To Build A Fire last edited by pikahyper on 09/24/19 07:21AM View full history

While en route to Magma’s birthplace Nova Roma, Magma and Empath crash land and have only each other for support. While adventuring together, Amara discovers that she does have feelings for Manuel…

The New Mutants huddled together on Warlock who posed as their sofa. They all mourned for Cypher, Magik also mourned for her brother, and Wolfsbane remained in her wolf form. Cannonball suddenly flew up with a scroll from Magma. Wolfsbane shifted into a girl again, and they all began to read the scroll. It said that she had been summoned to return to Nova Roma and had been accompanied by Empath.

In the Massachusetts Academy, the Hellions faced Magma in their training room. They still called her a New Mutie, but all six of them still struggled in a fight against her. The only one who seemed to have an impact on Magma was Empath, but she continued to fight against his powers (see New Mutants # 56). The others began to tease Empath, accusing him of going easy on Magma. Tarot claimed it was because he had a girlfriend, but he resorted to using his powers to make her love him. Seeing him torment Tarot angered Magma, who caused an earthquake out of frustration. As she went to run out of the room, the White Queen appeared. She handed Magma a letter from her father, demanding her to return home. The White Queen sent her to her room to begin packing, while she pulled Empath to one side. She enquired why he hadn't used his full influence over Magma. He claimed it was because she genuinely didn't like it, and therefore he wouldn't humiliate her like he did with Tarot. The White Queen then priased him for his subtlety and ordered him to accompany Magma to Nova Roma. She wanted Magma to return to the school and hoped that Empath would be able to subtly use his influence on Magma's father to allow her to return to Massachusetts. Empath then went to Magma's room and asked her to stay in Massachusetts. She accused him of trying to torment her, but he showed self-awareness that people were quick to hate him. He then confided in her the reasons why he would join her on her journey home.

Several days later, they were in a small private jet flying over South America through a thunderstorm. Magma was worried, so Empath scolded the pilot to fly around the storm. He was told that they had already gone far off course. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the right engine. Empath offered to help keep Magma calm, but ended up effected by her fear instead. The plane was sent crashing down into the jungle below. The pilot had died in the crash, but Empath carried Magma's unconscious body out of the burning wreckage. He then dove into the river just as it exploded. They pulled themselves out on the other side of the river, and began to make their way through the jungle before the crocodiles tried to eat them.

Magma seemed to thrive in the rainforest, while even the monkeys mocked Empath. She recalled how she used to live in the jungle, but he begged her to create a larger fire to act as a beacon to signal help. She claimed that she didn't want to start a forest fire, and threatened to burn him when he insinuated he could use his powers on her.

In the middle of the night, Magma was woken by Empath's groaning. She found a vampire bat feeding off his neck, and threw a burning ember at it to scare it away. Magma grabbed a leaf from a local plant, knowing that the juices in the leaf would counter the anti-coagulants in the bat's saliva. She tried to make light of the situation by comparing the bat to a mosquito, but Empath accused her of mocking him. She then explained how as a child, she had a bat tangled in her hair. It plagued her nightmares for years, but had to learn to laugh it off as the bats continued to be a part of local Nova Roma life.

In the morning, Empath woke to a pile of fruit. Magma had created a basic spear. She warned him to be careful of boa constrictors and jaguars when he went to relieve himself. On his way to find a quiet area to act as a toilet, Empath was distracted by a pretty orchid growing on a small cliff-ledge. He decided it would look pretty in Magma's hair, but when he climbed up & grabbed the flower he was suddenly confronted by a hissing jaguar. The big cat jumped at him, and scratched Empath's face as he fell back off the ledge. Magma ran up with her spear and scared it off, but was also scratched across the thigh. She tore at the mid-riff of her Hellion's uniform and used the material to bandage her thigh.

Magma was angry as she had warned Empath to be careful, and they didn't have anti-biotics if their injuries became infected. He taunted her of being the self-sufficient Amazon, and claimed that she didn't want to be rescued. She agreed; she didn't want to be rescued and she had a good reason for it. She confided in Empath that her father expected her to marry a local Nova Roma boy. Empath told her to reject the young suitor, but she accepted that Nova Roman traditions wouldn't allow that. Empath implored her that it wasn't worth risking their lives over, and that she should crate a large volcano to signal their presence.

Magma repeated her earlier excuse, she didn't want to risk a forest fire. Empath then grabbed her by both arms and while towering over her demanded that she should shake the ground to save them both. She retaliated, claiming that it was his fear she felt as she hit him with the back of her first. As Magma went to walk away, Empath picked himself back up. He could feel other's emotions as strongly as his own and told her he could feel both their fear. He lurched at her from behind, knocking her down to the ground. He toppled on top of her and began to command her to shake the ground again. The ground rumbled, and she argued that how she felt was her own business. The ground rumbled and split as Magma pulled Empath by the back of the nexk in for a passionate kiss.

Local wildlife began to flee as the ground cracked and fire rose up. Just as Magma had warned, the forst had caught fire. Empath confessed he wasn't sure which of them was feeling the attraction or fear. Together they hobbled to the riverside and dove in away from the fire.

It had begun to rain by the time they climbed out the other side of the river. Empath apologised and confessed how his powers work; that he feels a barrage of emotions from other people that he would latch on to one, and make that one work for him to block out all of the others. He admitted it made him a coward, and apologised to her again. Magma then apologised to Empath, saying that she hadn't realised what it was like for him.

Together they headed North to find the Amazon River. They had been trekking through the jungle for days, using Magma's spear as a walking stick. Magma's leg would had swollen up making it dificult for her to walk, and Empath had taken to calling her 'Mara (a name she clearly told Cannonball to use as it signified a deep familiarity). Suddenly they were aware of something moving behind them. Empath grabbed the spear, but was outnumbered by a Nova Roman troop of soldiers headed by Magma's father. Senator Aquilla explained that they had been to the source of the earthquake and begun to track them from their. He enquired to refer to Empath as a 'ruffian', but Magma introduced him to her a father as her team-mate and friend... and hoped that he would become her father's friend too.



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