A/N – This story is a part of my “Avenging Shadows” universe which combines the worlds of Marvel Comics and Dark Shadows. Other stories from this realm of my imagination include “Avenging Shadows”, “School Days: Rise Of The Master” and “School Days: Rise Of The Wolfpack”. They’re all here on this site. Check them out. And thanks for reading. Thoughts and comments are welcome.
School Days: Ultimate Trust
Barnabas Collins sat in his library at Collinwood, in what was commonly referred to as the “Old House”. He was looking over old pictures from several hundred years ago when he heard a knock at the door.
“Willie?”, Barnabas called out, but then he remembered that Willie was not home. He had taken a trip to New York to visit some family. Quentin and Mantis were staying at the school, The Stoddard Institute, so Barnabas was alone.
Barnabas pulled himself up from his chair and walked to the massive front door as the loud knocks echoed through the house once more. Opening the door, Barnabas saw an older man, with white hair and a strength and aura about him that defied his apparent years.
“Yes, may I help you?”, Barnabas asked.
“We shall see, Mr. Collins”, the man replied. “My name is Erik Lahnsherr, but most people know me by my alter-ego.”
“Magneto”, Barnabas said.
“Indeed”, Magneto replied. “May I come in?”.
“Please do”, Barnabas said. “May I take your jacket?”
“No, I’m fine”, Magneto smiled.
Barnabas led Magneto into the library and offered him a seat.
“This is a beautiful house”, Magneto said. “Is this your family home?”
“Yes”, Barnabas replied. “Close to three hundred years old.”
“It has a strong history and personality about it”, Magneto commented. “Perhaps one day, you can tell me about it.”
“Perhaps”, Barnabas said. “Would you like a drink?”
“No”, Magneto said. “I expect that you’d like to know why I’m here?”
“I was wondering about that”, Barnabas said.
“Well, since you know who I am, I assume that you’re aware of my history”, Magneto remarked.
“Level 5 mutant. To some, the savior of mutantkind and to others, the most dangerous and evil man in history”, Barnabas said. “I’ve read some of the files on you while I was briefly affiliated with the Avengers. And Professor Xaiver has also spoken of you.”
“Charles mentioned me?”, Magneto smiled. “I’m surprised!”
“You shouldn’t be”, Barnabas said. “For are you not the ying to his yang, the Cain to his Abel?”
Magneto chuckled at the comparison.
“If you know of me, you may be able to guess why I’m here”, he said.
“Since I’m not a mutant, I can only assume that it’s about the school”, Barnabas replied.
“You’re correct. I was surprised that Charles turned over several of his students to the care of a three hundred year old vampire.”
“Why would it surprise you. Mr. Lahnsherr? After all, hasn’t he allowed both yourself and the infamous White Queen to also look after and protect those holds dear?”, Barnabas rebutted.
“Touche'”, Magneto smiled.
“So what is it exactly that concerns you?”, Barnabas asked. “Are you here to check up on me and make sure I’m looking after the best interests of the children?”
“I’ve already done that”, Magneto smiled once more. “I’ve had the school under observation for some time. I’ve also checked into your history, as well as that of your cousin, Quentin.”
“I see”, Barnabas said. “And are we up to your standards?”
“While I have my doubts about what kind of teachers… and role models for that matter, a vampire and his werewolf cousin can be to impressionable youth, I am impressed with what I have observed thus far. I believe that both you and your cousin are sincere in your desires to help these children.”
Magneto turned and looked directly at Barnabas.
“And I also agree with Charles’ decision to move the students from the mansion in Weschester and out of the firing range. Collinsport is a lovely town and an excellent place for a private school.”
“I’m glad you approve”, Barnabas said. “But that does not explain why you are here?”
“This is a dangerous and often unpredictiable world we live in”, Magneto said. “And the path that I walk often places me at odds with those who I would prefer to have as allies.”
“Meaning the X-Men?”, Barnabas asked.
“Among others”, Magneto replied. “In my history, I have been villian, hero, terrorist, savior, ruler and reborn. I have succeeded beyond my wildest expectations and suffered crushing defeats that nearly destroyed me on more than one occasion. But despite it all, I survive and adapt.”
“Which still doesn’t explain why you’re here”, Barnabas replied.
“Though my goal has always been, first and foremost, to help my people and to save mutantkind from prejudice, my actions have hurt my people more than helped. Indeed, I am probably the biggest obstacle between a lasting peace between mutants and humans”, Magneto continued. “I have looked into the mirror and realized that I don’t much care for the person I see.”
Magneto turned once more and looked directly at Barnabas Collins.
“I have decided that I should remove myself from the madness that is this world for a time. I’ve prepared a place to occupy during my self-imposed exile”, Magneto said.
“I understand this”, Barnabas replied. “Quite often, time alone for reflection can do wonders for the soul and spirit. But again, what has that to do with me and the school?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”, Magneto asked. “There are many who come to me for guidance and leadership. While most are adults and quite competent to find their own way during my absence, there are two that are very… special youngsters. I don’t wish to leave them alone and unsupervised and would like to have you care for them, at your school, during my time away.”
“Why us and not Professor Xaiver or the White Queen?”, Barnabas asked.
