Sat, 18 Dec 1999
"Indigo" <indigo@indigosky.net>
[Pryde/Reyes/Marrow] Gadol Nes Haya Sham [Holidays, 1/1 | PG]

DISCLAIMER: All characters herin are the property of Marvel Comics. They are used without permission for the sole purpose of entertainment. No money is being made either by the writer or the archivist of this story.

PERMISSIONS: Please do not POP-UP or MST. If you have carte-blanche, go ahead and archive. Otherwise, please ask.

FEEDBACK: Encouraged wholeheartedly -- indigo@indigosky.net

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Special thanks to Brucha S. Meyers and to Yona for their assistance with certain traditions -- it'll spoil the story if I go into more detail. Thanks to Redhawk and Frito for their beta reading assistance.


Gadol Nes Haya Sham

Indigo

 

Kit Pryde finished packing her suitcase, and leaned on it to close it. She nodded thoughtfully, pleased with the heft of its weight in her hand, and then walked it from her bedroom, down the hall and finally downstairs.

She was almost at the door when a thought occurred to her, and she turned back to airwalk upstairs again. She knocked decisively on the door to the bedroom Marrow had occupied since the rebuilding of the Danger Room had disenfranchised her from the basement. "Sarah? Sarah, you there?"

The door opened a crack. "What do you want, Prettykitty?" The nickname wasn't spat with vitriol anymore; it was almost friendly now. Since Marrow and Kitty had defeated Flag Smasher in the subways together, the two had forged a tentative friendship of sorts.

"Pack a bag for a long weekend. You're coming with me." Pryde smiled, and waited patiently for Sarah to react.

"I'm *what*?" Sarah blinked her magenta eyes in bewilderment before she remembered she had a tough-cookie facade to maintain.

"Just pack the bag, would you? I have a flight to make, and it's not right for you to have to spend the holidays all alone in the house." Kitty phased through the door -- and through Sarah -- and sat on the bed. "Come on, come on -- I'm on a *schedule* here."

Sarah stared at Kit with a faint dubiosity, then pulled a tattered duffelbag out from under her bed. "I don't have any frillies to wear, so no upworlder fancy-schmancy balls for me, okay?"

"Nothing of the kind, I promise," Kit shook her head. "If we make it where I plan to go at all, it'll definitely be casual."

"I'll be ... wanted?" Sarah's brow crinkled, and her lower lip jutted out. She looked, despite her best efforts, like a small child afraid that she'd be chased off by the bigger kids.

"I assure you, you'll be wanted," Pryde said solemnly. "C'mon, c'mon, move it! I still have to pick up Doc Reyes."

"You sure you want the two of us in the same room, let alone the same country?"

Kit laughed. "You're both good people under all the attitude, and I can think of no better traveling companions for what I have in mind."

Marrow shrugged into a weatherbeaten parka that had seen better days. It was an obvious challenge -- to see if Pryde would balk at its state of disrepair; but Pryde simply smiled and said, "Let's jet."

The rest of the mansion was empty. Recent travails had impressed once more upon the X-Men that family was important. Hank and Charles had suggested they all spend the holidays with friends and loved ones.

Ororo had gone to New York to look up T'Challa. Jean and Scott had gone upstate to visit Jean's family, then to Alaska to celebrate the season with Scott's grandparents. Bobby and Sam had gone home to Long Island and Kentucky, respectively.

Kurt had sworn, with a sprig of mistletoe pinned to his collar, that he was going to get his lady Amanda Sefton a break from being the Mistress of Limbo to spend some time with her beau.

Logan had gone back to Japan to seek out more information on his foster daughter Amiko. Christmas was always a hard time for her old friend, Kitty reflected -- she knew the relentless "cheer and good will" got to Logan, though he was as grateful as any of them that the world settled down a bit at the end of the year. Even supervillains and megalomaniacs wanted to have happy holidays.

As a result, the mansion was completely empty. Even Charles had chosen to go to Muir and drag Moira away from her research long enough to spend Christmas in Paris with him.

No one had even considered that Marrow might have plans as well -- except Kitty. The pretty brunette went up a notch in Marrow's estimation from this simple gesture of kindness and acceptance. ~I can even put up with Cecilia's whining ...just this once.~


Cecilia Reyes was quite resolutely *ignoring* her answering machine. Although it flashed insistently, Cecilia had left a message on the outgoing announcement that she was not to be reached, except for emergencies, until the new year.

