Your Way

by Sami Merchi


Dedicated to Terri Hayes who was patient enough to wait while I wrote this.

Inspired by Louise Simonson's NEW MUTANTS #61


1) This material is not used for monetary profit in any manner. It is done solely for enjoyment purposes, and as homage to the great stories
and characters of Marvel Comics Group

2) All the characters, events, and locations portrayed within are recognized as property of Marvel Comics Group should they so wish.

3) This story has been written by Samy Merchi <>. Any commentary in the form of compliments or critique is welcomed, and eagerly hoped for. So go ahead and drop me a line telling me what you thought, okay? It'll make my day. ;)

4) This story is being archived at least at my fanfic page at <>. Previous parts can be found there if needed.

*** TWO DAYS AGO ***

The Arcadia had sailed the Atlantic and Caribbean for over a decade now. She was a hardy, experienced, tough vessel, just like her captain. They had both seen a lot of things over the years, from the self-proclaimed Master of Magnetism, to islands floating in thin air, to men shooting red force beams from their eyes. And all of it, both captain and vessel had taken in stride, even if the crew always hadn't.

She had just left the port of Key West, half an hour ago, and was putting out to sea. The harbor had been left behind, and the captain was at the prow, watching the ocean start to unfold before her, like countless times before. The wind whistled thru her hair, past her ears, caressing roughly. She looked into the horizon, her blonde hair whipped about by the wind, and saw the unmistakable signs of a coming storm that the wind was heralding. She turned around, to give her crew orders.


*** NOW ***

"It's sad, really."

"Hmh?" The older man in a brown trenchcoat turned around, and raised an eyebrow at the minister, his electric blue eyes surveying the human in a steel-cool gaze that betrayed none of the inner turmoil within him. As usual.

"No relatives..." the fiftyish, balding, overweight minister explained, as he looked over across the church towards the closed coffin in the front of the building, near the altar. "No friends, either..." He paused for a brief moment, and then gave a sheepish smile. "Except for you, of course..."

The other man didn't reply. His eyes locked on the coffin, he started slowly walking down the aisle towards it, not a muscle on his face moving -- not even twitching the slightest bit. Like an unliving mask he was wearing over his true face. He didn't allow Scott to come to his mind, having resolved to forget him for the duration of this trip.

"Did you...ah...know the deceased well?" the minister asked with slight nervousness in his voice, more than a bit unsettled by the silent demeanor, the aura of pride and almost regality about the other man.

"Very well", was the curt reply that echoed off the walls of the church that was as empty of people as his tone was of emotion. He placed a hand lightly onto the coffin as he reached its side, and with a caressing touch so very completely opposite to his tone, ran the hand for a few inches along the surface.

"Oh", the minister replied, as he followed the other man over to the coffin, and waited silently for a few moments, before speaking again. "Ah...the ceremony will begin in about fifteen minutes..." he then stated to the quiet stranger.

"I know", the white-haired man replied, as his hand paused over an engraving on the coffin over what would be the deceased's chest. For a moment, it was almost as if electricity sparkled in his eyes, but it must have been a mere trick of light.

It read 'Aleytys Forrester'.

He then turned his head, slowly, towards the minister. "May I have a few moments alone?" he asked in a calm, polite tone, as his hand remained resting on top of the coffin.

"I..." the minister started. "It is highly irregular..." The reluctancy was obvious in his tone and his expression, but similarly, so was the fact that the other man unnerved him quite a bit.

"Please", the white-haired stranger said, and for the first time, his tone wasn't the carefully modulated neutral tone, but a sharp, steel-hard one, matched by his eyes narrowing the slightest bit, just enough to be noticeable, and just...staring at the minister.

"Uhm..." the minister hesitated, and loosened his collar slightly. "I...I suppose we can make an exception", he swallowed nervously, small beads of sweat appearing on his forehead -- because of the stranger, or the heat and humidity of Key West, not even he himself knew. "Will five minutes be enough?"

"Quite", was the brief, sharp, tense reply, and the man's eyes remained on the minister until the overweight man took a handkerchief to his brow, and quickly turned around, and headed down the aisle out of the main hall of the church.

Magneto waited a few moments after the minister was out of sight, and then, bluish electric fire crackled from his eyes, around his right hand, and then leaped to the lid of the coffin. The metal reinforcements seemed to almost glow and absorb the blue fire slightly, and then -- softly, deftly, gradually -- the lid began rising up, into the air.

Unfortunately, though, the minister was spying on him. And a few moments later, a phone was picked up. "Hello, police...? There's...there's some kind of mutant graverobber here at St. Magda's Church..."

There was no sense of urgency, of rushing, in Magneto's motions, as the lid rose perhaps three feet from the coffin, and then he took a step closer.

He forced his eyes stay open, as they looked upon the worldly remains of the woman whom he had once thought could be a second Magda to him. Whom he had thought could soothe the eternal tempest of vengeance that was his soul. Whom he had loved.

