Free to BeFree to Be, You and Me (Part 2)Author: TheCostumer
E-mail: Fandom: X-Men the MovieDisclaimers:All characters except Ed and Rolf belong to the Marvel Entertainment
Groupand Twentieth Century Fox, and are used without permission, for
entertainment purposes only. Images on this page are property of
20th Century Fox. Ed Gruberman and Ti Kwan Leep (Boot to the
Head) are property of The Frantics.Quoted song lyrics to "The
Masochism Tango" and "Magda, Aletys And Belle" are byTom
Lehrer and Dannell Litesrespectively. No infringement upon the
rights of Marvel, Fox, The Frantics, Tom Lehrer and Dannell
Lites should be inferred; nor is any intended.
Links are to pieces of fic by other writers that helped inspire this story.
Characters: Rogue, Magneto, Bobby, and my own Rolf LipchitzSequel to
Tara@costumes.orgThe Rat Trap, Part of the
Whatever Remains Series
Rating: PG. Humor.Sex fantasies & lawyers. One swear word, one
vulgarity. No violence, no sex. Underage drinking.
Summary: Rogue gets arrested and Magneto gets a good lawyer. Mainly plot exposition. Rogue/Magneto shipper humor.
Free to Be, You and Me (Part 2)
When Rolf first suggested to Erik that he hire the famous Edward Gruberman to be his defense lawyer, Erik balked. Wasn't this guy infamous for holding press conferences where everyone had to meditate to a mantra for 20 minutes before he would answer questions? Didn't he belong to some kind of martial arts cult group? Hadn't he mounted some of the weirdest defense campaigns for some certifiably insane (and obviously guilty) clients?
Hadn't he got nearly all of them off? Rolf argued.
So, today, despite extreme trepidation, he was meeting the lawyer who wasn't embarrassed to be a guest star on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor to endorse Viagra in print and TV ads.
After all, if the man turned his trial into a three ring circus, it would be the Federal Government who ended up looking like the clowns.
That idea positively warmed his heart.
He had not been on good terms with the Feds since the fifties when his then employers, the CIA, killed his girlfriend Isabelle, and tried to kill him. He rather resented this, since all he had been doing was handing Nazi war criminals over to the Israeli Mosad, or more usually, killing them himself. Letting them go free for feeble bits of information on the Russians, which was the CIA plan, seemed an abomination, as well as being simply stupid.
His relations with the government of his naturalized country had never really been cordial ever since.
Ed Gruberman, perhaps, could help him find the answer to Voltaire's famous prayer:
"Lord, make my enemies ridiculous."
And since Erik generally found himself impatient with the speed at which God choose to answer his prayers, he hoped that Mr. Gruberman would help this one along.
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......." Ed chanted after briefly introducing himself, and asking Erik to meditate with him before beginning.
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......." This went on for about five minutes after Gruberman arrived.
Despite encouragement from Ed, Magneto declined to repeat the mantra along with him.
A Philosophical discussion followed. The author wishes to spare you the details. Erik wished he had been spared them as well.
After Ed had expended half the allotted time for the interview in the above fashion, he finally got to the point. Erik wondered if he would ever forgive Rolf for introducing him to this wacko.
"I have checked out the Fed's case on you before coming here, and I can tell you they have problems before we even start." Ed smiled.
Erik looked surprised at that, but didn't interrupt, since he was afraid they had wasted enough of the allowed time already.
"They don't have a single witness for the business at the Statue of Liberty, and since you were found unconscious and alone there, they have no real proof you did anything there at all."
"They have received lots of anonymous messages about what went on, but none of these so-called witnesses is prepared to speak in court." Ed went on, "They found one live but injured security guard in the museum below, but he disappeared from his hospital room before he could be questioned, and has not been seen since. To top it off, he never was a guard there, he didn't check out."
Erik smiled. That means his Brotherhood probably all got away, including, obviously, Mystique. Good girl.
"Also, they can't figure out what that machine that gave New York a light show was for. They can't figure out how it was powered, nor prove that it does anything besides being the world's biggest Disco Ball."
Erik decided that he could really get to like Ed.
"They are so washed up on the Statue thing, that they are prepared to drop those charges in a plea bargain."
"Then what am I being held for?" Erik asked.
