Disclaimer: This is a work of fan-fiction. The here fore used characters belong rightfully to Marvel and I just borrowed them. The only profit I hope to achieve with this is the pure pleasure of the reader, so no copyright infringement intended. Please do not sue me, I don’t have money and won’t be getting some from this story. The dialogue used at the end of this story was taken from WildC.A.T.s/X-Men, The Silver Age and it is also not mine.
Author’s notes: This story refers to the WildC.A.T.s/X-Men Crossover The Silver Age and it is set shortly before the comic book begins.
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Breaking the law
‘So much for the golden future, I can't even start
I've had every promise broken, there's anger in my heart
you don't know what it's like, you don't have a clue
if you did you'd find yourselves doing the same thing too’
“Breaking the Law”; Judas Priest
It is dark in my cell, a small light shines in from the outside but it is not enough to lighten the little room completely. But that doesn’t matter because I am perfectly capable to see in the darkness, even if I’d rather not seen what I see there. There I am sitting in a cell in some rotten tiny town and keep brooding over things. My hands are cuffed as well as are my feet, my clothes torn so that I only have my trousers left. I am sitting in a solitary cell of a prison in some south American little town, me the greatest thief of the world. I ask myself how it could have come with me that low and if it had been worth it.
When I was born it was obvious that I was different than all the other children, my eyes branded me now as then a mutant, red on black. But whether that would have bothered my parents, my true parents or I even had inherited them from one of them is something I’ll never know. Instead I grew up on the streets, a place no children should grow up, a place where kids make experiences they should be spared to make. I had to steal so that I would not starve, I’ve learned that early and quickly. I had to steal clothes so that I did not freeze to death, but now I am asking myself whether that would’ve bothered someone. What would one less mutant possibly mean? The thievery had been necessary to survive and I had been a quick study of life and survival so I soon became quite good at it. It was just something that belonged to my life like breathing, it was my life to be specific, because without the things I gained through stealing I would not have survived that long to think about it now. I never considered it something wrong then or as something bad, I didn’t know better. I had never learned anything else and why should only the other people have enough food and clothing. Back then I did only steal what I needed to survive, I was too busy with surviving than I would’ve wished for luxury. Like today it was simply a transfer of possessions, with the little exception that these consisted then of things I really needed to survive. And I had been really good at what I was doing, never were the people able to catch me so I always got away unharmed. Although sometimes I had wished to be caught, that one of the rich families of the town who lived in these expensive houses got me and maybe took me to live with them. But that were fantasies, it never happened. I had often stood at the windows and looked in at Christmas or Easter, at the holidays when the whole city had been so extremely nicely decorated. I had watched how the other kids played with their toys or ate with their families at a rich decked table. When they unpacked their presents and their faces lightened up with joy I must admit, that it did indeed hurt me and got me a sting right into my heart. I had no parents to give me presents, had no one I could go to at the holidays and I didn’t even know my birthday. As I now reflect back, I simply wanted to have a place where I belonged.
Even the other kids who lived in the streets shunned me and even whether we shared a similar destiny they were still normal and I was a freak, a child of the devil. They were afraid of me and retreated away from me, they called me names that hurt me much, even if I knew not to be a demon’s spawn despite my strange eyes. But I wasn’t so sure every time if they could have not been right. Soon I realized that my eyes were not the only mark of my mutation, ‘cause I developed a certain feeling for the emotions of others. I was able to read their emotions, something’s called empathy. That would quickly turn out a great advantage but a disadvantage as well as I was soon to find out. I found out that if I concentrated hard enough I was able to project my emotions onto others and it made me back then a better thief. I only used my abilities to get me some food and I considered them a great gift. Finally I would get some recognition from some entity that watched over me. Now people wanted to give me something when I begged or they did not realize me while emptying their briefcases, when I used my gifts to influence them so that I was hidden from them. That ability proved extremely valuable, now I had the infinite possibility to make my way through life. But I soon met the shadowy sides of that gift. I could feel now how people were angry that I stole their money and that they actually loathed me, children who scraped a bare living on the streets and stole from hardworking good citizens. The words of the other kids did hurt the more now because I felt their anger, their hate and fear. Their harsh words were meant absolutely honest and I could not understand what I did to them that they hated my like this. I was willing to share my loot, since I was able to double it through my powers. But instead of gratefulness I received the full load of their fury, ‘cause I prevented their success. They beat me and took everything away from me. I felt how they used me when they took my offerings several times, but I didn’t understand why they did it. I only wanted to belong somewhere. And we thieves had to stick together. Even if I didn’t know where I belonged to, I had known about the sense of community the other kids had. I could feel it clearly. When I now stood at the huge windows and looked into the houses I felt the delight of the other rich children and the love of their parents for them, things I had never been allowed to feel. I couldn’t fight the feeling that I envied them for that.
