I know even less about football then most American women do. I have only a cursory idea of how it is played and how awards and such are handed out. Any mistakes on my part are unintended. Please let me know, so that I might correct them.
Chapter Fifteen: The Heisman Trophy
Magneto and Rogue:
At 8:32PM on February 7th, 2007 an event occurred at which every American speaking many years later could relate where they were and what they were doing at that exact time and date. Rogue had been reclining on the maroon leather sofa in what served as the Brotherhood of Mutants common room. She and Pyro sat, munching on Tostitos’ Taste of Lime chips and salsa, as they watched the forty-first annual Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns. Magneto watched from his Lazy-Boy recliner, with only mild interest, as he finished a Boston Globe crossword puzzle.
The Browns were ahead by only 7 points in the second half with only 2 minutes 24 seconds left on the clock. The Eagles and their star quarterback, Johnny Unitas Hepburn, were at the Browns 30-yard line, with a first down, and were in a position to score, when the referees’ whistles blew, signaling an emergency time out. No one had known what was happening, and the announcers stumbled trying to explain what was going on down on the field. The referees huddled in a circle, breaking up after a few minutes to send one of their number to jog out to the Eagles’ coach on the sideline. The coach and ref then approached the quarterback Hepburn, frozen in his spot several feet behind his linemen.
With a sinking feeling in Rogue’s heart, she had watched as Hepburn was escorted off the field and replaced by the Eagles’ back-up quarterback, a man of far less talent. The game played to completion; the score ending Browns 26 – Eagles 19. The back-up quarterback had thrown a pass that was easily intercepted and the Browns had run the clock down. Only after the game was over did the news break about why Johnny Hepburn had been pulled at the last moment. It was the lead story on every network, talked about by every radio DJ, and plastered on the front page of every newspaper.
Hepburn was a mutant and mutants were banned from playing in the NFL. Never mind that Hepburn was a farm-boy from Nebraska who could control the weather, much like Storm could, and this had never offered any advantage to him on the football field. A mutant was still a mutant, and the NFL had made an unwavering line in the sand on where it stood on mutant inclusion. Why his mutation had only been discovered in the middle of the Super Bowl was never disclosed, but the commissioner’s office had acted swiftly to rectify the situation.
The Eagles loss was taken very hard by their fans and many blamed Johnny Hepburn for it. His teammates spoke out in the media about the terrible role model he made as a man who had lived a lie for so many years and deceived them with no discernable signs of regret. His wife, unaware he was a mutant and revolted by it, began divorce proceedings against him. The NCAA reclaimed his Heisman Trophy and rewarded it to the runner up from that year. His name was removed from the record books, including his phenomenal 5003 yds completed in 2003. When Hepburn got into a fight in a bar with a drunkard who was heckling him, a restraining order was placed against him and he lost the right to see his own children.
It would be this event that threw the nation into chaos.
There was rioting and looting on the streets of LA, NY, and several other major cities. A fight broke out among protesters on opposite sides of the Mutant Rights spectrum on the mall in Washington, D.C. and 34 people were trampled to death. The South suffered a string of KKK style mutant lynchings that caused Rogue to feel ashamed of her birth land. With a heavy heart, the President declared a state of emergency and threatened to incarcerate criminal mutants indefinitely under the Patriot Act. The war between mutants and humans had begun.
Only two months later Rogue would get a chance to meet Johnny Unitas Hepburn in person when he came to visit Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Hepburn was a soft spoken man of few words with corn yellow hair and blue eyes that reminded Rogue of Magnetos’. He shook her hand and smiled down at her from his 6 ft 5in height, but his smile was a ruse. He was a broken man. Rogue could see it in his eyes. Without a word, he had let Magneto usher him into his office and close the door with his magnetism behind them.
Several hours later the two emerged and Hepburn was given a room to stay in for the next few weeks, although he kept much to himself during that time. Occasionally Rogue would pass by his room and hear what she thought was crying but she could never be sure. She felt as though she should try to comfort him but she was never able to think of the right thing to say. Magneto, for his part, showed him the utmost respect and kindness. It touched Rogue’s heart how much he did for the ex-football star and Rogue’s regard for her host Magneto increased tenfold. Over his stay with them, Hepburn seemed to gain a resolve that did him worlds of good. Magneto had given his life new direction as a crusader for Mutant Rights and recruiter for the Brotherhood. From that time on, Johnny Unitas Hepburn would be a frequent visitor to the island fortress in Maine as he traveled back and forth around the country recruiting mutants for Magneto’s cause.
Rogue’s first night in the island fortress had been an enlightening one. Rogue had had trouble sleeping as the salty sea air pervaded every room through the ventilation system. She had tossed and turned in her bed, hearing always the distant sound of the waves breaking against the cliffs on which the fortress stood. Her mind racing with thoughts of Magneto’s affect on her, she had known with clairvoyant knowledge that she would end up sleeping with him. Her own attraction to him, much to her dismay, was undeniable and he seemed intent to pursue her by whatever means necessary.