“I don’t particularly like or trust Emma Frost”, Magneto replied. “As for Charles, he has his hands full as it is with the students still enrolled at Weschester, as well as with his X-Men. WIth you and your school, the youngsters would get the benefit of Charles’ influence and teachings, but would not be thrown into the middle of the craziness that is associated with all things X-Man related.”
“These youngsters are mutants, I assume”, Barnabas said.
“Aliens actually, but from an alternate reality, near as I can discern”, Magneto smiled. “And very intelligent as well.”
“I can not turn down children”, Barnabas said.
“I would hope not”, Magneto said. “But I think you should talk to your cousin, as well as Charles, before giving a definite answer of yes or no.”
“Neither Xaiver or Quentin would turn a child away”, Barnabas said.
“Still, it would probably be better if Charles and Quentin were informed and had a say in the decision”, Magneto said.
Reaching into his overcoat, Magneto pulled out two brown envelopes and laid them on the coffee table.
“Here is all of the pertinent information on the children”, Magneto said. “Look over it and speak with Charles and your cousin, Quentin.”
“I shall do so immediately”, Barnabas replied. “When would you like an answer?”
“As soon as possible”, Magneto replied.
“Would tomorrow night at dusk be sufficent?”, Barnabas asked.
“I shall contact you then”, Magneto said. “And now, I must go.”
Magneto stood up and shook the hand of the grim faced vampire. As they stood closely, Magneto whispered to Barnabas.
“I am placing a great deal of trust in you, Mr. Collins. Do not fail me.”
“I shall do what I believe is best for the children”, Barnabas replied.
“Then we shall not have any problems at all, I believe”, Magneto said. “Tomorrow night at dusk then.”
Magneto turned and walked to the front door, using his powers to pull it open. He stepped out into the cold night air and once again, using his powers of magnetism, took off into the dark night sky.
Barnabas watched Magneto fly away and then, after closing the door, walked back into the library. He picked up the envelopes that Magneto has left and quickly looked over the contents. And then, with an audible sigh, went to the phone and dialed.
“Hello Quentin, this is Barnabas. We need to talk.”
The next night, at dusk, Barnabas was once more at Collinwood. He had spoken throughout most of the night with not only his cousin, Quentin Collins, but Professor Charles Xaiver as well. They had agreed that it was important to put the children first and Barnabas was prepared to accept the children into the school. Now, he was waiting for the arrival of the “Master of Magnetism”, Magneto.
Not long after the sun had set, Barnabas was waiting in the library of the elegant old house. Waiting with him was his associate, Dr. Julia Hoffman. There was a knock at the door. Barnabas went and opened the door, and standing there, much as the night before, was Erik Lahnsherr, aka Magneto, who was accompanied by two teenagers, one male and the other female, both roughly about sixteen years old.
“Please, come in”, Barnabas said to the trio as they entered the house and followed him to the living room.
“These two young people”, Magneto said once they sat down and got comfortable, “are Zan and Jayna. They are the youngsters I spoke of to you earlier.”
“And this”, Barnabas said, introducing Julia, “is Dr. Julia Hoffman, my… associate and colleague at the school.”
“It’s a pleasure, my dear”, Magneto said as he rose to acknowledge the handsome woman.
“Likewise”, Julia said as she greeted the older man and his two followers.
“I’ve read some of your papers”, Magneto mentioned to Julia. “I was very impressed.”
“Thank you”, Julia said.
“There will time for pleasantries later”, Barnabas said. “Shall we get down to business?”
“But of course”, Magneto smiled.
Magneto turned to the two youngsters.
‘This gentleman is Barnabas Collins. He, along with his cousin Quentin, and Dr. Hoffman of course, run a very special school for gifted youngsters”, Magneto explained.
“Yes”, the girl, Jayna, said. “You told us about both Mr. Collins and his school earlier.”
“Even though I still don’t see why you want us to go there. We can take care of ourselves”, the boy, Zan, added.
“I explained why”, Magneto said to the two teenagers. “I will not be available and this is what I feel is best to ensure your protection.”
“We don’t need protection”, Zan replied.
“Really?”, Magneto said.
As Magneto quietly argued with the two teenagers, Barnabas and Julia watched in silence. Julia turned to Barnabas.
“They’re obviously alien”, Julia whispered. “And it’s obvious that Magneto cares strongly about these two.”
“I agree”, Barnabas whispered back. “Based on his reputation, I’m surprised that Magneto is even allowing them to argue.”
“Shall we intercede?”, Julia asked.
“Perhaps”, Barnabas said.
Barnabas stepped forward towards where Magneto and the two youth were going back and forth, arguing the logic of Magneto’s desire for Zan and Jayna to be admitted to The Stoddard Institute as students. The three continued to bicker and Barnabas finally decided to put a stop to it.
“Enough”, he said, quietly, but firmly.
Zan, Jayna and even Magneto stopped their arguing and turned to look at the scowling vampire.
“It appears that there is some disagreement as to whether or not these two young people, Zan and Jayna, wish to be a part of our school”, Barnabas said.
“There is no disagreement”, Magneto replied. “Just the rebelliousness of youth.”
“Call it what you will, but I still sense a bit of discord. May I speak to Zan and Jayna… alone?”, Barnabas asked.
