Rogue stops in the doorway, momentarily surprised to find
she isn't alone. As Eric washes the last of the wine from
his glass, he acknowledges Rogue's presence with a curt nod.
Her eyes narrow suspiciously.
"How long ya been in here?"
"Long enough, I suspect."
"It seemed appropriate, considering you were discussing
my welfare, Rogue."
His voice is softly reprimanding, still, he waits patiently
for Rogue to explain herself. Rogue studies his profile in
the harsh fluorescence of the kitchen lighting. Again, she's
struck by the change in this man. As Magneto, self-proclaimed
leader of homo superior, his word, his wishes, would have
been paramount. As Eric Magnue Lensherr, he is a simple man
seeking answers to a frustratingly complex jigsaw of memories.
"Ya got a problem with bein' part o' the recovery group?"
His smile betrays the sadness of one who remembers the idea
of hope but not the feeling. He's touched by the youthful
belief shining in her eyes. For all of her experiences as
an X-man, she's still possessed of a certain naivete convincing
her that those of the world are called to be greater than
what they truly are. He finds himself called to that vision
of being a better man than what his past has revealed.
"I will participate in your 'recovery group', although
I do not believe it will be of benefit. The time for healing
my scars has long passed, Rogue. Some wounds, perhaps even
those of Mr. LeBeau, are not meant to be reopened."
"What would ya have done if Storm hadn't been there
for ya when ya started rememberin' your own time in a concentration
His jaw tightens, the first true sign of anger she's seen.
When he turns to face her, she sees a distinct, icy determination
in his eyes.
"I would have survived."
"Ah want somethin' more for Remy than just survival.
Ah want more for all o' us than just makin' it through from
one scrape to the next."
"Ah want him to remember the pleasure o' bein'
"I suspect, my dear, his current thoughts of--pleasure--
focus solely on your destruction."
"Ah can handle it."
Pride. He understands it well. Eric dries his hands on a
towel, then places them squarely on Rogue's shoulders. It
is time for him to repay the X-men for their shelter and support,
if he can. Rogue looks up at him expectantly.
"If you cannot, promise me you will seek me out."
"Ah--promise. An' Eric?"
"That works both ways, sugah."
This time his smile warms the chill from his eyes.
Continued in Chapter
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