Death of a Dream
Chapter 15: A Hero's Life
Lasher yawned and stretched, the bright light of the morning
streaming in through his bedroom window and waking him. He
had stayed up far too late talking with Wanda, he thought,
as the impulse to roll back over and bury his face in the
pillow hit him. He had always been an early riser, though,
and so, struggled to disentangle himself from the bed sheets
as he sat up.
He rose and moved to the bathroom, turning on the water for
the shower. As he waited for the water to warm, he paused
to ponder his reflection in the mirror. Wanda's stories last
night had been so wonderful, filled with beautiful, courageous
heroes fighting for what they believed in. He stroked one
grey cheek thoughtfully, wondering if he could have had a
place among those legendary heroes. He was certainly not handsome
by any stretch of the imagination; that came along with being
a Morlock. The grey pallor of his skin was something he had
retained since birth, a testament to his genetic mutation
and the factor which had set him apart from his fellow man.
Fortunately, he had been born within the Morlock tunnels,
and so had never had to face the mutant hating world of the
humans. No, when his first experience with hatred had come,
it had been in the form of fellow mutants; a band of evil
villains called the Marauders. He had been old enough then
that his mutant powers of electricity had developed, and had
wanted to stay and fight alongside his parents. But they had
insisted he flee the tunnels with the other Morlock children...it
was the last time he ever saw them.
Years later, he had returned to the tunnels along with many
of the other Morlock children, determined to reform their
society and escape the reign of the Shadow King. After the
first horrible battle between the X-Men and the Shadow King,
the Morlock Marrow had returned to the tunnels to lead her
people in the absence of Callisto. The first year he spent
back in the tunnels had been quiet, uneventful, and frustrating
as he tried to learn to control his mutant ability. The new
society of Morlocks was not the family it had once been, now
it was more like a gathering of people forced to live together
in hiding, each staying separate from the other. He was at
least fortunate enough that he could turn his power on and
off, unlike some of his fellows, but he never found the opportunity
to explore its many uses. As a child, he had always dreamed
of being a hero, of fighting in the world above for the cause
of good like the Avengers and the X-Men. He had always idolized
their ideals, glorifying them in his mind until they had become
something far beyond mere mortals. He had never met any of
them, but their tales were legend, and he knew that the X-Men
had walked among the Morlocks many times. Once or twice as
a young child, he had even glimpsed one or two of them, but
had never spoken to them. When they had returned to the tunnels
almost a year and a half ago, asking for the assistance of
any Morlock willing to join the fight, he hadn't hesitated.
He had been the only one of his people willing to take the
chance, to live the dream, and that had suited him just fine.
Marrow hadn't been too pleased with his decision, but in
the end was without the power to stop him. His grey skin had
ever been like a mark of Cain, but its stone-like texture
made it very hard to pierce. It would have been hard for her
to kill him from a distance, and with the X-Men on his side,
she hardly dared to try. Or perhaps her time as leader of
the Morlocks had matured her, he didn't know. He only knew
that he had left and never looked back. And he, like Wanda,
had never regretted the decision.
He had learned more about his power than he ever thought
possible since he had been with the X-Men. They had surmised
that his energy tendrils, comprised of electrons, were capable
of a number of functions. One tendril was composed of positive
energy, the other with negative energy. The potential effects
of such a power could be extremely deadly, and the X-Men were
taking their careful time in helping him develop uses for
his power. Some of the less deadly things he found he was
capable of were paralyzing another person by scrambling the
electronic impulses controlling their body, scrambling their
powers by hitting the central nervous system and temporarily
'frying' their brain, and simply rendering them unconscious
through electric shock. He knew he had the potential to easily
be able to stop hearts, and possibly restart a stopped one.
The ultimate focus of his powers, theoretically, would be
to stop the motion of a single atom, causing a massive explosion
in a radius around the area. Those more dangerous areas of
his powers were the ones that the X-Men seemed to be tiptoeing
around, and he frankly couldn't blame them. It scared him
to think that he could be capable of so much destruction,
and not knowing the potential effects of such actions made
him reluctant to try. But that was all right with him, he
was happy where he was, and the level he had achieved so far.
He had learned a great deal in his last year here, with the
X-Men, and they had made him feel as if he were part of the
The rising steam about him pulled him from his thoughts,
and he adjusted the water to a more comfortable level before
stepping into the shower. He didn't really know why he bothered
to shower, since his stone-like skin rendered him hairless
and it really didn't need to be washed anymore than a rock
would. It was a ritual for him, though, and he supposed it
somehow helped to make him feel more human. At least his physiology
was still humanoid, he thought. He possessed the normal body
of any human, male 17 year-old, sans hair. It just so happened
that his skin was hard as stone and about the same color.
Which made for a very dull social life, he thought, inwardly
sighing as he scrubbed the rough texture of his skin. Not
too many women would enjoy the sandpaper-like feel of his
skin against them. That was something he had accepted years
ago, though, and he rarely dwelled on it. Instead, he tried
his best to simply take pleasure in the company of others,
finding conversation a good remedy for the loneliness that
sometimes gripped him.
