Stories by John Kress
"Rogue: Day One"
Enter Rogue's head as she makes the decision to go to Charles Xavier for help in UXM #171, and then deals with the reactions of the various X-Men.
Here's a story about Rogue, and how she
came to join the X-Men. Enjoy. Comments, criticisms and suggestions
Rogue, the X-Men and all constituent characters coptwrite
1995 Marvel Comics Group. This story is not for profit. Distribution
and reproduction without the author's consent is fine, so
long as it isn't for profit.
Rogue: Day One
It's funny how the past looks different when you look back
on it than it did when you were really there -- like how one
of the days you thought was one of the worst of your life
turns out to be one of the best... or at least one that turns
out for the best, in the long run. I guess maybe there's truth
to that old saying about going through suffering's making
you a better person; I like to think that I'm a better person
now than I was then, but whether that's true or not, one thing's
for sure -- I was going through my fair share of suffering
at the time.
The thing that really made up my mind to leave was the dream.
Now I'm no stranger to bad dreams, and that was more true
then than now, but _this_ dream was like nothing I'd ever
experienced before ... mostly because it wasn't me who experienced
it, at least not the first time around. But I'm already starting
to get ahead of myself....
There wasn't anything different about the night itself, at
least not that I remember. I'd been upset that evening --
but that was pretty common in those days. Earlier that day,
I'd had an 'episode', and that was what really had me keyed
up. I don't know if that had anything to do with what happened
later, but it sure couldn't've helped matters, and it does
explain my mood that night.
Right after dinner, I'd been going through some boxes of
my old stuff, just digging around in my closet, when I dug
up some of my old tapes -- things I hadn't listened to in
years. Mostly they were a bunch of bands that I'd either outgrown
or else'd replaced with CDs -- but I'd listened to them all
the time when I was younger, and I'd never thrown any of 'em
away. I had few enough keepsakes as it was.
I started fishing through the box to see what all was in
it. The first thing I pulled out was Duran Duran's "Seven
and the Ragged Tiger" -- I'd really liked it a few years
ago, but that was kind of embarrassing now. There was also
some less 'pop' stuff: a couple of old Nazgul albums, some
Blackoak Arkansas, some Joan Jett tapes and even a copy of
Lila Cheney's first album, back when her stuff was a lot less
technically proficient than it is now, but also a lot rawer
and more intense.
So I was going through my tapes, thinking how much fun they'd
been to listen to, and generally thinking about the good feelings
associated with what was probably the happiest time in my
life: the first few years after Mystique and Destiny had taken
me in. Given all that I was having to deal with then, I welcomed
the excuse to just let myself drift back to simpler days,
days when I didn't have a worry in the world.
As I sat there looking my tapes over and kind of reminiscing,
it occurred to me to wonder where my record albums were as
well. That sent a little pang of anxiety through me: I really
couldn't think where I'd put them. That was particularly distressing
since I had every last one of the Beatles' full-sized records,
and it'd really taken some effort get them all. Well, they're
a lot bigger than tapes, I thought, It shouldn't be
too hard to find them.
With that thought, I started going through the closet in
earnest, turning things over, and spilling boxes out everywhere,
all with no success. I was fixing to be really upset if my
albums had gotten thrown away -- I'd always regarded it as
something of a moral victory that I'd managed to hang on to
them as long as I had, after all the arguments I'd had with
dad about playing them, when he'd repeatedly threatened to
throw them away --
Dad? The realization was sudden and startling, like
having a bucket of ice water dumped on you. I don't have
It all came apart from there, one thought tumbling after
the next. Of course my albums weren't here. They'd
been here. I'd never even owned any albums, 'cause Mystique
had first bought me a cassette deck and then later a CD player
-- never a record player. I didn't even like the Beatles...
and I'd certainly never had arguments with my father over
them; I'd never had a father to have arguments with. These
were all Carol's memories.
I tired to block the images out, but they just kept coming.
Pictures of good times and bad times, times with family and
friends, memories of childhood joy and disappointment, paraded
in my head -- but it was all a cruel lie. None of these memories
had anything to do with my life, but I couldn't shut them
out, couldn't stop reliving them. Not only that, but a part
of me didn't want to shut them out, since they were
memories of a life which in a lot of ways was a lot better'n
mine had been. These were memories of a life that I'd not
only never had, but that I could never have, no matter
how much I might've wanted to.
I let out a shriek of mixed anger and frustration, and started
kicking things around and generally pitching a fit. It seemed
like nothing in life was ever going to be fair, and that all
I could do about it was scream and yell and hit things --
nothing out of the ordinary for a troubled seventeen year-old,
I suppose, but I was a troubled seventeen year-old mutant,
and that puts a whole diff'rent spin on things.
Y'see, the thing that makes my tantrums different from most
folks's is that I can lift somewhere upward of fifty tons
and punch my fist through steel plate without so much as bruising
a knuckle. When you consider that, and then you consider the
durability of your average household furniture -- or the durability
of your average house for that matter -- you get an idea of
the kind of destruction I can cause when I cut loose.
Fortunately, I didn't get an opportunity to do too much damage
before an angry voice snapped, "Rogue! Control yourself!"
I stopped and looked up from the pile of flinders that a
moment before had been my chest o' drawers. Mystique was standing
in the doorway, fuming. "Haven't I taught you the importance
of keeping your temper? If Irene hadn't sensed this... this
childish outburst a moment ago, who knows but you might have
brought the entire house down on us, before you were stopped."
Destiny stood behind her, her head tilted the better to hear
what was going on.
"But Mama," I protested, guilty realization of
what I'd been doing settling me down, "I can't get
her out o' my head. I keep thinkin' her thoughts."
"That is no excuse for this sort of behavior, Rogue,"
she said. "Your mutant absorption power has permanently
integrated Carol Danvers' memory into your own mind. You must
learn to deal with this."
"But you don't understand what it's like,"
I said, sobbing. "It's not just information. Sometimes
it's like I'm her and me at the same time, and I can't tell
us apart." I looked at Mystique through a haze of tears.
"Why won't she leave me alone, Mama?"
"Raven," Destiny said, speaking at just the right
moment before Mystique could reply, "Though I am blind,
I often see matters more clearly than others. Rogue is deeply
upset. This incident is but an occasion of her ongoing difficulty."
She put her hand on Mystique's shoulder. "Be gentle."
There was a brief struggle on Mystique's face between anger
and sympathy -- sympathy finally won out, and I could see
the fury drain from her face. I guess I looked pretty pitiful
anyway, and that probably helped some. She sighed, and then
came over to me and took me in her arms. "Everything
is all right, Rogue," she said, "I understand how
hard this has been for you." She looked into my eyes.
"But you must realize that such displays of rage only
compound the problem."
I nodded weakly. She was right of course, but how was I supposed
to control my temper when I couldn't even control who was
in my head from moment to moment?
She held me reassuringly close -- one of those hugs that
almost makes you believe that everything's going to be all
right, even when you know it's not so -- almost. "We
will continue to seek help for your problem, daughter,"
she said. "We will get through this... together. Irene
and I are your family, and we will always be here for you."
Destiny nodded from the doorway.
I didn't have anything else to say, and I really needed the
hug, so I just stood there as Mama held me and cried in her
arms. Deep down, I knew there wasn't a blamed thing that she
or Destiny could do to help me, and that made me cry all the
Mystique shook her head, wondering what to do about her foster
daughter. There was no doubt that Rogue's mental condition
was deteriorating. Her mood swings were becoming more frequent
and more pronounced, alternating between violent rages and
severe depressions -- very unlike the brash and vivacious
young girl that Mystique had raised these past several years.
Certainly, Rogue's recent obsession with the mutant songstress
Dazzler, and her repeated failures to best the woman (Mystique
could only attribute that to Rogue's unstable psychological
condition), had only exacerbated the situation. And this evening's
fit of temper...
Mystique sighed, and resigned herself to the fact that the
solution to Rogue's problems would not be forthcoming that
evening. Rogue's problems are not strictly psychiatric
in nature, she thought as she climbed the stairs to the
room she shared with Irene, The difficulty is due to Rogue's
mutant power. What she needs is someone who not only has an
understanding of the special problems involved with mutants,
but who is also capable of examining her mind in order
to determine the extent of the damage her incorporation of
Danvers' psyche has caused...
She cut the thought off -- there was only one man she could
think of who satisfied both requirements... and it would be
a dark day in Hell before she'd let him get his hands
on another of her children. But if not him, then who? Irene
had already contacted a mutant esper, through her connections
in the mutant underground, but all they'd been able to learn
from him was that since absorbing Ms. Marvel's abilities,
their daughter had acquired a nearly impenetrable mind-shield...
a situation at which Mystique would have been overjoyed in
any other circumstances. It was as if fate was mocking her...
or else Danvers was, damn her to Hell.
Irene was already in bed when Mystique entered the room,
reading, her long, thin fingers caressing the pages as they
glided over the raised rows of braille characters. She finished
the chapter she was reading and set the book aside mere seconds
after Mystique came in, just as she always did, since, just
as she always did, she had begun reading at exactly the right
moment so as to finish at the same time that Mystique came
to bed. Their long years of companionship had accustomed Mystique
to Irene's precognitive abilities, after a fashion, but that
made them no less astonishing or remarkable... and no less
valuable to the Brotherhood.
"Raven," Irene said, understanding her preoccupation,
"we are doing all we can to help Rogue, and we will continue
to do so. You must not torment yourself needlessly."
Mystique never knew if Irene's uncanny ability to sense her
thoughts and worries stemmed from her mutant power to 'see'
the future, or simply from their long, intimate acquaintance.
"Perhaps Rogue's problems will resolve themselves, in
"Is that what you've 'seen', Irene?" she said,
crossing the room. Sitting on the bed, she took Irene's hands
"Rogue's future is not clear to me," Irene said,
"I believe that Ms. Marvel's own precognitive abilities,
which Rogue logically must have assimilated, are interfering
with my own -- at least as far as Rogue's long-term possibilities
Mystique considered this. "In all these months, we've
seen no indication that Rogue possesses such an ability..."
"Not consciously, at any rate," said Irene. "Perhaps
its use is only negative, so as to prevent Rogue's future
from being accurately discerned by a precog such as myself.
Or perhaps she makes use of it on a subconscious level, without
even being aware that she does so."
"That could explain it," Mystique granted. "If
only we had some way to examine her mind..."
"But we do not," Irene said. "I am afraid,
Raven, that, mutant powers notwithstanding, we shall simply
have to cope with raising a daughter in the 'old fashioned
way', by trial and error... unless of course, you think the
problem is serious enough that you'd consider sending her
"No!" Mystique snapped. "We are Rogue's
parent's, and we shall deal with her problem."