Magneto raised an eyebrow at this, but nodded in agreement.
“Mr. Lahnsherr”, Julia said, stepping up. “Would you like a tour of the house? It’s really quite fascinating and has quite a history.”
“I’d be honored, Dr. Hoffman”, Magneto replied. “But please, call me Erik.”
“Only if you call me Julia”, Julia said in response.
“Well then Julia, show me the magic and splendor that is Collinwood, while Mr. Collins has a chance to speak with Zan and Jayna”, Magneto said with a handsome smile.
Julia and Magneto left the room to tour the house. Barnabas, Jayna and Zan watched as they left. Barnabas turned to speak to the two youngsters.
“So I take it that you do not agree with Mr. Lahnsherr’s ideas to enroll the two of you in our school”, Barnabas asked.
“No disrespect to you, Mr. Collins”, Jayna said, “but Zan and I are nearly adults. We don’t need to be protected or sheltered.”
“And while Erik may have our best intentions at heart, we’re not sure that hiding away at a private school is our best option”, Zan added.
“May I ask how you came to be under the guidance of Mr. Lahnsherr?”, Barnabas asked.
Zan looked at Jayna and the two exchanged a look as if trying to decide whether to answer Barnabas’ question.
“I’m not out to betray any confidences or trusts”, Barnabas said. “But I am curious since Erik told me that you are both from, how did he put it, an alternate reality.. and aliens as well. I find that extremely fascinating.”
After another moment of hesitation, Jayna decided to answer the questions that Barnabas had asked.
“We’re originally from the planet of Exxor, which is roughly forty-million light years from Earth. We were seperated from our parents as babies and forced into slave labor by the Monarchy who control our planet”, Jayna explained.
“It was a hard life and it was all we could do to survive”, Zan added. “But eventually, when our powers developed, we managed to escape to freedom.”
“Pardon my interuption”, Barnabas said. “But your powers? Did they develop at puberty as happens with mutants or are they common on your world. And what exactly are your powers? Eric identified the two of you as shape-changers in your files, but he didn’t get into specifics.”
“Our powers?”, Zan said. “I can change into water.”
“And I can change into the form of any animal”, Jayna replied. “We’ve had our powers since we were very young, definitely before puberty.”
“But we weren’t born with active powers”, Zan said. “They developed probably when we were eight or nine.”
“When we were eight”, Jayna clarified. “It’s possible that we had them at birth, but some outside stimuli activated them.”
“How did you end up on Earth?, Barnabas asked. “And what’s this alternate reality that Eric spoke of?”
“After we escaped from slave labor, we knew that we had to get away from Exxor and stowed away on a trade vessel that was headed into space”, Jayna said.
“We didn’t know where exactly it was headed, but anything was better than being captured and placed back in slavery”, Zan said.
“We didn’t make it far before being discovered”, Jayna admitted. “And there was quite a struggle. We used our powers to fight off the ship’s crew and managed to escape from them in a smaller ship… an escape pod.”
“We were in trouble, drifting in space with no radios and no one knew we were there. We survived several weeks like that by using our powers to get water to drink and food.”
“Zan would turn into water and I used my shape-changing powers to turn into an Exorrian chicken, which allowed me to lay eggs which gave us food to eat”, Jayna explained.
“Finally, we managed to crash land the shuttle on a small unnamed planet in the Calhaney galaxy. We thought we were doomed, but managed to survive and, using the wreckage from the crashed shuttle to send up a signal flare.”
“We lucked up because the flare was noticed by a member of the Green Latern Corps, who sent Hal Jordon, the Green Lantern from Earth to investigate”, Zan said.
“Green Lantern rescued us and upon hearing our story, decided to take us with him to Earth, where we became the wards of a group of super-heroes, an off-shoot of the Justice League of America, called the Super Friends”, Jayna said.
“The Justice League? The Super Friends? Green Lantern?”, Barnabas asked. “I’ve never heard of any of these names.”
“That’s where the alternate reality stuff comes in”, Jayna said.
“The Justice League.. and especially the Super Friends were and are great heroes on our Earth, much like your Avengers or X-Men are here”, Zan explained.
“So you became wards of these heroes”, Barnabas noted. “How did you end up here, with Erik?”
“Well, we were on a mission with the Super Friends against a major big bad named Darkseid”, Jayna said. “He was out to either take over or destroy the earth. I don’t think he really cared too much which way it went.”
“While the Justice League fought him and his armies on their home planet of Apokolips, we became aware of a mega-bomb that had been implanted in the center of the earth. A group of us, led by the magician Zantana, went to deactivate the bomb”, Zan explained.
“They, meaning the other heroes, didn’t want us along because of our age, but we insisted that we be allowed to come along”, Jayna said, noting the expression on Barnabas’ face.
“Anyhow”, Zan continued. “We found the bomb, but despite all the combined powers of everyone there, we were unable to deactivate it. It was finally decided that Zantana would open an interdimensional warp and send the bomb to an uninhabited realm in the realms of space and time.”
“That’s how she explained it. We thought it was confusing too”, Jayna smiled.
“We were waiting for Zantana to zap the bomb when we were attacked by a platoon of Darkseid’s parademons. We should have realized that Darkseid wouldn’t have left the bomb unprotected.”
