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Rekindling the Flame

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Hector had to admire Magneto for even contemplating using the Golden Gate bridge as it was the perfect way to get the main group of mutants across the bay to Alcatraz, but mostly he admired him for realizing his limits and accepting help from other mutants.

As the sun set over San Francisco, the Dark Phoenix walked on the far side of Magneto while Claude stayed well back on the other side, somehow managing to put plenty of space between himself and the beautiful yet terrifying Class 5 mutant so he could not absorb her abilities or attract her attention. He saw Magneto cast a glower at Claude for refusing to let go of Hector's hand even though it meant Claude was absorbing more of Hector's molecular abilities than Magneto's metal-bending skills. The glare moved towards Hector and Hector did not need to be a mind reader to guess what thoughts turned in the old man's head but neither he nor Claude felt threatened enough to break the promise made to each other to stay close. Magneto would simply have to deal with it.

Cars were pushed to the sides of the center span as if made of paper rather than metal, leaving a clear path for Magneto's mutant army. They stopped at the far end of the span, and then Magneto raised his hands again with Claude copying his motions while the Dark Phoenix merely tilted her head, a smile playing across her lips as she looked on in semi-amusement and interest.

Hector almost dropped Claude's hand when the bridge began to move, feeling the shake beneath his feet as the center span snapped at both ends and rose into the air, moving across the bay, high above the water until it could bridge the gap between the mainland and Alcatraz Island. Abandoned cars dropped off its broken ends like ants off a torn twig and Hector tightened his grip on Claude's hand in exhilaration, knowing his powerful lover was doing this, was bending metal to his will along with Magneto.

The end of the bridge crashed down upon Alcatraz as the sun finally set.

Magneto ordered them to stand and wait, which suited Hector just fine. They watched the start of the battle from the sidelines as rank after rank of low class mutants fell beneath a hail of bullets filled with the serum created to 'cure' mutation.

"That's why the pawns go first," Magneto yelled above the sound of battle, seemingly uncaring as the first rush of his army fell beneath the onslaught with Magneto unable to disarm the soldiers who were using plastic guns. Arclight stepped forward and the plastic shattered beneath the shock waves produced as she clapped her hands together.

With the soldiers rendered defenseless, the next wave of mutants attacked but this time Claude held them both back from joining the rush, staying on the bridge behind Magneto.

"No," Claude stated softly, his voice melting through Hector at a pitch that only he could hear and, moments later, Hector understood his reluctance as another group of mutants entered the fight...but for the other side. Magneto sneered, ordering more of his army into battle but Hector could see that the lower class mutants were no match against these X-Men, being used only as a distraction while Magneto sent his high class mutants in to perform other tasks.

Hector stepped forward as the X-Men attacked, only to feel Claude tighten his grip upon Hector's hand.

"This isn't our fight, remember."

And Hector felt a moment of shock because he had forgotten. He had become too caught up in the mayhem and destruction played out before him to recall that they had made a pact to stay back and distance themselves from the infighting between mutant and human, except Hector had his doubts now. The 'cure' seemed to work instantly, stripping away the mutant abilities from those hit and making them wholly human and, for the first time Hector knew real fear because, like Magneto and the vast majority of others fighting on Magneto's side, he didn't want to lose his molecular abilities. He didn't want to lose the feel of heat dripping from his fingertips, firing through his veins and igniting him from the inside out.

But what of Claude? Those weeks apart after the initial attack in the prison, no matter that this attack had turned to passion, had given him time to discover Claude's history of violence towards mutants, and his seemingly deep seated desire to be wholly human. Yet, if Claude wanted to become human then they were standing on opposing sides of the mutant equation.

He glanced sideways at the handsome profile, recalling the burn of soft lips against his skin and imagining a life without that heat. Swallowing hard, Hector realized that he could live without the fire and passion in their coupling; he knew he could control himself even in the throes of orgasm but he ached inside at the thought of never again experiencing the freedom of letting go so completely, of letting the flames consume both of them as they drove each other to pure ecstasy where every single cell of his body was on fire with lust and desire for this one man.

He felt a mind touching him, probing him and looked across the width of the bridge to where the Dark Phoenix stood watching him with her head tilted in interest. Her eyes shifted to Claude and her smile grew a fraction as Claude crushed Hector's fingers and gasped as if in pain. Before Hector could react, she turned away and Claude slumped a little as beads of perspiration tracked down his face from temple to chin.

Claude turned swiftly, tugging on Hector's hand as he tried to drag him away but Hector held his ground until Claude looked back at him, hazel eyes almost glowing with fear.

"We have to leave...NOW!" He snarled between tight lips, eyes darting back towards the Dark Phoenix as her attention fell upon the battle between Magneto and the one Magneto called Wolverine. Suddenly Magneto was on the ground, several of the hypodermics containing the 'cure' embedded in his chest and his mutant powers destroyed, pleading his case to the Dark Phoenix...and all hell let loose.

***

The sharp stab of pain into his head was Claude's first realization that Dark Phoenix was being drawn into the battle. He'd already felt the press of her mind against his only moments earlier as she probed his thoughts and memories of Hector; sifting through the pleasure and pain of their two couplings with an almost unwholesome curiosity. She had drawn every detail from him; the lust and the need that had turned to love even though they had known each other for such a short time, reveling in his memory of Hector with his body aflame with desire, of the sheer perfection of burning with him.

He couldn't lose that.

As much as he might have yearned for the chance to cast away his mutant abilities only months earlier, now he couldn't imagine living without the heat and flames sparking between him and his lover; turning his blood to molten lava and igniting every nerve ending in a sensory overload that sent his mind and body soaring. And Claude knew from the thoughts she had ripped from Hector's mind that Hector felt the same.

Yet her mind probe revealed her confusion as she tried to comprehend the love that had transcended his earlier desire to kill any mutant who crossed his path...except for a single spark of recognition that almost rekindled the flame of desire in her own heart before it was snuffed out as soldiers fired upon her. She turned her wrath upon the soldiers, tearing into the world around her and Claude knew, without a doubt, that she would destroy everyone, including him and Hector. Stupidly, he had maneuvered them into a corner, unable to flee, and the fear of losing Hector left him with but a single option.

He crawled towards her until he was within range, pulling Hector along with him before dropping down behind fallen masonry, drawing upon her mutant power to throw a shield over them even as Hector's power protected their skin from the heat of her anger. It was barely adequate because she was far too powerful for him, unlike the lower class mutants whose powers he could absorb and amplify, but he knew it would have to be enough. He pulled Hector into his arms, hands shielding Hector's head that he had pushed against his chest, and with his own cheek pressed tight against the fine, baby-soft regrowth of hair, eyes squeezed shut in total concentration as the violence of her power raged around them.

At the moment his shield failed, he heard a cry of anguish and knew she was dead, and he felt only relief as Hector moved in his arms and raised his head, wondrously alive. He sealed his elation with a searing kiss as he murmured, "I love you, I love you", against Hector's lips.

***

They slipped away in the aftermath of the battle, heading south towards Mexico and from there into South America, leaving a trail of passion-fueled fires in their wake.

END