Body and Soul I: The Body Snatcher

Chapter 1: The Fall of the Tower

Part C

It was the sound of the door unbolting again that dragged him fully out of his uneasy sleep. He ached far worse than he had last night, this body reacting to both the rape and the unaccustomed exercise. Light streamed in through the basement window, indicating it was probably about 10 am or so. He started to push aside the covers, and realized belatedly that he'd made a tactical error in leaving his clothing in the bathroom, out of reach.

The body snatcher came downstairs with food on a tray, floating behind her. Her eyes lit up when she saw him. "You got ready for me? How sweet of you!"

Magneto clenched his fists in fury, fighting not to make a retort. She knew perfectly well he wasn't naked for her sake; to say anything would be to admit that she'd humiliated him. But the body snatcher continued, as the tray set down on the floor. "Why don't you just push those blankets aside? You haven't got anything I haven't seen before; I used to occupy that body, you know."

"You're welcome to do so again any time you wish," he said coldly.

"No, no. I plan to occupy it in an entirely different sense," she said, grinning. She walked over to him and tugged the covers off. "Did you know that 'occupy' used to be a euphemism for sex a few hundred years ago?"

"I don't collect historical euphemisms for sex, as I don't share your rampant obsession with the subject."

"'Rampant obsession.' I like that." She stroked her groin through the pants-- they weren't still his pants; she had changed clothes. "It's rampant, all right. You know, I have to thank you again for providing me with this body. I'm sure one of your girlfriends must have told you this, but you're pretty well hung. I like that."

"I don't tend to date women with such crude mindsets," he retorted.

"What, well-hung is crude? Your tender sensibilities would just shrivel up and die at what I consider crude, then."

"I suppose someone must play the role of uneducated lout. And you do have a well-suited personality for it."

She laughed. "Am I supposed to be insulted?"

"In an ideal world, yes."

"This isn't an ideal world." She pushed him back against the bed, leaning on it herself and looming over him. "Though it'll get a whole lot more ideal after I fuck you." She started to undo her pants, kneeling over him.

Magneto waited until her pants were partially off, restricting her physical movement. Her shields weren't up, and he wasn't quite able to believe she was leaving him this opening again, but he wasn't going to waste it. As soon as she was vulnerable, he struck, bringing his leg up into her groin. She folded with a hoarse gasp, falling to the side, trying to pull away, but that still left her open for another strike. He punched her in the groin, and when she weakly squirmed away, trying to block him, he hit her in the stomach, as hard as he could manage. The pain didn't seem to be forcing her out of the body. Too bad about that. He grabbed the can from under the pillow, and swung it down at her head, but it jerked out of his hand and went flying before it got there as she instinctively summoned power. All his hair stood on end in the center of the magnetic field, but her control was crude in her extremity of pain, unable to affect a human body. He hit her in the stomach again, and in the crotch again, and then slammed his fist into her temple as hard as this body could, several times. There was no need to hold back out of fear of damaging his own body-- this body simply didn't have the physical strength to permanently damage that one. He could use every bit of strength this body had in disabling her, and he did.

By the time he was done he was breathing hard, his muscles ached fiercely, and his hand hurt like the devil, but she was unconscious. Her pulse was still strong when he checked it, but she was plainly down for the count. Good. He ran to the bathroom, ignoring strained muscles, grabbing the still slightly wet clothes and throwing them on as he ran up the stairs. There was no time to manage putting on the bra or underpants-- the only reason he even bothered with the clothes themselves was the fear that running around outside in a nude woman's body would be an invitation to assault by other parties. The door to the kitchen was open, and from there it was three steps to the back door, and outside.

