AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following is
just an idle character encounter set back before O:ZT, involving
a situation I REALLY think Marvel should have dealt with (boo
on them!). Basically, I'm almost asleep at 4:18 am; oooo,
groggy AND hideously writer-blocked...not good. I decided
to try to force something out anyway, just to see what would
happen. I'm not happy with the result. But what the heck,
at least it's SOMETHING. :)
DISCLAIMER: Marvel's characters belong to Marvel and
are used without permission; the ideas belong to me, and I'd
like to be contacted before any archiving-type stuff might
take place, though I have no clue who would actually WANT
this piece... Feedback if you like at firstname.lastname@example.org!
strong language and hints at mature subjects.
"Sugah, ya really should eat something."
The room was gloomy, the curtains drawn; Rogue gripped the
wooden tray tightly in both hands, feeling her cheery smile
to be rather wasted as she peered into the the dimness. The
kitchen had been bright and airy, for the day outside was
bright under a hot summer sun. As her eyes adjusted tardily
to the darkened bedroom, she could barely make out a lump
under the bedcovers. The woman bit back a sigh and stepped
over the threshold.
"It's tunafish, just the way ya like it," she said
brightly, as if absolutely nothing was wrong. "Jean told
me you only eat tuna sandwiches with Best Foods mayonnaise,
an' all we had was Miracle Whip, on account'a it bein' Bobby's
favorite, so Ah sent Remy to the store for the other kind
all special-like. You shoulda heard him bitch up a storm--"
The lump in the bed shifted slightly. "I don't want
it. I'm not hungry."
"Girl, y'haven't eaten for two days. You've GOT to eat
"Leave it on the dresser then. Whatever makes you happy.
I don't give a damn."
Rogue felt her brow furrowing into a frown and hastily smoothed
it out into a neutral expression, carefully plastering the
smile back into place. Gently, as if setting down a precious
bauble, she laid the lunch tray on the dresser. Faintly, she
could hear the sounds of a baseball game out on the lawn,
and she desperately wanted to join in, but not until--
What WAS she expecting from this encounter? Every time she
brought something nice up to the guest bedroom for the X-Men's
almost forgotten guest, this was what she got. Nothing. Worse
than nothing. And every time she simply smiled like a HappyHousemaker
Barbie and walked away again, respecting their visitor's need
to be alone.
Not this time. NOT this time.
Her fists were already set on her hips without her even realizing
that they'd flown there. She almost said something tart to
the lump in the bed but caught herself just in time. "Look,"
she said more gently, "Ah understand that you've been
through something terrible, an' Ah know how much you must
miss him, but you've got to get on with your life. Ya can't
just sit in here--"
Rogue blew out a breath in exasperation. Without hardly even
meaning to, she strode over to the bed and yanked the blankets
"Ah am NOT stupid, gal. That's just self-pity!"
"You'd know, wouldn't you?"
She chose to ignore that. "C'mon. Up with ya. When's
the last time y'took a shower? Don't make me toss you in there
She wasn't sure afterwards if she'd actually meant to try
to pull the girl out of the bed (and, perhaps by proxy, out
of her self-destructive funk) or was just bluffing to see
what kind of reaction she could provoke. In the end, it didn't
matter either way. Her gloved hand closed on one alarmingly
bony shoulder -- and slipped right off again as if greased.
Completely unaffected by a grip that could crush steel, the
girl in the bed glared hatefully up at her. Deliberately,
she gathered the blankets around herself again until only
her eyes were showed, dead blue and ringed with shadows. Rogue
realized belatedly that she might have gone a step too far
by resorting to physical force, and thus frantically tried
to back up onto the solid ground of reason once more.
"Fine. Fine! See if Ah care, see if you starve, Ah don't
Rogue stormed out, slamming the door behind herself for good
Sally Blevins simply rolled over to face the wall once more,
staring blankly at nothing.
Predictably, Rogue was back an hour later, shifting nervously
from one foot to the other as she stood indecisively in the
hallway outside the guest bedrrom. She felt simply awful.
She'd had no right to act like that, no right at all! Sure,
she was frustrated; sure, she felt helpless. But that gave
her no right to lose her temper at the girl, no right at all.
She was better than that. Wasn't she? Of course she was.
