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Should've Known Better


You should've known better.

I wonder how many times you've heard that before. Never from me, though. Oh, no. Not _me_.

But you will--you are right now, aren't you?

And you'll hear it from others, too, once they find out. Then it'll be more shame for you--so much more than you've ever known before, perhaps... And then you'll know.

You should've known better.

But you didn't. Everyone else _but_ you knew, but for some reason, you never did. Like it was all alright, that it could be forgotten--just like me.

"I'll be back soon, sweetie," and "Just for a little while, little one," or "I promise. Next time--I promise."

Well, time's up. And you know what? I don't need you anymore. No more...

No more waiting up at all hours of the night, _hoping_ against hope that you'd show up like you were supposed to. No more hoping that you'd show me half the attention that I deserved. Hell, I was your kid--what the hell kind of right did I have to demand any favor from you? (Note sarcasm HTML tags.)

Well, you can stuff your bloody favors. I don't want 'em anymore. I've found some of my own...

I don't blame dad so much as you for this, you know. I mean, he was always known as some selfish bastard, but you? You should've known. You're a fucking telepath--oh. Did the vulgarity strike you? I think not. With the type of life you've led, I don't think that much of anything shocks you anymore. (Note more sarcasm HTML tags.)

It wouldn't have been so bad if you were out doing something worth the time you stole from me. But that wasn't how it was. You weren't on some distant isle or planet saving lives. You were living up your own. No time for baby when fun could still be had. Why waste time reading a story to _me_ when you can get liquored up at the Hellfire Club or can run off to Madripoor to daddy-dearest's high-rise that's _still_ built only for two.

I blame you both, but I blame _you_ more.

_You_ should've known better.

And you wouldn't listen, either. The protests you heard were little more than petty botherations to you, weren't they? They couldn't tell _you_ what to do, could they? Not when for so long, you'd been known to go off on your lonesomes, disappearing until it suited you to pop back in just in time to save everyone else's skins when they might've been better off if you'd just stuck around a little longer in the first place.

But no.

And again, you should've known better.

What makes things even worse is that you know what it's like to be alone--to be tossed aside. I'm sure you do. You would never tell me, but I _know_. I can feel it more than that frequently saponaceous father of mine ever could. I happen to be a 'path, too.

Or did you know that already? Did you? Maybe? Well, if you did, I'd be mighty damned surprised. (Do I need to note the sarcasm HTML tags here, too? No? Good.:)) But still too late, mother. Just like always--and never more so than when you found yourself late...and then found yourself with me.

I wonder sometimes, what it was like. The look on your face, I mean. When you found out you were knocked up, what was your reaction? What was the first thing you saw in the mirror when you looked up from your home pregnancy kit? Did your Asiatic eyes widen in shock? Did your brow furrow in harrowing disappointment and disbelief? Did you feel sick to your stomach for some other reason than the fact that _I_ was in there?

I wonder if it's anything like the look on your face _now_...

But that no longer matters.

I'm beyond you now, you see.

Beyond caring what you think, beyond fighting for scraps off the table of your short attention span. You were never cut out for this mother-thing, were you? You had two positions in life--outside of the bedroom, that is... But still, that's only the half of it. Confused? Not surprised...

Two functions. Wanna know? Well, here they are:

Fight and fuck. That's you in two words. Story of your life, simply and succinctly. You were built for it--still are even now. You can still get the men to drool for you.

So can I, now. It happens whenever I want it to, too. Nice, isn't it? Oh, don't look so repulsed. After all, I can kind of see what it was that took you away from me--

But I still won't forgive. And I'll never forget. I was worth more than that--I shouldn't have been cast aside so easily, but you'll see soon enough.

Yes, soon enough. Could I get anymore enigmatic than that for you, mother? Could I?

Maybe that was the problem all along. I never held much interest for you. I wasn't some strange puzzle that could hold your eye for very long-before_ this_, that is. Even though I looked like you, came from you, was supposedly 'born out of love'--pardon me while I wretch--I just didn't have what it was that could keep you there with me. Never did...

Or did I frighten you? I've heard that from somewhere. Some women are intimidated by motherhood--afraid of it. Unsure of whether or not they could pull it off. Some run, some dump their kids with someone that could handle it, but you? You did _both_ and still managed to keep me in plain sight.

You should've been a magician--or better yet?


But you didn't. And now, I'm all grown up, and I don't need you anymo--

No, I didn't. No I did _not_ just make myself out to be some reject for an old milk ad... Some humor there for you, mom. You should at least crack _one_ smile as you read this...if you ever read this... A part of me hopes that you do.

And another? Another hopes that you don't. A very large part of me, and do you know why that part hopes you don't?

Because...if you _don't_...that means you're dead. Dead. Gone. Dust. But then, my job would be completed, and I'm just _too_ fond my self-appointed task. I think I'll wait a little longer. Stringing you along only makes it better between us.

Not you and I, of course, but _HIM_ and I.