The house was nestled into the woods on the top of a hill, enclosed on three sides with no signs of neighbors. The home of a serial killer. He wondered if the ones she'd bragged about killing were buried on the property. The taxi was still sitting on the pebbled driveway, but the engine had been partially disassembled-- no doubt she'd been experimenting with the powers. So, no getaway car. He'd have to do this on foot. The driveway, unfortunately, was covered with small rocks. Magneto ran parallel to it, skirting it on grass and then the edges of the woods, with long, wild grasses lashing at his running legs, until the pebbles ran out and the road became bare dirt. That, he could run on. It wouldn't be pleasant-- these feet had few calluses, and those not of the sort conducive to running barefoot outside-- but he'd managed worse. He hiked the skirt up to above his knees with one hand and went into full bore down the hill, running awkwardly because the center of gravity was lower and his arms kept flailing at his sides without the weight he should have to balance him. It didn't matter. The muscles he'd strained yesterday were badly pulled with the length of his stride, far too long for what these legs should naturally do, and the bruises she'd left inside him with the rape ached as the running muscles tugged at other muscles, connected to the ones inside. There was a painful stitch in his side. He was getting out of breath. None of it mattered. He sprinted down the dirt road as fast as this body could go, using the downhill slope for momentum, almost falling over with the imbalance of it but keeping onward, until the dirt road and the hill both ran out and he skidded out onto paved road.

It was a narrow road winding through the woods, one lane on each side with a double gold line running down the middle. No cars passed by here. A rural road in the middle of nowhere. Inwardly Magneto cursed. His plan had been to hitch a ride with the first passing car, figuring that a disheveled and desperate-looking woman shouldn't have difficulty inspiring sympathy and aid, but this road looked largely untravelled. He glanced both ways, but the road simply disappeared into the trees, bending out of sight, on both sides. Arbitrarily he went right, figuring that if he was fortunate, she'd have neighbors in this direction, and instead of hitching a ride perhaps he could escape onto their property and ask their aid. They'd think she was her. He could always claim a dangerous crazy had attacked him-- no, she was a killer; if he said that they'd send the police and she'd kill the police with ease. If he said a dangerous mutant, though, people like the Avengers might be summoned and then how would he get his body back? Perhaps he could just hide. He ran down the road, unable to go quite so swiftly this time since he was no longer running downhill. By now his breathing was coming in labored gasps. This body was not used to running. It wanted to slow to a walk and cool down. Magneto had other plans, and drove it as ruthlessly as he would his own. He had to get off the road and to safety before she--

The hair on his arms stood on end. Static electricity lifted this body's hair and tangled it into his face. The smell of ozone, as familiar a scent as his own, tinged the air. Desperately he glanced up, and saw her hovering in the air, some distance behind him on the road.

How had she recovered so fast? He probably would have, but that was a function of his willpower and experience-- wasn't it? Was it only his body that allowed him to recover so quickly from being beaten into unconsciousness? She couldn't have willpower equivalent to his, or nearly the experience he had in being physically attacked. Magneto threw himself to the side of the road, hoping against hope that she hadn't seen him yet, hoping he could hide in the woods and she would pass by, never noticing--

No. The tingling and the static electricity increased, and then something hard and heavy and agonizingly painful hit him in the back, and he fell. The blow winded him, and bruised his spine and the muscles of his lower back badly. When he tried to force himself back to his feet, to keep running, he couldn't get up. He could see what had hit him, a can of green beans, rolling up against a bush to lie there uselessly. Frantically Magneto crawled forward, half-dragging himself by the arms, willing himself to move, to escape into the woods where he could hide from her.

He heard her land behind him, and rolled over to face her. She was glowing. Quite aside from the fact that she would undoubtedly wish to punish him for hurting her and trying to escape, he realized suddenly that she might be unaware that she was charged, that simply touching him now might electrocute him. It also meant that he had no effective way to fight back-- he'd planned to try to kick her, the only move he could manage from his position, but with her charged it would certainly hurt him worse than it would hurt her. He tried to back away, as best as he could when he couldn't stand up. "Wait-- don't--"

"I warned you," she said harshly, leaned down, and grabbed his arm before he could pull away.

