This chapter advances the plot more and brings the Brotherhood to meet the X-Men. Sadly there’s no smut in this one, but you’ll love it anyway. Or at least I hope you will.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Chewy Eggs
Pyro brought her to him. She had been raving again about someone stealing all her cigars. She had blamed Juggarnaut and tried to attack him using claws she did not have. Luckily, Pyro had been there and stopped her before the situation got out of hand. Pyro was getting better at predicting when the other memories in her mind would take over. He knew when Rogue was Rogue and when she was someone else. Her eyes would glaze over for a second and then her whole posture would change. The change would be sudden and her symptoms would last any where from a few minutes to several hours.
Whenever Erik couldn’t watch her Pyro would be with her. Marie didn’t seem to understand what all the fuss was about. When one of the personalities in her head took over she never remembered anything she did. She was Logan frequently as he was one of the strongest presences in her head since she had absorbed him three times. Marie would be fine one minute and the next Magneto would see her sniff the air and scratch the back of her hand where claws that weren’t there would have sprung from. It was unnerving.
It had been two weeks since he had talked to Professor Kojak and attempted to contact Storm to be allowed to visit the X-Men mansion. Professor Kojak had not been wrong, there were too many memories in Rogue’s head and her condition was worsening. Magneto relieved her of her duties to the Brotherhood so she could rest and take it easy, but that only annoyed her more. She hated every minute she wasn’t working and contributing. She hated not being useful and it caused her to wander aimlessly throughout the island fortress listless and bored.
The most unsettling incident occurred one morning at breakfast when several of the mutants were dining together in the room off the kitchen. Magneto sat across from Rogue has he always did, their relationship or whatever it was between them, was common knowledge and most of the mutants allowed them their space in respect to Magneto’s position of leadership. Pyro was eating with them as he was a good friend of Rogue’s and delighted in making Magneto feel uncomfortable. He would remind him through subtle hints of the day he had caught them together. Magneto wasn’t sure exactly why he tolerated Pyro’s presence or his persistent annoyance. It was most likely because he saw how much potential the boy had.
That morning they had been having omelets or what were supposed to omelets. They were really just scrambled eggs with assorted fixings. Catalyst was a fast cook but not an exemplary one. The eggs tasted fine but she never got over-easy or sunny-side-up to come out right. It was a small issue and no one ever called her on it. Rogue always liked her eggs spicy and added some salsa to them for the flavor. Pyro liked his eggs well-cooked and added generous quantities of pepper and Monterey cheese to them. Erik’s were plainer. He only added several pieces of German bratwurst chopped into his eggs.
Rogue had been picking at her eggs, pushing them around her plate not very interested in eating them. She picked up her cup of orange juice and her hand stopped midway in bringing it to her lips. She paused for several seconds holding the juice and Erik and John watched her. Her brown eyes clouded over and she seemed to stare past them for a minute at something only in her mind. Erik tried to catch her before she got lost amongst the flotsam and jetsam of her mind.
“Marie. Rogue. Stay here. Please, Marie.” He begged his hand reaching out to hold hers across the table.
When she moved again her whole demeanor changed. Her lips fell from their usual half smile to leave a somber frown in their place. Her eyes grew dark and deep with unseen tragedy. Her shoulders slumped and her posture assumed a subordinate, broken shape even as her eyes seemed to command with a knowing, fierce glare. She looked into the orange juice cup and then drank it, sipping slowly. She put it down and crossed her arms, rubbing her hands up and down them trying to keep warm. Then she went back to eating the eggs with a solemn slow pace.
Pyro and Magneto looked on knowing that she was not their friend in that moment but unsure who she had become. Rogue stopped eating, but starred at her food and then looked up at Erik, her eyes unnaturally cold and haunted. She motioned to her plate.
“It was nice of him to let us use him.” She took another bite of eggs chopping it thoroughly as though the eggs were especially chewy. “There wasn’t much meat on him but it should last us to Monday if the guards do not find his body.” She cut the eggs using her knife, pressing hard into them, cutting around a bone that wasn’t there. She had a guttural German accent that was several octaves deeper than her usual speaking voice. “If I go before you, you’re welcome to eat me.” She looked down at her own body. “I only wish I weighed a bit more so I might be a decent meal for everyone.”
