willowaus: (rogue magneto confrontation)
Jess ([personal profile] willowaus) wrote2007-09-06 04:58 pm

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

Title: Keys to the Kingdom, Part Three
Author: [livejournal.com profile] willowaus
Character/Pairing: Magneto, Rogue, people of Genosha
Verse: 616
Rating: T
Word Count: 4900+
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.



It hadn't been that difficult to explain what was going to happen to the others. As soon as she'd said Magneto's name they were all quickly behind the project. Rogue wondered how long it would take the people to become disillusioned with their new leader. Though, he seemed to be doing everything they wanted and none of them seemed to want more than the most simplest things in life. Safety foremost in their minds.


Not that she could blame them. After years upon years of injustice, of torture, safety would have been her number one priority as well. The move back to the citadel had been more difficult. No one was happy to see her leave, least of all her. She'd made sure to eat with them, enjoying the festivity and dragging out her time for as long as she could. But eventually everyone needed to head off to bed. There would be work in the morning. The latest building needed to be inhabited. And she would miss it. That hadn't set well with her.

Her new room in the citadel wasn't the same storage room as before. It was larger. Multiple windows and a nice, full bed. A closet. Her own bathroom. All luxuries. And yet, she still had been unable to sleep. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she knew that shouldn't have surprised her. She doubted she'd ever get a full night sleep in this country.

She slipped off the bed and exited the room, mouth tightening as Ferris followed her. She wondered idly if she could finally get rid of his constant presence. Looking back at the robot, she wasn't all that sure she wanted to. It was nice having him around. Her own body guard. The citadel had changed since last she'd been here. All signs of strife neatly erased.

Rogue wrapped her arms around her body and headed towards the balcony, pleased that it was also repaired. She pushed open the door and sat outside on the cold metal, looking out at the great expanse of land. Over to the right was the mutate colony. My home. She blinked, unable to believe she'd thought that and forced herself to turn her attention away and look at the sky.

Stars. She smiled, hugging her knees close to her body. She'd never been able to see many of these in New York. It was nice.

"Is your room not sufficient?" She stiffened at Magneto's voice. Her quiet solitude broken.

"No. Its fine," she replied, trying not to sigh. "More than fine."

"And yet you are out here." She felt him behind her, had a feeling if she turned she'd be staring at his legs. She cast a glance over shoulder. Yep.

"It's peaceful."

"And your room is not?" he inquired, moving in front of her.

"Well, it was peaceful," she muttered, sighing at his form. "My room is fine. Just wasn't tired."

He looked down at her, gaze traveling over her face. "You appear exhausted."

"Yeah, well, looks can be deceiving," she snapped, glaring at him.

He raised an eyebrow. "I did not realize commenting on your lack of sleep would make you so irate."

Rogue sighed, frustrated. She didn't reply and looked away from him, down at the floor below. She could feel his eyes on her, watching her carefully. Studying her. It was rather irritating. "You have not been sleeping," Magneto stated.

She looked up at that and jutted out her chin. Annoyed. "Ya can't tell that by looking at me."

"No, but you have just confirmed my suspicion." He was smirking. God, she'd really like to wipe that from his face. "Why is that, Rogue?"

"Ain't your problem," she snapped, grouchy. Woah. Maybe she really hadn't been getting enough sleep.

"You are in my employ, Rogue. Therefore your lack of sleep is my problem," he replied, voice icy cold.

"Right." She rose and turned quickly on her heel.

His hand on her arm stopped her and she tensed, unsure what he was doing. He turned her around. "Why are you not sleeping?" he persisted, voice gentler. Lulling.

His hand was moving up and down her arm, stroking. Soothing. She opened her mouth, ready to tell him but pulled away, shaking her head. "It won't be a problem," she promised, and exited the balcony, Ferris trailing behind her.

She fell quickly into bed, wrapping the cover around her.

Desperately trying not to think about how her arm tingled where he'd touched her.

