Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 20: The Truth
"Yes Wanda...I know what Pietro was trying to say," answered Eric Magnus Lensherr to his daughter as took a deep breath in preparation for what he was about to do.
"Well...What was it? What was making him sound so distressed?" asked Wanda, eager to find out what had been causing these incoherent flashes that had been plaguing her for years now.
Magneto then turned to Jean, who was standing behind them...Completely unaware of what they were talking about or what was even going on for that matter. She had only recently come back from the rescue mission with Scott and hadn't been told all that much of what happened in the base while she was away. But something told her...She was about to find out.
"Jean...Are you ready?" asked Eric looking about as nervous as Wanda.
Jean simply nodded and stepped forwards as the master of magnetism took one last look at his daughter's innocent face...The face that was formed by an elaborate illusion that he ordered. He knew that once this was done...He may loose his daughter forever. Pietro had already made it clear that he hated him after what he put him through...And once Wanda knew the truth there would be no going back.
"What...Why is Jean here? What's going on?" asked Wanda, now feeling all the more confused.
"Wanda...My little girl...You know how much I love you and your brother," said Eric, feeling as though he should speak his final peace now or never, "I...Know I never showed it enough. I know I was never there when I should have been...But just know that...You and Pietro mean everything to me. I've been such a fool in the past...Fighting battles with the world when I should have been fighting battles with myself. I'm an old...Undeserving man of such children. And looking at you know...You remind me so much of your mother that I...I feel as though I can still be with her even though she's gone. You and Pietro have given me a lot...And I have never given anything back. I guess...What I'm trying to say is...I'm sorry Wanda...I'm so sorry."
Wanda was actually shocked to see tears forming in her father's eyes...And somewhat scared at what he may be implying. The young woman swallowed hard...Not at all liking where this was going. She didn't know what he could mean by such words...She didn't know why he was pouring his heart. She had to know...Why was he doing this?
"Father...What are you trying to say?" asked Wanda, now feeling her emotions take hold as the sight of tears in her father's eyes put a strain on her control.
"What I'm trying to say Wanda is...I want you to know the truth," answered Eric as he continued to struggle with such pent up feelings, "I've lied to you...I've lied to Pietro. And I've decided...That I'm through lying. I know that...You may hate me once all is said in done...But even if you do...Please, remember that I'll always love you as my children..."
The time had finally come...Magneto gave one last signal to Jean, who was the only one in the room completely in the dark. But something told her...She was about to find out. Taking a deep breath, she approached Wanda and placed both hands on her temples. The confused Scarlet Witch didn't know what to do...But she didn't fight it. Something inside her...Told her that she would soon have the answers that she had been seeking.
Jean began to concentrate and use her telepathy to probe Wanda's mind. She went slow at first...But quickly discovered the blocks that Magneto had been talking about. There were indeed quite a few of them...Most of which spanned back the vast majority of her life. All these blocks were placed in the memory section of her mind...What could they be suppressing? The blocks were not extremely advanced, but not the simplest either. However, her telepathic abilities were definitely strong enough mainly because of the surge in power that she obtained after the Phoenix incident. But still...She hesitated...Not knowing what she would find. But...Being that it was now or never and Magneto seemed somewhat determined to have it done...Jean began to remove the blocks.
One by one...The powerful suppression's of old memories began to quickly overtake the fake ones that had been put outside the blocks. Jean saw some of the images...They were horrifying...Terrifying...Full of so much sadness, loneliness, and anger. As more blocks fell...More images came forth. Some were images Wanda had never even seen before...Some images were pent up emotions...But they all had one thing in common...Magneto was the source. Once the final block had been removed Wanda's entire mind began to shutter violently. Jean quickly pulled out...Only to hear Wanda let out a single agonizing scream that echoed through the room as she fell to the floor, clutching her head.
"AHHHHHHHHH!" she cried with unparalleled emotion as she fell to the floor.
Jean fell back towards the door where she quickly made her way out to tell the others what had happened while Magneto quickly rushed to her side.
"Wanda?! Wanda, are you alright?"
But before Eric could get any closer...Wanda got up from the floor and looked back at him with an overwhelming expression of rage on her face.
"You..." said the Scarlet Witch angrily with glowing eyes, "IT WAS YOU! Those weren't nightmares! They were MEMORIES! You threw me away! You let those monsters take me away and stick me in a hole for years!!!"
Seeing so much rage in Wanda's eyes, Magneto bowed his head in defeat...For he had been all too right in assuming his daughter's reactions.
"Yes...I did...And I'm sorry," said Magneto in a deep tone of remorse.