Like last night...he smiled as he thought of Wanda. She had
been so kind to him, almost sisterly. Humming happily to himself
as he washed, he hoped that this would be the beginning of
a long and beautiful friendship.
Angelica Jones turned sharply as she heard the rap upon the
door, her anger flaring again. "Go away, Bobby!"
she shouted, not wanting to continue their argument from earlier.
The door opened slightly, and she stomped toward it, enraged.
"What the he--"
"If this is a bad time, I can come back," Logan
said calmly as he poked his head in. His black eyes were intent
upon her, and suddenly she felt like a bug under glass, being
scrutinized and examined from a distance.
"Uh..no...Logan...come on in," she stuttered, caught
off-guard by his appearance. Whatever he wanted, it couldn't
be good. She couldn't remember a single time, in the year
and a half that she had lived here, that Logan had ever come
into her room. Hesitantly, she took a step backward and sat
down upon her bed, looking suddenly much more submissive than
the moment before.
It was all Logan could do not to crack a smile. Though he
wasn't sure that her fear of him was good thing, considering
that they were teammates, but he was extremely amused by it.
Kitty and Jubilee hadn't even been fourteen when they had
met him yet they had never been afraid of him, never let him
intimidate them for a moment. All mirth faded at the thought
of Jubilee, though, and his expression grew serious as he
took the chair from her desk and sat down.
"So...," he offered, letting her squirm in the
following silence for several long seconds before continuing.
"Let me cut right to the chase." He pulled a cigar
from his pocket and tapped it thoughtfully on the seat of
the chair. "You and Drake been having a lot o' problems
lately, from the look o' things." It wasn't really a
question, but still he looked to her expectantly, waiting
for her to answer.
She fidgeted uncomfortably, as if hedging, then finally nodded.
There was no point in trying to lie or gloss over the fact.
It had been painfully obvious to the entire household over
the last several months. "Yes, we have."
"Care to tell me why?" he asked, though they both
already knew the answer.
"Because...," she hesitated, not really wanting
to discuss this at all, especially not with the grim leader
of the team. Besides, he already knew the answer to that question.
Why was he forcing her to go through it again?
"Confession's good for the soul, darlin'," he said,
as if reading her thoughts. "That's what they always
told me, anyway." He shrugged lightly, his tone perfectly
in tune with casual gesture. But his eyes...those were eyes
that had seen too much, eyes that made it clear they got what
they wanted, that would not be denied, and she knew it.
Sighing inwardly, she continued. "Because of what went
down with Gambit." It sounded lame, even to her own ears,
and she cringed. Saying it out loud, like this, it suddenly
sounded so petty.
"Mmm-hm." He grunted non-committally, nodding.
"And you don't think he's suffered enough for it already?
Poor boy's been kickin' himself ever since it happened. Even
Storm has managed to forgive 'im." He tapped the cigar
a few more times, playing up the ensuing, tense, silence for
all it was worth. "So why don't you tell me what's really
She stared at him like a deer caught in headlights, completely
taken aback by the question. "But...but I already told
"I ain't buyin' it darlin. This ain't about the cajun,
it's about you. But, if you wanna lie to yerself, go right
ahead. It don't matter to me either way. All that matters
to me is that this team is whole and functionin' as a unit.
And as long as you and the popsicle are fightin', that ain't
This time she was completely speechless. What could he possibly
mean that she was lying to herself? She was so wrapped up
in puzzling out his words that she was almost startled when
he spoke again.
"You need to bury the hatchet with the boy once'n for
all. It don't matter if you don't like 'im, but you gotta
work with 'im. Continuing a pointless argument ain't good
for the team," he said, rising from the chair and pushing
it back under the desk.
"I can work with the team just fine," she said
defensively, finding her voice at last.
He stopped in mid-stride toward the door, turning back to
look at her with those spooky eyes again. "That boy would
die fer you, Angel.....can you say the same?" The question
had nothing to do with his former remarks, but still, he felt
the need to make her aware of what she was doing. Of the pain
she was causing, of the pain she was living in.
"I-I'd do the same for any X-Man," she responded
He leaned against the doorframe, cigar seemingly forgotten
in his hand. "Look, I don't know much about your past,
darlin', but I'm bettin' whatever was in it included a whole
lotta hurt from someone you loved a lot. I see how you look
at Bobby, how you act with him...there's love there of a sort,
but more fear than anything. That's why you lash out against
'im so bad, cause your feelin's, his feelin's for you, they
scare you silly."
She stared at him liked a frightened, cornered animal, completely
defenseless in the face of his truth. Even if she could have
responded, she couldn't think of a single thing to say. He
was right. About everything. Vance's image, never far from
her mind, rose up again before her.
Logan turned and pulled the door closed, pausing for just
an instant before shutting it. With one last look back at
her, he finished, "We all got crosses to bear, darlin'.
But when you let 'em get too heavy, they have a way o' draggin'
you straight to the bottom. Yer too good for that, darlin',
don't let it happen."
He turned away and shut the door then, but not before he
saw the tears in her eyes.
Continued in Chapter
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by