It started slowly. First, a very, very light waver running over the emotionless mask that was his face. Then, he denied it, and forced his facial muscles to contort to ridigity again, to immobility. But even his willpower wasn't capable of everything. Another shudder ran over his face, and all the way down to his shoulders, which sagged slightly. And then he gave in, the facade melting and the expression changed, into immeasurable, unconcealable pain and grief. (( Not again )) he thought. (( Not again... )) and soft sobs ran from his chest up to his shoulders, and he sank to his knees. Even so, he never made a single sound. The sobs were just empty, inaudible shuddery breaths, not crying. His lips stayed tightly pursed together. His throat didn't resonate with the slightest amount of voice. The only sound was the loud CLONK of the lid falling back onto place, as his mind was suddenly preoccupied by so many other thoughts than concentrating on his powers. (( My family... Anya... Isabelle... Now Aleytys... Why must the ones I love always pay the price? Why? Why do I live on, when the ones I love don't? Why do I have to always witness the same horrors, over and over again? Will it never end?? Will it NEVER END??? Must I MAKE it end?? ))

He didn't know how long he was there, kneeled on the cold stone floor, his head bowed. Ironically enough, in a position almost like praying. He didn't know how long he was there, before finally, a single drop of moisture ran slowly down his cheek, paused at his jaw, grew slowly, and then, fell from him, and made a wet spot on the stone floor, of a slightly darker shade than the floor.

The next moment, there were several shouts intruding on the silent grief of the Master of Magnetism. "Freeze, police!!" About half a dozen police officers dressed in heavy combat gear were pointing rifles at Magneto, their faces set, tense, ready to blow the -- to them -- unknown mutant to kingdom come at the slightest twitch.

(( The police. The SS. SHIELD. Avengers. Always, hunting me everywhere I go. Never a moment of peace. Never, unless I MAKE the peace. Have they no scruples?? What must I do to get them to leave me alone?? This is no business of theirs! ))

"You DARE??" he hissed, his voice still quiet, soft, but rising like a coming storm. With a thought, a crackle of electricity, a bluefire energy field surrounded him, and he stood up, his teeth gritted in fury.

"He's attacking!" one of the policemen stated, and the next moment, all hell broke loose. Triggers got pulled down, a hailfire of bullets raining towards the Master of Magnetism.

The Master of Magnetism. And bullets. Metal bullets.

With barely a thought, Magneto gathered all the bullets, attracting them all into a small globe, harmlessly pulling them into it rather than letting them ricochet anywhere. "Fools!" he uttered, his voice by now having risen to full anger. "I did NOTHING! Had I been someone else, you would have killed an innocent mutant for no reason!!"

With that, he motioned with a hand, and one of the policemen suddenly found his wristwatch flying out a window. And himself along with it. The crash of glass woke up the minister who had been watching into reality, and he sprinted towards a door.

"I am not finished with you", he snarled, and several candelabras flew over to the minister, unfurled into golden rope, and wrapped around him, immobilizing him like a turkey ready for the oven.

"Holy Mother of God..." one of the policemen gasped. "It's..."

"...Magneto..." another one finished the sentence. The terror in the policemen's eyes became evident, and they stopped firing, and started backing out towards an exit.

They never got the chance to get away more than a few paces. The rifles in their hands buckled, unfolded, became metal ribbons, and folded themselves around their ankles, tying them together and preventing the policemen from going anywhere.

"You", Magneto then boomed, as he rose into the air by a few feet, the electricity and bluefire around him growing in intensity, "would have slaughtered a mutant for nothing but manifesting his powers!" His hands clenched into fists, and the bluefire concentrated there, growing brighter. "How many times does this occur everywhere in the world every day??" he demanded loudly. "How many innocent mutants get killed by flatscans only because you are AFRAID?? Afraid of everything and everyone who is different!! HOW MANY??"

"You", he then continued sharply, "are guilty of attempted murder under the laws of the sovereign nation of Asteroid M. And you will receive the appropriate punishment."

"What...what are you going to do??" one policeman asked.

"You won't get away with this!! We're American citizens!!" another yelled.

"You're going to FRY for this, gene-trash!!" a third shouted.

At the last one, Magneto's eyes narrowed, and the metal wrapped around the policeman's ankles suddenly flew into the air, to bring the man dangling by his legs in front of the mutant. He just *looked* at the man for a few seconds, and all color drained from the policeman's face, and he suddenly went silent.

Then, the rest -- the four other policemen and the minister -- got yanked up into the air as well, and they hovered out the doors, out from the church, followed by Magneto, burning with bluefire. With a motion of Magneto's hand, a lamppost outside bent to a right angle approximately midway, so that it rose up for fifteen feet or so, and then bent to the right by a similar amount, providing a perfect place for Magneto to hang the six men by their legs, dangling heads-downwards. "Who", he simply said, narrowing his eyes at the minister, "paid for this funeral?", he asked, knowing Aleytys always put all her savings into improving the Arcadia, and had all her possessions aboard the ship. Not a wise course of action, Magneto had always known, but she had been much too stubborn to be convinced of that.