She softened immediately. "I'm sorry Irene, I didn't
mean to snap at you."
"No offense taken, Raven. I understand your possessiveness
of Rogue. We need not pursue the thought." She smiled
impishly. "Perhaps I'm simply becoming senile in my old
Mystique smiled and ran her hand through Irene's hair, which
over the years she'd watched turn from a deep, chestnut brown
to today's silver-gray. In the course of their long relationship,
she'd felt guilty from time to time that her own mutant shape-shifting
ability regenerated her cell-structure, fantastically increasing
her longevity, whereas Irene aged normally, growing older
while she stood nearly still. It was Irene who had never minded
this state of affairs, who had often chided her for worrying
about it, and made a jest of it whenever she or Mystique brought
it up, as she did now. "Dear heart," said Mystique,
laughing, "if you were going to go senile, you'd have
predicted it ten years ago."
"I would at that," Irene replied, still smiling.
"At least I was able to predict that you would
be in need of something to take your mind off your worries
"And so you planned to tell me jokes?" Mystique
"That, among other things..." Irene said, her long,
delicate fingers caressing the neck of bedside lamp, as they
gently slid up to the switch and flicked it off.
It's amazing how crying can tire a body out. After I'd had
a good, long cry, Mystique and Destiny comforting me as best
they knew how, I was ready to call it a night. Not only was
I dog tired, I really wanted the day to be over --
just so I wouldn't have to deal with it any more. Things'll
look better tomorrow, I told myself. But they won't
be any better, I added bitterly.
As it turned out, I was wrong on both counts.
Even tired as I was, sleep was a long time in coming. I was
exhausted, but at the same time I was wired up with nervous
energy. I was also a little afraid of sleep, seeing as how
when I'd dream, my own memories and Carol's'd get all jumbled
together, and I'd dream about places I'd never been or people
I'd never met.
That wasn't too bad when I was asleep, since it all seemed
natural then, but it was really awful sometimes to wake up
and not know who you are for awhile. Fortunately, I almost
never remember my dreams after I wake up, but that night,
when I did finally drift off to sleep, it was into a dream
that'll haunt me 'til the day I die.
You've got to understand that it never even occurred to me
that I might be dreaming. It was just too real -- the experience
was far more intense than any ordinary dream, although to
this day I don't know why that was. I never doubted for a
second the reality of what was happening, and it's important
to understand that, so you can understand the effect it had
on my emotional condition -- which was none too steady in
the first place.
I remember dreaming that I'd just gotten back from a trip
to the supermarket...
I was carrying three bags of groceries as I opened the little
gate to the enclosed courtyard I shared with my neighbor Martha
and stepped inside, closing the gate behind me. I made my
way along the little brick pathway to the front door of my
flat, and as I was trying to get ahold of my mail with my
left hand, I felt Ms. Marvel stirring inside me, trying to
get out. Stop it, I thought savagely. I want nothing
to do with you.
She and I had been becoming closer to one another ever since
she had first manifested, ever since the accident which had
overlaid the Kree Captain Mar-Vell's genetic structure on
mine. At first, living with Ms. Marvel was akin to being two
people who shared one body, but as I grew to accept her and
what she stood for, and as she recovered more and more of
my memories, and understood Mar-Vell's to be alien, a side-effect
of her creation, we'd grown steadily together almost to the
point of there being no distinction between Carol Danvers
and Ms. Marvel at all.
My experience with Marcus had changed all that. He had been
a godlike man-child who conceived a mad desire for me, which
he was foolish enough to think was love. He used strange machines,
created by his father Immortus, the mysterious ruler of the
dimension called Limbo, in order to bend my mind to him, to
make me love him, as he thought he loved me. Not satisfied
with that, he next used Immortus' machines to force-grow a
new body for himself, so that he could escape to earth. My
body, he decided, would be his ticket out of Limbo -- in less
than three days, against my will, I was made to undergo a
full term of pregnancy, and to give birth to a child which
had no father but himself.
However, Marcus' attempt to escape ended in disastrous failure,
and he was forced to return to Limbo. Unable to face the lonely
emptiness of that place alone, he used his machines to "convince"
me to go back with him, as something of a consolation prize,
I suppose. But Marcus was too clever for his own good -- in
aligning his body with earth's time stream, even imperfectly,
he'd misaligned himself with Limbo. Aging at a fantastic rate,
he was dead within a week of our return.
Utilizing Ms. Marvel's knowledge of Kree technology -- Mar-Vell's
knowledge really -- I'd been able to figure out enough about
Immortus' devices to return myself to earth. After that, Ms.
Marvel and I had become increasingly estranged. I'd been through
more emotional stress than anyone should ever have to deal
with, and I blamed her for it. She'd go charging off on this
or that mission or adventure, and I'd end up suffering as
a result. I vowed no more; I wanted to be done with her, with
superheroes, with Kree warrior ideals, with the Avengers,
with all of it. I wanted simply to get on with my life, with
Carol Danvers' life, not Ms. Marvel's life.
She'd been quiescent for several weeks, and I was beginning
to think that I'd heard the last of her, but here she was
trying all of a sudden to get control of me, me trying to
get inside my house with the week's groceries. Leave me
alone, I thought as I raised my right knee to balance
two of the bags and began to dig for my keys with my right
hand. Stay out of my life.
I'd just gotten my keys out of my pocket when I heard a female
voice behind me say, "Ah've got you now, you Yankee witch."
I felt hands grabbing from behind, clutching at my face --
and the instant they touched me I was paralyzed.
I tried to scream but managed no more than a gasp, as all
the energy in my body began to flow out of me and into my
attacker. Someone was draining away my life. To my
horror, that was not all: my mind, my consciousness, my very
being was being ripped away from me at the same time.
Words fail me to describe the awful, sickening quality of
the experience. It was like falling unconscious, but much
more horrible; I was being smothered in an enveloping numbness,
losing not only feeling, but the very awareness of feeling.
The light within my mind was being extinguished, and
all I had left was the dimming awareness that I'd soon be
gone, perhaps never to reawaken.
I made an effort to struggle, but I hadn't the strength even
to raise a hand. It was no use: I was helpless and dying,
someone was killing me, and I didn't even know why. I wanted
to scream, to fight, to cry, to do anything at all rather
than simply let myself die, but I couldn't. My consciousness
began to flicker out like a dying candle-flame. It isn't
fair! I don't want to die! I cried out silently, hopelessly,
as I spiraled down into darkness.
I went limp in my attacker's arms as I felt the last of my
mind, all that was left of me, being sucked away into
the blackness. My last dim awareness was one of light as...
I succeeded in forcing the change. Hala, Carol! I thought.
Would you rather die than make peace with me?
I had no time to waste considering my recent difficulties
with Carol. The assassin had to be dispatched quickly, before
she had a chance to do to me what she'd done to Carol. And
if she has harmed Carol, I thought grimly, Ms. Marvel
shall make her pay dearly for it.
I reached behind me and grabbed hold of my assailant, throwing
my body forward as I did so. One of the first things they
teach you at the Imperial Academy on Kree-Lar is not to attack
your opponent from above, since it leaves you particularly
vulnerable to having your own weight used against you. Given
this principle, and the fact that I am far stronger than either
human or Kree, it was a simple matter for me to throw my attacker
over my back and out towards the street.
The woman flew at least forty feet, clearing both the courtyard
fence and the street, and impacted with bone-jarring force
on the steps of the building opposite mine. A heartbeat later,
I was flying after her, my hands raised in attack position,
automatically preparing to kill or maim my enemy, as I had
been trained to do. The vague thought flitted across my mind
that Carol had sworn never again to take a life, but I was
a Kree-born warrior, and sympathy for an enemy was madness
-- such thoughts were weakness. I paused only to take stock
of my foe.
She was a young woman, little more than a cadet's age, dressed
all in green, with a matching pair of white stripes streaking
short, brown hair. She was lying very still, her body twisted
at a painful angle on the steps. I recognized her as Rogue,
a member of the so-called Brotherhood of Evil Mutants -- one
of Mystique's henchmen.
I'd battled them not long before my encounter with Immortus'
mad bastard. Mystique, the Brotherhood's leader, hated Carol
Danvers past all reason and had employed the Brotherhood in
an attempt on her life -- but she had not reckoned with the
power of Ms. Marvel. During the conflict, I'd incapacitated
most of the Brotherhood, including Rogue, whom Mystique had
seemed willing to sacrifice in her insane hatred.
Mystique had obvously learned of my return to earth, and
had once more sent her mutant minions to attack me. It
is improbable that Rogue is alone, I thought, as I flew
to where she lay. She wasn't moving at all, which was not
surprising considering the force with which I'd thrown her.
For all her mutant energy draining power she was no more durable
than an ordinary human, and she was most likely dead or unconscious.
I bent to examine her, while scanning about me for other members
of the Brotherhood, who might be waiting in the wings.
She was alive, and remarkably, although unconscious, she
appeared to be substantially uninjured. Perhaps she had managed
to acquire a degree of my invulnerability, when she'd attacked
Carol? That thought led to another: what exactly had she done
to Carol, anyway? What had she done to me?
Frowning, I tried to ascertain Carol's condition. Normally,
when I change, "Carol Danvers" becomes a dormant
presence "inside" of Ms. Marvel. I've never known
if we were really two distinct personalities -- sometimes
it seemed so, and sometimes not.
But now, things were different. I could detect no sign of
Carol's presence within me. Alarmed, I tried to draw from
Carol's memories, which I'd been able to do since shortly
after Carol had first been transformed, only to find that
I could not. I realized with a shock that I had no memory
or awareness apart from memories I'd accumulated since becoming
Ms. Marvel, and the alien memories I'd 'borrowed' from the
Kree warrior Mar-Vell. Of Carol Danvers, there was nothing
As I stood desparately trying to detect some trace of Carol's
self within me, I noticed too late that Rogue had recovered
consciousness. Suddenly, while I was distracted, she reached
up and grabbed hold of my bare shoulder. "Honey,"
she said. "you picked a bad time to go nappin'."
For the second time that night I felt the awful pull of Rogue's
mutant ability. She was draining my energy and my mind just
as she had done to Carol. I could feel strength and memories
and thoughts slipping away from me -- instinctively, obedient
to hours of training on Kree-Lar, I struck out at her, as
hard as I could.
