Disclaimer: Bobby Drake and his fellow
X-Men, as well as Magneto, belong to Marvel. However, the story has
absolutely no place in Marvel continuity. I lost track right
around the time Gambit's horrible secret was revealed. Then again,
I had lost track half-way though the first X-Men comic I read.
This story's mine. Please ask before archiving. Feedback can be sent
to firstname.lastname@example.org. It
would be greatly appreciated. I've never written Magneto before,
or so long a story.
Hope you enjoy.
Bobby Drake sat on the table, his arms wrapped around his legs, trying
to still his shivering body. His breathing was shaky, desperate, and
his eyes refused to stay still, darting nervously around the room
and carefully avoiding the eyes of the other occupants.
There were three others. Two of them -- a brown haired man and a
woman with green skin -- wore lab coats. The other man, was clad in
a neat gray and blue uniform and was holding a large, futuristic-type
weapon. He was giving Bobby a look of intense dislike. For the life
of him, Bobby couldn't think of what he had done to merit that dislike.
The man in the lab coat looked over at Bobby. "The psi police got
him bad," he commented pityingly. "Look, he's shaking."
"Just desserts." The woman's eyes rested momentarily on Bobby, her
gaze also tinged with dislike. *What have I ever done to you?* Bobby
"Excuse me, doctor," said the man in uniform. "Do you mind...? He'll
regain control of his powers soon."
Powers? thought Bobby hazily. Something to do with ice, he
vaguely recalled. That didn't seem very relevant now. Or was it?
She snorted. "Not for awhile. I doubt his thought processes are particularly
clear at the moment. I suppose it never hurts to be efficient, though."
She readied some sort of mechanism as she spoke, something small and
silvery and conical. "Hold him still, Acosta" she instructed the man
in the lab coat.
She moved to the other side of the table, behind Bobby. He turned
his head to follow her movements, but he couldn't see what she was
doing. He felt her rub the base of his neck with a cotton pad, and
then felt a slight prick. A needle? No. The thing was too wide to
be a needle. Uh, how about anesthetic people? Bobby had been
maintaining what he liked to think of as a stoic silence, but now
he began to whimper. He would have yelled, except that his throat
was so dry.
"Done," said the woman.
Bobby stifled a hysterical outburst and reached back to feel the
base of his neck. Damn, they couldn't be done. She had left
the metal thing in his neck. The woman was a psycho, a quack! She
must lose tons of money yearly in medical implements alone, if she
went around leaving them inside her patients. Bobby raised bewildered
eyes to the other people in the room, but they seemed to find the
procedure perfectly normal.
They chained Bobby's hands behind his back, definitely an unnecessary
precaution. The man in gray and blue then took charge of him, leading
him down several identical barren corridors. Occasionally people would
flit past, some in uniform, some dressed as civilians. Apparently
he was the only one in the place who had to wear ugly gray pajama-things.
Just when Bobby had begun to think they were walking down the same
three hallways in an endless triangle, the guard stopped and called
out to a woman in a plain gray uniform, older than the other guards
Bobby had seen. In her forties, or perhaps a tired thirty-five. She
had the kind of hair that you could never quite remember if it was
light brown or blond or gray, and bored eyes that may have been gray
or green or blue. "Hey, Skirrow! They warned you I was bringing you
"Yeah, they told me." She ran her eyes over Bobby and raised her
eyebrows. "Doesn't look like he'll be much trouble."
"No. He hasn't tried to escape or anything."
"Maybe that's because you have a huge gun," suggested Skirrow.
The man shrugged. "Doesn't matter. He's a wreck."
Skirrow ran her eyes up and down Bobby, then motioned him towards
a doorway. "Go on in."
Bobby glanced at her impassive face, then to the man with the gun,
and decided he had better not argue. He entered the door she had gestured
to, and gazed around. Unlike the corridors, the room was a sterile
white, and the bleached monotony broken only by a bunk bed on one
side and a toilet and sink on the other. Classy. He felt like
a lab rat.
"You've got the rat part right," said his guard, unlocking his hand
"Uh ... telepath?" Bobby hazarded. It was the first time he'd said
a real word in hours, and it came out a croak.
"No. I just read the little thought balloon hovering above your head."
"If ... if you can use your powers, why can't I?"
She touched a finger to the sore spot at the base of his neck. "Because
I'm not a spy," she replied grimly. "Goodbye, Bobby." She smiled
unpleasantly and left, slamming the thick metal door behind her.
Bobby lay on the top bunk, staring blankly at nothing. Most literally
nothing. He couldn't remember when he had last seen such an absolute
blackness. The lights had been turned off; that was probably his captors
trying to tell him it was time to go to sleep. He wished he could
oblige, but his tired, ravaged brain was still spinning.
