God gives us earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes. Characters: Magneto, Mystique Setting: Manor, Genosha Content: Nothing questionable. Summary: Magnus suffers an attack of the worst kind of nostalgia and learns some interesting facts about his history with Raven.
The price for paradise was the fury of nature. Genosha paid it’s toll yearly when the rainy season began with its raging thunderstorms and its threat of cyclones and monsoon winds. All of Genosha’s architecture and technology and superhuman abilities weren’t enough to keep the whims of the atmosphere at bay, but they always prepared and kept to their homes and weathered the rains like any other human being. The southern winter, however, was the island’s dry season and the dark clouds that roiled across a clear afternoon sky were an unwelcome surprise. This was a freak storm. It would be gone as quickly as it arrived, heralded by a deafening crack of thunder and gusts that shook the tops of every tree and rattled window panes. The air seemed to hum with electricity that prickled the skin and left those outside with an uneasy feeling that had them scurrying for cover as the first fat drops of rain began to fall.
All was still in the manor on the hill above the city. The storm deterred visitors and kept its inhabitants inside. Magnus had risen from his desk with the first peal of thunder, brows knit in consternation as he moved to a window to stare out. He stood this way, frozen, for several seconds before he shook his head and turned back to his desk, glancing at his reflection in the gilt framed mirror hanging above the infrequently used fireplace. It was only a flash, a half second and then the image was gone, but the impression was lasting and Magnus couldn't banish it. The face he’d glimpsed in the mirror, for just a moment, hadn’t belonged to Magneto or Magnus or Erik Lehnsherr. That face belonged to Max Eisenhardt; a Jewish boy with his mother's eyes and his father's smile, a boy who'd never hurt anyone and who'd loved his family unconditionally and who had, for a few short years, been human.
He wasn't human now. He hadn’t been human in a very long time, not since the Nazis murdered his family, not since Auschwitz where they’d ripped out whatever shred of humanity he’d had left as they’d made him watch while innocent people were slaughtered and then help to dispose of the bodies. Later, when he’d fallen in love with a woman, he thought he'd rediscovered some inkling of what it meant to be human. He’d thought perhaps he could forgive the world, for loving this woman. But then death took her and he would never be Max Eisenhardt again. Except in rare moments like this one when he least expected it, when a glance at the mirror showed him a face he hardly recognized, a stranger reflected back at him.
With seventy years gone since his childhood (had it really been so long?) age had taken it’s toll. Mercifully, time had hidden Max away in the folds of Magnus’ wrinkled skin and the hardness in his eyes that he wore like armor to keep out the past and the world. But now, with this newly youthful face, he could no longer shield himself behind the ravages of age. It was a face he couldn’t quite get used to. The surprise in his gaze when he noticed his reflection momentarily erased the cruel lines of his mouth and softened his eyes and he could see his parents and his sister in his expression and he could see himself, the younger Max, not yet broken by the cruelty of the world. He could see the faces of his children, too, when they’d been young, before he’d subjected them to the atrocities of which human beings were capable. He didn’t want to see these things and so he fled.
He burst through the doors out to the garden where the rain was starting to patter, sizzling when it hit the warm earth. The sky above was a solid steely gray and the air cast a strange hue over all, making the leaves and flowers shine with unnatural vibrancy, greener than they should have been and somehow dangerous. Magnus paused near a pond, buffeted by a fierce wind and becoming increasingly drenched as the rain pelted down in heavier sheets, disturbing the water’s surface and churning the ground at his feet into black mud. He could feel the electrified magnetized air crackling, singing to his blood, drawing out his powers to meet it. Magneto closed his eyes and turned his face towards the sky and pretended for a moment that there was nothing but his powers and the storm. No history or humans, no war or death or pain or reflections. This was what he was, all he needed to be, far more than just a body, a sack of flesh and blood and bones. Not a man, not a human, but a force; the fury of nature. The mirror was a liar. Max Eisenhardt was dead.