I can tell he doesn't believe in destiny. He can't wrap his mind around the idea of being unable to shape his own fate, consequently, he exists in a state of mental freedom, unaware of his shackles. My own bonds have always been clear to me; I've never lost sight of them, never summoned up the will to convince myself capable of escape. Scott Summers never seems to have had this problem, thanks to his incredible ability to lie quite convincingly to himself. I'm drawn to him. I envy him. I hate him.
My beloved Father has always shaped my will to match his. He is an indomitable force in my life and in that of my brother, yet, despite his sincere concern and involvement in our affairs, he remains aloof to our affections. I have never been affected by his barely concealed loathing, but my heart breaks for Pietro, my flesh, my soul. He desires nothing more than a small gleam of pride shimmering in our Father's eye; Magneto treats him no better then a dog. A worthless dog. A lame, blind, worthless dog caught stealing a prime cut from the kitchen. There is only so much spiteful badgering a person can take. Myself he treats with the same causal indifference he displays toward all his 'followers.' The only variant being that I never had a choice in the matter. I was born to serve his cause.
I allow my fingers to wander across the smooth, crisp whiteness of the sheet below me as I think these thoughts. Although I have lived here the majority of my life, I've never quite become accustomed to the sultry stickiness of Savage Land nights. Since, strangely enough, central air conditioning tends to give my all-too-powerful Father the sniffles, the remaining members of his household are forced to bear the stifling humidity as well. Pietro found me lying naked atop our bed one night long ago, sweating profusely with every tiny hair on my body poised to welcome the sluggish caress of whispered air from the ceiling fan. After chiding me gently for my lack of imagination (Pietro is always gentle with me), he devised a surprisingly simple solution to my dilemma. The bed is now flanked on two sides by relatively small floor fans to which my upper sheet is fastened; all other edges of the sheet are tucked firmly down. Every night now I retire contentedly to a cool, luxurious tent, billowing with air. Father aptly calls it my cocoon.
If it is mine, it is also Pietro's. Countless nights we have spent turning and rolling beneath my air-filled sheets, mingling our affection for each other and our shared abandonment in an effort to undergo our own personal metamorphosis. Sometimes our efforts are frantic, hungry touches that fulfill our aching need to love and be loved. More often, we cling to one another out of the sheer desperation of having no one else to which to turn. Yes, I've had my fair share of lovers; bewildered, hunky mutants in search of Father's sanctuary. I enjoyed my frequent liaisons. They were always hurried, wild events to which I cannot assign a single concrete memory. All that remains of these encounters are impressions of hot breath, intoxicating smells, grasping urgency, and depressing discovery of shredded clothing upon my return to reality. I never allow them any illusions; the head resting beside mine on my softest pillow is always Pietro's.
In the beginning, when we were still very small, Pietro would come to me because of a nightmare or perhaps simply because Father had been particularly merciless that evening. It was a small thing to hold his head in my lap as he wept, running my hand soothingly down his head and between his quaking shoulder blades. I would coo to him quietly, like one would to a pet. His shuddering sobs would eventually give way to exhaustion and we would sleep, curled around each other like lion cubs, a confusing sprawl of limbs and hair. We got older, but Pietro's terrors never ceased and, motherless children that we were, we had no one else to which to turn for comfort. Strangely enough, we maintained separate bedrooms; Pietro's bed, however, was never used. Mine, with its pristine flapping tents became a haven, a playground, a true sanctuary for the lost. Its cool, embracing whiteness became a symbol of all we had lost and found in each other.
One morning I awoke to find streaks and splotches of the brightest red marring the perfection of my sheets. My shrieks of terror quickly brought my Father who, behaving quite wonderfully for once, sat with me on the edge of my bed and quietly explained the raw facts of womanhood. After he left, in search of our housekeeper who would help me with the details, I examined my sheets carefully, marveling at the stark, beautiful contrast between the scarlet stains and the whiteness of my bedding. Touching them with a tentative finger, I found they were still damp. Fresh. Unable to dry in the oppressively humid climate of the Savage Land. When the woman came in and started to remove them, I wouldn't let her. I loved the color, I said, and I wanted it to stay. She ignored me, stripping my bed with a curt explanation that the sheets were no longer clean. In fact, she continued, I would have to learn to be careful as not to soil any more bedclothes. "The stains will be near to impossible to remove as it is, young miss." After she wrestled the bedding from my grasp and flounced out of the room in a huff, I sat by myself and pondered the color. I was fascinated by it, its richness, the shocking way it stood out against the blankness of a sheet as snowy as the hair of my loved ones. It was everything I secretly longed to be. Everything I secretly was. It was all I desired.
I locked the door to my room that night. I patently ignored Pietro's disbelief followed in startlingly quick succession by arrogant, door-pounding anger, pitiable pleading, and choking, painfully muffled sobs. For a single wonderful night I lay awake, thinking only of all the things in the world that reflected that wonderfully liberating contrast. I wrapped my soul in the Japanese flag; a dove with its throat cut no longer seemed disgusting or sinister. I embraced what others considered a smirch, a spot, a vile stain. It became my own. Pietro was asleep in the hallway the following morning, curled into a fetal ball. I never locked my door again.
With our increased adolescent tension, it was almost a relief when our nightly comforting sessions became something more. Pietro had so much trouble with his mutation; it takes so much practice and self-control. His hands can be everywhere on my body at once; it's like having a dozen lovers caressing you simultaneously. The sensory input is overwhelming. Occasionally, my own mutation comes into play. I sometimes manage to slow time around us; it gratifies me so much to allow Pietro to experience sensation at a normal speed again. Our coming together was never about lust, or romantic desire. We only have love in our hearts for one another. We are each other's only true joy, and I've never wanted it any other way.
Now when I look over at my love, my brother, my only true companion, sleeping his usual restless sleep, all I can do is wonder how different it would be beside another. For the gentle moonlight filtering through the crisp coolness of my sheet to reflect off ruby red glasses instead of silvery white hair. If I squint my eyes, I can imagine both things at once, glasses and hair, red against white, my very favorite landscape. My two desires in one. I exhale sharply and roll against Pietro, the nearly imperceptible constant vibration of his sleeping body reminding me of the urges that awakened me in the first place. My body yearns for a languid fuck, flesh sliding together, slowly, achingly, every intake of breath altering the sensation. Scott would be like that. At least I like to imagine him that way. Earlier tonight, sliding my tongue between Pietro's lips, I closed my eyes and imagined that I was staring into red. Into Scott's glasses. I wondered if he bothers to close his eyes when he kisses. I wouldn't. Not if I were staring into red.
I draw a long, slow, wet tongue from Pietro's shoulder, along the side of his neck to his ear. It's time I stopped thinking these foolish thoughts about Scott. He is red, and I can't have him. I know my place. I know my fate. I know that I too am red. A stain, a splotch, a smirch on the pure intentions that characterize my Father, the naïve innocence that is my brother. Red only loses itself in red. Ah, but red on white! This is my place. This is my destiny.