Sequel to Fumbling Towards Clarity
Rogue decides to take up Magneto on his offer to help her obtain control.
With trembling hands she reaches up
A stranger's flesh is offered
Taking a deep breath, Rogue surveyed her bedroom one last time before finally closing the suitcase. Not everything had been packed away, she'd promised the Professor that this was only temporary--just a trial session--and had made sure to leave enough behind that would convince the others and herself of that. She didn't want to leave. The mansion was her home now, the people, well, most of the people she cared for were housed in these walls. But, how could any of them fault her for wanting to try something that might help her finally obtain control of her powers?
So, it involved one of the X-Men's enemies. She couldn't quite care about that, not with her own mother being listed as an enemy. Or is she on the side of angels again? Rogue shrugged, Mystique's motives were something she doubted she'd ever be able to fully comprehend.
"This is foolish, darlin'."
Rogue tilted her head and nodded at Wolverine who was leaning against the door frame, smoking his signature cigar. "So, you're the one they sent to try and talk me out of this?"
"One-eye really wanted to but no one thought you'd listen to him."
Rogue shrugged. "Not if all he was gonna do was yell again." She zipped the suitcase closed and looked down at the small communicator lying on her bedspread. "It's not like this is gonna be permanent or anything." She turned around, eyes pleading with him, anyone to understand. "He offered to help me with my powers. What would it be saying about me if I'm not even willing to give this a try?"
"That you don't trust him," Wolverine replied bluntly, before blowing a puff of smoke at her.
She averted her gaze and sighed. "But I do trust him. For now, at least." She knew they all wanted to know why that was and that her honest answer of 'he saved my life' wasn't going to cut it much longer but it was all she could tell them. She hardly understood why she trusted him herself, how the hell was she supposed to explain it.
"I got Nightcrawler on standby if you get in trouble. He's confident he could get us all there in one piece," Wolverine informed her and picked up her suitcase.
"Magnus ain't gonna hurt me, Logan." She retrieved the teddy bear and communicator from her bed and started out of the room.
"Callin' him Magnus now?"
"Better than calling him Lord Magneto, ain't it?" Rogue retorted, rolling her eyes.
"Keep reminding yourself that, darlin'." He stubbed out his cigar and started down the stairwell.
She followed him, taking a deep breath as they reached the first floor. The others were there, their expressions ranging from idly curious to outright rage. "You will always have a place here, Rogue," Xavier informed her, smiling gently as he steepled his hands in his lap. "Please do not hesitate to call if something should go...wrong."
"This is absurd," Scott began, shaking his head vehemently.
Xavier gave him a hard look. "Scott--"
"No. You all know it is. Magneto has something planned. There's an ulterior motive--"
"Scott, enough," Xavier warned, and Rogue frowned, taking her suitcase from Wolverine.
"I should probably meet him alone." She smiled sheepishly and gave him a quick hug. "Thanks, Professor," she continued, turning her attention to him. "I ain't gonna be away forever. I just...I have to try."
She nodded to Ororo and the others, thankful she'd already done her goodbyes. Removing an envelope from her pocket, she handed it to Wolverine. "Can you make sure mom--Mystique gets this?" At his nod, she grinned reassuringly and exited the mansion, ignoring Scott's angry tirade as the door closed. Of all of the X-Men she knew he'd be the one to put up the most fuss. His explosion after she'd informed them of her plans would probably go down as his longest diatribe on record so far at the mansion.
Rogue could feel all their gazes on her as she traveled down the driveway to the gate, certain they were watching her from various windows and if the nagging feeling in the back of her mind was correct, they were most likely tailing her as well. She perceived movement out of the corner of her eye, spotting Wolverine in the treeline watching her carefully as she waited for the large steel entrance to give way for her.
Do not hesitate to call, Rogue, Xavier reiterated as the gate opened.
"I won't," she murmured, and took a deep breath before exiting. She spotted Magneto standing near the bench across the street, his expression impassive as he surveyed the mansion's stone wall.
Hesitating, she waved before crossing the road to join him.
"I'm surprised no one has followed you," he stated, taking her suitcase from her.
"It ain't heavy," she protested, before acquiescing. "I wouldn't be so sure of that. Scott wasn't exactly thrilled with this arrangement."
Magneto snorted and she felt something envelop her body before they started rising into the air. "Cyclops will never be able to trust me, even when my plans are hardly nefarious in nature."
"I'll be able to call down to them somehow, right?" Rogue peered at him, pursing her lips slightly in apprehension. "If I don't contact them once a week, Wolverine's threatened to make his way to your space station and...what were his words? Oh yeah, 'eviscerate the son of a bitch'."
"He may certainly try," Magneto replied, his features darkening briefly before looking at her. "And yes, you are free to use all the mechanics of the station, Rogue. It will be as much your home as it is mine."
Rogue's smile faltered. The mansion was her home. "How long do you think its going to take...for you to help me?"
