breeze, and before any of them knew it, it was the night of the holiday party, and Kitty was nervous. It was her first Hanukah not only in a new place, not only without her parents and family, not only as a newly-discovered mutant, but all those things and then some, and she was very, very nervous to share her little hanukiyah and that part of her heritage with her new mutant brothers and sisters at the school. But she put on a brave face, and as the sun finally set and the appointed candle-lighting time drew near she found herself a small end table that hadn't been covered in Christmas cheer and moved it to the far corner so it could be seen by all, both inside the mansion and outside, through the massive windows. She began to set up teh hanukiyah and just as she was about to begin lighting, some of the other students started to complain. They had no idea what she was doing, she called her weird, told her to stop wasting time so they could get to the "good stuff" and eat their Christmas ham, and were just generally insensitive little monsters. The older students and teachers tried as best they could to keep order and and stop the worst offenders but there was only so much they could do with a room full to bursting with young mutant children hopped up on Christmas cheer and sugar. After a few moments of trying and failing, they gave up, and Kitty ran from the party to her room, angry and hurt, determined to make it to the relative privacy of her room before the tears came. She wouldn't give them the satisfaction. Erik, aka Magneto, saw only the tail end of the exchange. He had been running late to the party because, if he was being honest, he had no desire to be there in the first place, so he had left it until the very last moment until he made his way down to make his required appearance at the party. When he entered the room, he was greeted with a sight he hadn't expected: young Miss Pryde running from the room fighting back tears, the hanukiyah he had made for her (anonymously, of course) lay unlit and abandoned in the corner, and the students in the room in various states of shock and confusion. Upon seeing this, he immediately turned on his heel to leave, nearly bowling into Charles on his way out. "Leaving so soon, Erik? But you just arrived," he said, surprised. "Not now, Charles," Erik said, in a voice that would brook no argument. He headed immediately towards the stairs that led to both his own, and miss Pryde's, living quarters. Knock knock knock There was a series of short raps on the door, but Kitty could barely hear them over her sobs. Knock knock knock They were there again, this time louder. "Go away!" she yelled in response Knock knock knock Louder, and more persistent - almost demanding - this time. "What are you, deaf? I said leave me alone!" she shouted angrily at whoever dared intrude on what small bit of solace and privacy she had in this school. The door creaked open anyway, despite her protestations. "I am most assuredly not deaf, Miss Pryde," Erik said cooly. In a voice that he hoped would be come off as more friendly and nurturing - though if he succeeded, he had no idea, he hadn't been around children since Magda and Anya died - he continued, "I saw what happened downstairs" Silence. "Would to talk...with someone...about it?" he asked, still a bit unsure of himself. It had been a long time, after all. He was still met with silence, mixed with Kitty's soft sobbing. "Miss Pryde," he began, before correcting himself, in an attempt to sound more nurturing and less authoritarian, "Kitty," he started. "Kitty, please come with me" "Why?" "There's something I'd like to show you?" "Unless its all those kids swinging from by their ankles from the ceiling, I'm not interested, professor," Kitty said, bitterly. Erik sighed heavily. He was definitely out of practice. "Kitty, please," he said, softly, offering his hand to help her up. "I promise if you don't like what you see, you may return here to do as you wish: cry, shout, plot revenge, whatever. But I think you'll appreciate what I want to show you," he said. Intrigued, Kitty wiped the tears from her eyes and took the proffered hand, following the professor out of her room, up two additional flights of stairs, and into his own living quarters. "What are we doing in your room, Professor?" Kitty asked nervously. "Nothing untoward, I assure you, Kitty," Erik said. "And I'm not your professor, you aren't old enough to be in any of my classes," he said as they made their way into his dark, sparsely decorated room. "You remind me a little bit of my daughter, Anya," he said, absent-mindedly. "She was very strong but also very sensitive too, just like you" "You have a daughter?" "Had" "Oh, uh...I'm...I'm sorry to hear that Pro...sir," Kitty corrected. "What happened to her, if I may ask" "She died in Poland. It was...a long time ago," he said softly but with finality. He didn't bring her here to talk about his own painful past. That was when she saw it. There, sitting on a bare end table below the window on the far side of the room sat another small, squat, simple little hanukiyah, nearly identical to the one she had found on her bed a few days prior. She had no idea he was even Jewish. She thought she was the only one. "Sir..? Did you…" Kitty began, only to be cut off by Erik placing a finger over