Title: The Rat Trap
Fandom: X-Men the Movie
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the Marvel Entertainment Group,
and are used without permission, for entertainment purposes only. No
infringement upon the rights of Marvel should be inferred; nor is any
Archiving: OK, but don't include my e-mail address, I get too much
Characters: Magneto, Charles, Rogue.
Rating: PG. Sexual themes, angst, comedy.
Summary: Sequel to "Finding Hope". Erik and Charles have a discussion
The Rat Trap
When they turned out the lights, the nightly struggle began. Not that
in this room the lights ever went out completely, or that fear of the
dark was ever an issue. But the dark engendered sleep, and sleep
engendered weakness to the nightmares, and there were too many
watchers who might see the struggle.
The transfer of power that had occurred between Magneto and Rogue on
that terrifying night had transferred memories, emotions and dreams,
in a sudden awful rush along with all the energy. Both of them felt
the effects, and would probably do so to a fading degree till they
died. It was at night, however that the effects were at their worst.
Frightful memories of the past were mixed up with fearful (and
embarrassing) fantasies that could take a sudden turn to horror in an
instant. Murder, guilt, remembered passions, blind terror, all mixed
to make a heady cocktail of nightly despair.
It was all a bit much, Magneto mused. Surely, with the horrors
contained in his own past, the guilt he had stored up and savored
almost like a connoisseur, it should be SHE who was getting nightmares
from HIM, not the other way around!
Then again, perhaps she was. He doubted it.
And he had thought her such a nice girl when he'd kidnapped her.
He had felt so guilty about using her to forward his plans. Well.
Perhaps, not that much. Guilt, he realized, was getting to be a
reflex with him. He had so much to feel guilty about in his early
life: his parents death, his work in the camps, his marriage, his
early out of control killings, that lately he had felt like something
was wrong with him if he didn't have something to feel guilty about.
Rogue, so young and helpless, with chocolate brown eyes like his dear
dead Magda, seemed a perfect candidate for making him feel guilty.
Perhaps that was why he allowed visits from Charles, even though they
irritated him. He dearly loved Xavier, but he had to admit, Charles
was such a Yenta, spooning up duty and guilt like oatmeal. The weekly
visits were often little more than exercises in mutual flagellation.
But guilt was about the last thing he felt about Rogue right now.
There were even times on nights like this when he wished he had killed
her. It had been decades ago when he had last felt this victimized
and out of control.
It wasn't really Rogue's fault he had to admit. It was not as though
she wanted to transfer with him, or he had given her any choice. But
her dreams and memories were so intense and vivid it was very hard to
remember that she hadn't forced them on him. That he had
intentionally sucked them out, as a sop to his conscience before
killing her, or nearly killing her.
Now she was nearly killing him. He wondered if she realized it.
On one visit, Charles had told him that Rogue wanted to send him a
message that she had forgiven him, and understood his motivations now.
That had amazed him at first, though he realized that it made perfect
sense. She would now have a very clear idea now of why he had done
what he did, and since his intentions were, in fact, entirely good, it
made sense that the little Baptist child in her would want to make
such a formal declaration. He just hoped she wouldn't start sending
him little homilies or woven W.W.J.D. bracelets for his birthday or
some such embarrassing nonsense.
Charles had then also admitted that Rogue had asked if she might visit
Erik. That, he was dead certain, had nothing to do with the Baptist
upbringing. He knew the inside of her head now, and knew that the one
thing sweet little Marie most wanted was something he had. Not that
she was particularly attracted to him, he thought (although the poor
creature seemed to be increasingly attracted to everybody,
particularly anyone male) but he could see how she might have
realized, that her only key to touching or making love to anyone she
DID want in the future was predicated on her being able to practice on
a person she could not kill. Or, practice on someone she didn't care
if she did kill. Magneto supposed he qualified on both counts.
