"Is that all you've got?" Pyro challenged. "Big talk for a weakling who can't even create his own fire," Iceman countered.
"Dr. McCoy," Warren began.
"Fascinating," Hank mused. "If Dr. Campbell's research is accurate, that implant has nothing to do with vital functions at all. It's a tracking device."
"Hank, what are you babbling about?" Warren asked.
"The implant in Rachel's tongue," Hank explained. "It's a tracking device. Rory designed them for his lab rats, but there's no reason why it couldn't be used on a girl."
"Dr. McCoy, I was wondering if you had come to your decision yet," Warren said.
"A week, Warren. You gave me a week," Hank answered curtly.
"I didn't mean to upset you," Warren replied. "I was just hoping that maybe you figured things out early."
Hank set his book down and looked at Warren, his jaw tense.
Any angry words that he intended to use were drowned out by the mansion's blaring alarm system.
X-Men, we are under attack! Professor Xavier projected his voice into their minds. Protect the children. There are already several fires started in different locations.
"Never a dull moment in this house," Hank quipped. "Come on, Warren. Let's save the day."
Warren grumbled to himself, but followed the larger man.
"John?" Bobby gasped.
St. John Allerdyce was leaned against the rec. room's television casually. His signature Zippo lighter was being lit and snuffed out obsessively.
"You're back?" Bobby hoped.
"You could say that." John smirked.
"What are you doing here?" Kitty demanded. "There are half a dozen fires on this property just as you come waltzing in. What kind of coincidence is that?"
"John..." Bobby murmured.
Flame exploded from the lighter as organic steel plated Piotr Rasputin's body. The Russian boy threw himself in front of the attack protecting the other teens in the room.
"Peter!" Kitty shrieked.
"Do not worry, Katya," he insisted. "I want you to phase everyone else out of this room."
"I'm taking you too," Kitty declared.
"No!" Peter shouted. "Metal's a conductor. Do not touch me. I will take care of this."
Kitty nodded and ran over to Rogue and Jubilee. John took notice and with a flick of his finger a ball of flame took the form of a bird and chased the girl. Peter took that opportunity to charge at Pyro which forced the other boy to concentrate all his power onto the Russian. The firebird vanished.
Kitty clasped the other two girls around their wrists and they sank through the floorboards. Bobby watched in horror as Peter tried to edge closer to John.
"John!" Bobby screamed. "What are you doing?"
John spared his former friend a sneer. "Hey, Bobby. I wonder what temperature steel melts at?"
The blaze grew and the hulking Colossus fell to his knees. Fire licked at the carpet and drapes and the dire situation began to dawn on the blond haired boy.
"John, you're going to kill him," Bobby realized.
Beads of steel sweat rolled off of Peter's forehead and burned a hole into the floor.
"I always wondered what it felt like to be a god," John boasted.
Bobby crouched on the ground and touched his hands to the carpet. All available condensation in the air froze to form a wall protecting Peter from Pyro.
"What's this?" Pyro chuckled. "Does Bobby want to play at being hero?"
With a display of bravado, Pyro decimated the wall that Bobby had erected. The blasts of flame set off the mansion's sprinkler system dousing the boys with water. The overturned television crackled. Bobby shivered as he heard the sizzling noise of the water hitting Peter's heated metal flesh.
John beckoned to Bobby with an outstretched hand. "Come on, Iceman," he said. "Let's see what you're made of."
"You okay, Peter?" Bobby asked as he stepped in front of the Russian.
"I am alive," Colossus replied.
"Go get Cyclops," Bobby commanded.
"He's not going anywhere," Pyro snarled.
Another firebird erupted from his fingertips and devoured the doorway with fire.
"Are you insane?" Bobby cried. "You're going to trap yourself in here too!"
"I'll burn that bridge when I cross it," Pyro said simply.
"You idiot!" Bobby raged.
Iceman channeled a massive stream of frozen water, courtesy of the sprinkler system, at his enemy. Pyro fought back, steam spraying where their powers collided.
"Is that all you've got?" Pyro challenged.
"Big talk for a weakling who can't even create his own fire," Iceman countered.
"You're dead," Pyro growled.
"Says who?" Iceman formed a spike out of the air.
By the time the spike found Pyro, the mutant had melted off the point. The weapon's remains pelted Pyro in his shoulder just as the second one flew at him.
"Is this the best you've got?" Pyro erected a ring of flame around himself. "A glorified snowball fight?"
"Don't cry because you can't handle it," Iceman retorted.
"I leave the crying to girls, Bobby." The flock of firebirds surrounding Pyro flapped their wings, ready. "Once I get done melting your ass into a slushy little puddle, I'm going to finish off metal head over there. Then the fun begins. I get to chase down Rogue and make her squeal."
"If you so much as touch her I'll rip your heart out!" Bobby shouted hoarsely.
"Is that because you can't touch her yourself?" Pyro grinned maliciously.
Bobby didn't say anything. He only screamed as ice seemed to shoot out from his body at Pyro.
John's eyes widened as he quickly concentrated all of his energy into his Zippo. The lighter exploded interrupting Iceman's attack. John slammed into a wall, his body shivered from the cold, his eyebrows were singed. His weapon destroyed, John did the logical thing; he gathered the air back into his lungs, leapt to his feet and ran.
"He's getting away!" Peter hollered.
Bobby ignored him. He sat on the ground, dazed and held his hands out before him. Chunks of frost dangled from his fingertips, flesh replaced with living ice.
Rogue ran over to Bobby's side, followed by Kitty.
"Kitty an' me found Cyclops," Rogue explained. "He's going t'go after John."
"I think I need a doctor," Bobby murmured.
"As do I," Peter added.
"Oh my God, Peter!" Kitty gasped.
Although his organic steel prevented Piotr Rasputin's otherwise certain death, the boy was not without injury. The heat of Pyro's flames had welded several of the Russian's steel plates together. Most noticeably, Peter's right cheekbone was an indistinguishable blob of metal.
"You need to get to the medical bay, now," Kitty ordered.
The girl positioned her small frame beneath Colossus' enormous shoulder. Kitty heaved with all her might, a strained groan escaping her lips. Peter smiled and stood up on his own. He kept his arm draped around Kitty as to not bruise her ego.
"Bobby..." Rogue whispered.
"I think I'm just going to go stick my hands in the freezer," Bobby muttered.
Bobby hurried out of the wrecked room with Rogue trailing him.