Hellions #2 (1/07)
Mark Sellers just lay on his bed. He could barely focus on his surroundings. People came and went but they were nothing more than blurs. Was it the grief that made him feel this way or the drugs? He hardly knew the difference or even cared. What Mark did know was that he had felt infinitely worse before taking PHX.
PHX – Posthuman Xstasy – was not widely available. It was known only to the elite of posthumans. Anyone lacking an x-gene strand – whether innate at birth or otherwise – would be killed. PHX provided a burst of superpowers by temporarily supercharging the e-gene strand of normal humans. When the burst subsided, the e-gene strand would be destroyed, leading to a slow and painful death. Hence, those humans who did use PHX didn’t live to tell the tale.
For posthumans, PHX charged the x-gene strand but did not grant additional abilities. The main result was to alter consciousness to achieve at least the perception of higher thinking if not truly such. How it altered a posthuman varied to some degree. Psychics, no matter how slight their powers, noticed the most change. As it turned out, Mark Sellers had a wide array of extrasensory abilities, all of which were normally very slight. The impact of PHX on him was very significant. The past, present and future all blended together between himself and others. Just as he was unable to discern which thoughts were his own, he also couldn’t tell you what thoughts belonged to anyone else.
A young black man with a clean-shaven head walked into his new room. He dropped his suitcases and looked around. The garbage near the empty bed of the two in the room was filled with an assortment of items ranging from clothes to personal hygiene products. He knew the previous boy had left in a hurry after remaining at the school for no more than a week, but it was obvious that his roommate also hadn’t cared that he left.
The teenager felt a telepathic probe but was aware that not even Emma Frost had been able to penetrate his mental defenses. It was a side effect of his mutant powers but one which came in very handy. He correctly assumed that his roommate was a telepath and turned to greet him.
“Just so you don’t waste your time,” the young man began. “My powers make me immune to telepathic intrusion. Your power is useless against me.”
“Tyler Dayspring,” the other boy responded. “Telepathy is only one of my abilities. Given time, if I cared enough, I’d crack your mind like an eggshell. I don’t really care. I just wanted to get an idea about who you are.”
“You might try asking.”
“Humans ask. We’re not human. We’re better than human.”
“Posthuman,” the other said with a nod. “Gods among men.”
Tyler smiled. He knew he’d like this roommate far more than the last one. He had been a weak, simpering pacifist who saw humans as equals.
“Because I have to, I’ll ask. Who are you?”
“Christopher Aaronson. But you can call me King Bedlam.”
Six blonde girls made their way to the second floor of the girls dormitory. Five of them were completely identical. Their hair and clothes were the same and they even walked in perfect synchronization. It was impossible to tell one quintuplet from the next. They were also stunningly beautiful and would surely be eager to play tricks on any boy who might approach them.
“Here is your room, girls,” said Jenny Stavros.
As head girl, it was her responsibility to escort the girls to their room. Still, she didn’t like them. They were strange and telepathic, two points against them right from the start.
Jenny wasn’t worried that they would harm her telepathically; her own luck kept her mostly safe from that sort of thing. It was just that they could be intrusive. Even if they couldn’t crack Jenny’s mind – and they probably could – they could no doubt find information about her from the minds of others.
“Thank you, Jenny,” one of the girls said with a hint of condescension.
“You’re welcome, um…”
“Mindee,” she supplied. “Mindee Stepford.”
“Right. Mindee. If you need anything, I’m just down the hall.”
Mindee, Phoebe, Sophie, Esme and Celeste smiled as one. However friendly the Stepford Cuckoos might seem, that air of superiority about them would keep anyone from getting too close.
A few days earlier, Tracy Samson held a meeting with his friends from the former New Mutants.
“I’m leaving,” he said.
“Why, Tracy,” Rahne Sinclair asked. “It’s far from perfect but it’s someplace to learn to use our powers.”
“I don’t need to learn to be a…Hellion.”
Dani Moonstar caught the gist of Tracy’s meaning. She had also figured out that the Hellions were meant to be used as agents of the Hellfire Club, and possibly even assassins. That didn’t sit well with her but she could see why Tracy wouldn’t be able to handle it.
“Where will you go,” Dani asked. “Professor Xavier was your guardian. Without him around you don’t have any place to go. I think the White Queen was planning to become your guardian.”
“I’ll just fly. Anywhere is better than here. People will help me.”
“I believe it. Tracy, please keep in touch.”
Tracy smiled but it was doubtful he’d call and a near-certainty that he’d never visit them at the Academy.
“We’ll all miss you,” said Sam Guthrie.
“Tracy, none of us like it here,” Roberto said. “But we should stick together.”
“I do not see why you must leave,” said Amara Aquilla. “The White Queen cannot force us to do anything.”
“Whatever,” Tracy replied. “I’m going anyway. Maybe we’ll see each other again soon.”
Of them all, only Illyana Rasputin said nothing. It wasn’t that she didn’t care but that she was pushing her emotions aside in general. If she started feeling, she’d think about her brother and the other X-Men who had gone missing. The anger and grief might be too overwhelming, and who knew what she might do as mistress of Limbo under the influence of these emotions? No, it was better to keep herself closed off. Only Kitty Pryde really mattered, though she somewhat cared about Dani. The rest of them, Tracy included, meant little to her.
