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Breaking and Entering Part 1

Posted on Sat Sep 9th, 2023 @ 17:03 by Phoebe Hunter & Matteo Beneventi

Chapter: All Hallow's Eve
Location: Pub
Timeline: Tuesday 2nd November 1992 22:00
5168 words - 10.3 OF Standard Post Measure

Phoebe has spent the last couple of hours considering her options now that it had calmed down enough to think. The kids were fine. The staff were fine but she was nowhere near fine after everything that happened. She needed to see Matt at the very least know he was okay and let him know his brother was okay. Which was why she stood in the back lane of the pub, banging the door, and got no answer after five minutes. She frowned as she went around the front and saw a holiday sign.

Matt would not be off on holiday, he would have stayed for his brother so he had to be inside. Determined she decided her next step and looked up. It was not the first time that she had climbed through a window to get somewhere. It took a couple of minutes to shimmer herself up a pipe and across several window ledges until she found one loose and slipped inside the upstairs of the pub.

Not for the first time in his life, Matt had found himself in a world that seemed to entirely belong to him. It hadn't been obvious at first, the pub's early closing had left him with time he hadn't expected and, unwilling to assume he could just pick up the phone and impose on a certain redhead to keep him company, he'd taken the time to work on his bike and then took it for a ride. It hadn't been until he'd returned to town, feeling inexplicably tired and ravenously hungry to boot, that the first hint of anything being off had occurred to him. Matt was used to living on the periphery. What he'd been very careful to avoid here was disappearing so far into the background that people couldn't recall him when required to. He had a job, after all, and it came with the only place he had to stay. The last thing he needed was to be forgotten to such an extent that he got replaced.

He'd returned to find the pub closed.

Which was strange in itself, the rivalry amongst the three local establishments didn't allow for many days off. But the owner had voiced the need to travel out of district for the afternoon and normally that involved closing the place, but Matt had offered to work the extra shift. By his reckoning, there was still an hour before that was due to start but the place was dark, locked up and he remembered too late that his keys to get in weren't on the set he used for the bike. He may have taken advantage of his powers then, just briefly. Getting caught breaking and entering wasn't going to help his case.

In the end, he'd managed to jimmy open the window into his bathroom and, having explored downstairs to see if any note had been left, had briefly contemplated opening the place back up again before he'd decided he'd better not. Not without permission. Hunting around for the number he'd been left in case of emergencies, the mutant had called on the off-chance they'd already arrived. Maybe they'd had to leave early and had been forced to close up because he wasn't back yet. Perhaps it was fine to open up and not miss the night's trade. It was a question still unsolved because the person on the other end had hung up on him. Hadn't even seemed to register his responses, despite him trying several times to make himself heard. A bad line, perhaps. He'd decided to try again later.

Ordering pizza hadn't worked either, the same problem had arisen. By that stage, the strange feeling that had sent him home in the first place had passed but Matt was left feeling drained, in a way that didn't really make sense. If the phone wasn't working, he couldn't call the castle anyway, and he would need to worry about something to eat once he got up the energy to go out. Stretched out on his bed, his sound system playing in the background, it put him at exactly the right angle to stare as his bathroom door slowly opened.

He hadn't shut the window again.

Phoebe had climbed into the small space and then froze as she realised it was a bathroom. She looked into mirror to see just how bloodied and battered and it was enough that he would realise that something big had happened if she could find him. There was no climbing back now as she was to tired to even try so she pushed on hoping that the many futures where she found him was the one she was in. She slowly pushed the door open and jumped as she came face to face with him lying on his bed confused. “Hi?” Was all she could say as she had not gotten much further into her plan than that. For someone who had strategies and planning abilities that surpassed professional military officers thanks to her gifts she was lacking as she stood there just stepping into the light.


It was nothing more than split second to evaluate, an automatic response whilst the bulk of his attention was focused on interpreting her appearance. They'd joked about this, when the phone conversations had turned a little heated and a level of impatience for the distance that separated them provoked idle threats she wasn't in a position to follow through with. This didn't feel like one of those moments, not in the midst of a night that already felt slightly off. It took her stepping into the light for Matt to realise how far from a social visit this actually was.

He was up off the bed faster than the floorboards could cope with. At least there was nobody downstairs to mind the creaking.

"Phoebe, what's wrong? What happened?"

Arms extended, his hands hovered just above her arms, stopping short of physical contact in case she was hurt in ways that weren't obvious.

