Title: Peace in the Struggle
by willowaus

Unselfish in her suffering she could not understand

Days passed and Rogue convinced herself that she and he would be content on this spaceship. She relished falling asleep curled up against Magneto and waking up to his hands slowly caressing her body. They hadn't talked about his cause since that day the others had come to 'rescue' her, and she never tried to bring it up, even though she knew it was something they would need to hash out again. She was happy to let everything remain as it was, their life a constant routine of gentle caresses and meaningless conversations. No, not meaningless, she reasoned, Just nothing that we really need to discuss. He was waiting for her to bring up what her long-term plans were, and she was purposefully ignoring doing so.

Magneto was becoming restless and if she was honest with herself, so was she. Neither of them were built for an idle living. They'd sparred a few times in the gymnasium but each of those sessions had ended with them back in his bedroom. He was watching her more, waiting for some sort of sign. She wasn't all that sure exactly what, though. If she was honest, she was trying not to think about it. She wanted to keep her focus on him, on them.

Every day, after their session to help control her powers, he would work at his desk and Rogue would curl up on the couch and read. She'd read as many of his books as she could tolerate, not wanting to subject herself to the various historical and scientific novels he collected, and decided to turn on the satellite feed, lowering the volume in an attempt to not disturb him. She regretted doing so as soon as the images unfolded before her. An aerial view of a school bus on its side was being projected, fire engulfing the vehicle. The back end of the bus was gone and bits and pieces of metal were scattered across the road. Her breath caught in her throat as the camera panned out, revealing bodies, white sheets draped over them as rescue workers and police walked the scene. The reporter was speaking but Rogue barely heard, her focus on the words in the left hand corner: Mutant Massacre in Mississippi.

"No comment has been received from the emergency services in Hattisburg, but the locals have been willing to give their opinion on this disaster," the woman stated, her expression serious.

Interviews were shown, each one worse than one before, blaming the attack on the fact the school board had allowed the mutants to go to the local high school. "There ain't no way God was going to allow that foolishness to go unpunished," one man stated, nodding as he looked at the travesty unfolding behind him.

"Oh god." She turned to tell Magneto, gasping at the fury in his features, the metal objects on his desk beginning to rattle.

He rose, quickly exiting the room and she followed. He didn't react to her, entering the bedroom, quickly stripping, his uniform molding to his body. "Erik. Stop." Rogue stood in the doorway, frantically trying to decide what to do. "You don't know what happened."

His eyes narrowed, helmet gliding across the room. "I know enough," he replied, placing it securely on his head. "Mutants are dead."

He floated past her and she cried out as a metal wrapped around her wrists and she was pushed back into the room, the door slamming shut behind him. She watched in disbelief as the metal lifted from her body and smoothed over the door, effectively blocking her in. "Damn it," she growled, slamming into it, breaking through. She flew to her room, grabbing her comm link and turned it on as she flew towards the hanger doors.

Magneto was already gone. This was not good. She attached the link to her ear and started flying towards Earth, utilizing her speed. "Rogue to X-Men. We got a situation."

xxx

The X-Men had told her to wait, to regroup with them and together they would deal with Magneto. That was precisely why she'd disregarded the order. 'Deal with Magneto', that phrase alone told her precisely how they were going to approach this situation. Erik was emotional, he was stubborn and he believed whole heartedly in what he was doing. He needed a voice of reason, or at least that is what she told herself. She could be it, help him see...well, she wasn't all that sure what she was going to help him see. Just stop him from hurting anyone.

Please don't have already hurt anyone, she willed, narrowing in on Hattisburg, tensing as she heard screaming in the distance. She moved towards it, mouth gaping as she spotted him. Magneto was standing in the middle of a lawn, three men pinned to the wall of a house by pieces of what used to be a car.

"Erik!" she yelled, moving towards him, stopping at the fury in his expression as he turned to look at her. "What are you doing?"

She hesitated as she continued forward and she saw his brow crease in annoyance, lifting a hand. "These are the men responsible," Magneto replied, pieces of a car whirled past her, hovering around him.

"How...how do you know they're responsible?" She looked at the men, noting the horrified looks on their faces. She had no idea what she was going to do.

"They confessed, Rogue." Magneto's eyes were whiter than she'd ever seen them, his fury evident. The metal whirled around him, shifting closer to the men. "Tell her," he demanded, looking at them, metal nicking one, causing him to cry out. "Tell her what you told the rest of the miscreants of this town."

Rogue moved closer, ignoring the men, focusing on Magneto. "Erik...this isn't the way to deal with it."

He whirled on her, looking down at her, grasping her arms and pulled her forward. "Tell her," he ordered, forcing her to look at the men. His touch wasn't painful, just firm but he was scaring her. "Now." The metal sliced into one of the men's arms and he screamed in pain, blood flowing freely from the fresh cut.

