So your author was confronted by her real life friends today who asked where she has been the last week. She replied: “I’ve been busy with some real important stuff,” not knowing how to explain she was writing her magnum opus, and that it was (gasp!) about the X-Men, and (gasp!) about a pairing between Rogue and Magneto. Exactly how does one explain the irresistible urge to ship M/R to others? I certainly don’t know. But this story has taken over my life. I need to stop writing, it takes up almost every minute of my day, but I’ve never been happier. In one week, I have written 37,192 words.
Chapter Sixteen: Chateaubriand con Vino Brodo
Magneto and Rogue:
Life with the Brotherhood of Mutants was not what Rogue had expected. She had been led to believe the Brotherhood was the heartless, militaristic version of the X-men, where all the warmth and camaraderie of her former school was replaced by pragmatism and the ruthless pursuit of mutant supremacy. However, this was not the case at all. Rather, the Brotherhood had an atmosphere much like the mansion, perhaps even more open and friendly. There was none of the competition and gossip that ran rampant throughout Xavier’s School.
At the mansion, everyone had been trying to prove they were worthy to be X-men; whereas at the Brotherhood everyone seemed to know their place. Each member had their own jobs and areas of expertise. Rogue found they spent much of their day hard at work on some major plan of Magneto’s that she purposefully avoided asking about. If she didn’t know what they were doing, she couldn’t be an accomplice, right? She wasn’t so sure. Mystique was the unofficial second in command, and when any one of them did not wish to disturb Magneto, which was often, they came to her. Magneto was looked upon with more than reverent fear and respect. He was their messiah, their savor. It was never spoken aloud but Rogue saw it in the way they worked so diligently; completely trusting his vision.
There was an odd dynamic to be living with the Brotherhood, but not part of the Brotherhood. When she was spending time with Magneto, there was never a question of what her place was or why she was there. She was there to learn how to control her mutation and he was helping her to do so. But why he was doing her such a favor was a topic of much curiosity throughout the Brotherhood. And when Rogue ate her meals with them or hung out in the common room she often felt their eyes on her. What was their charismatic leader doing helping such a pitiful mutant? It didn’t help matters that she walked around wearing his oversized black gloves everyday.
The Brotherhood’s day to day life ran quite smoothly. The island fortress was far larger than she had first perceived it to be and she estimated there were over 30 mutants who lived somewhat regularly within its walls. Many more mutants came and left again; out to do Magneto’s bidding throughout the country. Meals were served in a larger dining area off the kitchen. Catalyst prepared the meals, as she was able to cook them to completion in mere seconds. Occasionally, Pyro or Magneto would relieve her from kitchen duty; but Pyro’s meals were a dissatisfying affair, as he tended to burn everything.
Magneto, on the other hand cooked a splendid meal a few weeks into her stay. He was a master with marinades and a sultan of sauces. His Chateaubriand con vino brodo had been a delight to behold and through out the meal Rogue had done her best to savor its succulent juices and complex spices that danced on her tongue. Dining with the Brotherhood’s other members she had eaten dinner that night sitting next to Pyro with Magneto and Mystique across from her. The Brotherhood’s meals were usually friendly and talkative, especially if Multiple Man was feeling like playing one of his pranks. But that evening no one had spoken. Everyone had been silent and sober. Rogue thought it was because of how delicious the meal was. And she couldn’t help but wonder why no one thanked Erik for cooking it.
“Well, if y’all ain’t gonna say it, Ah guess Ah oughta. This is a delicious meal Magneto. Thank you.” Rogue realized as the words left her mouth she had made a terrible mistake. Everyone stopped in mid chew and looked at her. Even the mutants dining at other tables turned her way. Something was very wrong.
“What did I tell you about learning proper respect for the English language? Your blatant disregard for correct diction and pronunciation is an affront to the land of your birth and to me.” Magneto had stood up from his seat at the table and glared down at her, his nostrils flared with wrath. Rogue was reminded of his harsh demeanor as he loaded her into the Machine. With uncontained fury, he commanded the chair she sat in to rise a few feet above the floor. His powers were returning nicely now and the chair, even with her weight in it, was no task to levitate.
“I will try to speak good – er, well.” She corrected herself quickly fearing to upset him further. He had set her down after that and she had audible let out a sigh of relief.
“I was not going to include you in this, but you have given me no choice. Come everyone. We leave immediately.” The mutants began to rise from their seats, leaving Magneto’s wonderful meal on their plates and filing for the door. Rogue walked beside Pyro.
“What’s going on? Where’s he takin’ us?” She whispered to him, fearful to speak.
“Haven’t you heard?” Pyro said. Rogue shook her head in reply.
“We’re going on a mutantitarian aid mission.” Pyro told her. She looked confused. “Its like humanitarian but we’re mutants.” She understood then.
“Why is everyone in such a bad mood?” There was something wrong and she felt so horribly out of the loop.
“You’ll see,” was all Pyro said back to her. She felt her stomach tighten in a wave of anxiety. She was not sure she wanted to see what this mission entailed.
In the end, only five mutants loaded into the helicopter: Magneto, Mystique, Pyro, Juggarnaut, and herself. The mutants left at the fortress helped to ready the helicopter and prepare it for flight, including the stowing of several metal crates of equipment. Later, Rogue heard Multiple Man rallying information back and forth to Magneto who sat next to Mystique who was piloting the chopper.
Throughout the flight, Rogue listened to Juggarnaut whose barely contained fury had him uttering unfinished threats. They went as follows:
“When I get my hands on that guy…”
“Just wait till I rip him into pieces.”
“I’ll show him what…”
Rogue kept glancing at Pyro throughout the flight, hoping he would give her some clue as to what was going on, but he remained mute and looked away from her probing eyes. The flight lasted an undeterminable amount of time to Rogue. She felt it might have been two or three hours, but she could not be sure. They finally landed in what appeared to be a clearing surrounded by pine trees. She couldn’t be certain it was pitch black out.