Bobby had been so honored to be chosen for the mission. Scared shitless,
too, but honored. Here was, at last, a chance to prove he could do
things right. Idiot. He had managed to get captured before
he had even had a time to look around.
But it hadn't all been his stupidity. What had the others
been thinking, sending him into the fortress all alone, with no backup?
What kind of plan was that? Sure, they hadn't anticipated the psi
police, or known that said telepaths would recognize him as a spy
within minutes of his arrival, but it still would've been smarter
to send a telepath as a mole. Why hadn't they? My head hurts.
He shifted to his side, and tried to prop up his head more by folding
his pillow in half.
In fact, the whole thing had been bothering him since he arrived
-- at least, the times since he arrived that his brain wasn't being
hacked up. The whole plot seemed inane, like a seven-year-old's attempt
at writing a murder mystery. Walk in, look around, get out, and
come back and tell us what ya saw. Scott had used bigger words,
but that was what it all came down to. Was there something they hadn't
told him? Maybe the psi police had done something to make him forget,
or maybe he had failed to realize something in his obtuseness ...
but the soap bubble memories kept slipping from his grasp.
Maybe this is all just an elaborate plan to get rid of me.
Now that idea made sense. Too much sense, actually. Bobby quickly
pushed the idea to the dark nether regions of his mind where thoughts
like that one thrived, and tried to turn his thought down more productive
It was his X-Mannish duty to try to escape. Perhaps he could form
a plan? That was what the others would have done. He rubbed his temples,
trying to think, think...
After about half an hour, he had narrowed down the possibilities
to bursting into tears or banging his head against the wall until
he or it collapsed.
Tomorrow. It'll all make sense tomorrow. After you get some sleep.
He slept sporadically, waking up far too often and finding the room
still pitch black. He had a lot of brief nightmares, not the wake-up-breathing-hard
kind, but the kind that left you with an eerie feeling, like something
was wrong in the world. Sometimes he'd dream he was awake or wake
up and still think he was asleep.
He finally woke up to find the lights on. He blinked against the
unnatural brightness as he slowly recalled his whereabouts and reflected
wearily that, no, things weren't any better and didn't make more sense.
The urge to burst into tears had somewhat abated, though.
The day went by without incident. Someone brought him a tray of food
in the morning and another in the evening. The trays were delivered
through a covered slit in his door, his only window to the outside
world. It couldn't be opened from the inside. No one spoke to him
or entered the room, and when he woke up the day after he found that
the trays had magically disappeared in the middle of the night. If
they were trying to drive him crazy they would find their job astonishingly
Though yesterday's trays were gone already when he woke up, his breakfast
hadn't arrived yet. Bobby seated himself by the door, and waited.
He didn't have long to wait. Just as the tray slid through, Bobby
caught the door with his fingers, and leaned down to peer though the
A woman bent her head and looked in at him. It was Skirrow. "Don't
talk to me. Spy."
"What's so bad about being a spy?" he asked plaintively. C'mon,
talk to me. "I wasn't going to hurt anyone or anything. I just
wanted to see what was going on."
"So you could stop it. I know. I'm a telepath."
"Not ... necessarily," he faltered. "Not much I could do to stop
anything, ya know."
She snorted. "Oh, I don't doubt that, Bobby. But we've got
to be careful." Her eyes narrowed. "After all," she murmured, "Eden
was taken by subterfuge." With a malignant look, she slammed the slit
shut again. Bobby removed his fingers just in time.
He cursed under his breath and sat with his back against the wall,
biting his nails and trying formulate a plan. Most of the classics
seemed off limits. He could pretend to be deathly ill, but the guard
was a telepath; she would see through that in a Pelopponesian
minute. Chances were he'd never see anyone come in, either, so he
could hardly club someone over the head with a tray when they came
in to collect the old trays, or give him more toilet paper, or whatever.
If he couldn't escape, he could at least amuse himself. He cleared
off the trays, and, when the lights went out, stuffed one under his
pillow and the other in his shirt. It made sleeping difficult, but
what the hell. Let them try to take those without him waking up.
I really hate it here. It was only his fourth day, and already
his mind seemed to be rapidly fraying. Not my fault. It's the psi
police's fault. Yeah. I'm not weak, I'm traumatized. He had a
feeling that that sentence would become something of a mantra for
him during his stay in the fortress.
The trays had been gone when he woke up. He didn't know how they
did that. In a fortress full of mutants, who know how anything was
He was sitting cross-legged on his bed- one of the perks of solitary
confinement was that you had automatic dibs on the top bunk -- scratching
the fourth tally into his arm with a ragged thumbnail. He really should
stop biting his nails while he still had some nail left. It would
make the tallies much easier to make.