Erik looked on in abject horror remembering this conversation by heart from so many long distant years ago. He couldn’t stand to watch her remembering just how the flesh of his friend had tasted in his mouth: chewy and difficult to swallow. Oh god, she was him, when he had been in the concentration camp at the end of the war. They had been beyond starving and had lived off of shoe leather for weeks until their numbers began to thin and the living started to eat the dead.
Erik stood up from the table swiftly half crazed from his own memory and half from knowing Marie was suffering under it as well. He moved so fast he knocked his chair over and disturbed the table’s contents as he clutched Rogue’s hands in his own. He looked at Pyro.
“John, help me! Please, please!” His voice cracked and it had none of its usual deep resonance. Erik’s eyes were watering and Pyro felt his stomach sink as he remembered the numbers tattooed on his mentor’s left forearm. He hugged Rogue around her waist and ushered her out of the room. The other dining mutants looked on stunned by the incident. It was dead silent as they left.
They helped Rogue to his study and laid her upon the couch where she shivered against a chill that was from over 60 years ago. Erik started a fire to try to warm her and Pyro got her a blanket but it was useless when she was lost like this in the memory.
“Get Professor Kojak on the phone. Tell her we need her help immediately.” Pyro ran over to his desk and began dialing. Erik went to Rogue’s side as she scratched her head to ease the itch of lice that did not exist. Erik held her against him, trying to comfort her, praying his presence, the feel of his body against hers would be enough to cut through the madness.
“Do you think my mother is alright? I talked to Greta through the fence yesterday and she said they were moving some of the older women to a new camp. Do you think my mother will be one of them?” Rogue held her hand up to cup her mouth as though whispering a secret. “I’ve heard rumors that they never take anyone to new camps, that they just…” Rogue’s voice trailed off as she shook with anger in his arms, thrashing about while Erik tried to contain her.
“If they do that to my mother so help me, I will get them. I will not rest till I have killed every one of them. They will fear me. Everyone will fear me. They should you know. I…” Marie looked up at him, and her voice lowered till he could not hear her. He didn’t need to as he remembered exactly what he had said next. “I can do things to metal. I’m not like everyone else. I’m not weak. They can’t get away with treating my people like this. I will fight them. I’ll fight them and I’ll never stop.”
Erik remembered that moment of his life perfectly in his head as though he was still there whispering to the man in the cot next to him. He remembered that moment so well because every day after that moment had been infinitely easier. Watching as his mother was torn from him, knowing she was going to die soon in the gas chambers that were dark rumors spreading around the camp had hardened him into the iron he so loved. In that instant he did not just start to love metal; he became it. He willed himself to be as tough and as unyielding as his love. He looked up at the iron bars of the camp’s gate that had been replaced after he had twisted them and hardened himself so that like metal he would not bend to the Nazi’s will. He would not allow himself to break. He would be metal. Everyday of his life after that fateful day when he ceased to be Erik Lensherr and began his life as Magneto was easier.
Pyro walked back to see Erik holding Marie’s shaking form as sobs racked her body. She cried so hard she started into a coughing fit and began to cough up blood, just as Erik had done so long ago.
“She’s coming. Professor Kojak’ll be in a few hours she says. She’s in Boston right now.” Erik looked up at John and tears were streaming from his gray blue eyes. He had just relived the darkest moment of his life through the eyes of the woman he loved.
Magneto and Storm:
While Professor Kojak had tended to Rogue and her over-burdened mind, Magneto wasted no time in calling Charles’ School. If the only way to help Marie was to get the information from Charles’ computer, he would get it so help him, if he had to tear the mansion apart by its steel frame. This time Ororo Monroe answered the phone.
“Hello, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Ms. Monroe speaking.” Storm’s voice was silky soft through the receiver. It grated on Erik’s nerves. This had become an urgent matter and her calm bothered him.