"YOU'RE SORRY?!" bellowed Wanda as the whole room began to shake violently, "You think that's enough to undo all the pain you and Pietro put me through!?"
"Pietro had nothing to do with it..." said Eric as her powers grew increasingly volatile, "I...Forced him to go along with it. It was all my doing...If you should direct you're rage towards anyone...It should be me."
Wanda clenched her fists in rage as she looked at the man that had hurt her so much in her life. He had thrown her...His own daughter...Away into an insane asylum. She was forced to live in a cold, dark room where people treated her like an animal. Every last memory was all too clear at this point...It hurt so much to think about after being suppressed all these years. Tears of sadness and anger streamed down the young woman's face as her powers continued to simmer...Ready to unleash her full rage upon her father.
"You did it all...To me...Your own daughter!" yelled Wanda in a fit of agony, "What kind of monster are you?! YOU ARE NOT MY FATHER! I don't have a father anymore! You're just a monster now! A beast! No better than the one that murdered all my friends!!! I hate you! You deserve to die!"
Eric shut his eyes as he tried not to look at the pain in Wanda's eyes as she spoke to him with such rage. Every last venomous word stung so hard that no physical pain that Wanda could inflict would ever amount to it. Now his daughter...The last piece of his dead wife...Hated him. And it was all his fault.
"I know...I have no excuses for what I did to you," said the master of magnetism in a deep, solemn tone, "It took me years to see the error of my ways...And no words in existence could ever describe the regret I feel for doing such a horrible thing. I deserve whatever punishment you choose to inflict upon me...And I'm not going to fight against it...Not anymore. But I'm a different man now Wanda...I've changed since that day..."
"BULLSHIT! YOU NEVER CHANGE! You've always been the same, sadistic monster! You'll NEVER change!" bellowed Wanda, the intensity of her powers growing to even greater levels.
"You're wrong Wanda...People can change," said Eric, now knowing the answer now more clearly than ever, "Two years ago...I was forced to see how much I had hurt everybody in life because I was just too selfish and sadistic. I saw how much I hurt you...Your brother...Everybody. And it's haunted me ever since...I cannot sleep...I cannot dream...I cannot even think straight anymore without thinking about the horrors that I committed. So please...Wanda...My beloved daughter...Do what you may now. I am ready...To accept it."
Eric Magnus Lensherr closed his eyes as Wanda raised her glowing hand towards him...Preparing to hex him into oblivion. There was nothing stopping her...He wasn't going to fight her. All it would take...Is one single command...And it would be done. But as Wanda stood ready to exact the revenge that she had started...More images from the asylum haunted her mind...More feelings of pain and agony...But at the same time, she remembered her father's words. She remembered his desperate words before he unveiled the truth to her...Knowing how angry she would be.
Then...As she pointed her hand at her father...Something began to happen. Her hand began to shake...She felt herself unable to strike him. She wanted to...So badly. She wanted to blow him away...Send him to hell where he wouldn't hurt her or anyone else in this world ever again...But she couldn't. Tears were now streaming down her face uncontrollably as she struggled to gain control of herself. One part of her wanted to blow him away...The other didn't...It was a truly epic struggle within the young woman...Until finally...She broke down...For she couldn't do it.
Another agonizing scream echoed through the room as Magneto found his body flung out the door. Wanda quickly locked herself in with her powers and let out a cry of agonizing emotion.
Eric looked back at the now sealed door in amazement...For she hadn't gone through with it. She didn't strike him down like he knew she wanted to. He was still alive...She wasn't able to go through with it. Had his desperate words gotten through to her? Another round of Wanda's agonizing cries echoed through the door and burned their way into his mind. He could do nothing but sit there dazed...Confused...And unable make sense out of what had just happened. But there was no going back now. Wanda hated him...Pietro hated him...And he was sure that Magda now hated him as she looked down from heaven upon his pitiful disposition on the floor. A man once dead of all emotion...Was now drowning in it. He felt so much sorrow, remorse, and hatred for himself. His resolve was now in shambles...Whatever fire burned within him was now extinguished. It was over now...He had lost.
Hanging his head low, Eric slowly got up and headed towards the elevator. As he past the living area...He was met with the bewildered gazes of the others. Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Mystique, Alex, and Piotr were all looking at him with unequaled amounts of shock. It was clear that Jean must have told them...And from the looks of it...They were pretty disgusted. But this did not matter anymore...Magneto was beyond caring. He truly couldn't sink any lower at this point. His pain had numbed him from anyone else's opinion on him. He knew what they probably thought of him now...And they had every right to do so. He couldn't say any longer...He couldn't face them anymore.
"Mr. Lensherr wait!" said Kitty as she went to follow him towards the elevator.