Bobby spent the rest of the day thinking up things to do. He did
briefly consider building a cool fort out of the bunk bed, mattresses,
and pillows, but discarded the idea on the basis that there was probably
a camera hidden in the room, and he really had to hang on to all the
dignity he could.
The next day was exactly the same. He paced and did push-ups and
sit-ups until he lost count. When he couldn't do any more, he sat
on his bed and played out scenarios of the X-Men's arrival in his
head, until they seemed more like fictional characters he had invented
than actual people he knew.
His guard burst in some time in the middle of the sixth day. "It's
time for ... oh, that's disgusting! Stop that."
Bobby froze in surprise and stopped scratching the back of his neck.
He had picked the scab off some time earlier, and now his fingertips
were all bloody. He hadn't even noticed he was doing that. He regarded
his fingernails thoughtfully for a moment, before recalling the guard's
presence. "Uh, sorry. What were you saying?"
"Judgment day, spy. The man in charge is finally back. You get to
meet him ... Jesus, don't lick the blood off your fingers.
Wipe it on your pants or something."
He blinked, then managed a slightly mischievous grin. "But I want
to look clean if I'm gonna meet the man in charge."
"No hope of that," she murmured. "Damn. We should've had you shower
first. Too late now. Doesn't matter. The audience should be short.
He certainly wasn't in the best condition to meet the man who kept
all these psychos under control, Bobby reflected as he was lead down
more identical gray corridors. As if it wasn't enough that his legs
were ready to fall out from under him and that his mind was as stable
as an adolescent boy's singing voice, he also smelled bad and desperately
needed to shave. He briefly wondered if he'd still smell bad after
turning into iceform and back. It was kind of a moot point, anyway.
If he turned into iceform he could blast his way out of here and take
all the showers he wanted at home.
Home. Then the thought came out of nowhere, like an ambush,
and he suddenly knew how people felt when they entered the Twilight
Zone. Would he ever see home again?
After all, he had been here for six days. Six friggin' days, and
no rescue. Were they waiting for him to use his detective abilities
to pump the guards for info? 'Cause there was no way in hell that
was going to happen, what with the guard being a telepath. Maybe they
were just waiting for him to meet the guy who ran the place, and then
the X-Men were going to burst in and maybe stand there and pose for
a minute, say a few catchy lines, and then pound the villain to a
pulp before whisking Bobby off to his nice, relatively safe home,
and all the cable TV there entailed.
Or maybe they thought they were well rid of him.
"Sir." Skirrow's voice interrupted his thoughts. She had stopped
by a large, black door and the positively frightening man who guarded
it. He was huge and muscular, with beady black eyes, and the scales
that covered him didn't exactly detract from the scariness. "Here's
the prisoner you wanted."
The man glanced at Bobby for barely a second, but the glance still
made Bobby wish he was a turtle so he could hide in his shell. As
it was, he did his best to suck his head into his body. "Thank you,"
said the reptile-man. "I'll take him from here."
Why did they keep handing him off? Does nobody want me?
"Oh, stop it," Skirrow snarled at him under her breath. "I am so
sick of your confusion and self-pity. Can't you have funny or witty
or interesting thoughts?" She made a little sound of annoyance, and
then turned away and stalked off before Bobby could think of anything
funny to think.
He eyed the scaly man nervously until the black doors opened and
another man poked his head out. "The new arrival? Good." He motioned
Bobby in and the guard made to follow, but the other man stopped him.
"I think we should be able to handle him between the two of us," he
"Sir," the scaly man said stiffly, and withdrew. Bobby watched him
go with relief, then turned to look at the room. It was sparsely decorated,
the key feature being the chair on the far end, like the throne in
a king's audience chamber. No, scratch that. The key feature was the
man in the chair. Bobby froze, gaping. Now he really knew what
people felt like when they entered the Twilight Zone. The man in the
chair was Magneto.
Magneto was the first to recover, naturally. He glanced at a sheet
of paper in his hand, and raised his eyebrows. "Well, Robert Drake
the X-Man. I really should have given your psi profile a more
"Agh," said Bobby.
Magneto regarded Bobby for a moment, then turned to the man who had
escorted Bobby in, a lean man with brown hair and insanely blue eyes.
"Cadran, I'm afraid we can't go with our original plan to simply erase
his memories like we did with the others. That would probably bring
in a flood of X-Men, which I very much want to avoid." He scowled
into the middle distance. Bobby gurgled.
Magneto rose from his seat and began to pace, looking at the paper
he held in his hand. "This doesn't make any sense. Has Xavier gone
senile? What did they possibly think you could accomplish with such
When you find out, you tell me. Bobby swayed uncertainly under
Magneto's harsh scrutiny.