his lips in the universal symbol for requesting quiet. He quickly checked his wrist watch before speaking, "It is now officially the First Night," he began, "and there are candles that need to be lit," he said, moving over to the end table with the small hanukiyah on it, placing two candles in it, the first on the far right side, representing the first night, and the other in the place for the shamash on the far left. He then picked up a match book, and lighting the candle on the far left with the match then proceeded to light the candle on the far right with the helper candle, before reciting the words he hadn't said out loud in over forty years: Boroch otoh adonoy, Eloheynu Melech haoylom asher kidshanu bemitzvosav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel Chanukah "Amen," Kitty replied, almost from rote, as she had done every year since she could conceivably remember. It was different, here, than it was with her family at home: unlike her father who used standard Israeli pronunciations of Hebrew, Erik had used the old, traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation her Bubbe and Zayde had. It was strange and familiar and comfortable and strange and new all at once and she was so overcome with emotion that tears began to silently stream down her cheeks as she watched the flames flicker and dance against the darkness of the rest of the Professor's room. It was then that she noticed another candle sitting on the end table next to the hanukiyah. This one was small, squat, and yellow. She knew what that candle meant, too. It was the anniversary of someone's death, and the Professor was in mourning. She stood next to him in respectful silence and he mumbled the Mourner's Kaddish quietly under his breath before lighting the candle and wiping away a single tear that had dared to escape his tear ducts. "Who is the Yahrzeit for, Professor?" she asked timidly, noting the short, stocky yellow candle burning silently on the dresser next to where the beautiful, simple, bronze hanukiyah stood with its tall, thin candles emanating a soft glow in the room far from the window or other prying eyes. "My mother….my brother and my wife and daughter...the six million of our people slaughtered like animals by the Nazis...and for the thousands of mutants still being tortured, imprisoned, experimented on, and killed by the oh-so-enlightened humans," he said, his voice hollow and devoid of its usual malice. "I know it must be hard for you, adjusting to this new reality, Miss Pryde," he said, continuing, "Feeling like you have to choose between our Jewish people and our fellow Mutant brothers and sisters for who 'your people' are. Its something I struggled with for decades, and still do. But you don't have to choose, Kitty. You are a Jew and you are a Mutant, and you can - and should - be proud and defiant about both of these things. They're both a part of who you are. You couldn't stop being one or the other if you tried. It'd be easier to try to stop breathing." "'Never Again' means something to people like you and me that it just cannot mean for someone like Charles," he said. "I know he tries so hard and he means well, but he just doesn't get it. He can't. But you, Miss Pryde, understand just like I do. In a way others couldn't possibly. Never Again. Never Again will our people suffer the way he have in the past - whether that means Jews, or Mutants, or both" They stood in amicable silence for a moment, watching the candle light dance and flicker. "Betokh hakhoshekh, or," Erik said suddenly, but quietly. It was Hebrew, Kitty knew, but unlike the heavily Yiddish-accented Hebrew reminiscent of her Bubbe and Zayde that he had used to make the blessings, this was crisp, clear, modern Israeli Hebrew. Hebrew that he gained in the several years he had lived in Israel in the late 40s and early 50s, long before she had been born. "Do you know what that means, Miss Pryde?" Kitty had gone to Hebrew school from the age of about five or six until very recently, but the majority of her studies had been religious in nature: learning to read Hebrew in order to read and understand the prayers and other religious texts, rather than emphasising conversational modern language skills. One of her more recent classes had, however, begun to teach her some modern conversational Hebrew skills. "Out of darkness, there is light?" she said, not quite sure in her answer. "Very good, Kitty," he said simply. "Out of darkness, light. And that is the real message of this season: out of darkness, there is light. We - you and I - as Jews, as Mutants, as human beings, must strive to do all that we can to be that light in the darkness for our people. To guide them, to protect them, to keep them safe and warm when all seems lost. That is the real takeaway of this holiday of ours. There will be dark days ahead, Miss Pryde, and where there is darkness, we must bring the light" Kitty Pryde stood at his side silently for some time contemplating his words before she spoke. She quietly tilted her head up towards his face and spoke quietly, "Good Yontif, Professor," she said, simply, giving his hand a squeeze, before she turned to phase from the room and leave the man in peace. "I'm not your Professor," he called out after her. "But Good Yontif, Miss Pryde" Maybe she didn't have to choose after all.

