Bavaria. The Northern Alps. How the hell they'd wound up out here, in the bloody Alps was Jono's best guess, but- Wait. Back it up some.
It had started when the X-Men had been called in to the X-Corps HQ by... an old friend. Sean Cassidy, Banshee, call him what you will. The last Jono had seen of him, he'd been a going-nowhere drunk moping over the loss of his one true, and no good to any of them, half the reason that Generation X had disbanded in the first place. Now Sean seemed to have found his footing again, but it was as a militant individual putting people like the Blob to work. And, while Jon had been thrilled for the short reunion with Jubilee, and he'd tolerated Monet's being Monet and Paige being insufferable (which was just how Paige rolled, Jono was finding), he probably could have done without the monsters in the basement.
Or the telepath in the large test tube. The one that X-Corps had apparently been using to manipulate dangerous criminals into doing their dirty work.
Jon had come to expect a lot of things from Sean. That was very high up on the list of things that he didn't. So when Kurt gave him the okay to investigate what that unsettling presence was that seemed to be reaching out to any mind within range, he did. And he learned the hard way that sometimes, when two telepaths get close enough for their minds to fall into sync, things could... scramble a bit.
Having his consciousness sucked into the twisted mind of a telepathic madwoman was not Jonothon's idea of a good time. Martinique, she'd said her name was, after sincerely hoping that he'd wiped his feet before entering her mind. Before telling him his name without any introduction. You like to be called Jon, don't you? Makes you feel grown up.
He would have told her to get out of his head, but under the circumstances, he really hadn't been one to talk. He was the one trespassing, after all.
She'd spoken him around into circles, leading him through the twisted narrows of her mind. She'd told him openly of her own darkest thoughts, the ones that everybody had, and nobody shared. She told him, in a voice so calm and certain, about everything he felt. About the losses he'd suffered, about how badly he really just wanted to be in control.
He'd denied it.
She'd all but laughed in his face.
But she'd tolerated him there. Until she had somewhere better to be. And then she'd threatened him. He'd grabbed her arm, demanded answers, and she'd... shoved him into a furnace, there in the confines of her mind. Taunted him some more. You should try to develop your telepathic side. You can do much more than communicate with it. Try not to think what your physical self is doing while you're rotting in here...
She was long gone by the time he'd gotten out of that little trap. And by the time he'd found her again, she was talking to somebody else who didn't quite belong. Somebody who had, after realizing Jono was there, shunted him clean out of Martinique's mind with more than a little jolt of power.
The world had stopped moving. And, while Jono was difficult to kill, there were only so many volts of electricity one could take coursing through one's entire body before unconsciousness crept up...
And he was down for the count without really finding out anything that would be any use at all, until he'd woken up in bloody Bavaria. sprawled out on a bed in a cabin somewhere, with Kurt knocked senseless right beside him.
It had been another day before Kurt woke up. Jon had thanked the man who had brought them in, but his German was, while good enough for snippets of broken conversation, not exactly fluent, and he'd spent most of the rest of his time just standing outside alone, in the snow.
No signal on his phone meant no means to send out a text message requesting a pickup. And once Kurt came to, he'd explained in bits and pieces about finding Jono half-comatose just in time to see the bomb. Just in time to teleport them away from there before it went off. And from there, it became apparent that Kurt's friend, the man who had taken them in, had no means of contacting the outside world and he rather preferred it that way, and it seemed as though they were going to be stuck there for quite some time. Especially since Kurt didn't seem to be in any particular hurry to get going.
And that was when Jono had snapped.
//Didn't you tell me in London that our lives revolve around our responsibilities? Or was that just part of your X-Men recruitment speech?!//
"That was then. I dare say things are... different now."
//How?! How are they different? Look, I know we just had a near-death experience. But I figured you'd be used to it by now! What are you, flippin' shell-shocked!?//
There hadn't been a reply. And so Jon had stalked outside to stand in the snow again.
But this time, he was going to bloody well get reception. If it meant pushing his powers out far enough that somebody heard him on the other side of the bloody world, he was going to get reception. His mind brushed over Archangel. No, Warren had never taken him seriously. And Bobby...? Jono couldn't take him seriously. Stacy...
Stacy got the message. Where they were. Please, send help.
And then, exhausted from the effort it took to push his voice out that far, he'd fallen back into the snow, and he'd waited.
The bloody Alps.
It was some time before rescue had come. Archangel had assured them that the situation with X-Corps had been dealt with. Kurt had apologized for being so hesitant to head back. Warren and Bobby had cornered Kurt to tell him that maybe it was time for him to take a sabbatical, and Stacy had cornered Jono to let him know exactly how displeased she was with him, period.
"Look, kid... I'm not thrilled to have anyone sneaking into my brain when I'm not looking..."
//Don't call me kid. I did what I had to do.//
"Is that so!? Well, why'd you have to pick me? Lemme clue you in on something... No one's allowed in this disco without valid I.D. Aim that telepathy in another direction next time!"
Thank you for that, Stacy.
//Right. Stone me... I didn't pick your name out of a hat, y'know... I could've gotten into Warren's mind. Or Bobby's. I considered it. Then I decided against it.//
"Uh-huh." Stacy still didn't look pleased. But at least she looked like she was listening, now. "You still haven't answered my question. Why me?"
//First of all, I thought... you might be the only one who'd believe it was me. That you'd be the only one who'd not only listen, but who'd take me seriously.//
Silence hung in the air between them. And then Stacy replied, barely a murmur, "Oh."
The flight back to civilization was long, and quiet, and it wasn't until there was reception on his phone again that Jono bothered with trying to communicate with anybody at all.
Still alive, read the text that he sent out to his handful of friends back on the island. Give me good news about things. I could stand to hear a few good words.
Asking for word from a place that seemed so much more like home than here was the only thing keeping him from questioning exactly why he was still doing this. The more steps forward he tried to take, the more things seemed to drag him back in the other direction all over again.
[NFB for distance, but open for texting if anybody would like! Everything behind the cut is essentially a fastforward summary of Uncanny X-Men 403-407, in which Jono misses all of the important stuff back at X-Corps HQ because the writers hate him but want to give him face-time. Or something.]
- The Northern Alps, Bavaria