He paused, and a small smile curled his lips. "Or were they trying
to get rid of you? You're more a liability than an asset, Drake. Perhaps
they aren't coming for you as you seem to believe."
Bobby didn't mean to react, but he found himself shivering suddenly.
Shit. You know that's not true. He knew the idea was absurd,
but for some reason it seemed credible... They're not coming, ever,
at all. They're not even trying. No, no. He knew his teammates
better than that ... What was wrong with him? "Hey! On occasion I've
kicked serious ass in the name of the X-Men, okay? If they're gonna
be downsizing, I think they'll take care of the homicidal liabilities
before they get to me."
Magneto was watching him thoughtfully, and Bobby met the man's gaze
with something almost resembling defiance. Bobby looked away before
it became a staring contest, and gazed at his bare feet instead. He
needed to cut his toenails.
Magneto turned to Cadran. "Cadran, would you be so kind as to get
him something to eat? Thank you." As Cadran left, Magneto re-seated
himself and another chair came flying from the corner of the room
and landed across from him. "Have a seat, Drake. Tell me how you got
here, why you're here."
"Can't your telepaths tell you that?" said Bobby, stumbling into
"I want to hear it from you."
What did he have to lose after all? They already knew everything,
and it was so nice to talk to someone besides the mean guard lady.
"It all started when we found out about this fortress. Come to think
of it," Bobby's brow furrowed, "I can't quite remember how we did
that. Huh. Anyway, we knew there was lots of mutant activity going
on, but we weren't quite sure what the activity was. I offered to
go, but I was surprised when Scott took me seriously. They would've
been better off sending a telepath, but they didn't. I guess Scott
didn't want Jean getting into danger or something, though she would've
"I have noticed," Magneto interjected, "that the emotional bonds
between the X-Men do sometimes undermine the team's performance."
"It's rather reassuring to know that you won't be sacrificed to The
Cause, though. We're not all fanatics. I like being alive." He paused,
trying to regain his line of thought. It was so easy to fall back
into the habit of babbling, regardless of the fact that the enemy
was at the other end of the babble. He was one sucky secret agent.
"Anyway, moving on. My beloved teammates psyched me up and dropped
me off. I got caught by those psychos people seem to call the psi
police and ... well, you've got the results of the interrogation.
Then, then, I was stuffed in that fuckin' cell and bored to
death for six days. Believe me, after the psi boys get to you,
you really don't want to be alone for that long."
His rant was prevented from evolving into anything more emotional
by the entry of Cadran with a tray of food. Bobby's eyes widened.
Real food. Non-processed meat and fresh vegetables and cold
water. It was placed in front of him, and Bobby attacked it as if
would run away. He began talking again, as he ate. "And, my God, the
place is so damn boring. Couldn't you have put a TV or something in?
I've gotten so bored I've started talking to my hand. If I had a pen
I'd draw a face on it. Worse yet, 'The Sound of Silence' is stuck
in my head, and I don't know all the words so I just have little pieces
of the song playing in a endless loop in my mind. It's awful."
"So I gather," said Magneto blandly. Bobby looked at him, and shrugged
inwardly. So what if Magneto thought he was an idiot. Bobby wasn't
too fond of Maggie either.
He didn't feel like eating any more. His tray was taken away. "Take
him back to his cell," commanded Magneto, his expression as unreadable
Bobby was handed back off to Skirrow, who didn't deign to speak to
him. She looked positively distracted, staring into space as she lead
him down the corridors. Bobby, trying not to think about his recent
interview, began humming 'the Sound of Silence' to himself, and Skirrow
didn't even snap at him.
Bobby awoke to the unpleasant knowledge that he had been in the fortress
precisely a week. If I was God, I could have created the universe
in that time. Instead, he had managed to create a huge scab on
the back of his neck.
He was lying in bed, waiting for breakfast to come when the door
burst open for a second time. He sat up, blinking sleepily, and watched
as Skirrow entered. Her hair was unkempt, and she had large bags under
her eyes. Her mouth was compressed in a tight line, and she only glanced
at Bobby briefly before turning and saying to someone in the hall,
"Bring him in and put him on the bottom bunk."
Two men attired in gray uniform entered, a third figure slumped between
them. Who've they caught now?
The two guards deposited their charge and left, along with Skirrow.
Summoning all his energy, Bobby slid down to floor and gaped at the
man lying on the lower bunk. He knew who the figure was, but his sleep-addled
brain couldn't seem to grasp the reality of the situation.
Magneto gave him a brief, disoriented look, before saying slowly,
Bobby couldn't help himself. He collapsed to the floor, laughing
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