willowaus: (rogue magneto confrontation)
Jess ([personal profile] willowaus) wrote2007-09-04 04:19 pm

Fic: Keys to the Kingdom, Part Two (Rogue, Magneto, T)

Title: Keys to the Kingdom, Part Two
Author: [livejournal.com profile] willowaus
Character/Pairing: Magneto, Rogue, people of Genosha
Verse: 616
Rating: T
Word Count: 4000+
Summary: What if Rogue had decided to stay and help out with the building of Genosha?
A/N: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] resolute for the beta.



Okay. Breathe. Deep steady breaths. I can do this. Rogue surveyed the building, ignoring for a moment the crowd gathering behind her, watching her closely. I can do this. "Rogue?" Ferris asked, interrupting her thoughts.

"One second," she muttered, walking towards the building, rising a few feet into the air. Right. She turned around and nodded to Ferris, listening to him explain the structural work that would need to be done first. She had him relay the information to the work group that had been formed, their precise mutant abilities allowing them to accomplish the job easily. There. Not bad. Though, honestly what had she done?

Rogue walked back towards the office she'd gutted out of what had once been a dental hygienist's. Pleased to be away from Ferris, even if it would only last a few moments. She'd been here, in Genosha, for a little over a month and so far what she'd wanted to happen was. The mutates were getting repaired places to live. Nothing fancy. Not now. It was important first to simply have enough roofs for the hundreds of thousands of mutates crammed into this city. All living in collapsing complexes.

Not anymore.

Now they'd have complexes that...weren't crumbling. She frowned, pushing open the office door and moving towards her desk, waving to the mutates meandering around her office. Eventually, there would be time to create spectacular buildings. Homes. But right now, her focus was survival. Such as how was she supposed to provide enough food when she was being told the stores would probably be gone by next Friday.

She'd avoided going to Magneto for as long as possible. It was about time she had Ferris find his master. "We have another family. Ten in all." Rogue looked up and nodded at Zenia, the young mutate who had taken over creating a list of all mutates currently in the city.

"Ten? Where've they been?" she asked, watching the girl shrug.

"Hiding. Waiting to see if the fighting would actually stop." Zenia began sorting through the papers and Rogue grinned, knowing the task was made easier by the two extra hands the girl had. "And there may be another pocket dwelling in a far corner of the city. Keanu and Shakandria are looking into it."

"We have another building being gutted. That should allow at least a hundred to leave the camps." Rogue frowned, wishing the process would move faster.

"Rogue." Rogue did not like the grim expression on the girl's face. "The estimate for the stores was slightly off."

"How long do we have?"

"Two days." Rogue groaned at the answer.

"Okay. Thanks, Zenia." Rogue waited until the woman left and rubbed her temples. Talking with Magneto was going to need to be moved up.

"Rogue!" Ferris swept into the office, his speed letting her know he was not happy. Well, as unhappy as a robot could be.

She gave a little wave, showing him she was safe and shuffled the papers. "Magneto ordered that you were not to be alone." Ferris hovered beside her, red eyes glowing brightly.

"And look, people all around me." She stifled the urge to roll her eyes. "Speaking of Magneto. I need to see him."

"I can relay the message," Ferris informed her and she had a feeling he was sending a message back to the citadel.

"Uh huh, let him know I'll be there in about an hour," Rogue replied, signing off on a few forms.

"That will not give him adequate time to prepare for our arrival." Ferris's eyes were blinking rapidly.

"That'd be his problem." Rogue turned away, filing the forms away before moving back towards the front of the room, intent on talking with a few of the mutates about their struggles before seeing the Master of Magnetism.

----------

Ferris flew beside her as she headed towards the citadel, ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of her head that she should have heeded the robot's warning. They needed food and she wasn't sure how to get it since they weren't currently allowed out of the perimeter limits. Not with the battle still raging on with the remaining Magistrate forces. Luckily, those inhabiting the city, especially in the quarters she'd been preparing were dealing less and less with the conflict. Whatever Magneto was doing, it was working. She almost didn't want to know how he was accomplishing the relative peace for them.

She settled down on a landing and began walking through the halls, her strides long and precise. The robot on her heels. "Why if it isn't the Mutate Representative." She turned to glare at Cortez. Not wanting to waste time dealing with his insufferable self.