“I am fine…. No really. This is… The kids are fine. Adults mostly fine. We just… all of us across Scotland had an incident with our abilities they got super charged and we had to deal with it.” Phoebe had realised a flaw in her plan as she stood there that he was going to need answers but she had questions of her own. “Why is the pub closed?” She asked trying to change the subject.

Slowly, Matt lowered his hands to tentatively rest against her shoulders. "I'm not sure, to be honest. I mean, they intended to be out of town but I said I'd hold down the fort. Got back with an hour to spare and found it like this." His frown deepened. "I've been chilling out waiting to try call them again, they didn't leave a message and I don't feel right opening up without permission."

Hesitating, he lifted a hand then and settled it gently against her cheek. "Are you sure you're okay? You look..." He searched for the right words. "Haunted."

“Our abilities got supercharged about midnight last night lasting several hours.” Phoebe said looking at him taking in every single detail of his face and the way he was staring at her concerned. “Yeah… I feel like I have seen a ghost.” She admitted slowly. It was the only way to explain the fight with Robert and his group. It was hard to fathom and process the last 24 hours.

It took only another moment for Matt to succumb to temptation and pull her into a gentle hug. "I've felt a certain oddness," he admitted. "I couldn't really place it, things sometimes feel that way for me."

So far, they'd made a point of leaving mutations out of any discussion, and though he was naturally curious about her powers and why she was just as keen as he was to keep them under wraps, Matt couldn't think of a way of justify pushing Phoebe for details when he was in no rush to confess himself. She was an enigma, seemingly unaffected by him, and whilst that was intriguing enough to be slightly intimidated, he didn't feel threatened by her.

A hand lifted to ease a strand of hair away from her slightly-battered face.

"What can I do to help?"

“Can I just stay?” She asked softly as she responded with her own arms around him and looked at his hand gently moving her hair from her face. He was being more gentle than needed but she appreciated it as she was sure she was going to hurt more and more as time passed and more injuries came out.

Not quite the most ideal of circumstances. He smiled wanly, aware that they had joked about this several times, and then nodded gently. "Of course. Doesn't look like I'll be opening up, though I should try to call again. You want to come downstairs? I can find us something to eat, ordering pizza didn't go as planned."

“Why?” She wondered interested in why ordering pizza had not gone to plan. She had seen several places open on her her drive over.

"Whatever's up with the phone, I guess. Called a couple of times and they just hung up on me."

“Oh yeah that might have been residual left over from the power surge.” She said weakly as they moved from the bedroom to down stairs. She sank weakly into the first chair she found in the bar area allowing him a little privacy to call the land lord.

"You think it affected the phone lines?"

As was the case with most bars, the phone was on the wall just around the corner and, distracted by the connection she was trying to make, Matt stood with the receiver in his hand and frowned. Of course, it was reasonable that some infrastructure might have been affected, there were likely mutants up at the school with powers inclined towards disruptions of that nature. But, to the best of Matt's ability to tell, the town hadn't really reacted as if there was much of a problem. Or, at the very least, he'd not encountered anyone who'd seemed overly perplexed.

Actually, he'd not encountered anyone at all.

"Hung up again," he murmured, settling the receiver back in the cradle. Still unsettled by a feeling that something wasn't quite right, Matt slipped behind the bar and poured them both a beer, tossing Phoebe a packet of crisps before he leaned across and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I'll find us something in the kitchen, it's too late try the phone company now."

“Possibly. I had not considered anything wrong with the phones.” She did not think anything connected to technology had been effected but who knew what the long last effected of mutants abilities being dialed up to max had done or how they were going to keep it under wraps that something had gone wrong. She had not seen anything on the news others than hints of an earth quake that had registered but no reports so the humans were confused but not blaming mutants just yet. “Unless you have an ability that affects sound.” She ventured looking at the crisps and releasing just how hungry she was. She had not eaten since the previous day's party and the cup of tea and biscuits when they had teleported.


It was a gentle response and not one tinged with annoyance at her slight probing. Still, Matt wasn't sure how to segue into a discussion after all this time avoiding the subject, as much as he could see good reason to reassure her that he was fine. At the very least, he didn't think he'd suffered as much as she had.

"No, nothing like that. Don't worry about me, I'm fine. You're the one I'm worried about." As much as he'd promised food, his dark eyes sought hers. "Do you want to talk about it?"

“Not overly. It’s complicated but I am fine.” She just a sip of the beer and sighed happily feeling for the first time in a day normal. “We chased the bad guys away for now so the effects of super charged should be fading. I know mine is.” She was not taking side steps into her own head now which was nice.