Now that she had her own practice, she had promised her aunt -- and Hank -- that she was going to give herself some time off. OMOM had not given her that luxury, and she was exploiting her first quiet time in months with great decadence.

Thus it was that she was in her comfy flannel pajamas and her fuzzy Grinch slippers watching "The Year without a Santa Claus."

Naturally, the moment Kitty chose to phase through the wall with Sarah was *right* as Cecilia allowed herself a moment of silliness and sang along with the TV:

"I'm Mr. WHITE Christmas! I'm Mr. Snow! I'm Mr. Deep Shivers! I'm Mr. Ten Below! Friends call me Snow Miser! Whatever I touch Turns to snow in my clutch! I'm too much!"

Kitty and Sarah exchanged a mischievous glance between them, then simultaneously began clapping.

Reyes jumped and whirled, ready to fling her mug of hot cocoa straight at the intruders.

"Oh, Dios, no. No. Don't tell me. You're here because somebody swallowed a toaster or Logan's got the Swine Flu or Wings is molting, right?" Cecilia's voice was a resigned sigh, muffled behind her facepalm.

"No, nothing like that. But you do have to do the Bedside Manner schtick with the candy canes and music for a sick bunch of folks," Pryde answered. "I've provided all the equipment, even. It's just that I know no other doctor would be trusted with the patients I have in mind."

Cecilia raised a brow. "Legacy patients?"

"And a grouchy 'Bah Humbug' to you too," Pryde smirked. "Some may be, but mainly we're talking war-torn people without a penny. You may be giving vitamin shots, or treating wounds. You gonna turn me down because it's one mutant asking another, or are you gonna say yes because you're a damn good doctor and you can do the job?"

"I hate it when you make sense, Pryde, you know that?" Cecilia shrugged off her robe. "Give me ten minutes."

Pryde smiled and flopped onto the sofa. "You got it. Eleven minutes and I drag you along, even if you're only in a towel."

"Will I need my -- costume?" Cecilia yelled over the sound of her shower.

"Do you see me in mine?" Kit yelled back.

Pryde then turned to the TV and motioned Marrow over. "You gotta see this. Even though I'm Jewish, I loved these Christmas specials as a kid."

To Kit's surprise, Marrow was already on the floor in front of Cecilia's little nineteen inch color screen, watching the stop-motion animation with wide, childlike eyes.

"I'm Mr. Green Christmas, I'm Mr. Sun. I'm Mr. Heat Blister, I'm Mr. Hundred-and-one..."

"Wow," Marrow whispered, unaware of the smile that lit her face.


"Okay," Cecilia demanded fifteen minutes later, as the three of them sped via cab toward Newark Airport. So far the doctor and the former Morlock had been as close to congenial and charming as they ever were to each other. "Where are we going? Who's springing for the plane tickets? And who did you kill to get tickets this close to Christmas?"

Kitty grinned. "Someone in high places owed me a couple of big favors."

"Pretty damn high," Cecilia whistled.

"You have no idea."

A few minutes later, they had more than an idea. The plane that waited for them was (as Kitty explained) a SHIELD craft, suitable for trans-oceanic flight. Standing at the hatch to greet the trio was a tall, slender blonde man. His faintly furtive expression vanished, replaced by a warm smile. "Pryde!"

"Rigby," Kitty grinned. "Glad you could get away."

"You realize that even invoking your name may not be enough when they find out what's going on," Rigby whispered to Pryde as she hugged him.

"Yes, I realize that, and you know I'll take the heat for it if it comes to that. Get us in the air, already, would you?"

"Yes SIR!"

Kitty smacked Rigby on the backside as he walked past, and settled into the co-pilot's seat beside him. "Hi, ladies, this is your co-pilot speaking. Settle in and make yourselves comfortable, or explore the cargo hold -- we'll be taking off shortly."


"Did she tell you where we're going?" Cecilia asked Marrow, as they stowed their bags.

"Not a word. She's being pretty damn secretive, isn't she?" Sarah grinned. "She's got the heart of a sneak. She'd have made a decent Morlock after all."

"She almost was, I hear tell," Cecilia answered. "Back when they were still trying to convince me to join up with the Spandex Society, they told me she'd been kidnapped by a Morlock and would've married him to save another X-Man. Pretty brave for a skinny little chica who looks like she'd blow away in a strong wind.

"Yeah, the old man says she's a ninja too," Sarah nodded. "Who'd'a thunk? But she's a scrapper. Given me a whole new respect for upworlders. Mostly." She quirked her mouth in a half-smile, then laughed.

Cecilia stared at Sarah dubiously for a second, then laughed along with her.

