Author: Crystal Claire
Series: Unspoken RR #54
Codes: Rogue, Magneto
Summary: Rogue goes to visit Magneto.
Author Notes: Takes place after Five Minutes, concurrent with Catching Up and Unpredictable.
Archiving: RR index page at Indulgence, Muse's Fool, WRFA, XMMFC
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this story. Please don't sue me.
Feedback: Always appreciated and needed.
Rogue bounced onto the quilted bedspread and stared at the brushed faux stucco on the ceiling of her hotel room. Nothing would ever be the same again. Thank you Magneto.
Had he been selfish or self-less? She wasn't sure. Maybe both, but she was just filled with too much joy to care. She grabbed a pillow and buried her head underneath and laughed. Really, it was a regular laugh riot. He'd practically given her an instructional video.
Only a few hours ago, she'd found herself feeling angry, no enraged would be more accurate, and itching to leave Xavier's School for the Romantically Challenged behind. She was still angry with Scott for not coming clean about the bet. You would think five years together would have counted for something, at the very least a friendly heads up that the man you want to shag had money riding on it.
And Logan. God she was furious with him. The audacity -- the arrogance of thinking his wager, a "rather large sum" as Hank had so kindly, but not so innocently put it, was secure riding on his ability to seduce her. A sure thing.
Most of all, she was pissed as hell at herself for still wanting the man. Yep, pathetic didn't even begin to cover it.
Hell, the letter from Magneto could almost be viewed as uplifting. So it wasn't really a surprise when her forest green Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly veered to the right and took the exit to Ossining.
She made it to the prison before visiting hours were over. Had she realized how close he actually was to the school, she was certain she would have had some rather restless nights.
Rogue approached the metal detector and fished out her keys from her pocket and placed them in the plastic container the guard was holding. From where she was standing, she could see inside Magneto's cell. Just as she lifted the dog tags over her head, he looked up and caught her eyes. He smiled sweetly like a grandfather pleased to get a visitor at the home. A wave of nausea swept down from her head to the pit of her stomach. Perhaps this wasn't such a bright idea after all.
She mustered up a little bit of the anger she felt earlier and walked through the metal detector. Two guards accompanied her through the accordion-like tunnel, and she nodded as they again briefed her on visitation protocol. They admitted her into the cell, sealed the door behind her and watched vigilantly from the other side of the plastic.
She crossed the transparent floor and was suddenly grateful her experience on the Statue of Liberty hadn't left her with a crippling fear of heights.
"Marie, how good to see you." She was surprised by the sound of genuine happiness in his voice. "I didn't realize you were on my guest list."
"I took your letter as an invitation."
"Yes, indeed." He gestured for her to sit in the opposite chair. "I trust you found it . enlightening."
Rogue slid into the chair. "Not especially so." Disturbing, yes. Creepy, yes. Enlightening, no.
Magneto gave her a long measuring look. "Why did you come here, my dear?" He folded his hands and rested them on the small clear table between them. Rogue noted the checked surface. She knew he was an exceptional player though none of the chess pieces were currently present. "Was it morbid curiosity?" His tone was almost harsh, accusatory. She turned her attention back to the man in front of her to see that the amiable grandfather had slipped away. She suppressed an urge to glance back at the guards.
Control. Magneto was all about control and manipulation. "Maybe."
"Charles doesn't know you're here."
"You didn't share the letter with him, did you?"
"It wasn't addressed to him."
Genial Magneto returned. "Ah, it's just as well. I don't believe Charles would be pleased. He would accuse me of interfering in your personal life."
"I think he might even be angry at you for using me to get to him."
"Is that what you believe?" He seemed *almost* intrigued.
She feigned indifference with a shrug.
"Tell me. Does Charles still hold hope for me?"
"I think so."
"But you don't approve."
"It's not my place to judge," Rogue replied flatly. She'd never discussed Magneto's memories with the professor. Some days she rationalized that it was to protect her mentor's privacy. On other days, she was honest with herself and knew it was because she couldn't reconcile the contempt she felt for Magneto, the man who would have gladly killed her, with the compassion she felt for Erik, the man who still felt love for Charles.
Magneto grabbed her gloved hand. She swallowed down a scream and tried to pull it free. He held it firmly and ran his thumb over her ring finger. "I thought perhaps they had overlooked the ring." He released her hand and leaned back in his chair with a self-satisfied look. "Love is not in our choice, but in our fate."
Rogue recognized the quote from Dryden and felt rage and hurt bubble up. "Excuse me for not sharing that sentiment. It wasn't written in the stars. It wasn't destiny. Scott made a choice and it wasn't me."
Magneto smiled at her outburst. "Marie, stop acting like a petulant child. Even you must realize this is was expected." Magneto paused and pointed to the guards outside the cell door. "And surely, you have moved on. I noticed you exchanged the ring for a set of dog tags."
"That's not what you .." Dear God, now she was explaining the unexplainable to *him* of all people.
Stupid. She'd been stupid to let Magneto bait her. Still, some perverse small voice in her mind wondered if Magneto had any money riding in the pool. "You sure know how to get under people's skin."
"No. Only yours," he chuckled before turning serious. "Speaking of which, has Charles been able to help you control your powers?"
Her mind screamed *Lie, lie, lie like a rug.* "Yes."
"Marie, such duplicity is unbecoming. Your gloves belie that declaration." Magneto sighed and tapped his fingers on the table. "Charles has always made things more complicated than they really are. The solution is actually quite simple. Shall I enlighten you further?"
Beyond intrigued, she tossed caution to the wind. "Fine."
"Did you not ponder why I didn't fall comatose when I transferred my powers to you as your dear Wolverine did?"
Rogue nodded despite herself. The professor even had difficulty explaining that one.
"Do you know how my gift works?"
Yes, she knew. She knew the moment his hands had latched onto her face and her skin greedily consumed his powers. "You create an electromagnetic current which in turn creates a magnetic field you can manipulate."
"Which you could not control. If you had been able to contain and manipulate that field, you would have been able to shut down the machine."
She hadn't thought of that and neither had the professor come to think of it.
He stopped tapping the table and leaned forward. "Do you know what chi is?"
Rogue blinked. "As in Tai Chi?"
Magneto nodded. "Tai Chi is a martial art. It is the practice of controlling chi. Chi is what the Chinese call our life force. In India, they call is prana. The Japanese call it ki. My abilities allow me to control one manifestation of chi, the electromagnetic current as you so aptly stated.
"Your gift, when not controlled, drains the chi, the life-energy, from other beings through touch." Magneto shook his head in light amusement, but his voice held a measure of sympathy. "There is no mental switch to flip or shield to build and hold.
"It's still all about control, Marie. Controlling and mastering the energy." Magneto's hand shot out at grabbed her wrist. And she did scream this time, though no sound came forth as she watched Magneto push up her sleeve and grip her bare skin. The connection opened, but instead of the familiar uncontrolled rush, it was a fluid hum. And there was no pain. His thoughts streamed forth and then the connection closed, like a door softly clicking shut. He released his hold.
"Why?" she rasped. "Why'd you do it?" He'd given her the key.
Tired gray-blue eyes smiled smugly. He patted her gloved hand. "Perhaps to reaffirm Charles' belief in a lost cause."
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