"I'm busy, Cortez. Go play with someone else," she drawled, unsurprised to see Alda Huxley slink out of the shadows beside Fabian. She didn't trust either of them. Cortez because he was an insane, power hungry man who would gladly kill her and Huxley because there was something a little off about her, also power hungry. "Ambassador."

"I believe Magneto is busy, Rogue," Huxley told her, with her usual annoying smirk.

"That's nice." She kept walking, annoyed when they began trailing with her but forced herself to remain unreadable.

She pushed open the doors to his--what? Throne room?--and strode inside, raising her head higher as she stopped before the throne, watching him give out orders to the mutants in attendance. His Acolytes and a few key Mutates who'd earned his respect in the first few days of his reign. He stopped mid-sentence and directed a glance at her before looking at Ferris. "I shall be with you in a few moments, Rogue."

He gestured towards the door but she crossed her arms, standing her ground. "I'll stay, thanks," she told him, wanting to hear what he was having the others do.

His mouth tightened but he didn't force her out, looking back at his troops. "I expect this matter to be dealt with in two days. Do you understand?" he demanded, voice reverberating through the room.

Theatrics. She rolled her eyes, watching the others nod and leave, wondering what matter they were needing to deal with.

Fabian and Huxley were still there and Rogue sighed, unable to wait any longer. "The food stores are gonna run out in two days." She slid onto a seat across from him and rested her hands in her lap, keeping her gaze steady with him. "Something needs to be done or you will have a bunch of dead mutates. Which I'm sure you don't desire."

Magneto slammed his hand into the metal of his throne and she raised an eyebrow, refusing to show how much that scared her. "Leave us," he instructed, looking behind her, Huxley and Cortez gasping as they were unceremoniously thrown from the room. "Do not belittle me in front of my people, Rogue."

"Food stores," she reminded, tapping her fingers along the arm of the chair. "What do you propose? The food in the city is gonna run out and we need to do something. It ain't like they won't work for the food, Magneto. They don't mind working to make this place better but I ain't about to send them out past the perimeter without some...safety measures."

"We've expanded the perimeter to the east, blocking off a good deal of farming land for the city. I'm confident all of Genosha shall soon be cleansed." Rogue frowned. She really didn't like that word. Cleansed. Definitely did not bode well. "Our other source for food would be the sea bordering the west of the city. Will that suffice?"

"Any work parties I form to do shifts of farming...they will need to have protection," Rogue replied, planning out scenarios to make the job force work.

"Of course. I will have Cortez designate that as a rotation starting tomorrow. Will that do?" he asked, and she nodded, rising slowly to her feet.

"Yes. Thank you for your time," she murmured, going over lists in her head, trying to pick out who would do well with farming and who would be better suited to fishing.

"Stay a moment," Magneto told her and she looked at him, sitting back down of her own volition.

"Is there something ya needed?" Rogue asked, looking curiously at him, caught off guard.

"Ferris has kept me abreast of your accomplishments with the mutates," he informed her, leaning back against the throne. She despised the way he was able to make the small shift appear regal. "There have been a great number of repairs thanks to your leadership."

She shrugged. "They needed places to live. Somewhere better than the encampment they're crowded into. Didn't take a genius to figure that out."

His eyes narrowed, hand clamping into a fist and she raised an eyebrow, uncertain why he'd become angry. He watched her steadily. "From your expression, I take it that you did not mean that as an insult to me but for yourself," he informed her, relaxing minutely. Slowly, he stroked his chin in silent contemplation. "Have you eaten?"

"I...not recently, no. I'm sure they'll have saved something for me." She frowned, saddened that she'd have missed the nightly gathering by seeing him. It was for the greater good. She could relax and join the others tomorrow. She rose. "If I have a group ready in the morning, can you make sure Cortez has sent someone to stand guard?"

His expression seemed to shut down and he pulled himself up, watching her carefully, and nodded. "Okay, good." She offered a small smile before casting a glance towards Ferris. "They ain't gonna hurt me, so he can come back to you if'n you need him."

"No." Magneto was no longer looking at her, his focus on the robot. "He will complete his task as I instructed."

"I don't need a baby-sitter," she fumed, hands pressing angrily against her hips.

