‘Ah know it’s confusing. Ah know a lot’s happened. So Ah’ll try to explain it again’ Rogue remarks, telling her audience that the Phoenix Force came back to Earth, major cosmic power, split across five X-Men. ‘They - and we - tried to use it to make the world a better place. Which is all we’ve ever tried to do’. She wonders if they should have known the power was too much, realized the Phoenix Five would go crazy. ‘The second Ah saw it happening, Ah tried to stop them. It got me zapped to another dimension, where Ah almost died. But Ah fought may way back’. Rogue states that she isn’t making excuses, that she knows folks got hit hard all over the world. ‘And you could argue it’s our fault. But may point is, all we ever tried to do was help’.
‘That’s all Ah’m trying to do now’ Rogue exclaims in Washington DC as soldiers surround her and aim their weapons at her. Fire fighters and other rescue workers look on in awe, as rubble and destruction is all around them. ‘There are people trapped in that subway. They could be hurt, dying. Y’all can’t get to them cause the rubble’s unstable…too many of you and you could crush ‘em trying to save ‘em’ Rogue points out. Rogue explains that one person can walk on it safely, she can, if they will just let her touch them, she can absorb their skills - paramedics, engineers, highlighters, she can be all in one. ‘Please. What can Ah do to make you trust me?’ Rogue asks them.
A paramedic rushes over to Rogue and exclaims that she doesn’t know if she trusts her or not, but she does know that those people are going to die unless they do something. ‘And I haven’t heard a better option’ she remarks, letting Rogue touch her skin. A man approaches her and tells her that he knows everything she needs to about the structure. Rogue thanks them both, while a police officer asks ‘Are you people crazy? Her kind did this! Mutants don’t give a damn about us. They look out for their own. Well, we can look out for out own’ he exclaims, when suddenly, another voice states ‘The man has a point’, and Rogue looks over, seeing Magneto hovering nearby. The sun shines down on the Master of Magnetism, who remarks that in the end, they must put those who mean the most to them first. ‘That’s Magneto! Open -’ the officer calls out, but Rogue shouts ‘No!’ and rushes over to him, knocking his arm back so that his gun fires upwards. ‘Hold fire!’ another officer asks, while the aggressive one asks Rogue if she is crazy. Magneto mutters that it is reassuring, even with all the upheaval in the world, that some things never change - a human’s first resort is still his guns.
‘Stop it. All of you!’ Rogue exclaims, holding her arms out, while the soldiers close in on Magneto. ‘Did you see him make an aggressive move? Here’s here to help’ Rogue tells the soldiers. ‘You can play macho men, or you can put the lives of the people trapped under there first’ Rogue suggests. One of the soldiers points out that even two people walking on that pile is risky, and remarks that the rubble is almost all concrete, there is no metal. ‘So what’s the “Master of Magnetism” gonna do one of us couldn’t?’ he asks. Rogue replies that as she understands it, the roof collapsed on the subway car, which is metal. ‘Ah’m willing to take the risk. So is he. How about you?’ she exclaims. The soldiers all lower their weapons, and one of them tells Rogue to do what she has to. Rogue makes her way to the rubble and starts to climb down a hole. Magneto follows her and tells her that he is prepared to assist, but the truth is, he came to see her. ‘Erik…we’re gonna have to multitask’ Rogue replies, and tells him to be careful, to step where she steps.
They climb down into the tunnel, and Rogue decides that this could be a bad idea, as things aren’t exactly stable. ‘All the more reason I should be at your side’ Magneto tells her. ‘You been keeping a low profile since it all hit the fan’ Rogue remarks. ‘Yes. As we just saw, many lay blame for what happened at our feet. Given my history, mine especially’ Magneto replies, to which Rogue asks him whether he intends on doing anything about that. ‘I’ve never had much use for the human justice system’ Magneto points out. ‘So what’re you gonna do? Hide out? Take over a third world country?’ Rogue enquires as she tries to make her way through the debris-filled tunnel. ‘I will do what I have always done. What is best for me people’ Magneto replies as he goes over and helps Rogue move some debris, while asking her what her plans are. ‘See if anyone’s alive down here. Help ‘em’ Rogue replies matter-of-factly.
Rogue turns around and helps pull Magneto through a narrow opening, and tells him that beyond that, she hasn’t given it a lot of thought just yet. ‘Well, then. Allow me to give you something to think about’ Magneto tells her, announcing that he comes with a proposal. Seeing that Magneto is down on one knee, Rogue is taken aback: ‘Oh…mah…God’ she utters. Magneto realizes what he has done and tells Rogue that he is sorry for a poor choice of words. He adds that there is no need to look so terrified. ‘I have never been accused of being a romantic, but when I proposed to my late wife, it was in a field of orchids, not a ruin’ Magneto remarks. Rogue turns away and tells him that she is sorry. Adding that ever since she left to join Wolverine’s school, and Magneto stayed with Cyclops, things have been unfinished. ‘We only saw each other in the middle of chaos. Barely even talked’ she points out.