“We fought then back, but they did their job well and one of them managed to clip Zantana. She had opened the warp, but wasn’t able to propel the bomb through the warp. And time was ticking away. We only had seconds to spare”, Jayna said.
“Jayna and I were the closest to the bomb and managed to break away and used our powers to slam the bomb into the warp before it detonated”, Zan said.
“We managed to get the bomb into the warp and it vanished as Zantana used her magic to close the warp, just in time to protect everyone from the blast”, Jayna finished.
“But that doesn’t explain how you ended up here? Or with Magneto?”, Barnabas said.
“Blame an overzealous parademon”, Jayna said. “We managed to get the bomb into the warp and Zantana was using her magic to close the warp. But one of the parademon’s decided to jump into the warp in a last ditch effort to… I don’t know what he was trying to do.”
“As he jumped into the warp, he managed to snag Jayna and grab her into the warp with him. I grabbed Jayna, trying to stop them, and ended up being pulled into the warp myself”, Zan said. “It was apparently too late for Zantana to stop the spell and the warp closed behind us.”
“So we’re in the other realm with a crazy parademon and the bomb. We managed to break away from the parademon, but were caught by the force of the explosion as the bomb went off”, Jayna said. “I thought we were dead!”
“We should have been”, Zan said. “But the explosion didn’t kill us. Instead, it propelled us through time and space and the next thing we knew, we were waking up.”
“We were being treated for our injuries in a facility that was under Erik’s direction”, Jayna said. “And we’ve been with him ever since.”
“Amazing”, Barnabas replied after listening to their story.
“It is”, a voice came from behind them as Magneto and Dr. Hoffman walked back into the room. Magneto walked over and stood next to Zan and Jayna.
“These two have been through so much”, he smiled at the two youth. “But perhaps I should tell the story from here.”
After looking to Zan and Jayna for affirmation, Magneto began to speak once more.
“You’re wondering what happened to the Twins and how they ended up under my care?’, he asked Barnabas. “One of the mutants under my supervision, one of my Acolytes, is a low-level telepath by the name of Pathfinder. She also has visions, which regretably leave her weak and incapacitated for days. One afternoon, she came to me and informed me of a vision she had. Two persons, from a world far beyond our own who were trapped in a pocket dimension and needed help. She managed to give me a location and I immediately dispatched some of my Acolytes there to investigate. Through some inventive use of their mutant abilities, my Acolytes managed to not only locate, but also rescue Zan and Jayna from their situation. They were comatose and in dire need of medical treatment. They were brought back to our headquarters and provided treatment and care and eventually managed to regain conciousness.”
“And Erik was there when we woke up”, Jayna said. “He helped us recover and provided for us, allowing us to finally have some sense of security in our lives.”
“And he’s also been helping us try to find a way back to our home dimension. Back to the Super Friends and the Justice League”, Zan added.
“But unfortunately, to no avail”, Magneto noted. “Though I am aware of many alternate dimensions and realities, my efforts to help Zan and Jayna return to their home on this alternate earth, have been for naught.”
“Hmmm!”, Barnabas said. “This is all so fascinating. Have you spoken to Dr. Strange… or Reed Richards about this? Maybe one of them could help?”
“My… relationships with both Dr. Richards and Dr. Strange are… strained at best”, Magneto smiled. “But that is a possible solution.”
“Who are these people you’re speaking of?”, Zan asked. “I’ve heard of Reed Richards. He’s the leader of the Fantastic Four. But Dr. Strange?”
“Dr. Strange is Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme”, Barnabas explained. “One of the most powerful mages in existence.”
“And you know these people?”, Jayna asked Barnabas.
“Not well”, Barnabas said, “but we have met.”
“And Barnabas, given his association with the Avengers’ team, would have a far easier time than I would in gaining their aid”, Magneto said. “I’m afraid that they still view me as a threat.”
“A legitimate view and fear”, Dr. Hoffman noted, “based on your actions and deeds in the past.”
“Those days are long past”, Magneto replied, “but they will forever haunt me.”
“Is that why you want us to stay here with Mr. Collins and attend his school”, Jayna asked Magneto. “Because he may be more able to help us return home.”
“That’s part of it”, Magneto admitted.
“What the other part of it?”, Zan asked.
“As I explained to Mr. Collins, I intend to go on a sabbatical of sorts, and I want the two of you to be safe. To be protected”, Magneto said.
“Somehow, I suspect that there might be more to it than that”, Jayna remarked. “There is something you’re not telling us.”
“I have told you what I can”, Magneto said. “And that should be sufficent.”
“Don’t get us wrong”, Jayna said. “We’re extremely thankful for everything you’ve done for us, but we’re not your Acolytes. We’re not mindless drones. If there’s more, we deserve to know.”
Magneto glared at Jayna for a moment and then his face softened.
“You’re right”, he said quietly. “There is more to it and you do deserve to know, but… you need to trust me!”
“That’s just it”, Zan said. “We do trust you. But you need to trust us too!”
“I’m doing what I can to keep the two of you safe! Isn’t that enough?”, Magneto replied.
“I hate to interrupt”, Barnabas said, “but there is someone prowling around outside. I suggest we table this conversation until we find out who and why!”