"What you do or do not need is entirely my decision, Rogue." He waved her off and she watched in disgust as Ferris rose, gliding towards the doorway. "The guards will be there when the sun rises."

"Right." She shook with barely contained anger. "Thank you," she bit out and rose, following Ferris out of the citadel. That man was infuriating. She sped towards the encampment, bypassing dinner. Pleased she'd out-flown Ferris. At least a few minutes of respite. Her room was like the rest of the mutates. She'd made sure of that, not wanting them to see her getting preferential treatment. The only luxury she'd chosen was that of a corner room. With two windows so she wouldn't feel boxed in. That was not a feeling she ever liked, especially not here.

Stripping, she pulled on the make-shift pajamas--a tank top and pj bottoms--and crawled into the bed, hearing Ferris settle outside her bedroom. Okay, maybe she was glad the robot was still with her. It wasn't that she didn't trust the mutates. She really did. But at night, her fears were stronger and all the trust she had flew out the window and left her trying not to cower under the covers. Sleep was nearly impossible. She caught it in small stretches. An hour here, two there. Never anything conducive. Eventually, she was sure, she'd merely collapse from exhaustion. She was hoping it'd happen while she was near her bed.

The problem was, she couldn't bring herself to close her eyes. Fearful of the shadows that would creep up behind her, of the memories that would be given free reign. Ferris was there. Right outside the door and she saw his shadow fall, noting his exact location. He ain't here to protect me though. Merely keep Magneto appraised of my actions. She punched the pillow. Probably just inform Magneto that I was hurt. Well, no. She doubted that. Ferris would protect her.

Night seemed to make her irrational.

She wondered if the robot reported these nightly episodes to his master before succumbing to exhaustion.

-----------

"Food stores are back at full capacity," Zenia informed her a few weeks later, dropping down in the chair across from Rogue. "And we should have a never ending supply of sea food if we keep our heads and don't overfish. Or pollute the area."

"Excellent," Rogue murmured, pursing her lips as she looked down at the papers. "We've got over three hundred children under the age of ten."

"Most of them orphans," Zenia added, and Rogue looked up, shaking her head.

"I know. They were the first we put into the renovated buildings. What have they been doing?" She taped the pen against her lip, trying to remember when she'd seen children on the streets.

"Staying inside." Zenia shrugged. "There isn't anywhere else for them to be. For them to go. They can't farm or fish, they would merely be in the way. And the streets are not safe enough for them to wander on yet."

Rogue nodded, frowning slightly. "We'll have to do something about that."

"Something about what?" Zenia bolted up at Magneto's voice, bowing. Rogue sighed in exasperation and turned in the chair, raising an eyebrow at him. "I will not repeat myself, Rogue."

"Children. Not old enough to be working or helping out really," she informed him, watching as Zenia exited the office, continuing to bow as she did so. The door closed behind her, leaving Rogue alone with Magneto. "We were discussing what to do about them. Most of them were orphaned by the constant conflict."

He sat down across from her and again she was amazed by his ability to make the dinky old chair seem like something fit for a king. Well, the mutates did call him Lord Magneto. It took all her will power not to laugh when they did. "What were your ideas?" he asked, surveying her office.

His expression was hard as stone and she frowned, trying to remember the softness she'd seen in the Savage Land, not quite able to make it out. "You interrupted before we could formulate anything." She leaned forward a little, trying to straighten up her desk before ceasing the movement. She didn't need to impress him. "A school would be ideal. We could transform the next building into one but we'd need materials. Paper, books, pencils. Desks. Art supplies. They need somewhere to play. To be free and able to act like children." She pushed herself back. "Not somewhere you teach them to be little soldiers."

Magneto glared, hand slamming down on the desk and she saw the mutates tremble outside. She wasn't all that sure if it was because of fear or in awe. "I tire of this constant need you have to--"

"Say exactly what you're thinking," she interrupted, grinning in an attempt to assuage him. "Look. Sorry. My statement was uncalled for. Chalk it up to my stress."

He was looking at her curiously and she stiffened, wondering if he was seeing how truly exhausted she was. She'd only gotten two hours of sleep before the nightmares came last night. He couldn't know though. The others she worked with daily had no idea. Magneto wouldn't be able to pick up on that. I rarely see him. She really didn't like how that thought made her stomach flip flop.