Holocaust survivor.(Made in Israel)

02/17/2021 04:18 PM 

A Day in the Life

Magneto allowed himself a slight groan as a bright shaft of sunlight pierced through his windows and onto his eyelids. He hadn't been sleeping exactly, rather, he had been in that pleasant state of not-quite sleep and not-quite awareness that he had been entering more and more as he aged. The brightness of the dawn sun against his face was a jarring return to reality.   The one thing I've never appreciated about my gift, he mused, is that it makes having an alarm clock impossible. After nearly a dozen destroyed alarm clocks over the years, he had learned that his control over metal and magnetic fields combined with the nightmares he had most nights rendered most electronic items utterly useless after a couple of days. Consequently, he had been forced to arrange his furniture in such a way that the rising sun woke him every morning. It was not as pleasant an awakening as, say, classical music drifting gently from a speaker, but it did the trick. He rose and performed his morning ablutions with a vitality not often seen in men much younger than he, pausing as he brushed his teeth to examine the deep age lines in his face and to shave away the very beginnings of a five o'clock shadow. He had been called handsome in his youth, he knew, but years of care and toil had carved his face into an imperious mask. Perhaps that is why she… Best not to finish that thought. He dressed himself meticulously from his closet of nearly uniform garments: sweaters, sweaters, more sweaters, and his uniform, which thankfully he rarely felt the need to wear inside his fortress. A simple pair of slacks and some comfortable dress shoes completed the picture, and he felt ready to face the world as the self-proclaimed Master of Magnetism, Magneto, the man who was once Erik Lensherr but who had become so much more. He waved the door to his room open, then strode briskly down several corridors and floors until he reached the kitchen. One of the rules of the fortress was that everyone participated in the chores of keeping the fledgling army comfortable and well-fed, including its master. For a while, there had been two exceptions to the rule. The first was Wolverine, who had scoffed at the very idea of being forced to cook or wash dishes. He was there, he insisted, only in order to make sure that Rogue was taken care of - his job description said nothing about becoming chef to the Brotherhood. Fortunately, Wolverine was a problem Magneto always had well in hand, as the other mutant found out when Magneto used his powers to force his claws to spring out and act as kitchen knives for slicing carrots. Ever since that rather memorable incident, which Pyro had captured on video camera much to Wolverine's dismay, the gruff mutant had grudgingly agreed to wash dishes once a week. The second exception was Rogue. After that night on top of the fortress, after he had kissed her and she had let him, their relationship had been quite awkward. He was well aware that he had taken advantage of her vulnerability when he had kissed her, but he also thought that maybe she had enjoyed it as much as he had. And, despite the fact that he had quite happily informed her that she could stay for as long as she wanted, he felt that the fortress was not a home to her, merely a place to recoup after her ordeal. As a result, he had never demanded that she participate in the chores as the others did, and preferred to watch her from a distance, analyzing her every move and driving himself mad with curiosity about her state of mind and desire to touch her once again. Finally, Rogue had gone to Mystique, who was in charge of such mundane tasks as arranging the schedule for chores, to complain that she felt more like a guest than a resident at the fortress. She had demanded to be given the same amount of work as everyone else. Mystique, for some perverse reason Magneto still didn't understand, had scheduled Rogue for cooking breakfast on Mondays and Wednesdays - the same days that Magneto cooked. Her excuse was that there were now enough people in the fortress for two people to cook at the same time to feed everyone. Rogue hadn't complained about the arrangement, despite the fact that she had avoided him like the plague ever since that night. He could hardly complain about it without complaining about Rogue herself as a cooking partner, and he wasn't about to go to Mystique and whine about the schedule for no good reason. So here he was, on a Monday morning once again, the morning after the Brotherhood's weekly day off, heading down to the kitchen to see, but not touch, the girl who had quite