Tracy himself had nothing more to say and didn’t want to hear anything more from his teammates. Without a backward glance, Tracy left for his own room where he would encounter Tyler Dayspring. From there, he would leave the Massachusetts Academy, never to return.
“What do you mean he’s gone?”
Emma Frost was not pleased when she discovered that Tracy had left. The boy wasn’t a mutant but she still wanted him under her control. She had thought that if the others obeyed her then Samson would do the same. Emma had seriously underestimated the boy and his understanding of the situation.
“What did you want us to do about it,” Illyana asked. “He didn’t want to be here. Besides, if you go through with any of your blackmail schemes over this you’ll lose us all. You never had Tracy and weren’t ever going to.”
“Illyana,” Rahne cried out. “Ye cannae talk to Ms. Frost that way!”
Emma remained quiet, a passive look on her face. She could see that the others were scared, but neither Illyana’s face or thoughts gave anything away. Finally, she cleared her throat and looked up.
“I will give you this one. However, you had better not give me any reason to doubt your loyalty in the future. Additionally, you will address me with respect from this point on.”
“Deal…Ms. Frost,” was Illyana’s reply.
“Very good. Now, send Katherine in as you leave. Dismissed.”
The New Mutants filed out of the room. Moments later, Kitty Pryde entered.
“Katherine, I am pleased to see you. Please, have a seat.”
Kitty did as she was told but didn’t bother to hide her suspicion.
“What is it you wanted,” Kitty asked in a not-quite polite voice.
“Two things, actually, dear, but I believe you are more than capable. First, I would like you to keep your friend Illyana in line. It would be…troubling if she made things difficult. I believe you are the only one who can reach her. Say what you will of my motives, but even you must acknowledge that she is better off at the Massachusetts Academy than in that other realm in which she likes to spend so much time.”
Kitty knew without a doubt that Frost was right. Illyana would retreat more and more into Limbo until she finally stopped returning. Or, if she did come back, she might not be human anymore.
“She could kill you.”
“If she wished to do so it would have happened by now. Believe me, Katherine, I know exactly where I can and cannot push. Illyana requires careful attention, which is why I need your help.”
“Fine,” Kitty sighed. “What’s the other problem?”
Emma smiled at Kitty’s words. She knew the girl was extremely perceptive and intelligent, which was why Emma wanted her so badly under her guidance. If she didn’t push her too far and too fast along Emma’s projected path, she knew she could mold Kitty as she liked, perhaps even as a successor. Control of Kitty also meant at least a measure of allegiance from Illyana and, most likely, Doug Ramsey. They held potential within the Hellfire Club. Right now, however, she still had to take great care with Kitty lest she lose her entirely.
“Mark,” Emma replied. “He seems to have developed an affinity for you. He is not in love with you – or even looking to date – but he holds what is perhaps best described as the love of a sibling. In some way, you must remind Mark of his sister, Lara, who disappeared over a year ago. I want you to use that bond to bring him back from the brink. You are not my only resource but every bit helps.”
“Maybe if someone hadn’t made him a PHX addict it’d be easier for him to cope. Losing your parents can’t be easy.”
“That situation is neither here nor there. Perhaps the drugs were too much for him but that is a separate issue. Help him however you can. It will go a long way toward developing a trust between us. Were I to trust you certain…other measures might not be necessary.”
By that, Frost meant that the threats to the safety of others would no longer be required. Kitty wasn’t stupid enough to believe her family would ever be truly safe but at least they might not be under constant surveillance or have their lives infiltrated by the Hellfire Club.
“Okay, I’ll do it,” Kitty answered. “I’ll help you with Illyana and Mark – even the other New Mutants if you want. But you’d better be true to your word. If I find out you’re fucking with me…well, I don’t think we need to go there.”
It wasn’t necessary to say that Illyana would slaughter them all. It would only take a word from Kitty and the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club would be dead. The only flaw was that Illyana’s soul would be irrevocably lost, as would Kitty’s own. Emma was fairly certain Kitty would never give Illyana that order but she could be pushed to the brink if any harm were to come to her family.
“One other thing, Katherine,” said Emma. “I am going to formally announce you as my protégé at the Hellfire Club Annual Fire Ball in August.”
Kitty simply nodded her head. It was no surprise that she would be Frost’s pet project. Why else would she have spent so much tim trying to get her here?
“I could simply make him feel better,” said Manuel de la Rocha. “Not that I care, but he will be no asset to the team like this.”
Along with Manuel was James Proudstar. They both stood in the doorway of Mark’s room. Mark was unlikely to be aware of their presence.
“Since when do your powers work long-term,” James asked.
“They work for as long as I need.”
“What would you do if your family died?”
“Haven’t you guessed by now that I have no feelings?”
Manuel looked at Mark, the concentration showing on his face. Nothing changed.
“He is coming down.”
“What are you doing with my roommate,” asked Fabian. “You are not, I hope, using your abilities on him.”
“What if I am?”
A crackle of bio-electric energy flashed in Fabian’s eyes.
“I recommend you leave.”
Manuel scowled at Fabian. It was unclear why, but Manuel did not use his emotion-twisting abilities against Fabian. There was some suspicion that electrical energy made it difficult to penetrate his mind but none of the resident telepaths had mentioned it. Not wanting to continue, Manuel walked to his own room, closing the door behind him.
“Nice job,” James said to Fabian. “I wish more of us had the guts to stand up to him.”