Anyway, if she'd been in Sally's shoes, wouldn't she have
done the exact same thing? Withdrawn, lashed out perhaps?
Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, she could understand it. It
was the sort of thing people did when someone they loved was
murdered right in front of their eyes...
The X-woman took a deep breath and gingerly opened the guest
bedroom door once more. She didn't bother to knock -- rude
though it might seem, she'd learned days again that there
would never be an answer. "Sally girl? It's me."
She padded across the room, finding the bed by touch in the
nigh darkness, following its comforting contours with her
fingers until she encountered a foot underneath the covers
and thus located a spot next to it where she could perch without
squashing the bed's inhabitant. "Ah came to say that
"Ah don't blame you. Ah really don't. Ah was rude and
inconsiderate, and Ah'd like to make it up to ya somehow."
The bed shifted slightly under her. "I don't want any
more pity from you," a voice replied softly but clearly
from under the blankets. "If I want to eat, I'll come
downstairs to eat. If I want to shower, I'll shower. Just
leave me alone. All right? THAT'S how you can apologize."
"Ah just want t'help."
A sound that might have been a low bark of cynical laughter.
"Oh RIGHT. You just want to help me because it makes
YOU feel like a saint."
Rogue bridled slightly until she reminded herself that she
was there to apologize, not to be goaded into another rash
childish action she'd regret later. "Ah'm sorry that's
what ya think. Jeannie told me a little about where ya come
from, an' Ah'd understand if ya cain't quite believe that
someone would want t'offer help with nothin' expected in return..."
A touselled blonde head popped out from the woolen cocoon,
an indignant light glittering in her eyes. "Oh god, don't
tell me that Saint Jean gave you the whole 'poor abused little
Morlock girl' sob story!"
Rogue blinked. "It wasn't true?"
"Oh, it's true enough, but shit, she didn't have to
go telling to get you all sympathetic for me."
"That's NOT why Ah'm here. Ah want to..." Rogue
paused, not sure how to phrase it delicately. Sally's expression
hardened, her eyes like diamonds.
"To help me 'get over' Rusty's death, is that it? To
merrily skip out of this room, to 'rejoin life' and all you
happy happy X-Men, tral-la-la? I said it before and I'll say
it again: Fuck. You. Get out."
Her piece said, Sally promptly vanished into her nest again.
Rogue raked a frustrated hand through her white forelock,
holding her temper on a short rein. "If Ah didn't know
better, Ah'd say that you LIKE bein' all penned up in here
like a weepin' widow," she said tightly instead. "Ah
know he was your friend, an' it's horrible what happened to
"We were going to get married."
"I SAID, we were going to get married. Dunno how we
were going to manage it up there in space, but we were going
to try. Maybe even sneak away to Earth for a honeymoon. Maybe
never come back to this whole stupid 'hero' thing. Neither
one of us ever wanted to be a hero, did you know that? No
way no how. But we got stuck into it, thanks to Freedom Force
and X-Factor and those damn New Mutants and yeah, you X-Men
too. Thanks for nothing." There was a sniffle from the
depths of the blankets. "Oh, I don't know, maybe he DID
want to be a hero, what with the whole 'nice Navy boy' schtick
he was on when it all started. But I never wanted
to be a hero..."
"You've got to let it go, gal," Rogue said softly.
"Not just Rusty's...death, but everything else. Yeah,
Jean told me about yoah poppa too, an' Ah'm sorry for that
too. You've gotta move on..."
She was abruptly almost thrown to the floor as Sally shot
upright in bed, face taut with fury. "How dare you?!
How dare YOU come in here, telling ME to let the past go?!?
Let me tell YOU something, 'gal.' I'll bet Jean told you why
I can't control my powers all that good? Yeah, daddy was a
real asshole. Manifesting my forcefield was the only thing
that kept him from beating the living daylights out of me...and
yeah, after that I COULDN'T turn it off for a long time. But
I learned. I learned! Rusty and I, we learned to control our
powers together. That was the magic of it, he and I. I HAVE
laid my past to rest. But I don't think YOU have. So you have
no right to judge ME. No -- goddamn -- RIGHT!"
Startled by this explosion of vehemance after so many days
of limp nothingness, Rogue was staring slack-jawed at the
incensed demoness who had risen from the bed to verbally tear
into her. "What the hell are ya talkin' about?"
