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 kassia06@yahoo.com. It would be greatly appreciated. I've never written Magneto before, or so long a story.
Hope you enjoy.

Break Through
by Kassia

Chapter 1

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 thought mournfully.

"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 someone, right?"

"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 cuffs.

"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 avenues.

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 easy.

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 slit. "Hello...?"

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 done.

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. C'mon."

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 said sardonically.

"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 thorough reading."

"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 a plan?"

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 the chair.

"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 been perfect."

"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 as ever.

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, "Hell, right?"

Bobby couldn't help himself. He collapsed to the floor, laughing hysterically.

continued >>

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