'HIM', do you ask? Well, that's a bit of a secret, but if you figure it out by the end of this, well, then, you're smarter than I gave you credit for-or then again, my clues might be a bit overt, and if you _don't_ guess, then you're pretty damned thick, momma.

You see, he's told me a lot about you. You two didn't spend much time together, but he's had a look inside you. He knows about the desires...the darkness--a darkness you passed onto me.

Why did that happen, anyway? Why didn't you know that could happen to me? Did you even _care_ that I could've inherited it?

But I digress...

As I was saying, he knew you well. You were his due to a debt and were broken free because the one you loved settled that debt--yes, yes. You've heard this one before and so have I, but _HE_ tells it so much better than you did. I wonder if you know by now who I mean...

You thought you had beaten him, that he was gone--the old man told you it'd be alright. Just live out your lives--be happy. Don't wait for death to pound down daddy's door--that's what you thought. Well, you got so caught up in doing that that you didn't keep an eye out. Death is at the stairs and soon, he'll be up at daddy's welcome mat. And _I'll_ be there at his side to call in the favor. Me. I wish I could see the look on your face just now...

You see, if you'd just included me in your perpetual celebration of the continuing existence of he who is known as the _great_ Warren Worthington III, this might not have begun--in fact, I _know_ that it wouldn't have.

But it _has_. And it's too late. Keep your prayers to yourself, because they'll fall on deaf ears. There's no way God'll get to your application for mercy before _I_ get to _you_.

I hope I didn't surprise you _too_ much there. If I have, maybe I was wrong. Something _can_ still appall you, then. Who'd have thunk it, right? Well, obviously, you didn't, and do you know why?

Because you didn't know any better. And shame on you for missing all the damned clues. Well, this one should come through loud and clear, when ever it should find you.

And if you're wondering if what you're thinking is true, that the HIM I've referred to is the _him_ you're thinking of... Kudos for you, mother. (Note dark tone, if you hadn't already.)

You're probably wondering what he wants from me, why I should think that I could trust him--what has he already taken from me... (I'm laughing...give me a moment...) Ah. Yes. Well, to answer your wonderings? Take all that you fear of what might've happened, what might still happen, what might be happening now between us as you read this, ball it all together, multiply it by a factor of 10.8 and you'll be 3/8 of the way to the truth.

Hmm... Funny, aren't I?

I hope you aren't paling on me, mother. You know what happens when you pale. You begin to look more like me, the product of an interracial relationship...and an uncaring mother that has driven me to this point.

I don't need your pity nor do I need your concern. If you've managed to drum up some distress, save it for someone who'll need it--namely yourself.

One day, HE will arise. He'll ascend and I will be there to watch him mount his throne once again--I will be the one that makes sure he remains there if I have to 'earn his place for him' with that old man's blood. I will keep him there myself, unlike you did--he'll never lose his head again, even if you see fit to drag yourself down to the depths of our world to do so. I dare you to. I dare you to come here, to try to defeat him. That'll mean you'll have to raise your sword against _me_. Come on. I _dare_ you to. I'm not afraid. I've been practicing.

I could take you.

I know I could--maybe we both do.

Oh, yes, and _my_ focused totality is bigger than _your_ focused totality. (Note self-satisfied gloating.)

HE's taught me so much, you know. Any weapon, he can train me. Any skill, he can teach... Some better than others, I might add... (Note low chuckle.) I wonder if you know of that last part... Maybe I'll ask him sometime... Compare, perhaps. Who was better--you or me? If you... Well, I'd get over it. I haven't lived half as long as you have--I'll learn. And I'll still be going strong when daddy can no longer get it up--if he isn't suffering from that already... (Note raging guffaw.)

If you're face-palming right now, wondering how it could've gone so wrong, go back up to the top and read again. My choosing my new place in life doesn't necessarily mean I'll be evil where all can see--maybe some of your reputation can be salvaged. The X-Men aren't my enemy--you are. You have been for a long while. I can find no better title for one such as yourself, one that can make me feel...like this. That can inspire so much white-hot hatred in me...and such cold emptiness at the same time.

Yes. You are an enemy. You.

But not the X-Men.

I still sort of like them, you know. It was _them_ that took care of me up until the point that I remained at the mansion--not you. It was Auntie Ororo that taught me the wonders of nature--her and Uncle Logan, both--but my understanding of plants and the clouds are monumental compared to that of others my age, something Logan couldn't teach. But, man, did he ever teach me to fight... It was Aunt Kitty that inspired my knack for computers--Uncle Scott taught me the value of leadership, of tactics, of how to _keep_ such a position... Very useful, indeed.

Aunt Rogue taught me how to be fiery yet good--but I won't blame her for how I dropped the good and went with the fiery all on its own. Beast... Ah, Uncle Hank. Such a smart man. I learned so much from him--science and literature. I still put it to good use... Chess from Uncle Charles--I still miss him, you know. Bishop, sentry till the end. He doesn't know how many nights I stayed up to watch him inspect the grounds, saw how his watchful eyes caught every detail but me. Uncle Remy... He, might I say--despite what father thinks--is the man! His swaggering ways, pick up lines, smooth voice--so very masculine he is. I think I might miss him more than anyone.