Then the two of them came back around to the original question. "Where *are* we going, anyway?" Cecilia asked. "Scuse me a second, Sarah. I think I need to have a word with Miss Thng."

The plane was, Cecilia noted with surprise, already in the air. She hadn't even felt the thing lift off, the ride was *that* smooth. "Knock-knock. Is it safe to talk to you guys?"

"Yeah, sure," Rigby grinned. "The computer's got our flight path and destination logged in. I won't need to be at the controls again until we're final approach to Hammer Bay's airport."

Cecilia raised one eyebrow.

Kitty smacked her forehead with one hand.

Rigby paled. "Uh, was I not supposed to mention that we're flying to Genosha?"

To people with really hypersensitive hearing, Cecilia's cry of alarm was audible from the plane... on the ground ... and well into the midwest.


"Sarah?"

"Yeah?"

"Gimme one of your bone daggers, por favor."

*SCHLUKT* "Sure, here you go. What do you need it for?"

"Oh, I'm going to stir my coffee with it. Then I'm going to poke Kitty in the eye with it. Genosha?! Is she out of her mind?!"

"Maybe," Marrow grinned around her own cup. "But did you see what's in the cargo holds?"

Cecilia paused, mid-rant. "No..."

"C'mon, then." Marrow grabbed Reyes by the elbow and hauled the protesting doctor toward the back of the plane. "You ought to see this, Miss PrettyPretty Too-Good-for-Genosha Doctor Reyes."

Reyes reluctantly followed, but muttered under her breath in annoyed Spanish the whole way...

...until they reached the cargo hold.

The hold was separated neatly into three categories, with two aisles between them. To their left, medical supplies lined the wall in neat white boxes with red crosses on them. To their right, Army surplus MREs and non-perishable cases of food sat boxed and strapped down. Down the center were clothes that varied from Army BDUs to stuff that people's kids had to have outgrown, to worn but serviceable pairs of jeans and sweats.

Cecilia immediately regretted her display of temper. "Here I was being all pissed off because she guilted me into using my vacation. Are things really this bad in Genosha?"

Marrow shrugged. "Must be. It'd explain why she wanted me around too -- I've had to face hard living." Her expression was somber.

"But isn't Genosha run by --"

"Magneto, yeah." Marrow shrugged, then stroked her chin thoughtfully. "But she made a point of not bringing her togs along. She told me not to pack mine, either. Which means she's not doing this 'officially' as X-Men thing."

Cecilia frowned thoughtfully. "Yeah, apparently not. This bears further consideration, Marrow. You sure you up to handle whatever we find when we land?"

"What you'll find when you land," Kitty said softly, walking up behind them both, "Is a country where the people are trying to get their society back on even footing. What you'll find is Quicksilver -- grateful that *somebody* from the outside world isn't turning their nose up at Genosha now that Magneto runs it.

"You'll find mutates who can't entirely comprehend their newfound freedom, and you'll find prelates who aren't ready to give up the control and superiority afforded them by their prior positions." Kitty looked between the two women. "I'm sorry I sort of sprung it on you. I'm not usually that devious, but ..."

"But you didn't think we'd go if you told us straight up, right?" Cecilia had the good grace to look chastened. "You were probably right. I may not be a militant mutant, willing to fight to see us get our just desserts, but if these people need me -- us -- then I can't in good conscience blow that off."

"And you, Sarah?"

"Hey, Prettykitty, it'll be fun to bust heads again like we did last summer." She smiled ferally and nodded.

"Thank you. When we land, Rigby will see you two to your destinations."

"Where will *you* be?" Cecilia asked curiously.

Kitty smiled slowly and fingered the Magen David Adom that twinkled on the chain around her neck. "Me? I've got ... something of a mission of mercy as well."

"Just be careful," Cecilia warned. "I may have a natural bio-shield, and Marrow enough attitude for ten women -- but I don't even wanna *think* about comin' back an' tellin' Logan you took a bullet in Genosha."

"Don't worry about me," Kitty assured Cecilia, as Rigby announced that they were not long from their final approach. "I came without X-Men colors for a reason."

"I hope you know what you're doing," Cecilia said worriedly, but moved to take her seat and fasten her seat belt.


The "final approach" to Genosha was nowhere near as simple as Rigby had originally made it out to be. Quicksilver had sent Pryde a set of coordinates to give her pilot to flythrough -- but he had warned that their "safe zone" to fly through might suddenly cease to be so.