“It is the least I can do for him. It has been difficult for me to have never known my own mother. I imagine it must be much worse for him, but at least he knew they loved him. I cannot say the same.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Nothing I care to discuss at this time. If you will excuse me, I shall attend to my roommate.”
Fabian entered the room and closed the door. Looking around, he saw the tabs of PHX. He knew this was not helping Mark with his grief, instead putting it off. Picking them up, Fabian concentrated on them with his powers, causing them to dissolve. He had not taken into account that the fumes from the dissolution would also give a high. Fortunately, the effect was mild. He could feel his power increase in strength and his perceptions growing. Fabian lacked the psychic abilities that unlocked the full potential of the drug but that was fine since he had no interest in it.
What was unexpected was that he became aroused. Fabian wasn’t sure if the drug caused it or if it just made him more aware. At this point, he didn’t really care.
Fabian took off his shirt and lay down on the bed with Mark. He wrapped his arms around Mark, cuddling. Mark didn’t complain, instead moving further into the ‘spoon’. It was difficult to say whether Mark was aware of Fabian’s presence or if his body was simply making him more comfortable.
Emboldened, Fabian kissed Mark’s shoulders and the back of his neck. He also put his hand up Mark’s shirt, running along the solid abdominal muscles. The intense training for the Hellions left all of the team in excellent shape.
When Fabian began to nibble on Mark’s ears, there came a reaction. Mark let out a slight moan. Manuel had said Mark had begun to come down from his high, so perhaps that was what was occurring. Fabian also liked to believe that a pleasure from his physical body would focus his concentration on himself rather than everything else. To that end, he started playing with Mark’s nipples as he ran his tongue and lips along the side of his neck. Mark breathed in deeply and gave yet another pleasurable moan.
By now, Fabian himself had become so aroused that he wanted more. He rationalized that it was to help Mark, but inside he knew it was simply what he wanted to do. Fabian hardly cared as he unbuttoned the top of Mark’s jeans and slipped his hand inside, soon finding what he wanted. If Mark was not consciously aware of what was happening, his body definitely knew. Mark was just as aroused as Fabian.
Undoing his own pants, Fabian pulled out his penis and began rubbing it against Mark’s backside. At the same time, he was pulling on Mark’s penis. Both boys moaned in unison. It was about then that Fabian heard an attention-getting cough.
Fabian looked up to see an angry-looking Kitty Pryde. The door was still shut, suggesting she had phased through the door. He couldn’t imagine why she would do that.
“What are you doing,” Kitty asked angrily.
“I’m…it’s…I’m not…” Fabian sputtered.
“Mark has no idea what he’s doing! How could you take advantage of him like this?”
Fabian buttoned his pants and jumped off of the bed. He looked aghast at what he was doing, watching as she zipped up Mark’s jeans.
“I don’t know what happened.”
“Were you taking PHX, too?”
“Wh--no. I do not take drugs. Except that I did destroy Mark’s supply. A vapor was released.”
“A vapor. Hmm--”
“And one other thing. Manuel was outside of the room when I arrived. I chased him away.”
“Right this moment, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt,” Kitty said. “Empath is a shit and I know he’d mess with you if it suited him. I’ll also look into the PHX vapor. But I don’t trust you. Find somewhere else to spend the night.”
Fabian didn’t even bother to argue. If Kitty hadn’t come in, Fabian would have forced himself on Mark. That would have been rape. He was not sure how he would have felt the next morning. Fabian just prayed to God that he was not fully in control of his actions.
Kitty sighed and turned to Mark. She brushed the hair out of his face. As she looked closely at him, Kitty realized that Mark looked very familiar to her. It was as if she had met him years ago and was just now recognizing him again after many years apart. The only problem was that she could not place where she knew him from but she now felt a certain protectiveness for him that hadn’t been present ten minutes earlier.
Bo watched Fabian come out of his room, white as a sheet, just a minute after Kitty had phased in. James had told him how Fabian blew off Manuel, which could have been a mistake. He wondered if Manuel had done something to Fabian. Since only Fabian came out, something unusual must have happened.
“Fabian, buddy,” Bo said. “Everything okay?”
Fabian gazed at Bo, a haunted look in his eyes. He began to babble in French. While Bo had learned some, he was nowhere near proficient enough to pick out more than a few words that he couldn’t place in context.
“Slow down! I have no idea what you’re saying.”
“Something happened,” said Fabian. “I cannot explain it and find I am disgusted with myself.”
“You want to talk about it?”
Fabian said nothing for a long time. He couldn’t even look Bo in the eye. Finally, he said, “Yes”.
“Then come in my room. James is out.”
Fabian obeyed. Somewhere in his mind he worried that he might try to do the same thing to Bo but his awareness of the situation would have prevented it from occurring. Besides, Bo was possibly the strongest member of the team; Fabian couldn’t take him if he tried. At least, not without potentially lethal results.
Two rooms down from Bo’s, three boys could be heard laughing hysterically – or two of them, at least. The other showed no emotion other than smug satisfaction.
“That was most gratifying,” Manuel said. “Fabian’s mind is quite difficult to penetrate. The assistance you two provided made it go much more smoothly, though I would have succeeded on my own.”
Tyler and Christopher stopped laughing and glanced at one another. Wicked smiles appeared on their faces. They turned as one to look at Manuel, who suddenly found he lacked control of his mind and body.