"Just about everything else they can think of," was the answer. He continued, reading from his notes: "Willful destruction of railroad property, reckless endangerment, assault, kidnapping, resisting arrest, assault of a police officer, use of a gun to commit a felony, destruction of police property, and conspiracy."
"Oh." He had nearly forgot about the incident at the train station, fun though it had been. Alas, he supposed that few of the police or civilian witnesses had forgot the matter so quickly.
"The conspiracy charge will flop because they can't find, or even name, the other conspirators. They know there was a conspiracy, but without proof they are hosed."
Yes, Erik decided, Ed could really grow on you.
"The kidnapping charge is also kind of moot, since nobody can even remember the face of the girl you supposedly kidnapped, and nobody ever reported her missing, nor reported her found afterwards."
"I imagine they would not."
"Now, if she were to come forward..."
"She won't." Erik said with conviction.
Ed looked up at that, unsure if Erik had a dire meaning.
"She's not dead." Erik said, "If that's what you're thinking."
"Then how do you know she won't come forward?" Ed asked.
"Because she understands. Because she's a mutant. Because she knows if she were in my position it was what she would do."
He realized as he said this that it was true.
"The other charges will be harder to disprove. There are a crap load of witnesses who have been yakking about it on the news and talk shows for weeks now. But that can help us too." Ed said, meaning that the media attention could be used as an argument to move Erik's trial to another region.
"I'm not sure how we could prove I'm innocent, with half the Westchester County Police force swearing they saw me smash their shiny new patrol cars." Erik pointed out.
"We don't have to prove you are innocent, Erik." Ed retorted folding his hands into the prayer position he had held earlier. "All we have to do is create reasonable doubt that you were the man who smashed them."
"Reasonable doubt," Erik repeated thoughtfully. "The average person would think it unreasonable that a man my age could flip over a policeman, much less a police car."
"Exactly." Ed replied.
Erik definitely thought Rolf had been right about this weird Superlawyer.
"Now Erik, I sense that you aren't yet comfortable with my idea that you focus your energy through repeating a mantra aloud."
Erik blinked at the switch in topics.
"But I want you to try doing this for me silently, whenever you feel yourself stressed out or impatient at this legal business: Repeat the mantra Reasonable Doubt in your head for at least five minutes a day. It's not one of the Seven Sacred Sounds of Ti Kwan Leep my Sensei taught me, but I think it will really help you."
"Reasonable doubt." Ed repeated warmly.
"Sure, Ed." Erik smiled, happier than he had been in weeks. "That sounds like a charming notion."
Ed felt like the interview with Mr. Lenscherr had gone well. True, Erik had not really seemed very receptive to his original attempts at persuading him he needed to meditate, but then, Ed himself, recalled, he too was unreceptive until he had been booted in the head. Mr. Lenscherr however, seemed rather cooperative by the end of the meeting, and Ed reflected as he walked to his car that, with patience, his new client might not only obtain his release, but might also be set upon the path of righteous enlightenment.
Marie awaited the Professor's coming to his office by biting one of her fingernails down to the skin. She had never chewed her nails before when she was nervous, and she wondered if that was a habit she had picked up from one of her transfers.
"Please, God," she tried praying to herself, "don't let this be about what I said in the pool house. I can't even remember what I said. I'll feel so stupid if he asks about it"
Her prayers were answered, for when Xavier came in his face was wrapped in it's usual friendly concern, without a touch of question or reproach.
"Rogue," he began, "I have been wondering if you have yet recovered completely from your ordeal some weeks ago?"
"I'm fine now, Professor." She asserted. "Well as fine as I'll ever be." She thought cynically.
A slightly raised eyebrow on the Professor tipped her off that he couldn't help catching that thought.
"The reason that I asked you here is rather awkward." He went on. "You may recall that I told you that it would be best if none of us were to testify against Magneto in court."
"Yes, you said that it 'would draw negative attention' onto the school, the X-Men and, most of all, me." Rogue said.
"It would seem that Erik, that is, Magneto..."
"I know his name is Erik, Professor." She pointed out. "I know just about everything about him now."
"Of course." Xavier sighed. "Well, he seems to think that with a lawyer he might get out. That is, he could be found innocent, unless there are some more credible witnesses against him. The prosecution team also thinks the same." He stared at the floor trying to think of a good way to continue.
"And so you want me to testify after all..." Rogue said.