Magneto tells Rogue that he assumed that was as she wished it, before agreeing that things between them have been unclear. ‘That is what I am here to correct’ he assures her as he helps her through another part of the destroyed tunnel, he remarks that they chose different paths, during the Schism, she with Wolverine, he with Cyclops, so their lives went in separate directions. ‘I do not wish that to happen again’ he announces, adding that the world nearly ended, that he nearly died, so these things make a man assess his life, and what he wants from it. Magneto pulls Rogue towards him and tells her ‘I want you. I want us. Come with me, Rogue. Wherever we go form here, let it be together’. Shocked, Rogue replies ‘Erik, Ah -’ before turning away, announcing that she hears someone. ‘Over here’ Rogue calls out as she finds the damaged subway train.
Magneto raises a hand and tells Rogue that he thinks he can move it, but Rogue tells him not to, as the train is holding up what is left of the roof up. ‘You shift the wrong piece, and it all comes crashing down’ she exclaims, adding that they have to tread carefully. She climbs into the train, it is bathed in a dim red light, and Rogue points to an area, telling Magneto to peel away the metal and make a space about two feet wide. ‘You’ll need to focus, pull it out sudden and sharp like. That sound workable?’ Rogue asks. Magneto replies that he will make it workable, and uses his powers to open the metal up, freeing people trapped in the next car. ‘Oh, thank God. It was getting hard to breathe!’ one of them exclaims. Rogue tells everyone to follow this man as he will get them out, as she points at Magneto. ‘He will?’ Magneto asks. Rogue reminds him that he knows where it is safe to walk, and tells everyone to go slowly and in single file, as they can’t have too many on the rubble at once.
Rogue tells Magneto that she is going to look for more survivors, and asks him to come back when these people are safe. Magneto tells Rogue that he doesn’t like leaving her defenseless, and offers her a portion of his power. Rogue assures Magneto that she is fine on her own. ‘Very well’ Magneto mutters, scowling as he turns around to lead the civilians to safety. ‘Beautiful. The man wants to commit and you act like he ran over your dog’ Rogue tells herself as she carries on through the train. She reminds herself that it wasn’t too long ago she was complaining about him not reaching out, not making the first move. ‘Face it, girl. You been avoiding figuring out what you want. Well, it’s decision time’ Rogue tells herself, before she sees someone in the next car, slumped against a seat. ‘Hello? Sir? Sir, can you hear me? Mah name’s Rogue. Ah’m gonna get you out of here’ she tells him.
Approaching the man, Rogue sees him smiling and looking up at her. He introduces himself as Richard, and apologies for not getting up. ‘Oh…’ Rogue gasps, while Richard tells her that it is more complicated than she might think, revealing a large piece of shrapnel stuck through his stomach. At hat moment, Magneto returns, and assures Rogue that the survivors are safe, and that they told him there was one more on this side of the cave-in, a man in his forties wearing a suit. ‘Yeah, I found him’ Rogue calls out as she is crouched beside him, wrapping a bandage around him to put pressure on the wound. Rogue and Magneto step away from Richard and Rogue reports that it is serious, that he is going to die if they don’t get him to a hospital, and fast. She informs Magneto that the shrapnel is all that is keeping him from bleeding out, so if they pull him free, he will die before they get him outside.
Rogue asks Magneto if he can break the shrapnel off at the base, but Magneto detects that the shrapnel is as much plastic as metal, and with his powers being what they are, he cannot sever it clearly. He adds that he thinks he can do it, but that it will be rough and abrupt, and may worsen the damage. ‘Perhaps if we -’ Magneto begins, when suddenly there is a rumbling, and he and Rogue look up, concerned. Richard tells them that he appreciates what they are trying to do for him, but that they need to go, as the rubble is shifting and is going to come down. He states that he is okay with dying, but couldn’t bear it if he took them with him. Rogue tells Richard to hush up and assures him that they are all getting out of here, that they were just discussing logistics. ‘You got a lot of living yet to do’ she points out. ‘Why start now?’ Richard asks, coughing
Rogue listens as Richard tells her that all he has ever done is what other people wanted him to, that he is living the life his parents chose, never mind that they are dead and gone. ‘They wanted me to work on the Hill. Be important. I suppose I am. Writing position papers and speeches. Not even knowing if it’s what I believe. Because I’ve never bothered to think about what really matters to me’. Looking down, Richard decides that isn’t true - he knows what matters - and his name is Dale. Richard explains that Dale stick with him almost ten years. A decade of hiding, of not going out to restaurants because someone he knows might see them. ‘I mean, who’d even care, right? I’m just staff, I’m not the candidate’ Richard remarks.