I don't know why Ms. Marvel wasn't paralyzed in the same
way that Carol Danvers had been, but my arm responded, and
I delivered a punch to Rogue which should have killed her
outright. As it was, I knocked her almost a block and a half,
down the street towards the Golden Gate Bridge. As I flew
up into the air, I could see her shakily trying to regain
"Oh no you don't!" I cried, diving at her. She'd
gotten up on one leg when I hit her again, knocking her into
the air once more, this time as far as the entrance ramp of
As I rocketed toward her harsh awareness of what she'd done
burned inside of me. This time, she'd emptied my mind completely
-- there was nothing left, nothing of Carol, nothing of Mar-Vell,
nothing even of Ms. Marvel -- except for awareness of the
past ten minutes, my mind was an utter void.
Everything that makes life meaningful, loves and hates and
friendships and a sense of yourself, of who you are -- all
that was gone was, ripped from me by this mind-stealing, mutant
harlot. In a real sense, I had just been killed, but since
I wasn't physically dead, I was also newly born -- and I was
a creature of the circumstances of my birth, born out of pain
and loss, anger and hatred. Inside the emptiness of my mind,
expanding to fill that blank void, there was a blinding, murderous
rage. I embraced it as it filled me. After all, my anger and
my hatred at what had been done to me were all that was left
of me, were all that I was.
"Calot-spawn! You've destroyed me!" I shrieked,
insane with fury, hurtling after Rogue. "You've stolen
Rogue had regained her feet once more, and stood unsteadily,
clutching an embankment railing, looking at me with an expression
of fear and amazement. I didn't care.
"That's it! Get up, so I can knock you down again!"
I screamed, crashing into Rogue for a third time. She had
no chance to avoid me. This time I knocked her a fair distance
out onto the bridge itself.
She must have absorbed some degree of my superhuman resistance
to injury, because I was hitting her hard enough to pulverize
tanks, and all it was doing was staggering her. Very well,
I thought, I'll hit her as many times as it takes, as many
times as it takes to finish it. I flew over the bridge,
landing next to her as she lay against the rail.
She hadn't been able to get to her feet this time, so I grabbed
her collar in my left hand, and picked her up, dangling her
in front of me, my right hand cocked to deliver a devastating
"Please..." she said weakly, finding her voice.
In other circumstances such a plea would surely have touched
some chord of pity or mercy in Carol, or in Mar-Vell, or even
in Ms. Marvel -- but now they were gone. Now there was only
me, and I was nothing but pure fury and hatred... and vengeance.
"It's too late for that," I said coldly, and hit
her again. The blow sent her angling from one side of the
bridge to the other edge, smashing her through the
trailer of a passing truck. She landed hard, and it was fairly
clear that she wasn't going to be able to get up without help.
Once more, I flew to her side. I could see from the look
in her eyes that she understood my intent, and I found satisfaction
in that knowledge. Once more, I took hold of her collar preparatory
to knocking her off the bridge and into the icy waters of
the San Francisco Bay below. Once more, I drew back my arm
to strike her, this time for the final time.
Desperation must have given her strength, because she groped
wildly with her hand and managed get hold of my face. The
realization was instantaneous: If I let her drain me, I'm
finished. We fell to the ground, locked together, and
as we dropped, I let go of her collar and took hold of her
windpipe, trying with all my strength to throttle her.
It was a last, desperate effort, on both our parts. Each
of us was making an all or nothing attempt to finish the other.
It was really only a question of whether or not I could snap
her neck before she could drain off enough energy to keep
me from doing it. It was a race between Kree-born fury and
mutant power. For a few, agonizing seconds the outcome was
in doubt, but then I felt myself weakening, losing my grip,
while Rogue's grew firmer, fiercer.
No! I thought. Not now! I've come too far to fail,
now! But it was too late. I could feel what little was
left of my psyche beginning to discorporate. I sagged in Rogue's
arms. I'm sorry Carol, I thought as blackness claimed
me for the final time, I've failed you. I've failed us
"Nooooo!" I screamed, jerking awake, my heart pounding
a mile a minute. I was breathing in ragged gasps and covered
in a cold sweat. I thought I was dying for sure.
I sat up in bed, trembling, clutching the blanket around
me, trying to get a grip on myself. I was shaking uncontrollably.
It was a dream, I told myself. I'm okay... I'm okay...
It was just a dream....
After a bit, I began to calm down a little and accept the
idea that I was home in bed, and not fighting for my life
up on the Golden Gate Bridge. But as immediate panic and fear
for my life began to die down, the full horror of what I'd
been dreaming about started to dawn on me: I'd just experienced
myself being killed, not once but three times -- and it'd
been real as could be -- it felt the same as if it'd really
And that was the most horrible part of it, because I knew
it had happened. I wanted it to be just some awful,
awful dream, but it wasn't just a dream. In my heart of hearts,
I knew that that'd been exactly what had happened,
that what I'd just experienced was exactly what Carol had
experienced when she died -- when I killed her. All that pain
and terror and loss, all she'd gone through, and it was all
They say that the essence of moral awareness is being able
to see things from another person's point of view. I'd been
bitter over what my accidentally stealing Carol's memories'd
done to me, over being driven crazy on account of it, but
I'd never really let myself think about what it must've been
like for her. And now all of a sudden I knew, and knew more
intimately than I'd ever've wanted to. I'd just lived through
all her pain and terror with her, as her, and I'd seen
myself through her eyes, as she'd seen me then. And I sure
didn't like what I saw.
Everything that I was going through wasn't anything compared
to what I'd done to her that night. I hadn't meant for it
to happen, hadn't really been aware of what I was doing --
but that was beside the point. I was responsible for my actions,
and whatever I was suffering as a result was no more'n I deserved.
Oh Carol! I curled up on my bed, sobbing. Oh I'm
sorry, I'm so sorry. I'd give anything for it never to'a've
By the time I'd finished my second cry of the night, I knew
I had to leave. I knew that I couldn't stay there with Mama
and Irene anymore, or I'd go mad for sure. Maybe not that
day, or the next day, or the day after that, but little by
little, just as sure as the sun comes up. I didn't think I
could face many more bouts with Carol's memories. Now that
I'd seen things from her side, I knew I wouldn't be able to
blame it all on her anymore, which'd been the way I'd been
trying to keep myself sane. I also wasn't sure I was up to
putting the blame for my problems where deep down I knew it
I went to my closet (which was still a mess from earlier)
and fished out my old, leather duffle-bag. Then I went around
my room packing everything I could fit into it, everything
that I'd want to take with me. I did all this pretty mechanically,
without really letting the idea that I was planning to run
away from home sink in.
When I'd packed what I could, I put on my costume and my
coat, shouldered my bag, opened my window and dove out into
the cold night air. As usual, there was a rush of excitement
as my body caught the wind and succeeded in ignoring gravity.
There's no thrill quite like flying under your own power.
I shot up into the air, but then stopped and looked back
at the home I was leaving. My eyes, which were already red
from crying so much, misted over with tears again. Living
with Mystique and Irene had been the only real family I'd
ever had, and here I was running away from them. Please
understand, I said silently to them, I gotta do this,
or my life'll be as good as over anyway.
Turning around, I dropped back down to the side of the house,
next to the window of Mystique and Irene's room. Hovering
just outside, I could barely make out their sleeping forms
in the dark bedroom. I kissed the window softly. "Bye
Irene," I whispered. "Bye Mama. I love you."
With that, I flew out into the world, leaving behind everything
and everyone that I'd ever loved.
As I flew high above Washington, I tried to figure out what
to do next. I knew I needed help, and more than Mystique could
provide for me at home, but the question was where I could
get it. Running away wouldn't do a whole heck of a lot of
good if it didn't help me to get my head straight. I ran over
my options as I flew across town to the bus station. They
were few and far between.
I thought about going to the Avengers for help, even though
I'd fought them in the past, and they'd probably try to arrest
me. After all, two of their members, Quicksilver and the Scarlet
Witch, had been members of the original Brotherhood of Evil
Mutants, and the Avengers'd accepted them, in spite of their
past. Maybe I'd have a shot with them, especially if I could
talk to the Beast -- he was one of the most compassionate
people I'd ever met, mutant or human...
Whoa, I thought, hold that thought. I'd never
met the Beast, or any of the Avengers, except on the other
side of a pitched battle. Any impressions I had of what they
were like would've been Carol's, from her days as one of them.
Ms. Marvel had had a place with the Avengers. And I'm the
one who killed her, I thought. Stole her powers and
used 'em to attack the Avengers. No matter how nice they'd
been to Carol, they certainly wouldn't welcome Rogue, nor
would they have any reason to. And as for accepting former
enemies, well, the Scarlet Witch had never killed one of their
No, that'd just get me locked up at Project Pegasus or some
other god-awful government prison, and although Mystique'd
no doubt be able to bust me out, it wouldn't do me a lick
of good. Even if the Avengers were willing to forgive and
forget, I didn't know that they'd be able to help me anyway.
What I needed was someone who was an expert on the problems
of mutants and mutant powers, which narrowed my already slim
options down to next to nothing.
There was the mutant underground, where maybe I could put
out word of my problem, but Mystique and Irene had already
done that, and come up dry. No help there.
Who then? There was Magneto, who was sorta informally recognized
as the protector of all mutants everywhere -- he'd certainly
be able to figure out what was wrong with my powers, if anyone
could, but even assuming I could reach him, who knows how
he'd react? He'd always fought for the cause of mutantkind,
but I had no idea what he'd do if a half-crazy young mutant
member of the group that had swiped his group's name showed
up on his doorstep and asked for help....
Prob'ly tell me to take a hike, I thought. On the
other hand, who knows? Maybe we'd hit it off. I smiled
at the idea of me being friends with the most powerful and
dangerous mutant in the world.
But even if I was willing to give it a shot, I didn't have
the faintest idea where or how to get in touch with him. Magneto
hadn't been seen or heard of since his attempt to blackmail
the world into nuclear disarmament a couple of years back.
No one knew what'd happened to him since then, or even whether
he was alive or dead. So that pretty much left him out of
Besides which, even though my powers were the ultimate source
of my problems, they weren't the direct cause. My problem
was with my head, what with it having one too many people
inside of it. What I needed was somebody who could help with
that, and also help me get my powers under control.
Much as I didn't want to admit it, there was only one person
in the world who fit the bill: Charles Xavier, the mutant
telepath who led the Brotherhood's worst enemies, the X-Men.
I'd never met the man, but Mystique sure had no love for
him, although I didn't entirely understand why. Certainly,
he and the X-Men had defeated the Brotherhood back when Mystique
was out to knock off the anti-mutant senator Robert Kelly
("Told you so," I'd said, "told you you should
have let me come with y'all."), but Mystique seemed to
have something personal against him. She was convinced (or
at least pretended to be) that he used his mental powers to
brainwash the X-Men into being loyal to him, and betraying
the cause of mutants everywhere.
