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Disclaimer: Chris, the Wendigo, and the concept of Charmed belong to Constance M. Burge, Brad Kern, and Spelling Entertainment. John and the concept of X-Men belong to Stan Lee, Marvel Comics, and 20th Century Fox.

Author’s Note: Written for Charmed Flashfic. Thank you to Tiny Stages, who created the lovely new dustjacket.

College was about change, acceptance, growth. Chris Halliwell had heard all of these things and more and believed every word of them. What people hadn’t told him was that living with a roommate was completely different than living with your family, and acceptance would be hard to come by.

Dropping his bags onto the thinly carpeted floor, he took in the disaster area before him. He was only gone for a weekend visit. How did his roommate destroy their room that fast? Articles of clothing were carelessly draped over furniture, even on his side of the closet-sized room. He had no idea if they were clean or not. Paper plates with half-eaten food on them rested atop the TV. Books were strewn all over the floor.

Chris was going to kill his roommate, to hell with acceptance.

Even though John wasn’t currently in the room, he knew where to find him. Forgetting his parents’ warnings about using his powers for personal gain, Chris orbed to the empty alley way behind Legends, the college’s own nightclub.

A wave of loud music pumped over him as he walked inside and found his roommate guzzling down a beer. Chris pulled up a stool and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Allerdyce, we’ve got to talk,” he shouted over the music.

John set down his beer and glared at the kid sitting beside him. He was a couple of years older than Chris, having started college late. In fact, he still wasn’t too happy about being in college, but Magneto had said an education was the first step to winning the war against humans. College he could eventually warm up to, but this goody-goody roommate of his was another matter.

“What can I do for you?” he called back, his speech slightly slurred.

“Can we go outside?”

“Oh, come on, Chris. Lighten up. We can talk in here.”

“I can’t hear myself think.”

“Fine.” Placing his mug on the bar’s counter, John slid off the stool and headed outside, Chris on his heels. Several times he nearly walked into people, and Chris had to direct him through the crowd.

Once outside, the young witch fixed the other man with a glare. “Your stuff is on my side of the room.”

John narrowed his hazel eyes. “So?”

This guy reminded Chris so much of his older brother that he could scream. “Could you go move it?”

“No.” With that, John turned around and stumbled away.

Chris ran after him. “We’re supposed to be sharing, man. I don’t care what you do to your side, but I’d kind of like the stuff off mine.”

“Look, kid, I don’t have anywhere else to put things. My last roommate didn’t mind.” A pang of guilt twisted in John’s stomach when he remembered Bobby Drake.

Chris sighed and almost said something else when a low growl stopped him. He quickly glanced around, his anger momentarily forgotten.

“Did you hear that?” John asked as he, too, looked around nervously.

“Maybe it was a dog,” Chris suggested.

“Maybe we should turn around.”

The two young men changed direction and stopped dead in their tracks. Standing in front of them was a large, hairy creature. For a second John thought it was Sabertooth coming to check on him. Then he remembered that the huge mutant was still convalescing after a nasty battle with the X-Men. Slowly, he and Chris backed away.

“What the hell is that?” John asked to no one in particular.

“A Wendigo,” he heard Chris mutter under his breath.

“A what?”

Chris didn’t answer him; he merely told him to run. Without arguing, John turned and ran as fast as he could, his roommate right behind him. They were too slow, though. Despite its height, the Wendigo caught up with them in mere seconds.

Chris thought about orbing his roommate and himself to safety, but he had no idea how he would explain that to John. Realizing that the alley was a dead end, Chris did the next best thing. He jumped onto the nearest fire escape and held out an arm for John. John leaped up and grabbed it, but not before the large animal had grazed his leg with its claws.

John yelled, and once on the fire escape, peered at the large gash on his shin. “Damn, that hurt.”

“That’s going to do more than hurt,” Chris commented as he watched the Wendigo jump for the fire escape and miss.

John looked up at him. “What do you mean?”

“If we don’t kill this thing, you’ll become one tomorrow night.”

“The hell?”

Chris quickly explained that a Wendigo was like a werewolf, only slightly different. It had once been a human, but that human’s heart had turned to ice. When that happened, it changed into a monster that would forever roam at night and rip out the hearts of every living being it found.

John’s eyes grew huge as he listened. Perfect, just perfect. Not only was he a mutant, but now he would also be a heart-eating monster. Just what he needed.

“If only I had some fire,” Chris absently said, his eyes fixed on the monster below them.

A grin spread across John’s face. “I can get you some fire.”

Chris jerked his head up. “You can? How?”

John pulled his shark lighter out of his right pocket and flipped it open. Immediately, he lit it. To Chris’s surprise, the tiny spark jumped from the lighter into John’s palm. It grew until it was the size of a baseball.

“What do I do with it?” John calmly asked.

Chris finally found his voice. “You have to hit the Wendigo in the heart.”

“Not a problem.” With the fireball still in his hand, the mutant leaned over the edge of the fire escape. He gasped and nearly dropped it when he saw that the Wendigo had grabbed the end of the fire escape ladder.

It pulled until the whole fire escape shook. Behind the boys, screws were popping out of the side of the building as it creaked forward.

John threw the fireball in one swift move. His aim was true, and it landed right in the center of the Wendigo’s chest. It screamed in agony and gave the fire escape one good yank before it burst into thousands of pieces.

Forgetting his earlier trepidation, Chris didn’t think twice. He grabbed John by the arm and orbed them both back to the dorm room.

“What? How?” John just sat on the floor, blinking at his new surroundings. Chris could tell that he was a little disoriented.

“Good work, Allerdyce,” he simply said as he stood up.

John also cautiously stood up and peered down at his leg. The gash had vanished. He rounded on his roommate. “Why didn’t you do that before?”

“I didn’t know how you’d react,” Chris shot back.

John sighed as he sat down on his own bed. “Kid, we’ve got a lot to talk about.”

“I guess so,” Chris agreed. Maybe acceptance wasn’t so bad after all.


© 2004 Crimson Idealist