It was Christopher who grabbed Manuel by the throat but Tyler seemed more than willing to do the same. Manuel was, despite his lack of control, able to gasp. Control was something he clung to and its loss was difficult for him to handle.
“Let’s get something straight here, de la Rocha,” Christopher said with a perfectly even voice. “You could have done nothing without us. I was the one who disrupted Fabian’s mind so you could get in. Even then it took Tyler to amplify your powers to do as you did.”
“He thinks that his royal background makes him untouchable,” said Tyler. “Manuel doesn’t realize I process more information in a minute than he does in an entire day, or that ‘Omega’ isn’t just a showy name. I’m an Omega-level mutant. There are precisely sex of us at this school, me and those sextuplets who just showed up.”
“The point is, Manuel, that you need to learn that it’s not all about you. I don’t mind having fun like this but don’t think we’re your servants. You can’t touch my mind and Tyler could crush you.”
Christopher withdrew his hand and a pleasant smile appeared on his face. He had said what he wanted to say. For Christopher, there were genuinely no hard feelings so long as Manuel understood. Manuel was not so forgiving.
“Leave now,” he said.
Tyler rose from his seat and headed for the door. Before he left he turned to make one last comment.
“You know, Manuel, you always pride yourself on having no emotions. It’s funny how you get so angry when you don’t get your way.”
Tyler closed the door behind him and he and Christopher went off to their room. From nearby, James stepped out into the hall. His senses had begun to expand lately and he heard everything. Those three had done something to Fabian. Manuel had been put in his place, which was satisfying on many levels, but it looked like the newer students were even worse.
“That’s fucked up, dude,” Bo said to Fabian. “I’m not gonna say I know any of those three really well, but Manuel is definitely creepy. James said he screws around with people for kicks.”
“I do not know what to do,” Fabian sobbed. “How can I face him again?”
James opened the door and entered. He looked hard at Fabian. His newly enhanced senses told him that Fabian’s heart was racing.
“Manuel was messing with your head,” James said. “But not alone. Tyler Dayspring and that new kid Christopher Aaronson were in on it. Sounds to me like it took the three of them together to get to you.”
“You…know,” Fabian asked.
“The important thing is that I’m on your side.”
“We should go to Ms. Frost,” said Bo.
“She expects us to work this out ourselves. I think we need to teach them a lesson.”
“I do not want them all to know,” Fabian explained.
“All they need to know is that those three did something to your head. Trust me, those guys hate Manuel. Even Mark hates him but I think it’s best we not involve him in this.”
Bo grinned. Ever since he’d left home – and football – he’d been itching to beat someone. The Combat Room was fun but it didn’t really test him in life or death. Even though Frost assured them it was deadly dangerous, Doug Ramsey had hacked the system and found out that there were safeguards in place to prevent them from being seriously injured. And to tell the truth, Bo always loved pounding on bullies. This promised to be fun.
Kitty slapped Mark a few times to get him moving. She had done a little research on PHX using Mark’s laptop and learned she could shock him back to reality given the correct stimuli. She also found out that PHX vapors could make people amorous, occasionally to the level of roofies, but Kitty guessed that Fabian’s suspicions about Manuel were accurate. Being Frost’s new protégé could be advantageous in this situation, if only because she’d stay out of her way when she dealt with Manuel. Besides, even if he wasn’t behind this, Manuel was the type of scum who could stand to be knocked down a peg or two.
Getting little response from Mark she pulled him off the bed and let him drop hard to the floor.
“Oww,” was the only real response from Mark, though he became cognizant enough to get up when Kitty tugged on him. She helped him out of the room and down the hall to the boys bathroom. Pushing the door open, she managed to get Mark inside.
The bathroom wasn’t empty. Sam Guthrie was drying his hair with a towel and wore nothing. Roberto DaCosta had a towel wrapped around his waist, as did Doug, the latter of whom was shaving in the sink. Doug saw Kitty in the mirror and dropped his razor.
“Sam,” Roberto gasped. Your towel!”
As soon as Sam saw Kitty he dropped the towel in front of him. His face turned crimson. Kitty noticed but didn’t care. Right at that moment the only thing that mattered was helping Mark.
“What’re ya doin’, girl” Sam shouted. “You can’t just--”
“Shut up Sam,” said Kitty. “Fill the tub with cold water.”
“You can’t just bust in here--”
“The tub, Sam. Now!”
Cowed by the tone of her voice, Sam – with the towel firmly in place around his waist – turned the cold water on in the bathtub. Then, glaring at Kitty, he ran out of bathroom to his room. Doug resumed his shaving.
“What is this about,” asked Roberto.
“The shock of cold water is supposed to bring PHX users back to reality. Psychics are affected the most because the enhancements send their minds way out of their heads. The really cold water should force him to focus on his body.”
“Why not the shower?”
“It might work, but the stuff I read said that a tub was better than a shower.”
“He’ll be freezing.”
“That’s when he goes into the shower.”
“I guess I’ll wait to take my shower,” Doug said.
“You’re that embarrassed by me?”
“No. I figured I’d get Mark under the hot water once he’s out of the tub. No sense anyone else getting wet.”