The small group dismounted from the chopper and proceed to trudge about two miles through the pine needle lain forest. They stopped when they saw lights in the distance. Rogue spotted and easily discerned the low lying rectangular shape of a mobile home. Their destination had been a trailer park and from what Rogue could see it was a very run down one.
The group approached it, moving closer stealthily until they were only a few feet from the trailer and Rogue could hear the TV blaring from inside. Magneto raised his hand and the trailer began to shake a little. She saw him close his eyes and clench his jaw. His hand shook violently as the trailer raised itself off of its foundation. She could him see him straining with the effort, and Rogue felt a pang of pity for the man who once levitated several cars with ease before her eyes. The trailer tipped over and the ground shook with a thunderous quake. Magneto began to crush the aluminum trailer like a tin can as Juggarnaut took off with pounding bounds to the trailer.
Lights came on in other trailers and shouts could be heard from neighbors who had been alarmed by the commotion. No one paid them any heed. Juggarnaut returned dragging a wiry, balding man of perhaps late thirties wearing nothing more than his bathroom behind him. When Magneto saw them return, he turned to Pyro and nodded. Rogue could see Pyro’s wicked smile even in the dark as he flicked open his lighter and unleashed wave after wave of roaring flames onto the overturned trailer. They left it burning as they walked back into the woods; Juggarnaut roughly dragging the man behind him by his arm.
When they got back to the clearing, Rogue had to shield her eyes. She couldn’t watch as Pyro systematically burned half of his body, while Juggarnaut pummeled the other with punches that dislocated the mans’ shoulders. Rogue looked at Magneto with questions in her eyes but he said nothing to her, his gaze hard and unyielding. She listened as the man screamed and screamed into the black night and Rogue prayed that someone would hear and stop this torture. Just when Rogue thought the man could not possibly last any longer, Juggarnaut and Pyro stepped away from him. Magneto stood in front of the man and levitated a dagger she had not known he had above the man’s prone form.
“For Carly.” And Magneto commanded the dagger down to sink deep into the mans’ crotch. His scream hit hard upon Rogue’s hears and she felt tears stream down her eyes. They left him there in the field and boarded the helicopter again. Rogue thought she would vomit from the sight of the man’s destroyed body left in taters in the field.
When she sat back down in the helicopter seat, she hugged herself and tried her best to stifle her sobs. Wordlessly, Magneto handed her a newspaper clipping. By the dim overhead light in the chopper, Rogue read about the rape and mutilation of an orphaned nine year old mutant girl by a man known as Gabriel Druckenmiller. Druckenmiller had several past offences against mutants, and the proof was overwhelming in the case. However, the police had gathered some of the evidence in the case without a warrant and he been let off without so much as a trial. The girl was beaten to within an inch of her life and was still recovering in a nearby hospital.
Only ten minutes later the helicopter landed again on a landing pad next to a small rural hospital. Mystique was the only one who stepped out. Rogue watched as she transformed herself into an older, breaded doctor complete with white lab coat. They waited about 15 minutes in the chopper for Mystique to return. During that time, Rogue felt the silence weighing upon her. She shifted in her seat till she could tap Magneto on the shoulder, he turned around to look at her tear stained face. She handed him back the newspaper clipping.
“Thank you,” she said and Erik knew she understood. His eyes didn’t seem as cold then, and she saw what she felt were tears in his eyes.
Mystique returned cradling a sleeping girl in her arms. Carly as Rogue knew the girl to be instantly, had curly dark brown hair and wore only a thin hospital gown. Mystique told Rogue to open one of the crates at the back of the copter and she did so. Rogue pulled out a thick fleece blanket and Mystique handed the sleeping girl to Rogue, who wrapped her tightly in it. During the flight back, Rogue held the girl in her arms, keeping her warm against her body. She studied the girl’s young face, careful to make sure she did not come in contact with her deadly skin. Looking at how fragile and innocent Carly seemed Rogue felt a growing pang of maternal feelings.
As the helicopter began the long flight back to the Brotherhood’s island fortress, Rogue thought about many things. She held Carly in her arms and began to wonder if her views about the Brotherhood were biased by her time spent as an X-Man. Yes, Magneto had nearly killed her for his dream, but she was beginning to understand desperate times called for desperate measures.
Catalyst had taken Carly and kept her in her lab. She still needed medical treatment and Catalyst had promised to use her mutation to expedite the girl’s natural healing process. Rogue was concerned for the young girl and checked on her often.
The next day saw Rogue in Magneto’s study working on controlling her mutation again as though nothing had happened. She was waiting for him to break the tension between them; but he remained unwaveringly grave throughout their work. Finally, as she was getting up to leave and end their session; he stopped her.
“Here,” he thrust a book into her hand. She looked at it as though it might bite her. The title read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. “It is the play on which My Fair Lady is based. I thought you might appreciate it.” Rogue knew this was Erik’s way of asking for forgiveness for his outburst last night. She accepted the book with a tiny smile and walked back to the sofa.
Rogue reclined on the sofa and read the play straight through to the end as the roaring fire kept her warm. She must have fallen asleep at some point, because she awoke several hours later with a chenille blanket draped over her.
Author’s Notes: Congratulations to Kristina for being the 50threviewer. I only thought I would get maybe 5 people to read this story since it features such an odd pairing. But your reviews keep me going and give me the strength I need to keep writing this. Let me know what you think of this chapter.
Rogue is beginning to like the Brotherhood. Rogue is beginning to gain control over her mutation. Magneto is beginning to get all his powers back. Things are coming along quite nicely. Go to Chapter 17