Title: Playing With Fire
Disclaimer: Whedon and Marvel own all characters.
Spoilers: Season One and Two-ish for BTVS, X2 the Movie for Xmen.
Summary: QCP#158-Willow/Pyro, reflections on a relationship . . .
Her hair was red like fire.
I guess that's what really drew me to her in the first
place. I mean, I was always one for flirting with any female in
sight, but she was the only one who actually caught my eye for some reason other than just being a girl. I mean, her hair. It shocked me how it was so like fire. And anyone who knew me could tell you, I love fire.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that she had a fire
inside of herself, just like her hair. It matched it perfectly if
you really wanted to know. But her fire was something entirely different from any fire that I had toyed with in my life. That fire was destructive, meant to burn everything to the ground. Her fire was rehabilitating, meant to reach out and warm people, offer comfort instead of ruin. I knew that right from the start.
And I also knew that I should have stayed away from her.
You see, she was always way too good for me. I knew that
right from the start, from the very first day that the Professor had brought her to the school. She had been brought in from a small-town in Southern California, Sunny-something. But she never called it that. She called it the mouth of Hell. It was only after I had known her for a few months did I figure out that that nickname was literal.
But we're not here to talk about her old life, back there
with a superhero best friend and childhood love/best friend. We're here to talk about her after all that, about how she was when she came to the school, and what I made her by the end of it.
Her arrival at the school was something met with great
fanfare. Her powers were something very odd, something no one could understand. She could copy people's powers, once she had seen them in action. We all thought it was amazing, but it wasn't until much later did I find out that she had powers she kept hidden from even the Professors, powers that put everyone else's to shame. But that was for later. During that time, it was only her copying abilities that amazed everyone and her sweet demeanour that charmed everyone.
She really was the sweetest thing ever. She was a shy
creature by nature, though she was slowly able to get herself to recover from that. Tenacious, she loved to read and learn. She was amazing at the computer and it didn't take her long to figure out the mechanics for most of the technology at the mansion. She was a sight to behold, and I shouldn't have touched her.
Because in the end, I would corrupt her.
I remember being entranced by her hair, and then later by her quiet manner. It didn't make any sort of sense to me at the time, and it doesn't right now either. We were polar opposites, people who had nothing in common. Except, of course, for that fire we both carried within ourselves. But then again, my fire was destructive; hers was meant to
be something more than that.
But I would never give it the chance to realize it's own
You see, I have the ability to control fire, to manipulate it
to my own ends. I can't create fire; it has to exist on its own
before I can do anything to it. Willow's fire existed probably since birth, and it remained pure and innocent all her life. Until she met me, and I did what I did to every other flame I came across.
I manipulated her.
It didn't start off that way. I swear it didn't. I cared
for her in the beginning, as much as I could through my own haze of self-pity and generally destructive mannerisms. I've always been a person with much hate within myself, it won't ever change. Someone once told me that I was damaged on the inside and I think that's an accurate description. I had hate for normal people and mutants alike. I hated humans for the way they treated mutants like me as the dirt on the bottom of their shoes. I hated mutants for having it easier than me. I hated a lot, and she hated nothing at all. We
shouldn't have been allowed to become anything at all, but it
happened. And in the beginning, it seemed like she would be good for me. But it was later on that everyone would realize that I turned out to be the end of her.
It was perfect at first. She loved any tiny sign of affection that I gave her, any sign of attention. She was so used to
being overlooked that it shames me to say that I was able to win her over so easily. I think she loved me for all those little things I did in the beginning, all that attention she had never gotten before in her life. She loved me because I was the first and only person to look at her THAT way, to treat her THAT way. And we both believed that I felt about her THAT way.
But it wasn't true. If I had ever loved her completely, I
wouldn't have warped her the way that I did. I wouldn't have dragged her to the dark side along with me. I wouldn't have done all those things to her that I did in the name of sheer competition.
Competition with whom? With Bobby, of course. There was no one person in this world I wanted to beat more than Bobby, even if he was my best friend. It never made sense to anyone, considering how Bobby didn't want to compete with me. But still, it happened and it was what drove me for the longest time.
You have to understand, it wasn't that Bobby had ever done
anything to me. But in a lot of respects, he was everything that I hated and resented. He was the golden boy of his family, the one with loving parents and a nice little home in the suburbs of Boston. He had the power to create ice, to make it appear at will. He could manipulate it just like I could manipulate fire, but he actually had the ability to create something. Me, if I ever lost my trusty lighter in a fight, I'd be absolutely worthless. Unless my opponents were willing to light a match for me.