------

There were a million other matters she could be working on at the moment. Anything would be better than dealing with this group. None of them wanted her here--well, except Amelia, but she had a feeling the other woman was as disregarded by this lot as she. They were an interesting ragtag bunch and she was pretty sure that if Magneto hadn't been given Genosha none of them would have ever been in the same room together. Two mutates in Acolyte garb that she didn't know. At least they weren't regarding her hostilely like Cortez.

It was taking all of her energy not to roll her eyes at the man. Philip Moreau, son of the infamous 'Gengineer', Pipeline, a member of the former rebellion, and Jenny Ransome, another mutate, sat near him. Jenny was looking curiously at her and Rogue looked away, not wanting to play the 'get to know you' game. She really didn't understand why Magneto had required her presence. At least he had required Ferris's presence so she was robot-less for a bit.

And here they were sitting at a round table. For some reason she simply couldn't picture it having the same meaning as Arthur's famous one. The door opened and they all turned. Rogue sighed in frustration when it was merely Alda Huxley entering. Ambassador to the United Nations. "He should be with us in a few moments," Huxley informed them, sliding into one of the empty seats.

Rogue didn't like how gracefully the woman was able to pull that off. There were two seats left. One would no doubt be Magneto's but she really didn't see him allowing Ferris the other. So someone else'll be joining us. She pursed her lips, wondering who it would be. Ignoring the others's conversations. Only her and Amelia remained silent and the Acolyte seemed lost in her own thoughts.

The door opened again, Magneto striding into the room in full uniform. "Pietro!" Rogue exclaimed upon seeing the man following broodily behind.

His mouth twitched in an approximation of a smile and he was at her side in a moment, utilizing his speed and gave her a quick hug. "So the rumors were true," he remarked, sliding into the seat beside her.

She rolled her eyes. "Don't believe everything you hear, sugah," she reminded him, smiling broadly.

"Are we through?" Magneto demanded, and Rogue looked at him. His expression was tense, eyes narrowed as he regarded the two of them before looking back at the others. The way he sat down reminded her of Huxley's entrance.

Or did hers remind me of his? She shrugged. Now was probably not the best time to dwell on that. They were speaking, going over matters of state that she didn't particularly care about. She forced herself to listen though, confident that she should care, wondering if it'd be possible to talk with Pietro alone once the meeting ended.

"...the encampment is scheduled to be disbanded as instructed," one of the Acolyte mutate's stated, looking more than a little concerned. "By the end of the week."

"Your forces are not large enough yet, my Lord, for us to monitor those...them and patrol the borders," the other replied.

Rogue noticed that they both purposefully avoiding Pietro's gaze. "Why do they need to be monitored?" Rogue asked, frowning when Ferris entered the room, moving into position behind her. The reprieve had been nice while it lasted.

"They are infected. They could kill us all." The two were looking at her with wide eyes.

"So you would have us lock those poor souls in filthy, disease infested conditions. No chance of hope?" Pietro demanded, and in that moment he looked remarkably like his father.

"Silence." Magneto's voice cut through the air, demanding attention which he was quickly given. "Our forces shall be increased significantly by the end of the week."

"How?" Rogue ignored the startled looks cast her way. If he expected her to sit back quietly he had another thing coming. "By forcing your people into servitude?"

"Many countries have mandatory military service, Rogue," Magneto replied, before looking back at the mutates. Obviously finished with the conversation.

"Shouldn't you be better? Shouldn't Genosha be better?" She demanded, leaning back in her chair. She really didn't like how the rest of them--even Pietro--were looking at her as though she'd lost her mind. "Some pinnacle of mutant supremacy."

The air crackled with magnetic energy around her and she swore the chairs were all rattling a little. She rolled her eyes at him and crossed her arms, not caring about his theatrics. "What? It's the truth. Just because the rest of them are too scared to say any differently doesn't mean you gotta go around rattling things."

"Magneto has made the right call in creating a military draft," Huxley interjected, with her annoyingly superior grin. "There are many forces out there who do not wish for Genosha to succeed and will go to great lengths to see that it does not."