~Of course, this going down smoothly would have been too much to hope for,~ Kitty thought as the first radio broadcast queried them. "We're supposed to be cloaked!"

"Yeah, we are, but we're flying for an island run by Magneto. Hello! The man probably can feel us like Obi Wan could feel a disturbance in the Force!" As if to illustrate his point, a warning klaxon sounded. "Crud," Rigby spat. "Surface to air missile radar. We're *made,* Kitty."

Pryde sighed and called back for Sarah and Cecilia to strap in. "All right, then, what do we do?"

"You ever see 'Outbreak'?"

"Yeah...?"

"Remember the helicopter chase scene?"

"Rigby, this isn't a helicopter..."

Kitty's protest was cut short by a rush of forced air past the minijet. "They're firing on us?!"

"It would look that way, yes," Rigby said, fighting to maintain his composure. "They haven't got a bead on us, yet -- somebody up there likes us. But it's going to be tricky flying to get us put down on schedule and in one piece."

"Damn it, they don't even know what they're shooting at!" Pryde pounded the arm of her flight chair with a fist.

"Yes, but they should know nobody's going to be stupid enough to play chicken with Magneto. The man raised a volcano in Russia, for crying out loud!" He bit off whatever he intended to say next, banking the plane sharply. He thumbed a speaker mike. "Sorry ladies, the ride is going to be a little rough for a bit."

"Can we drop low enough to get below whatever they're sweeping with, if it's not Magneto himself?" Kitty demanded.

Rigby envied her her poise; but then she had been an X-Man longer than he'd been in SHIELD. He pulled his mind off Pryde and concentrated on bringing the jet in low, under whatever sweeps were getting past their cloaking.

The scene below them caused everyone aboard to stop and catch their breaths in sympathy.

"Dios," Cecilia whispered, crossing herself. "It's a war zone."

Sarah had her hands and face pressed against the glass, a haunted expression on her face. "I can see little children down there! That's why she asked us along, Doc. These are the people."

Cecilia nodded gravely, and swore in Spanish as the jet lurched violently. "HEY! You wanna put me down with my stomach still 500 miles back, or what?!"

"Sorry," Rigby apologized without looking up. "We had codes to land us safely. They've been compromised. We're going to have to put down by sight."

"Great."

Pryde shrugged. "We've done more under worse odds. I'll spot you a place to put down." With that, she phased through the bottom of the plane, and allowed herself to fall toward the island continent.

"Is she out of her MIND?" Cecilia cried.

"Maybe," Sarah grinned, expression filling with genuine admiration.

It was a matter of airwalking her way down to terra firma; Pryde took her time doing so, and opened up the singular radio frequency she knew would be monitored. "Black to Winged. Black to Winged, we've had a bit of trouble with some airborne pests, over?"

It was a matter of moments before she finally got a response. The minijet was pulling loops, Immelmans and any other crazy aeronautic trick Rigby could think of to stay one step ahead of the STA weapons array. She had alighted safe and hit the ground running, turning intangible to run through any obstacles. "Rigby, I've got your new coordinates. Follow my beacon in."


Twenty five tense minutes later, the unmarked SHIELD jet was down and guarded.

"Miss Pryde." Standing stiffly, Quicksilver greeted Kit politely. There was the faintest ember of distrust in his eyes, but it was mostly overshadowed by the hope in his expression. "Thank you for coming. The situation here is -- not as idyllic as my father would have the world believe."

"I figured as much, Pietro, and it's Kit, okay?" Pryde hefted one of the boxes of clothing. "Tell me where to put all this, and--"

Pietro grinned impishly, and gestured to the cargo truck that sat waiting. It was already mostly full. "Allow me. It's the least I can do for your generosity."

"Eh, think nothing of it. SHIELD owed me one." She smiled. "Dr. Reyes and Sarah here have both said they're willing to help in any capacity they may."

Quicksilver smiled tightly but politely. "And glad of your help we are," Pietro replied. "This way, ladies."

"You're not coming with us, Kit?" Cecilia asked?

"I have -- something else to attend to, but I promise I'll catch up with you tonight."

The two women watched in bewilderment as Kit lifted her suitcase carefully and phased underground.