"Erik, stop it," she begged, as she was bombarded with images of Zaladane being pierced by metal.

"No." His fingers were painful on her arm and her pulled her back so that she was flush against him. "I will not repeat myself."

"We put those damn animals down," the burly man yelled, spitting at them. "Just like we'd do you and that bitch. Filthy mutants. You don't deserve to--" The man didn't finish his sentence, the metal slicing against his throat and he made a gurgling noise, eyes wide.

Rogue tried to scream but no sound came, her vision blurry as the metal hovered towards the next man. Don't do this. She tried to move, to dislodge the men but her limbs wouldn't cooperate. The youngest was crying, pleading for his life and closed her eyes, hearing him gasp his last breath. She sank to her knees in front of Magneto, tears pouring down her cheeks, fists balled in her lap.

"They murdered those children," Magneto stated, his voice hollow and she looked up.

"You murdered them." She shook her head, flinching when he reached for her. He stiffened and she cried harder.

In the distance she could hear Scott and the others calling her name, the sound of the X-Jet landing. "I am leaving," Magneto told her, offering his hand.

She stared at it and shook her head. "I can't go with you." Not now.

She expected him to simply leave but he knelt down beside her, gently cradling her face in his hands. "When mutants have finally obtained their rightful place there will be no need for bloodshed. Then you will understand why I have done this." He kissed her and she cried against his lips, not wanting him to pull away, closing her eyes when he did. "And I will forgive you."

Rogue looked up, watching him rise into the air as Wolverine finally made it to her side. Tears blurred her vision as she watched Magneto leave her life for the second time. "Come on, darlin'," Wolverine said, helping her to her feet. "There ain't nothing for you here."

She hiccuped harder, leaning into her friend's embrace, desperate to get away. "I love him," she murmured, letting Wolverine strap her into a seat on the Blackbird.

He sighed, brushing hair from her face. "Love ain't always enough, Rogue."

She cried out at that and ignored the others, leaning her head against the wall and shut her eyes, not wanting to think, thankful Wolverine made sure she was left alone.

xxxx

Rogue stayed in her room for a week, eating whatever Wolverine or Jubilee left on the bedside table. Scott had come in once and she'd promptly thrown the lamp at him when he'd said Magneto's name. He hadn't returned. The sunlight was shining through the cracks in her blinds, dancing across the room and disrupting the shadows. She could hear the sound of laughter below her window. Storm and the new guy. The Cajun fella.

Sighing, Rogue forced herself to get up, her movements slow and went through the process of showering and changing. It had been odd to sleep alone, discomforting. The feel of wood and porcelain beneath her feet strange after so many weeks of metal. She missed it like breathing. Maybe even more so. Shaking her head, she forced herself to leave the room, deterring her movements every time she heard voices.

Eventually she found herself in the library and sat down by the bay window, looking out across the lawn. "That was one of Erik's favorite places to sit and think as well, Rogue," Xavier stated, and she turned, watching with trepidation as he moved towards her. She stared at the wheelchair, convinced she could escape quickly. "It is good to have you home."

Rogue looked away at that, staring back outside, remembering when she'd begun thinking of the space-station as that. If that old saying 'home is where the heart is' had any validity then this wasn't her home. Her heart was up there, torn into little pieces. Did Erik even care?

"Erik is a complicated man, Rogue, I am sure you do not need me to tell you that." Xavier was watching her, that annoying smile Mystique had always said was untrustworthy directed at her. "His cause is his life."

"No offense, Professor," Rogue started, glaring at him. "But I ain't in the mood to hear you say any of this."

"He is not capable of thinking of anything else."

She rose. "You're wrong. Everyone sees him as a monster. He ain't."

"I assure you, I know that." Xavier was smiling again, that condescending twist of his lips that made her want to smack him, hands steepled in his lap.

Rogue pushed open the bay windows and flew out, needing to distance herself, ignoring the Professor's call. She settled down on a rock by the lake, looking intently up at the sky. The Professor was right. Magneto's life was his cause and the ending of whatever had been occurring between them would do nothing to deter him. It was best if she started realizing that now. Wasn't it?

Sighing, she flew back to the mansion, heading to her room to wash her face. She faltered as she looked at her bed, eyes widening at the small metallic bracelet on her bed. She picked it up, tears renewing as she looked at the paper lying beside it. "Do not hesitate to call," she whispered, reading Erik's handwriting and fastened the bracelet on her wrist, smiling when she realized it was a comm link. The metal slowly moved around her hand, like a caress and she gasped, turning quickly and moving towards the window.

Rogue nodded silently, watching Magneto's rise, disappearing from view. Someday. That was all she could think.

Someday.