"And there's probably one or two of them in this very room," Rogue replied, smiling sweetly at the woman who glared back. "Look, I ain't saying having a military ain't a good thing. You'd probably get an even bigger number turning out to help if you simply put what you're saying out there to the people. Probably get more skilled fighters too. Like the old saying goes, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar."

"I suggest, Rogue," Magneto stated, and she really didn't like the eerie calm of his voice. "That you sit quietly and listen."

"Why the hell am I even here if I can't add points?" she demanded, pushing herself up. The chair slammed into the back of her knees and she was forced back down.

"You are the Ambassador for the Mutates," Magneto began.

"Then I should be allowed to voice my opinions on this matter, since it involves them!" Rogue growled, glaring at him. Cortez was looking entirely too smug in her direction. "You're making a mistake, but no. Fine. Whatever. Ruin your image with the people. Make them hate you. You're awful good at that."

Magneto's fist slammed down on the table, causing it to shake slightly. "Leave us," he demanded, voice chilly. The others quickly exited, Pietro sparing her a cautious glance before the door shut in his face. Magneto rounded the table, forcing her chair out and facing him. "You will not do that again, Rogue. Do you understand?"

"No," she replied, trying not to tremble at how white his eyes were, at the magnetic energy crackling around him. "I'm their Ambassador. You said so yourself. I will speak how I see fit if it is in their defense."

His fists clenched at his sides, the energy becoming even more distorted around him as he regarded her coldly. "There are times to speak ones mind and times when one should listen, Rogue," he informed her, and she flinched as he raised his hand, waiting for a strike. All he did was force another chair to move towards him, scraping along the floor. "I am not going to hit you." He regarded her carefully, cautiously.

"Why not? You have before." She gripped the sides of the chair, clearly agitated.

"In battle. I will not harm you out of anger," he stated, voice soft as he sat back down. He studied her briefly before his expression hardened. "Since you have the mutates best interests at heart you will endure the same punishment that is given to them when they act up."

"And that would be?" she inquired, refusing to look scared.

"A night in a Genoshan prison," he replied, and she froze, sucking in a breath. Eyes widening in terror.

"No." She rose, pushing back the chair and shaking her head violently, breathing shaky. "No."

Magneto rose and took a step towards her. She jumped, backing up, evading him. She wouldn't. No. She couldn't. Not again. Not a Genoshan prison. Guards. The skin suits. Oh god, she was finding it hard to breathe. Hands. On her. Hurting her. "No!"

She shrieked when he grasped her shoulders, and struggled, trying to get away. She couldn't. He had her trapped there with his power. Like they did. She looked up at him, eyes wide in terror. Powerless.

He was saying her name. Softly, calmly. Almost soothingly. She felt leather under her chin and saw his face before realizing he was tilting her head up. Gazing carefully at her. "No prison," he told her, voice still unerringly gentle. "You will learn to restrain your responses. If you disagree, speak with me about the matter in private. Do you understand?" She didn't respond, trying to get herself under control. "Hmmm?"

She nodded again, still shaken. He was smoothing back the hair from her face but she barely noticed. "Ferris, bring Rogue to her quarters. We will finish the meeting without her," he ordered and she felt the robot's metallic hand grasp her arm.

She tried to shake both of them off but was unsuccessful. "I'm fine." That was a lie, but he didn't need to know that.

"That was not a request," Magneto informed her, and she didn't have enough strength to protest any further.

Ferris deposited her in her room and she clambered underneath her covers, drawing them close. Finally given a chance to wonder why in the world he had backed down. That wasn't like him. She didn't think about it long, closing her eyes and falling into a tumultuous sleep, unable to escape her own personal demons. She drifted on and off before a rapid knocking at her door finally woke her.

There was only one person she knew who knocked like that. "Let him in, Ferris," she called, quickly pushing the covers off and straightening her clothes. She had a feeling her hair was severely rumpled but oh well. He could deal.

Pietro hurried in--well, to him that was probably merely striding. He always appeared to be in a rush. "Hey there, Pietro," she greeted, smoothing back her unruly locks.

He regarded her carefully. "You are unharmed." He was frowning now. "When you were not present I believed he had you punished."