On the other hand, Destiny pretty clearly respected the man,
even if she thought he was misguided and overly idealistic
-- not to mention just too darn rich to really understand
the problems of the majority of mutants. "If only he'd
lived through Vichy," I once overheard her say in an
argument with Mystique about him.
In fact, it occurred to me to wonder whether Destiny hadn't
dropped his name for my benefit -- it's real hard to eavesdrop
on somebody who can sense the future -- especially since Mystique'd
go ballistic whenever anybody brought his name up. It wasn't
like Destiny to irritate people without a reason.
But that was probably just wishful thinking on my part. What
it was was that I already knew deep down that Xavier and the
X-Men were the only people I could really turn to, even before
I'd thought seriously about going anywhere. Going to the Avengers
would be a dumb thing to do -- and hey, this gal's no fool
-- and Magneto was just an idle fancy.
Mystique's theory about brainwashing or no, Xavier had a
reputation in the mutant underground as being a compassionate
man who'd stop at nothing to help a fellow mutant, and the
X-Men were pretty much the nearest thing that the world had
to a mutant superhero team. In a weird sort of way, even the
mutants who didn't agree with the integrationist ideal that
the X-Men stood for kinda felt proud on account of them. And
that applied to me too -- I mean, sure, I'd wanted to take
them on and all, but that was mostly because the X-Men were
the people to beat in the mutant community. They more or less
set the standard.
I dropped out of the air in a dingy alley out back of the
Greyhound station, startling the heck out of an old wino,
who was lying back in the shadows there. "Sorry, sugah,"
I told him, and left him a couple of bucks for a half-decent
Circling around the building, I went in the main entrance
and up to the ticket counter. I stood there for a minute,
with my stomach tightening over what I was about to do. You
can still go back home, I thought, They prob'ly won't
even have missed you yet.
But it was too late for me to go back, even if I wanted to
-- which I did -- 'cause things had changed. I'd woken up
out of my dream a different person, in more ways than one.
It'd taken a dream to wake me up for the first time, so to
speak. This was the point where I either had to give up or
to take a stand and try and do something about the mess my
life was in. And I wasn't about to give up just yet, not while
there was still fight left in me.
"Miss?" said the little man behind the ticket counter.
"Can I help you?"
I only hesitated a little before saying, "Give me a
ticket to Salem Center, New York."
1407 Graymalkin Lane proved to be a fancy gate in a high
brick wall. Beyond the gate a tree-lined driveway stretched
out of sight into a wood. Beside the gate, set into the wall,
was a big plaque which read: XAVIER School for Gifted Youngsters
Well, I reckon that's one way to describe us, I remember
Charles Xavier's estate is a pretty expansive piece of land,
at least three or four miles long -- all of it lakefront property,
too, in a pretty affluent and exclusive part of Westchester
County. The main building on the grounds is a large mansion,
which you can't see from the road, but which I'd spotted as
I'd flown along Graymalkin Lane, looking for the place. As
the lady at the little restaurant in Salem Center where I'd
had dinner'd said, there wasn't much else out this way. I
guess the X-Men liked their privacy.
At first, I'd thought about flying directly to the mansion,
but apt as I am to go off half-cocked sometimes, it didn't
take a genius to figure out that a member of the Brotherhood
of Evil Mutants just flying up to the headquarters of the
X-Men as carefree as you please was liable to give the wrong
impression. The last thing I wanted right about then was to
get into a scrap with the X-Men.
So I'd set down right outside the main gate, and I was standing
there, wondering how best to go about approaching the place.
There didn't seem to be an intercom or anything like that,
so I guessed visitors were expected to walk right in -- which
was a pretty odd policy, considering who lived there. Of course,
at the time I had no idea how extensive the X-Men's security
systems really are, or how well they're hidden, so as not
to arouse suspicion. Considering what I know now, it's a good
thing that I decided to walk to the mansion, nice and slow
My stomach was all full of butterflies as I flew up over
the gate and touched down on the other side. Oh Lord, what'm
I gonna say when I get there, I wondered. Oh well,
there's only one way to find out. I shouldered my duffle-bag,
and started trudging down the driveway.
From the main gate to the mansion is only a little over half
a mile, but it seemed to take forever for me to make it --
but when I got there, it seemed way too soon. Before I knew
it, I was standing on the main porch of the X-Men's mansion.
I didn't feel at all ready to go through with it.
I set my bag down, and was working up my courage to ring
the door-bell, when the door flew open without warning. Standing
there, filling the doorway, was one of the biggest men I'd
ever seen -- not only did he tower over me, but to top it
off, he was made all of shiny steel. I knew him right away,
although I'd never met him. After all, there weren't likely
to be two metal giants hanging around the place. His name
was Colossus, and he was supposed to be even stronger and
tougher'n me. "You!?" he demanded, recognizing me,
clearly ready for trouble.
I was so surprised that all I could do was stare at him,
with my mouth hanging open. Incongruously, he was wearing
tennis shoes and a big blue sweat suit. The thought Do
metal guys sweat? flashed through my mind. His left hand
was clenched in a fist. He took a half-step towards me, raising
"No, wait!" I said, taking a step back. As I did,
my foot caught on my bag and I missed my balance and fell
over backwards down the porch steps. I landed on my backside,
but I was too scared that Colossus would attack me to be properly
embarassed. "Don't hit me, please -- don't hit me!"
I blurted out, "I don't want a fight. I need the X-Men's
help -- I gotta have it -- or I'm as good as dead."
Colossus didn't look very convinced, but at least he held
off attacking me. I was getting back on my feet when a very
regal looking black woman appeared behind Colossus. She had
long, flowing white hair and was dressed all in black. "Peter?"
she said, "Is something the matter?"
When she saw me, her whole posture changed. She tensed up
immediately, and her eyes narrowed as she assessed the situation.
We'd met before -- she was Storm, the X-Men's field leader
-- and she took charge right away.
"Rogue," she said, simply making a statement of
fact, "One of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants."
There was something different about her since I'd last seen
her. Her eyes seemed harder now, less forgiving. Invisible
menace gathered in the air around her as she spoke. "Explain
your presence here," she demanded. "At once."
I was just about to say something when there was a soft "Bamf"
sound from up on top of the porch's overhang. With a puff
of smoke, another of the X-Men made his arrival -- Nightcrawler,
the blue-skinned, blue-furred teleporter. "Unglaublich!"
he exclaimed, staring down at me with yellow eyes.
I looked from face to face. Nightcrawler seemed watchful
and curious, Colossus tense and wary. And Storm? Everything
about the way Storm held herself said danger. "Well?"
she pressed, raising her hand.
"Wait, please," I said. "Gimme a chance to
explain. I don't want a fight, I'm not -- I need your help,
the X-Men's help. I don't know who else to turn to."
She looked down at me for a long moment, her face an expressionless
mask. When she spoke, though, there was a touch of harshness
in her voice. "You are not welcome here," she began,
"You must leave or..."
"Don't you think, Storm, that it would be worthwhile
to hear what she has to say?" said a voice from the doorway,
interrupting her. It was a quiet voice, but one that carried
an unmistakable tone of authority. I looked up as a bald man
in a wheelchair emerged from the doorway, behind him a tall
woman with... feathers?... for hair. The man had high, arched
eyebrows and one of the most penetrating gazes that I'd ever
seen. When he looked at you, you felt like he was seeing right
through you, right into your soul. It was my first glipse
of Professor Charles Xavier.
"Professor..." Storm began, but he spoke again,
addressing himself directly to me. "Welcome to my house,
young lady," he said. "Please come inside, and we
shall discuss matters in a civilized fashion."
He emphasized the word for the general benefit. "Ororo,
Peter, if you will accompany our guest to the day room? Kurt,
please see to her coat and bag. And Kitty -- as long as you
are about," he said, talking to nobody I could see, "kindly
bring us some tea."
Without a backward glance, he adroitly spun his wheelchair
around, and reentered the mansion. The X-Men stared after
him, frowning. After a moment, there was another "Bamf,"
and Nightcrawler appeared right beside me. "If you will
follow me, Fraulein?" he said. I stared at him. It was
amazing how much he looked like Mystique -- almost disconcerting.
I think, though, that he got the wrong idea from my long look,
because he turned away abruptly, and walked toward the mansion.
I didn't know what to say, so I just followed him, Storm
preceeding us, Colossus following close behind. Inside, Nightcrawler
took my coat without a word, and led me down a long hallway
into a well-lit corner room, which had a bunch of chairs and
a long corner couch, and rows of windows on two sides. Xavier
was already sitting on the couch, wrapped in a purple bathrobe,
with the "bird lady" sitting next to him. His wheelchair
was neatly parked out of the way in a corner.
As we entered the room, Nightcrawler set my bag and coat
down on one of the chairs at the side of the room, and hopped
up onto the back of the couch, where he sat... or perched,
more like it. Storm and Colossus remained standing. Xavier
gestured to me, and said "Please help yourself to a seat.
Kitty shall bring us drinks momentarily."
I mumbled a scarcely audible, "Thanks," and sat
down in the nearest chair.
"Let us begin with introductions," said Xavier.
"Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler are members of the
X-Men. Beside me is Lilandra Neramani, Princess of the Shi'ar."
He referred to the bird woman. The name meant nothing to me.
"And I am Professor Charles Xavier, Headmaster of this
I was wondering if he expected me to say something like "I'm
Rogue, and I'm a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,"
when two young girls, teenagers by the look of them, but younger'n
me, came into the room. One had long, straight, blond hair,
held back in a ponytail, and was carrying a tray with a teapot
on it; the other had curly, brown hair, and she was carrying
a tray with several cups and tea-bags, and frowning. "Ah,
thank you Kitty, Illyana," said Xavier. "If you
would serve our guest?"
"No problem," answered the blond, and proceeded
to pour some hot water into one of the cups. She dunked a
bag in it, as the other girl went and sat on the far end of
the room. "Here ya go," she said, handing the cup
to me. She looked at me curiously, but without hostility,
as I took the cup from her. Then she joined her friend on
My hands were trembling as I sat there, in what felt like
a roomful of accusers. I tried to keep them steady, as I took
a sip of hot tea, but I wasn't doing too good a job of it.
I stared at the rug as Storm filled the group in on who I
was, and the X-Men debated whether or not I was there as part
of an attack plot. After a moment, Xavier commanded them all
to silence, and then turned those penetrating eyes on me again.