Sally merely stared pointedly at Rogue's gloves and long
sleeves -- protective measures which contained her power to
absorb psyches and powers on contact. Rogue flushed. "That
has nothin' ta do with it. We're talkin' about movin' ahead
with life, not about powers an' so-such."
"I'll bet we ARE talking about clinging to the past,
There was an almost unholy light in Sally's eyes as she lashed
out at her infuriatingly smug, self-rightous self-appointed
nursemaid. "I don't need to get Jean to squeal to me
to figure out what's going on with YOU. Little Miss 'Oh Poor
Me, I Can't Touch Anyone, Oh Boo Hoo.' Lady...deep down in
a place you don't like to go, you don't WANT to be touched."
Rogue jerked at that. "What did you say?" It came
out as a disbelieving whisper, like the first breeze of an
"Did I hit a nerve? Oh, you probably don't even realize
it yourself...but ain't it a great excuse? No one can touch
you, so you can't get hurt." Her tone dropped hard, from
mocking to bitter. "Trust me -- I understand these things.
Think hard...think real carefully..."
Sally smiled mirthlessly as she drove relentlessly on, looking
for a weak spot, searching for a line she could cross in order
to completely infuriate her unwanted visitor. She was not
usually like this -- it was as if she was possessed by a blind
hatred that rode on the rising swells of a sudden overwhelming
urge to hurt someone as badly as she'd been hurt. Rusty was
gone, and these, these hypocritical PEOPLE with their stupid
"dream" sent her cute little sandwiches and a stuffed
animal or two and a standing invitation to blithely rejoin
the life which had abandoned the man she loved to a horrible,
"I'll bet," she guessed blindly, probing, aiming
only to hurt, "you didn't get along all that well with
YOUR 'poppa' either, huh? Did he hit you? Or did he do worse...?"
And turned sheet white.
Without a word, she rose and fled from the room.
Baseless rage broken like a sudden fever, Sally -- "Skids"
to her old friends, friends who in the end had abandoned her
-- could do nothing except stare after her with her mouth
agape. She'd expected the older woman to color angrily, to
argue back, to deny it -- hell, even perhaps to take a swing
at her. Not to look like that...not to look as if her most
terrible fear had been callously ripped loose and laid out
for all to see...
A flash memory struck Skids then: the almost distant feel
of pearls slipping over and over again through her frictionless
fingers, tears of shock and frustration coursing over her
cheeks as she tried in vain to damp down her newfound protective
ability long enough to collect the scattered remains of her
mother's precious necklace...
If a few bruises and black eyes could result in months of
lack of control over an uncontrollable forcefield, what could
cause a girl to completely, permanently lose her grip on a
power that would brutally stripmine anyone who touched her
(~again~) in any way shape or form?
She didn't want to go after Rogue. She didn't want to leave
the room she'd been given, to leave the monotonous but somehow
safe comfort of her solitary angry grief. Hell, she didn't
even LIKE Rogue -- probably wouldn't have liked her even if
they'd met on better terms. She was too artificial for Sally's
liking, a plastic woman with a plastic smile...
And now you know WHY she's so fake, her awakening
conscience whispered in the back of her mind, and you
really are a bitch if you don't at least try to make amends.
It won't kill you to go down a few doors, you know where her
room is, you can see it from the bathroom...
I suppose, she thought slowly as she stood up and
dreamily wrapped the bedsheet around herself, I suppose
it wouldn't be all that hard to walk down there and at least
No, it wouldn't. So get moving!
So Skids went, leaving her grieving bower behind. For the
moment only, of course. But moments add up...and time goes
on, dragging life along with it whether it likes it or not.
.-= Finis? =-.
Afterword: <grimace> Well
joy, what a lousy pointless ending. I ran out of steam, I
wholeheartedly admit it ... but at least it's SOMETHING. I'm
willing to try ANYTHING to try to hammer through my writer's
block right now...gyaaaah help me... :) I've actually had
this theory about Rogue's (ahem) problem bouncing around for
some time now ... if anyone is intrigued enough by it to continue
this or to use it in an entirely new venue, I'd be delighted
to hand it over -- just say the word...
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