"Let him go Kitty..." said Piotr, holding her back, "Whatever suffering that man is feeling...He brought it upon himself."
Kitty responded by angrily shaking the Russian mutant's hand off and shoving it back.
"How can you say that?!" said Kitty angrily, "How can you say that to somebody who is obviously in a lot of pain?!"
"You don't know him..." said Peter in a tone that seemed somewhat urging of her not to go up and confront this man, "You have no idea the sins that he's committed!"
However...Those words didn't do a thing to stop Kitty's resolve.
"You're right Peter...I don't know him!" responded Kitty in a stern tone, "But no way am I just going to sit by while he suffers like that! He helped us find this place! He helped save Alex! It doesn't matter how many bad things he's done in the past...What matters is whether or not he truly is sorry for them!"
"Katya...That man is full of lies and deceit and..."
"How do you know?!" shot Kitty sternly, "You're not even willing to give him a chance! I know you hate him for what he's put your family through...But didn't he say he was sorry? Didn't he try to atone for it? What good is feeling remorse if nobody believes you?! Did you ever think of that?! He's been saying he's sorry since he got here...And not once has anyone actually said that they forgive him! It may be his fault he ended up like this...But it's going to be our fault if he falls back into his old ways!"
And with that, Kitty Pryde stomped off to follow Magneto before Piotr could even utter another word. He looked back at her with complete shock...Not at all understanding how anybody could have compassion for such a monster. It was truly shocking to see that caring young girl go after such a heinous man...And it was even more shocking to see that she was willing to forgive him for what he had done. Her actions perplexed the strong Russian to no end...Leaving him nearly at a loss for words.
"How can she do it? How can she feel compassion for a man who has committed so many sins?"
"Did you listen to anything she just said Peter? Did you ever consider that maybe...She really is willing to forgive?" answered Scott, who had long known the extent of her character and her compassion towards others that Colossus seemed to be slow on picking up.
Piotr didn't say another word...He was only left to think about what Kitty had said in her blind rage. Everybody there hadn't expected something like this...Hell they never expected to be suck in such a situation to begin with. But here they were...In the midst of a truly catastrophic breakdown with Magneto and his children. The attacks on their homes were now compounded with this problem...And both seemed equally helpless.
Kurt heard another cry come from Wanda's room and he turned towards the hall. But once again...His mother stopped him cold in his tracks.
"Kurt wait..." urged Mystique, not wanting him to get hurt around Wanda in her volatile state.
However, her words fell on deaf ears...For Kurt was already gone.
The young blue mutant soon found himself outside of Wanda's room. The surrounding area was still shaking from the extreme emotional distress that fueled Wanda's powers. However, this did not dissuade Kurt in the slightest as he heard the Scarlet Witch's pained sobs through the door. Knowing how much more it would hurt if she lost total control, Kurt frantically knocked on the door in an effort to get her to let him in. But given how she was feeling right now...That would be a remote possibility at best.
"Vanda? Vanda it's me!" said Kurt as he knocked feverishly on the door to the young woman's room.
There was no response...The area continued to shake and Kurt almost lost his balance at one point as Wanda let out a particularly fierce sob. Again, Kurt knocked...Hoping that he could do at least something to calm this girl down. It was clear that she was in pain...And the more she cried, the more it engraved itself into Kurt's mind. He couldn't stand hearing such agony from a girl that truly didn't deserve it. He kept trying...Praying that Wanda would hear him out.
"Vanda...Please. Don't do this to yourself...Vhatever is going on, please let me help you! You don't have to be alone! I don't want you to be alone! Please..."
After a few tense moments...The shaking died down and Kurt breathed a sigh of relief. But no sooner had he done so, did he hear a rather harsh voice respond to his desperate pleas.
"Go...Away!" said a stern voice brimming with sadness and anger.
Kurt let out a frustrated groan as he tried to knock again. He refused to leave when she was in so much pain, but at the moment she was adamant about refusing any help whatsoever. But Kurt didn't want that. He was an X-man...And X-men don't give up. He knew that it was the worst possible action to leave Wanda to herself to suffer alone at a time like this. She needed help...But not just sympathy...She needed understanding. Few people truly understood this girl...But Kurt felt that he may be one of those few. In getting to know her since their initial meeting, he had found that he could relate to her in a way that he could never do so with anybody. And if anyone should help her through this tumultuous time...He should. Kurt felt he owed her as much.
"No Vanda...I'm not leaving," said Kurt with a determined tone, "Not vhen a friend is suffering so much. I don't vant you to be alone for this! I can help you! Please...I don't vant to see you suffer! Nobody here wants that. Ve are all your friends Vanda...Please don't shut us out...Please don't shut me out. Please..."