“Hello, Ororo. It’s Erik.” That caused Storm to sit up straight in her desk chair. She hadn’t expected to pick up the phone and talk to Magneto, the man who had once been Erik Lensherr to her. Storm had spent much of her youth at the mansion and when she was younger Mr. Lensherr had lived there as well. His was a gruff but congenial presence. All that changed when he left to become Magneto and Storm would have preferred if she never had to see him again. Her voice reflected these sentiments.
“Why are you calling Magneto?”
“I have an important matter to discuss with you.” He paused trying to figure out the best way to broach the subject so that she might agree with him. “It has to do with young Rogue.”
“Okay, I’m listening.” Storm did not sound too patient however, and Magneto hoped he would not have to do this the hard way.
“She needs information from her medical records. I know Charles used to keep such information in his private files. Is there a chance she may look at them?”
“I’ve told Rogue before the Professor’s files are locked and no one can access them. What’s this really about Magneto?”
“It is just what I have told you. Is no one able to access them or you won’t let them?” Storm hesitated before answering him; she didn’t believe him for one second.
“They are on his personal computer and its password protected. No one knows the password.” Erik smiled. If he remembered correctly and Charles was as negligent about changing his password as Erik believed him to be…
“I do. I know it.”
Rogue and Magneto:
Storm had reluctantly agreed to let him have access to Charles’ files on the condition that he unlock the computer so that she and her fellow X-Men could retrieve them as well. It had been horrendous trying to file a tax return for the institute without the Professor’s financial records. Storm would have let Magneto take the X-Jet for a spin if it meant she didn’t have to itemize their receipts again.
The next day found the mutants of the Brotherhood loading up the helicopter. Magneto, Rogue, and Professor Kojak were all going along with Mystique who would serve as their pilot. Pyro was tagging along. He never mentioned why he wanted to go but it was obvious to Rogue he missed the mansion and his old friends, particularly Bobby. Catalyst was coming to offer her medical opinion and Juggarnaut was accompanying them in case Storm reneged and Magneto had to do things the hard way. Also, with the growing war between mutants and humans it never hurt to travel with some extra muscle.
Rogue was feeling better that day. Like all the incidents before she had no memory of what had happened yesterday. All she remembered was waking up in Erik’s arms on the sofa in his study to see tears in his eyes. She hated what was happening to her; the way all the memories in her mind were slowly bleeding out. She couldn’t control when they took over and Rogue hated not being in control of her mutation. Just when she thought her mutation might finally be of use to her this had to happen. Marie was angry and forced herself to be angrier still. Being angry felt better then being afraid and she was very afraid she might be losing her mind for good.
Magneto remained concerned about Rogue despite Professor Kojak’s repeated assurances that she would be able to help her. He watched Marie the entire flight waiting for the telltale sign of her eyes glazing over but it never appeared. She was herself today. If not for his dire need to help Rogue, Magneto never would have set foot in the mansion again. It brought back too many painful memories of his failed relationship and friendship with Charles. Then, there was the open animosity between the X-Men and the Brotherhood that he hated. Erik believed the two organizations should have been working together rather than fighting as they both had mutants’ best interests at heart. However things had not worked out at all how Erik had planned.
Magneto hoped to gain access to the plans for Cerebro from Charles’ computer. He had been integral in building it once and with Charles’ knowledge of the psychological components he might be able to recreate it one day. Magneto could imagine many ways in which Cerebro could be beneficial to his campaign to take Australia. Even the lure of the plans for Cerebro on their own would not have been enough to cause Erik to visit the mansion. No, he was doing this for Marie, no matter how unpleasant the trip might be. Now that Marie was ill he regretted that he had tried to distance himself from her. It weighed badly on his conscience and he wished he could take back giving her the cold shoulder. Helping Marie to heal was the least he could do for her.
There were many reasons Erik did not relish the coming meeting with the X-Men. For one, he had no interest in seeing the Wolverine again. After their last encounter in the Albany International Airport hanger when Wolverine had caught Rogue and him in an embrace, Erik was not looking forward to facing again the man that had gone into a jealous rage over his actions. Erik and Marie’s relationship had moved far, far, far beyond the juvenile make-out stage and he worried what the Wolverine’s reaction would be this time if he was to find out. Although not the smartest individual, the Wolverine was not a fool. Something told Erik he would know exactly what was going on between Rogue and himself.