Magneto had never actually experienced an electric shock. Even when he'd been young, before he'd manifested his full power, his body had absorbed electricity and converted it into personal energy; he'd found that out the hard way, by being thrown into the electric fence by Nazi guards who'd expected to see him die for their amusement, and were themselves rather shocked to see him survive it. He had inflicted this particular pain on others without ever knowing quite what it felt like. Now he knew. It was just like it had been when the child Kitty Pryde had disrupted his natural magnetic field by phasing through him, except much, much worse. He felt himself convulsing as a rather distant awareness through an enormous amount of pain, and when the pain subsided, his body was still stunned, numb, twitching and unwilling to move, with a sensation like pins and needles throughout him.

The body snatcher pulled him to his feet while he was still convulsing, and then threw him to the ground again, face down. She stepped on his head, grinding his face into the dirt. He was still too numb to move, to even try to struggle, when he felt his wrists and ankles being bound together behind his back by something, most likely the steel cable again. He tried to breathe, but all he could get was dirt. Her foot released his head, and the power picked up his hog-tied limbs, levitating him and turning him to face her. Now he could get air, at least. He breathed raggedly, the body still spasming and twitching in the aftermath of the shock.

"That was good," she said, hissing angrily. "That was very good. None of the others ever even tried something like this. I hope you're glad of how far you got, Magneto, because you're never going to get that far again. And you're going to learn not to try to hurt me."

"You could try... protecting yourself better," he said, his voice still weak.

She hit him. It was a hard, solid blow, dizzying him further. And then she shook her head. "No, no. You probably get beaten up on all the time. Big occupational hazard of being a supervillain, right? We're going to think of something else to teach you not to fuck with me." She reached her hand under the skirt, sliding her hand between his thighs despite his best efforts to keep his legs pressed together. "No undies? That turn you on?" The power pulled his bound ankles back sharply, bowing him-- he gritted his teeth to keep from screaming at the pain this caused his bruised back-- and forcing his legs apart under the skirt. The body snatcher slid two hard fingers into him, probing him roughly, and then shocked him. As he gasped with the pain, fighting not to cry out, she let him drop to the ground, where she kicked him in the stomach. When he managed to twist onto his stomach to prevent her from kicking it again, she yanked his skirt up and drove a booted foot between his legs in a vicious kick.

The pain was not as bad as if he'd had a male body and she'd done that, but this was rather like saying that the pain of being beaten senseless was not quite as bad as the pain of being burned alive. It was true, but awfully little comfort for the victim of the beating. Her power lifted him again. "There's a lot more where that came from, but we'd better get you home before we start your lessons. Can't have someone coming along and seeing the evil Magneto beating the crap out of some poor defenseless woman, after all."

She kept him turned face down as they flew back to the house, and the pain of having all his weight coming down on the bindings that held wrists and ankles together, as well as the cruel strain on his damaged back, was almost enough to make him black out. He fought to remain conscious as she carried him downstairs, where she undid the ties that held the wraparound skirt on and pulled it off him. Still levitating him face down, she forced his knees apart and stepped between them. He expected rape, and wondered how she could even think of sex after he'd hit her in the groin several times. But she was, apparently, not ready for that just yet-- she played with him, using her fingers to probe all his exposed sensitive places and deliver occasional sharp shocks for several minutes. Then she flipped him over, undid the blouse, and squeezed and fondled his breasts for a bit, pinching and shocking the nipples. Involuntarily he jerked with the small shocks, his muscles convulsing and pulling against his bonds hard enough that he'd likely end up with bruises on wrists and ankles. He was breathing in short hoarse gasps, all his concentration on fighting not to scream.

She turned him over again, dropping him face down on the bed, and pulled the blouse off, bunching it around the bindings on his wrists. Then she released the bindings, allowing his legs to drop to the bed, pulled the blouse all the way off his arms, and flipped him onto his back again with physical strength. He was too weak from the shocks to resist her. The cable she'd used to bind him, and the rest of the ones that had remained behind in this room, rose up, locked to the bedposts and then around his wrists and ankles again, pulling him spread-eagled.

