Fandom: X-Men the Movie
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and Twentieth Century Fox, and are used without permission, for
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should be inferred; nor is any intended.
Characters: Rogue & all main film characters, one Mary Jane.
Rating: PG.She thinks lewd thoughts, but nothing terribly graphic or
violent is described.4 swear words (assorted).
Pairing: Rogue/Logan AND Rogue/Magneto (!)
Summary: Rogue reflects on the events covered by the film (with a few
extra bits) and comes to an unusual conclusion about the way to control
her "gift" with the help of Magneto. Wont make sense if you have not
seen the first X-Men film. (Author
I was certain he meant to kill me when I touched him and nothing happened.
There is something about having a train car, that you are in, ripped open like a wet paper bag, just so someone can get to you, that makes you suspect that they mean you no good. Still, all my original panic at Magneto's violent entrance into my life was for Logan, for the strangers on the train, not for me. While having a touch that can kill can make you terribly shy of friendship, it also, naturally enough, makes you feel at least physically invulnerable to strangers.
I had, after all, managed to hitchhike from my home in Mississippi as far as Northern Alberta, without cash, credit cards or I.D. I may look like the sort of fragile jailbait that normally is found in small pieces thawing in a ditch along the Alcan the next spring, but I'm not. People have tried to hurt me before, but my skin is better proof against attack than plate armor. Among the drivers of dozens of cars, trucks and R.V.'s that had propelled me North there were several incidents where I was picked up by drivers, who parked by the side of the road and demanded "payment" for my ride. The first, who was really scary, said nothing at all, but just pulled out a small sharp knife and laid it against my throat. If I were "normal" I knew I'd have been road kill right then. These incidents, however, ended almost as soon as they began. One touch of my bare skin, and my attacker was unconscious. The man with the knife, I actually held on longer, deliberately. A road crew found his body in a ditch near Lake Charles where there was no snow to cover him.
By the time I met Logan in Laughlin City, I was no longer heading North to just to get to Alaska, but fleeing from a police hunt. I had seen reports on the TV, with my slimy attackers babbling on and lying about me. The newsmen had inappropriately dubbed me "The Disappearing Hitchhiker" from the urban legend of that name, and broadcast the usual badly rendered and inaccurate "composite drawing" of my face on all the networks. An international manhunt for a sixteen-year-old girl is ratings building news after all, especially if she is a mutant. All the news had made it harder and harder to get rides, since suddenly a young girl did not look like a safe hitcher to pick up anymore. I was nearly nabbed by the RCMP twice, and even when I got away from the police, I had a prickly sensation at the back of my neck like I was being watched and followed. I wasn't sure if this was real, or just the result of sucking in the memory of the quiet man with the knife. He too had been fleeing police, and his psychotic paranoia was infectious.
The bits and snippets of the other drivers' memories were leaving me confused as well, since I couldn't sort out which was which, being only tiny disconnected fragments from a fleeting touch. However all of them had the thread in common with the quiet man of being victimizers, and between their memories and my own lethal touch, I became not so much terrified of being hurt, as of hurting anyone I made contact with.
From the first day I met him I was terrified of hurting Logan. I liked him. No. Liked was too weak a term. He was a mutant too, the first of "my kind" I had ever met. Although I'd guessed he was a mutant hours before his amazing metal claws popped out of his hands and removed all doubt, in every other way he seemed so curiously normal and ordinary. He smoked cigars, had a dated "Elvis" cut, and looked like the rest of the truckers who passed through with flatbeds of pink foam headed for Fairbanks. He had been in that scruffy rest stop for weeks before anyone figured out he was a mutant. I had been imagining that my own mutation had somehow been blazoned on my forehead the moment it had become manifest at home. Yet Logan, who was a mutant himself, didn't guess about me till I told him. Even then, he treated me like an ordinary girl, which, of all things, was the safest, most comforting illusion I ever felt.
I had not exactly been feeling normal since my best friend David Cody kissed me a month before. Everything in my previously quiet life had gone to pieces that day, and I have been struggling ever since to get it under control and back together.