Kitty smiled, impressed with his attitude and thinking. When they had first met, their common interest was in computers. Kitty had viewed Doug as a close friend since she was dating Colossus. During her last visit here, Emma Frost had revealed to Kitty that Doug loved her. She couldn’t be sure of anything that Frost told her was true but she suspected this particular bit of information was accurate. The thing was that Kitty hadn’t seen Doug as he saw her.
Since coming to the Massachusetts Academy, Doug had begun to change. He became much more confident and had worked hard both in the gym and the Combat Room. Doug’s body was becoming very well-defined. He also had a better hairstyle and his fashion sense had definitely improved. Another difference was in Kitty herself. The X-Men had been gone for seven months and it didn’t look as though they were ever going to return. Her feelings for Colossus had subsided, leaving her open to other interests.
“Thanks, Doug,” Kitty responded. “I should have known I could count on you.”
“Why don’t you head out? You’re only making Bobby nervous and we can handle things in here.”
Kitty was reluctant but nodded her head. It was only a matter of time before another of the male Hellions came in here and she wasn’t prepared to deal with the ones who were assholes.
Walking out into the hall, Kitty nearly collided with James. She blushed slightly when she realized James knew where she had come from.
“See anything interesting,” he joked.
“I caught Sam with his pants down.”
They both laughed.
“We should talk,” James said, suddenly serious. “Empath, Tyler and that new kid were behind what Fabian did.”
Kitty raised an eyebrow. She hadn’t intended to bring it up to anyone, mostly because she didn’t want to embarrass Mark. Still, if there were any Hellion Kitty could trust, it was James, even if he had originally wanted to kill Professor X.
“PHX vapor – which Fabian was exposed to accidentally – also makes people horny. If you put the vapor and Empath’s powers together…”
“Exactly. Anyway, Bo and I want to, ah, teach Manuel a little lesson. You in?”
“It’s a start. If we teach him that lesson – a big lesson – it might convince the other two to back off. They’ll only go as far as we let them. If that doesn’t work…well, my speed has increased. I might be able to take one of them out before they got to me.”
“Sounds decent,” Kitty replied. “Okay, listen, Doug and Roberto are in there trying to shock Mark out of his colossally stupid PHX stupor. Doug is a good guy but who knows what Roberto is doing. Can you make sure Mark gets back to his room?”
“Yeah, sure. Should I also let Fabian know it’s okay--”
“No,” Kitty cut him off. “I’m going to stay to make sure he’s okay.”
“Are you and he…?”
“Nothing like that. It’s more like he’s my brother. I don’t get it but that’s how it feels.”
James simply nodded his head though he understood none of it. Then he smiled, waved and entered the boys bathroom.
In the girls dorm Illyana Rasputin and Marie-Ange Colbert were looking through a scrying glass.
“It’s that Tyler kid,” said Illyana. “I am so going to kick his ass. And the black kid, too.”
“You must not harm Christopher,” Marie-Ange replied.
“I love him. He had been a student just when the Hellions were being formed. I fell in love with him but he left rather than serve. I do not know why he has returned but he must not come to any harm.”
“I can’t promise that,” Illyana spoke in an even tone, but it was almost like she was trying to keep her emotions in check. “Besides, he’s not worth it. He’s just another arrogant prick. Why else would he call himself ‘King Bedlam’? Frankly, he’s not worthy of you. There are much better choices, even if you limit yourself to the Hellions.”
“Please, Illyana. I beg of you.”
Illyana stared intently at Marie-Ange for a full minute before saying, “Fine. But if he fucks with one of my friends again I’ll tear his head off.”
“You should have left me alone,” said Mark.
Kitty sighed. She knew Mark would be deeply depressed and want to forget.
“I was afraid you’d never come back,” Kitty replied. “I read up on PHX. It’s rare, but some people’s minds stay lost.”
“You think I don’t know?” There was venom in Mark’s voice. “I didn’t want to come back! I was, like, one with everything. There was no me. Without me there was no pain.”
Kitty rubbed her eyes. This wasn’t going to be easy. Mark had lost a lot. His sister, to whom he had been close, disappeared. Then his parents died with evidence that foul play might have been involved. A younger sister was also dead. All that was left for Mark was his older brother who did not care at all about him.
“Mark, I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling. It hurt to lose the X-Men, but at least I know my parents are alive.” Kitty paused to consider her words. “I know about grief and I know you have to work through it. I’ll be here for you. I promise.”
“You can’t promise anything.” There was a listlessness in Mark’s voice. He was trying to cope by feeling nothing, but that wouldn’t last. “No one can. Everyone can die…will die.”
There wasn’t much more Kitty could say. The wounds were too raw for him to see reason just yet. The important part was to watch him to make sure he didn’t try to harm himself any further. The best she could do was be there for him. James, Doug, Dani and Illyana would help and she suspected some of the others could be trusted.
Illyana watched, a spell keeping her hidden in a dark corner of the room. She didn’t regret breaking up with Mark but she still cared about him. Watching him like this just made her angry and she could tell Kitty was also very upset.
It didn’t take long for a decision to be made. She had promised Marie-Ange that she wouldn’t harm Christopher right now but there was still Tyler. In fact, it could be fun to play with him. With a malevolent grin, Illyana vanished and reappeared in Tyler’s room. Christopher was also present, but she could ignore him.
“What are you doing here,” Tyler demanded. “You have no right to barge in here without invitation.”