"And you said the kids were okay?" He'd tried not to focus too much on that, had forced himself to trust her given that it was the first thing she'd rushed to reassure him. Leo was a resilient kid, life had forced that much out of him, and his powers weren't immediately dangerous as such, though complications with technical appliances might have been attributed to the boy.

“Absolutely. Fuming that the power trip is over with.” Phoebe assured looking up at him seeing all the concerned mixed in his eyes. “Leo is one of the less put out kids but they are all good. They’ve been amazing and are seeing the perks of learning to use their abilities properly in a safe space.”

A lifetime worth of fretting was difficult to tuck away neatly but Matt dealt with his impulses by leaning his weight against balled-up fists and taking a moment before he slowly nodded. It was the second major incident to have occurred this closely to the Institute, though by the way Phoebe explained it, the entire country was likely affected. "So what caused it?," he eventually asked, dragging his attention away from his introspection to look across at her.

“Terrorist. The people who have been all over the news declaring mutant rights. It’s way more complicated but that’s the gist of it. Mutant terrorists.” She said simply. There was not harm in telling him the truth when it came to the rangers and what they were planning. He needed to know the basics to understand it all and have some context without the magic that the United Kingdom was full of.

"Terrorists?" Matt's frown was understandably deep. "Does this have something to do with the robot attack too?" Too much of a coincidence, surely, even if this latest problem wasn't directly aimed at the school. "They're not taking a lot of time to breathe in between attacks," he noted, eyes glazing as he considered what he knew and found it glaringly full of holes. "This sounds serious," he murmured, slowly leaning his weight forward onto his arms so that he could reach out and take her hand in both of his. "So what are we doing about it?"

“Nope. They are all separate entities but being encouraged by the other. It’s almost symbolic really that they thrive off the other.” Phoebe let him take her hands and sighed at the question. It was an impossible question to answer properly. “At the moment nothing. We gave them a bit of a kicking that they had not expected so they will be licking wounds for a little bit.”

"I could help."

It was a somewhat empty offer, not because it was lacking in sincerity but because Matt wasn't really sure how accurate it was. His powers weren't particular useful in combat, tending more towards creating perfect exit strategies than standing firm and staring down the enemy. And he'd never tried to be part of the bigger picture, had mostly fended for himself and his brother and tried to let the rest of the world deal with itself. Then Leo had grown up and, not content to live as his brother did, had finally forced the older mutant's hand. Matt had no idea what he could do but he knew that waiting for the next major threat to catch him by surprise didn't sound like a better plan. His gaze held hers firmly.

"There must be something I can do."

Phoebe could feel the frustration of someone wanting to help but being unable to. “Not that I can see but right this second you being here means the world to me.” She pointed out quietly. “I had no idea what I was going to do if I got here and I could not find you inside.” It had been a possibility but not one that she had wanted to believe in.

The thinly-veiled desperation in her voice was distraction enough to tilt Matt's head to the size, quizzically. "I hope you'd have kept looking for me," he smiled faintly. "I don't think I'd have been far away. Where else would I go?"

“I do not know. I just got here and hoped for the best.” She shrugged and pulled back her hands to wrap around herself in a comforting gesture. “It was not exactly a well thought out plan.” She added smiling as the phone rang suddenly from the corridor. “I bet that’s the landlord who has been finally able to get through.”

The shrill sound had made Matt jump and, though Phoebe's reasoning was sound, he still hesitated momentarily before picking up the receiver. "Hello?" A little too late, he thought to add the formal greeting that included the pub's name but it was tardy enough to add an extra degree of concern to the voice on the other end of the line. "That's right, you did. Yes, sir." Matt appeared to listen for a moment, his brow knitted. "I had heard the news, yes. Everything is fine here, though I've left the bar closed as I wasn't able to get through to you." Another pause was followed by, "It's Matt, sir. Yes, that's right. No, no need to apologise, it sounds like you've had quite an eventful night."

Hanging up from the call, Matt stared for a moment at the phone and opted not to return to the bar right away. Instead, he moved as promised earlier into the small kitchen and, rummaging around in the work fridge, pulled out the bacon and eggs. "How do you like your eggs?," he asked, sticking his head around the doorway.

The relief was evident in the man’s tone as things started to settle back into place. “How ever they come.” Phoebe assured watching him leave the doorway before she pushed herself up to join him in the kitchen. “Everything sorted?” She wondered taking in the kitchen. It was perfect for the pub that only offered food on the weekend or special occasions.

