Note: This takes place about ten years or so in the future from the current period in time of the X-Books.
He Told Me So
I was ten when I suppose this story should start. Momma wasn't around then;
she wasn't going to have anything to do with Poppa at that time. They'd been
fighting again--a lot. She was in Attilan, Poppa and I in New York with the
Avengers. Poppa had taken to leave from Magneto's cabinet to be with me. It had
taken some work from Aunt Wanda to convince my Momma to let me stay with Poppa
instead of going to to Attilan with her. To this day I don't know how she did
I suppose my curiosity about my grandfather was really sparked then at the Avenger's place. I'd have been outside, but the pollution was more intense than normal. Though I am only half Inhuman, the pollution does have its ill effects on me to this day. If I'd have been outside, I've thought about how much my life would have been different.
Poppa was talking about him with Aunt Wanda. I was in the other room, at the kitchen table, reading J.R.R. Tolkien or some such fantasy, which was, more or less, close to my reality. It took the thrill out of fantasy to be *living* something so close to it.
I remember clearly on that day hearing Poppa say, "Well, no matter what you want, sister, he told me to tell you he loves you. You can't stop him from feeling that way."
"He doesn't love us, Pietro. He never has! He only wants us as weapons!" Aunt Wanda said in her typical overly melodramatic voice. I heard her bangle bracelets shake about as she said this.
"The man has his weapons, Wanda. They are several hundred thousand Genoshan Mutates," my Poppa said in a voice like he was talking to an ignorant child. I heard Aunt Wanda huff angrily.
My grandfather is the ruler of an island off of Africa called Genosha. The United Nations gave it to him hoping that it would consume him, that the war there would kill him off. It didn't-- it made his stronger. The UN made a horrible mistake and they regret it every day, I am sure.
My grandfather, Magento, has his precious inner circle of which my father is once again a part of, even after the debacle with Lorna Dane, The Avengers, and Aunt Wanda. If there is one thing I have picked up about my grandfather, he is overly forgiving of his children's disloyalty. But then, they *are* his children.
"The Mutates..." Wanda muttered, "Those poor souls..."
Cousin Gorgon had explained to me what the Genosha Mutates were about three years previously. They were like the Alpha Primates that work below my beloved Attilan. Humans made them for slave labor like my people had made the Alpha Primates a millennia ago. Cousin Gorgon had me promise I wouldn't tell anyone he'd told me. He wasn't supposed to--Aunt Medusa and Momma had made him swear he wouldn't tell me! I gave my dear elder cousin my word and to this day no one is the wiser.
"He does love us, Wanda! He has to, he's our father!" Poppa cried at my poor, distraught aunt. "I'll admit, the man isn't a good man--he isn't perfect and has a lot of issues--"
"Issues is the least of it! And what he holds for us is not *love*, it is *wanting*! He want's us for his own plans of overthrowing humanity!" my aunt nearly screamed at Poppa. I could tell by her voice she was near tears, as she was when she talked of my late cousins Thomas and William--Agon protect them.
Overthrowing humanity. My only grandfather's only goal in life. He, I think, has given up on the goal now that he is older. Sometimes I wonder how he has managed to survive all the wars and assassinations and horrible words slung at him. Ah, well, it isn't of much use in the long run to try and find out why.
"You may live in denial my sister, I will not!" Poppa told my now teary-eyed aunt.
I almost laughed. Laughed because at times I had heard my father declare for all the world he was not the son of Magneto. He is, there is no denying that. Poppa is an unbelievable hypocrite at times.
Suddenly I heard the calm side of my Poppa say, "He's older now -- still as shrewd and hateful toward humans-- but, giving more thought to his actions. Understand, sister, he no longer howls for the blood of humanity. He just wants to reconcile; see the family he never had."
This was a new side of my father. At this point my book was forgotten; my curiosity peaked.
"Then why have you not brought Luna to see him? Does not he want to see his only grandchild?" Wanda probed. Me? I had not even thought about Magneto's possible interest in me. I didn't really even think he knew I existed.
"Luna," my father said in his deepest, most commanding voice, "is not a part of this. I say it now and it will not be brought up again."
That was what made me curious as all get out. Why can't he see me? I wondered as I sat at my the Avenger's Mansion kitchen table. I had heard Poppa talk about how horrible the man was, but now I was even yet more curious.
For the next seven years I read old articles on microfiche in the libraries I had access to when I lived with Momma and the Fantastic Four and then sometimes with just Poppa or both my "loving" parents at the Avenger's Manison. They didn't know I was reading about my grandfather. I told them I was reading a bunch of refence books, which wasn't a *total* lie.
I suppose that curiosity is what had brought me there. I agreed to meet Magento at this small café here in Brooklyn. He called me, learning somehow that I am living on my own here in New York. In fact, my apartment is only four blocks away from it.
