Title: Deception

Author: verdant quest

Rating: PG

Spoilers: All three X-Men films.

Pairing: Pyro/Rogue; slight Bobby/Rogue

Length: Oneshot

Summary: "They had been so easy to fool."

Author's Note: This is the scene in X3 where Rogue has returned to the mansion and is waiting when Bobby returns from Alcatraz Island.

x-posted

It was all a lie.

Rogue snickered inwardly as she took Bobby's hand and felt his bare skin touching hers without effect.

They had been so easy to fool. Didn't they realize that all mutants can contain their gifts with practice?

Professor Xavier had been so assured of his own right-mindedness he had never considered that a class 5, like Jean Grey could have learned to control her talents, without his mental barriers.

Phoenix had been right to strike out at them all. No one should have the balls to mess with someone's mind. It was sick and perverse. Not to mention counterproductive. A class 5 could have saved mutants from their human oppressors.

Rogue had been careful to time her absence from the field. She had known that Phoenix didn't have adequate control of her sanity, and that Erik had not been far-sighted enough to train his troops extensively before he initiated a "final battle".

The Magneto inside her head had made it easy for Rogue to plan her best course of action.

It had truly begun long ago.

The Liberty Island fiasco had been the starting point. She had suddenly had an additional two distinct personalities and talents fighting for her attention and possibly for supremacy in her mind.

Wolverine's gifts were helpful in avoiding suspicion. She had extrasensory hearing and smell. Not to mention Logan's street-sense.

Magneto had years of experience in manipulation, logistics and strategy, and he had had plenty of history to teach to Rogue.

It had taken her several months to establish a level of comfort with having them in her head. Even longer until she had started listening to their advice and then making decisions based upon that advice and her own brain's calculations.

At some point she had started wondering if having these personalities and fringe abilities and skills equated into the probability that she could tap into their powers to an extent after the initial period of full strength mutation had dissipated.

Her assumptions had proven to be correct.

She could heal any wound and she could manipulate metal. These were certainly useful skills.

She was relieved to recognize that she had to spend longer than thirty seconds holding or touching a person before she stole an echo of their personality and talent. That meant that the boy, David, that she had put into a coma had not left a piece of himself inside her mind.

She did, however, possess a small quotient of Bobby's mind and talent. She had kissed him on multiple occasions, albeit for a short period of time, and this may have counteracted the usual thirty-second rule. Wielding ice was also a useful talent to possess.

She had been careful not to control the gift while kissing Bobby. It would have raised too many uncomfortable questions.

"Why didn't you tell anyone you had control, Rogue? Why didn't you at least tell me? Or the professor?"

Magneto had been her teacher in controlling her gift. Exercises were employed each day to strengthen her shields.

It was amazing to Rogue that the professor had never mentioned that there were standard methods of testing dangerous mutations and then learning to keep them from becoming too much for the mutant to handle.

Rogue was a powerful class 4 mutant. And as she continued to gain powers from other mutants, she evolved closer and closer to class 5. It was possible that the professor recognized her potential and was concerned that she could be corrupted, and so saw fit to neglect her in an effort to control her, as he had done Phoenix.

She was relieved that he had apparently not focused his mind on her since Liberty Island. Else he would have known that she was keeping powerful secrets.

At Alkali Lake Rogue had understood why John had chosen to be seduced by the real Magneto. Erik was a master at telling people what they wanted to hear, though he often failed in the follow-through. Not to mention, Rogue had gotten one of the most powerful surges in personality and mutation from John than she had gotten from anyone so far, without draining them, and so understood his reasoning all too well.

She had almost considered following Pyro when he had asked her if she always did what she was told. After all, she agreed with him, but it had been too soon to show her hand. She had had to make contact with Erik when they had returned. She had needed to be able to explain her actions to the only real friend she had ever had.

One day three weeks after they had returned to the mansion, Rogue left to go into town and had been extremely pleased to run into the very man with whom she had been looking forward to speaking.