“No,” Illyana queried. “A mind deserves the same consideration. When you enter without invitation it’s a violation. That can’t happen again.”
“What is it you believe you can do,” Christopher asked with a derisive laugh.
Turning, Illyana’s eyes had become orbs of burning flame. Spiraling red horns grew from her skull and her skin reddened. Finally, her legs took on the form of cloven hooves. None of that compared to the grin on her face that turned him cold.
Mumbling an incantation, Illyana raised a hand and sent Christopher flying against the wall. A cage then appeared around his head that suppressed his powers.
Finished with Christopher, and leaving him relatively unharmed, Illyana turned to Tyler. He was filled with fear but showed no signs of it. That meant nothing because Illyana’s demonic form could literally smell fear.
“You made me unhappy today,” said Illyana. “I’ve been unhappy since I first went to Hell but at least I had Kitty, my brother and the X-Men. Then my brother and the X-Men disappeared but I still have Kitty. I’m only here for her. Right now Kitty is very sad because Mark…suffered. He was nearly raped. By you.” Purely for effect, Illyana waited for it to sink in. He obviously knew his role but had no idea that anyone other than Christopher and Manuel also knew. “I don’t like it when Kitty’s upset. I don’t like it at all. I especially don’t like whoever makes her unhappy.”
Illyana turned toward the window. When she looked back at Tyler she had undergone a complete transformation. Illyana looked like a beautiful teenage girl, even wearing a flowery dress. A cute smile appeared on her face.
“I just have one favor to ask,” Illyana said. She sounded as though Tyler were a close friend and she was using her puppy dog eyes to get her way. “Please don’t hurt Kitty. I know you can do that for me, right?”
“Um…I…I guess so,”
“I knew you could! Thanks, Tyler. Bye!”
Illyana flashed Tyler a happy smile and then exited the room, practically bouncing like a giddy child. As she left the cage around Christopher dissolved.
“What…was that,” Christopher asked of his roommate.
“I don’t know,” said Tyler. “I’ve never met anyone like her. I don’t think she’s really human.”
Christopher nodded, fearing Tyler was right. It didn’t mean things were over between them – far from it. It simply meant they would have to tread carefully in dealing with her.
Haroun was not especially happy with what he’d heard. Manuel was hardly his favorite person and the idea of taking him on was not desirable. Haroun would never admit to anyone that he feared anything, but the fact was that he was afraid. Manuel could do things to him. Ever since their encounter months ago when the New Mutants were held captive, Haroun’s feelings had changed. Manuel had made Haroun love him in order to save himself from a beating. The effect had seemed transitory, and Haroun held no love for Manuel, but he now found himself attracted to at least some other males.
Before setting the Hellions up on their own floor of the dormitory, respective of gender, Haroun had found himself lusting after his roommate. They got drunk together and things happened between them. Regretting his actions, Haroun’s roommate spread a rumor that Haroun had slipped a roofie into his drink. His roommate then left the school.
There was no truth to the rumor and Ms. Frost had completely exonerated Haroun but there were always the doubters. He knew some of his fellow Hellions were suspicious of him, unsure they could trust a teammate who might have forced himself on someone else. Worse, Haroun could never be sure what role, if any, Manuel might have played in it all. Did Manuel somehow affect the feelings of himself or his roommate? Knowing what he had done to Fabian made Haroun seriously doubt himself. If Manuel had done such a thing for amusement, what might he do out of anger? Haroun had no intention of finding out and resolved not to involve himself in the conflict he saw brewing among his teammates. It was safer not to anger Manuel and best to stay away from him altogether.
Manuel fumed over what Tyler and Christopher had done to him. He was unsure if the others were individually more powerful than he but Manuel believed that only a combined assault by the both of them could have led to his defeat. While true that Christopher was immune to telepathic intrusion it wasn’t entirely true of emotional manipulation. When Christopher had last been at the Academy, Manuel learned that he could make minor alterations in his behavior. It was that which led Christopher leaving because of Frost rather than remain for Marie-Ange. What brought him back Manuel did not know but he knew he was going to have to break the other.
Reaching into a drawer, Manuel pulled forth a vial. It was a distilled form of PHX, liquid rather than a tab. It was very potent but had the bonus that it sent a jolt through the body of the user after about 15-20 minutes. This would be his key to dealing with Christopher and Quentin.
Opening the vial, Manuel swallowed its contents. The effect was instantaneous. Manuel smiled as his eyes began to glow. Now they would learn why it was a mistake to mess with a de la Rocha.
In another room, Christopher found his cock growing hard. He could normally control such things, even in a situation in which he might become aroused. Christopher had no idea what could be bringing this on. What he did know was that it wasn’t just a simple erection; he was incredibly horny. Just right then he would fuck anyone. Anyone at all.
Glancing over at Tyler, Christopher knew he had a target. Tyler was a telepath and therefore incapable of using his powers against him. A natural immunity to telepathy could come in handy at times. Beyond that, Christopher was bigger and stronger than Tyler. His roommate wouldn’t stand a chance.
Smiling, Christopher walked up to Tyler, who was typing up an assignment on his laptop. Tyler noticed Christopher but didn’t think much about it. He couldn’t read his roommate but had no reason to suspect Christopher of any untoward behavior. It was right about then that Christopher slammed Tyler in the back of the head, causing him to fall off his chair to the floor.