Charles explained that he told Rogue a visit was unadvisable. And for
once, Erik had to agree with his highhanded preemption. In his
present tormented mood, if Rogue were to walk through the door of his
cell right now he would probably grab her by the throat and choke the
life out of her. Either that or something even less dignified or
This was silly, he kept telling himself. I'm seventy years old. I
should not be obsessing in this way. He tried to exert his iron will
on his thoughts, or at least his anatomy, to no avail. It was like
sitting in a corner NOT thinking of pink elephants. The more he tried
to master it, the farther it spun out of his control. It was
Each night, after the lights had been out for hours, he would lose the
struggle. He would get exhausted trying not to think, yet thinking in
circles, like a rat in one of those endless little running wheels.
He'd drift off to sleep, and then dream, and dream, till he'd jerk or
even scream himself awake in the morning. Sweaty, aroused, and
thoroughly embarrassed in his Plexiglas prison, surrounded by eyes.
"You seem a bit gray, Erik" Charles asked the next day, as he tried
probing around his brain in concern "Have you been ill?"
"DON'T DO THAT!" Erik practically screamed, his shout literally
vibrating the walls with his annoyance.
"Sorry, Erik." Charles said, in genuine, and amazingly innocent,
concern. "I'm just worried about you of late. If you would only let
me into your mind, perhaps I could help
" He sent out a gentle mental
tendril of concern, which Magneto slapped away at once.
"Charles, I swear unless you want this chessboard shoved up you
sideways, DON'T do that AGAIN!"
The unflappable Charles seemed a bit taken aback by the violence of
his friend's reaction.
"I suppose this has something to do with Rogue."
Erik went from gray to dead white.
"You are feeling guilty about what you did to her. My telling you
she'd forgiven you
Erik sighed. "No, Charles." He said, shifting in resignation to the
back of his chair. "I DON'T feel tortured with guilt at what I tried
to do to her." He realized there was no way he could get out of having
this conversation with Xavier. Charles knew him too well, he was
trapped like a rat in a cage, and common sense told him that he needed
to talk about this with someone or go insane.
When the prison psychiatrist, Dr. Fong, had diagnosed him with
something she called "Bi-Polar Disorder" she was simultaneously amazed
at how comfortably and easily she could get him to talk about traumas
like the death of his daughter, the loss of his wife, and his work in
the camps. Erik never resisted answering her questions about his
estranged children, his love/hate passion for Charles, or even his
recent actions. It was only his present problem he had difficulty
expressing to her. Of the two, Charles would be easier to bear.
"I'm having difficulty with what she did to me, Charles." Erik began.
"When I transferred my power to her, I got a sort of duplicate
version of her feelings and memories shoved into my brain, and they
are not very comfortable there."
"I should think that you, of all people, would not feel threatened
because she has some sort of crush on one of the boys," Xavier
admonished, "Or perhaps it's Logan she was obsessing about? She seems
rather taken with him."
"She's taken with everybody, Charles." Magneto sighed. "She is taken
with YOU, with Logan, with nearly every boy in the school, with Jean
. even with me if you can imagine that."
"Actually, I DID imagine that." Charles smiled. "Why do you think I
told her she could not visit you?"
"I just supposed that you thought I might be a bad influence."
"And now you are telling me that it is she who is a bad influence."
"I know it's not her fault." Erik conceded.
"It's just puberty, Erik. You've been through it before." Charles
grinned, vaguely enjoying his friend's discomfiture.
"No I haven't, Charles. I'm afraid that was something I rather missed
out on, for obvious reasons." He was sounding snappish. "Besides, in
her case it is much more than that. I'm surprised you haven't sensed
"I have tried, but she is as resistant to me as you are today. She
won't talk about it, and panics if I try to read her mind. I won't
force my way in
"As I did?" Erik asked with irony. "That IS what you were thinking,
"Well, you would hardly be having this problem now
if I had been a good boy and not tried to hurt her?" Magneto smiled
again. "Quite true."
"So what exactly 'more' than the usual amorous obsessions of puberty
has got Rogue upset?" Charles inquired. "And you upset as well."
"Do you know she killed a man?"