Rogue knew it was only a matter of time till the inevitable occurred. She threw out the idea of trying to consciously resist her lust for him, as it had already reached fever pitch. Somewhere in her reckless abandon to live her life unparalyzed by her mutation, she had been driven by an invisible force into the arms of Magneto. To young Rogue, her attraction to the debonair villain whose morals she questioned made no logical sense, but it was there all the same and it was growing with each moment she spent in his presence.
Over the next week as he began to teach her about her mutation and the psychic block preventing her control of it, she waited patiently for him to press his advances on her as he had done so in the past. But yet he made no move to touch her in anyway other then strictly for the instruction of her mutation. Her frustration was almost visible in her posture and agitated interactions with the other mutants residing in the fortress. Was this the price for his good behavior? That she should lie awake in bed at night and think of his resonant baritone voice and cruelly handsome good looks till her hands housed in his black Gucci gloves moved unconsciously to pleasure herself.
On Valentine’s Day Marie had woken to find a single long stem red rose resting on the unoccupied pillow next to hers and with a rage that was distinctively the Wolverine’s she had broken it’s stem into pieces and pulled off each of it’s pedals while puncturing her fingers on it’s thorns. After her anger wore off she looked at the red pedals and drips of her own blood on the bleached white sheets of her bed and she had collapsed into unfettered sobs. As the tears ran like rivers from her eyes she had gathered each pedal into a pile on her bed and with her injured fingers, brought them to her nose to smell the light bewitching scent they radiated.
Their work on removing her psychic block was more difficult then either Rogue or Magneto had first anticipated. Magneto had no formal training in psychology, and though he was well-read on many subjects, he had always deferred to Charles Xavier in matters of the mind. It took several weeks of research and concentration to discover the mind map that the late Professor had assembled in Rogue’s mind to prevent her from being drown in the memories of the people she had absorbed. The sessions between Magneto and Rogue consisted of Magneto’s careful explanation of the theories and practices he believed would allow Rogue to overcome the block while Rogue concentrated with all her willpower to reach the part of her brain where it felt like she could feel the memories but not see them.
The mental effort left Rogue exhausted and plagued by a throbbing headache for several hours later. The success of their efforts was slowly but surely developing. As Rogue chipped away at the block, piece by piece, memories of lives that were not her own appeared. With each memory came the ability to block her skins life force draining effects for a few seconds longer.
David, the boy she had kissed so long ago in Meridian, Mississippi reappeared insecure and eager to learn about the world around him. Logan’s own disjointed memories came out of sync but very potent; she had absorbed him twice and more recently than the others. Magneto’s memories were the most intriguing to her, however. Immediately after the Liberty Island incident, Professor Xavier had installed the mental block and she had not had time to sift through most of the experiences of the man sitting before her. Over the weeks they worked together, she had grown closer to him through her recovery of the experiences of his life. This intimate understanding of him only fueled her desire for him more. It also gave her another desire: to call him by his given name.
“Magneto?” She had asked one day as they worked together. “Is it alright if Ah call ya Erik?” He had stopped his reading of the psychological textbook at her question and looked up, quite flabbergasted. It had not struck him that she might use the memories she had of his in anyway. Magneto had assumed she loathed the foreign experiences in her brain and tried her best to ignore them. He had not stopped to consider how intimate her thorough knowledge of his life made them.
“Yes, you may.” He went back to reading.
“Ain’t ya gonna ask me what my name is?” With a smack the book covers slammed together and he set the volume down. He gave her a glare, trying his best to restrain himself. Rogue realized she had made some mistake but she wasn’t sure what she had done wrong. There was a stone cold silence for a few seconds and Magneto sighed, then through pressed teeth, he addressed her in a clipped manner.
“I have withstood this slaughter of the English language long enough. If you cannot learn to speak with some manner of decorum I will not continue to tolerate your company.” He looked fearsome and Rogue wondered how she had conveniently forgotten that he was a dangerous killer.
She mutely nodded her head in reply. With slow grace, his long fingers opened the book he had pushed aside moments ago, flipping to the page he had been reading. He looked somewhat bewildered by his angry outburst.
“What is your human name Rogue?” His voice had held none of the fury that had filled it only seconds ago. She was taken aback by the change in him from brutal anger to calm concern. It took her a few seconds to answer.
“Marie. My name is Marie.” Erik looked at her for a short time longer, testing the name to see if it fit the woman before him. He was curious how long it had been since anyone had called her Marie. He wondered if it would sooth her to hear it after so many years of being only a mutant with deadly skin, only Rogue, never Marie.