While Tyler was dazed, Christopher smashed Tyler’s head into the floor to keep him subdued. Then he unzipped Quentin’s pants and pulled them off. Christopher turned Tyler over and undid his own pants. He spit-lubed his cock and drove it right into Tyler. The scream from Tyler was a terrible thing to hear. Christopher thrust hard and deep. He had no interest in longevity; he simply wanted to get off. Finally, with a gasp, Christopher came. It was then that Manuel released his control, allowing Christopher to feel the full weight of what he had done. It may have been that Manuel enhanced the guilt but no one could say for certain.
When Bo bust down the door he saw Christopher’s softening cock as he sat on his knees behind Quentin. Dayspring was whimpering and crying, his ass covered in shit, semen and blood. Bo realized that Christopher must have brutally raped him. Judging by what he saw of Christopher, Tyler must have really been torn up inside.
Behind Bo were James and Fabian. James, despite wanting to teach a lesson to them, felt truly sorry for Tyler. He would never have wished this brutality on anyone. The look on Christopher’s face told him that he had no idea of what had just happened to him. That told James that Manuel had found a way to bypass Christopher’s defenses. Despite what he had thought earlier, Manuel truly was the worst of all.
Fabian took in the whole scene. Once he realized what had happened, a grin began to appear on his face. These two had almost made him a rapist and now it had happened to them. As he looked, a giggle began to escape from Fabian’s lips. It soon grew until he was laughing hysterically.
By now, Kitty Pryde and all the male Hellions save Mark, were gathered around. Everyone knew what had happened and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see Manuel’s fingerprints all over it. The fact that Manuel had a smug look of satisfaction on his face told all.
“I told you,” Manuel said. “Don’t fuck with a de la Rocha.”
Having said what he wanted to say, Manuel went back to his room.
The next day, Mark pulled himself out of bed. He felt like shit. When he noticed Kitty asleep on Fabian’s bed he was puzzled. Mark wondered if something had happened between at least one of them and Kitty, though he couldn’t really imagine it. Kitty was more like a sister. Then again, he couldn’t remember the last two days so he couldn’t say what he might have done. Mark just hoped he hadn’t somehow used enhanced telepathy to control her. A fucked up head with super-telepathy was a bad combination.
While Mark stood there watching Kitty, her eyes opened. After a moment, they grew wide in surprise. When Mark looked down he saw that he was naked. He just shrugged. Looking around, Mark found his towel and walked out of the room. He hadn’t taken a shower since the day his PHX trip started.
When Mark returned Kitty was gone but a note was on his bed. It read: “Mark, I stayed last night to make sure you were okay. Don’t worry, nothing happened. Call me on my cell later. Kitty.”
The words were few but it took Mark a long time to read them. His head was still screwy and he couldn’t concentrate very well. The note slipped from Mark’s hand but he acted as though it were still there, staring at the empty space.
Finally, Mark moved. He pulled off his towel to use it to dry his hair. It didn’t seem to matter that the door was open. Mark wasn’t particularly shy anyway but today little mattered to him. He managed to comb and gel his hair. The towel fell to the floor and Mark nearly went with it. Steadying himself, Mark opened a drawer and found a pair of boxer shorts and put them on.
“Are you going to take pictures of everything,” Amara asked of Angelica.
“Yes,” said Angelica. “My father sent me the latest iPhone. I’m going to put all of my friends on my Instagram.”
“Perhaps I should also have an Instagram,” Amara said.
Angelica noticed something unusual. Amara always had an accent since English wasn’t her first language but now she sounded different. If Angelica had to guess, she’d say the accent was Italian. That was, of course, impossible. The New Mutants had been to the hidden city of Nova Roma in the middle of the Amazon. There was no doubt Amara had been raised there. Yet, Amara seemed to catch on to modern technology and society very quickly. Could there be more to the story?
“I can help you with that,” Angelica said with a grin. “As soon as I get a few more pictures I’ll upload them and show you how it’s done. It’s all pretty easy. You create an account, and a few details about yourself, and start adding pictures!”
“That would be very nice,” Amara said. “If I am not here when you return I may be with Roberto.”
“I was actually going to the boys dorm. We could walk over together.”
Amara smiled. Angelica couldn’t tell if the other girl was truly pleased but she looked happy. In the month since they had first met, Angelica came to realize that Amara was good at hiding things she didn’t want others to know. In fact, Amara’s accent returned to the one Angelica knew better but she had a nagging feeling that Amara had made an intentional choice to do so.
“That would be lovely. I would enjoy your company.”
Angelica smiled. Amara hid things but she wasn’t a liar. If she said she liked Angelica she meant it. As Angelica saw things, and Amara as well, they were friends.
Park Avenue, New York City, the site of one of the world’s most fashionable jewelers Von Roehm et Cie. A limousine pulled up to the curb and out came a woman dressed in a black leather suit with fishnet stocking and a brimmed hat with a veil. The doorman opened the door and she stepped inside. In there stood Von Roehm himself along with a few of his employees.
“Herr Friedrich Von Roehm,” the lady questioned.
“I am he, madam,” Von Roehm responded, “The proprietor of this establishment.”
“Dismiss your staff for the rest of the day. I wish to speak with you privately.”
Without waiting for a response the woman turned the sign on the door to ‘closed’.
“Who are you to give me orders,” Von Roehm shouted. “Get out, woman, before I have you arrested.”