“How do you know?”, Magneto asked quickly.
“Vampire senses”, Barnabas replied. “Plus we’ve got electronic scanners all over the grounds which register unknown person or persons.”
“Sensors?”, Magneto asked. “I didn’t detect any sensors on the grounds last night?”
“I had them installed this morning”, Barnabas smiled. “I don’t much care for surprises.”
“Do your sensors tell you who or how many?”, Zan asked.
Dr. Hoffman had gone over to an old rolltop desk and opened it, revealing an electronic control panel.
“Not sure who? It’s still reading as unidentified, but there are three of them, whoever it is. And they’re approaching the house, on foor. Roughly one hundred yards away and coming in fast”, Julia informed the room as she read the scanners.
“So, Mr. Collins”, Magneto said. “This is your home. What do you suggest?”
“I think I should go out and greet our guests. Meanwhile, you and the Twins should hold back and stay out of sight”, Barnabas replied. “At least until we find out who it is and what they want.”
“I don’t like it”, Magneto replied. “But very well. Go greet these intruders. Zan, Jayna and I shall remain here.”
“I don’t like it either”, Julia replied. “Maybe I should be the one…”
“No”, Barnabas said quickly. “Stay with our guests. I shall go greet our intruders and determine why they’re here.”
As Julia, Magneto, Zan and Jayna watched, Barnabas walked to the front door and quickly opened it, moving outside.
“Can we moniter what is transpiring outside”, Magneto asked Julia.
“Right here, on this moniter”, Julia said as she hit a button. A mirror on the wall quickly changed into a moniter and revealed the scene happening outside the great old house.
As Barnabas stepped outside the doors of the old house, he could see three persons standing there. One was a woman with blue skin and red hair. She was accompanied by two men. One was a blond haired man wearing a red and gold costume with metal tanks on the his back. The other man was just simply very, very huge. Barnabas recognized the three as Mystique, Pyro and The Blob, members of the terrrorist group, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
“May I help you?”, Barnabas said as he addressed the three figures.
“Look, it’s Count Dracula”, the Blob snickered.
“Shut up Blob”, Mystique said. “It’s really simple, Mr. Collins. Magneto brought two young mutants here and we want them. Now hand them over and there won’t be any problems. Resist at your own peril.”
“At my peril?”, Barnabas smiled grimly. “I think not. I am asking that you leave my property.”
“Maybe you don’t understand”, Mystique said. “Magneto left two mutants in your care. We want them. End of story!”
“The two youngsters that you’re speaking of are not mutants”, Barnabas said truthfully, for they were aliens and not actual mutants.
“So that means that you’re not going to cooperate?”, Pyro sneered.
“It means that I am asking you to leave my property”, Barnabas said.
“I guess we’re doing this the hard way”, Mystique said. “Pyro…”
With that, Pyro smiled as a giant fireball appeared in the air and went flying directly towards the old house, only to be stopped by a glowing energy field. Magneto had tired of watching the scene outside unfold and made an appearance.
“Magneto”, Mystique said. “We thought you had left!”
“It’s seems that you were mistaken”, Magneto said as he used his magnetic abilities to grab Pyro by the metal tanks on his back and hurl him unceremoniously into the air.
As Magneto dealt with Pyro, Barnabas moved quickly transforming into his bat form and went circling around Mystique, looking for an opening to subdue the shape-changer. Mystique used her morphing abilities to transform into an image of Barnabas Collins himself. Barnabas changed into his human form and the two identical forms locked up in a struggle of punches and kicks. The Blob, noting that Magneto and Barnabas were both occupied, moved with a speed that was amazing considering his large size and headed towards the old house, determined to find the two young mutants that Mystique wanted them to capture, only to be met by two teenagers who exited from the front door of the large old house.
“There you are kiddies”, Blob sneered. “Come to Uncle Freddie!”
Zan and Jayna looked at each other and touched hands.
“Wonder Twin powers activate”, they said.
“Shape of a wave”, Zan said.
“Form of a giant octopus”, Jayna remarked.
And quickly, the Blob found himself on th defensive as the giant wave that was Zan swept under his feet and actually managed to disorient the Blob for a few seconds, long enough to give Jayna a chance to use her giant octopus form to wrap around the Blob, effectively rendering him immobile.
Seeing her people at a disadventage, Mystique clipped Barnabas with a clubbing blow to the head and backed away, changing her shape once more to her natural, blue skinned form. Removing a skull shaped object from her belt, Mystique tossed it towards where Zan & Jayna were struggling to hold The Blob. A bight flash of light exploded, leaving both Jayna and Zan momentarily stunned The Blob used this and powered his way free of their grasp and cut loose, tossing Jayna’s octopus form across the dark yard. Then he turned to Zan and slammed his hands hard into Zan’s watery form, stunning him and causing him to revert to normal shape.
“Bwah-ha-ha-ha!”, the Blob laughed. “Don’t you stupid kids know that no one can mess with The Blob!”
Meanwhile, Barnabas had recovered from his blow and had changed into his bat form, sweeping down and keeping Mystique occupied. As Magneto, satisfied that Pyro was temporarily out of the picture, attemped to use his magnetic abilities to encase The Blob in a force field and contain him.