"Nah. Reprimanded me though," she replied, yawning, trying not to dwell on the fact that she had left unscathed. Uncertain why that had occurred. "How'd the rest of the meeting go?"

He reviewed the topics discussed before slinking into the large chair across from the bed. He looked infinitely older than she knew him to be. "Staying here was entirely foolish," he muttered, steepling his hands in his lap. She wondered if he knew how much he looked like Magneto when he did that.

"Why are you here?" she asked, sitting cross legged on the bed.

"I could ask you the same question." He tried to smile but it didn't quite work. "Amelia Voght came to see me. To warn me of what his plans were. Irrationally I came. Believed I could make a difference." He was staring at the wall. "Hardly."

"I kind of got the impression you were the one behind getting the Legacy Virus encampment disbanded. That's an accomplishment." Rogue smiled gently, resisting the urge to hug a pillow.

"Time will tell." Pietro sighed and looked back at her. "Why are you here, Rogue? I thought the X-Men would not be behind this sham of a nation."

"Didn't come as an X-Man." It was her turn to frown. "Ain't all that sure why I came here in the first place."

Silence passed between them and he was staring at her, watching her carefully. "Whatever you are hoping to find in him, Rogue. It isn’t there," Pietro finally stated, sounding exhausted.

"I." Rogue looked down at the bed, fingers tracing along her cover. "I’ve seen flashes of...something. Every so often." Like earlier, when he'd taken back her punishment. Fleeting glimpses. "Ain't sure what to make of them." She looked back at him. "He. He ain't evil, Pietro."

He looked surprised by that and didn't comment right away. She had a feeling he was trying to gather his thoughts. "The X-Men have been asking for you."


It was her turn to be surprised. "They have?"


"He didn’t tell you? Of course not." Pietro scowled. "Manipulative bastard," he muttered, looking entirely too broody.


"Sure can be," she agreed, shaking her head. She wasn't that naive. She did realize that he was probably doing his best to manipulate her. But she was here for the mutates. "Don’t really know what I’d say to them. They ain’t gonna understand why I’m here."


"Since you cannot explain why you are here to me, I highly doubt your ability to explain it sufficiently to them," Pietro said.

Rogue glared, not liking his tone at all. "Ain't really your business why I am here," she scowled, before sighing. Looking away from him. "Sorry. Haven't been sleeping all that well." Rogue frowned, leaning back against the wall. "I'm gonna have to talk to them soon. I know it. And I will."


Pietro rose. "Do not be surprised if he tries to evade your requests to do so."

"He can evade all he wants. Don't mean I'll be listening to him." She smiled slowly. "You need help, let me know."

"That goes both ways," he informed her and exited the room.

Rogue watched the door close and sighed, falling back onto the bed. Well that conversation had done nothing but leave her even more frustrated. Confused. Maybe it was about time she demanded contact to the X-Men. Better to get it over with now than wait and let them worry. She nodded to herself, tossing the pillow behind her. "Right?" she asked, looking across the room at her reflection in the mirror. Right.

This was gonna be fun.

She'd almost expected Ferris to put up some fight, or deter her but the robot had merely followed her. Like a loyal puppy. Okay, not the best of analogies. If anything Ferris was her personal bodyguard/Magneto's spy. Yeah, that summed up his job description with her perfectly. She faltered briefly in her path, uncertain precisely where Magneto would be. She looked back at Ferris and slowed down her pace, letting the robot pass her, following him this time.

He led her to the throne room. Should've known, she muttered inwardly and strode inside, stopping in the threshold when she saw Magneto conversing with Alda Huxley. The blonde gave her a small smile and Rogue wasn't quite able to understand what the lady was trying to convey. "Some important matter of the mutates that couldn't wait until tomorrow?" Huxley inquired, turning slightly in her seat.

"Personal matter," Rogue replied, fixing her gaze on Magneto.

"Oh?" Arrogance seemed to waft off the woman. Rogue really didn't like her.

"I need to contact my teammates," Rogue stated.

That caught Magneto's attention and he looked up from the papers he'd been reading. "Certainly, Rogue. You may contact your former teammates."