It all began with a perfectly nice Saturday: no homework, nice weather for Fall, my Mom playing the piano downstairs as if to assure me she would not interrupt even if a boy was in my room alone with me. I'd cleaned my room, wore a tight skirt and revealing top, and even got the conversation going onto a subject that required we climb on my bed to consult the map at the head of it. It had taken months of hinting at my interest to get him to the point. I had thought that he was just too used to me as a friend who he used to climb trees with, or go to the video arcade, to realize I was a girl.
Well, he finally, finally, got the point, and his lips touched mine. And for a few seconds everything seemed great: it was fireworks, and I felt like our two souls were merging, and all this wonderful energy was flowing from his lips into mine... About two seconds too late I realized that that was exactly what had happened. I had nearly sucked the life out of him, like a Vampire, without even trying. I screamed. He passed out. My parents called 911 and pretty much everything went to hell. David spent three weeks in a coma. Everyone at school blamed me. Some jerk tried to rough me up in the hallway about it, and when he did, he too passed out cold, and I got suspended. David's parents blamed me, and my own parents blamed themselves, which was worse. Mom kept trying to touch and hug me, and I was terrified I might hurt her, and almost worse, get to know stuff I'd rather not find out. There are things you just don't want to know about your parents.
The most unnerving part of kissing David had been the transfer of a huge raft of David's memories and feelings. I now knew why it had been so hard to get him up to scratch. He had a mega crush for the last two years on Jesus (not the Deity, but Jesus Sosa, a cute Spanish kid in our high school who wore tight jeans and a D.A. haircut and had enough girlfriends to leave David in despair). David thought I was the greatest girl in the world, he wished he were in love with me, he wished a lot of things. It made me realize that wishing myself not to be a mutant was as hopeless and pointless as David wishing he were straight.
I wished he were straight. I had been wishing for the last year that he would make love to me. Now I had no hope at all that anybody would ever make love to me.
When David finally came to, I left town. I couldn't face him. I had always said I wanted to drive from my home in Meridian, MS to Anchorage once I had left High School. It had seemed a fun adventure, just driving and driving as far as you can go without a passport. Of course, I didn't have a car, and I'd just got my learner's permit, and it was all too soon. It wasn't an adventure; it was a nightmare. I just kept thinking I needed to go North, so that it wouldn't seem funny for me to be all covered up and wearing gloves.
Sure enough, far up North, when Logan found me in his trailer, he didn't think there was anything odd about me. There I was, with me, my gay boyfriend, and some now mercifully dead psycho, scrabbling for a foothold in my brain, a touch that could fell a normal human in three seconds, and a mutant, in under a minute, and half the RCMP in Alberta out to get me, and he looked at me and just saw an ordinary runaway kid. Yes, it's true. I love Logan. The fact that he looks a bit like a grown up version of Jesus Sosa, had nothing to do with it. I just loved the fact that he made me feel like an ordinary kid again. As I said, it was a wonderful illusion.
Then my amazing luck turned things to crap again as this huge guy who looked like a Yeti crashed our truck and tried to kill Logan. The creepy sensation of being followed had been right. Happily, we were not only followed by the Yeti guy, but by a movie star looking couple that dressed like they had popped out of the Matrix. They whomped the Yeti, and took Logan and me to a mutant school in Westchester of all improbable places. I thought Westchester was for WASPS not mutants.
At the school in Westchester I almost instantly got used to being treated as normal, by a bunch of kids who acted like regular kids even while walking through walls, or conjuring flames from the air. Logan was settling into a nice safe role as a big brother (well, a very attractive big brother, but when you can't touch anyone, attraction just has to be ignored, right?) Everything was fine. I'd met a nice mutant boy, Bobby, who looked a bit like David, but was obviously interested in me, not the other boys. The other girls at school were friendly and leant me clean clothes. The teachers even turned out to be those cool movie-star Matrix folks who had rescued us. It was all postcard perfect except for an earnest little talk with Professor Xavier, where he explained how I would "hopefully" learn to control my "gift" in time, and theoretically be able to touch people without sucking the life out of them. It didn't take telepathic powers to read that Prof X thought my chances were slim to none of actually doing that, and was just trying to sound optimistic to cheer me.