Pyro, laying semi-concious in the yard after being pummelled by Magneto, was struggling to maintain conciousness. He could feel the blackness attempting to overwhelm him, but Pyro struggled to stay awake. He glanced towards the old house and let out a sneer as he used his powers to summon a huge fireball and once more, propelled it towards the old house known as Collinwood. Pyro smiled as the big ball of fire exploded towards the house and then blacked out from the exertion.
“Nooooo! Julia!”, Barnabas screamed as the huge fire ball engulfed the front of the house.
Zan and Jayna acted quickly, touching hands and once more activating their “Wonder Twin” powers.
“Shape of water”, Zan said as he transforned into a big water spout and flew towards the house, attempting to put out the flames.
Meanwhile, Jayna said, “Shape of a Centaur” and transformed her shape transformed into a half human / half horse form. With great speed and no hesitation, Jayna lept through the front door of the burning house and through the flames.
Magneto cut loose in anger and used his magnetic abilities to grab The Blob and slam him hard across the yard, making him land on top of Pyro. Both men were unconcious. Mystique glanced around at the situation that had quickly spun out of her control and decided that discretion would be the better part of valor. Her mission to subdue the two youths was a bust. She decided that it would be best to vanish. As she started to attempt to flee, she turned and Barnabas was standing there, angry and eyes glowing red. Mystique started to back away.
“Don’t you think you’d better go save your friends and your house”, she sneered at the advancing vampire.
“I think that matter is well in hand”, Barnabas said angrily. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jayna exit the burning house with Dr. Hoffman hanging on to her as she lept through a now open window. Seeing that Julia and Jayna were clear of the house, Magneto yelled at Zan to back away and used his magnetic abilities to engulf the entire mansion in a magnetic bubble of energy, cutting off all the air and oxygen from the burning home.
Mystique, noting that Barnabas was distracted, quickly attempted to sprint away, but Barnabas moved far too quickly and grabbed her.
“Usually, I would refrain from hitting a female, but you have severely tried my patience”, Barnabas said as he unleashed just a fraction of his vampiric strength and smacked Mystique, knocking her against an old tree, where she slumped to the ground, in pain and nearly unconcious. Mystique attempted to reach for a small device attached to her belt, but Barnabas grabbed her arm.
“You’re not getting away”, he said as he grabbed the device she had been reaching for and tossed it aside. Realizing she was beaten, Mystique gave in and allowed herself to pass out.
Barnabas turned towards the old house, the home of his birth, known as Collinwood. Zan’s quick actions by changing into a water-spout, along with Magneto’s energy bubble had managed to subdue the flames before they got too far out of control. But Barnabas knew that there was extensive damage to the old house. Pushing those thoughts aside, Barnabas quickly moved over to where Zan, Jayna and Dr. Hoffman were standing.
“Are you all right, Julia”, Barnabas asked Dr. Hoffman as he embraced his long time friend and lover.
“I’m fine”, Julia replied. “But the house…”
“It’s only a house”, Barnabas replied.
“I’ve managed to contain the damage”, Magento replied. “Fortunately, Pyro wasn’t at full power when he unleashed that fireball or else there wouldn’t be a house left standing. Is everyone uninjured?”
“I’m fine”, Jayna replied. “What about you, Zan?”
“I’m good”, her brother replied. “But what are we going to do with those three?”
“Since I doubt that Barnabas would allow me to deliver the justice they deserve”, Magneto replied, glancing at Barnabas who shook his head slightly, “I would suggest that, once I have departed of course, SHIELD is called and the so-called Brotherhood is taken into custody.”
“What did they want anyhow?”, Julia asked.
“Isn’t it obvious”, Magneto replied. “They wanted Zan and Jayna.”
“But how did they know about us and that we’d be here?”, Jayna asked.
“I had heard rumors that Mystique was looking for new mutants to recruit into her brotherhood”, Magneto replied. “And I’ve long suspected that there was a mole in my group of Acolytes.”
“That’s why you’ve always tried to keep us away from most of the Acolytes?”, Zan asked.
“To protect you from that mole, yes”, Magento said. “And also because I didn’t want you to be influenced by some of the more… unsavory persons in that group. The two of you are worth so much more and have such potential, I didn’t want to see it corrupted.”
“That also explains why you’re asking them to come to our school instead of remaining unde your care, isn’t it?”, Barnabas injected.
“I am not an angel”, Magento replied. “And as much as I hate to admit it, there is some truth to what the world thinks of me. Though my intentions have always been for the most noble of reasons, to protect mutantkind, my very presence often seems to be a catalyst for corruption and pain.”
“So again, I have to ask, what about them? They know that you’re trying to put us with Mr. Collins at his school. Won’t they just try again and come back after us again once you’re not around, Erik?”, Jayna noted.
“It’s highly likely”, Magneto said grimly. “SHIELD or any human authorities would never be able to hold Mystique for long and you would always be in danger, as would Barnabas and the students already at his school. So what should we do with them? Any suggestions?”
“I have an idea”, Barnabas replied. “If Julia is willing, of course.”
“I believe I know what you’re speaking of”, Julia said. “And it may work.”
“What are you suggesting?”, Magneto asked.