"Now," she said, "I'm going to go take a nice, long, hot shower and take some pain medication for these bruises. When I get back, we're going to get into your lessons on What Not To Do. I want you to spend the time until then thinking long and hard about what a stupid fucking move that was, and how completely useless it was, and how badly you're going to hurt to pay for it."

She left. He lay quietly for several minutes, breathing, regaining air and strength. When he felt he'd recovered sufficiently, he started to try to work his wrists free, pushing aside the fear of what would inevitably happen if he couldn't. Unfortunately, the cables that bound him were not cuffs-- he could have possibly dislocated his hand to slip out of cuffs, a trick he'd heard about but never actually had opportunity to try. The cable was rather more like rope, wrapped firmly around the wrist, chafing the skin, but magnetically welded to itself rather than knotted to form the bond. Even if he chafed against the metal hard enough and long enough to draw blood, the lubrication still probably would not allow him to slip free. The cable bound the wrist tightly enough to constrict it, to slow circulation to the hand, and when he tugged as hard as he could the cable did not slip up to the lower edge of his hand and catch there-- it stayed put where it was around his wrist. The other side was no better.

There were bonds you could work your way out of if you struggled, and there were bonds you were stuck with. These were plainly the latter. Which meant he wasn't getting out of this.

She won't kill me. She said she plans to keep me alive. That didn't prove anything. She'd said that before he'd attacked her. What reason did she have to keep him alive? If she needed this body alive, perhaps that would be sufficient reason, but if it were only that she wanted him alive to play with while she ran about with his powers... that probably wasn't enough reason for her not to kill him, after what he'd done. Surely she would realize, now, he was too dangerous to let live.

No. No, he couldn't think that way. If she killed him, she killed him, and there was nothing he could do about it, but he had to assume that wouldn't happen. He had to assume he would live, and focus on getting out of this.

The minutes dragged on. He kept looking at the window to try to gauge how long it was. Hours. The cables were not pulled so tight as to strain his muscles further-- he had a tiny bit of motion range. But they were wrapped closely enough around his flesh to be limiting circulation. He couldn't feel his hands or feet anymore. And he was thirsty. Dear God but he was thirsty. He hadn't had anything to drink since waking up this morning, and the exertions he'd gone through had left his mouth parched and sore. Oh but what he would not give for a glass of water right now. To make matters worse, he could see the food she'd brought him this morning, lying on a tray by the stairs-- soggy cold cereal in milk-- and the thought of the cool milk on his dry throat was impossible to shut out, impossible to stop longing for. He was also hungry-- he hadn't eaten since he was taken captive, and he'd thrown up whatever this body had eaten before that time--but that he could ignore, whereas the thirst refused to be pushed aside. Ironically, he also had to urinate, a need that grew steadily worse as the time wore on. By the time she finally came down the stairs, boredom and dread and physical discomfort had brought him to the point where her appearance was actually a relief. Finally this would be over with.

"Thought about it?" she asked.

"I'm impressed, actually," he said, his voice hoarse and slightly cracked from thirst. He wasn't impressed, really-- disturbed was more like it-- but perhaps if he played a bit to her ego, she would give him more information. It was a trick that he'd realized some time ago worked distressingly often on himself. "I expected you to be unconscious for far longer. And your control of the powers is far greater than I'd assumed. It's obvious that such a simple trick as what I tried won't work on you. How have you gotten such control, so quickly?"

The body snatcher laughed, and fell into his trap. "I've impressed an internationally infamous terrorist killer. Should that make me jump for joy?" She sat down on the edge of the bed. "I get echoes. Anything your body knew how to do, I guess. So I'm not up on the location of your secret bases and your world conquest gizmos, but if you knew how to play the piano, I could sit down and put my fingers on the keys and the fingers would remember how to play, even though I personally don't know shit about piano playing. Good thing you trained so very hard with these powers of yours, huh? Got it all at the unconscious level, the body level, where I can get at it. Thanks."

