there has always been a hunger inside of people. it’s not always an easy hunger for food; sometimes it’s for attention, for love, for children, for structure, for sex, for just about anything.

madelyne knows that pulling it it out to the surface isn’t always easy. minds like to evade, like to deny something that it wants. she knows that people will do anything to ignore their base desires, to try to deny what they wanted because a proper society does not want to acknowledge, because they understand that what they wanted was sinful, wrong, or too large, too intimate to name out loud.

her hunger has been for recognition. for people to care, for people to finally recall her, remember who she was before she’d been devoured. to have all of that pain, from all those painful places realized.

it’s changed ever since krakoa has sprung up, like mutant mecca that everyone has flocked too, the open invitation to mutants by the hands of charles xavier. it springs up, beckons everyone to it with the promises that it is for everyone -- the broken, the damned, the wretched, mutants all.

it makes her sick.

some of it comes from the depths of her own hatred for mutantkind. yes, some of that exists within her, eternally angry, lashing out at the mutanthood thrust upon her, that horrible dirty secret that not even she knew about when she’d been an innocent pilot, who had gone on one little date. some of that is there.

the rest is that she knows, she knows that charles himself could have come to her. that jean could have come, scott, even alex could have come. they could have come and asked her, sought her out like they had done so many other mutants. could have extended their hands, even if she would have slapped them away, would have bitten back.

except no, no that’s what they want, isn’t it? she knows it. she knows that at the end of it all, she will always be ignored. always have to spend her time in the dark, working on her own magics, her own plans. there would never be a reason to reach out to the flailing, rage filled shadow that was madelyne pryor unless she happened to force their hands, force their attention onto her.

no one cared about her, not unless they knew that she has harmed others. that was the way it went. they had been there, yes, when she had gripped dazzler, stared into the camera, her face wet with tears, smeared with debris and smoke when she’d told scott she loved him and she wanted their baby back. they had been there, but she was just madelyne, powerless and useless aside from a few moments. she hadn’t mattered much at all when the marauders had cornered her, when she had looked up at his face, pleading with them not to hurt her, please, please--

he’d smiled at her. pulled the trigger while the rest of them laughed. even now, she could still feel the bullet piercing her skin, pushing through--

yes. yes they hadn’t cared until she got power, slipped her claws into them all. they hadn’t cared until she had made them care, through violence and anger, and destruction.

for too long her eye had been focused on jean, on scott. now, her eyes turned elsewhere in vengeance: on the marauders. instruments of sinister, not sinister himself. puppets with strings, strings she could pull on her own, one at a time. strings that would inevitably lead to him -- yet in the mean time, they could start to finally satisfy her voracious appetite for destruction, for vengeance.

a smile starts to cut it’s way across her face.

the thing about magic, it sometimes was a better help than a psychic ability. the flame of the phoenix still burned within her -- yet magic always would burn so much stronger in her. and in that, madelyne dips her fingers into the pools of memory, stirs them. makes sure that the magic brings her into the memory when she was madelyne jane pryor, when she was still helpless, small. the magic works and works, brings the grimy street back, the ambulance ride, the terror that she had on her face as she tried to get away from them.

it’s a startling difference the years made between them. despite the fact that she appeared virtually unaged, there was no denying the difference: the smart bob she’d still worn back then to accentuate herself, the blue hospital scrubs that covered her body in contrast with the black cloak she wore, the long red hair she kept now that flowed to her waist. somehow… she’d forgotten some of the details of back then, had assumed that she was wearing the green pilot suit she seemed to have lived in for years, hadn’t remembered that she still cared about drawing a difference between her more adult look and jean’s still virginal, sweet one even in the subconscious.

it evokes almost… regret.

there used to be real innocence, real fear, real humanity in her face that she couldn’t relate to anymore. madelyne reaches out, touches one side of her cheek, looking into her own terrified eyes. “you won’t stay like this for much longer. you should enjoy it.”

she knows, inevitably, how her story peters out. knows that those months without memory would lift and then…

then the horror.

madelyne pulls her focus back. pushes so the magic so she can isolate the faces of each one who had harmed her: arclight. greycrow. blockbuster. sabretooth. harpoon. malice. prism. riptide. scrambler. vertigo.

the cut of a smile comes back to her face, erasing that small part of her that persisted, that wanted to take in the difference. things had changed, and madelyne refused to be waylaid by her goal.

her eyes flick over each face, over each detail of them. her smile grows wider, more of a gash of anger than anything else. her hunger would be sated, and soon.