Worse, Erik worried what Marie’s reaction would be if her former peers found out about her relationship with him. It was one thing for them to be so open at the Brotherhood, where his word was law, and they were respected because of his position of leadership. But what would the X-Men’s reaction be should they find out? It was unlikely they would be tolerant and accepting of a relationship which on the surface seemed so bizarre and out of place. Erik wondered if Marie was ashamed of their relationship.
She had never done anything to indicate that she was. But they had not been very open with each other for some time. Again, Erik regretted trying to pull away from her. He knew that she was safer if he did; that it was better for the cause. But he felt like he was fighting an uphill battle. He wanted her to be more to him than just a lover; he wanted her to be his equal. Something about her, the striking contrast between himself and her, intrigued him and fascinated him. On the surface they had nothing in common, but underneath they both had been through the same struggles with their mutation and both had the same desire for power and for control. They understood one another; understood why they could not be content to accept their fate as outcasts, live by others’ rules, or love simply.
If Rogue was embarrassed by their relationship it would hurt Erik. He secretly wanted her to be proud of it. He wanted her to defy convention for him. He had seen her rise to Mystique’s challenge and it had given his heart a thrill to see her fight for him. Was it so wrong that he wanted her not to be ashamed to love him? He wanted her to stand up for their relationship despite all that stood against it. But if she was to ever do that, Erik knew he would have to do it first.
The helicopter flew over the mansion and its grounds and Rogue could see the place had changed since she had left. Security had been heightened with the growing mutant human conflict; there was a barbed wire fence, lined with security camera encircling the grounds. The helicopter landed in a field past Storm’s garden and the Brotherhood filed out of the helicopter to see Storm, Beast, and Wolverine waiting to greet them. Rogue could see many of the younger mutants’ faces pressed against the window glass of the common room, watching their arrival.
Storm looked distrustful as she took in the sight of the hulky Juggarnaut. She felt a little better when she saw that Magneto did not have his full combat suit on; he was dressed in a dark grey business suit and his black fedora hat sat on his head. It comforted her to know that he was not wearing his helmet. However, she didn’t know it sat waiting in the helicopter. Magneto was always prepared for the worst, if it should come to that. Beast attempted to be civil.
“Welcome, Magneto. Let me apologize that our last meeting was not on better terms.” Magneto had to repress a scowl at Beast’s words. He had been the one to stab him with four shots of the Cure.
“Do not worry. I am completely recovered,” and Magneto strode past him to reveal the helicopter floating several feet above the ground. As the group made its way into the mansion he set it gracefully back down. The Wolverine refused to greet him and did not look at him. Logan only had eyes for Marie who came running to embrace him in a hug.
Logan looked exactly the same to Rogue as when she had left. His healing ability kept him from ever aging and his stubborn bad taste kept him from ever changing his hair style. Rogue, however, looked very different in Logan’s eyes. Her ability to control her mutation had allowed her to permanently change her clothing style and she had on a pair of shorts and a sleeveless tank top with the words “IN THE HOOD” written across the chest.
Logan had spent the intervening months worrying about Rogue, at times so much he’d considered going after her. It never occurred to him that he had little chance of winning a fight with Magneto; that has never stopped him from trying before. He knew she had gone to seek his help with her mutation, but he had had a gut feeling Magneto was tricking her, lying to her. As the months went by with no word, he tried to imagine how she was doing. Nightmares of her joining the Brotherhood and facing him in battle played out in his head. Other times he dreamed that Magneto is using her, hurting her again and he had felt an irresistible impulse to try to rescue her. And then there are the unspeakable nightmares where he remembers Marie passionately kissing Magneto in the airport office and he imagined the price Magneto might charge for teaching her about her mutation. He is relieved to see her alive and in one piece, looking none the worse for wear. In fact, she looked better than before.
