|marie d'ancanto | rogue (dropthemagnolia) wrote in the100,|
@ 2015-12-11 21:10:00
|Entry tags:||!log/thread, erik lehnsherr / magneto (movies), marie d'ancanto / rogue (movies), raven darkholme / mystique (movies)|
who. Erik, Rogue & a wild Raven appears!
where. Erik's place.
what. Someone tries to make amends, someone gets curious, someone goes into a coma!
Rating. Pretty damn tame. Existential, sure. But tame.
Hospitality in a landscape that dictated survivalship seemed at odds with the new setup in this likewise new home. But extending it to one who had further brought her (in another timeline, another life) to the brink of her own mortality seemed downright foolish. Rogue, however, had put away moralistic definitions like ‘foolish’ and ‘benevolent’. Those were meant for different times, different women, different lives.
And whatever surety gave Erik Lensherr his swagger, whatever confidence seeped from this young man whose mission extended to protecting mutants at any cost, gave Rogue pause. She was curious about him. So it made the best sense she could imagine to knock on his door with a small wrapped box in her hand.
“Hey, uh …” was a poor beginning through the door. And if she was interrupting something, she surely didn’t want to impose. (But maybe she did? Maybe a little?) “Hey, it’s Rogue. If you’re not decent. Ahhh … I’ll come back later.”
For a moment, there was no response. Perhaps he wasn't home.
The silence stretched for five, six, seven seconds before there was the sound of the door being unlocked. When the door opened, Erik was not at the door.
Erik, in fact, had not gotten up from his place at the couch, where he was reading a leatherbound copy of Great Expectations. He didn't even look like he'd registered that she was speaking to him or that the door had opened at all, save for the very slightest shift in his position — he straightened his spine, he pulled his shoulders back, making him look more elegant than casual in the black turtleneck he wore.
It was only after that he turned the page that he beckoned to her by crooking a finger.
That crooked finger got an arch of an eyebrow, but Rogue followed the direction anyway. “You sure are imperious,” she observed. “Not really concerned with catching flies with honey, I think.” She shut the door behind her and cleared her throat.
“I wanted to thank you. So --” the little box felt insubstantial in her hands. “That’s why I’m here. Thanks for fixing my door. Usually, I’d send a card or bake a pie. But I made you something instead.”
Erik glanced up from his book. His gaze flickered first to the box, and then her face.
Imperious. Perhaps. Better than lost, or frightened, or out of control. He was more than aware that he had a reputation across universes, for better or worse, and that in another timeline, in his future, he'd used her and her powers to further his own goals. She had every reason to want nothing to do with him.
"Made me something." His smile was faint, a barely-there twitch at the corners of his mouth, but his eyes warmed considerably. "That's unnecessary, I was fixing what I broke."
“It isn’t much.” Indeed, there certainly was barely enough to go around, so any additional resource was generally used. But she had found a few things (green ribbon, wrapping paper) and sourced the rest. Within the box Rogue had lain pine needles and a few delicate hemlock pine cones. Then, in the midst, she had folded a small origami crane out of a gold flecked sheet of paper. She held it out to him.
“But anyway. Call it a peace offering, if you want.”
Erik quietly opened the box. He was slow about it, untying the ribbon before carefully peeling off the paper as if he intended to wrap another gift with it later. He approached it all with a strange sort of reverence — when was the last time he'd received a gift?
He opened the box and somehow managed to fall even more silent. At first, it seemed to pass for disappointment, but in reality he was simply trying to gather his thoughts. The little crane was simple and lovely, but why a gift? Why would she go so out of her way to be kind? "I …" He cleared his throat, brushing a fingertip over one of the crane's wings. "Considering what I've done to you, I hardly think you need to be offering me a peace offering."
Erik moved like he’d been liberally coated in molasses. And Rogue couldn’t tell if it meant she’d made a gaffe or if he was moved. Whatever it was, she continued to stand. Instead of shifting from foot to foot or swaying awkwardly, she stood steadfast and looked him in the eye.
“The way I figure it, you haven’t done it yet. How would I like to get measured up against who I was in 40 years versus who I am now? I get that you’re …” her hand wiggled from side to side. “ … I get that the fence is where you’re really comfortable. But --” But I saw you in considerable pain. Pain that reminded her of his very real humanity.
She paused. “I think I appreciate that confidence you exude. I honestly think I’m a little jealous of it.”