literally become the girl of his dreams. She was there before him, as she often was, standing in front of the kitchen counter and competently cracking eggs into a bowl. The sunlight gleamed gloriously off of the white streak in her hair and around her slender body, clothed in her usual sweats and gloves. "Good morning," he said cordially, as he did every morning. "Good morning," she returned without looking at him, as she did every morning. And that was that. They didn't speak for the rest of the hour they spent cooking, familiar enough with the Monday ritual to need no words. Rogue prepared the omelets and bacon; Magneto took care of the pancakes and orange juice. They were scrupulously careful not to touch, and the one time Magneto passed a hair too close to her she flinched away from him and nearly burned herself on hot grease. He stifled a sigh, then flipped a pancake - one with chocolate chips in it for Pyro. It had been like this for months now, with her acting skittish and uncomfortable around him for reasons he could only guess at. He suspected that in hindsight she deeply regretted allowing him to kiss her, especially after the way Wolverine had blown up at the sight of them sharing warmth on top of the fortress. Perhaps she remained at the fortress because she felt safe in its isolation, but didn't necessarily want anything to do with its master. She was driving him to distraction. Her absence from his life in every way that truly mattered was something he felt keenly throughout the day and long into the night, and he hated it. Before he had rescued her, when she had merely been "that brave girl whom I tried to kill once," he had been fascinated by her but not obsessed. Seeing what had been done to her because of the information he had given Stryker about her had struck a cord deep inside him, however, and the weeks he spent recuperating after her devastating touch had given his obsession plenty of time to take root deep inside of him. He had been sure that she would become part of his Brotherhood, perhaps replace Mystique as his second-in-command so that the metamorphosing mutant could return to the solitary operations she was so good at. He had planned just how to handle her, just the look her would wear when he told her his grand schemes for the supremacy of mutants. Then she had looked at him from those soulful brown eyes, had asked him in a tentative voice, "can I stay?" and he had had to kiss her, had had to hold her, had had to give her his heart. Things had gone downhill from there. She sat as far away from him as she could at the breakfast table, carefully cutting each piece of pancake with the Southern charm he now found so attractive. Wolverine sat next to her devouring most of the bacon, eyeing her protectively with one eye and shooting furious glares at Magneto from the other. Magneto knew that the other mutant had repeatedly tried to convince Rogue to leave the fortress, but that she had stubbornly refused. Pyro played with his lighter most of the meal until Mystique shot him one of those looks that made him gulp and put it away. She, like Magneto, ate with a calm efficiency that implied that they ate because they had to, rather than because they enjoyed it. The other members of the Brotherhood tried, as always, to break the uncomfortable silence with jokes or chit-chat, only to become mute after several failed attempts. After twenty minutes of quiet consumption, everyone went their separate ways: Wolverine to the kitchen to wash dishes, Pyro and Rogue to the gym, Mystique and Magneto to his office, and the rest of the Brotherhood to their typical preparations for dastardly deeds. "Have we had any success in locating the last of Stryker's bases?" he asked Mystique as soon as they were in the seclusion of his office. "Not yet," she replied peevishly - she always seemed peevish these days - "but there are some other important targets we need to consider right now." He steepled his fingers, gazing at her intently through his silver eyes. "Stryker's bases are my top priority at the moment, as you well know, Raven." She frowned. "Erik, this obsession really isn't attractive. Talk to the girl, do something, but quit letting it interfere with our work." His eyebrows drew together in an ominous frown. "Let's not have this conversation, Raven," he said angrily. He was tired of rehashing the same arguments they had had the day before, and the day before that. "I don't want to hear this from you again." "Well you've got to hear it from somebody, Erik, and I'm the only one who'll dare speak to you this way. You spend all of your time watching her, you obviously think about her constantly. You take