Kurt's words were on the verge of begging Wanda not to let herself sink any further into her own world of pain. It was a pit that Kurt knew all too well how hard it was to get out of. Now, he could do nothing other than hold his breath and wait for Wanda to make her choice. Kurt could only pray that he had gotten through to her...He could only hope that she would accept their help. They were all still in this together...And if they were to survive with one another, they had to help one another.
Finally...After several tense moments...Kurt saw the glowing around the door cease and the shaking gradually began to wane. Now, the door was open and Kurt was allowed too step in. But whatever had caused Wanda to lose it like this...It was obvious that it couldn't have been pleasant. However, Kurt pushed such worries to the back of his mind for the time being as he anxiously stepped into the room.
Kurt slowly entered the room and found the traumatized young woman sitting on her bed in total darkness hugging her knees and crying her heart out. Her sobs were a harsh mixture of pain, anger, isolation, and bitterness over what she had just learned. Kurt gently shut the door behind him and kept the lights off...Not wanted to overwhelm her any more than she already was. She looked like she was in so much pain now...And it was a truly awful sight to see such a girl suffering. She had already lost her home, her friends, and had nearly watched her brother die. Now, she knew the truth about her father and what he did to her as a child...Now, she knew all about his lies. Nothing could've hurt more now...But she had let Kurt in because she truly didn't have the strength to tell him off anymore. She was beyond normal thinking at this point...Everything was in ruins...Nothing was whole anymore in the world of Wanda Maximoff.
"Vanda...Please...It's okay now," coaxed Kurt as he slowly made his way towards her and sat next to her on the bed.
"No it's not..." said Wanda bitterly through her sobs, "You don't know...How could anybody know?! Everything I once knew...Were lies...All lies..."
"Vhat vere lies? Vanda...Vhat did you're father tell you? Vhat is it that is causing you so much pain?"
"Why should I tell you?" responded the distraught girl bitterly.
"Because I'm your friend...Ve are all your friends Vanda," coaxed Kurt as he moved in closer to her, unafraid of her powers, "Me, Scott, Jean, Kitty, my mother...Ve all care about you...You're brother cares about you. Ve don't vant to see you like this...Ve vant to help."
"I don't want anybody's help! I don't need their pity!" shot Wanda as her powers started to make the room shake again.
Kurt quickly placed a gentle hand on her shoulder to help the shaking stop, but Wanda was still sobbing uncontrollably.
"Wanda...Please don't do this..." begged Kurt, trying desperately not to lose this girl to her own emotions, "I don't want to see you like this...Please...Let me help you. I may be able to understand if you just give me a chance..."
"How can you understand?!" cried the Scarlet Witch in agony, not believing in him one bit, "How can ANYBODY understand?!"
"Because you and I have been through the same things...Ve have gotten through this attack together. I've come to know you...I've come to...Like you. You understand me Vanda...Now just let me understand you..."
Wanda Maximoff couldn't keep herself from crying...But as she slowly raised her head and met the eyes of the boy that had saved her brother's life...She saw his compassion and worry. His gaze was gentle and even somewhat soothing to her as tears continued to stream down her face uncontrollably. Then, she felt Kurt slowly wipe the tears from her face in a kind and soft manner that was filled with his kindness and compassion.
"It'll be okay Vanda...You are strong enough to handle this. I know you are...Now please...Let me help you..."
Wanda felt her body collapse into Kurt's waiting arms as she let out another round of heart wrenching sobs. They were very difficult for Kurt to listen to...But he knew that she had to let it out. And all he could do at this point...Was hold her closely to him...Soothing her pain as best he could.
Wanda didn't know how to explain it...Nor did she really have a desire to...But hearing Kurt's gentle words and seeing the worry in his eyes made her feel...Warm inside. It helped calm her when she had been so close to completely losing altogether. This was the boy that had saved her brother's life...This was the boy that helped her feel strong in her darkest hour. Maybe...He could understand what she was going through. Maybe...He could relate to her suffering. But the more she held it in...The worse it hurt. She couldn't take it anymore...It was time...To tell him what had happened to her all those years ago.
Magneto...The master of magnetism and arguable one of the most powerful mutants on the face of the planet...Was at a total loss. Here he was...Hallow and alone...Now and forever. He had just revealed the horrible truth his daughter...He had just told her about the way he had thrown her away as a child simply because she was too hard to control. Now...She hated him...Pietro hated him...He hated himself...What more could he do now? Did he have anything left in this world worth fighting for? Did he have anything left in this world worth LIVING for? How could he call himself a superior being when he couldn't even do something as basic as love his children? How could he ever go back and undo so many mistakes?