"Well, in the light of that--" it wasn't very hard to force himself to sound defeated, even though he wasn't a very good actor, and he didn't want to think about why that was-- "it's clear that there would be no point to my attacking you again." He turned his head from her, trying to feign resignation. "You were right the first time. You have me. There's nothing I can do."

She ran a hand up his leg, across his belly, up to breasts sore from the shocks she'd inflicted earlier. "You're right about that. Glad to see you know it."

He turned his head to face her, swallowing his pride. If he could just make her think she had defeated him, if he could just make her think he had already learned his "lesson," perhaps he could get out of this. There was no way to avoid being raped, most likely, but if he could get water and be freed to use the bathroom, that would be enough of a victory for now. And she'd given him information, and he could use it to come up with another plan. All he had to do was humble himself for a moment now. "Please... could you let me free? I won't resist you, whatever you want. I swear it. But my hands are going numb, and I've had nothing to drink all day..."

She looked at him for several seconds. "Oh, sure," she said finally, in an oversolicitous voice. "Of course I'll let you get up and get your drinky-poo. You only tried to beat the crap out of me this morning, but we can let bygones be bygones, riiight?" She laughed harshly, dropping the sugary tone. "You must think I'm either very soft or very stupid, Magneto. Did you think I was just going to forget the lesson I promised you? That after I'd had a chance to shower and relax, I was just going to go, oh, you tried to beat me up but it's okay?"

He dropped the submissive act. "I'd hoped that you'd be big enough to tell when an opponent is beaten, and when you can afford to be magnanimous," he said acidly. "I see I was wrong. You are simply a thug."

"Oh, right. Advice on how to be a good supervillain, from a past master? I'm sure you were always so generous to your enemies when they were beaten. That why you never conquered the world, huh?" Her hand fell on his breast, squeezing painfully, twisting the nipple cruelly between her fingers. "I thought I had you beat this morning. You proved otherwise. So I'm not going to take for granted you've learned any lessons till I teach them to you."

With that, she channeled electricity through her fingers into the nipple she was tormenting, shocking him badly, far worse than what she'd done this morning. He gasped, jerking in his bonds, pulling every muscle painfully again. When he could speak again, he said, "You don't... know what you're doing. Even if... you know how... you don't know the limits of what's safe. Electricity is dangerous, woman. You could end up killing me by accident."

"You said that last time. You're really convinced I don't want you dead."

He tried to shrug, but with his arms bound over his head to either side of the bed, it was pretty much impossible. "If you do want me dead, no doubt you'll kill me. But if you don't want to kill me, I'd rather you didn't by accident."

She laughed. "You're right. I don't want you dead. So let's find out the limits of your tolerance gradually, shall we?" Her hand toyed with the other breast. "Nipples are extremely sensitive, especially for women. But then, you probably figured that out already. So if you can take it there, you can take it anywhere else."

It was like Zaladane again-- torturing him for personal amusement, reveling in what she'd taken from him. Except that against Zaladane, he'd had allies, and some slight hope of rescue. Here he had nothing, no powers, no allies, not even the physical mobility to escape. Nothing but his own strength of will, and his pride.

He had no clear idea of how long it went on. The thirst and the hunger and the numbness in his extremities disappeared into the welter of pain. The pressure in his bladder solved itself a different way; he'd known that would happen, known there was no way to avoid it with the convulsions the electricity was inducing, but knowing was no antidote for the sick humiliation. Curiously fastidious, she stopped the torture to get a washcloth and towel, cleaned him off with an expression of disgust, and put the towel underneath him. Then she returned to her experiments, slowly increasing the intensity of the shock with each terrible pulse.

Desperately he fought to keep from screaming, and only later realized what a fool he'd been to do so. She was testing his limits. He should have let her see his agony, shrieked, begged for mercy, feigned unconsciousness, anything to make her think the intensity of the pain and damage caused by the shock was worse than it was. But his pride was too great, and it went against everything he'd been trained in by his harsh existence. In his experience, weakness caused people to hurt you worse; in Auschwitz, if you cried out or complained, you were likely to get shot outright. Only those who could grimly endure would survive. So he'd held out as long as he could, biting back his cries of pain until the agony became too much for him to do so, trying desperately not to writhe, to fight the convulsions and hold as still as he could. Eventually he realized that this left her with far too close a notion of what his upper limits actually were, but by the time he realized this, he was already pushed to the point where he couldn't stop screaming, and it was too late to do anything at all.