"Pick a building for your school. Supplies will be provided once you've finished it to your liking." He rose and she leaned back in the chair, overwhelmed by his presence. He took a step towards her and then seemed to rethink it, fist clenched tightly at his side. "You are accomplishing much here, Rogue."

"Doing what I can to help," she muttered, looking back down at the papers strewn before her.

He laughed, the sound low. It startled her and she looked up, staring at him as though he'd gone mad. "You do not take compliments well," he stated, and turned on his heel, expression once again hard.

Maybe she'd imagined the laugh.

She shook her head. Now wasn't time to think about that. She had a school to plan. Rogue raked a hand through her hair. This was definitely not what she'd seen herself doing when she'd agreed to stay. She wasn't sure what she'd thought her purpose would be. More along the lines of digging out quarries and helping with the building. Not the management part. It was working though. The others accepted her leadership, looking to her for decisions, coming to her for consult. She'd never thought of herself as a leader. She'd always been a free spirit, following directions or off on some tangent. Doing what she thought was right. And that's what I'm doing now. What I think's right for all of them.

She looked out at the mutates and smiled. They deserve some sort of happiness.

---------

“They widened the perimeter,” Keanu stated, enthused.



Rogue forced a smile at that information and settled down onto the tattered sofa, watching the others react. They were obviously thrilled, their moods brightening immediately. Excited conversation quickly filling the room. She let the conversation continue for a few more minutes, knowing the mutates celebrated every inch that was reclaimed by Magneto and his troops. Every time the border was widened their wish for safety was granted. With how well his troops were doing, there was little doubt in Rogue’s mind that Magneto would have the rest of the country under his control in less than a week.

She didn’t mention that. Not wanting to supply false hope. The opposing Magistrate factions were more ruthless and determined than anyone counted them being. Eventually, Rogue dissolved the discussion, bringing her handpicked council back to the reason for this particular meeting.

“The last building has been renovated. The remaining mutates can move in tomorrow,” Rogue informed them and there was a huge sigh of relief. Everyone was pleased that the less than meager encampment could be closed down. “Now, about the other camp…”

The entire room became quiet, all looking decidedly uncomfortable. “Look. I know no one wants to deal with those in that camp but we can’t simply let them fester in those conditions.” She looked at each of them, frowning when they all avoided her gaze.

“They’re dying, Rogue. Nothing can help them,” Shakandria provided, and from the rest of their nods Rogue knew they agreed with that statement.

“They ain’t dead yet.” Rogue growled. “If Dangelo was in there would you want him sleeping in the conditions they currently endure?”

“They’re sequestered so that the virus won’t spread,” Zenia reminded.

The room was entirely too tense for Rogue’s liking. “So, we should allow them to fester in their filth without running water or anything and simply die?”

None of them would look at her and she sighed, disgusted. Apparently this was something she would have to deal with alone. “Fine. Next subject,” she murmured, looking down at her pad of paper. “School progress?”

“We’ve enough supplies for them,” Keanu replied, looking at his own paper. “Attendance has been at 90%, with absences related to the illnesses that have been making the rounds. We think with the new hospital put it into place this week we’ll see attendance increase.”

“And the children?” Rogue inquired, writing a mark by school. “How are they doing?”

“They’ve gotten livelier,” Makayla, head of the school, informed her. “More color to their cheeks. The instillation of the playground was a big hit.”

Rogue smiled, remembering when Magneto had arrived a few days prior to install the playground. The children had watched in awe as metal flew around the lot, molding into different equipment. She’d smiled along with them, pleased he’d taken an active role with the mutates. Her smile had vanished as soon as he’d left, in a hurry without bothering to stay and watch the children test out the equipment.

Makayla drew a stack of papers from her coat. “The children expressed their gratitude for Lord Magneto. Would you be so kind as to give these to him?”

“Certainly,” Rogue replied, forcing another smile.

“You may hand them to me yourself, young lady,” Magneto stated, from the doorway.

The mutates scrambled to their feet, all bowing and the papers stumbled from Makayla’s hands, scattering along the floor. Rogue frowned, hating the response they had to his presence. Like peasants in front of their master. She turned and raised an eyebrow at him, wondering why he’d come to grace them with his presence.