And there he walked, coming toward me table. He walked tall and strong dispite his age and health. And I thought, Blood of Agon, he looks more like Poppa than I imagined!
"Luna, my dear," he said as he came to the table.
"Hello, uhm-uh.." I was unsure of what to call him. I smiled and stood up, anyway. He hugged me, unsure of his action and what he was supposed to do when meeting his only grandchild for the first time in many, many years. I could smell some strong after-shave on him.
"You are beautiful, my dear. You look just like your mother," he said, smiling all over. I hadn't ever seen the man smile in any picture.
We sat down at the small table on the outdoor patio of the café. I already had a cup of cappuccino sitting on the small marble-toped table. "Would you like something to drink, my treat," I said, trying to be sociable. He just sort of smiled.
"Certainly, my dear, that would be lovely." I flagged down the waitress, thinking just how much he looked like Poppa and just how kind he seemed. He ordered a coffee, black, and the waitress disappeared.
There was silence for a time. "You live here in Brooklyn, then?" he asked me.
I cleared my throat, "Yes, just a few blocks away. Its a nice place here. Much less akward to live in than Attilan--there everyone knows me and is nervous around me."
Magneto nodded and thanked the waitress as she brought his coffee. He sniffed it, and then sipped it.
"Have your powers developed?"
I looked at him for a moment. He didn't know? I was confused.
"My... Powers?" I asked him.
"Your mutant powers, my dear."
"Oh." I paused. How was I to tell him that I was as human as those he wanted to wipe out. "I... I'm...not a mutant, uh..." I sipped my cappuccino casually.
"Oh, yes, of course. You've gone through the, what is it, Terrigin Mists?" he sipped his coffee, his eyes stuck on me.
"Um, well, you see, I'm not going to be sent through the Mists. Momma and Poppa don't want me to. They want me to have a normal life. I'm, uh, well, pretty much... Human..." I swallowed. He suddenly looked at me like I was a member of the Friends of Humanity; like I was one of the humans who wanted him dead.
"Human," he said with a sigh. "I see. Well, that's just fine. How are you mother and aunt?" he asked as he sipped his coffee.
He looked at me differently, suddenly. Like I wasn't quite what he wanted, and as though he was suddenly only tolerating my company, as though I was some chatter-box on the subway. I felt like slapping him.
"They're just fine," I said. "My mother is in Attilan visiting and Wanda is in California with Simon--they live out there, now."
"Wanda is still with Simon, eh?" Magneto asked and declared at the same time, not really expecting an answer from me. I gave one to him anyway--there was contempt in his voice, and I didn't like it.
"Yes," I snarled. "Is there *something* wrong with that?"
A half smile appeared on his lips. I cocked my head to the side, trying to understand what that look meant.
"Much more like your father than I had hoped, dear Luna," he said and finished off his last gulp of coffee.
"Being quiet and timid is not particularly a high priority for me," I said, trying to brush away the unpleasantness he had brought to the café.
I am positive that if not for the misfortune of one young mutant, we would have continued this manner of conversation for the next twenty minutes before "The Master of Magnetism" decided he had to get moving to his country.
Alice was the poor woman's name. She was a Japanese-American; second generation she later told me when we were at my place. She came tearing down the street from an alley with several members of The Friends of Humanity in hot pursuit of her. She was screaming "Help, help! Oh God, help me!" and wailing loudly. No one really tried to do anything. This was New York, a rather nice neighbor hood, but still New York--you were on your own here and fended for yourself. Perhaps now it is was not like that a decade ago, but it is now.
Magneto rose from his chair. His blue eyes were wild and he seemed posessed. I stood up and yelled at him: "Don't hurt them!"
With ease, his powers pulled the metal bats and chains from their hands as he said, "Do not hurt them, Luna? Those who would kill your father and aunt in an instant? Only because they will not hurt you does not mean they don't need to be hurt." The FOH members let out yelps and took off the way they came, screaming "Dirty muties!" the whole way.
"What do you mean?" I cried at him as I followed him toward the woman, who was now lying on the sidewalk. "You think I do not want you to kill the ignorant because they are no threat to me? I am the daughter of a mutant Avenger and an Inhuman! I've had death threats, too, Magne--" I realized he was only paying attention to the young woman.
She looked up at him with narrow, but wide, black eyes full of tears. "M-M-M-Magneto?" she stumbled over the words. I approached them slowly. He looked at the young girl more lovingly than he looked at me.
I heard sirens in the distance. I sighed, not knowing why I was going to give the man any help. "Come on, the police are coming. We can go to my apartment and get you cleaned up," I said. Magneto nodded and picked the girl up. I suddenly felt myself floating. I was flying over the crowds and toward my building. I pointed out the roof, and we landed there. Then I showed the two to my apartment.