"I...I don't know!" the minister replied hurriedly, sweat dripping off his forehead, and suddenly felt the golden ropes around him tighten and bite into his flesh sharply. He screamed in pain. "I swear by God!" he yelled. "I don't know! It was an anonymous check...!!!"

Magneto's forehead furrowed at the mystery, but he believed the man, and let the golden ropes ease on him, as he turned his attention to the policemen instead. He picked out the lead policeman, who suddenly felt the metal around his ankles constrict with almost bone-crushing power. "Who killed Aleytys Forrester?"

"I'm telling you noth-- ARRRRGHHHHH!!!"

"Who killed Aleytys Forrester?"

"I did."

The new voice came from a van parked on the side of the street outside the church. Its side had slid open, revealing some kind of energy cannon beside which, in the van, was standing a man in some kind of armor. Before Magneto could properly even turn his head towards the voice, there was a bright orange flash of energy that emanated from the cannon, and the crackling energy about the Master of Magnetism suddenly disappeared, the suspending force which was keeping him hovering in the air.

Luckily, Magneto was only a few feet above the ground, and though he fell onto his back, he quickly got up, his fists clenched, but he couldn't feel any of his powers. Not a single iota of energy rushing thru his veins. His eyes narrowed at the armored man in the van. "Who are you?"

"My name is Mihail Semyanov", the man simply stated, with a smirk of pleasure at seeing Magneto so powerless before him. "Does that mean anything to you, butcher?"

"Semyanov", Magneto hissed, the light of recognition in his eyes.

"Yes", Mihail nodded. "Semyanov. You killed my father [1], and my brother [2]. And now", he said, hopping out of the van, "I am going to kill you. I have studied records of you for years, developed the perfect weapons with to kill you which -- and I have been waiting for this moment, Magneto. Don't think it will be over soon."

Suddenly, a humanoid shape phased into existence beside Semyanov. "Actually", the blond-haired, circuit-skinned boy stated, pulling his fist back, "it's going to be over VERY soon for you, buster."


At the same time as Semyanov skidded several dozen yards down the street, a circle of light flared into existence underneath Magneto, swallowing him up in a quick, brief instant.

A small, two inch high, vaguely humanoid head rose from the blond, circuit-skinned boy's shoulder. "Cloaking systems deactivated, Selfsoulfriendcypherdoug."

"No duh, Warlock", Doug grinned at his tag-team partner. "Now give me a scan on that creepoid!" he then said, as he rushed towards the armored man.

"If you think I will allow you to have all the fun, Ramsey", came an arrogant, high-handed tone, as a streak of solar black suddenly raced in, and in the blink of an eye, tackled Semyanov and raced high towards the skies again, only a few words lingering in the air behind him, "you're dead wrong."

[1] UNCANNY X-MEN #275 [2] UNCANNY X-MEN #150

"Illyana???" Magneto said, startled, as he was teleported to a dark domain, one of his former students, now a grown woman of early twenties sitting on a throne constructed out of what looked like human skulls. On both sides of the throne were two pools of reddish, or brownish-red liquid. Before her was a pool of another color, of a clear liquid, in which was at the moment reflected the outside of the church Magneto had just been in.

"Hiya, ex-teach", Illyana smirked devilishly in response, her fangs glinting in the dim lighting provided by braziers everywhere about the hall, burning like the flames of hell. "Cool your jets a moment, and I'll have your powers back in a jif."

"As much as I dislike Magneto, I'm not about to let you murder him!" Roberto snarled in Semyanov's face as he raced higher at nearly the speed of sound, carrying the armored man.

"You", Semyanov replied, "don't have a choice, interloper." With that, his right hand started glowing with orange energy, and he suddenly placed it on the hand Roberto was using to hold him.

"ARRRGHHH!!" Roberto screamed, and suddenly let go, even as his skin faded from jet-black to brown. His solar form fading, he went into free fall, a mile high in the sky.

"Painful, isn't it?" Semyanov smirked. "I haven't perfected the miniature version of my inhibitor cannon quite yet. Unfortunately, its effects don't quite last as far as the larger version's.

Fortunately, however, they'll last far enough for you to meet your doom!" He, himself, did not seem to be falling, boot-jets activating and keeping him in the air.

"Self has detected an energy surge which has inhibited Selfriendbobbysunspot's powers", the miniature head beside Doug's head reported. "Self estimates approximately 34.2924 seconds before Selfriend will be capable of using his mutant powers."

"Lemme guess", Doug stated. "It's gonna take less than that for him to hit the ground, right?"


"Okay...tempting as it is not to, I suppose we'll have to go get him." With that, flame burst out from underneath Douglock's feet, as his own boot-jets started propelling him upwards, even as a targeting visor morphed in front of his face. "Can we counter the effect of that inhibitor ray, Warlock?" he asked as he raced towards the falling Sunspot.