She heard Makayla scrambling for the papers, restacking them. “What brings you to these lowly quarters, Lord Magneto?” Rogue asked, wondering if he’d pick up on the sarcasm in her point. From his glare, she suspected he had.

“Leave us,” he demanded, not breaking his gaze from her and the others scrambled out the door, the children’s artwork quickly abandoned on the floor.

“We were having a meeting.” Rogue swirled back around, scooping up the papers and setting them down on a chair. She smiled at the red and purple blob drawn with bits of silver floating around him. ‘Magneto is my hero’ written crudely beside it. “You should make appointments.”

“You do not bother to do so for me, Rogue. Therefore I will not bestow upon you that courtesy.” He didn’t bother to sit, looking around her office with an air of disdain.

That bristled her. She liked her office. It was cozy. “What do you want?” she asked, leaning back. She hoped this conversation wouldn’t take long. There were things she needed to do.

“You’ve set up a hospital,” he remarked, standing in front of her window, hands clasped behind his back.

She’d seen him do that before, back when he’d been in charge of the school. That was a lifetime ago, she reminded herself, shaking her head. “Mhm. We took what we needed from the abandoned one a few streets down. Have some things they didn’t bother using though. Like Healers.” Her fingers tapped along the side of the chair. “Its something watching them work. Amazing.”

“Hmmm.” He said nothing else for a few moments and she waited, sighing in frustration after some time. He turned and looked down at her, face unreadable. She was really beginning to hate how adept he was at doing that. Maybe he had lessons from Momma, too.”Genosha has been cleansed.”

Rogue winced, hating that term. “The various opposing factions have been dealt with and the perimeter shall be brought down,” he continued, and she nodded.

”Congratulations.” She couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Indeed. There are mutates scattered throughout the land. In the lesser cities and farming areas. Former slaves.” Magneto finally took a seat across from her and she was once again reminded of those paintings of members of the British Royals. It wasn’t fair how easily he embodied that. “Your organization here has done more than I anticipated. Very efficient.”

She didn’t say anything. Uncertain if that was a compliment. “Those who were at this meeting were the key mutates in your group. Those you entrusted to specific tasks, yes?” he asked, watching her closely.

“Yes. Couldn’t have done it without them.” She smiled, thinking of how well her team had worked.

“I will be sending them to the various areas. Instructing them to continue the work you have done here,” he informed her, and her smile vanished.

“Oh. Good.” That was good. Right?

“Time for merely surviving is over,” Magneto continued as though she hadn’t spoken. “There will be more schools installed. More than simply the necessities of life established. The United Nations believes this country—my country will not last a year. They are wrong. We will thrive without their help. Without the help of the nearby nations.”

She nodded, pursing her lips in thought. “They will see precisely what a mutant society is capable of doing,” he stated, smiling. She wasn’t sure if it was anything but frightening at the moment. “And your staff will be instrumental in that happening.”

“Glad I could have helped,” Rogue murmured, silently wondering how long it would be before he kicked her out. She’d accomplished what he obviously wanted.

He faltered in his speech, watching her carefully. “Rogue,” he said, voice uncharacteristically gentle. She wasn’t sure how to take that. “You have done a remarkable job here and they obviously look to you for guidance.”

“Ain’t exactly sure why,” she muttered, and his expression became tight, eyes narrowing in anger.

“You do not give yourself enough credit.” He rose and she watched the metal chairs beside him rattle briefly before he got himself under control. “You will still be needed. I would require you to in charge of the various factions being created. To be the middle ground and continue to be the Ambassador to the mutates. My voice to them and for them.” He looked steadily at her. “Unless you desire to leave.”

Rogue shook her head. “I’m here as long as I’m needed.”

He looked as though he was about to reply to that before shaking his head. “Gather your things.”

“Huh?” She rose, looking at him questioningly. “Why?”

“You cannot organize these factions from this little office, Rogue,” Magneto informed her. “Like the rest of my key people you will be stationed at the citadel. Ferris will bring you there by the end of the day. Do what you must to ready the others.”

“But--“ He was gone before she could finish, moving through the crowd gathered by her door and then up into the air. “Typical,” she growled, and slammed her hand into the desk.

The others were looking curiously at her and she sighed, raking a hand through her hair. Calm yourself. There was still much work to be done.

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