Chapter One: Skillets
At first, he had considered suicide. It had taken him several weeks to completely dismiss the idea from his head. It was beneath him to take the coward’s way out. Still the prospect of facing the rest of his life as such a changed man was not appealing. He felt weak. He felt human. For the first time he felt his age. He knew he was no longer young. He knew he was getting older; the evidence greeted him every morning when he looked in the mirror. He was sixty-seven for heaven’s sake. But he had never felt old before.
It was difficult adapting. He had not returned to his fortress. It was too difficult to face what had once been the center of his power. All that metal… He wasn’t ready yet. Besides, how would he have opened the door to his own room? It was made of metal and he had purposefully never put a doorknob on it.
So he rented a small apartment in San Francisco and filled it with wooden furniture. He bought several cheap Ikea décor plastic lamps. He used only disposable Bic razors; the ones with the plastic handles and barely two blades to shave with. He even bought that ridiculous new age flexible plastic cookware. It was a nightmare to cook with. The red plastic skillet burned everything he made in it and it was a fight to remove the egg residue that stuck to it. Yet he never considered buying a good metal skillet.
He lived on as little money as could, hesitating to withdraw more than was necessary from his foreign bank accounts. He was still considered a wanted man to the U.S. government. Every so often, he would see his picture on CNN with the words “dangerous mutant terrorist” underneath it. He always laughed when it came on the screen. If they only knew…
He began making plans to settle in San Francisco. He considered taking a job as a guest lecturer at the University of San Francisco. Perhaps when enough time had passed from the battle at the Golden Gate Bridge he could get a full time job teaching there. He didn’t dare lecture on Mutant Relations, though that was obviously a subject he felt passionately about and the one he knew best. He would surely be recognized as Magneto if he did. Instead, he talked with the school’s Rabbi about doing a Holocaust lecture.
On warm days he would go to the park just to leave his apartment. Occasionally he played chess there, eventually playing against a man named Jonas. Jonas was very old, Erik guessed in his eighties and he never spoke aloud. Erik liked that. When he tried playing against other opponents they had annoyed him with their mindless prattle. They seemed so human. Erik could beat Jonas without much effort. He missed Charles terribly.
The loss of his closest friend weighed heavily on him. He was only now beginning to deal with his grief. As much as he had disagreed with Xavier’s politics and as much as they had been enemies, it meant nothing to Erik. They had still been friends. They had had the type of friendship were no matter what came between them (the Statue of Liberty incident) and no matter how long they went without speaking (his plastic incarceration), they picked right back up again as though nothing had happened. Even though he could never accept his friend’s peaceful placating methods, Erik never for one moment stopped caring about Charles. He found himself wondering if there was more he could have done to prevent his friend’s death. The wolverine’s accusation that he hadn’t tried to save Xavier from the Phoenix struck a cord. Perhaps, if he hadn’t goaded Jean so much about unleashing her power? Or if he had tried to fight her with Charles? They could have… Magneto was not someone who second guessed himself or regretted a necessary sacrifice if it benefited his cause of mutant supremacy. But he wasn’t Magneto anymore. He was only Erik Lensherr. And Erik had regrets.
It started with a paper clip. It had moved away from him when he tried to pick it up. He thought for a moment it might be static electricity or his eyes giving out on him. But when his fingers had neared the paper clip again, it moved. He didn’t feel the hum of metal around him and he could not move the paper clip towards him, only away, but it was a start.
A week later he could move the chess pieces around on the board in the park. He began to hope. It was three months after he had been stabbed with four doses of the “Cure” while on the Golden Gate Bridge. Eagerly he searched the net for information about mutants who had also taken the Cure. He found blogs by several mutants who were regaining their powers. Apparently, the glorious Cure had only brought temporary relief. It was said that Cure only lasted three or four months and then mutations returned in about another two months. He had had four doses and his immune system was older and slower to remove the drug from his system. He knew he was facing a long recovery.
But recover he would. For now he would bide his time and heal. Just the thought of no longer being weak made him feel years younger. Without his powers he felt exposed, defenseless. He had nightmares about the camps again and being unable to fight back. Now his thoughts strayed back to his abandoned cause. He began to dream again his old dreams of a separate land for mutants.
After another two weeks he could levitate small metallic objects and the faint hum in his mind of nearby metal had returned. He bought himself a $38 Kitchenaid iron skillet.
Notes: This is my first fic I’ve posted on ff net and I haven’t really been writing seriously for a while, so I’m probably very rusty. However, I’m currently living in an apartment that F. Scott Fitzgerald used to live in and it’s inspired me to write again.
Next chapter we see how Rogue has been fairing now that she can touch. It turns out she is really ticklish. Go to Chapter 2