Eric Magnus Lensherr simply sat on a rock outside the base and stared off into space...Not looking at anything in particular...Just staring. The night was quiet...The air was crisp and clear...But it may as well have been on another planet to Magneto. He was cut off from everything now...Unable to focus on anything else except what had just happened. When he first found his kids while escaping from the military...He felt a feeling unlike anything he thought he could possibly feel. The way Wanda embraced him...The way he actually shed tears while holding her...It was truly a feeling he never wanted to let go. But he had...And there was no turning back now. What's done is done. And the worst part of this whole thing was...He brought this all upon himself.
"Now what do I do?" asked Eric into the night, as if the world itself could give him answers, "Everything's gone...I threw it all away. Now what?"
It was a question that he struggled to comprehend. But no matter how hard he tried to use his keen, cultured intellect...He could not even begin to answer this most profound of questions. For so many years...Eric thought that he knew the answers to his primary problems in life. He thought he knew his purpose...But now more than ever, he knew that he had just been deluding himself all these years simply because he was too afraid and embittered by his own selfish notions. Was this it? Was this how his story would end? This tragedy...This hopelessness...Was this how his life was to end? Was there truly no going back? No answers came...And he knew that there was no chance of him finding such answers on his own anymore. But whether he liked it or not...He was alone now...Hated by humans, other mutants, and even his own children. He never thought it could hurt so much...But it did.
Eric was so lost in his solemn thoughts that he didn't notice somebody coming up from behind him. He was more or less a statue at this point...Stuck in his own mind. But he was soon brought out of his demeanor by the sound of a single voice.
Magneto nearly jumped at the sudden sound of the voice, but it did bring him back to Earth in a sense. He saw that the source of the voice was none other than that of young Kitty Pryde. She was the sweet, innocent girl who had grown up lucky and privileged...Only to have her world changed by the fact that she was a mutant.
"Ms. Pryde...What is it that you want?" said Eric in a rather dark tone.
At first, Kitty hesitated somewhat in answering because it was obvious that this man was not in the best of moods. But still...She persisted. Even if this was the man once believed to be the X-men's arch enemy...She would press on.
"I don't want anything..." answered the young valley girl, "I just wanted to come up and see why you looked so distraught a moment ago."
"And why would you want to know that?" said Magneto in a rather unbelieving tone.
"Well...I'm worried about you and Wanda, that's all.
"Worried? About me? Why should any of you be worried?" said Magneto, sounding somewhat cynical upon hearing this.
"Why not? I mean...Wanda, like, completely broke down and you, like, came out looking as though somebody had just hit you with a baseball bat."
It was a rather mundane observation...But it was one that Eric couldn't deny. Why this sweet young girl, whom should be disgusted with him by all means, actually went so far to say that she was worried about him was beyond even his comprehension.
"It's rather complicated..." said Magneto with a solemn sigh, knowing that this girl would have probably kept on pressing if he didn't tell her, "You and the others shouldn't concern yourselves with such matters."
"Well...Why shouldn't we? I mean...It looked pretty bad...For the both of you," responded Kitty.
This just caused Eric to let out another exasperated sigh of frustration...Not so much at Kitty, but more at why on Earth wanted to talk to him about this.
"Ms. Pryde..." began Eric rather sternly.
"Kitty...My name is Kitty," said the young woman, not at all seeming afraid of this man and his harsh tone.
"Kitty..." said Eric, actually managing to somewhat calm his voice upon hearing the young woman's response, "What happened with me and Wanda is a matter that you best no delve into. I do not wish to talk about it...I do not wish to think about it...And I do not wish for you to bother me about it."
"Then why are you, like, sulking here all alone like someone just shot you in the foot?" quipped Kitty.
Normal logic would have told anybody not to go any further with such a dangerous man as Magneto. But for Kitty Pryde...She had already faced down the military, watched her home go up in flames, and seen the dead bodies of many of her good friends. At this point...She was beyond fearing mundane things. And looking at Magneto...He looked a bit like the man she knew and someone she had never met before. The look on his face was a mixture of sadness and anger. It was true that he was lost and alone...Full of unabated remorse and uncertainty. Magneto didn't know what was driving this young girl to talk to him of all people or why she even bothered. But at this point...He more or less stopped trying to answer questions that had no simple answers.
"Kitty...Please...Just leave me alone," said Magneto, now sounding less angry and more solemn as he just looked back out over the lake.
As much as he hoped for her to heed his words...Kitty Pryde did not leave. Instead, she just made her way over towards the rock he was sitting on and took a seat next to him. It was not the action Magneto had hoped for. What could this young girl, who grew up in a completely different world, possibly have to say about his problems?