"Negative", Warlock replied. "Self is still analyzing the properties of energy manifestation designate: inhibitor ray. Will inform when analysis is completed."

"Great", Doug muttered, and increased his speed, then started decreasing it as he got closer to the falling Roberto. The symbiotic computer brain, together with the targeting visor, calculated the interception perfectly, and the Brazilian fell right into Douglock's arms.

"So much for 'having all the fun', eh 'Berto?" Doug smirked, as the targeting visor morphed back into the rest of his head.

"Oh shut up, Ramsey."


"UNGGHH!" Semyanov went as he got blasted in the back by concussive force, sending his head reeling for a moment, before he turned around.

"Who --?"

"Me", Sam Guthrie said, hovering in midair, facing Semyanov. "Ah don't know what your beef with Magneto is, but Ah know one thing. You're the one who killed Lee Forrester, an' for that, you're goin' down!" Then, he pointed his hands again at Semyanov, and let loose with another force blast.

"UNFF!!" the Russian gasped as the blast hit him in the chest, but seemed to recover quite quickly. "You are sadly mistooken if you think your power blasts are able of knocking me unconscious!"

"Ain't my goal to knock you out", Sam replied, as he kept repeatedly blasting at Semyanov, each blast seeming to affect the Russian less and less. "See, my powers, they're basically 'bout propulsion, not about damage", he explained, his eyes narrowing as he looped in the sky, before launching another blast at the armored man. "An' Ah bet, even though your armor can take mah blasts, your boot-jets can't!"

"Hm??" Semyanov replied, a look of confusion on his face for a brief moment.

"Wha' Sam means, ye spaleen, 's tha' he's blasted ye low 'nough f'r me t' get tae ye!" Rahne snarled, as she leaped up at Semyanov, and her sharp claws ripped thru some tubing of the armor, before she executed a series of flips in the air, and then landed back onto the asphalt of the street outside the church.

"ARRH!" Semyanov snarled. "You beast-girl! You have severed my fuel lines!" His expression contorted in rage, even as fuel poured out of the tubings, leaking to the streets below.

"Fuel lines?" Roberto smirked, having regained his powers while Sam was engaging Semyanov. A wicked smile danced on his face. "You do understand the principle behind liquid fuel, senhor Semyanov? It is made to explode at the slightest spark of fire..." His eyes narrowed, the evil grin on his face widening, as flames began dancing around his right hand.

"Nyet!" Semyanov gasped in horror, raising his hands in front of him, as if to protect himself. "No! No!!"

"'Berto, nae!!!"

"Bobby, what're you...??"

"Are you NUTS???"

"Hasta la vista, baby."


The explosion was a magnificent fireball, but within a few moments X-Force realized something was wrong. There was no heat, no shockwave...

"Thank you for the distraction, my love", snarled the Brazilian-accented voice, as a jet-black hand grabbed the back of Semyanov's armor, and with a furious throw, tossed the Russian into the street with an impact that would have flattened a tank. Then, he raced down, grabbed the front of the armor, and pulled his fist back. "I'll take it from here. It's payback time!"

"Anytime, 'Berto", Dani smiled, as she rode down from the sky with a snow-white pegasus. "Douglock, Rahne, go check if the van's secure. Sam, back them up. I'll look after 'Berto."

[insert scene of gratuitious violence]

"I don't *need* looking after", Roberto growled, as he tossed Semyanov around like a rag doll. "I eat losers like this for breakfast!" Grabbed his arm and slammed him into the pavement. A whipcrack of a backhand that almost knocked the Russian's head off his shoulders. Follow-up with a knee to the stomach causing the vibranium-titanium-mesh armor to start sparkling in malfunctions. An elbow to the back of the armored head, blood flying from his mouth. The heel of a palm slamming against the jaw. Ribs crack under the armor. Pieces of the armor fly off. Little explosions in the armor as systems short circuit.

[end scene of gratuitious violence]

"Yeah, but looking at your butt when you work out is so fun..." Dani grinned to herself, as her mount descended onto the street, and she hopped off it, patting its head once. "Stay, Aragorn", she said softly, and then went over to a lamppost, leaning onto it while she waited for Roberto to finish venting his frustrations.

About half a minute later, Roberto started finishing, holding Semyanov in the air by the armor's chestplate, his eyes burning with crackling energy that had subsided slightly from what it had been a few moments earlier. "Would you like to surrender, or shall I go on?"

"I..." Semyanov managed to squeeze out of his battered lungs, but was interrupted by a cough of blood which elicited a nose-wrinkling from Roberto. "I...surrender..."

Roberto nodded. "There", he smiled, and absently tossed the armored man over his shoulder, to land on the asphalt before Dani with a loud noise, and remain there, unmoving. "He's yours."

