"Strangled Relations"

Setting: the Worthington Industrial Complex, Mr. Worthington's office

"Explain to me again," Magneto began "what exactly are the side effects of Rafin?"

"Well, the way it is formulated is to temporarily shut down a mutant's powers, with the first signs being like having a really bad cold or flu." Mr. Worthington paused, anticipating more questions from Magneto.

"And how long do the effects last?" Magneto wanted to know his time frame.

"From our research it varies slightly from person to person. The more powerful the mutant the less time they are affected. The flu symptoms usually last a few minutes, until the power stops working, and then it is like being in a coma. Our research says this can last days or even a week." Mr. Worthington sighed, hoping all of this was worth his time.

"The product can easily be put into, oh say, a water mainframe, correct?" Magneto was on to something, something big. A grin began to form at the edge of his lip.

"Yes, we also have a gas form too for grenades." Mr. Worthington replied, becoming slightly annoyed at the time it was taking Magneto to decide.

"Wonderful and one last question how long does Rafin take to work?" Magneto did not want to wait days for Xavier's precious X-men to fall.

"A few hours at most, and at first the victim won't even know what's happening. The gas form takes less time to take effect, but you show more interest in the liquid form." Mr. Worthington answered, thinking about the mutants Magneto would take down with Rafin. Horrible freaks of nature, but at least Magneto would be hurting his own kind. The satisfaction feels so good that good.

"So, Magneto, if you are actually interested in buying my product, you would want it tested out right?" Mr. Worthington questioned, silently wondering who he would choose to be his guinea pig.

"Yes, it would be best to test your product's effectiveness and I know just right place to do it." Silence. "Have you ever heard of Xavier's School for the Gifted and Talented?" , Magneto inquired.

Kitty woke up at her usual time 6:30 A.M. feeling like this would be another ordinary day. She could not be more wrong.

"Man, am I thirsty," she thought as she looked longingly at her water glass. So thirsty in fact, Kitty just decided to fill up her glass at the sink after she was done brushing her teeth. She felt fine, even though the poison was slowly coursing through her veins, unknown and malicious.

"Hey Rogue, wake up!" Kitty exclaimed her friend ignoring her alarm clock. Nothing. Humph. Kitty did not take defeat easily. She launched a pillow at her sleepyhead friend, gaining only a groan. A challenge, okay, Kitty thought silently, but loud enough to make sure she was not going to let her friend over sleep. Rogue woke up to Kitty shaking her like she was a slab of cement, and her friend was a jackhammer. In her fervent, she even occasionally phased right through her body.

"Never do that again." Rogue said trying not to let her friend know how much she felt like a smoothie in a blender. She was glad she was wearing long sleeves.

"Sorry, I just got worried. We have to leave in ten minutes or we will be late." Kitty had never been late; she didn't want to start today.

Ten minutes later, Kitty and Rogue were in Jean's car barreling down the highway toward Bayville High, their not so average high school with a mutant principal, a Brotherhood of mutants under the direction of a metal master, and several other mutants from Xavier's school.

"Hey Jean how's it going with Scott?" Kitty implored. Rogue just turned the other way, leave it to Kitty to be noisy.

"Oh, it's good," Jean replied, blushing only to realize it and turn away from her questioner.

"We're here!" Jean was exasperated form Kitty's questions and the worry of being late, like Kitty she was never late.

"Thanks for the ride, Jean" Kitty said rushing out of the car, half running and half jogging to the front door.

"Thanks." Rogue did not like discussing and hearing about Scott and Jean's relationship.

"Come on, Rogue!" Kitty yelled just moments before the five minute bell rang.

Chemistry was one of Kitty's favorite subjects for two reasons: it came easy to her and she sat next to Lance for the forty minute period. It hadn't been an extremely exciting day so far with an easy reading quiz, and a boring gym period of volleyball. 8:40 A.M. was the start of her favorite class.

"Hey Lance," Kitty beamed as she saw her boyfriend sitting in her seat.

"Why are you in my seat?" she chided. She suddenly felt very dizzy. Her temperature began to rise. She let out a tremendous sneeze.

"Bless you. Sorry Kitty, Whoa are you okay?" Lance moved in to catch her before she fell onto the linoleum tiles.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Kitty looked better and hoped she would not experience that again. She was wrong.

"Are you sure? You know I can get you out of here." Lance was a good guy, but still had a bad boy side.

"Lance, I would never miss school." Kitty countered with earnest. She had to keep some ground rules. She was thinking of her next thought to discourage Lance from doing anything insipid when Mr. Weathers came into the classroom.

"Since it is the beginning of the school year, I decided to give everyone a test to see how much of this book"- he held up the beaten down, chemistry book- "I actually need to teach."

Everyone chuckled- that was except for Kitty and Lance- who were still worried about the earlier events. Tests were passed down until finally Kitty and Lance each took a copy.

This will be easy. Kitty thought as she had already read, taken online tests, and asked Jean about tenth grade chemistry.

Then it began again like a wave. A sudden headache hit Kitty harder than Wanda's hex blast. She griped to place her hands on the side of her head, and to stifle her groans, as she did not want to try unnecessary attention. Then everything subsided and Kitty Pryde was lost in an ocean of black.