Xavier looked up. There were times when he could swear that the girl was a telepath. In actual fact it was merely that now having Erik's knowledge of Charles burned in her brain she could read his expressions like a copy of Dick and Jane.
"I don't like seeing Erik locked up like that, but..." Xavier began.
Then perhaps it would have been best if you had not sent the Government detailed plans on how to build that prison." Out snapped her "Magneto voice" with sarcasm, before she could stop it.
The Professor 'started like a guilty thing', and gave her a look of such conflicted remorse she had to pity him.
"I'm sorry Professor," She said. "He sort of slips out sometimes."
"So I have heard." Xavier smiled at her again ruefully. "Still I must be grateful that he, or you, refrained from mentioning me at the pool house."
So he did know. Oh, dear.
"But to return to the point." The Professor forged on, "I'm afraid that unless we, in particular, you, go on the stand and testify against him, he might possibly be out and engaging in terrorist acts within a few months."
"And so you want me to testify." Marie said again.
"Yes." Xavier said, sighing once more.
"No?" The professor looked concerned again, "I'm sure you needn't be afraid."
"I'm not afraid, Professor."
And he could see, and feel, she wasn't. It puzzled him.
"Of course, the most logical person to have testify is Logan, but since we don't know where he is, that is impossible."
"Good." Marie said, further surprising Charles.
Really, he had to admit, he was slowly coming to the opinion that Erik was at least partly right about the girl.
"You don't want Erik convicted." He finally concluded.
"Why?" He asked, reasonably.
"Because he's right." She said. Then she blushed, realizing the Professor thought she had less political reasons.
"It's not that I think you are wrong, Professor" She went on, "It's just that I think you two are like the Sinn Fein and the IRA. You may not be violent, you should talk with and work with the government peacefully, but the extent to which the government is willing to listen to you is partly based on how much they fear the Brotherhood of Mutants."
"It's like what Ms. Munroe said yesterday in history class. Teddy Roosevelt said: 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.'" Marie explained. "He provides the stick, and you do the talking. Take away the stick and they will stop listening."
"I see that transferring with him has brought you around to his point of view."
"No." Rogue pointed out. "His point of view is that talk is pointless, only action matters. Your point of view is that violence solves nothing. I know from experience that violence can save your life. I also know that his murder of Senator Kelley caused the Mutant Registration act to fail by one vote." And then in a darker tone she said, "I also know, from my own experience, that violence by itself is addictive, and yet leads nowhere."
It was as close to an admission of guilt about the men on the road as she was willing to give.
"He needs to get out." Rogue insisted firmly. "And you need to help him."
Xavier wondered where Rogue had acquired such a definitive voice. He worried that it might be Erik's personality taking over.
"You do recall that he tried to kill you?"
"In terrifying detail." Marie admitted.
"I should also tell you that he has flatly refused to help you when I asked him to do so for the last three weeks." He said.
Rogue admitted to herself, that hurt.
Xavier insisted, "I cannot, in good conscience, let him go free, knowing that he will probably go straight out and do another violent action."
"Then blackmail him." Rogue suggested. "Tell him that all the X-Men are prepared to testify against him if he will not promise to sit quietly back and not launch any offensive action unless we are attacked. Make him keep the peace, but keep him out here, in reserve, in case he is right, and there is a war coming."
"He won't agree." Xavier insisted, "If he gave his word he'd feel obliged to keep it, so he won't give his word on something like this."
Rogue realized the Professor was exactly right, and tried hard to think of a way around the problem.
"Then tell him," she said after consideration, "That I will testify against him unless he agrees to help me. Make the rules include that he stay here till I learn how to touch people. Then you can keep an eye on him for months, maybe years, and I can keep him too busy to do anything else---unless we need him."
"My dear girl," Charles warned her, "he'll eviscerate you! Or at any rate be too angry with you to teach you anything."
"The longer it takes, the longer he'll be here under watch."
"When you came here you seemed so timid." He mused, rather missing the fey Rogue who seemed to start at shadows like a deer.
She decided to explain: "Ever since I found out I was a mutant I've been afraid of only three things: That I would hurt people who I touched, that people would hate me when they knew that I could kill people, and that I might die not touching anyone ever again."
"I can't kill Mr. Lenscherr even if I wanted to," she went on, " and he can hardly hate me for what I am, considering what he is."