Dani smirked, and shook her head faintly. "'Berto -- you *really* need to lighten up", she remarked, and crouched down to take Semyanov's pulse. "It's guys like you who make the term 'police brutality' necessary." She found a strong pulse, and nodded to herself, knowing that her trust in Roberto's judgement wasn't misplaced.

"He started it", Roberto shrugged simply. "He should not have humiliated me in front of Ramsey's eyes. He will not do so again."

"I'm sure he won't", Dani chuckled, and shook her head. "Next I know, you'll be going 'But moooooom...'"

"Hmph", Roberto grunted, wrinkling his nose, but if there was one person in the world who he'd let get away with calling him childish, it was Danielle Moonstar.

The chanting grew louder, like a thousand voices singing in perfect harmony. But whatever the voices were, they weren't human voices. Nor was the woman inside the flaming pentagram truly human. Long, pointed horns rose from her forehead upwards. A spade-ended tail. And the legs of a goat. The portrait of devilishness. All the way down to the astonishing beauty that could seduce almost any mortal. Glowing prismatic energy of all colors swirled around her, magical forces caressing her body like an intimate lover whose touch was the safest, most familiar thing in the world. She hissed in ecstatic pleasure as she felt the power swirling all about her, filling her, energizing her, her eyes squeezed shut tightly as she felt an almost orgasmic thrill rush thru her body, the pale skin flushing in excitement.

Magneto watched the ritual, little intimidated or enticed by the literal magic of the moment. He was always a pragmatic man with little use for something as esoteric as what many called 'magic'. Over the years, he had had to acknowledge its existence, but it wasn't under his control. And he wasn't going to be under its control. Magic and Magnetism were two completely different things, and his interest lie solely in the other.

"Ah", Illyana breathed, her hips moving, rising and falling, to the rhythm of the chanting as it flowed ever faster, ever more passionate. Sweat started flowing from her forehead, and breaking all over her scantily-clad both, making all the vast expanses of bared skin glisten enticingly. "Ah", she breathed again, her body shuddering. "Ah..." The glow around her grew brighter, more powerful.

"Ah...ah...ah...ah...AHHHNNNGHHHHH!!!" She shuddered powerfully, her body flushing an even deeper shade of red, as a bright lance of light ejaculated from her, and shot at Magneto, suffusing him with power and energy.

Magneto's expression didn't waver as the light hit him, and he felt energy fill his veins. He made a small motion with his hand, and it crackled with bluish energy. There was no smile on his face. It only meant that the war would go on, and that more and more people would end up dying because of him, just like Lee. But he knew it had to be. He was nothing if not Magneto, the Master of Magnetism. It was the only thing he could be. But he didn't have to like it. Silently, he gathered crackling energy around him, and his red-and-purple Magneto costume slowly coalesced onto him from thin air, complete with the helmet.

Illyana grinned impishly from the floor where she had collapsed after the climax, as she saw the blue flare of energy flicker to life. She curled up into a little ball in her pentagram, and purred as she moved slightly, gyrating her hips slowly, lazily. "Was it as good for you as it was for me?" she smirked, baring her fangs in a lustful gaze.

"This is no time for games, Illyana", Magneto stated in a tense tone, as he slowly walked over to her pentagram and blue energy crackled about his hand, leaping over to Illyana, and he raised her up by the iron in her blood. "I need to get back to Earth."

"Anyone ever tell you how gross that feels?" Illyana asked, ignoring Magneto's words and wrinkling her nose after she got lifted up to her feet, shivering slightly, not at the afterglow of the climax, but the unpleasant feeling of Magneto's powers.

"I apologize for any discomfort, Illyana", Magneto said with urgency in his tone. "But it is imperative I must be returned to Earth immediately!"

"Why?" Illyana cooed softly, her eyes glinting mischievously. "The others can handle whatever the problem there is..." Her voice was an audible purr as she took a step from her pentagram, closer to Magneto. "'sides, I can 'port you right back to the time where I snatched you from... We're in no hurry. Kick your shoes off, ex-teach", she grinned. "Live a little."

"Illyana, there is NO TIME for this", Magneto simply insisted.

"You're forgetting where you are, ex-teach", Illyana smiled, and her left hand found its way to his armored stomach, rubbing over it in light circles. "This is Limbo. We have all the time in the world." She grinned. "Literally." Her other hand found its way to Magneto's ear, and slid along the edge teasingly. "Y'know, an earring would look so *cute* on you."

"ILLYANA!" Magneto snapped at the last remark, almost fuming. "Send. Me. Back. To. Earth", he then growled.

Illyana frowned, and pouted. "You're boring." With that remark, black eldritch fire danced once around Magneto, and then a circle of light materialized underneath him, swallowing him up...

"The van's clear, Dani", Sam commented, as he returned from inspecting the vehicle with Douglock and Rahne. "No scents but Semyanov's in there. All the tech there seems to pretty much be either parts for the armor or the cannon. I think we should take'em back to base and put somewhere where they can't do any harm."