even more care with your appearance, and you show up late for cooking breakfast every morning just so you can have a moment to watch her cooking without her noticing. You're in love with her. It's pathetic." The metal balls on his desk, usually so soothing in their constant rhythm, fell to the desk and rolled off it haphazardly as he stood abruptly, fury radiating from his body. "Out," he commanded, and the blaze in his eye was enough to make even his headstrong second do as he ordered. He waited until he was sure that she had gone, then made his way to the gym. Once there, he settled into his usual corner, one that was out of the way and hidden in shadow, watching her go through her routine as he had done every day for the past few months. His eyes unerringly tracked her progress as she ran the last of her laps around the gym, then faced off against Pyro in a no-holds-barred fighting match. He watched in approval as she darted inside the other mutant's personal space and took hold of his arms, draining him of his power even as he tried to fight her off. However much his relationship with her had proven a disappointment since that night, Rogue's other resolutions had held true. She was obviously working on being more comfortable with her power, controlling it rather than letting it control her, though she still wore her gloves constantly when she was not in the gym. The two younger mutants engaged in several more bouts, all of which were won by Rogue, who was more canny and actually fought dirtier - Wolverine's influence, no doubt - than her larger, stronger opponent. She did come away with several singed hairs, however. They all went to lunch after that, Rogue glancing at him in skittish curiosity as she passed him on the way out of the shower room, clearly wondering what he was doing there but too cautious to ask. Mystique had made a simple lunch of sandwiches which were quickly consumed before the fortress's inhabitants dispersed again. Magneto knew that Rogue would go to the library now to peruse his books on strategy, human nature, philosophy, and history, and he resolved that he would not follow her there today, and would instead stay in his office and actually get some work done. Several hours later, he exited a little side room connected with the library and with a clear line of sight to the table at which Rogue just happened to be sitting, nearly running into Mystique as he did so. "Ah, Raven, just the woman I was looking for," he said calmly, handing her a stack of papers. "If you would be so kind as to look over these battle plans?" Mystique looked from him to the stack of papers to the door from which he had just emerged, shook her blue head in disgust, spat "pathetic" at him, then stalked away. He was well aware that Rogue would spend the rest of the day until dinner attending classes with the young members of the Brotherhood, learning such valuable lessons as assembling and dismantling explosives and how to staunch bleeding in a combat situation, and there he really couldn't follow her without being seen. He slunk off to his office and brooded - best not to ask the subject of his brooding - for the better part of an hour before Mystique entered the room without knocking. She seemed almost surprised to see him actually in his office, but then her face hardened. She threw the papers down onto his desk so that he could see the way she had angrily marked them up in red. "Sloppy," she said. "Unless you want to get some of our greener recruits killed, I suggest you get your head in the game, Erik, or there will be consequences." He frowned, and this time it was clear that he was angry with himself rather than with her. "You're right, of course," he conceded reluctantly. "I'll do my best, Raven, but…it is hard." To that, she said nothing, instead seeming satisfied to leave him in a repentant state of mind. He spent the rest of the afternoon reworking his plans with the tireless efficiency he was famous for in the Brotherhood until they were perfect. He then proceeded to dinner, where he found that he was late to arrive due to his absorption in his work. He could hear Rogue speaking animatedly as he entered, and hovered in the doorway for a long moment as he watched her converse with Pyro about the optimal placement of an explosive for maximum destruction. Pyro glanced up, saw him, coughed slightly, and Rogue nearly gave herself whiplash turning her head to see him. She reddened slightly, her fair complexion darkened with embarrassment or some other emotion he couldn't fathom, then retreated into the customary cold silence she seemed to embrace whenever he was around. Needless to say, the meal was