Disclaimer: The X-Men belong to
Marvel, and Fox also has a share in these particular versions.
Heck, if they're going to make movies like that, I don't mind
if they hang on to them a bit longer :)
Never thought I'd be writing Rogue fanfiction, and I kinda
feel as if I'm going over old ground here, in more ways than
one. But here it goes anyway...
This one's rated at least PG-13, maybe
even R, for some rather nasty imagery in the first couple
Feedback to email@example.com
I am in the train again. We are packed in tight, relatives
and strangers forced into bizarre intimacy in these, the last
hours of our lives. The smell is strong in my nostrils once
more, not only the smell of vomit and excrement, but the smell
of death itself. Not just the death that may already be among
us (for I know, in my dream state, that some will be pulled
from this carriage corpses already, saving those who wait
for us the trouble of gassing them), but the smell of the
death that is to come. In my dream, not even the smallest
child is ignorant of our destination. There is no uncertainty,
only barely restrained terror or grim resignation.
Then, as always, the dream changes from a repetition of events
to a true nightmare, as those around me begin to silently
decay before my eyes; flesh falling from their bones, bones
crumbling into dust and ashes. I turn to my parents, but
all that remains of them are their skeletal hands still clutched
in my own, and a scattering of gold teeth...
In a bed almost fifty years and several thousand miles removed
from the scene in her head, Marie woke with a start and a
cut off scream for the third time that night, and wished that
she could fly away to Canada.
On the other side of the school, someone else woke, without
moving or screaming, or even opening his eyes. He lay in
bed for some time, wondering weather he could, in all conscience,
stay there; decided that he couldn't, sighed, rolled over,
and began the arduous process of getting himself down to the
Marie rifled through the cupboard with growing frustration.
Bad enough that she had to cope with cravings for almost-raw
steak at three in the morning, now she couldn't even find
what she wanted...
"If you're looking for the marshmallows, I'm afraid
that John used the last of them in class, while practicing
the finer control of his powers. Rather unsuccessfully,
Rogue spun around, nearly leaping out of her skin. How did
he do that, when the sound of the wheelchair should
give him away?
"I was ... uh ... I couldn't sleep. So I got up and
made hot chocolate." He said nothing. "Um, would
you like one too?"
"That would be extremely kind of you," he said,
wheeling himself over to the table and resting his elbows
on it. He watched her over his steepled fingers as she found
another mug and poured their drinks.
Marie sat down opposite him, and blew on her chocolate, searching
her brain for a suitable topic of conversation. What were
you supposed to discuss with your headmaster at this time
of night? Why you hadn't handed in your latest physics assignment?
Charles Xavier sipped his drink, and she saw a flicker of
surprise in his eyes. It was exactly the way he liked it.
"Perfect," he said. And that was all.
Of course, she could also discuss Cerebro's programming,
or point out for the thousandth time why his foolish plan
for human/mutant peace was doomed to fail...
"Would you like to tell me how long you've been having
his nightmares for? Or why you haven't come to me for help?"
the Professor asked gently.
Rogue blushed and looked away from his strong, steady gaze.
"I really didn't want to bother you..."
"...and I am not Wolverine," he finished for her.
She started and looked back at him earnestly.
"Professor, you're a great teacher, and you've taken
"...but the person you actually want to pour
your heart out to is some hundreds of miles distant, heading
north on a stolen motorcycle. I quite understand."
She stopped again, a sliver of suspicion entering her head.
Did she feel that faint, barely experienced, yet oddly familiar,
tickle in her brain?
"No, I'm not reading your mind," the Professor
said again, favouring her with another smile.
She wasn't going to fall for that one.
"Then how the heck did you know that I was thinking
Suddenly, his expression was deadly serious.
"Because, dear child, I have seen that look far too
many times not to recognise it. Believe me, I would not dream
of prying into your mind. I am only sorry that even my shields
are sometimes not equal to the task of keeping everyone's
thoughts and dreams at bay."
She looked deep into her hot chocolate, as if there might
be some answers hidden there. Part of her was ashamed of
her accusation. The other parts pointed out that he had just
admitted to reading her thoughts, accidentally or not,
and that she should really build herself a helmet to block
his probes, or maybe just threaten to gut him.
"It's OK. I know what it's like not to be able to control
Charles stretched a hand across the table until it lay uncomfortably
close to her own.
"Marie, if you are worried, you know that you are free
to talk to me at any time. Or to any of the current and former
students - you are not the only person here who has had trouble
Marie felt anger and frustration, only partly her own, boil
up inside her.
"But, don't you see, it's not the same for you! I know
everyone's got their problems, but no-one else put the first
boy they kissed into a coma. I'll probably never get to kiss
another one. That's what you think, isn't it," she
said, unable to keep the accusatory tone out of her voice,
"that I'll never be able to touch anyone?"
Xavier leaned back in his wheelchair, brushing his fingers
against the armrests lightly but deliberately.