He sighed, jaw tightening slightly. "I do not know."
She nodded, and forced a smile. "At least you're honest." Looking away from him, she watched as the world beneath them began to shrink, the temperature dropping significantly as they exited Earth's atmosphere. Her eyes widened in wonder as she peered at the planet, always amazed at seeing it from the vantage point of space.
"It is a wonder to behold," Magneto murmured, stilling their rise. "From here one cannot see the turmoil that is currently occurring below. Allows for the false belief that all is peaceful."
Rogue gave him a sidelong look. "You sure know how to depress a person."
He gave a brief smile and nodded his head. "Forgive me." He continued their rise, bringing them towards his asteroid home. "You will miss the trappings of Earth soon enough."
She didn't respond to that, unsure what would be appropriate as they entered the base. "Welcome to Asteroid M," he stated, placing them onto the metal floor.
"Interesting choice of a name." She grinned at him and picked up her suitcase, looking carefully around as she tried to gather her bearings.
"I'll show you to your quarters. After you have unpacked I can show you the rest of the station." He looked seriously at her. "There will be times that I will not want to be disturbed."
Rogue nodded. "Same here."
Her suitcase levitated out of her hand and a few meters in front of them as he began walking down the hallway. She hurried to keep up with him, her mind ablaze with doubt, wondering what the hell she'd been thinking when she'd agreed to this. It wasn't that she was afraid of Magneto, she knew she could take him down in a heartbeat if needed but there was something lingering in her mind, making her nervous about being alone with him. She shrugged and crossed her arms, tightening her grip on the small bear. Probably cause of Scott's words earlier, she justified. He's offering to help you. Don't be a damn fool.
They stopped in front of a metallic doorway and as it slid open she couldn't help but think of the Star Trek show Beast was fond of. "Do with it as you will, Rogue," Magneto told her, as he stepped inside, placing the suitcase on the bed. "There is a bathroom through the door to your right and the closet is on the left. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask."
She nodded, frowning at the copious amounts of metal. "I ain't planning on being here that long to tell you the truth," she informed him, unzipping her bag. "Only brought the essentials."
His eyes darkened, jaw tightening slightly and he nodded. "Very well."
"It ain't..." She raked a hand through her hair. "It ain't that I'm not grateful for you offering to help me, Magneto." She couldn't quite bring herself to call him Magnus to his face. "I..it..."
"I hardly expected you to stay indefinitely, Rogue," he replied, waving his hand dismissively. "Unpack. I'll retrieve you when you are done." He exited without another word and she frowned as the doorway closed.
She shrugged and emptied the contents of the suitcase onto the bed, quickly putting away her clothes in the small dresser and hanging a few odds and ends in the rather large closet. The small bear was placed on the pillow and she clipped the communicator to her waist, wanting easy access to it, suddenly feeling very paranoid. Shaking her head in frustration, she undid it and tossed the communicator onto the bedside table. "Metal," she muttered, rolling her eyes as she gathered her bath items and deposited them in the bathroom, pleased there was a rather large tub, even if it was metal as well.
There was a loud knock on her door as she set out the picture frame of a recent team photograph. "Yeah?"
The door opened and she adjusted the frame, fingers briefly skirting over the communicator. "Have you finished?"
"Yeah." She pushed the suitcase into the closet and clasped her hands behind her back, watching him intently.
His eyes narrowed and he waved for her to follow him. "You did not use to be this...hesitant. You've been listening to your teammates' assessments of me."
She shrugged, following him down the hallway. "Just cause I've been listening don't exactly mean I agree. 'Sides, Scott can be pretty loud when he wants. I doubt there was a single person in Westchester that didn't hear him."
He laughed at that and she froze, raising a brow at him. "You've heard me laugh before, girl," he stated, sighing at her apparent agitation. "This will not work, Rogue, if you cannot trust me."
"I do trust you," she murmured, watching him intently. "Just nervous is all. Need to get my bearings." Get the others' doubts out of my head.
He nodded and continued on, showing her various parts of the station and she memorized the steps, wanting to be able to maneuver her way around without his guidance. They stopped at his study and he waved the door open. It reminded her of the Professor's study, though the desk and bookcases here were metal instead of a deep mahogany. "This is where we will work on your power. If the door is closed, I will want to be left alone."
Rogue nodded. "How are we doing that? Working on my power?" she asked, taking a seat on the long sofa.
He sat across from her in the metal chair by the desk, sitting as regally as ever and she was suddenly reminded of a king overlooking his subjects. "You told me while we were in the Savage Land that you've come to rely on your secondary powers."
She nodded, curling her feet underneath her body. "Yeah, didn't realize I had until all my powers went away."
"You do not use your own power except for a last resort," he stated, and she didn't like the reproachful tone in his voice.