But the day should come for me too when I found a family, a place where I belonged. That was the day I got caught for the first time in my life. And that although I possessed special powers. I don’t know why I didn’t use them that day, but I had had a strange feeling. I had to choose of all things the head of the Thieves Guild to become my next victim, although I didn’t know that then. I had chosen him to steal his wallet ‘cause he looked wealthy. Naturally he had to catch me, though I was very good at that method of stealing. But as good as I was, he was a better thief than me. I still do not know why he did it, whether he needed a new recruit or pitied a poor little mutant, because I could not read his feelings clearly. But he took me, in his house and raised me just like his own son, as if I was his son too. He even gave me his name and made me a member of his family, against the will of the other clans of the Guild. He trained me and showed me, what was necessary to know and do for a professional thief. I was a good student, now I had finally found my place where I could belong to and I learned eagerly because I didn’t want to disappoint my father. And he’d never been disappointed with me, he’d never said he regretted taken me in like I had expected at first. I was so used to being used for my powers and after that being dropped like a hot potato.. But nothing like that happened. And I still can’t trust people completely.
Had I recoiled of stealing other things than food and clothing before, I didn’t want to hurt someone, I learned quickly that the rich ones possessed too many wealth, and some things not even missed when they were taken from them. They didn’t deserve to have that unmeasurable wealth. It was nothing wrong what I did, I still did not see it as anything wrong. These people did not honour their things when they still were their things so why bother when they were now missing? It served them right and I felt no guilt at that. On the contrary, that was it what I was, what I did and I was the best. The powers I developed, my empathy and the ability to charge objects kinetically helped me to stabilize my status. I had been raised to that and I’c been raised good to be the king of thieves, the worlds finest thief. I outdid all the others, even without my special powers, but I could not reach my fathers abilities. But that was a goal worth reaching for me, so it didn’t matter to me. I know exactly that I’ve never been welcome in the guild, a freak, but my abilities as a thief had made them respect me, I’ve earned it and even if we are not a family by blood, so they accepted me finally how I was and who I was. Here I’ve found my place and I did everything to prove to them that I truly did earn their respect and was worth it; that I was worth being a part of the family.
Now I am sitting here in that small cell, my hands and feet cuffed in heavy chains. I look at the blackness of the tiny room and keep asking myself, whether it was worth it. I shouldn’t ask myself that much because the answer must be a definite yes. I have found my place and a family that took me to be one of their own even as I was a stranger to them and a mutant. I owe them my deepest gratitude and do everything to show them just how grateful I am. This might me a good chance to think about all my life so far, but actually I don’t regret anything. I don’t regret that I am a thief, that is what I do. And I am not sorry that I steal, it did lead me to my family, to my place in life. The people whom I steal from don’t deserve it better they don’t know what to do with all their money. None of these noble folks had made a single move or spend some money to help me as I was still living on the streets. Just my father had shown me what it meant to have a family and helped me when I needed it and now it is for me to honour that gesture and to return it. Stealing meant for me living, and it has become my life now. And though it says that you shouldn’t steal all the other people do it whether they call it thievery or something else. They steal the lives of the others when they oppress them or they steal the lives of the children on the streets by abandoning them, just like they’ve stolen mine. The people always take things from others and justify their actions with flimsy lies. I am a thief, I take things because I can, it is that what I do and I don’t have to justify myself in any way for that.
In my pants I had hidden a small clamp that would prove to be pretty useful now. The guards didn’t find it when they searched me. With that little piece of metal I pick the locks of the chains and they fall to the floor with a little metallic sound. Relieved I rub my hands and ankles to restore the blood circulation. In one of my pockets I have left a package of cigarettes and I just want to light one up, to think about how I would possibly escape from here, as the door opens. The guards bring in another prisoner, bound like I had been before at my hands and feet with a extra chain to a collar at his neck. They throw him uncaringly into the cell next to mine, then leave us alone. He is blond and has a noticeable tattoo on the upper right arm, a standing cobra with a roman seven. Must have been in the military or something like that. I wonder, why he would be here, if the guards thought him that dangerous to put him in these heavy chains and why he was thrown here in the solitary wing with me. I recognize him now, I’ve seen him though the bars when I was brought here. The guards are long gone and I study my new fellow prisoner. He is angry because of some reason and keeps pacing in his cell. I stand up and go to the bars. I truly ask myself what he must have done to get here.
“So, mon ami…whatcha in for?”
(Inspired by WildC.A.T.s/X-Men, The Silver Age, page 1)