Pryde smiled to herself as she walked through the underground tunnels. Jenny Ransome had been hell to track down, but it had been worth it to get the schematics she and her friends had used to sneak mutates out of Genosha. ~Although now, I rather imagine mutants and mutates alike are considering moving here...maybe.~ Her mouth twisted in a wry smile, and she shrugged. ~Then again, perhaps not. Magneto is not the sort many would consider a benevolent leader -- especially not since he essentially blackmailed the planet into giving him his own sovereign nation.~

She had plenty of time to think while down in the tunnels. Part of her questioned the wisdom of her idea, but the other part of her shouted it down. ~This is the right thing to do, damn it. The people of Genosha needed a little help -- and the ruler of Genosha needs a big reminder.~

~And I,~ she told herself resolutely, ~Am just the ballsy little Shadowcat to do it.~


Magneto was tired.

His son was a boon to him in more ways than he had words to put to it. It was Pietro's determination and ability to damn-near be in several places at once, that kept Genosha together; more even than the fear he inspired in the prelates.

Cortez, the snake, was slinking around the edges of the political arena, Magneto knew. He was waiting, despite his lip service to his "liege lord," for one misstep. Magneto's powers had been in a constant state of fluctuation since he had made the bid that landed him in his present position.

Oh, how he regretted his rash dream now. At least, academically. His people had a homeland, finally...and if the full usage of his mastery over magnetism was the price -- he was glad to pay it. But it was not an easy road going; the mutates were still sick, and the prelates resented him. And the paltry uses of his power he had had to do thus far were taxing him beyond belief. Cortez was ever ready at his elbow, ready to amplify his abilities -- but Magneto, on principle, did not turn to that unless as a method of last resort.

It was fierce pride, of course -- he knew that. But it also was safer that he did not. Cortez was a sniveling sycophant, and not to be trusted, despite his current genuflections in Magneto's presence. If he turned to Cortez's ability too often, Magneto was certain the world would eventually hear that the Master of Magnetism had been weakened...

...and the moment that happened, it would be over. Genetic war, as the homo sapiens sought to strike in the name of every atrocity Magneto committed in the name of protecting homo superior.

And it would be his fault.

He had not regretted anything he had done in the name of seeing his dream come to fruition, but now he was a leader and a protector. And he would not permit himself to fail these people he ruled.

~Yes, but heavy is the head that wears the crown,~ he thought with faintly bitter amusement. ~You wanted this, you have it -- you cannot give it back now.~

A tone and the voice of his robot servant Ferris announced that it was time for his workout and a brief break to 'meditate' in his chambers. ~Cortez' doing, no doubt -- implying that my day is done, if I cannot make it through a day without pausing to rest.~ Magneto's lips curled in an angry sneer, but he swallowed the tide of fury before it seethed up out of him. Acting rashly would serve him nothing. "Ferris, I will have the workout later. I am going directly to my chambers to ...meditate."

"Very good, Milord."

Magneto did, in truth, wish a rest -- but would sooner have been tortured before he admitted it. He had endured far less palatial conditions than this with no rest, and would not let being the monarch of Genosha cause him to slip into slothful habits.

His thoughts were suddenly interrupted, though, as he headed for his suite. ~What is that?~

Magneto lifted his nose and breathed deeply. Unbidden images of happier times rushed to play before his mind's eye -- Hanukkahs spent in Israel, when he and Charles were still such close friends.

~You cannot afford sentiment,~ he reminded himself.

But the smell, and the memories it called forth -- persisted.

Bemused, he followed it and found it led to his suite. A negligible flex of his abilities revealed the room to him -- its magnetic field was disturbed in several places...and there was an intruder. ~I do not have time for this,~ he thought. ~Another attempt to assasinate me by the former Prelate?~

He squared his shoulders, and summoned the corona of power around him. His blue eyes flared in actinic response to the energy crackling around him. He rose majestically into the air, and willed open his chamber doors, ready to strike down his assailant. He knew they had taken to ceramic and plastic weapons now.

"These assassination attempts grow tedious--" Magneto began, and was brought up short.

A white tablecloth with silver and blue trim adorned the desk he normally sat at late nights, reading or brooding.

A crystal and brass Menorah was the centerpiece of the table -- and eight tiny oil-wick lights burned. It was their smell that had reached him in the hallway as he'd approached.

Two place settings faced each other across the table. A bottle of Magen David wine stood open beside his place setting -- breathing.

Across the top of the table were strewn apples, oranges, and little "gold coins" -- he knew them to be filled with chocolate. One white china plate held latkes. A chafing dish held Mishmishya, yet another Coll'uvetta. Centered around the sweet offerings was a plate of chicken.

Across the table from it, to his surprise -- sufganiah. He couldn't help but smile slightly; they were favourites of his from his Israeli days...but, how had they come to be here? His security was tight enough that no one should have penetrated this deeply into his home.