"Given her gift, it's not surprising that would have occurred. I did
not know, but suspected, that she might be hiding that there had been
a terrible accident."
"It was NOT an accident. She did it quite consciously and with
intent." When Xavier looked surprised he went on: "After she ran away
from home, she was picked up by some lunatic who tried to rape her at
knifepoint. Knowing what her touch could do, she quite deliberately
held onto him until she was certain he was dead."
Charles considered that in silence.
"That isn't all. He didn't have many clear memories, but from the
snatches she absorbed from his fogged brain, I think it fairly certain
he was a serial sex killer."
"That is the tip of the iceberg, Charles," he went on, "She then went
on a sort of spree hitchhiking north, and attacking anyone who tried
to molest her. On the one hand, she never touched anyone who wasn't
actually trying to hurt her. On the other, from the number of those
who tried to do so, and the situations she kept putting herself in, I
can only conclude she was subconsciously seeking out rides from men
who she knew would give her an excuse to assault them."
"That's absurd." Xavier frowned disapprovingly, "She is a perfectly
timid little thing!"
"Don't you remember the 'Disappearing Hitchhiker' on the news?"
Magneto asked, rhetorically. "That was how I originally found out
about her. I also found out she was a runaway, who had her "gift"
show up while kissing her first boy."
"That would be rather disconcerting for any young girl."
"Disconcerting?" Erik laughed, "Oh, how I do love your gift for
They both laughed freely, at long last.
Finally, Erik said, "It's not just "disconcerting", it's that it felt
good to her. Transferring for her, or with her, is rather like a
Heroin rush, or some such thing." He coughed uncomfortably. "What is
worse, she absorbs all the amorous longings (to put it tastefully) of
who ever she touches. This includes, no doubt, those of her high
school boyfriend, of Logan, that lunatic killer, and the half dozen
lechers she assaulted."
"And now you."
"I suppose so."
"And you have hers?"
"That is the problem. Or at any rate, my problem." He mused, "I would
think I only have a faint image of what she has running through her.
If that is true, your problem is that if she can't learn some way to
control her "gift" she could easily turn into a serial killer."
"You are confusing her fears and fantasies with actual memories. I
still can't believe she would kill anyone deliberately."
"She certainly tried to kill me deliberately," he remembered, "twice.
I rather admired her for trying." In fact he still did.
"How? You mean she tried to touch you deliberately?"
"She did touch me." He smiled at Xavier's discomfiture. " It was hours
before the whole incident at the statue. I brought her food where we
were holding her, and she went after my hand."
"Did she render you unconscious?" Xavier asked, confused.
"No, no. Nothing of the kind. I just raised the lightest little
electro-static barrier, and it stopped the transfer." Erik enjoyed
Charles' reaction to that, then went on: "She tried again just before
I took her to the boat---went after my face that time, with similar
results. I'm afraid I quite frustrated her with my apparent
indifference to her assaults."
"She probably thought you meant to kill her."
"I did mean to kill her," Erik admitted. "So did the man she killed."
He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Her thought, just before I
let the static down and transferred with her, was that I was like him,
There was a pause. Xavier sensitively refrained from issuing an
I-told-you-so. But it took great self-control.
"My point is this, Charles" Erik went on after collecting himself, "I
have been living with this girl's dreams, nightmares and longings for
less than a month, and I'm a wreck. Yet I know, that if, say, I
touched you just now, it would not harm you (unless I wanted it to),
nor would it feel like a Heroin rush. I know I'll get out of this
absurd rat-cage sooner or later. Rogue, on the other hand, can only
suppose that she will be trapped like a rat by her powers her whole
life. She needs a way around her problem or she will either
consciously and deliberately start to try controlling her touch by
"practicing" on people she is willing to kill, or just lose all
control one day and inadvertently kill somebody she loves like Logan."
"What do you suggest I do about it?" Xavier protested, "I have been
trying to think of a solution since she arrived."