Anyone, but Aunt Jean, that is.

She, may I dare say, will always be my favorite. If I regret letting down anyone, it is you, my surrogate mother. (Note I'm talking to Jean, now.) Don't think for a second that this behavior on my parts stems from the fact that you didn't love me enough--you did. The problem was that it wasn't _you_ who were supposed to love me like that.

No, you don't have the purple hair or almond eyes with the red tattoo over one of them. You don't have the ninja's body that speaks with a British accent, that psychic blade to accompany your telepathy--you don't blend into shadows and appear elsewhere. You are still very beautiful, though--even if not the same as the one that I held as the pinnacle of beauty itself--beautiful inside and out.

You have no idea how many times I _did_ wish that you did have those things to go along with your warmth, your understanding--your acceptance. Why did you have to be so sweet to me when my own mother couldn't sustain it for more than a few moments a day? When she was so cold and inconsiderate?

Why didn't you marry my father when he'd asked you to in your younger days? I think that might've been fair to _me_, at least. Better yet, why wasn't I born a Summers? You'd have certainly been my mother then...but then I'd have to deal with Sinister and Apocalypse and time travel and Summers-angst... No. You made a much better aunt...

Are you jealous yet, mother? Boiling with humiliation? Turning red? Well, if it seeps into your hair, let me know. (Hope you caught the meaning, there.) Perhaps then, I might change my ways--if that red could also run into your mind, allowing you to see my value as others knew it. It might allow you to see just how much of an ass you've been.

And if you were as strong a telepath as every other mind-reader around you were- -as strong as _I_ have become--well, you'd see--as much as from the looks on their faces after they read this, if they are 'around' to--just what it was that you'd lost when you lost me. What'd you'd created and all but made a present of to someone else.

You could've prevented _this_ you, know, but, dammit, (Note single snapping of fingers) you weren't there, now were you?

And let's say it together:

You should've known better.

Yes. That's right. (Note clapping.) It's about damned time you got _something_ right.

Well... This has been very refreshing, mother. Thank you. Well, I suppose this is the time I ask you that nearly age-old question.

Was it as good for you as it was for me? (Note loud laughter. Very loud.)


P.S. I _still_ love Tigger. Isn't that AMAZING?


You know who.

"There. All finished," spoke the writer after taking a deep and exhilarating breathe.

"Is it?" asked a voice, a very deep and wonderful voice that caused chills to run down the spine of this person that inhabited the seat in front of him. A voice to command kings.

"Yes." This voice was not built to do such--command kings--at least, it doesn't seem that way at present. Its owner is still young, and besides, the one that stands behind them has filled that position.

"Was it as...rousing...as you thought it would be?" that deep, rumbling voice wondered--a voice that could boom throughout the cavernous halls of the citadel if it so chose to, and with little effort.

A chuckle. "Yes. Very."


Another chill traveled down this spine at the hum.

Having noticed, large and heavy hands gently smoothed over soft, immaculately white, feathered wings before they took a place at the shoulders behind which the wings were stationed. A young body stiffened at the pleasure of it, then relaxed--then stiffened again when a tender kiss was placed in soft, glossy, chestnut, purple-streaked hair. An elder's eyes watched as a youthful face turned to him, revealing warm brown eyes under lightly Asiatic lids--one of which was 'cloaked' with a red tattoo resembling another's indelible mark that had been place upon her against her will, but not against _this_ one's will.

A slow smile spread over smooth lips, more of a smirk than a smile, actually-- one drifting with the inward affects of a rapidly beating heart and rising heat.

One of those large and heavy--and very, very dark in contrast to that of the other's--hands brushed along the flocculent chin before him, slightly tilting the head back.

"Come with me," this voice to command kings murmured.

"Of course, my master," was the easy, unforced, and totally unhesitant reply. A sepulchral chuckle was its reward for an answer well said, a chuckle that this youth smiled for, would die, or scream in unholy passion for.

Strong, dark, tattooed blue-black arms pulled the young one close after having stood, impassioned eyes blazing with mystical orange--one of which, from behind yet another tattoo--that of the Crimson Dawn. A head of silky brown-purple falls against him as lean, late-adolescent arms tried to encircle his breadth, expectant and eager eyes returning the heated gaze that is kindling for something more. "That's my boy," he says next, a companionable riposte to this one's last statement.

Yet again, there is no hesitation. "Yes. I _am_." He smiles.

More chuckling sounds as he leads his young charge away, away from the desk upon which the letter had been written and onto a far more suitable place for them both, the 'tic tic tic' of his pets following behind.

The soon-to-ascend master of the Crimson Dawn threw a glance over a brawny shoulder. "Not now," he tells them. "We wish to be alone. Go...play with the undercloaks." The last is a joke; something that momentarily confuses the garish creatures into a halt...before they leave in search of the undercloaks as their master bade them.



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