Magneto and Rogue look at each other, while Richard admits that he was so afraid to decide “this is what I want”, because if it failed, it would be his fault. ‘So much easier to let others make the choice. People who wanted that burden. Easier to do what’s required than decide what that is’ Richard remarks. Rogue turns back to Richard as he announces that Dale finally had enough and said he was tired of waiting for him to figure out what’s important, so he ended things. ‘I was on my way to his house, and you know the sad part? I’m still not sure if I was going to ring the bell’ Richard reveals. Rogue checks Richard’s bandages and tells him that they are going to find out, before informing Magneto that she needs more gauze and tape. ‘Go fetch me -’ she begins, when there is another rumbling directly above them.
Magneto announces that they must go now, or they will all die. But Rogue tells him that Richard isn’t stable yet, and she needs another second. ‘Please, listen to him. Get out of here!’ Richard exclaims. Magneto tells Rogue to stand aside, ‘We can’t -’ Rogue begins, while Magneto tells Rogue that he cannot let her die here. He uses his powers to lift Richard up, and then carries him in his arms as they escape the subway train and make it into the tunnel - but they are forced to move on quickly as the whole thing caves in around them. Magneto, Rogue and Richard emerge from the tunnel, dust all around them. Rogue tends to Richard, telling him to stay with her, while the emergency rescue workers rush over. ‘Glad you made it. Don’t feel bad…only wish I could’ve told Dale…’ Richard utters, and after removing her glove, Rogue takes Richard’s hand and assures him that he will - no matter what happens, he will.
‘Move!’ one of the rescue workers exclaims, shoving Rogue aside. ‘He’s bleeding out! I don’t have a pulse!’ a paramedic announces. Rogue leaves them to work on saving Richard, and she walks over to Magneto. ‘Come on, come on…’ she can hear them call out. Magneto takes Rogue in his arms and holds her, while someone announces ‘Time of death…’, and Rogue suggests to Magneto that they talk.
Later, Rogue and Magneto walk through a park, ‘Are you sure now’s the time?’ Magneto asks her, trees with reddish-orange leaves around them. Rogue replies that they probable should have done it sooner, but she doesn’t want to let it wait any longer. ‘You feel I caused that man’s death’ Magneto remarks. ‘No. you did what you thought was best. What you thought was right. Didn’t matter what Ah thought’ Rogue replies. ‘Rogue…’ Magneto begins, but Rogue tells him to hush, as that is how it should be, for both of them. ‘We each gotta go where our conscience takes us’ Rogue adds. ‘Can we not make that journey together?’ Magneto asks. Rogue turns away from him and tells Magneto that when she joined the X-Men, she thought it was to get control of her powers and to make amends for what she had done - same as Magneto.
‘And it was’ she continues. ‘But it was also to try to figure out who Ah am. Who Ah want to be’. Rogue remarks that it has taken a long time, but that she thinks she finally might have. ‘You were a big part of that. We been down some of the same stretches of road. Both done a lot we regret’ Rogue points out, while telling Magneto that he gave has a place to go where that was understood, where she wasn’t gonna be judged. ‘Ah will never, ever forget that’ she promises him. Magneto frowns as he realizes that who Rogue has become leaves no room for him. ‘For anyone’ Rogue assures him. Images flash through Rogue’s mind as she reminds Magneto that she was brought up with other people deciding her life for her - Mystique, Destiny, and after them, Professor X, Cyclops - whoever.
Rogue announces that she half thinks she stole Ms Marvel’s powers on purpose so she would have someone in her head who was confident, who knew what to do, ‘Because Ah sure didn’t’ she points out. Rogue adds that she has come a long way, but that there is a difference between making tactical decisions in battle, stuff you have been trained to do, and working out your own life. ‘You give yourself far too little credit’ Magneto tells Rogue, who replies ‘No. Ah know mahself. Ah know as long as Ah’m with someone like you - who takes the lead instinctively, who likes it…who Ah care for…Ah’ll let ‘em’. Rogue reminds Magneto of what Richard said earlier - that it is easier to do what is required, than decide what is. Ah don’t want to end up like him…wondering “what if”’ Rogue explains.
Rogue tells Magneto that she thinks she figured things out - but isn’t going to be sure until she has stood on her own two feet for a while. ‘Then that is what you should do’ Magneto replies, putting a hand on Rogue’s arm. ‘Ah’m sorry -’ Rogue begins, but Magneto tells her that she has nothing to be sorry for, and then Rogue turns to Magneto and they kiss. They pull apart, and Rogue remarks that she isn’t saying they should be strangers, that they can’t keep in touch. Magneto tells Rogue that he understands, but suggests they don’t, at least for a time. Magneto puts his helmet back on and announces that there is much he must consider, as well. He turns from Rogue and walks away. Rogue watches him for a time, before leaving also.
Rogue arrives in Georgetown, and a man answers the door which she stands in front of. ‘Are you Dale?’ Rogue enquires. ‘Yes’ Dale replies before asking ‘Is that blood?’ when he sees splashes of red on Rogue’s costume. Rogue ignores the question and tells Dale that she has a message from Richard. ‘He can’t tell me himself?’ Dale asks. ‘He will’ Rogue smiles, before entering Dale’s home.