Magneto stood with his arms crossed commandingly over his chest, puffed up like a penguin. The young woman, Alice, was sitting on my sofa. I was sitting next to her, fixing up a nasty cut over her eye and a few scratches on her arms. I showed her to the bathroom and gave her some clean clothes.
While Alice showered, I made some coffee and Magneto still stood about, trying to look important.
I fiddled with the coffeemaker longer than I had to, dawdling in the kitchen, not wanting to go into the other part of the one large room that was my kitchen and living room. I fixed a sandwich with bologna and mustard for Alice, figuring she would be hungry. I came into the living room, carrying three mugs of coffee all at once by the handles.
I hadn't noticed, but he'd sat down on the sofa. After while his old bones must have been aching. I could tell he was looking around my small apartment, evaluating it, and me. I wasn't rich, or poor, either. I was a secretary for a lawyer in Queens and was paid fairly. He was must have thought me poor, though. I set the mugs on the coffee table in the center of the room.
"Would you like coffee?" I asked him.
"No, I am fine, thank you," he said.
I shrugged and said, "Very well then." I sat down in an armchair with a mug of coffee in my hands. "I'm sorry I'm not what you want me to be," he looked at me, "but I can't very well help being human, Magnus." Was it a mistake to call him Magnus? I wondered. He looked at me for a moment, his face stern and indecisive.
"I mean," I said, "that there is no telling what effect the Mists will have on me. They augment genetic gifts, and I don't think I have any... But I'm *happy* as I am."
"I understand," Magneto said quickly, and without looking at me. I could tell he was thinking; probably a way to make his poor, genetic reject of a grandchild into something worthwhile to the world. Scientists in Genosha had made mutants before he came to power. Was he was thinking of getting his hands on one of them for me? I wondered. Perhaps a small part of me wanted that.
I sipped my coffee and looked at his white hair for his eyes were staring out the window.
"I hope you understand as well that I told you not to hurt those FOH member simply because they didn't deserve it." Magneto raised his head and began to open his mouth. "Do not interrupt me in my house. Ahem, now, those poor bigots can't help that they're undereducated. They don't know any better, and I think it will take a long time to make them understand."
Magneto shook his head, "They won't see on they're own--"
"And they won't when big 'all powerful' mutants beat up on them," I declared.
Magneto threw his head back and laughed. "And what do you suggest, Luna? College courses on getting along?"
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Peaceful, non-violent rallies--"
"Is that what your father has raised you to believe?" Magneto retorted.
"*I* alone make my political decisions, Magneto. My father and mother raised me to have my own. I'm not some pawn of my father as you wish him to be to you!" I slapped my hand over my mouth, realizeing I'd made a mistake.
"I see, that is how you think of me, eh? A manipulator?"
I realized something. I was taking all that he was giving out to me as though I deserved it. Why did I have to take it? He was a guest in my house! I was harboring him, somehting that could get me years in jail. Taking his attitude was not on my priority list.
"Yes. You want my father for a pawn, and Wanda, too. And you'd have liked to have me was well, but I'm just a human... so now I'm just going to be family you won't talk about." I was roused, sitting on the edge of my chair.
At this point, I realized that Alice was standing at the end of the of the hallway. She looked confused at our arguing.
Magneto cleared his throat and stood up. "Alice, my dear, I have a proposition for you." The woman nodded. I wondered what Magneto had up his sleeve, he was acting as though the past few exchanges between the two of us had not occured.
"You are welcome to come back with me to Genosha. You'll be taken care of, and won't be chased on the streets by hoodlums howling for your blood. What do you say?" Magneto smiled like a charismatic salesman pitching a car or something.
I gulped at exactly the same time Alice did. I could tell she wasn't sure of what she wanted, but the offer of peace was too much for her to pass up. Peace, acceptance... It was something I wanted to, but not because I was a mutant like her and Magneto offered her asylum, because Magneto was family, and I wanted to have his caring and love.
"Yes, Magneto, sir, I would be very honored to come to Genosha with you," she said weakly, her dark eyes looking up at him like a puppy-dog in a pet store. She pushed a lock of damp, dark hair behind her ear.
"Wonderful. Well then, let us go," he said, motioning for the door.
Alice nodded and began to walk toward the door. "T-thank you, Ms. Maximoff, for your kindness."
"Its nothing, Alice, really," I said, standing up.
Magneto went to the door and opened it, leading Alice out. He turned, looked at me for a moment. Those icy blue eyes I'd seen a thousand times in my father were looking at me the way my father's never did. It was a look of superiorty because I was a human, and with anger more intense than Poppa's ever had because I'd dared to tell him what I thought outright. With his eyes glaring, he then left, shutting the door behind him.
He didn't even say good-bye. I am his grandchild, his only one, and he didn't even bother to say goodbye or thank me for helping one of his "people."
I crawled out onto the rusty fire escape and cried because I knew him. Poppa told me so. And I should have listened.