"Ain't former." She bristled at that, not liking the implication. "I'd like to do so now."

Magneto nodded and waved his hand, swiveling one of the chairs around for her. "We are finished for the day," he informed Huxley, putting the papers out of sight.

From her irritated expression it was obvious that Alda Huxley was not usually so casually dismissed. Nor did she like it but she rose as gracefully as she could. "Of course, sir," she replied, and strolled out of the room.

Rogue bit back a smile as the other woman left and moved towards the seat but made no move to sit down. "Now. Please." There. She'd been polite.

"Of course, Rogue. But why now? You haven't deemed contacting them necessary before." He moved his hand and a small screen rose up in front of the chair. "Dial the mansion's number. Or would you like me to do so?"

She sank onto the chair. "I can do it." She looked down at the screen and then back at him. "Could you leave please?"

He rose. "Find me when you are through, Rogue. Ferris will be able to lead the way," he told her, and exited the room.

Rogue took a deep breath and punched in the number, dialing the video phone. Hopefully, someone would pick up. She wasn't sure who she wanted to speak with. Her eyes widened in trepidation. What if it was Logan? Or Gambit? Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Oh stop it, Rogue. She growled inwardly, disgusted with herself. They're my friends. I should feel bad about never having contacted them. She swallowed as Professor Xavier's image showed on the screen. Until now.

He smiled at her. She was surprised she didn't find it all that reassuring. "Hello, Rogue."

"Professor." She forced her own smile, trying not to twist her hands nervously in her lap.

"We have been worried," he stated, hands steepling in his lap. "When we returned and you were not here I assumed you had gone to Genosha. Because of your unresolved issues with Erik."

"Ain't why I stayed, Professor. Why I couldn't." She frowned. "Why I didn't contact y'all. I. It ain't that I couldn't. He'd have let me if'n I asked. I just didn't."

"And why is that, Rogue?" the Professor asked, eerily calm. It reminded her of when she'd used to have her daily sessions with him.

"I was busy," she replied hastily, raking a hand through her hair. "Magneto. He. I was in charge of the mutates. Helping them. Be able to live. Helped them build houses, schools, hospitals. Now I'm. In charge of all of that in the various areas. I'm doing good work, Professor."

"He has tapped into your need to be helpful, Rogue. Using your desire for peace to his own good." The Professor sounded tired. Defeated.

"No. He didn't. I'm. I'm simply helping." She shook her head. He had to be wrong.

"And now, Rogue. Are you needed or are you staying because you are under the impression you may see the man he used to be?" Xavier asked, watching her carefully. "Do not be fooled. Do not forget what he has done. What Joseph sacrificed himself for."

"I know very well what Joseph died for," she growled, glaring at him. "And Magneto is helping right now. Is making the world better for the mutates. What harm could that possibly be?"

The Professor regarded her carefully, frowning. "Do you wish to speak to the others? They are all worried."

"No. Could you just." Rogue sighed. "Could you please tell them I'm okay?" She forced another smiled. "I'll call again soon."

She ended the call and stared at the blank screen, uncertain how the result of the conversation made her feel. Unsure what to do next.

Ferris was buzzing behind her. "Yeah, yeah. I know, Ferris. Hold your horses. We'll go see your Master in a moment." She leaned back in the chair and briefly massaged her temples, needing a few more minutes before she moved.

She wasn't quite able to believe she hadn't talked to any of the others. Can't believe I haven't thought about Remy...or Joe... That wasn't quite true. She'd thought about both of them, about the X-men often. Usually late at night when she couldn't sleep. Or during a task she had a feeling one of them would be better suited to. It was a little surreal, the entire experience. She was in Genosha. With Magneto. Helping him...do what exactly? It wasn't as though he was doing anything horrid this time. No turning around magnetic poles. He was creating a society. Right?

She couldn't help up think of Amelia's warnings all those weeks ago. Telling her about his grandiose plans. That Genosha was supposed to be merely the beginning. She frowned. But did that mean she should simply leave? Abandon all the work she had done, all the progress she could see blooming? Wasn't it better to stay for the mutates, to help them and if--when, when things went sour, then she could leave. Would they even take me back?