At some point she seemed to decide that playing with his nipples was boring, and moved down to lower, even more sensitive regions. Causing him pain there seemed to excite her tremendously; shortly after moving the site of the shocks, she stripped naked and climbed atop him. His first reaction was actually an exhausted relief, assuming that while she was raping him, he would be spared the shocks.

For the first time in a very long time, Magneto's imagination for horrors failed him. He was taken totally by surprise when she channelled electricity through her genitals and shocked him inside. His convulsions and hoarse screams seemed to thrill her, and she did it again, and again, her face twisted with sick pleasure, until he was clinging to consciousness by the barest of threads, convinced that the torture would kill him, and desperately trying to hang onto consciousness as a way of staying alive. By the time she finished, he was utterly lost in a haze of pain, having forgotten where he was, why he was hurting, and very close to forgetting why he was trying to survive this.

Slowly he came out of his pain-wracked daze to find her stroking his body and the steel cables undone. Not that it really mattered that she'd untied him. He literally could not move; the convulsions against the unyielding steel had strained every muscle he had, and completely cut off the circulation to his hands and feet as well.

"Why?" he whispered hoarsely, barely audible.

"I told you," she said. "Because I can. And I like it."

She stood up. "Maybe next time you'll think twice about hurting me," she said. "Although that was so much fun, I'm not sure I'd need an excuse to try it again. You wouldn't believe how good it feels to have someone going into spasms under you like that."

Most men achieve the effect by pleasing their partners, not torturing them until they're half-dead, he wanted to say, but his voice was far too hoarse, and he was too weak, and it didn't matter anyway. She liked being a monster. It didn't bother her in the slightest.

Several minutes after she left, he was able to force himself to move. It was hideously painful, but at least now the muscles were obeying his commands, and they weren't going to get any less stiff and strained if he just laid there. He crawled into the bathroom and ran a bath as hot as he could stand it. As the tub filled, he reached up to the sink, grasped the cup in numb hands, and filled it with water from the tap, again and again, downing five glasses before he felt he'd drunk enough. Then he painfully pulled himself up over the lip of the tub and into it. The hot water did something toward soothing his tortured, overstretched muscles and his bruised back, but couldn't touch the terrible pain in his genitals and breasts, and couldn't begin to wash away the feelings of humiliation and helpless rage.

He stared down into the water. Fool, to believe he could escape so easily. He was used to being one of the special ones, the people who were hard to kill, hard to imprison, hard to defeat. To be held captive, tortured, used as a plaything, with no realistic hope of escape... that was something he would have sworn could not happen to him. Not anymore. It didn't fit the definition of Magneto, the self he had carefully built for himself over the past twenty years. Something like this belonged to his childhood, when he was easily rendered helpless, when he was only an ordinary human with an ordinary human's resources.

As he was now.

No. He shook his head, denying that. It was different now. He had extensive combat experience, had endured and survived horrors that had killed countless others. Even without his powers, he was still formidable...

...was he? Against an opponent with his powers? When had an ordinary human, however well-trained, ever defeated him? It had generally taken entire teams of super-powered beings to take him down...

But he didn't want to take her down. Once he was free, he could worry about that. All he wanted to do was escape...

...but his certainty that he'd be able to do that had dissipated, and he couldn't recapture it. He hurt so much, and she hadn't even worked up a sweat defeating him. He had hit her as hard as he could, taken advantage of her vulnerability, done everything he could... and not only hadn't it worked, it had nearly killed him. The hot water eased the aches only slightly. It would be sheerest agony to try to exercise in this condition... and she'd liked it. She might do it again, any time she wanted to. The slightest desire to gratify lust, in a body with, as he well knew, entirely normal male appetites, and she could do it again. Two or three times a day, if it pleased her to.