"John! How are you? Are Erik and Raven treating you alright?" Her voice, she could hear, was expressing all the immense relief and pleasure that she was experiencing in seeing her friend.

John scowled back at her. "Magneto told me to come see you. What's going on, Rogue? Why is Magneto encouraging me to talk to an X-Man-in-training?"

Rogue laughed joyously. She had expected this sort of reaction. It was typically John.

"Erik knows I know him pretty damn well. I've had him in my head for over a year, and I explained my reasons for speaking with him and wanting to have a chance to talk to you VERY thoroughly before he agreed to send you along."

"In you head? What are you talking about? And what are your reasons?" The addition of "EXPLAIN now!" was implied.

Still smiling she led John over to a table at an outdoor café, and waited for the waitress to come and take their orders of ice tea, before continuing.

"I guess you could say that I'm a succubus, John. I steal people's souls. I not only get their mutations and life-forces, I also take an imprint of their personality. It's a bit like having schizophrenia, only I'm more conscious of the consequences of listening to the voices in my head may be, and I'm also not mentally ill. When Erik chained me to his mutant-making machine up on Lady Liberty and tried to kill me, he had to let my mutation drink him up. I got a large amount of his life-force."

"It was an amazing rush!" Rogue added after taking a long drink of ice tea.

"You should understand how incredibly liberating it is to use your gift. So I don't have to tell you what a high you can get from it?"

John looked at her without allowing his strong feelings to show on his face, but Rogue didn't require any confirmation of his opinion on the subject. She had the John in her head to tell her exactly how he would be reacting to her little speech.

"Anyway, after the initial juice runs out, I have to work at using any powers I absorb, but I CAN use them. I can also control my own mutation. Want to see?" Rogue teased him.

John still looked skeptical but nodded at length. Rogue extended a bare hand toward his own and gently covered it. She waited long past the required amount of time for her mutation to kick in before she withdrew. She wanted to give him adequate proof of her control.

John jerked forward and stole her hand back from her, startling Rogue with the intensity of his eyes.

"You really don't need gloves? You can touch anyone, anywhere? They can obviously touch you. How long can you control it?" The questions seemed to bubble up from nowhere.

Rogue allowed him to hold her hand and stroke his thumb across her knuckles. It was rare that she had the opportunity to let anyone hold any part of her body, and she was too weak to pull away from him.

"I have full control. Magneto is a regular fount of information. He taught me to control my gift and to control the other powers at my disposal. I typically sneak down to the Danger Room at night to work on using my gifts and training properly.

And, John, I should mention that I almost came with you, when you left. You are my best friend, John. There isn't anyone else who understands or agrees with my philosophies back at the mansion. It was hard on me to play it safe, but Erik's right. There is a war coming, and I knew that it would be foolish to show my hand too early. It could be devastating to our forces if they have too much time to do reconnaissance. We must have surprises up our sleeves, and we must always have a plan B."

John stared at her hopefully. "You mean it? You wanted to come with me? I thought you were too blinded by Iceman."

She felt a pang in her heart and she could distantly hear the John in her head yelling at her to tell him the truth.

"I did want to go, John. I agree with you and I agree with Magneto and Mystique up to a point. I think that they are both a little reckless, but I know that they are trying to do what they think is best for mutant-kind, and I have a hard time arguing against that."

She leaned across the table to cup his cheek. "I was happy when I drained you in Boston. I was happy to have a piece of you in my head. It made me feel close to you, and John…"

Rogue hesitated and then tilted forward to press her lips to his. She kept the pressure light and waited for his reaction. Relief poured through her as he deepened the kiss, and she carefully ignored the John in head telling her that she was an idiot for believing that he wasn't desperately in love with her.

From that moment on, Rogue made all decisions based not only on what was best for her, but what was best for John and her together.

Now, Rogue allowed Bobby to coax her into a hug and Rogue focused all her attention onto how best to break up with Bobby, the lying-cheating-dirty-fighting-guilt-ridden-ice maker, and then locate and free her beloved best friend and lover, John Allerdyce.

Because Johnny and she had a war to end.