awkward. The Brotherhood planned to watch a movie after dinner - it was Wolverine's turn to choose, so it would doubtlessly involve bloodshed and the death of poor innocent creatures at the claws of some mighty predator - he had chosen Bambi last time - and Magneto left them to their recreation content for his army to take the evening to relax after a hard day of training. He went to the library, intent on brushing up on his Shakespeare, and had just settled into one of his favorites, Richard III, when he heard the door open and Rogue stepped inside. She halted when she saw him, the expression on her face being somewhat like a deer caught in headlights. "I didn't know anyone else was in here," she said, wringing her gloved hands together. "I can go," she offered. "Please don't," he said quietly in return. "There's plenty of room here for both of us." She nodded slowly, then grabbed a well-worn book off the shelves and curled up on a chair. Magneto tried to read, found that lines that he knew by heart made no sense to him, and finally sought to break the silence. "I'm surprised you're not watching the movie," he said. She twirled a strand of white hair around her finger, her pretty face tense. "Sometimes, being around so many people, I start hearing the voices in my head again," she told him, not meeting his eyes. "Being alone for a while helps a little." He stiffened in surprise at the revelation that the voices in her head had begun to bother her again. "I had thought…" his voice trailed off. She colored, shrugged. "The voices were mostly subdued for a while right after, but as time passes the strength of each seems to begin to level out. I can live with it as is, it's just sometimes it gets a bit much." He stood from his own seat and strode towards hers, looming over her as she blinked owlishly up at him. He thought to demand why she didn't say anything, then thought better of it. Instead, he reached up his bare hand to her face in what might have been a caress if he hadn't then held on to her skin, his whole body tense as he felt the pull begin and his energy began to siphon away. Moments later, before any serious damage could be done, Rogue tore herself away from his touch, gasping as if she too had undergone an ordeal. She stood and grabbed his arms, helping him to sit down in her seat so that their positions were exchanged and it was she who looked down on him. Her eyes seemed to clear even as he watched, his strong presence assimilating itself in her mind. She blinked. "They've gone quiet again," she said. She looked down at her gloved hand, then reached it forward to cup the side of his face. "Thank you," she said, so quietly he almost didn't hear. She allowed her hand to brush over his short silver hair so that he felt as if a breeze were caressing the top of his head. "You're not unattractive at all, you know," she told him abruptly, stepping back so as to be well out of his reach as she spoke, as if she were afraid of unsettling him. "You weren't just handsome as a youth; you're very handsome now, too. The grey...well, it's very distinguished, and the lines only show that you care about people. You shouldn't worry about how you look; there's nothing to worry about." She quit talking, and there was a moment of silence between them, one that he knew he could break by asking her what it was about him that pushed her away, if it wasn't the damage that age had done to his body. He used the excuse of needing to gasp for air after the energy transfer to avoid having to speak. She seemed almost disappointed, then shook herself slightly, headed to the door, hesitated, said another quiet "thank you," and disappeared from his sight. He spend several long moments pulling himself back together, then slowly rose from his seat and made his way to his bedroom. He brushed his teeth and changed into his night clothes with the same quiet precision that he used in all of his actions - or had used, until Rogue came along - then crawled into bed. "Raven is right," he muttered to himself tiredly as he lay in bed, eyes closed, waiting for sleep that would be a long time coming. "You could have said something to her, you could have done anything to try to communicate with her, but all you did was stare at her." He sighed as he shifted, his aging body finding it difficult to become comfortable on the mattress. It struck him that he would be much more comfortable if only he weren't alone, if, for example, Rogue was lying beside him, covered from head to toe of course. He quashed the thought, then sighed. "Just another day in the life of Magneto, lovesick evil mastermind."

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