Not every saint is a fool
Characters/Pairing: Rogue/Bobby, mention of Rogue/Gambit, Magneto
Verse: Ultimate X-Men
Word Count: 2931
Summary: First and foremost, Rogue is a survivor. Spoilers for Ultimate X-Men #81
Scott had lost his mind. That was all any of them could think. Rogue especially. Disbanding the X-Men had to be the most ridiculous scenario he'd come up with. Don't he realize what the world was like out here? They weren't liked. Mutants. Didn't matter that they weren't being hunted down like animals by giant robots. Just gave the humans an excuse to do the hunting instead. At least as X-Men they had a chance.
So what the hell am I doin' here? On the ice. With Bobby? Rogue sighed, stepping onto the large outdoor rink.
"Come on, Rogue," Bobby called, bumping into her on purpose. She nearly fell over and glared at him. Unable to keep it too long. She rolled her eyes at his smile. "Lighten up. We're supposed to be having fun."
He grabbed her hand, gloved again--Remy's powers were completely gone, the only remnants of him the tattered Queen of Hearts she kept in her back pocket--and pulled her forward along the ice. Weaving in and out between the other happy couples and families. She forced a smile, acting the part of the happy girlfriend. Even forced herself to laugh as Bobby tripped, nearly falling face first into the ice.
"Thought ya were supposed ta be the best at this, Bobby, since ya can control the ice." Rogue grinned, skating away from him and did a little twirl. Grabbed onto the handrail to help herself come to a stop.
She nearly faltered as she spotted a familiar figure across the street. Can't be. She shook her head, scooting along on the ice. Following the man's path, trying to get a better view to confirm her suspicions. Bobby caught her arm, tugging her back towards the middle of the rink. "Jus' one sec, Bobby," she protested, and she sighed. The man was gone, lost in the crowd.
Shrugging, she followed Bobby, letting him lead. All she'd seen was a man with white hair. Didn't mean a damn thing. Couldn't've been him anyway. He's in prison.
They skated for another half an hour, leaving when a group of school children excitedly bounded onto the ice. Crowds were something Rogue doubted she'd ever entirely be comfortable with. Bobby regailed her with funny--or at least what he thought were funny--tales of outings he'd been on in the city with his family and his old friends. The ones he was still in contact with even though he was a mutant. Bobby was one of the lucky ones. His power wouldn't ever keep him from blending in. He had no idea how lucky he was.
Eventually they ended up at a small cafe somewhere near Broadway. Munching on sandwiches much bigger than she ever thought she'd be able to eat. He was a good boyfriend, the kind of boy she could take home to her parents and they'd accept without blinking an eye. Well, except for the fact he was a mutant. That'd probably be their only quibble. He was exactly the type she never saw herself with. Wholesome, all-American, good guy. But he was safe and being with him felt safe. Or at least it had. She wasn't at all sure anything made her feel safe anymore.
Not since the Professor died. Not since Scott and his stupid decision. Her eyes narrowed and she bit savagely into her sandwich. "Uh, Rogue. What did it ever do to you?" Bobby asked, raising an eyebrow. He bumped her leg under the table and did that little grin of his. The one that made him look like a little kid.
"Nothin'." Rogue shrugged and leaned forward, snatching a few chips from his plate. Grinned cockily back.
"Hey! You got your own chips!" he protested, shaking his finger at her.
"You got the Barbeque flavored ones. Last bag." She polished off the chips and stuck her tongue out. Laughing when he did his infamous mock pout. "Keep doin' that an' you're face'll freeze like that. Literally."
Bobby rolled his eyes, stuffing a few chips in his mouth. "Hardy har har."
"Did you really just say that?" Rogue couldn't help but giggle. Clasped a hand over her mouth, startled by the sound she was making.
He grinned at her and she remembered exactly why she kept him around. He made her feel, well, normal. As close to normal as she'd ever feel anyway. "Bobby," she started, after he took another bite. Her entire demeanor becoming serious. Guarded. "Whaddaya think about what Scott said?"
"About us just being a school?" Bobby shrugged. "Makes sense. We're supposed to be fitting in with society, right?"
Not learnin' how to defend ourselves... "I guess." She didn't sound at all convinced. "But what about all the people out there that wanna hurt us?"
"That's why we have laws, Rogue. So that they won't." Bobby nodded, stealing one of her chips. Grinning.
"It wasn't even a year ago that the law said Sentinels could find us and kill us," Rogue reminded, slurping her soda.
Bobby nodded. "Laws changed. Mutants are safe now, Rogue. Having a school--it'll help us show the world that we're not here to hurt them. That we just want to be like everyone else."
But we ain't. Rogue pursed her lips. "I guess."
"You'll see. It'll be good, Rogue. Just give Scott a chance." Bobby smiled, taking her soda from her. "I'll get us refills."