"Why are you here child? What do you want?" he
I wish I knew, I thought. I figured he could probably
read everything in my mind anyway, probably already had, so
I said, "You're the telepath, Xavier, you tell me."
It didn't come out the way I meant it; I really did hope he'd
be able to just understand, 'cause I didn't have too
great a track record at explaining my problems to people.
"Professor Xavier, if you please," he corrected.
I blushed a little. I hadn't meant to be disrespectful --
'Xavier' was how Mystique'd always referred to him, and that
was how I was used to thinking of him. "I cannot effectively
read your mind, Rogue," he went on. "You possess
two diametrically opposed thought patterns, one of them alien.
It sets up an interference pattern I am thus far unable to
penetrate." Even so, he'd just managed to make more sense
out of what was going on in my head at a glance than that
mutant esper that Mystique'd hired had been able to after
"That's the persona I absorbed from Carol Danvers when
I absorbed her powers last year," I said. I felt the
intensity of the X-Men's stares on me when I mentioned Carol's
name. "I didn't intend the transfer to be permanent,"
I added, "It was an accident."
I paused and looked up at Xavier. He was watching me intently,
thoughtfully. I tried to meet his eyes as I said, "It's
driving me crazy, Professor. You've gotta help me. You're
the only one who can."
"You've got some nerve, Rogue," exclaimed the brown
haired girl, "asking that after all you've done!"
"Hush, Kitty," admonished Xavier. "Go on,
Rogue," he said, in a surprisingly gentle tone.
"My powers are out of control, Professor. The slightest
touch triggers the transfer," I said. "But that's
not the biggest problem. It's getting harder and harder to
hang on to my self whenever I absorb someone's powers. With
Carol Danvers' persona stuck in my head, it's gettin' so I
don't know anymore which thoughts -- or mem'ries, or feelings
-- are mine."
I felt my eyes beginning to fill with tears. "I look
into a mirror and I see a stranger's face!"
"If you ask me, a most apt punishment for your crimes,"
said Nightcrawler sharply, from the back of the room. I remembered
that he'd been with Carol at the Pentagon, when I'd fought
the X-Men there. I couldn't deny what he said. In fact, I
pretty much had to agree with him: the punishment sure fit
the crime. But I wasn't saying I deserved help. The
X-Men would've been within their rights to condemn me, which
would've been as easy as kicking me out, right then and there.
I buried my face in my hands, sobbing, words spilling out
in a rush. "I tried to make Mystique understand, but
she wouldn't listen -- she was certain that we could work
things out on our own. I love her, Professor -- she's been
like a mom to me -- but I knew she was wrong. I turned to
the X-Men -- even though we're enemies -- because you're my
only hope." I was really crying by then. The people who
loved me didn't understand, and the only people who might
be able to understand all hated me. It would've been funny,
if it hadn't been so pitiful.
"Kitty!" Xavier snapped, abruptly, angrily.
"I didn't say anything," Kitty protested.
"Your thoughts were plain enough," he said evenly.
"That's not fair!" she said.
"Are you being fair to Rogue?" he said. The question
earned him startled looks from everyone except the blond girl
and the bird lady. I was trying to wipe the tears out of my
eyes, so I'm not sure, but I could've sworn that the blond
girl winked at me.
"I accept your dislike and distrust of her, X-Men,"
Xavier was saying, "but I would rather not conduct an
examination with such concentrated, negative emotions so close
at hand. Lilandra and I shall continue this interview without
your presence. I'll summon you when I'm finished." His
voice'd assumed that same tone of authority I'd heard earlier.
He seemed angry, for some reason.
"Professor," said Storm, "are you sure this
is wise? She is dangerous." I sure am,
I thought, dangerous to everyone I touch -- and most of
all to myself.
"Lilandra and I can take care of ourselves, Storm,"
he said. "And as for Rogue -- I believe we have nothing
to fear from her." At the time, I'd curled up into a
little ball on the chair, hugging my knees and crying. "So
if you please, Storm...."
Reluctantly, the X-Men left the room, some of them with puzzled
or hurt expression on their faces, Storm scowling deeply.
Xavier waited 'til the X-Men'd gone and closed the door behind
them. "Rogue?" he said. His voice had become gentle
I tried to get a grip on myself, without much success. I
was still shaking on the chair. "I'm sorry, Professor,"
I said, tears streaming down my face. "I can't help it,
I..." I broke off again, sobbing.
"It's all right, child," said Xavier. "Take
as much time as you need to compose yourself. You need not
feel that you are surrounded by enemies. You are a guest in
my house." He paused. "Lilandra? I believe that
there is a box of tissues in the kitchen...."
"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?"
said Kitty, still unconvinced. "I'm your best friend
-- you can tell me anything you want to."
"I appreciate the offer, Kitty," said Illyana,
"but talking doesn't always help. There are some things
that you shouldn't talk about to your worst enemy, much less
your best friend...." Her voiced trailed off momentarily.
"I'm okay now, really, thanks. At least as okay as I
ever am. Let's just let it drop, okay?"
Kitty Pryde looked over to the bed where her best friend,
Illyana Rasputin, sat with her legs drawn up, her eyes staring
fixedly ahead. She knew better than to press Illyana on the
point, since it would only make her more upset. Still, there
was a whole lot that the X-Men didn't know about the seven
years which Illyana had spent in the hellish, other-dimensional
realm of Limbo, after she'd been kidnapped by the demon-sorcerer
Belasco. Since Illyana's return to earth, she and Kitty had
become the closest of friends, but she still refused to speak
of her experience, either to Kitty or to Peter.
Sometimes, however, the X-Men would get an indication of
just how affected Illyana had been by those years. Only moments
ago, apparently without being aware of what she was doing,
Illyana had programmed the Danger Room to call up a holographic
version of Limbo, complete with images of Belasco and his
chief-enforcer demon S'ym. Seeing these, she'd gone berserk,
and attacked Kitty with a strange sword she'd seemingly pulled
out of thin air. Worse still, she'd managed to cut Kitty with
it, even though Kitty had been phasing, which should have
allowed the weapon to pass harmlessly through her.
Reacting from countless hours of training in the Danger Room
with Wolverine, Kitty had disarmed her friend and swept her
off her feet, a manoeuver which had proved sufficient to snap
her out of her trance. Illyana didn't remember anything since
seeing Belasco and was greatly upset, so Kitty had returned
with her to their room. Illyana had soon stopped crying, but
was still morose and withdrawn.
What a lousy day this was proving, all around.
"All right," said Kitty, giving in, "but it
you ever want to...." She broke off as Illyana
grimaced. "Okay, all right, consider it forgotten."
But Kitty wasn't prepared to give up quite so easily: if Illyana
didn't want to talk about what had happened in the Danger
Room, she still needed to talk to someone about something,
whether she wanted to admit it or not -- anything would be
better than allowing her to sink back into the brooding silence
that had characterized Illyana's first several weeks back
Kitty decided to switch to the other big issue of the day,
one which they hadn't yet gotten a chance to discuss and one
which she was more than ready to pontificate on. "So....can
you believe Rogue just showing up here and expecting the X-Men
to help her?" she said, her voice full of righteous indignation.
"She's got a lot of nerve, after what she did to Carol!"
For a moment, Kitty wasn't sure if Illyana had even heard
her, but after a moment, she answered. "She said it was
an accident," Illyana said quietly, as if to herself,
still staring at the wall.
"Oh I'll just bet it was," said Kitty. "About
as accidental the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants' attempt to
assassinate the Professor in Washington! Rogue is exactly
the sort of evil mutant that the Professor founded the
X-Men to fight. She's probably in there right now, planning
"Kitty," said Illyana, suddenly looking at her
with red-rimmed eyes, "you should be careful how you
use certain words. I know what real evil is... and Rogue isn't
"How can you say that, 'Yana? Rogue destroyed Carol's
mind, put her in a coma -- it was the next best thing to killing
her! What Rogue did is no different than what the Brood do!
I don't know what else to call that."
"She said that it was an accident, Kitty, and I think
she was telling the truth. Besides, can't we hope that what
you've done in the past doesn't decide who you are forever....
that everyone deserves a chance at redemption, somehow?"
Illyana was speaking in a very heartfelt manner, and it occurred
to Kitty that maybe the subject of their conversation hadn't
really changed that much.
"Well," Kitty said, "if you put it that way....I
guess everyone deserves a second chance -- but I don't see
why we have to be the ones to do something about Rogue's
"No reason," said Illyana, "expect maybe that
she asked us to." She paused, studying her friend with
an unreadable expression. "Kitty?" she said slowly,
"Would you stop being my friend if you found out that
I'd done something really awful? Something even worse than
Kitty took that one in. "That's silly, Illyana,"
she said, frowning. "Of course I wouldn't stop
being your friend. But I also know you'd never do anything
like that, unless you had a good reason that I didn't know
about or you didn't really know what you were doing. I know
you. You're not like that."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Kiddo," said
Illyana, smiling again for the first time. "But if that's
so, then riddle me this: what do you really know about Rogue,
Kitty opened her mouth to answer, but couldn't think of anything
to say. While she was mulling it over, her thoughts were interrupted
by the abrupt appearance of a familiar telepathic _presence_
in the room -- one which filled Kitty's and Illyana's minds
rather than physical space, although each of them seemed to
see a ghostly image floating in the air.
*Kitty... Illyana...* Professor X's voice rang in their minds.
*I have concluded my interview with Rogue. Please join us
in my study immediately*. The mental image faded away.
"Y'know," said Illyana, as the two friends hurried
out the door, "I don't think I'll ever get entirely
used to that."
"Just relax, Rogue, and let all the tension drain from
your body," said Professor Xavier. "Allow your mind
to drift freely."
"Whatever you say, Professor," I said, trying to
lie still and do as he told me. I was lying on a long leather
couch in the Professor's study, where he'd had us relocate
for our interview. It was a comfortable room, lined with bookshelves
on all sides and done up with dark wood and leather furniture.
The Professor was sitting in his wheelchair, right behind
where my head lay, as he prepared to try and see if he could
make any sense out of my mind telepathically.
"The interference generated by the dual personae in
your mind creates a formidable barrier for my telepathic scans,"
he said, "but we may be able to overcome this difficulty
if I can teach you to work with me. In general, telepathic
contact which is hostile and invasive is far more difficult
than that which is cooperative."
"Sorta like the difference between kickin' down a locked
door, and havin' somebody let you in, huh?" I said.
"Yes," he said. "Precisely." He flicked
a switch set onto the side of his large, oak desk, and there
was a soft "whirr" of machinery. A funny-looking
metal helmet with all sorts of cables attached to it descended
from the ceiling, right over the Professor's head.