Erik looked back down at the box. He briefly picked up the crane and then set it back down, nestling it back into its spot. "Thank you," he said. It answered her question: moved. He was certainly moved.
He made a brief gesture to the couch opposite him, inviting her to sit. He wasn't completely incapable of social niceties, he was simply more used to using them as a means of laying a trap, or finding the means to an end, rather than just having a pleasant conversation. A decade in solitary confinement certainly didn't help.
"You appreciate my confidence?"
He smiled, genuinely, and seemed surprised. He certainly hadn't expected that. "You don't strike me as particularly insecure."
She offered him a crooked smile before perching on the edge of the sofa, her back debutante-straight and legs crossed at the ankle. She wanted the niceties observed as if, armour-like, they could shield from a whole host of insecurities.
“I know who I am. And I know what it means. I’d wrestled with it and I almost let it unglue me.” She paused. Searching for the right words flattened her brow before she cast her gaze back to him, plumbing the depths of his own gaze to attempt to read meaning. What is this, Erik. “It’s less about having an ability and more about not having the right control. I don’t want to hurt people. You have all that on lockdown. I envy it.”
Erik's expression softened. Rogue was a mutant with the ability to take another person's life force, and another mutant's powers, with just a touch. He'd never seen it in action, and now he couldn't hide the way he gazed at her now — fascination, curiosity. Oh, he could see how useful he'd find such a gift in the future.
He set the box aside on the coffee table beside his book, and leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "I didn't always have control," he said.
His attention flickered to a few flat metal discs on the coffee table. They were smooth and shiny, and at one point they might have been coins. As he spoke, they lost their shape and spread out like water droplets that had lost all their surface tension, meeting one another and linking up in a shimmering, half-solid puddle. "At first, it was outbursts of power I couldn't control and couldn't manage without rage. I was trained. Extensively." Brutally. Cruelly.
"I continued to practice extensively." The puddle rose up and formed itself into a perfectly smooth sphere. "The difference between us, Rogue, is that your abilities are harder to test. You can't play around with coins and paperclips and call it practice." The sphere then jumped up off the table. Erik reached up and grabbed it, rolling it between his hands before tossing it to Rogue.
"So you don't learn."
“No. I just cover down.”
Catching the sphere easily, she rolled it in her gloved palm and could not help but wonder aloud -- “How many people got hurt when you were trying to master your gift?” Reaching forward, she laid the sphere on the apex of her knee before removing one of her gloves, coating the cool metal in her palm.
She weighed it, wondering if the metal whispered to him the same way that emotions would sometimes flood her when she touched someone. “What’s the wreckage?”
"You don't want to know the answer to that question." Erik's smile was kind, but there was a coolness to his words that suggested she wasn't allowed to inquire further. Not now.
He understood what she was getting at. Erik could train without harming others — the fact that he did harm others was secondary to the point. Rogue's gift was useless if she didn't have another person to touch, and any training with it meant hurting someone else. So she put on gloves, she locked herself away, she never used the very thing that made her extraordinary.
"How long can you touch someone before your powers take effect?" he asked. "Is it instant, or…"
“Logan survived a few seconds --” The boy who swore he loved her? Less than that. “Then he was out cold for a while. “I think it depends on the severity of the situation, and I think it depends on the circumstance.” She paused. “And it probably depends on how direct the contact is. “
Her brow arched. “Now you’re sounding curious.”
"Because I am," said Erik. He held out his hand, offering it to her. "Take off your glove."
She threw the sphere back to him, standing with her discarded glove laying rumpled over one arm of the couch. In worlds beyond this one, she had dreamt of watching Erik Lensherr’s life force drain from his eyes under her bare palm. She had desired it greatly.
However, when offered the opportunity with this sleeker version, she did not find that vengeance leaping up in her chest. It was - like him - bare curiousity. She wondered what she would find within him. She wondered what she would see. Mostly, she wanted to see how he would react.
Sitting on the arm of the sofa next to him, she extended one fingertip into the heart of his palm.
Erik was only vaguely aware of what she was able to do. The people that she touched survived. He knew through hearsay that another version of Rogue had taken Carol Danvers's powers and memories and put her into a coma. If she held on long enough, she could probably kill. She had every reason to hate him, every reason to kill him if she truly felt vengeful enough.
And yet he offered his hand, and when she touched, he didn't pull away. It was a gesture of trust, a peace offering in the same way as her gift. If he believed her gift was beautiful, then he needed to prove it.