"I don't know!" Magneto protested, weakly. "Put an ad in the papers
looking for another mutant like me with electromagnetic powers, issue
the students full body condoms, build her an android boyfriend---DO
SOMETHING." Somehow Erik felt that if he didn't have to contend with a
mental picture of Rogue seething with romantic longings off in
Westchester, he could sleep better.
"Perhaps I should let Rogue visit you here after all
" Charles mused.
"NO! Absolutely NOT!" Erik nearly shouted in panic.
That was the second time in less than an hour he'd lost control,
Charles realized. Little Marie had really got to him. Eric was what
Jean would describe as a "control-freak".
"Are you actually afraid of her? He asked in astonishment.
"Not so much afraid of her, as afraid of her effect on my ability to
ever sleep again would be."
"What exactly is the problem with her, or should I say your, dreams?"
"I should describe them as 'ours' best. They are put together from
bits of mine, hers, Logan's and any one else's who she made a full
"Like the boy she kissed, and that man."
"Yes, but hers seem to be dominant for the moment." Erik elaborated.
"I could not describe any single one of them in detail, but they all
are vaguely yet strongly erotic in nature, and then always turn quite
horrifying in the end. The cast of characters seems to come from all
over the map. Last night one included, as I remember, Logan, her high
school boyfriend, another high school boy to which they were both
attracted, herself, Dr. Mengele, and Sylvia Lipchitz."
There was a pause.
"You know Sylvia?"
"She designed me a new suit." Erik explained. "But that really isn't
"Then why was she in your dream?" Charles pondered.
"Because she looks sexy in a purple vinyl dress that shows too many of
her attributes to be decent, Charles. I told you these things are
erotic nightmares. I've temporarily, (I pray) absorbed little Marie's
teenage hormonal angst, which is, not surprisingly, in her
circumstances, undercut with an extreme level of guilt. It is
probably made worse for me here and now because of the fact that my
present physical situation looks and feels so much like a comic-book
metaphor for her internal state."
"And you are afraid that if she comes here while you are in this
state, you will find yourself
.how shall I put it
"That ship has sailed, Charles." He sighed. "What I fear, and I hope
I am wrong, is that she might eventually get attached to me."
"I don't see why that would bother you, Erik. She is a nice girl,
whatever you say, and having a pretty young girl like that with a
crush on you can't hurt you. In fact it might help. It seems to have
done wonders for Logan." Charles smiled.
"You don't think it's a bit ICKY?" Magneto asked.
"Icky?" Xavier looked askance, as much at the choice of word, as the
"It's one of her words, rattling around my brain, but it seems to fit.
I just find the notion of having any sort of thoughts of an amorous
nature towards a girl that young quite embarrassing, and the idea of
her returning those thoughts pathetic, ridiculous and depraved."
"Your latest inamorata, Erik, is hardly an antique."
"Raven is almost twice Rogue's age, and was my right arm in the
Brotherhood." Erik got defensive: "She told me that every one of her
past lovers had wanted her to change her appearance before making
love. It seemed easier to convince her she was beautiful by
demonstrating that I thought she was, than by arguing with her
endlessly about it. As soon as she finds someone else who feels the
same way, she will probably ditch me. Perhaps she already has."
"I still don't see that you could do Marie any real harm, while you
are stuck in this prison. And it might do you both good." Charles
warmed to the comforting notion of two troubled souls working out
their problems by helping one another. He couldn't help radiating
warmth in happy psi waves.
"Oh, cut it Charles." Erik sighed. "Do you seriously want Rogue to
end up with someone like me? I mean, don't you find that just a bit
"I don't mean for you to marry her, Erik. Just talk to her, help her
with this touch business, since she can't hurt you. Is that
"It would be both embarrassing and uncomfortable."
"I cannot believe that you, of all people, can tell me that you refuse
to help a fellow mutant, who needs you, simply because it would be
uncomfortable. Surely after what you put that child through, you owe
it to her to help her."
"Oh God," Erik thought, "It's Charles the Yenta again. I'm doomed."