"I'm sorry Mr. Lensherr...But I just can't do that," said Kitty.
"Can't do it? What's so hard about leaving me to suffer that which I so rightfully deserve?" asked Eric in an increasingly frustrated and bitter tone.
"That's just it...Leaving someone when they're sulking in so much sorrow just isn't my style. My conscious would nag me for days on end if I didn't do something...So for now, let's just say I'm saving myself the trouble," answered Kitty, managing to smile in hopes of lightening the mood.
"Don't talk to me about a nagging conscious..." quipped Magneto, "I have enough troubles at this point."
"Well...Why is that? What's bugging your conscious so much that you just ran out of the base and propped yourself up here?"
Magneto just shook his head in greater frustration. Couldn't this girl take a hint already?
"Why do you care?" asked Magneto, who didn't seem to be capable of even beginning to comprehend this young girl's reasons for wanting to know, "Do you not even remember who I am? I'm Magneto...The opposition to the X-men, the man who exposed you all to the world, and one responsible for Apocalypse's release."
"I remember..." answered Kitty, still not fazed by the old man's words, "I know what you've done...But that really doesn't mean that I know who you are."
Eric shifted his gaze back towards the young girl, still unable to grasp the full meaning behind Kitty Pryde's words. He has faced a similar dilemma earlier with Scott Summers, but he was no closer to the answers now than he was then.
"Professor Xavier told us all a little about you Mr. Lensherr," Kitty went on to say, "He told us how you two used to be friends...Good friends really. You both shared the same dream at one point. He even told us how you nearly became the co-founder of the Institute."
"Charles told you all this?" said Magneto, somewhat surprised that his old friend was still not willing to consider him an enemy even after everything he had put him and his students through.
"Yeah, he had a pretty large collection of stories about you two working together with trauma victims, studying mutation in college, and preaching peace in war torn regions. I have to say that I didn't believe it at first...Hell, I don't think anybody did, but the Professor insisted that he spoke the truth and that was good enough for me."
Magneto was silent for a moment...Trying to take in what this young girl was telling him. He and Charles did at one point share the dreams of peace that his X-men fought so hard for. Working with him had been one of the brighter points in his otherwise dark life. But there were just so many complications that led him down to path to where he was now...And he wasn't sure that anyone could ever fully understand why he ended up like this.
"Well...Xavier was not lying. In all the years I knew him...I found Xavier to be a lot of things...But a liar wasn't one of them."
"So it is true!" said Kitty, with a smile upon hearing confirmation of what she and the others had found so unbelievable after all these years.
"Yes...Charles and I did share the same dream...But that was a long time ago. A lot of things...Changed over a short period of time. Many complications...Tore apart our once mutual goal."
"And that's usually where the Professor stops talking," said Kitty, now showing a great deal of curiosity upon hearing that Magneto had in fact been a man of peace long ago, "So many times...The rest of the team asked him what happened to make you so...Angry at the world. I, for one, made my share of attempts to find out. But every time I asked him...He would always say that...It was too hard to talk about. And that as hard as your falling out with him...He still wanted to respect your wishes and keep certain things private."
"You mean he never told anybody?" asked Eric, sounding both surprised and relieved that his old friend had loyally kept his secrets from anybody.
"Nope...Never," confirmed Kitty, "I guess...That's why I'm here now. Because I want to know...What happened to you Mr. Lensherr? What gave rise to Magneto...And killed off the man that the Professor had befriended? I don't, like, get it...But whatever it was...It must have been horrible."
Magneto then chose to divert his gaze away from the young girl once again, not wanting to go through some of the memories that had haunted him for so many years now. But...He could tell that this girl wanted some answers. And after what he had put her and the X-men through...He felt as thought they deserved as much from him...Now that he was a mere empty shell of a man.
"It was..." he finally answered after a brief silence, "Years ago...While Charles and I were working together in the Balkans with victims of the constant civil wars over there...An event...One so horrible...Forever changed my life. One day...One moment...I remember it so clearly. That day...That moment...Was when Eric Lensherr died...And Magneto was born."
"What was it?" asked Kitty intently, now so eager to know the answer.
"It was my wife...Magda...And an infant Wanda and Pietro," said Magneto as he bowed his head solemnly and found himself pouring out the truth despite the horrors of such a memory, "While in the hospital that Charles and I were working at...We received urgent news that rebel soldiers from the mountains had garrisoned certain sections of the village and nationalist soldiers from the state were storming the area in an effort to weed them out. That village...Was where my wife and children lived. Charles and I quickly ran to find and protect the innocent people of the village...But there was so little time. The soldiers...Were on a campaign of brutality...Torture...Rape...You name it. We both tried to do what we could to save the people...But in the end...I had to use my powers to purge the city of the soldiers. I had to expose myself as a mutant in order to save lives...But it came with a most dire price."