Speaking coolly, as though he were no threat, she said, “Since you speak from ignorance, I will forgive your impertinence this time. I would like this gem appraised.”
Pulling it forth, the lady handed it to the proprietor.
“It is unique. Legend says, when one looks at it in a certain way, in a certain light, a face can be seen.”
As Von Roehm looked, the face of a beautiful woman appeared. Von Roehm dropped the pendant as though it burned him.
“By the sacred fire--Selene! After two millennia our goddess has returned!”
In an instant Von Roehm sent his staff home. Once gone, he dropped to the floor on his knees in supplication. Selene removed her hat to reveal the face of the woman who was most recently feared in Nova Roma as its Black Priestess.
Showing Selene to a seat, Friedrich Von Roehm found a bottle of expensive red wine and poured a glass for each of them. In his nervousness, he downed the drink quickly.
“As your high priest, blessed one,” Von Roehm began, “I exist to serve. Your slightest wish is my command.”
“Such loyalty, Von Roehm, is most welcome,” Selene replied. “I require a residence, one that will allow me both to exercise my powers in safety and bring certain…plans to their fruition – preferably one which provides access to wealth and influence.”
“I believe I have the ideal solution. It is called the Hellfire Club.”
At that very moment at the Hellfire Club, someone was being prepared for entry. The admission requirements are steep indeed: one must be personally, almost impossibly, rich. A very few, very select members were invited to join the secret Inner Circle, headed by the club’s chairman, billionaire industrialist Sebastian Shaw. The latest such is Sunspot’s father, Emmanuel DaCosta.
A tailor handmaid attended to DaCosta, making certain everything fit just right. It wouldn’t do to have an imperfect fit, especially when dressed as one of the elite from the Victorian Era.
“I feel foolish dressed like this, Sebastian,” said Emmanuel. His accent is clearly Portuguese but the English is flawless. DaCosta is obviously used to dealing with Americans.
Shaw, standing to the side with his most trusted advisor and his knight – Tessa – smiled.
“Don’t, my friend,” replied Shaw. “Our customs signify our abandonment of the modern age – with its cloying ethics and bourgeois mercantile principles, where society is bent on protecting people from themselves at any cost – for a far simpler one. Here, man is limited solely by the scope of his imagination, his ambition, his daring, and bound only by his own personal sense of honor. Society, the common herd, means nothing, the individual all.
This is your last chance for second thoughts, Emmanuel. Once you cross the rubicon you can never turn back.”
“I’m ready,” Emmanuel replied with full confidence in his voice.
“Splendid. I look forward to your initiation.”
Back in the Boys’ Dormitory, Angelica walked down the hall. Amara had already stopped to see Roberto and Angelica was looking to take pictures of her friends. As she passed by the room shared by Mark and Fabian, Angelica saw that the door was open. Mark lay on his bed, eyes closed, but looking as though he had recently been crying. There was so much pain in his face. Almost without thinking, Angelica snapped a picture. The emotion she saw was so raw that she had to capture it.
Though the sound was slight, Mark opened his eyes. They were glassy but alert. Based on what Angelica had heard of him recently that was a welcome change. She understood why he would be hurting but didn’t think the drugs were such a good idea.
Angelica smiled tentatively at Mark. She wasn’t sure if she should apologize for taking the picture without Mark’s permission. In the end, Angelica decided that if Mark didn’t like it she would discard it, but since it was merely for personal use it seemed unlikely that he would care.
Mark got off the bed and rubbed his face. He was only wearing boxer shorts. Angelica held her breath as she looked at Mark. His shoulders were broad and his body was muscular though not overdeveloped like Beef. Then there was the substantial bulge in his shorts that drew her attention.
“You can breathe,” said Mark.
There was a slight, devilish smile on his face. Mark could tell that Angelica had been staring and what caught her gaze. Angelica turned crimson.
“I should…I have to…”
“It’s okay,” Mark said. “I’m not shy and I don’t mind.”
“I’m sorry, I just--when I saw you there you looked so sad. I didn’t mean to interrupt your rest.”
“Don’t worry about it. Honestly, I could use the distraction. Were you here to see someone?”
“Just to take pictures,” Angelica said. “I want to put my friends on Instagram.”
“I guess you’ve got me now.”
“No, I…I just thought it was such a great shot with raw emotion. I would never put that one up. I’d rather one where you’re happier.”
“Can I see it?”
“Sure,” said Angelica, handing the phone to Mark.
Mark stared at the image. He could see what she meant. He looked like he was so much in pain, but was it something he wanted to forget? Mark’s fingers hovered over the button to delete. Instead, he saved it.
Handing the phone back to Angelica, Mark said, “Keep it. You can tag me.. These feelings…I shouldn’t forget them. This will remind me of how important my family was to me.”
Angelica smiled. She didn’t know if she could handle it so well if her own father died. Of course, he hadn’t really done so. According to Roberto, Mark would have probably died had Kitty not intervened.
“If you get dressed,” Angelica began. “We can go into town for pizza or something. I can get some better shots of you there.”
“Sure you don’t want me like this,” Mark said, spreading his arms to show himself off. Then his fingers went to the waistband of his boxer shorts where he tugged against them. “Or this?”
Angelica’s eyes grew wide.
“No,” she shouted.
Mark grinned and turned around. He pulled out some clothes and got dressed.