He couldn't take that. He wouldn't take that. If there was truly no hope of escape, nothing but the unbearable pain as often as she wanted to inflict it, he really did see no other way but to kill himself. He'd always thought of that as the coward's way out... but if that was all there was for him...

No. He wouldn't consider that. Not yet, anyway. He had suffered a setback; these things happened. He had been tortured; well, he'd been tortured before, and he'd lived. There had to be a way to escape. He just had to survive long enough to find it... and prevent her from damaging him as she had tonight. It would take some days to heal from this; he couldn't allow her to do it to him on a regular basis if he was going to be in any condition to escape.

Which meant open defiance was no longer an option.

The thought sickened him. It was not what he did, not him. The Master of Magnetism did not cooperate with his enemies, did not degrade himself to escape pain.

But Erik Lehnsherr had.

Water dripped from his hair and nose as single drops, disrupting the smooth surface of the water. The woman's body that stretched out before him in the water dissolved and rippled with the drops, changing and blurring. It was alien to look at, but the pain it felt was his pain. The sore overstretched muscles, the agony in its particularly female parts, these were not alien sensations. They weren't familiar, but they were as much a part of him as his magnetic senses had been, and those hadn't been familiar all his life. The awakening of his sexuality, the awakening of his mutant power, the transformation from an old man to an infant and then to a man in the prime of his life... all had involved shifts in his self-definition, transformations of who he was, accompanied by sensations unfamiliar and yet very much a part of him.

He couldn't be Magneto. Magneto was nothing without his powers. That self, that collection of strategies for life, involved being powerful, virtually undefeatable, dangerous even when beaten within an inch of his life. He could afford to be defiant, uncooperative as a captive, since who could hold him for long? That no longer fit, and wouldn't until he got his body back. The arrogance that had characterized Magneto was only going to get him hurt. And Magnus was the same as Magneto, only slightly more human, less a facade of invincibility. No, he'd been cast back to being Erik again, the name he had dispensed with as belonging to his human self, the person who could be victimized by Nazi evil and who couldn't even save his daughter's life. The helpless man, the man who'd had to resort to begging, lying, stealing, even prostitution, to stay alive. That was who he was now.

And he hated it. But there was no other way. Pretending he was still Magneto was a luxury he didn't have if he didn't want to be tortured into immobility again.

Slowly, painfully, Erik climbed out of the tub and dried himself. He was still very weak from the effort his muscles had expended in straining uselessly against his bonds during the torture, and he still hurt terribly, but the hot water had loosened things up enough that he could stand up, even get dressed. Clearly he no longer had the luxury of being able to go naked, and besides, the cellar was especially cold in contrast to the hot water. He managed not to stagger as he walked back into the bedroom.

The food was still there, a congealed mass of green that had turned to a porridge-like consistency. It was some awful ultra-sugary concoction for children that had turned the milk bright green and tasted like it could bring on an instant diabetic attack. He ate it ravenously, and drank down all the milk, licking the bowl to make sure he'd gotten everything that was remotely edible. The sugar on his empty stomach hit like a drug, making him restless and twitchy, desperately needing to move despite the pain it caused to do so, and he used the sugar high to do some exercises. There wasn't much he could do, aside from basic stretches-- he hurt too much. Trying to do just one sit-up brought a wave of nausea as his stomach muscles, abused from the convulsions, informed him of exactly how unwilling they were to contract. Running was a little more successful, but there was little room to do it in-- he ended up half-running, half-staggering to one end of the room, slamming against the wall with arms out, pushing back and reversing to repeat it. Not a great exercise, but it was something.

Predictably, the sugar rush wore off and left him exhausted, shaky and hungry. Erik crawled back into bed to conserve his energy until she fed him again. Hopefully it wouldn't be sugar this time.

Body Snatcher: Chapter One Part D

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