But overall, despite this, I was a little bit cheered. I was accepted, I was normal for this abnormal place, and even if I was going to be stuck being the oldest living virgin in Westchester, everybody seemed to like me. I could look if I didn't touch, and there was a lot to look at: Logan (of course), the boys at school, and even Mr. Summers (the Matrix dressed H.S. teacher) was a sight to behold when he gave us all his best view while drawing on the blackboard. I had once again managed to believe the illusion that everything was normal, and would somehow come out all right.
Things were not all right. I still wanted to touch someone so badly I could taste it. Preferably Logan. Unfortunately, the last man I touched for more than a fleeting second or two was residing in a refrigerated drawer at the Lake Charles Parish Morgue. I couldn't sleep worth beans in the girl's dorm. Just knowing what I couldn't have was making me restless. If nobody touches you for a day, you don't notice. For a week, even, won't kill you. But when you fear you may never get to touch anyone again, for years and years, maybe till death, you find yourself dwelling on it, and losing sleep. When I did sleep, my dreams were embarrassingly erotic nightmares, with a cast ranging from the Yeti guy to Professor X. I kept waking up either humming with longing, or shaking in fear, sometimes both.
So when I heard Logan having a nightmare I hadn't a particle of control. I was in his room so fast. I was so solicitous. Poor Logan! How I wish I could smooth your poor brow and chase away the nightmares..... I still want to kick myself for that piece of idiocy. Metal spikes through the thorax were what I should have expected. After all, Logan is a mutant too. There are probably quite a few stupid people who ended up in drawers in morgues courtesy of underestimating him. I could have been one of them, but I wasn't. I went and got what I'd come for, and touched him. It saved my life and nearly killed him.
The next morning I felt like the lowest life form on the planet. I'd nearly killed Logan and managed to snatch from his mind enough memories to know he had the hots for one of our teachers, Dr. Gray. Worse still, now I spent my whole science class with all the other students looking at me like I'd sprouted horns, and me not being able to take my own eyes off of Dr. Gray's backside as she drew on the blackboard. After class I heard another boy in the hall making some gross remark about what I had been up to in Logan's bedroom so I went off to the far edge of the school grounds. The yummy Bobby boy who reminded me of David came up, and in the nicest way possible told me I was an insect who nobody wanted around and I should pack up and fuck off. So I did.
It turns out that he was wrong, (indeed he wasn't even him, but I digress.) Everybody did want me (some I didn't even know about), and they all went looking for me at the train station. First was Logan, so nice and sweet and dammed brotherly, promising to look out for me, and talking me into going back. He hugged me, as if I hadn't nearly sucked his life away and stolen all his memories, sketchy as they were. I even told him that I'd done so, and he was O.K. with that too. It made me cry. He actually offered to protect me, which just about pulled my insides out. Who, I wondered, was going to protect him from me? I felt even more guilty than before, and yet I just wanted to forget what I was, and curl up in his arms. I might have done so if the train hadn't started to move, and nearly put us in skin contact with the sudden jerk of motion. I pulled away just in time, and reminded myself that I had to forever think of him as a big brother, or risk his neck.
The teachers were all there at the train station too, searching for me, although I didn't know it then. What was rapidly apparent, however, was that someone else wanted me too. The train car we were in stopped suddenly, and ripped open, and if that were not disconcerting enough a tall old man in an odd helmet literally floated in.
Logan, true to his word to protect me, sprung out his adamantium claws, and prepared to slice and dice. That was as far as he got. The old man calmly asked if "that remarkable metal runs through all of your body?" of Logan. Then, with equal calmness he proceeded to levitate and torque the metal inside Logan, experimentally, with a flick of his hand. I thought of the adage that Age and Treachery always beats Youth and Skill, but found it inappropriate. What was scary about the old man was Age with Skill. He knew exactly how far to bend the adamantium to test it, without actually breaking anything. The fact that he tortured Logan for a few moments while he did so seemed not an act of malice, but of terrifying indifference. He was just testing the properties of the unusual alloy, for reference. When he'd learned enough Logan was tossed to the back of the car, like crumpled scratch paper used for an equation.