"Me and Warlock studied the cannon. We've got its schematics. I say we just blow it up. It works on electromagnetically scrambling the section of brain that controls mutant powers, which means it inhibits just about any mutant powers, with maybe a few exceptions. Or worse, it causes those that need to constantly be under control to go haywire. And the worst part? It isn't like that guy's gauntlet. Its effect can last for up to *months*, depending on the power. It's too dangerous, and we can rebuild one any time we'd need one", Doug noted.

"Self echoes sentiments of Selfsoulfriendcypherdoug", Warlock added.

"You always do, Warlock", Roberto commented, standing beside Dani, the lamppost she was leaning against, and the unconscious Semyanov.

"Hey, stop complaining, 'Berto", Dani grinned. "It's two minds for the price of one."

"What're we gaunae do wit' him?" Rahne asked, nodding towards Semyanov.

"We could turn'im over to Bridge", Sam suggested.

Dani nodded. "My thoughts exactly. He and SHIELD've got the resources to deal with people like this. I know *I'm* not going to be making him food and changing his diapers while we chain him into some wall back at the Island."

"Sounds good to me", Roberto nodded.

"Self responds equivalently."

"Me too", Doug nodded. "You need a quarter to call Bridge, or gonna make it collect?" he grinned to Dani.

Then, they were interrupted by a bright circle of light appearing nearby, on the lawn of the church. X-Force turned towards it, only to see Magneto appear out of it. "Don't bother", he stated in his regal, proud tone. "I will take him out of your hands."

"By the Holy Rood..." Rahne was the first one to gasp in surprise, her hand going to her mouth.

"Now I've seen it all", Dani grinned widely.

Roberto moved behind Dani, and placed his hands over her eyes. "Don't see too much", he commented dryly, but was hardly able to keep a straight face himself.

"Uh??" Sam went, his eyes just going wide and his jaw dropping slightly.

(( Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile. He'll be able to short this body out with a thought )) Doug thought to himself. Then, he just turned away, pretending to look at the horizon absently, while his shoulders began shaking in laughter he barely kept silent.

"Is there some significance to Formerselfmentormagneto's attire?" Warlock asked curiously.

At Warlock's words, Magneto looked down at himself, only to notice what Illyana's dark eldritch flames had done to him. Decked out in black leather bondage gear even racier than what he had discovered Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander in after Empath's manipulations [1], his eyes widened, and the top of a nearby-parked car suddenly tore off, flew over to Magneto, and morphed into a new red-and-purple armor around him. "Ahem", he then cleared his throat, but an uncomfortable silence seemed to persist.

"Um...sir?" Sam finally broke the silence. "We're takin' this guy in to SHIELD for killin' Lee Forrester", he stated.

Magneto nodded once. "A very gracious offer, Sam, but there is no need. I am taking him."

Sam's eyes narrowed slightly. "I wasn't offerin', sir", he replied calmly. "I was tellin'."

Doug grinned widely. "Yeah! You tell'im, Sam!"

Roberto's eyes narrowed a bit more than Sam's, but he said nothing. Instead, he slowly moved to stand slightly between Dani and Magneto, already anticipating what would happen.

Magneto's steel-hard eyes locked onto Douglock for a moment, causing the young man to quickly go silent, before he looked back to Sam. "I am taking Semyanov. He is responsible for killing...a close friend of mine."

"No, you're not taking him", Dani interjected, stepping up from behind Roberto. "You'd kill him", she simply stated, in a level, confident tone.

"And he killed Aleytys", Magneto replied sharply.

"So?" Sam answered. "That doesn't give you the right to be like him."

"Sam's right", Rahne nodded to Magneto. "Ye dinnae have th' right to become like him."

"Some would say I already am", Magneto simply retorted.

"We know you better'n that", Sam commented to that. "Back off, sir. We'll take care o' Semyanov."

"If you do not relinquish him, I am prepared to *take* him, if need be, X-Force", Magneto stated, his eyes narrowing. "Stand back. Semyanov is mine." Blue energy crackled in his right hand, and Semyanov's metal armor suddenly rose into the air, hovering towards Magneto.

"No", Sam said sharply. "We w--"


An explosive concussive blast of gravimetric energy had lanced out of Roberto's outstretched right arm, catching Magneto in the middle of his chest and sending him flying back several dozen yards, dropping Semyanov's unconscious body which clattered onto the sidewalk, before he caught himself and rose into the air, the energies crackling around him in an angry build-up. "I. Am. Taking. Semyanov", he hissed sharply, and then a car parked nearby suddenly launched itself at Roberto like a rocket.

"Hardly", Roberto hissed back, and a quick solar blast from his other hand blew up the car halfway to him. "You've been needing a good lesson in manners since I've known you, Magneto, and I'm *just* the guy to teach you!" With that, he launched himself towards Magneto, leaving a streak of black energy in the air after him as he soared towards the Master of Magnetism.