"It is possible that your powers are indeed uncontrollable,
but we have yet to establish that for certain. You might
be surprised at how many things in life can be overcome with
a little creativity and perseverance."
All the people in Marie's head had to grudgingly concede
that point. They certainly believed that you could
get a long way on sheer stubbornness. Maybe he did understand,
"Was it hard for you? Getting your powers, that is."
"I can honestly say that developing telepathy was the
most frightening experience of my life," he said, encircling
his mug with both hands, "and that for the first six
months, I was afraid that I would drown in the voices that
filled my head."
Marie looked at him consideringly. It was hard to imagine
the man before her, full of charisma and apparent equilibrium,
as a frightened child. Yet she had seen him, so much younger,
in Erik's memories...
"I guess that's what scares me too. I mean, everyone
has to change when they get their powers, but I'm scared that
soon there won't even be a me anymore. It's not just
wanting to drink beer or knowing how to speak German; it's
their ways of thinking about everything. Like now I'm just
bits of Cody and Logan and Erik..."
She paused, somewhat startled that she had used his first
name. Yet it was hard to think of someone you shared the
inside of your skull with by anything else.
"I take it that it is Erik's dreams that have troubled
She sighed. "Yeah. I guess Logan didn't have enough
memories to fill his own brain, let alone mine. But Magneto
... he's got a good, strong voice in there, I'll give him
Charles chuckled, and developed a nostalgic look in his eyes.
"He always was a strong-minded man, perhaps stronger
than anyone I have ever known. Sharing his nightmares was
one of the lesser prices I paid for our association."
"I ... you were his best friend, weren't you?"
She thought about pointing out that Erik still thought of
him like that; but he probably already knew.
"He was my colleague, my friend - my brother, he always
used to say. That all mutants were of one blood was what
he generally meant, however."
"You've known him a long time, haven't you?"
Magneto's later and happier memories weren't as strong in
her mind as his nightmares, but she could see his time with
Charles spread out like a series of photos in an album.
"I was about your age, when we met, and he was not a
terrorist then. Just a frightened young mutant, as was I.
When I found him, I did not even have a word for what we were."
His voice dropped almost to a whisper.
"After his powers manifested when they brought him to
Auschwitz, they took him to Mengele. He spent the remainder
of the war in the laboratories with the doctor's other human
rats; but he never showed them his powers again. After the
liberation; he ran from everyone. Eventually, God knows how,
he reached Paris. From there he came to America, to New York,
and to me."
He paused for a long moment, until the silence grew uncomfortable.
"Tell me, how well do you understand his beliefs, his
She shuddered, knowing that if she'd seen half the things
he's seen without the distance of nightmares, she would have
gone crazy. But he hadn't gone crazy, or not in any way she
could understand. What had scared her most when he'd kidnapped
her was how calm he was, how rational all his plans
seemed from his point of view.
"I think I understand, now, why he thinks that there'll
be a war. Why he thought killing me was worth it. He kept
thinking of how many dead children there would be if he didn't
intervene now. But ... I know that people aren't the way
he thinks they are. Not all of them, anyway. Like Logan -
he's done some bad things, but he's a good person."
"We are fortunate, Marie, that our powers let us know
that for certain. I fear that I could never make Erik understand
that his experiences, while appalling, were not typical -
that there was more to the human race than that."
"I guess I never thought of that. I'd like to be alone
in my head, but it's good to be sure that there really are
other people behind all those faces on the street."
She thought of Logan again. "People who care about
"That is a good lesson to bear in mind, child. I am
certain that, in time, you will learn to deal with your powers
better. In the mean time, I can use my telepathy to ensure
that you sleep more soundly in future."
"Thanks," she said, her own honest gratitude quickly
silencing any reservations about letting him read her mind.
He pushed his empty mug away, a subtle change in posture
signaling to Rogue that their talk was somehow over, that
they were back to their daytime teacher/student association
from this point on. She felt rather relieved.
"Now, Marie, I think that it would be best for us to
go back to bed. You wouldn't want to fail your Geography
test in the morning, would you?"
"No, Professor. I guess not."
She got up to leave, filing away the Geography test she hadn't
actually studied for, along with the more pressing problems
of the evening, to be worried over tomorrow.
Putting the mugs into the sink and filling them with water,
she turned to talk to her headmaster once again.
"Professor? Do you think that I could see Erik, next
time you visit him in prison?"
Charles Xavier raised an eyebrow in mild surprise.
"I'm not entirely sure that would be a good idea. The
authorities were very reluctant indeed to allow me to do so,
and I don't want to draw attention to you by taking you there.
I'm not certain that I managed to wipe your face from the
minds of all those who saw you kidnapped at the train station."
She turned to go.
"Marie? What was it that you wanted to tell him?"
"Just that ... I don't know. That I understand, I suppose.
After all, I've been him."
Charles Xavier rolled himself out of the door, and turned
his chair down the corridor.
"I will pass your message on, child."
Marie flicked the lights off, and went back to bed, to rest
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