"Oh no...What happened then?" asked Kitty, who could only begin to imagine the horror that must have followed for it to be so hard for him to talk about.
"I had saved the village...But everybody knew that I was a mutant now. Everybody was afraid of me. And I had already been called many things in life...Street trash...Orphan boy...Filthy Jew...But now I had freak of nature added to the mix. I tried to plead my case to the people and Charles tried to help me. But in the end...Their intolerance was just too great to handle. And in the time I had used up to plead with the villagers that I was not a monster...A lynch mob formed near my home. Angry villager...Driven by hate and fear of the power that I had used to SAVE them...Took it out on my family instead of me. I...Tried to get there in time to save them...But I was a mere second too late. They set fire to my house with my wife and children still inside. The screams...The hatred...The sheer terror of such a sight was...Too much for me to bear. I got them out...But Magda had shielded the children with her body...Causing irreparable wounds that led her to die right there in my arms...Right before my very eyes."
Eric soon found himself unable to go any further as he felt tears forming in his eyes. Every time he closed them...He could see the final expression on Magda's face as the life drained from her body. The look on her eyes...The smell of death...There were just no words to describe such a horror.
"Oh my God..." said Kitty as she covered her mouth in shock at what she had just heard, "That is so sad...No wonder you were so angry. I...I had no idea."
"Well now you know..." said Eric in a low, nearly inaudible tone, "That...Was when Eric Lensherr died. Now...The man you see before you is nothing...Nobody. My heart is gone...My soul is gone...Everything is gone. My human side died that fateful day in the Balkans...Magneto died that fateful day with Apocalypse...Yet I'm still here...Alive. But I might as well be dead."
Kitty didn't know what to say at this point...But at least it made sense now. It was now evident why Magneto had done what he had in the past. It was clear now why he hated humanity so much. And in some ways...She could relate. He had his home go up and flames and his family killed in a way not at all dissimilar to the way that the mansion had been blow up over a week ago. What she had felt when she saw the dead bodies of her friends, who were so much like family to her, strewn across the institute grounds like columns of death...Was very close to what Magneto had described.
"I...Have a pretty good idea how you must feel about that Mr. Lensherr. After seeing the institute blown up with all my friend inside...There really are no words to describe it," said Kitty, feeling a gentle tear fall down her cheek.
"But it gets worse," continued Magneto, "Afterwards...I became a monster. I abandoned Pietro...I threw Wanda into an insane asylum when she was just a little girl. I then went on to brainwash her so that she wouldn't remember...And I used Pietro to further my own selfish goals. I was their tormenter...Their master...But never their father. I have survived the holocaust...I have watched Nazi soldiers slaughter women and children like animals...I witnessed the death of my parents...I held my wife as she died...I stood by idly while Wanda was thrown into a dark cell for the majority of her childhood...And I betrayed Pietro and used him as a puppet for my own causes. After Apocalypse...I finally saw all these things clearly after a lifetime of trying to forget them. Now...After all these years...I still can't find the strength to accept them...And its left me a mere shell of flesh in blood...Unworthy of any other attributes that other humans feel."
Eric Lensherr had plunged into a low unlike no other at this point...Kitty could see that. Upon hearing about this man's life and his actions...The shroud of mystery that had always surrounded Magneto was lifted somewhat and his true self finally showed. However...To Kitty, there was something that he had missed.
"But your still alive...Aren't you? And so are your kids," reminded Kitty as she saw the solemn look on the old man's face, "That's something to be thankful for."
"My children hate me now...And if my wife were alive...She would hate me too. I have taken everything left in my life worth living and thrown it away after all these years. I am a fool...A nobody...A shell of flesh and blood that does not deserve to live in a world where he only brings pain to others."
"But you're not dead inside..." argued Kitty adamantly, unwilling to let this man sink any lower, "From what you've told me, you've survived a lot of trials and tribulations...Yet here you are right here talking about them. I can see that you feel remorse for what you've done...And that's proof enough that there's still a part of you inside that's alive and willing to believe in himself again. You say you're dead inside...But I can still see Eric Lensherr alive and well in your eyes. Wanda and Pietro may not see that now...But that's because they haven't been allowed to."
"But how can they ever forgive me? After everything I've done to them...How can they ever see me as a father again?" said Magneto, sounding all the more desperate for answers to questions that only compounded his demeanor.
