Hector glanced around at the tents and campfires spread through the slightly wooded area. Most of those present were mutants with talents that barely registered above normal humans. He knew that he was one of the strongest ones present, his ability to create fire comparable to Magneto's talent for bending metal to his will.
The journey between the prison and this place had been interesting, mostly as even Magneto preferred to stay at a distance from Claude. Magneto had murmured a name, Rogue, but Claude's talent was not absorbing the mutation of others but mimicking it to a potentially greater degree, making him more powerful than the original mutant in most cases. There was a limit though, so a mutant as powerful as Magneto would not have to worry too much.
One of the first rules they learned was that Magneto expected his followers to use their mutant names, the ones they had chosen for themselves rather than the human names given to them at birth. Certainly, it enabled Hector to take a far better guess at a fellow mutant's talent when they provided such an easy description. Except he had never taken a such a name for himself, nor had Claude, and neither of them were interested in remedying that situation despite Magneto's 'request'.
Still, it gave him and Claude an excuse to move through the camp, listening to the names already chosen by their fellow mutants and getting a feel for the kind of mutant army that Magneto had formed to combat those who would strip them of their talents.
As he wandered from tent to tent and fire to fire, he heard so many pretentious names coming from low class mutants that he had to lean against Claude for support when the laughter threatened to overtake him; Motivator, the Amazing Torch, Captain Point. Hector gave a derisive sneer at one molecular who, like him, could throw fire. The other class 1 molecular went by the name of Pyro, except Pyro could only produced the inflammable material and not the flame, relying on a cigarette lighter for ignition.
Hector was a true firestarter. He simply rubbed his fingers together and felt the heat building, the licks of flame dripping from his fingertips. He'd experimented as a teen, wanting to see how this talent could be put to good use and knew he could raise the heat until it was high enough to melt rock or lower it enough to warm through a body suffering from hypothermia, removing any threat of frostbite. His body seemed to react like a heat resistant ceramic, the fire in his veins sloughing away the dead outer layers of his skin but unable to sear any living cells. Unfortunately, he'd lost his hair more than once during particularly heated exchanges but, on the whole, he'd learned to push the heat resisting shielding outwards through the hair follicles to protect it for a few inches at least.
Of course, during that first time with Claude, he'd burned too hot, losing his hair down to half an inch from his scalp but as Claude had burned his hair in the fire of their passion too, he wasn't that upset. Except Claude's had grown back quickly, and just as thick and messy while Hector had noticed a certain a receding hair line on his own head. It seemed that having a talent for fire had no effect on male-pattern baldness.
This last time, as they writhed and twisted with pleasure, they'd both retained greater control, perhaps because Claude was no longer interested in destroying him. Something had sparked between them, some awareness of each other on more than a physical level. The pleasure had blazed between them, making every sexual experience of the past pale into insignificance.
Hector considered the possibility that it was simply a reaction to someone with similar molecular talents but he'd felt no all-consuming desire for Pyro or for any of the other moleculars. No, there was something about Claude that drove his desire; the smoldering glances and heated touches, the way a simple brush of lips sent a flare of need straight to his groin, and he knew Claude felt it too.
Claude stepped closer to one intriguing mutant who called himself Elasto, and Hector watched as Claude's arm twist like it had turned to elastic even as fire dripped from his fingers, combining the talents of two mutants. Claude grinned and moved back out of range, letting the low category mutant's talent slip away.
"You can be smoldering, hot guy," Claude murmured in Hector's ear, and Hector had to laugh.
"There'd be too much confusion between us."
Claude gave a predatory smile. "So you think I'm hot."
The sudden rise in the noise level drew their attention back to the main part of the camp and they moved within the mass of mutants surging towards the front where Magneto stood poised. Beside him was a terrible beauty, and Hector felt Claude shrink back from the Dark Phoenix, wanting to move out of range as her cold eyes unerringly sought out Claude in the crowd. They listened as the battle plans were drawn up and Hector shook his head in derision for the vast majority present were too dumb to realize they were merely cannon fodder.
As the excited masses raced back to their tents to gather up what they needed for the coming battle, Claude grasped Hector and dragged him into a fiery kiss, the passion burning his outer skin and stealing his breath. When Claude pulled back a fraction, Hector stared into green-gold eyes blazing with determination.
"Stay with me through this. No matter what. Stay with me." Claude shook him. "Promise!"
Hector nodded, suddenly a little afraid.
Claude shook him again. "Promise!"
"Yes. Yes, I promise."
Claude stared hard into his eyes for several long seconds before he began to relax his tight grip and nod his acceptance of Hector's promise.
As the small army of mutants moved towards San Francisco harbor and the Golden Gate bridge, Hector grabbed at Claude's hand. While the battle raged around them, he never once let him go.