I ran after Logan, but was hit by something that must have knocked me out. I awoke the following day in a bed in a cold stone room, with brushed steel décor that made it seem colder still. I was not tied up, but the room was locked. The old man had implied to Logan that he was not after him, but after me. (He was even a bit flip about it: "My dear boy, why should you imagine I wanted you?") I could not fathom why. It was not as though my "gift" (as the Professor insisted on calling it) was actually useful for anything beyond zapping perverts who preyed on hitchhikers. Still, I wasn't anxious to find out what use he had for me, and was determined to zap him the first chance I had.
About an hour later I had my chance. The man came into the room where I was locked up with food on a tray. He was no longer wearing his helmet or gray uniform suit, but had ordinary black slacks and an unusual shirt of iridescent black fabric that looked like he was radiating fire. "Shot silk" I remembered. Well let's give him a shot. He placed the tray in front of me and I noted he had rolled his cuffs up a bit to show a tantalizing inch or two of wrist. The better to shoot you with, I thought. "I hope you like fish?" he inquired in a tone that was civil, but not overly anxious to please.
"Sure." I assented, and made a great show of eagerly staring at the food and ripping off my gloves, as if it was what I automatically did when I ate. He didn't back away, or move his left hand from the edge of the table, and in a few seconds I had trapped it beneath my right hand.
And nothing happened.
There was a long pause. Neither of us said anything. I kept waiting for my damn "gift" to kick in and kill him, but it didn't. There was just a warm, seemingly ordinary man's hand beneath my own, with a tiny sort of electric tickle, like a sweater when it comes out of the dryer. That was it. I knew it. This quiet old man with the warm skin, and the cold sad eyes was going to kill me and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. He could control the flow of the electricity that passed between us like a switch that only he could turn off or on.
After a few more moments of looking at my hand with seeming indifference as I sat there in shock, he picked up my hand and put the fork in it. I didn't resist. I also didn't eat when he left without another word. I climbed back in bed, and put the covers over my head and hugged the hand he'd held to my chest as if he'd hurt it somehow. Somehow, I felt that he did.
Quite a bit later I woke up again. The tray was gone, and I wasn't sure if I had simply dreamed the whole thing. A minute later the man was in the room again, dressed in his gray suit that looked like a uniform. I decided that the earlier encounter was just a nightmare. Why would he have a shot silk shirt? Why would his cuffs be rolled up? I probably made the whole thing up while dreaming. God knows my dreams were an odd enough blend of the erotic and nightmares of late, and while the guy had to be old enough to be my grandfather, he was rather tasty looking. It was just my increasing amorous frustration coming out in another kinky nightmare.
His "uniform" had gloves, and every inch covered up and protected from me but his face. I lunged at that, putting both hands on either side, with the fingers curled around his neck.
He sighed and looked down at me. "We've been through this."
I couldn't say anything. I kept touching his face. I started to cry.
He regarded me gravely. "I expect you have been wanting to be able to safely touch someone since the incident with that Cody boy."
That surprised me. He had obviously been tracking my progress for some time. Even the police had not connected Marie from Meridian, with the "Disappearing Hitchhiker" of the highway trip. He had.
"Unfortunately, I'm the last person you'd really like to touch."
"I'd like to kill you." I snapped, nearly sounding like Logan for a second.
"Yes," he sighed again, "that's only natural, under the circumstances." He seemed vaguely disappointed.
He took my wrists then, one at a time, and attached very thick, lightweight handcuffs. Aluminum mixed with steel I supposed. Just enough iron in them so he could control them---and me. He then led me out of the room, and the building, to a waiting boat, where I was chained up below. There was a coldly beautiful mutant woman with blue skin as pilot. There was a dead body too, of a man. It was creepy the way they just let him lie there, without even bothering to hide him, or throw him overboard.