Kitty bit her lip as she considered a response. She was just a 17 year old girl...And this old man who had survived so much was turning to her for answers. She was not Xavier...She was not Beast...Yet she felt the weight of a desperate man's soul bearing down on her. Her mind had gone blank...Then, she looked up at the stars.
Out here...In the vast wilderness away from any city lights or obstruction...The stars shined with a brilliance unlike anything Kitty had ever seen before. With so many horrible events in such a short period of time...She almost forgot that the stars were still there...Shining with celestial beauty that could never hope to be matched. Everything was so clear...The stars were shining so brightly even though the world around her was in turmoil. It was after a long period of silence that she finally felt she had at least part of the answer...As she looked at the bright stars above her with great awe.
"You know...There are so many questions out there that we all spend our whole lives trying to answer. We ask ourselves...We ask others...We do anything to try and get at least some of the answers even though they usually just lead to more questions. We spend our whole lives trying...And sometimes we die not knowing. And one of the questions that I've always struggled with...Is why am I doing this? Why am I fighting with X-men and Xavier for a dream that sounds so impossible? Much like the questions you've been asking me...There are no easy answers. But...I think that I know now...And that I've always known and I just keep forgetting because the world gets in the way so much with tragedy...Loss...Sadness...Everything."
"So then...Why do you still believe? Not just in Xavier's dream...But everything? Why?" asked Magneto, trying so hard to understand what drove this young girl and the rest of the X-men to do what they do.
Kitty was silent for a moment...Her gaze now back up at the heavens. Magneto began to look too...Wondering of this was a part of her answer. Then finally, Kitty managed a smile and spoke her peace.
"Look at the stars Mr. Lensherr...But don't just look...Observe," said Kitty not tearing her gaze away from the sky, "So many stars...Countless in number...Many times more than there are humans here on Earth. Every one of them is different. Some of them have attributes that no others have. Some are red, yellow, blue...Some are bigger, some are smaller, and some have planets...Yet when you look at them all together in the sky from a distance...They all look the same. Alone they shine...But together...They are a sight truly unlike no other. No matter how hard things get down here...No matter how traumatic our lives get or how violent the world becomes...The stars still shine. Even when this planet is long gone and every last living thing is dead...The stars will keep shining. The sun will set...The night will come...And a new beginning will always dawn. I think...That's why I fight with the X-men. I think that's why we believe in something that some may think impossible. But the real purpose...The real thing that will always help us believe...Is right above us no matter what. The stars will keep shinning...New beginnings will come."
Eric Lensherr soon became lost in the majesty of the sky. Kitty's words were wise beyond her years...And they finally helped him make sense out of at least one thing. For all his years...It took only a simple gaze to get a simple answer. For all the questions he still had about his life...There was finally something to hold on to. There was finally something solid that he could grasp.
"I...I think I see now Kitty...I understand."
The young girl just smiled as she watched Eric's demeanor shift from unbelievable self loathing...To one of renewed questioning. The barriers that held him back and crippled his mind...Were now open to a new sense of being. He thought about what had transpired over these past few weeks...He thought about Scott's words when he first arrived...He thought about Pietro's reaction to his return...He thought about Wanda and what had happened when he told her the truth...And he thought about what Kitty had said out here under the crystal clear night.
"I'm glad I could help Mr. Lensherr..." said Kitty as she got up and started to walk back into the base, "I hope it gives you something to think about...And something to hold on to in considering what to do with Wanda and Pietro."
Magneto...No, Eric Lensherr...Turned back towards the young girl with a smile on his face as he now stood indebted to this girl for helping him in a time of such great turmoil. For now...He didn't know what he would do about his children...Or if they ever would come to forgive him. But now...He was more determined than ever to win them back. He was through with half truths and self doubt...He would fight for their hearts or die trying.
The old holocaust survivor soon found himself looking down that the helmet he had always worn to distinguish himself as Magneto. Then, looking back up at the stars...He suddenly heaved the metal helmet into the air...And used his powers to warp and crush it beyond recognition as it plummeted into the lake. The place was here...The time was now...Magneto was dead...And Eric Lensherr...Was alive again.
AN: So Magneto finally sees thing clearly...Well, better late than never! I know this was a long chapter, but I wanted it to be because of all the drama I wanted to pack in! And don't think that it's over just yet! Stay tuned to see how Wanda deals with the truth and how Magneto chooses to go about winning his children back. And don't forget Stryker! He's still in a position of great power and has the desire to use all of it to kill every last mutant! So what do you think? Do you like this story thus far? Please tell me! Send me your reviews directly via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Until next time, I wish you all the best!