"What's that?" I said, as he slipped the gizmo
over his head. With it on, he looked weird, like something
out of a sci-fi movie.
"This is Cerebro," he said. "It is a device
which under certain circumstances can be used to augment telepathic
abilities. I concede that it does contribute to a rather strange
appearance -- ah, good, with Cerebro's help I was able to
pick up your surface thoughts: that I look odd while wearing
Cerebro's cyber-helmet. That is promising, as perhaps is this...."
*Rogue? Can you hear me?* he said.
"Of course I can, Professor -- you're only sitting over...oh"
I broke off when I realized that he hadn't spoken at
all. I'd heard his voice inside my head, just as clear
as crystal. "Yes, yes I can hear you," I said.
"Good," he said. "Please relax as I make the
final adjustments to Cerebro."
It's real strange havin' somebody else lookin' around inside
your head, who isn't you -- even for me. At least with
that 'Cerebro' thing, the Professor'll be able to poke around
in my head and see what he could do, I thought. That thought
made another one pop up: Just what might he do, while he's
in there? If what Mystique thought was true, then this
might be the way that Xavier brainwashed people -- with
that funny gadget -- and that might be what he was planning
to do to me. The thought Maybe he's already started! leaped
up. I was beginning to get alarmed, when he spoke again.
"Rogue," he said, reading my distress, "I
give you my word that I have no intentions of tampering with
your mind in any way. I understand your concern -- telepathy
is often frightening to those who are unused to it."
He took off the 'Star Wars' helmet. "We need not continue,
if you do not wish."
He wheeled about and looked at me directly. "But you
have asked me to help you," he went on, "and for
me to be able to do so, you must trust me... as I have trusted
you. Some would argue that I am foolishly placing myself in
danger by being alone in a room with someone of your physical
capabilities, but I have accepted your word that you mean
me no harm -- are you willing to accept mine? Will you give
me your trust?"
"I'm sorry, Professor," I said, feeling ashamed,
"you've been more than fair to me -- I didn't mean anything,
I...I trust you."
"Your hesitation is quite understandable, Rogue,"
he said, "and I hope in time that your trust will proved
deserved. But now..." He put his headgear back on. *...we
must begin our examination*...
*Please just relax as I attempt to ascertain your mental
condition*, said the voice in my head.
"Okay, Professor," I said. "Do you want me
to think about anything in particular?"
*That will not be necessary, Rogue*, he 'said.' *You may
think of anything you wish*.
At first I tried to focus on what the Professor was doing
in my mind, but it didn't really feel like anything, so I
just did like he asked and let my mind drift. Not surprisingly,
I started thinking about the events of the last hour or two,
from my arrival on the X-Men's doorstep to the long talk I'd
just had with the Professor.
He'd asked me all sorts of questions, everything from detailed
accounts of my spells with Carol's memories to questions about
my schooling (he seemed pleased that Mystique'd been careful
to make sure I had a good education); from questions about
how I'd practiced in the use of my powers to questions about
my relationship with Mystique and Destiny. I kept waiting
for him to get into asking me questions about the Brotherhood,
but he never did, much to my relief. My life was in his hands,
more or less, but I couldn't betray my family to him, not
even if it cost me my only hope of getting better.
From there, I drifted into something of a reverie. I was
just thinking about good times I'd had as a child in Mississippi,
half asleep -- it was real pleasant. I was thinking about
a time when I'd snuck up on some of the boys while they were
skinny-dipping -- when I heard the Professor's voice saying,
"Hmmm?" I said, coming back to consciousness. "Professor?
I was dreaming..." I stopped. "Professor! There
weren't any of Carol's mem'ries! They were all my own mem'ries.
Does that mean...?"
Professor Xavier smiled slightly. "Yes, Rogue. It means
that I will almost certainly be able to help you. I believe
that I can help your mind to integrate your two discordant
thought-patterns through telepathic therapy." He paused,
his expression becoming more serious. "You must understand,
however, that such treatment will of necessity be a lengthy
and ongoing process. I am hopeful that we can work together
to control your problem, but your mind is extraordinarily
difficult to access -- it will not be an easy task... for
either of us."
"If you think it'll work, Professor," I said, "then
I'm willing to give it shot. This time yesterday, I didn't
have any hope at all. I'm all yours."
"I'm glad to hear you say that," he said, "since
we have yet to discuss what you can do for me in return."
My heart sank. Here it comes, I thought. My last
hope is gonna be pulled right out from under me. "I
know what you're gonna say, Professor," I said, "and
I can't do it. Not even if it means you won't help me -- I
can't tell you the Brotherhood's secrets. They're the closest
thing I have in the world to a real family -- it...it just
wouldn't be right." My face was the perfect picture of
Professor Xavier didn't seem too surprised or angry at my
answer -- in fact, he seemed slightly amused. "Such loyalty
is commendable, Rogue," he said. "I would expect
nothing less from a member of the X-Men."
That brought me up short. It sure wasn't what I'd been expecting
to hear. Heck, I wasn't even sure I'd heard him right. "The
X-Men?" I said. "You mean you want me to...? You
can't be serious, Professor."
He chuckled softly, but then when he spoke, his voice was
completely sincere. "I am perfectly serious, Rogue, I
assure you. I wish you to become a probationary member of
the X-Men, as well as a student at the School -- although
little remains to your formal education at the sub-collegiate
level. Your powers and abilities should make you a considerable
asset to the team, and I believe that you can profit greatly
from close interaction with the other X-Men -- interaction
that might otherwise be quite limited, were you not a member
of the team. In addition, of course, I shall develop a systematic
program to train you in the use of your mutant powers, as
I have done for all the students here."
"Professor, I... I don't know what to say..." I
said. "The X-Men'll never accept me as one of 'em!"
"They will in time, Rogue," he said, "if you
are allowed the opportunity to earn their trust -- which you
can best do as one of them. I concede that it will not be
easy for you, but I have my reasons for requiring this of
you. Will you agree to my terms?"
About a thousand things went through my mind all at once.
I'd had all sorts of hopes and doubts about whether Professor
Xavier could help me or not, or even if he'd be willing to,
but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get drafted
into the X-Men. Not that I had any objection, mind you, but
it was something that'd never even crossed my mind.
He waited patiently as I stared wide-eyed at him. He was
really serious -- he wanted me -- me! -- to become an X-Man.
I'd been prepared for any number of other things he might've
asked me, but now he'd pulled the rug right out from under
all my expectations. I suddenly had a feeling that this was
a much bigger decision than I could make out right then; it
seemed to stretch off into the future, so that I had no idea
where I'd end up if I started down that way. Well, I guess
there's no goin' back now, I thought. I knew when I
set out that I was leavin' my old life behind -- I'm in this
for the long haul.
"Okay, Professor," I said, "It's a deal --
you got yourself an X-Man."
His slight smile reappeared and he nodded. "Excellent,"
he said. "I shall summon the X-Men and announce my decision."
The X-Men quickly assembled in Professor Xavier's study in
response to his telepathic summons. We'd moved down to the
far end of the room, across from his desk, where there was
a semi-circle of chairs. I was sitting in the one closest
to the door, and as the X-Men began to file into the room,
I felt the tension rise. I'd gotten really comfortable around
Professor Xavier in just the short time we'd talked, but now
I felt the pressure of the X-Men's hostility on me again.
I could feel my pulse speeding up, and I grew a little flushed.
I kept my eyes on the floor as they came in.
Nightcrawler and Storm deliberately sat as far from me as
possible, and Kitty would've done the same, but Illyana sat
near to me, forcing her friend to do the same. Colossus stood
towering over me, ready for trouble, like I'd just been waiting
for this minute to try something, and I might attack someone
at any moment. I wondered if I'd ever feel comfortable around
these people, what with there being so many ill feelings.
"Thank you for answering my summons promptly, X-Men,"
Professor Xavier said. "I'll be brief."
He paused and indicated me with his hand. "I have questioned
Rogue at length," he went on, "and am convinced
of both her need and her sincerity. Therefore, I have decided
to admit her not only to the School... but to the X-Men, as
a probationary member."
He drew a breath as he prepared to continue, but he was interrupted
by a single, very definite syllable: "No," said
Professor Xavier was clearly taken by surprise. I think I've
already mentioned that he isn't someone who's used to having
his authority challenged. He didn't take long to recover though.
"I beg your pardon Storm?" he said, his eyes narrowing
a little, as they fixed intently on Storm. One stare from
the Professor is enough to make most people back off.
But then, Storm isn't most people. "I lead the X-Men,
Professor," she said, meeting his fierce gaze with one
of her own. "I think that entitles me to some say in
She surged to her feet, speaking forcefully. "You know
Rogue's history," she said. She jabbed an accusing finger
at me. "Are we expected to fight beside someone we do
not -- dare not -- trust? -- Who might betray us at
Her question drew angry nods of agreement from Kitty and
Nightcrawler. Colossus was as impassive as the statue he looked
like. Professor Xavier's face was unreadable as he folded
his hands in front of him and looked up at Storm. "Storm,"
he began, "I respect your position as the X-Men's field
leader; however, in this case I believe my judgement..."
Whatever he was going to say was interrupted when a strange
voice said "Where is everybody?" as the door to
the Professor Xavier's study opened. A woman with bright red
skin and corona of fiery light surrounding her head stood
framed in the doorway. Little flames played up and down her
arms and legs. "What's going on?" she asked, sweeping
the room with white, glowing eyes, a look of mild puzzlement
on her face, "What's the big meeting about?"
Her expression changed entirely when she saw me. Her face
darkened as a murderous scowl appeared, and the flames surrounding
her flared up hotly and more intensely. "Rogue!"
She spat out my name like it was the worse curse word she
Almost faster than I could follow, she moved across the room
and snatched me out of my chair with one hand. The X-Men only
had time to gape at her with stunned amazement. "Now..."
she hissed, and hit me.
It's hard to give the right impression of what I mean when
I say that she hit me. Now, I'd been hit pretty hard before
then, and I've been hit hard since. I've been hit by folks
like Iron Man and the She-Hulk and even by the Juggernaut,
but I've never been hit so hard as that strange red woman
hit me then.
There's a metaphor you sometimes hear about being hit real
hard: folks talk about being 'knocked into orbit.' Well, that's
the best phrase I can think of, 'cept in this case, it isn't
a metaphor. That red-skinned, flaming woman knocked me through
the mansion's roof and literally into a near earth orbit.