A few days into her stay at the fortress, Rogue had walked into the kitchen to find Pyro controlling the flames on the burners of the stove as he ate ice cream straight from the container. She wasn’t sure which act bothered her more: his blatant disregard for the other mutants who might want to eat ice cream after him or his dangerous display of power to relieve his boredom.
“Mind if I join you?” She had asked, opening the fridge up and rooting through it for an acceptable snack. Coming up with a bowl of left over chicken salad from the previous night’s dinner, she had fixed herself a small snack and sat next to her old friend.
“If I did would it stop you?”
“So I guess its good I don’t. Can’t be making the Boss’s girl angry, can I? What’s between you and him anyway?”
“Nothing.” Rogue looked down into her chicken salad and took several hurried bites.
“I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. It’s freaky; there’s what? 50 years difference between your ages.”
“Pyro, do you have to be so...” She sounded impatient with his attitude.
“Do you have to be such a dick all the time?” He seemed to soften at the slur.
“Yeah, I can be a dick. I just… I just hate the way you X-Men always looked down on me. And now I’m the black sheep. I’m sick of feeling like a traitor.” The powerful young mutant looked surprisingly vulnerable in that moment.
“Ah ain’t an X-Men anymore, Pyro. Ah’m just like you now. And you ain’t a traitor. Ah ain’t a traitor.” She hoped not at least. “The X-Men and the Brotherhood are like different sides of the same coin. We both want the same things, we just go about it real different, is all.” This was Magneto talking, she was sure of it. Yet the sentence rang true in her mind. Oh, my. His memories must be rubbing off on me, she thought with internal derision. Pyro for his part seemed to contemplate the reassurances she had just given him.
“Pyro, why is Magneto always ordering you around? He treats you like his servant.”
“It’s not like that. I mean I follow his orders but it’s different than being his servant. It’s nice to be told what to do sometimes. I never grew up with parents like you did. I was always in and out of foster care. It sucked majorly. I was always acting up for attention, still am I guess. Even with the X-Men I didn’t get much better because that place ran on an honor code. But with Magneto I can’t screw up too much. He won’t accept it. I like the discipline. It’s good for me.” Rogue was a bit shocked Pyro would reveal so much about himself to her so quickly. She missed the times they used to spend together in the mansion with Bobby, a carefree group of friends, before all that had come to pass sent them each separate ways.
“Okay I answered your question. You answer mine. What’s with you and the master of magnetism?”
“Um… I guess he has the hots for me.” Rogue forked her chicken salad uncomfortably.
“But it ain’t one sided, right?” He prodded.
“Why do ya even want to know?” She snapped back rudely.
“I have a bet going with Multiple Man about it. He says you’re not into Magneto; but I know you better than he does. Come on Rogue, which is it?”
“Well…” She began and she let out a big breath, readying herself to tell the painful truth. “It’s crazy but I guess I’m a little attracted to the fact that he’s the only one who can touch me without getting hurt.”
“I knew it.” Pyro’s hand slapped the counter in triumph. Rogue and him had talked more after that, till she had padded away to go to her room, still wearing Magneto’s ebony black gloves on her hands. Pyro had sat alone for a few more minutes till he too vacated the kitchen.
Hearing the kitchen door close again, Magneto hoped to find it empty. He had walked in then and opened the freezer door to remove a pre-chilled stainless steel martini glass. With practiced movements he poured himself 3 ounces of his $58 bottle of Belvedere Polish Vodka. He could not take much more of this infernal waiting. He wanted Rogue in his bed. He wanted to take her now. Violently. Every minute in his study alone with her was driving his need to unparalleled heights. The idea that she knew all that he had gone through in his long life only increased his interest in her. But he valiantly resisted, wanting her to come to him first. He would accept nothing less than her complete surrender of her fear. Erik wanted her to be his lover on equal terms.
Author’s Notes: I’m not sure if I explained well enough why Rogue is attracted to Magneto, but gosh it’s so hot that she is. The mind map and Magneto’s sessions with Rogue are based on very limited internet research. Anyone with knowledge of psychology is welcome to offer feedback about how to improve that section. I also don’t know what Pyro’s background is so I made one up. Pyro’s conversation with Rogue may not be my strongest point. Tell me if it works.
Also thanks to Jeri Kojak for her recommendations on the accent scene. And a note on the death threats I have received. I will try to take them as a compliment and hope that you meant it in jest. I cannot promise to update with the same speed I have been keeping up till this point. I do, occasionally, have a social life. And this chapter would have been posted ten hours earlier if ff dot net, our beloved unstable behemoth of a site, did not crap out every other day.
Will Rogue sleep with Magneto in our next installment? That’s for me to know and you, my dear readers, to guess. Go to Chapter 16