He took in the sight of her; her long two-toned hair flowing behind her as she ran to greet him. She has curves Logan hadn’t remembered. All the time spent with Erik between her legs have made her more flexible and widened her hips from those of a teen to a woman. She now has an hourglass figure that Logan, as a man, cannot tear his eyes away from. He tells himself not to look at her like that. But it is impossible not to notice her ample breasts, her narrow waist, flat stomach, generous hips, and round butt. When she hugs him and presses her lithe figure into him he has to fight back an urge that has never existed before in their older-brother-younger-sister relationship. Logan is forced to acknowledge that his ‘kid’ may not be much of a kid anymore.
“Logan!” She says happily as she hugs him tightly, unafraid of hurting him. There would be no more light, cautious hugs between them now that Rogue could stop the pull of her powers. She stood on her tip-toes and gave Logan a kiss on the cheek, he waited to feel the pull but it didn’t come. He looked at her as if she had grown two heads. He smiled and blushed after a few seconds.
“I can control it Logan! Erik taught me how. Isn’t it great?” She is overflowing with joy, proud to share her happiness with him. Erik watches the two, momentarily jealous over Rogue’s friendliness with the Wolverine. He dismisses it, in light of the pride she takes in explaining her newfound abilities. Logan wants to smile back but his mind catches on the slight slip.
“Oh, so it’s Erik now.” He says, a stiff gruffness creeping into his voice. Marie has no way to explain this away; she looks off to the side for a moment and then changes the subject.
“I can’t stop it forever, but I can keep from hurting someone for a full ten minutes now.” She lets an enthusiasm fill her voice, trying to hide her discomfort from his previous statement.
“That’s terrific, Marie. I’m happy for you. But is everything alright? Why do you need to see Wheels’ old records?” She has anticipated this question and already knows she is going to lie to him. She doesn’t want to worry him with the truth so she tells a small white lie.
“Magneto wants to help me get rid of all the extra memories floating around in my head. Ya know I got a lot of you in there. I think I know everything about you like three times over. I probably know more about you than you do.” She laughs nervously, wondering if he can see the worry in her eyes. The question floats in the back of her mind: what if Magneto can’t help me to get rid of the memories? What if I can’t stop the memories from taking over? Logan, however, looks convinced and takes her at her word.
“He’s really trying to help you here. He’s not manipulating you or using you? I’m sorry, Marie but I find it hard to believe.”
“No, he’s not. He’s not like that. You should give him a chance Logan. He’s…” Marie’s voice trails off as she tries to think of the best way to phrase what she’s about to say. Erik, from his position chatting with Storm and Beast looks over intent on hearing what she says to the Wolverine. He can hear his heart pound in his chest as he waits for her to finish. “Y’all should give him a chance. He’s not what ya think he is. He’s a good man; he just does things that ain’t so good sometimes.” Logan looked skeptical. Erik felt a wave of joy at Marie’s defense. Logan sniffed the air around Rogue as the group began to file into the mansion and out of the August heat.
“You smell like Magneto. You’re wearing the same cologne as him.” He said, his eyes meeting hers with a knowing gaze.
“Do we?” She laughed nervously, looking away. “It must be from our clothes getting washed together.”
Notes: So I hope the cannibalism bit wasn’t too much of a gross out. I was going for the shock value. I have no idea if that sort of thing went on in concentration camps, though I imagine the horrors in them were even worse then that.
I know Rogue should speak German while lost in Erik’s memories, but I wanted Pyro to understand what she was saying so he would be upset too. Also ignore all the time inconsistencies. I made Erik 67 because Ian McKellen is that age. But if he was a young boy, say 11, during the Holocaust that would put him well into his late seventies by today and that didn’t seem to fit his character.
Catalyst is tagging along just because the author wants to include her in the upcoming fight. Yeah, I am blatantly inserting myself but it’s cute and fun, so shut up. And unlike my character, I can actually cook a good omelet. But I tend to just make scrambled eggs with fixings instead.
XChocolateChipX, my beloved R&R gal, did you notice how I wrote in your suggestion? Rogue’s going to show Magneto just how much she isn’t ashamed of their relationship soon.
Preview: They open the files on the Professor’s computer. What do they contain? A bevy of secrets about our X-Men and the Brotherhood. Everyone’s got something to hide, but it’s not going to stay hidden much longer.