“Hypnotism”, Barnabas answered. “Julia can use it to block out Mystique and her allies memories of Zan and Jayna and their existence.”
“While I have no doubt of Dr. Hoffman’s abilities”, Magneto replied. “Wouldn’t using a telepath work better. Maybe Charles?”
“Xaiver wouldn’t do it”, Barnabas noted. “But maybe Jean Grey or Emma Frost?”
“I trust Jean Grey, but she wouldn’t alter anyone’s memories without consulting Charles”, Magneto said. “And you’re already aware of my feelings about Emma Frost.”
“So what are we going to do?”, Jayna asked.
“I think I have an idea”, Julia replied, pulling her cell phone out of her pocket.
“Who are you calling?”, Barnabas asked.
“The school”, Julia answered. “Hello Dolly, this is Julia. Is Agatha around? She is? Can I speak to her please.”
Julia walked off to speak on the phone while Magneto turned to Barnabas with a slightly amused look.
“Agatha Harkness?”, he smiled.
“Of course”, Barnabas responded.
“Who?”, Zan asked.
“She’s a true witch. Very powerful”, Magento replied.
“She’s also a teacher at our school”, Barnabas said.
“Cool!”, Jayna said.
Julia walked back to the group.
“I just spoke to Agatha. She said that she’ll be here shortly and can magically reenforce my hyptonism to remove any knowledge of Zan and Jayna from Mystique and her cronies memories”, Julia smiled.
“But what about the mole in your group, Erik?”, Jayna asked.
“Perhaps Miss Harkness can remove their memories of Zan and Jayna as well”, Magneto replied.
“I also told her about the fire damage to Collinwood. She thinks she may be able to help there as well”, Julia said.
“That would be… wonderful”, Barnabas smiled.
“So it looks as if everything is coming together”, Magneto said. “But we still have one other matter to finalize.”
He turned to Zan and Jayna.
“I have tried to protect you since you arrived on our world”, he said. “And I shall continue to do so. I shall also continue in my quests to find a way to allow the two of you to return to your home. But for the time being, I feel that it would be best for the two of you to go with Mr. Collins and Dr. Hoffman. Be students at their school and be around people of your own age and generation. Will you do that?”
“We’re not crazy about it”, Zan admitted. “But it makes sense and is probably a good idea.”
“And it would be nice to be around people our own age… and have a semblence of a normal life”, Jayna admitted.
“If you so choose”, Barnabas said. “We would love to have you as students at the Institute. It won’t be as exciting as being with Erik, but I’m sure that you’d both fit in quite well.”
“And we could use our resources to help you find a way home”, Julia added.
“But we will do that, regardless of if you choose to stay with us or not”, Barnabas chimed in.
“So what do you think?”, Magneto asked.
Jayna looked over at Zan, who nodded his head.
“I think you’ve got two new students, Mr. Collins”, Jayna said.
“Excellent”, Barnabas smiled.
Epilogue: Several months later…
Barnabas sat in the library of his home, Collinwood. Agatha Harkness had managed to use her magick to restore the old house to it’s original state just before it had been burned and also was able to erase the memories of Mystique, Pyro and The Blob so that they had no recollection at all of The Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna. Barnabas then summoned SHIELD who took the evil mutants into custody. And then Agatha did even more and used her magic to erase Zan & Jayna from the memories of everyone they’d ever encounted save Magneto, Barnabas, Dr. Hoffman and herself, thus ensuring their safety. Zan & Jayna had joined the school, The Stoddard Institute and were model students in their studies, as well as part of the student team, The Wolfpack.
Barnabas took a sip of tea as he thought over the past events. His thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. He listened and heard Willie answering the door. Barnabas listened and recognized the voice speaking to Willie.
“Magneto”, he smiled.
Seconds later,Willie led Magneto into the library. Barnabas stood up to greet his guest.
“Erik”, he said. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Thank you, Barnabas”, Magneto said. “And how are our prize students?”
“Doing very well”, Barnabas replied. “They’ve adapted and fit in quite well with the other students.”
“That’s good”, Magneto remarked. “I was concerned about that.”
“There were a few issues at first, but Julia… Dr. Hoffman has been working with Zan and Jayna and helping them.”
“She’s an amazing woman”, Magneto admitted.
“You don’t have to tell me that”, Barnabas admitted with a small smile. “She’s been invaluable to me and to the school.”
“The house looks lovely. It’s nearly impossible to tell that there was ever a fire”, Magneto said.
“Well, technically, according to Agatha, the fire happened, but it didn’t. She used a time-temporal spell and reverted the house to the state it was in 24 hours prior to the fire. So it’s the same house, but the fire caused by Pyro technically happened, but the house doesn’t remember it.”
“How does that work exactly?”, Magneto asked.
“You’ll have to ask her”, Barnabas laughed. “She explained it to me, but it only served to confuse me more.”
“I’ve had the same problem talking to my daughter, the Scarlet Witch”, Magneto laughed. “Magick is something that totally confounds me.”
“I’m no stranger to magick”, Barnabas said. “But the levels that Agatha acts upon is far beyond my limited experience.”
“We’re probably better off not knowing”, Magneto smiled. “Now, let’s get to business, shall we?”
“If you wish”, Barnabas answered.