Rogue watched him go, leaning against the table. She wasn't at all convinced. A school was a good idea. Kind of. But mutants weren't safe. Not yet. Didn't matter if the Sentinels were gone. Not at all. She looked around the cafe. There were enough people--probably a few in this very establishment--who wouldn't care if a mutant died. Hell, some might even help. Hated didn't disappear because a law was put into place. Life wasn't that easy.
She turned her attention towards the store window, watching the people pass by. Totally unaware of anyone inside. She rose, moving towards the window. There across the street. She watched a man enter a store. Same build as Magneto. Same hair color. Rogue shook her head. Rolled her eyes at herself. Bein' foolish. She sat back down, smiling a little too broadly as Bobby gave her back the soda.
There's gotta be tons of white haired older men in the city. She'd only ever seen him out of uniform once. Couldn't even be sure it was him from this distance. She'd need to see his eyes to be sure and there was no point in storming across the street and scaring an old man because she thought she saw someone. Especially when he was locked away in prison.
She had enough to worry about right here. Showing her boyfriend she was having a good time while trying to figure out what to do about the X-Men being disbanded. No point in adding stalking old men around New York to her list.
Rogue didn't think about Magneto again until a few days later. Not until she was in downtown Westchester shopping with Jean and Ororo. Neither of whom seemed all that pleased with Scott's decision. Especially since it was supposed to be a decision the three of them were supposed to make. They'd needed time to get away from the school and Scott and talk. Rogue knew she'd only been invited along so Scott wouldn't think that was why they'd gone shopping.
They were in one of the clothing stores, perusing through the different items under the watchful eye of a wary looking worker. She tried to listen to them but it was hard and the clothes just weren't her style. So she ended up looking out the front store window, watching the people pass by and gaped as she saw the same man walk by the store. It is him. It's gotta be. She looked back at the older girls laughing over one of the outfits they had found. No point worryin' them if'n it ain't really him.
Rogue rolled her eyes at herself. "I'm gonna go get a pretzel," she told them, stuffing her hands into her pockets and left. Not giving either of them time to respond.
She rounded the corner, walking in the direction she'd seen the man go. Tried to look inconspicuous. If it wasn't Magneto she didn't want to scare the guy. And if it was Magneto, well, she didn't really want to be anywhere alone with him. The man was crazy. She slowed her pace, not seeing any trace of the man. Get ahold of yourself. She raked a hand through her hair and sighed.
Rogue turned around and began making her way back to the store. Feeling naive which she didn't like one bit. She was supposed to be strong, resilient. Hell, she'd survived Weapon X. Shouldn't be followin' ghosts around. Rolling her eyes, she started opening the door to the store, freezing when she saw the man again. At the end of the shops. She let the door close and started down that way. Rifling in her purse as she did, finding her cellphone. Whoever it was hadn't noticed her and turned left, entering an alley. She stopped at the end of the alley and flipped open the phone, scanning the passage.
No one was there.
She slowly walked down, not seeing any sign of the man. Shaking her head, she put the cellphone in her pocket and frowned. Annoyed. She turned and froze in her tracks. The man was standing a few feet away. Watching her. And there was no mistake that it was Magneto. If nothing else, she knew those eyes. A crisp blue that held no sympathy. No warmth. Otherwise there'd be no hint that this was Magneto. Just a distinguished gentleman in nice designer clothes. Could be any businessman.
His eyes narrowed as though he was thinking. "I know you," he said, hands behind his back as he walked towards her.
It took all of her willpower to not take a step back. "I doubt it," she replied, pleased her voice wasn't as shaky as it could have been.
He stopped, regarding her carefully. "You were one of mine." Rogue flinched, taking a step back this time. He smiled. It wasn't at all nice. "From Weapon." Rogue stiffened, watching the dumpsters rattle slightly.
"Lucky you. You remember who I am." She tried to sound blase and took a step forward. Moved to walk around him. Show him she wasn't scared. Wasn't sure it was working all that well.
He moved to the side. Blocking her path. "Are you afraid, little girl?"
Rogue rolled her eyes, hands behind her back. Fiddling with them, attempting to get one off without him noticing. "Of you? Hardly."
He stepped forward, eyes narrowed dangerously. Obviously angered by her words and she dropped the glove, reaching for his face. Intending to take him down so she could get away. She never even got close. Metal flew at her and for a moment she thought it would slice straight through her. Instead it wrapped around her wrists and she was slammed backwards into the alley wall.
She groaned, entirely body screaming in pain. "And now?" he asked, stepping forward. Regarding her coolly.
"You're a bully." She glared, struggling against the metal. Trying to loosen it. It merely tightened, biting into her skin until she cried out.
"I am a survivor. Like you are." The metal relaxed a little. Still uncomfortable but no longer biting her skin. "What I cannot understand though, child, is why you persist on wasting your time with those dreamers."