"'Berto!" Dani screamed. "What're you, NUTS?? You can't take on Magneto alone!!"

"Don't worry, Dani! I can take him!"

"So you think", Magneto growled at Roberto. "Arrogant pup -- I have defeated men a hundred times your better! It is YOU who need a lesson -- in respecting your elders!"

"I'll show you who needs a lesson!!" Roberto snarled, and suddenly a tremendous amount of gravimetric concussive energy washed out from his right arm, his expression twisting into one of rage, as he kept pumping out power.

"UNGH!" Magneto got flung back by the immediate ferocity of the attack, but quickly rectified himself, and fixed himself in place in relation to Earth's magnetic field, and stood there in midair, firm as a boulder, as his magnetic force field deflected Roberto's attacks. But there was a slight amount of sweat on his brow.

"Most...impressive", he stated angrily. "But your arsenal is susceptible to my powers, Roberto." With that, the solar power Roberto kept pumping out towards Magneto suddenly changed direction, and lanced back at Roberto.

"What I have created, I can destroy!" Roberto growled, as he simply reabsorbed the solar blasts to his body. "Your force bubble might be useful against physical attacks! But what do you do when..." Suddenly, the air inside Magneto's force field burst into flame. "...I raise the temperature inside by a few thousand degrees!!"

"ARRGH!!" The force bubble suddenly dissipated, and the flames died down as the heat dispersed to the surrounding air. "You have just exceeded my tolerance for patience, Roberto", Magneto snarled, his eyes glaring at the younger man from the darkness of his helmet.

"If that was supposed to intimidate me, you'll have to do better than that", Roberto snapped back. "Come on, Magneto! Show me what you're made of! You claimed I'd join you?? [2] I say NEVER! I'll never join a loser like you! I could accomplish more for mutantkind in one year than you've done your entire lifetime! You're a relic, Magneto! You've never been any good for anything, and you'll never be! What have you ever accomplished? Lot of good you were to the X-Men when the Marauders slaughtered the Morlocks! You let Frost con the New Mutants from you! You let Cortez infiltrate your camp, try to kill you and take your Acolytes! You had to hang out with the Hellfire Club, and you couldn't even use their resources to find Shan's siblings, or save Ramsey, or save Illyana! You even let the X-Men die! You're a loser, Magneto! You think you're so tough? Come on! Show me how tough you are!!"

"Um...'Berto...that might not be the smartest move..." Doug stated hesitantly.

Dani tensed, gritting her teeth nervously. "'Berto..." (( This is not good. ))

Sam just *blinked*.

"Shut up", Magneto said, and waved his hand, flinging Roberto out of Earth's atmosphere like a rocket. One moment he was there, ranting and raving. The next, he was shot out of the planetary atmosphere like a bullet, unconscious from the immense g-forces of the acceleration.

"'I can take him.' 'I'll show who needs a lesson.' 'Show me how tough you are.' What's it gonna take for him to learn?" Doug sighed, placing a hand over his eyes

Dani's eyes widened as she saw Roberto disappear, and she screamed, "NO!! 'BERTO!!" Her furious eyes turning to Magneto. "If he's hurt, I'm going to KILL you!" She pointed a hand towards him, and a glowing bolt of psionic energy blasted out at the Master of Magnetism.

Doug gritted his teeth slightly. "Um...guys?" he interjected. "We won't be able to take him..." Then he sighed as Dani attacked. "This is going to hurt... I just *know* it is..."

"NO!" Magneto cried in midair, as Dani's psi-arrow hit him, and unearthed his greatest fears within his mind, another holocaust with mutants as the victims and he himself forced to watch it all, helpless.

The moment didn't go wasted. "C'mon, Doug!" Sam shouted. "We gotta take him down hard and fast, or we don't got a chance!" With that, he activated his blast field and rocketed towards Magneto.

Doug hesitated, his eyes wide. "But...but...he..." He swallowed once, and then went on, in an inaudible whisper, "...controls metals..."

Dani glanced to Doug, and realized the source of his hesitation. Then, her eyes widened slightly, and she suddenly yelled, "Over there!" pointing in a direction for Doug.

Rahne bit her lip silently. There was little she could do on the ground. And even if Magneto was on the ground, there was little she could do against him...but as Dani shouted her order, Rahne knew she could at least try to protect Dougie...

"I've got it, Dani!" Doug shouted, and started running towards Semyanov's van, Rahne sprinting beside him, hoping Magneto wouldn't notice them until it was too late.

Sam, meanwhile, impacted onto Magneto, knocking the wind out of the older man, but Magneto remained conscious, and glared at Sam. "You, of all people, I would think more sensible than to attack me, Sam", he hissed. "You should have given me Semyanov peacefully!"