I'd've been killed outright if it weren't for the fact, thanks
to Ms. Marvel's powers, I'm able to survive outside the earth's
atmosphere for a little while -- as I first learned right
then and there.
Now, if you stop and think about it, probably the smart thing
to do after finding yourself still alive after being hit like
that is to light out as fast as you can go -- but my first
reaction when somebody hits me has always been to hit 'em
back, and that's just what I set out to do. I dunno who
that hussy is -- or why she slugged me --, I thought,
as I rocketed back towards Xavier's estate (heck, back towards
the earth), but I aim to make her regret it.
By the time I came back in sight of the X-Men's mansion,
I had a full mad on. Sad to say, it was the best I'd felt
in a while -- at least when you're angry you don't have time
for self-pity. I spotted the red, flaming woman on the back
lawn, between the mansion and the lake, and I charged right
"That's the spirit, kiddo," she said, "Come
and get me --"
When I was scant inches from her, she lashed out faster'n
I could see, and hit me again. "-- if you can,"
she added, as I flew away from her. I'd been flying at near
my top speed, and she'd reversed all my momentum with a single
punch, sending me careening backwards.
I landed hard, shearing through a couple of the big tress
on the estate, and plowing a sizable furrow back in the little
copse. Lordy, I thought, this's gonna be harder
than I thought.
By the time I climbed out of the trench I'd plowed and came
back out of the woods, the red woman was being held by Colossus
while Princess Lilandra wheeled Professor Xavier towards her.
"I went vengeance, Peter," the red woman was saying,
"is that so wrong?"
"So long as Rogue remains under my roof, Binary,"
said Professor Xavier, taking charge of things, "she
has my protection."
"How can you say that, Charles?" 'Binary' demanded.
"You know better than anyone what she did to me."
Huh? I thought. As far as I knew, I'd never laid eyes
on her before -- she was the sort of person that you'd remember
I didn't get much time to puzzle over it, before the strangest
thing happened. One of the X-Men spoke up in my defense: Storm,
who'd been against me right from the start. "The child
repents, my friend, and had been forgiven," she said.
"Behold our newest X-Man."
The red woman, Binary, pulled away from Colossus and confronted
me. "What? Is this true?" she demanded. Her eyes
blazed, literally, as she glared at me. "I wouldn't have
thought you capable of such cruelty."
Her hatred was like something solid. I could almost feel
it beating on me in waves. But I didn't know why. "What're
you talkin' about?" I said. "What's my life got
to do with you, anyway? We never even met before today."
At least the X-Men had a reason not to like me, but here this
total stranger wanted to kill me....
"Perhaps this will help," Binary said, and abruptly
the fires surrounding her vanished, leaving a good looking
blond woman underneath. I knew her face as well as I did my
own. "Carol Danvers," I said softly, understanding.
"The woman whose life you destroyed, Rogue," she
said, her hurt and anger making her voice raw. "Except
that now I possess the power to do the same to you."
I guess it should've been obvious from the start that Carol
might still be with the X-Men. After all, she'd been with
them the last time I'd met the X-Men, at the Pentagon, when
we'd gotten in a scrap. But for some reason, the thought had
never even occurred to me -- maybe I just hadn't wanted it
to, hadn't let myself realize that there was a real good chance
I'd run into Carol if I went to the X-Men.
When I'd last seen her, I'd tried to kill her, and only the
X-Men's interference had stopped me. Then, I was still blaming
her for what I thought she'd done to me. I hated her, or I
thought I did, and I was reacting accordingly -- but since
then, I'd learned to look at things in a different light.
Now, face to face, I didn't know what to say to her, or what
to do. She wanted to kill me, like I'd wanted to kill her,
and I couldn't say I blamed her for it. I wanted to tell her
I was sorry that what'd happened had happened, and that it
was an accident, and that I didn't know what I was doing --
but all that didn't amount to a hill o' beans compared to
what she'd suffered on account o' me. Anything I might've
said would've been hollow, so I didn't say anything -- I just
waited to see what'd happen. At least the X-Men seemed set
on not letting her kill me, which was something.
As it was, it was Storm who took the initiative. "Professor,"
she declared, "if Rogue stays, I go." You could
tell just from listening to her voice that she was serious.
She was ready to leave the X-Men altogether, then and there,
rather'n accept me as one of 'em. I guess the Professor'd
overestimated the degree to which the X-Men'd act on just
his say so.
Nightcrawler spoke up. "My apologies, Herr Professor,"
he said, "but we all go." His voice, though,
held something of an imploring note, as if to say, "Don't
make us do this."
Professor Xavier drew himself up in his chair and faced his
X-Men stiffly, disappointment plainly written across his face.
"I see," he said, in a heavy voice. "We pick
and choose whom we help -- is that it? Some are worthy, others
not?" His eyes fixed on Storm. "Who was it, Ororo,
told me Wolverine was an X-Man not because of his 'sterling'
character, but his potential for good?" he demanded.
"That to deny him -- though we abhor his violent nature
-- would thereby deny our true reason for being, which is
to help him achieve that potential? The same argument holds
for Rogue, does it not? Should she not have the same chance?
Of course, there's a risk in accepting her, and I am not blind
to it -- but consider the alternative. At least with us she
has a chance for a better life. Deny her and we condemn her
outright... and _that_ I will never do -- to any mutant
-- so long as breath remains within me. My purpose in founding
the X-Men was to help all mutants in need of help, to the
best of my ability -- and Rogue is desperately in need of
such help. I cannot force you to stay, my X-Men -- it would
break my heart if any of you were to leave -- but I will not
turn Rogue away."
His words hung in the air as he faced his students, waiting.
I could here the wind slightly stirring the grass, as the
each of the X-Men weighed what he'd said. After what seemed
like a long time, Colossus spoke up.
"I trust you as I would my own father, Professor,"
he said. "So I will put aside my fears and give Rogue
her chance. I ask my friends to do the same."
"I will if I have to," said Kitty, finding her
voice, "But I won't like her -- ever!"
"All right, mein herr," said Nightcrawler, with
a stiff nod, "-- you win."
Professor Xavier turned to face Carol. She'd regained control
of herself, but she was still seething. "Carol...?"
he said softly, waiting on her.
She regarded him. "What do you want from me, Charles?"
she said. "Understanding? Approval? -- I'll concede the
one but not the other. Rogue tore my life -- my very soul
-- to shreds. And those scales can never be balanced. I'm
sorry, I'm just not that forgiving."
She drew herself up, and the flames sprang up again, surrounding
her like the aura of some beautiful, avenging angel. She looked
over her friends, as if seeing them for the first time. "I
have nothing to lose here, Charles, no real ties to break.
That makes my decision an easy one." Her power flared
up around her, almost blinding in its brilliance.
"I'm not an X-Man," she said "and all of a
sudden, I'm glad." With that, she shot up into the sky
like a blazing comet, leaving a fiery trail behind her. We
all watched her vanish in the distance, a bright, shrinking
point of light against the gathering dusk.
I knew that nothing I could've said to her could ever've
put things right between us, but I'd wanted to say something
to her anyway -- maybe just tell her that at least I understood
now what I'd done to her and how awful it'd been, for
whatever it was worth -- but it seemed like I wasn't gonna
get the chance. I hadn't wanted things to just end like this
between me and Carol, even if there never could be a happy
ending. "Will she be back?" I asked no one in particular.
It was Nightcrawler who answered me. "In her own time,
perhaps, Fraulein," he said, "when the hurt is less."
The X-Men were starting to drift back towards the mansion,
all except Storm, who was still standing in the same spot,
looking after where Carol'd disappeared.
"Ororo...?" said the Professor. His tone made his
"Carol is right and you are right, Professor,"
she said, "so which is the better road to follow?"
She looked at the sky again for a moment, before saying, "Like
all of you, that is a decision I must make for myself."
She began to walk towards the lakefront, her hair swirling
in a wind that had suddenly sprung up.
"Professor?" said Colossus, "Should we not
go to her?"
"Storm must come to her own decision, Peter," he
said. "It is enough that she knows we are here for her,
should she wish our counsel or our understanding." He
sounded very sure of himself, but for a moment, you could
see that his eyes were troubled. He shook his head and cleared
his throat. "For now, however," he said, "we
must see about locating a bedroom for Rogue...."
JOURNAL ENTRY 13316: Charles Xavier, March 15, 19XX
Today I have welcomed an enemy into my school, and in so
doing I have driven away a dear friend, perhaps forever.
It had been my intention, upon conducting debriefings with
Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Angel, to spend the day
considering the implications of an autonomous mutant tribal
community, the so-called "Morlocks," living beneath
the streets of New York. Surely, such a community cannot remain
undetected indefinitely, especially as both the technological
capacity to detect mutants and the desire to exploit mutant
abilities increase... No, this is a subject for another time.
However, my plans were disrupted by the arrival on my doorstep
of the young woman called Rogue. She is a member of the second
incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, founded by
Mystique, and has on various occasions clashed with the Avengers
(cf. Hank's report on the affair at Ryker's Island) and with
my X-Men. She is also the mutant responsible for the near
obliteration of Carol Danvers' mind. She now claims, however,
to be suffering from severe mental problems, and has implored
me to assist her in coping with them.
I have, for a number of reasons, both moral and practical,
acceded to her request, and have admitted Rogue both to the
School and to the X-Men, on a provisional basis. In so doing,
I have confused and angered my X-Men, who directly blame Rogue
for the damage suffered by Carol Danvers in their fateful
confrontation. My actions have also caused Carol to leave
earth entirely, perhaps never to return. Nevertheless, I believe
my reasons are sound.
The most obvious and immediate danger is that Rogue has been
sent here as a Trojan Horse, sent by Mystique to betray the
X-Men from within at an opportune moment. I think this to
be highly unlikely, however, as Rogue is obviously distressed
and genuinely in need of help. Special circumstances prevent
me from scanning Rogue's mind in a comprehensive fashion,
but not so much as to prevent my discerning her sincerity,
anxiety and need. Too, Rogue is a remarkably straightforward
and guileless young woman, whom I think most unsuited to subterfuge.
More importantly, I think it unlikely that Rogue would have
been sent to betray us based on my assessment of her character.
She is fiercely loyal, and seems to prize such loyalty above
all else -- she was unwilling, for instance, to divulge Brotherhood
secrets, even if I had demand that she do so as a condition
of treating her.
It is for this reason that I would have accepted her even
if I thought she had been sent to betray us -- from what I
have been able to determine, Rogue's allegiance to the Brotherhood
has little or nothing to do with their professed cause of
mutant supremacy and everything to do Rogue's love and loyalty
to those whom she perceives as family. In short, Rogue is
a young woman of great promise and strong character, but with
little self-esteem and no moral center apart from her familial
bonds -- a young woman who is in desperate need of moral guidance,
perhaps even moreso than of mental therapy.