"And you can touch him." Xavier continued for her.
"And, with practice, maybe I can learn to touch anyone."
"He won't exactly be in a pleasant humor with you if we blackmail him into this."
"Does that really matter? I need him on any terms I can get." She admitted. "So do we all, whether you want to admit that or not. Remember Professor, that law was just one vote from passing. What happens if Mystique can't manage to keep on holding into Kelley's seat? There are elections next Fall, and things could get nasty in a hurry. "
"I'm sorry," Xavier replied. "But I still say I can't in good conscience let him get out where he could do terrorist acts again."
"You must." Rogue insisted gravely. "If you do not, I will go out of here, seek out his friends, and help him to break out if I have to."
"Are you blackmailing me too?" Charles asked, trying to sound severe.
"Yes." Rogue said, not backing down.
"I'm sorry," Xavier maintained. "I still must say no."
"Then, before I leave," she upped the ante, "I'll make sure Bobby writes another verse to that song."
"You know," he concluded in defeat, "I think Erik was right about you."
Victor Creed, curiously, was the one hardest hit by the failure of Magneto's plan. While his injuries were, with his power to heal, almost nonexistent, his emotional state was in turmoil. While Victor had to admit that he had never really liked Magneto, he found, in his absence, that he needed him, or someone like him, like a junkie needs drugs. With Magneto and the Brotherhood, Sabertooth was a fierce warrior, a deadly weapon for mutantkind, a hero. Without a cause, or an army, or a leader to follow, Victor found himself little more than a random killer, without hope or purpose, killing out of mere rage.
It had been like that when the military project he had been a part of was terminated, and the mutants involved all were "terminated" as well, or, like Logan and himself, escaped. Like Logan, the "experiments" conducted on him had wiped out much of his memory (although, he reflected in anger, not so conveniently as much as Logan had forgot). All he could remember of his pre-military years was a whiff of being young, alone and happy in a forest of tall trees overlooking the ocean.
The rage came later.
He had enough memory to recall that the rage and fondness for killing had been put there deliberately. It was one of the "experiments" that had been attempted, in an effort to make perfect soldiers out of "useless" mutant outcasts. It had been effective. It had taught him to love killing, to need violence, and to justify that violence to himself by blindly following a cause.
When the "cause" (curiously enough, Anti-Communism, of all dated silly precepts) went so far out of fashion with the Canadian government, that they no longer were willing to go "halves" with the American CIA on the project, he found himself being hunted down by the very leader he had so blindly served.
What followed was ten hellish years of fleeing and fighting without hope or purpose. There were times Victor tried killing himself, so sure he was that he'd devolved into a mere serial killer. However, since he could survive slashed wrists, hanging, gunshot, and even self immolation, he eventually gave up trying to end his life, and concentrated on hunting down the people involved in turning him into the monster he had become.
While engaged in this more satisfying activity, he met Magneto. Magnus was also engaged in trying to find out what the CIA was trying to do by experimenting on mutants, and he too had no compunction about killing anyone who had willingly taken part in these "atrocities" as he pithily put it. Victor, starved for a leader and a cause, was embraced into the fold of the Brotherhood of Mutants in an instant, and, despite grumbling conflicts with every other member, even Magnus himself, was entirely devoted to this new "cause."
But then the plan failed. Magneto was arrested, Toad vanished like air, and Mystique went solo to Washington to impersonate Kelly. Hanging about her would be counter productive. Toad he never liked enough to go looking for. So Victor fixated on breaking Magneto out of jail.
"She says she'll do WHAT?" Erik thought back at Charles' statement, delivered via telepathy. Since Charles was not Erik's lawyer both supposed their conversation was monitored, so they'd made their statements mentally so as not to be overheard.
"She is serious, Erik" Charles insisted, "and extremely determined."
'You' put her up to this blackmail, Charles."
"No I did not!" Charles thought at him with a sincerity Erik could not deny. "In fact, I too am being blackmailed."
"She threatened to break you out," Charles explained, "as well as tell the students other things..."
'Those' things?" Erik nearly laughed aloud.
"Exactly." Xavier confirmed. "She really is as frightening as you said."
Erik smiled, he could really get to like any girl who put Charles up on one foot so neatly.
"So what do I tell her?" Charles continued.
"Tell her..... 'yes'
To be continued....
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