So, it was all a contest between Bobby and me for the longest time. And it made sense in a way. Even our powers were completely different, I was fire and he was ice. Both had the power to be destructive, but only Bobby's had the option of being positive as well. He was laid back and friendly, I was standoffish and tense. He was a great student; I couldn't give a shit about what they tried to teach me in that school. He had the girlfriend no one, not even Bobby himself, could touch, and I had a girlfriend who lived for my touch.
And I wasn't content with that. I wasn't content with being
able to be with my girl, to show him the intimacy that we shared. Bobby just adored Rogue anyway, and they had this whole relationship despite never being able to touch. Bobby was waiting for the time that Rogue could control herself, the time when they could be together. Until then, she was untouchable, even to Bobby. And I was driven to beat Bobby to that level of intimacy with her. I wanted to be the one who got to touch the untouchable. The first and only one who would ever be able to claim such a thing.
And my obsession with it destroyed Willow from the inside out.
I shouldn't have made my intentions so clear to her, but I
didn't want her to be blindsided by them. I wasn't going to back down from it and I didn't want to make things worse by lying to her. But I never explained it enough; I never explained that it wasn't about Willow, or hell even Rogue. It was all about that competition, for the Bad Seed to claim one over the Golden Boy.
She never got that. She thought it was about her, that she
was inadequate somehow. She worked to make herself better, so that I would want her more than Rogue. I watched her desperation and never did anything to stop it. I probably should have given her something, anything to let her know that I cared. Because I did care, I DO care. I just wasn't able to show her that before, to spare her that damage. Even as things stopped going my way and my resentment of Bobby and the others at the school rose to incredible heights, she
followed me. I should have given her something for that, a token of my appreciation, of my affection.
But I didn't and very slowly she began turning cold from the
inside out. She shut herself off from everyone and everything except the one person she really needed to keep out-Me. She clung to her love of me like a life jacket in the middle of the wide and turbulent seas.
When I left, with Magneto and Mystique to become a force
against those who had tried to save me, she came along. For the longest time, everyone questioned her capabilities. They just saw her as some pathetic creature, trying to cling onto me for as long as she could, even though it was obvious my mind was elsewhere. Mystique once taunted her about it, stalking around her in Rogue's guise. There were some remarks made about Willow's appearance, her physical inferiority to that of Rogue's, which was bullshit. I was
about to step in and say so when Willow handled it all by herself.
I've never seen such cold eyes as I saw on Willow that day.
It was like she shut herself off from all her emotions and thoughts, all those things that made Willow so wonderful. She just closed it all down and she lashed out, striking Mystique back and to the ground. It was then that everyone realized Willow could not only copy people's powers, but also she could manipulate them as well. She forced Mystique to the ground, trapping her in between shapes and reopened the wounds Wolverine had given her all those years ago on
Ellis Island. It had been shocking and frightening all at once, to see Willow like that. And to know it had been all my fault.
Magneto adored Willow after that incident. She was smart and deadly, a combination that he enjoyed in himself. She was brought further and further into the fold, soon such a force in the Brotherhood that even Professor Xavier had become frightened of her. She was wicked and devious, hateful and vengeful-she had become me in every sense of the word. She wasn't pure like before, she was jaded beyond belief.
And it was all because of me. You see, she was fire, had
fire inside of herself. I had the power to control and manipulate that fire, and I did so. I made her fall in love with me, made her devout to me. I strung her along, feeding her enough feelings of affection to keep her coming back for some more. And by the time I was openly breaking her heart, it wasn't even enough to make her hate me.
She followed me into a darkness she had no business in
joining. She became hardened and dead inside because I was the same way. I warped that fire inside of her, making her into the empty shell of a person she is today. And if I had the power to do it, I would change her back, to make her the Willow that she had been before. I had loved that Willow, even though I never had the sense to tell her. Now, though I still love her, it could never be the beautiful thing it had been when we first came together, back in our school days.
You see, I don't have the power to create fire or even to
recreate that fire inside of her. I could only control it. And
that's what I did with Willow. I saw her fire, reached out, warped it, and in the end, I extinguished it. She is the way she is now because I killed her from the inside out. And there was nothing I could do to make it right again.
It's something that I just have to live with, lying in bed at
night with her beside me. I can reach out now and pull her warm body to me. She'll react, wrapping her arms around my midsection and placing a soft kiss on my chest. And then she'll disengage and turn back around.
I guess Bobby's not the only one who can turn fire into ice.