“You sent word that you wished to speak to me”, Magneto said. “Mind telling me why?”
“I received notice a few days ago that Mystique, Pyro and The Blob all escaped from The Vault”, Barnabas said.
“Disturbing, but not surprising”, Magneto replied. “Did you hear how?”
“A six armed woman allegedly teleported in and zapped the three of them away”, Barnabas answered.
“That would be Spiral”, Magneto commented. “She’s worked with Mystique in the past, but I was under the impression that she was gone.”
“You don’t seem surprised”, Barnabas noted.
“Mystique is quite dangerous and quite intelligent”, Magneto replied. “And extremely capable. I’m surprised that they managed to keep her in custody this long. Have you taken extra security precautions at the school?”
“We’ve increased security and taken several extra steps to ensure the safety of Zan, Jayna and all of the students”, Barnabas answered.
“Excellent”, Magneto remarked. “And Agatha ensures me that her spells are still intact and Mystique and her disciples have no memory of Zan or Jayna.”
“Neither do my Acolytes”, Magneto smiled. “Nor anyone else it seems.”
“As we intended”, Barnabas said.
“But Spiral is quite a powerful sorceress in her own right, so it’s better to be careful and take precautions just in case”, Magneto commented. “Is that all?”
“No. There was something else”, Barnabas answered. “After meeting you, I decided to do some research into your past.”
“I expected that you would”, Magneto smiled. “Any surprises?”
“Not really”, Barnabas replied. “But it did stir up a memory.”
“How so?”, Magneto asked.
Barnabas reached into a drawer of a table next to his chair and pulled out a small book, handing it over to Magneto.
“That’s the journal of Christopher Erick Collins”, he said. “He’s a distant cousin of mine who died shortly after World War II from injuries suffered in Germany.”
“That name sounds familiar”, Magneto commented.
“It should”, Barnabas replied. “Because there is quite a bit about Christopher’s time in a hospital, where two of the people who helped him in his recovery were named Charles Xaiver and a man known only as Magnus.”
“Of course!”, Magneto replied. “His nickname was Cal Dean. He was extremely intelligent and quite amusing. We spent many evenings playing chess against each other and talking about his home in Maine. I never put two and two together, but he was talking about Collinsport… and Collinwood. I left before he was discharged from the hospital. You say he died from his injuries?”
“Serious infection”, Barnabas answered. “The diary was part of his personal effects which were sent here. I discovered it in the attic during one of my first visits here in the early seventies.”
“And he speaks of me and Charles?”, Magneto asked.
“And a woman named Gabby?”, Barnabas said.
“Gabrielle Haller”, Magneto clarified. “Currently the United Nations Ambassador to Israel and Charles first true love.”
“It’s quite a fascinating read”, Barnabas said. “And I felt that you might be interested in seeing it.”
“You assumed correctly”, Magneto smiled. “Most of those days are but a blur in my memories. But those days with Charles and Gabby were among the best in my life.”
“Then take the diary as my gift”, Barnabas said.
“I can’t do that”, Magneto said. “It’s part of your family’s history. I shall return it once I’ve read it.”
“As you wish”, Barnabas said.
“And now, I’ll take my leave”, Magneto replied. “The hour is late and I’m sure we both have other things to be doing.”
“I believe that I do have papers to look over and reports to do”, Barnabas chuckled.
“And I have some world domination to plot and plan”, Magneto smiled as well.
“Thank you… Erik, for having faith in me and our school… for giving Zan and Jayna a chance to learn and grow”, Barnabas said.
“No”, Magneto said. “I’m only interested in helping mutants. They’re not mutants and of no use to me. Haven’t you listened to the hype?”
“I only know what I see”, Barnabas said. “And despite your reputation, deserved or not, you’ve proven to me to be a honorable man.”
“I hope that it remains that way”, Magneto said.
“Let us hope”, Barnabas agreed.
“And with that, I bid you adieu”, Magneto said, shaking the vampires hand. “I thank you for this diary. I shall return it as soon as possible. And of course, I shall continue to check on the progress of Zan and Jayna.”
“But of course. Be safe, Erik and be careful”, Barnabas said.
“And you as well”, Magneto replied as he stepped out of the old house. “Until the next time!”
And with that, Magneto raised his arms and flew up into the air, quickly vanishing from sight. Barnabas watched and then walked back into the house.
“Was that Magneto, Barnabas?”, Willie asked as Barnabas walked into the kitchen.
“Yes, that was him”, Barnabas answered.
“Isn’t he supposed to be evil? A super villian?”, Willie asked.
“Perhaps by some’s standards”, Barnabas replied, “but you know better than most that there is more to most people than just what you’ve heard.”
“Yeah, you’re right”, Willie nodded. “He seems so intense, but still… so sad.”
“He’s lived a very… complicated life”, Barnabas noted. “And he’s a very complicated person.”
“Sounds like someone else I know”, Willie joked.
“Do you think so, Willie?”, Barnabas smiled.
“Yeah”, Willie replied. “That other person. You might know who I’m talking about, Barnabas. Everyone thought he was evil and he proved them wrong. Maybe Mr. Magneto can do it too?”
“Perhaps, Willie. Perhaps!”, Barnabas commented. “Now, let’s go have some coffee.”
THE END (?)