"We're teachers. Students. It's a school," she protested, not liking the sneer he directed at her.
"A target," he snapped, the dumpsters renewing their rattle.
Rogue's eyes widened, startled by his assessment of Scott's idea. That was her fear. That it would merely turn into that. "Is not." She shook her head, hating that her voice lacked conviction. "Its a safe place for mutants."
"For them to gather and be killed." She didn't like the way his eyes narrowed, the metal tightening on her wrists.
"There--there are laws." Oh that's rich. Hadn't she just disagreed with Bobby about that?
"Oh? Laws made up by the same government that allowed Weapon X," he reminded, and she narrowed her eyes. She hated when anyone mentioned that place. That horror. "They will come to your little school and kill you all when the time is right."
"Then what the hell are you doin' to stop that, huh?" Rogue yelled, growling. "Big man Magneto. Supposed ta be our protector." The metal constricted and she bit her lip, trying to muffle her cry. She shook her head, glaring. "You and your damn glory. That's all you cared about. Not us."
He stepped forward. Furious, teeth bared in anger. His hands wrapped around her neck and she jutted out her chin. "No better than them," she bit out, waiting for him to squeeze.
Magneto dropped his hands and stepped back. The metal released from her wrists and she lunged at him, bare hand reaching for his face. She never even got close. The metal fixed back in place, throwing her against the wall. "What a fighter you could be," he stated. Voice full of amusement.
Rogue snarled, kicking her legs out at him. Growling when he forced those in place as well. He leaned in close, breath against her ear. She tensed, looking at him sideways. Wondering what the hell he was doing. His hand was on her stomach. Slowly drawing across the fabric of her shirt. The other hand pressed against the wall. Her breath caught in her throat and she stared at him. Finally scared.
He laughed, breath tickling her ear. Hand rising higher, skirting just below her breasts. "If you truly are the survivor I believe, come tonight. At the bar down the way. Eleven o'clock, Rogue." His eyes narrowed, voice chilling ever so slightly. "Tell your friends and you will be to blame for their deaths."
He drew back and she bit back a moan at the loss of touch. Glared hard. Wanting to wipe the annoying smirk off his face. Once he was out of the alley the metal released and she stumbled forward, massaging her wrists. She hurried back towards the shop. Jean and Ororo were still there, standing at the checkout counter with a dozen outfits between them. She forced a smile and slunk over to them. Not sure exactly why she hadn't called Jean to come to her rescue.
"Enjoy your pretzel?" Jean asked, as they exited the store.
"Oh yeah. Always do," Rogue lied, following the two back to the car. They passed by the bar and Rogue bit her lip, wondering what she was going to do.
Dinner passed in a blur. As of late, Rogue didn't bother much with normal conversation. Even Bobby gave up trying to coax a response out of her. She poked around at the meal, watching the others. Assessing the new students that had arrived. Magneto was right. They were a target. Especially the new kids. At least as X-Men they'd have a chance. The newbies could have learned how to defend themselves. But was leaving really the answer? Wouldn't it be better if she stayed and helped?
And died. She shivered at that thought. Not liking it at all. Jean was looking curiously at her and she excused herself. Quickly disposing of her plate and headed up to her room. She sat down on the bed, looking at the picture with her and the others. Her friends. Her make-shift family. Wasn't that what they were? Rogue frowned, removing the Queen of Hearts from her back pocket. Hadn't Gambit been her family? Or hell, hadn't Cain? She stuffed the card back in her pocket and removed the picture from its frame, tucking it in her pocket as well.
She grabbed the bag from under her bed. The one she kept packed and ready to go since the way she got here. Wasn't that in itself a sign? Sighing, she scribbled a quick note for Bobby and placed it on the bed. Next to the bear he'd given her the week before. Hoisting the bag onto her back she slunk off down the stairs. Quiet as a mouse, disappearing out the backdoor. Desperately trying to ignore all the laughter coming from the kitchen.
Quietly, she hotwired one of Xavier's cars. Smiling as she remembered when Remy'd taught her. Driving as fast as she could muster away from the mansion. She tossed her cellphone as soon as she exited the gate. Not wanting anyone to call her. Afraid she might change her mind.
Half an hour later she was parked in front of the bar, staring blankly at the establishment for a few moments. Willing the strength for her to finish what she set out to do. She turned off the car and grabbed her bag, walking quietly over to the bar. She entered, looking eratically around. Not seeing Magneto anywhere. Maybe it'd been a trick. Not a very funny one. She jumped as hands came down onto her shoulders. Gripping them tightly. Her jacket zipper tightened, letting her know who it was.
"Welcome, my sister," Magneto breathed in her ear, pushing her forward. Towards one of the tables in the back.
Rogue swallowed hard. Each step she took leading her into the next stage of her life. She really hoped she'd made the right decision. The one that would keep her alive.