Yet, for all that he had sent the seeking tendrils of his power outward -- he encountered nothing hostile. Distress at what he had thought a violation of his sanctum was eventually overcome by curiosity. "Hello?" he said softly. "It is all right to come out. I ...wish to offer you my thanks for this generous repast."

"You're welcome."

Magneto's eyes widened. "Katherine? Katherine Pryde?"

Kitty nodded. "Happy Hanukkah, Magneto." She was wearing a simple blue sweater and a white skirt. Most notably, she wore *nothing* with the sigil of the X on it. Magneto did not miss the significance. "Hag sameach."[1]

Magnus was caught for once without a response; he had not expected this. "Child...you have come all the way from the States..."

"...to bring you a little bit of Hanukkah 'cause otherwise you'd let it go by without a second thought?" Kitty countered. "Yeah. I did."

"Your compatriots would not approve," Magneto replied, although his voice held a smile.

"Probably not, but that's their problem," Kitty replied, gesturing Magneto to the chair opposite hers. "The X-Men are good people, as you know. You've fought with and beside them. But they tend to be a little myopic.

"These eight nights, you and I are more than mutants, Magneto. We're more than adversaries. We are two Jews who celebrate the festival of lights."

Magnus took a slow breath and closed his eyes. "And by the will of the Eternal, we should lay down our arms and take up our voices in song, then?" There was a tinge of bitterness in his voice and visage. But he let it pass. "This -- this is a very kind gesture. I ... have nearly killed you once, and you would still break bread with me?"

Kitty shrugged. "This is just a simple Hanukkah dinner with a man who was kind to me at the Holocaust wall a while back -- who reminded me I'm not alone.

"The kind gesture is outside, where Dr. Reyes and Marrow are helping those of your people who have been sick and dying because Genosha is not a beloved country in the eyes of the world with you in charge."

Magneto nearly dropped the wine bottle as he poured Kitty's glass. "You ... have done this thing?"

"With a little help from my friends," Kitty nodded. She then held out one hand. In it was a small box wrapped in blue and silver paper. She smiled. "'Tis the season."

Magneto gestured slightly and the box floated into his own hands. He tore the paper gently, carefully. Inside the box were two dreidels. One was a handmade wooden one, suitable for use as a paperweight. The other, however, was a tiny charm of silver. Each hebrew letter was inlaid with mother of pearl. Magneto spoke each word in a whisper, "Gadol nes, Haya Sham."

Kit nodded. "A great miracle happened here, as the old story goes. Remember to occasionally look at the world with the wonder of a child. That's my advice to you. This is a serious battle we wage. Even if it's for the right reasons, we must not lose sight of those who will benefit or suffer from our actions." She raised her glass, smiling. "L'chaim."

Magneto inclined his head. "L'chaim." After he sipped from the toast glass, he gestured at the table. "You have laid out this fine meal to share with me. Let us not let it get cold." He paused, breathing deeply. "Such things I have not had in a very long time, girl. My...my gratitude."

Pryde smiled in return, shrugging. "You're welcome. I just hope it's edible. I am no Julia Child -- and I looked up most of the recipes on the web."

Magneto chuckled faintly, then began to laugh wholeheartedly. "Who would have thought that the Internet would bring me such a nice surprise." He then took a bite of chicken. "It is quite good."

He stood and walked around the table to Kitty's side. He bent and gently kissd her forehead. "This is the greatest kindness I have had bestowed upon me in a very long time. I shall not soon forget this."

"That's the general idea, Mags," Kitty winked at him and grinned widely.

The rest of the meal continued in companionable silence. Other than the sip from the toast, neither touched their wine. Magneto did not wish to lose his wits; nor did Pryde.

"I have to go, Magneto. I promised to help with the relief efforts, and I do have to get my friends home at a sensible hour."

Before he could say anything else, she phased through the floor and was gone, leaving him alone, bathed in the warm flickering light of the menorah's oil flames.

Thoughtfully, he reached for a sufganiot. Biting into it with a faint smile, he left his chambers and opened a comlink to his robotic manservant. "Ferris? Please tell my son I wish to arrange for ... consulting. I will have to take more of his advice to heart."


"And where have *you* been, Prettykitty?" Marrow demanded, as Kitty picked her way through Cecilia's hastily-erected mini-clinic.

"Oh, just putting up some lights," Pryde said faux-innocently as she reached for a cellphone to call Rigby and the jet back.


[1] Hag Sameach - Happy Feast [2] L'chaim - to your health


BACK