Rogue herself does not fully understand the nature of the
crisis which has driven her to the X-Men. She tells herself
that it is because she wishes help with her mental condition
-- and this is true up to a point -- but less, I think, than
the whole story. She truly desires help, but at the same time
feels that she is unworthy of such help, and that her suffering
is a just punishment for her actions. This is the crux of
the matter: what Rogue is seeking, first and foremost, although
she herself is unaware of it, is a chance to redeem herself
-- not only in the eyes of the world, but most of all in her
own eyes -- and indeed, this is the one thing that
can help her in the long run, whatever the outcome of my telepathic
I can indeed alleviate Rogue's mental turmoil, but even more
importantly, I can at the same time teach her how to value
herself and her powers for the good they can do in the world.
It is this lesson that she is most sorely in need of, and
it is for this reason that I have insisted that she become
a full-fledged member of the X-Men. True, the X-Men are suspicious
and hostile to her at present, but they are all fair-minded
people -- I am sure they will come to accept Rogue in time,
if she is given the opportunity to prove herself to them.
And she must be given this opportunity, because proving
herself to the X-Men is her first step towards proving herself
Only when Rogue is able to accept and value herself will
she be able to overcome her difficulties with her mutant powers,
which are at present uncontrollable. It is my belief that
Rogue's problems of control are psychological in nature, relating
to her inability to accept responsibility for her past actions.
Chief among these events is her battle with Carol Danvers,
in which she permanently absorbed Carol's psyche and powers.
Having had direct access to the minds of both persons involved,
I understand much about the incident, about how it escalated
into a battle of life and death which neither of its participants
had intended. Rogue found herself fighting for her life, and
I believe, permanently absorbed Carol's psyche because she
willed to do so -- more specifically she willed Carol's
death, and her powers responded accordingly. Now, unable
to deal with responsibility of such an intentional killing,
Rogue has created a vested psychological interest in believing
her powers to be uncontrollable... for if they are not, then
she would be a murderer -- a judgement which is not strictly
accurate, since she was battling for her life against a berserk
It is my hypothesis that Rogue will regain control of her
powers only when she is able fully to come to terms with these
mental blocks and safeguards, which may be possible in time.
Of course, as in all things of this nature, the ultimate outcome
is uncertain. Nevertheless, I am optimistic, as Rogue has
exceptional courage -- I do not mean the kind of courage required
to challenge the X-Men or the Avengers in combat, but rather
the kind of courage required to go to one's enemies and ask
for their help. This alone speaks much of Rogue's character.
I see great potential in this brave young woman, coupled with
the determination to achieve this potential, if only she is
permitted the chance to do so.
As matters now stand, I and the X-Men are perhaps the only
ones capable of giving her that chance. Therefore, I shall
do everything within my power to see that she has such an
A little later, I found myself sitting alone on the bed in
'my' room. They'd given me a real spacious room on the second
floor of the mansion, along a long hallway where all of the
other X-Men's rooms were -- all except for Storm, who lived
in an attic loft.
The room itself was sparsely furnished, less so than a couple
of the guest rooms, but the Professor'd explained to me that
we could see to furnishings and decorations and such the next
day -- he'd asked if there was anything I needed for the night,
and I'd told him, "Nothin' but good dreams."
"I certainly wish you those," he'd said. "And
perhaps, in time, we can together succeed in bringing you
more peaceful nights."
"'Night, Professor," I'd said as he wheeled out
of my new room.
"Goodnight, Rogue," he'd replied. "I shall
see you in the morning."
And so there I was, sitting on the bed in a nearly empty
room, in a house full'a people who'd as soon hit me as look
at me, with only a green coat and a leather duffle-bag to
remind me of home. It occurred to me that things'd come full
circle: this time last night, I'd been sitting on my own bed
back home, wondering what I could do about my life, and now
one day later, I'd left everything I knew behind, and was
sitting on a new bed in a new place, wondering if I'd done
the right thing. I'd tried to do something, and here I was
confused as ever. Does this sort o' thing happen to everybody?
My train of thought was interrupted by a soft rap on the
door. Who could that be? I thought. I sure wasn't expecting
visitors after all. "Come on in," I called.
The door opened to reveal Nightcrawler carrying a double
armload of linen and such. "Pardon me, Fraulein,"
he said, "But the Professor felt that you would need
such things as these for the night." His voice had a
moderate German accent to it. He stepped just inside the room
and nodded to his load. "Where would you like this to
"Oh," I said, "You can just drop 'em anywhere."
He set the pile of stuff down on top of the chest o' drawers,
and made to leave, but before he could get out the door, I
He turned, and regarded me with his yellow eyes. "Ja,
Fraulein?" he said.
"Listen..." I said, "Thanks." I looked
up at him. "Thanks."
I wasn't really talking about the linen, and I could see
he understood that. He looked at me for a long moment, and
then he said, "It is nothing." I couldn't tell what
he was thinking, and after a minute I looked away from him
and down at my hand, where I was tugging up little creases
in the bedspread.
I ran my hand back and forth aimlessly along the ridges.
As I did, I could feel Nightcrawler hesitating in the doorway,
deliberating. After a moment, he reached some sort of decision.
"Goodnight, Fraulein," he said. "Sleep well."
He quietly closed the door behind him, as he left.
I kept on picking at the bedspread for a while, thinking
things over and wondering what chance I had of ever fitting
in with the X-Men. About the same as a kerosene cat in
Hell, I thought, as the folks in Caldecott County'd used
to say. All of the X-Men were ready not to like me one bit,
on account of their friendship with Carol -- which was ironic
in its own way, since none of 'em would probably ever've even
met Carol, if I hadn't done what I'd done to her.
Carol sure enough hadn't been glad to see me -- not that
I would've expected her to be -- and now she was gone off
who knows where. I wondered where she'd go, and whether or
not she'd ever be back... and whether or not I'd ever get
a chance to say anything to her. As if I hadn't already done
enough to her, now I'd ended up costing her her new home,
just by coming here. Everything I did seemed only to multiply
misery: I was already unhappy, Mystique and Destiny'd be unhappy
on account of my leaving, the X-Men were unhappy that I was
here, and I'd hurt Carol again, by driving her away from her
It's never gonna end, I thought, forlornly. Coming
here was a mistake -- all I'm gonna do is make more people
The sadness welled up inside me again, and I felt myself
sinking into another bout of misery, but then I thought of
Professor Xavier and the way he'd treated me.
The Professor'd been willing to listen to me right from the
first, and even if he'd been cautious, he'd also been fair.
Once he'd concluded that I really did need help, he'd been
prepared to pull out all the stops to help me. Heck, he'd
been willing to break up the team on account of me -- to let
the X-Men leave just so I could stay -- and for no other reason
than I needed his help.
I thought that over. No one had ever gone to bat for me like
that before. Even Mystique, who loved me dearly, had always
had one eye out for how useful I could be to the Brotherhood,
even when she took me in -- she really cared for me, sure
enough, but I'd always wondered whether she'd've let herself
care in the first place if I hadn't been a mutant with a useful
But Professor Xavier was different -- sure, he'd asked me
to join the X-Men, but the simple fact that he was willing
to let the X-Men break up was enough to show that it wasn't
on account of my powers that he'd done what he'd done. No,
the only possible reason he had to try and help me was that
he thought that I was worth the trouble -- me, a person,
Rogue. I sure didn't feel like I was worth all that much --
and I certainly wasn't worth risking the X-Men's splitting
up -- but the Professor obviously thought different, and suddenly,
as I thought about it, that made a big difference to me.
If the Professor's willing to have that much faith in
me, I thought, then the least I can do is have a little
in myself. I felt my eyes beginning to tear up -- only
this time it wasn't on account of the mess my life was in,
but just over the fact that somebody who had no reason to
was willing to do so much for my sake. Somebody was willing
to give me a chance.
I came to the simple realization that things didn't have
to be the way they were, that maybe I really could do
something after all. Of course, that's what I'd been trying
to do, coming to the X-Men in the first place, but that's
one thing -- actually having someone extend a hand and show
you that you don't have to be alone with misery and self-pity
is another. I'd been reaching out blindly, almost by instinct,
and the Professor'd understood that and he'd met me halfway.
Thinking that, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards
"Thanks, Professor," I said out loud, "Thanks
for believin' in me." The words tumbled out in a rush.
"I won't let you down -- I promise. I'll make you the
best darn X-Man you've ever seen! And I'll win the X-Men's
trust too -- that or I'll die tryin'!" Right then, nothing
seemed impossible, not even proving myself to the other X-Men.
I smiled giddily when I realized I'd thought of them as "the
"Well, why not?" I said, still speaking out loud.
"After all, I'm an X-Man now." I paused, startled
by my own words, and by what they meant. Slowly, I repeated
them, "I'm an X-Man now."
I felt a lot better, after I'd said that. I was still crying,
but I was smiling too. Things'd just fallen into perspective,
into a kind of balance that'd been missing from my life for
some time. I felt good about myself for a change. Don't misunderstand:
all my problems were still there -- and for that matter, there
were a bunch of new ones keeping 'em company -- but right
then, bad as they all were, they suddenly didn't seem insurmountable
anymore. For a long time, I'd felt as if my life were totally
out of my control, without even the slightest possibility
of setting things right; but now I had one single, simple
thing that hadn't been there the night before: hope.
That was it, in a word: the Professor'd given me hope
-- hope for the future, a way to fight back against the depression
and despair. That didn't mean that the fight was over, or
even begun, but it did mean that the outcome wasn't decided
against me in advance -- it gave me the courage to really
I got up and went over to the stack of linen that Nightcrawler'd
left and pulled out a fresh sheet and pillowcase. If I
try my hardest, I thought as I made up my new bed, then
maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to take on my problems --
fix what's wrong.
I smiled to myself as I fluffed up my pillow, complete with
the fresh case. One thing at time, I told myself. Just
take on one worry at a time, and bit by bit, before you know
it, ever'thing'll be better.
The thought was a comforting one as I undressed and slipped
into the unfamiliar bed. I turned off the bedside lamp, and
settled down into the soft bed, in order to spend my first
night amongst the X-Men. Today had been one of the longest
days of my life. I'd better try and get some sleep,
I thought. I'll have a lot to do tomorrow.
I was sure that there'd be a million things I'd have to take
care of if I was gonna stay with the X-Men... but in the end,
they all came down to just one thing: I had a promise to keep.
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