"We won't let you kill a man in cold blood, sir!" Sam argued harshly, and threw a blast-field-reinforced punch at the Master of Magnetism, knocking the red helmet away, a spattering of blood spraying from Magneto's mouth. "Whatever punishment he's got comin' ta him, it won't be from you!"

A circle of light blazed into existence beside Dani, Illyana appearing in it along with an unconscious Roberto lying on the ground. Dani's head turned around, and her eyes widened in worry for her boyfriend. "He's okay", Illyana answered Dani's question before it was spoken. "Just out like a light. Ironic, hm?" she grinned, not really caring whether anyone got her little joke, and then looked up at Sam going one-on-one with Magneto. "You *know* he's gonna get his butt handed to him, right?"

"Mmmmaybe", Dani mused, and then cast an illusion over Semyanov's van to make it appear completely normal, without Doug and Rahne being there. But that would only protect them from visual detection. Doug was living circuitry, and Magneto sensed metals.

"Self has activated cloaking systems, Selfsoulfriendcypherdoug", Warlock commented, as he watched the battle between Sam and Magneto unfold from Doug's shoulder as the blond kept running towards the van, and then jumped into it, kneeling beside the inhibitor cannon. "Self's systems are sufficient for maintaining complete electromagnetic invisibility for 67.3485 seconds at current reserves of Lifenergy --"

"Cut the spectrum, Warlock", Doug said urgently, as his fingers started fiddling along the controls of the cannon. "My guess is Dani's taking care of the visible light spectrum. We won't be needing to cover that... Reroute 2/3 of the power we save from visible light to creating a power source six meters south-southwest from us. In case Mags *does* detect us, I want him to think *that's* us. Should buy us some time..."

"Query: Purpose of remaining .333 of power?"

"We'll keep it in reserve, pal. Never can have too much power..." He quickly wiped a hand across his forehead. Even though his symbiote body didn't sweat, there were some habits that just stuck.

"Acknowledged. Instructions complied with. Exclamation: It is Miller time!"


"I will not be stopped, Sam", Magneto commented sharply, and suddenly coalesced metal particles from the air to form an opaque shell around Sam's blast field, to prevent him from seeing anything.

"Well, neither'm I!" Sam exclaimed, extending his blast field, and shattering the shell, returning his sight. "You just back off, Magneto! We're not givin' up!!"

"Umm... Dani?"

"Yeah, Illyana?"

"Why are we just standing here?"

"Because neither of us can fly?"

"You wanna live forever?" Illyana grinned, and disappeared into a disk of light.

"Then you are fools!" Magneto glanced towards the ground, and blue fire flickered from his hand to Semyanov's unconscious body, and lifted it into the air. "This battle is pointless. You can't stop me from leaving with him."

A circle of light suddenly blazed into existence just behind Magneto, and two hands clamped over his eyes. "Guess who??" Illyana grinned, as her goat-legs locked around Magneto's waist from behind.

"Illyana??" Magneto hissed, and wrenched his head from her hands, his neck craning to look around at the demoness.

"Well, I sure as hell ain't the tooth fairy..." she grinned impishly in return. "By the way, your concentration's slipping."

"UMPH!" Magneto groaned as Sam threw another punch at him while Illyana's distraction worked, boosted by his blast field, rattling the Master of Magnetism's skull. "I grow weary of this", he snarled, and suddenly magnetic force pushed outwards from him, forming a force bubble around him again. A motion of his hand, and Semyanov's unconscious body flew over into the bubble as well. "And now", he said sharply, "I'll bid you adieu, X-Force.

"Not so fast!" Doug exclaimed triumphantly, and clenched his hand into a fist, slamming it down onto the 'START' button.


A blast of orange light bathed Magneto, Sam and Illyana for a fraction of a second, and then winked out of existence. Just as their powers suddenly did.

"A've go' Sam!" Rahne shouted, and sprinted towards the falling forms, leaping high into the air, and catching Sam in mid-fall, landing deftly back onto the asphalt, carrying her teammate.

"And I have the others", Roberto's groggy voice uttered, as he absorbed the gravimetric force pulling Illyana and Semyanov downwards, suspending their fall in mid-air.


"I thought you said you had the others", Dani commented dryly at Roberto, as he looked at Magneto, having gone unconscious from the fall onto the asphalt.

"I missed someone?" Roberto asked with an innocent smile.


"You'd better get outta here, sir, 'fore SHIELD gets here. Far's I know, Magneto's still one o' the most wanted people on this planet."

"Very well, Sam", Magneto replied calmly, letting his eyes go over X-Force, narrowing slightly at Roberto, before getting back to Sam. "But don't delude yourself into thinking I will not come for Semyanov. You have merely succeeded in prolonging his life slightly."

"Well, at least two months or so", Doug grinned.

Magneto ignored Doug, and continued to Sam. "I will be back for him", he said, his tone becoming sharp, more confident than ever. "One way or another." He turned around, and walked off, disappearing to an alley.

"You go your way, sir", Sam said sternly, "an' we'll go our way."

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