Rogue frowned. She wasn't entirely certain returning to the X-Men would be feasible by that point. Too many what ifs. She groaned and pushed herself up, not wanting to dwell on the matter any further. It was probably best to stay in the here and now. To simply focus on her next steps. Looking towards the future only ever ended in heartache for her.

"Okay, Ferris, lead the way." She grinned broadly at the robot. Maybe the false happiness would help ward off whatever questions Magneto would ask.

They moved easily through the hallway, neither touching the floor. Least I ain't gotta deal with Cortez or Huxley. That was such a relief that she felt herself relax a little, immediately tensing when Ferris stopped outside of her balcony. Okay, not really mine, per se... but she'd taken to calling it that. It was where she came when she couldn't sleep. To think. Count stars. And there was Magneto, leaning against the new railing.

She hesitated, stopping in the doorway leading out to it. Surprised to see him without his uniform. To see him in white. He'd always seemed to prefer darker colors. Reds. Blacks. It took her a moment to realize it was some kind of robe. She wondered how he'd gotten it. Oh, right. Our illustrious leader. He could probably get whatever he wanted.

"Hiding in the shadows?" he commented, not bothering to turn around.

She felt foolish and strode forward, hoping her cheeks weren't as red as she pictured them being. "Contemplating stuff," she murmured, coming to stand beside him, casting a quick look in his direction.

He was staring out at the country--his country. "Hmmm." Silence embraced them and she wasn't quite sure if it comforted her or if she found it eerie. "Tell me, Rogue," he began, his voice hard and she turned to look at him, startled by the tightness of his features. "Should I begin the search for a new Ambassador in the morning?"

"Huh?" she asked, confused. "Is Huxley leaving?" Her eyes widened. "You didn't...she's okay right?"

"Alda is fine, Rogue."

She turned away, oddly annoyed that he'd used the woman's first name. "I was referring to your position," he continued, and she leaned against the rail, crossing her arms in agitation.

"Is this your way of kicking me out?" she asked, glaring to mask the hurt. I thought I was doing a good job...

He was looking peculiarly at her, almost as if he was searching for something. She turned away, grasping the railing. Right. Fine. She'd make him kick her out, force him to say the words. He placed his hand on her shoulder and she jumped, not expecting the contact. His hand didn't move. "I suspected that Charles would have requested your presence," Magneto finally told her.

She shook her head, unable to look at him. "Then you are staying?" he coaxed, and she nearly jumped again when his thumb began moving. Sliding slowly across her shoulder.

"I'd like to think I'm doing some good here," she replied, not answering his question, entirely too focused on his hand.

"You are." Slowly his hand moved towards her neck, fingers ghosting along her flesh.

Her hands tightened on the railing, breath quickening. "You're doing good here, too," she murmured, forcing herself to look at him. He was still looking at her in that odd way and she swallowed hard. "I mean you can be a little...uh. Brash?"--Scary!--"but no one can deny that life for the mutates has improved. Is improving."

"You would be surprised, Rogue, precisely what people can deny." He frowned, hand sliding down her back.

She blinked, realizing they were a lot nearer to one another than they'd started. If she just tilted her head to the side a little, her lips would brush against his skin. He was watching her with a heated gaze and his hand cupped her chin, tilting her head up. He was closing the distance between them and she was suddenly reminded of their almost-kiss in the Savage Land.

She pulled away, breaking contact. "I. Have a good night," she told him, not trusting herself to say anymore.

Rogue walked quickly to her room and locked the door, sliding down along the metal frame. This was becoming entirely too confusing. He'd--No. She shook her head, pushing any thought of what had happened away. Probably read too much into it... Kicking off her shoes, she slowly changed into her pajamas, skin seemingly on fire where he'd touched her through the fabric of her clothes.

Roughly she pulled on a tank top and slid into the bed, trying to force herself to sleep. Not wanting to think. To dwell. Anything but that.

Sleep didn't come for a long time.

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