"Yeah, well, I ain't a fan of having people in my head." Her tone was defensive, eyes narrowing slightly as she crossed her arms in agitation.
"You are scared of it." She really didn't like the smirk on his face.
"Of course I am," she retorted, rolling her eyes at him. "When you can kill someone by accidentally touching them let me know how calm you are about it."
"Child, you cannot kill them with an accidental touch," Magneto reminded, steepling his fingers in his lap which reminded her of Xavier. "You had to hold on for awhile to cause the damage that you did to Carol Danvers."
She merely glared at him, having no adequate response. "Do you have no concept of how powerful you could be?" he asked, and she held up a hand.
"Just stop, Magneto. If the reason I'm here is for you to make me more powerful then I should just go pack my bags."
He shook his head. "In order to gain control of your power, Rogue, you need to use it. Just as I told you at the restaurant. You will never acquire the control you so fervently desire if you hide yourself away in layers of clothing and gloves." He looked distastefully down at the material covering her hands. "There are two of us on this station, child, and yet you persist in wearing those. I would hardly crumble."
"Maybe I ain't protecting you," she countered, hands balling into tight fists. "Maybe, I just don't want you in my head."
"Then, what I would propose we do will never work."
"You really are an arrogant man." She expelled an exasperated breath, watching him intently.
"Thank you," he murmured, and rose. "Do you wish to know what I mean to do?"
She nodded, tensing as he approached her. He faltered briefly and looked down at her with narrowed eyes. "It is not my goal to scare you, Rogue."
"You're an intimidating man, Magneto," she stated, forcing herself to calm down.
"You will work on using your power." He held up a hand, cutting off her protests, and continued. "I believe you will be able to retrieve information from anyone with a touch--"
"It doesn't work like that," Rogue interrupted, shaking her head adamantly. "Its just a whole lot of confusion and power."
"Because you have not trained to filter out the nonsense, to focus on what you need," he countered, and grasped her hand.
She stiffened as he began pulling off her glove, breath quickening as she looked up at him. She could pull away from him easily--her superstrength would make it an easy enough task--but she wanted to see what he was going to do. His bare hand brushed against hers and he smirked. "Ah, look, an accidental touch and I am still alive."
She glared before gasping as he grasped her hand tightly. Her power started almost immediately, his thoughts and emotions rushing into her like a tidal wave. She could feel the metal around them and her eyes widened as various objects in the room rose into the air. "Stop it," she growled and wrenched her hand away, overwhelmed by his presence.
His gloved hand grasped her bare one again. "Now this time, Rogue, tell me where Theoretical Physics is located," he ordered, his flesh connecting with hers.
She cried out, not wanting another dose of him so soon, and closed her eyes, trying to focus on that piece of information. Something dark twisted inside of her and she bit her lip at the wave of arousal that flashed through her before pulling away from him. Her eyes widened and she held her hand close to her body, locating the information he'd asked her to find. "Third book from the right on the top shelf," she stated, her breathing heavy. "How did you do that?"
"I didn't do anything," he informed her, settling back in his chair. "You merely focused on what you wanted to learn from me and were able to retrieve the correlating information."
"Right." She raked a hand through her hair. "And that...that's supposed to help me control my power?"
He smiled slowly. "I believe once you have mastered what you can do with your power, you will acquire the knowledge to help you stop it from absorbing anyone." His gaze hardened briefly before he shook his head, expression softening. "I did not have control of my powers for many years, Rogue. It was harnessed through a lifetime of practice. Do not expect this to come easily."
"I know there's no easy switch, not unless I used some kind of power inhibitor or something. But that just feels like cheating." She shrugged, tucking her hands into her lap. "Can't just get rid of my power, its part of who I am."
"Yes, it is." He looked like he had more to say, but merely stood and motioned for her to follow. "I have more areas for you to see."
Rogue nodded, quietly following him through the station as she mulled over what had just happened. "Magneto?" she finally asked, as they were nearing her quarters. "Why...why are you helping me?"
His footsteps faltered and he turned, fixing her with a hard stare. "You are a mutant, Rogue," he stated, before turning back towards her room and waved the door open. "Dinner will be ready in an hour. You are free to do as you please and do not need to join me if you do not wish."
"Are you cooking? I could help," she offered.
"I have a fashioned a robot that cooks most meals unless I feel so inclined. You may cook if you wish." He nodded to her and then turned, walking quickly down the hall and leaving her alone.
She entered the room and sat down on the bed. Sighing, she drew her fingers over the communicator and stared at the photograph. What the hell am I doing here? She took a deep breath and laid back on the mattress, contemplating what had occurred in his study. Her power had never been used that way before, to extract information and she briefly wondered if that was what Mystique would have had her do after a time, if she hadn't left. Turning onto her side, she pursed her lips and tried to stifle the lingering darker emotion she'd pulled from him that was making her body feel like it was on fire.
Control, this was all about obtaining control, nothing else.