"Yeah, I guess. Sounds like things are nationwide, like you said. That thing they're calling an earthquake has created a fair bit of confusion." Busy with the pan for the bacon, Matt waited until the rashes were merrily spitting their fat in every which direction and then got to work scrambling the eggs. "They, uh, don't know." He glanced across at her. "That I'm a mutant. I haven't told them about Leo either."

Phoebe lent heavily against the door frame and nodded. She looked down at her clothes relieved that she had thought to get dressed into something more civilian styled. “Understandable.” She could not judge him with all the discrimination going on towards mutants.

"It just seemed easier." Using a fork to whisk the eggs, Matt fell silent for a moment, feeling the weight of yet another fitting moment to open up about his powers and what they meant, for himself, for his brother. And now, he supposed, for Phoebe. The longer it took him to broach the subject, the harder it seemed to find the nerve, however, as if the delay itself was adding potency to the potential for rejection. "So far, I haven't notice any significant anti-mutant rhetoric. With him down at the way so vocally against having the school so close, I think we have the ancient rivalry of publicans past and present to thank for that support." He smiled ruefully, aware that it wasn't really anything that could be trusted if the only reason his employers weren't shoving pitchforks into everything that looked like a mutant was because someone they didn't like very much was. "They'll probably figure me out eventually." He poured the eggy mixture into another pan. It didn't seem necessary to say that, at the very least, she was likely to get him labeled a sympathizer. That didn't seem fair either; he'd spent his entire life hiding and now...

Now, it felt like he was being a bit of a scumbag, honestly.

“We could stop this if you want to stay in the shadows and out of harms way?” Phoebe asked putting her hands inside her jeans looking suddenly interested in the floor.

"No." Matt was interrupted by an explosion of fat from the bacon and hurried to take it off the heat, whilst juggling the precarious balance between just-right eggs and burnt offerings. After a brief hustle to organise where to set things, he looked back across at Phoebe, trapped for the moment from reaching out to her to add reassurance. "That's not what I meant," he continued quietly. "These attacks keep coming thick and fast and it feels like only a matter of time before every mutant in the country has a target on their head, right? Ordinarily, that wouldn't bother me." He served the eggs onto a plate and moved to add some slices of bread to the toaster. "But that's because I'd..." He exhaled wearily. "Run. Leave. That doesn't feel like much of an option anymore though."

Phoebe watched silently as he moved around the kitchen with east despite the way he kept glancing at her. “Nothing stopping you, Matt. You do not need to stay here for me and I will keep your brother safe without question. This does not need to be your fight.” She said softly. “I chose this life.”

"I don't leave family behind."

There was something to the way he said it, a statement that so easily could have just applied to his brother. Occupied with sharing out the food, partially hidden by a sheet of dark curls, it didn't seem like it was the only reference the mutant was making though. As the toast popped, he grabbed both pieces, set them on the side of one of the plates, and then crossed to hand it to her. Only then did his eyes meet hers.

"If these people in charge have their way, there won't be many places left to hide. Not even for someone like me. I'm..." He swallowed. "Tired of being a coward."

“You are not.” Phoebe said firmly. “The world needs people who do not fight it’s how people like me have a conscience.” She said softly looking at the plate. “Thank you for this.” She added turning to go back into the pub.

A faint smile was followed by a kiss to her forehead. "Any time." Turning back, Matt grabbed his own plate, opting for bread instead of toast.

“What makes you different hmm Matt?” She finally asked as she finally got to sit down. She took a moment just to let her body adjust to the new position before looking at him. “I’ll tell you what makes me different if you do.”

Pulling up a stool on the other side of the bar, since it made sitting opposite her possible, Matt hesitated as he loaded one slice of bread with a layer of bacon. "I can think of a few things that make you different." It was a flirt, though the subtext was a little too heavy to avoid the hint of deeper sentiment beneath it. Building the rest of his butty gave him time to consider a more forthcoming response. It wasn't as if he hadn't been gearing towards a confession one way or the other.

"It's not something I ever want to try to demonstrate," he warned quietly, pulling a hunk of crust from his bread to chew on. Studying her face, Matt added, "Though so far, you've been immune to it in a way I don't think I understand." His dark eyes dipped back to his plate. "I, uh... I make people forget."

“Hard to make a precog forget.” Phoebe commented back as she swallowed a bite of her toast as she leant back in the chair. It made perfect sense now she thought on it. She had always felt like time was shifting around him but it was her perception of him.