That will be me soon, I thought. Every part of me rebelled at the idea. I wanted to scream, and rage, and kill and cry all at once. Still, I held myself together as best I could, hoping that observing the two of them could give me an advantage. All I found out was that the old man was named Magneto, the blue woman was his girlfriend and her "gift" was being able to appear to be the living image of the dead man when the boat pulled up to shore.
Weirdly our destination was the Statue of Liberty. I wondered if there was some sort of labored political point he planned to make by blowing it up or something.
"Magnificent isn't she?" Magneto suddenly said to me, in an almost cheery conversational tone.
"I've seen it, it's no big deal." I tried to snarl as Logan would have, but the fear in my voice turned it into a whine.
"I first saw her in 1949. America was going to be the land of tolerance, of peace."
"Are you going to kill me?" I asked, knowing the answer.
"Yes." He replied in a regretful tone.
If he was going to regret it so much, I at least wanted to know... "WHY??"
"Because there is no land of peace and tolerance, not anywhere."
He went on to explain that I was going to be used to turn a bunch of "world leaders" at a conference nearby into mutants themselves, which he seemed to think would alter their attitude towards the rest of us. He told me that my "sacrifice" was going to make the world safe for the rest of my mutant "brothers" in the world.
Even he realized how lame that had to sound to me, and said: "I'll understand if that seems small consolation to you."
Oh, fuck, I thought. It was some sort of political thing, and I get selected to be the virgin sacrifice for mutant rights or some insane thing. What about my rights, damnit?
I lost it. I cried. I tried pulling my arms off to get them out of the handcuffs. I could not for the life of me call up my "inner Logan" to even curse him out, he was just too calm and collected and in control. I would kill to have control like that.
The big scary Yeti man who'd attacked me in Canada reappeared and bagged and carried me up so many stairs I was sure we had to be at the top of the monument before I even was unbagged and saw where we were. I tried to swat at his face with my bare hands, but he was too fast and too strong. He chained me into a circular steel machine and left me there. Alone, I got more and more terrified. My last chance to escape had been touching him, and I'd failed. I already knew I had no chance against Magneto's control, both electrical and emotional.
Finally it occurred to me that if he was going to kill me anyway I had nothing to lose by screaming for help. This was a National Park or National Monument or something, maybe there was a stray park ranger or security guard who would come if I yelled and shoot off the handcuffs. It was a pretty unlikely scenario, but it couldn't hurt to try. So I shouted for help.
Somebody came. Unfortunately it was Magneto. He came into the machine and bent over me like the man with the knife had. I was ten times as scared of him, as I had been by that lunatic. The man with the knife had seemed not quite all "there", and when I sucked in his memories, I found his own ability to remember his past was nearly non-existent. Logan's sketchy memories were clarity itself compared with the vague fogginess of that creature's personality. Magneto was the opposite, I knew I couldn't distract him, or confuse him, or break his overwhelming control. All I could do was beg, so I did.
"Please don't do this."
"I am sorry," is all he said. But he forced my hands up to grasp the conduits of the machine anyway. Then he peeled off one of his gloves and touched my face the way I'd touched his earlier. I held my breath. For a second or two nothing happened. Then he "turned the switch," and it was as unlike the previous times I'd felt contact as I could imagine. Normally, it feels like the person's energy is flowing into me like water flows to it's lowest point. I don't control it, and the victim (as I tend to think of them) certainly does not. It's just a natural process like gravity.
This felt more like getting an injection. He didn't let his energy flow into me, it was forced in, far more rapidly and strongly than I was used to. He also had rather more energy to put in than a normal person, or even a normal mutant (if Logan is such a thing). I had the sensation that he was carefully holding me open long enough to rapidly climb into my body and control it. I screamed, but apparently he didn't care if I did that or not, and once I felt him completely inside me, wearing my body like a suit of clothes, he still didn't bother to waste energy trying to force me to stop. He just broke physical contact, and left his duplicate self in me to finish the job.