Skin made contact with skin.
Erik kept emotional walls up. He came off as sophisticated, elegant, and aloof, but contact with his skin shattered those walls and exposed the tempest underneath. Fear, barely-controlled rage, flashes of memory that only Charles Xavier had seen — long stretches of nothing in a brightly-lit room, swift and vicious acts of violence, long-buried horrors of his teenage years. And with it, a rush of power, a sudden awareness of the invisible magnetic fields surrounding them. The whole room was humming with energy to be pulled and played with, pieces of metal singing brighter and drawing focus.
“ … oh God …” To subsume that rage - to feel it rattle in her bones, to let it rush in and overpower her - gave Rogue a rush of unmitigated delight. She felt herself swell (she grew, she overcame) and with a rush, she knew that she could contain multitudes. She wanted more. Her hand lashed around his palm gripping hard.
Then, the free hand gestured to the selfsame sphere which had been discarded. It began to spin at a frenetic pace until with fingers pinioned it fell to liquid upon the table.
With Erik's memories came Erik's ruthlessness and Erik's drive, and Erik was left with nothing. He'd trusted her with a touch, but he hadn't thought to trust himself when he siphoned himself into her.
He tried to scream, but nothing came out.
In what was left of his mind he was shoving her away, throwing her back, but all he managed was the faintest twitch of his arm as his muscles locked. His eyes pleaded for her to let go.
“First boy I ever kissed ended up in a coma for three weeks. He was a good boy. Tall and thin. Ginger.”
And there was the girl within the siphon - within the megalomaniacal - who could clearly see the situation laid before them; the onion skin depthlessness of identity being shorn and cast aside with swift, clean strokes. She saw his fear. She saw his need. And she delighted in the turning of these tables. Not Rogue, not Erik, not anybody but Marie. Scared, lonely, self-flagellating Marie who’d held herself at arm’s length for far too long. Marie who’d cut her own heart out to taste it.
She ripped the other glove off with her teeth, bringing the other palm to bear upon his jaw as she held him tight and smiled. “Yeah, Erik. I see it. I see why.” Every Nazi killed, every human sacrificed on the altar of brotherhood. And me, forty years on. I can feel it all. Her hands began to tremble as the power coursed through her arms, roiling beneath her skin. She was kinesis, she was conduction. She was perfect.
But when she felt him droop (the elegant forearm, the slender jaw), it wasn’t any of those other people that stayed her hand. It was that hard edged compassion which came whistling from her chest. Her hands flew from his skin as if on fire, and in attempting to scrabble away, she fell to the floor in a mess of broken table and liquid metal.
Inside, Erik was screaming — and then he wasn't.
When she released him, the shell of flesh and bone that used to be Erik collapsed to the floor in a heap. Whatever remaining spark of Erik's life force was flickering and dim, and he was little more than a body, emptied out of nearly all that made him Erik Lehnsherr. He was a heart beating, lungs breathing, but Erik's powers, his essence, his memories, were all little more than a whisper.
And that, of course, is when Raven came home.
She hadn't been warned about company, but that wouldn't have mattered if she wasn't walking into a room with Erik an unconscious heap and Rogue -- whom Raven knew about, peripherally, whom she'd kept a distance from out of respect for Rogue's future trauma at her hands and the sadness of knowing they were estranged relatives in some other universe -- conscious but otherwise bothered.
"What the hell happened?" Shoving the door shut, she dashed over to Erik, pushing him onto his back to check him over. "Erik?" She pressed her fingers to his wrist for a pulse, lowered her ear to his mouth to hear him breathing. "What did you do to him?"
Curiously did that liquid metal reach for its new mistress, testing the reach of her control and pooling somewhere near her fingertips, only to reform with a snap of her wrist and swirl lace-like into the air. When Raven entered, she sat up from the floor, and turned her gaze to Erik with that same long stare he had afforded to countless others in years past.
“What he asked me to do.” His cunning, allied with her own repressed anger, could win a war within her. It could scrape fractiously against her own desire to exercise kindness and control. Do no harm, Rogue.
She blinked once. Twice.
Rising unsteadily, she shook her head. “He wanted to see. So I showed him.”
And what else could she do? How could she be of some sort of assistance which would make the outcome of their experiment right? There was nothing to be done and nothing further to be divined. She turned and stepped into the hall as the anxiety rose in the back of her throat. Run. Go. Before they overtake you, before they ostracize you. Flee.