The silence that followed wasn't as bad as perhaps either of them had anticipated. It was a thoughtful pause, space to adjust and absorb what was rapidly starting to seem like something that should have been obvious. When it came to being overly judgmental about powers, Matt was one of the least likely candidates. Perhaps it was an arrogance bred of his own powers but he'd always felt somewhat separated from potential threat, at least until recently. There was concern in his eyes as he watched her but, as would eventually become obvious, it was more for her than about her.

"I've never really had it checked out. I just know that people find it hard to keep track of me and, if I put any effort into it, they just...forget entirely. There's other stuff, I guess. Changing what people remember, altering details. I suppose it's all part of the same thing." His brow flickered. "Nothing as hard as yours."

Phoebe shrugged as his definition of hard. It was only hard if things were shifting and moving. Time could sometimes be too fluid even for her. “I see the potential. That’s not hard.” The woman said simply as she saw the concern in his eyes and wondered if she had finally reached the point of scaring him off or was it all making sense to both of them.

"Even when the potential's not great?" He'd not given it a lot of thought, too busy trying to hold the pieces of his own life together, but Matt was at least somewhat aware that there were mutants out there with powers that had far greater implications than anything he'd attempted. Was it more than what he was capable of? He couldn't answer that. There'd never been enough temptation to push himself to his limits.

“Not always. Sometimes it’s a relief that it’s not great.” It was difficult to explain that sometimes seeing an out come no matter how bad it was, was not always a bad thing. You could not always win everything despite how hard you fought or tried. “I have learned that sometimes bad things happen to great people.” She said said softly thinking of her own scars that told her story.

"I guess it can't all be bad." Matt smiled, picking at his bacon. "I mean, you remembered which window was mine. At least half the time, you call me first. You haven't gone to the toilet and left because you didn't remember you were out to lunch with anyone." If he'd known she was worried that her powers would scare him away, he might have taken more pains to reassure, but it was hard to accommodate something that hadn't even occurred to him. "I did wonder how the hell you seem to be able to make a beeline right to me, even in a crowd. It's... I had to teach Leo how to look for clues."

“I told you - you are hard to forget.” She said simply. She did not feel like she needed to go into the whole aspect of who she was able to track him as it was something she had not even realised she was doing but hard to erase something so easy when you could see yourself doing it.

Though he smiled at the repeated sentiment, Matt took several mouthfuls watching her closely before he said anything else. "I meant what I said," was what he eventually settled on. "I don't know how useful I can be but I don't like the idea of you... Well, turning up like this, looking like you've been pulled through a meat grinder, having done nothing whatsoever to help. You may have to explain your powers to me at some point for me to really understand," he confessed, reaching across to stroke his fingertips across her brow. "But they don't change anything. Disappearing isn't something that I want anymore, not if it takes me away from you."

Phoebe nodded at his confession at the very least she owed him a quick explanation of her abilities as some of it was just too hard to explain. “I’ll explain one day. Today has just been to hard to even venture onto that subject.” She promised softly trying to not think on Robert and what had happened that day. It hurt but what did it say about her when she had sorted everyone out and practically ran to this man.

"I didn't mean right now." Pushing back his stool, Matt slid what remained of his food to sit beside her and vaulted over the bar, settling down as close as the awkward seating allowed. It turned him sideways a little, one knee tucked behind her stool as he leaned forward and pressed his forehead to her temple. "By the looks of things, tonight isn't a bad night for forgetting, in moderation. Some trashy television and a tub of ice cream, right?"

Phoebe moved her hand to cheek and held him close resisting the urge to face him so opted for just enjoying the fact he wanted to be close. “Something like that.” She agreed. “I am okay. It’s just complicated.” That was all it was at the moment. Everything was just complicated and she hated it.

"Things can get pretty peaceful when folks are content to ignore you." Matt pressed a kiss to her cheek and then sat back to allow the hand that had settled against the base of her neck to dig into the tension he found. "I don't mind being that for you, Phoebe. If I can stop the rest of the world beating down your door, even for a night, it's still better than a coward's retreat. I'm not going anywhere," he reasserted. "I just hope you don't lose your knack for remembering that."

“I have post it notes if I do start.” She assured back with a smile as she gratefully accepted his attempt at trying to relieve her tension. Just learning his abilities had relieved a little of the tension she had been feeling.

"Bring that upstairs," he suggested, nodding towards what was left of her food. With a glance towards the main doors, Matt didn't go as far as to say that it might have been best not to attract attention given the frayed nerves already expected after the night's events, but the concern was there. He could look after himself but drawing others into his influence took time and practise. "There's a small living space, crappy television reception but we should be able to find something mindless."


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