No one had ever been able to do that before either. Only I could break the contact, or so I had thought. He was going to be able to walk away from this and live. I felt more envious of his mastery of that skill; than I was resentful he would live even as I died. Even then, with him no longer touching me, his second self had complete control of my body. It clutched the conduits of the machine; it shot electromagnetic energy through them. All I could do was scream and watch helplessly as the machine sucked the life out of me the way I had sucked the life out of others.
Then, who should appear but Logan. I had no idea how he'd got there but I was never so glad to see anyone in my life. Out snicked his claws, and I was sure the old man would be sushi in seconds with all his powers sucked away. Amazingly, he still had yet more to draw from, and soon he was torqueing Logan's claws just like in the train. The machine kept draining my strength away till I passed out, and I didn't come to till I found Logan touching me and bleeding all over. I broke contact at once, afraid I'd kill him, and it was just in time. Dr. Gray and the other teachers found us and took us to the infirmary at the school for him to be treated, and even then he was in a coma for a week.
Despite this I was in a very cheerful frame of mind once it was clear he was not going to die. Now why, you wonder, would that be?
Bobby the cute boy at school was not the one who told me to take a hike, it was the Blue lady in disguise, trying to get me where Magneto could grab me easily. Bobby still likes me, as do most of the other students. So I have a home and friends for now.
This time when I got a recharge, so to speak, complete with Logan's memories, his feelings were unchanged towards Dr. Gray, however, he also has much stronger feelings for me. Some of them are not even brotherly! Definitely progress I think... After his recovery, he went off to Canada again, but I'm sure he will come back as he promised. And if he takes long enough, Dr. Gray will be married by then, and I will hopefully no longer be so young I scare him.
However it is actually in the least likely place that I've found the most hope. When I sucked in Magneto's memories I'd hit the jackpot. David had just about the same limited set of experiences I'd had in life, and similar feelings on a lot of things, so there wasn't too much I learned from him. The man with the knife, as I've said, was so far out of his head there wasn't much there--- he barely remembered a few days of his life before I killed him. Logan had a memory loss, so that he could only remember the last 15 years of homelessness, no relationships, and nasty snatches of what ever it was that made him forget what came before.
Magneto, on the other hand, is 70 years old and remembers everything. Forgetting seems to him a betrayal of his past. He hugs even his terrors close so they don't get away. And he has not exactly led a quiet or sheltered life as I have. For all his exterior cool, he is a seething pile of every emotion you could name, all kept in check with that iron control of his. Because of this, I now can, at leisure, explore all sorts of sensations, through memory, that I can't immediately have in my life. I can feel his pain at losing his parents, and his terror at being trapped in a situation so far out of his control as a concentration camp, without actually being endangered myself. I can thrill to his recollection of adventures with the gypsies in cold-war east Europe, without the sad consequences of those adventures impacting my own life. Nearly everything I ever get asked on a test at school now I know ahead of time, along with three extra languages! Plus, I can get all the benefits of remembered passion from the rather ardent and extremely varied attachments of his past love life, while my own is (unfortunately) obliged to be dormant. It's weird to say this but after having him live in my head for a while, I actually like him. I caught myself asking the Professor last week if I could visit Magneto in jail! (Prof. X nixed that, and seeing his unguarded reaction to my request flash across his face was priceless).
Best of all, though, I think I can learn that kind of control he has eventually. Apparently when he got his "gift" it was even more out of control than mine is. He wiped out an entire town of people the first time it popped up. What it took him to control it was simple: Practice. If I can find a way to practice, I too should be able to shut the flow of energy on and off like a switch. And when I can do that, I can hope to have a normal life, or at any rate, a love life.
There is just one small problem.
The only person I can safely practice on is Magneto.
It is going to take me a quite a while to get used to that idea. And it is going to take a while for him to get out of that giant plastic Habitrail the government built for him. But when I do, and he does, I know I can talk him into it. He owes me one for trying to kill me. Besides which, I now know, with absolute certainty, that for all his seeming coldness when I touched him that first time ---he liked it.
Which means, when next we meet. It is I who will be in control.