The Bauers, Isabel Mendez, Emilio Suarez,
I-Ping Soong and Tham Kriengchayapruk belong to me. Jason
Auspach technically belongs to Marvel, but I supplied the
surname and everything else. All other characters belong to
Marvel. I'm not profiting by this.
Some language, graphic violence and mature topics in various
places. Probably should be rated "R"
Comments go to email@example.com.
Flames will be blithely ignored.
"I hope I wasn't interrupting anything." Jean gave
the room a cursory glance before entering. Although she looked
like she might die of curiousity, she did not ask any questions
about Mystique. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Go ahead. Mystique an' Ah were jus' havin' a li'l heart
t'heart. Nothin' that can't wait." Rogue sat on the bed
in resignation, leaning against the bed post closest to Jean,
who had clearly settled in for a lecture. She looked quickly
at her desk clock to see how long she could put up with this
Jean tracked her glance. "Don't worry. This shouldn't
take more than an hour."
"That won't be a problem, will it?"
"No. No, it'll be fine."
"I guess I'll start at the beginning. We started with
me trying to help you sort out some memories but last night
you did something you shouldn't have been able to do, period.
Scott called a meeting this morning for some of us to discuss
some problems you've been having with what I think is your
power. I'm sure you're aware that our sessions have become
increasingly stressful - heck, dangerous - and I didn't think
much of it until recently." She drifted off with a troubled
expression, then shook it off.
"Look, Ah'm sorry y'walked in on me like that last night,
but Ah wasn' myself. Ah'd dredged up some mem'ries Ah di'n'
want t'see, but that wasn't your fault. Whatever Ah said or
did, Ah di'n' mean it." She would have continued her
apology but not only was Jean shaking her head but the thought
that Scott thought her situation problematic worried her.
"That's not what I meant. Things like that happen. I
was talking about your power. Bear with me because I have
a theory and if I'm wrong, we'll do this Scott's way, but
if I'm right, I hope you'll have faith in my abilities. Last
night, from over ten feet away your mind, your power, tried
to absorb mine."
"That's impossible," she denied flatly, mostly
to stall for time. They met during breakfast or while I
was asleep, to intentionally leave me out without making it
obvious. -- but not what they talked about. Then Jean
threw out a theory about her power based on a supposition.
And she wants me to trust her on her say so? Is she nuts?
Hearing that, Jean's face fell; she almost looked hurt. "Please
listen to everything I have to say before you make up your
mind. I don't know if it was because you were drunk or whether
that saved me, but you tried to psionically reach out to my
mind and grab on. And I don't mean telepathically. You tried
the same thing to Betsy, twice. Once in the Danger room and
the second time.... Well, you know about that."
"She stabbed me in the neck. No offense, but she had
it coming." Disgusted with this, she turned her face
Jean was silent for a second. "And did Warren deserve
"He was playing instead of fighting. If he acts like
he did in a real fight and he'll get himself killed."
She heard the other woman sigh in quiet reprimand but continue
without further comment.
"I'm sure you know that many mutants have psi-abilities
associated with their power, even ones with purely physical
abilities, as a sort of defense mechanism or regulatory system.
Assuming that, why does your power act so unpredictably? If
it's triggered and controlled by physical touch, why aren't
the effects the same for everyone?"
She said it so sympathetically, without pity, that Rogue
stopped sulking. She really wants to help me. Jean
was asking the basic unanswered question but her implications
were clear. I guess I knew too. Why else did I seek out
a telepath to help me?
"Do you absorb brains or minds?"
Her memories of last night were blurry. It had been her intention
to promptly forget as much of what she saw of Remy's memories
as possible. She remembered Jean's fidgeting about the study
which had gotten on her nerves. She remembered being angry
that someone had intruded on her meditations. She cocked her
head. There had also been an awareness of something, like
a peripheral vision or an object passing so close that the
displacement touched her. It was probably just my Sense
acting up in response to my mood.
"But how? Ah absorb people on contact."
"And is that what you'd label your power, classify it?"
"Well, no, 'course not, but-"
"But, you don't know what your power is, do you?"
That's pushing it, hon.
"That is not pushing it. It's the truth and I didn't
realize it until yesterday." Jean hooked her hands together
and leaned forward. "You use your power and don't know
what you're actually doing." The anger on her face faded.
"Maybe the Professor was happy doing that, but I can't
let it go on. One of the worst things in the world is an untrained
psi and maybe I'm wrong and you're right, but I don't think
it'll hurt to try. So, will you work with me?"
Let it go on, huh? It was funny. Here she was a part
of an idealistic group of heroes, vigilantes fighting for
a dream, and yet there were petty politics all the same. Control.
Status. Rivalries. Pride and esteem. Power. The Brotherhood
had them. The X-Men had them. That was the trouble with Mystique:
When she was right, she was right.
"Look, Ah have t'be goin' soon-"
"Yes, I know. And you'll go wherever it is Mystique
wants you to go, but you don't have to leave immediately,
I hate 'paths. This sounded like one of those sessions
that would end with both of them incapacitated with migraines.
"Fine. Fire away."
Jean smiled. "Thank you. I might be obscure at times,
but trust me. I'm going to start with Carol -- I know you
don't like to talk about that -- but I need to know some circumstances
surrounded the event that made you lose control." She
looked at Rogue expectantly.
Rogue let out a quiet, exasperated sigh and raked a hand
through her hair. It was the middle of the afternoon and she
needed to get going to Tori's house. She also needed to figure
out how much to tell Remy and how. The last thing she wanted
was for either of the house telepaths to get wind of her mission
any more than Jean already had. On the other hand, if Scott
was calling the shots, she probably did not have a choice.
"Jean, we gone over this before. Ah tol' ya, Ah had problems
before then, an' they were differen' types of problems, but
still problems. What difference does it make?"
"There's no difference, but the fight might've acted
as a catalyst for existing problems. What I mean is that I've
seen you try and control your power. Your will power isn't
in question but it's as if your power is...ignoring you and...and
like I said. It would be very strange if a power with a psionic
component didn't involve some type of mental control. It just...."
Jean stuttered to stop, holding her hands apart as if an arcane
object would appear between them. "It would have killed
you by now. So. I need to find out exactly how you felt during
the actual transfer which is something you've managed to avoid
telling me. One of the key issues here is that you claim not
to sense your power unless you're using it." She held
up a hand when Rogue started to object, "and maybe that's
true, but most mutants have a sensory perception associated
with their power that guides their use of it. Now, did you
feel anything unusual?"
But I don't feel anything! How many times do I have to
tell you before you'll believe me? When she made contact,
there was nothing, then she would become aware of the other
person's feelings, thoughts, memories. She knew Jean would
not leave until she cooperated, which was what made her tone
more surly than she intended. "Are you talkin' 'bout
attempted homicide or leavin' her a vegetable?"
"Don' feel nothin' at all. Happened a while ago. Y'wait
long 'nough, any feelin' goes away."
"You know what I mean."
"Intellectually? Ah feel bad. What Ah did was wrong.
Under normal circumstances Ah'd be servin' some type of sentence
for it, but personally...." She watched the highlights
shift on her glove as her hand dangled loosely. "So,
what d'y'think of Mystique sendin' me out to do her dirty
"I think there's more to it." Jean appeared as
if she would say more but restrained herself.
"True 'nough. She did plan on killin' Carol an' Ah knew
Ah was bein' trained for the job, but Ah did it on my own."
Lowering her head until her ear was even with her knee, she
quirked her lip. Why did I attack her? Because my Momma
told me to? That's one reason. The main reason is that I hated
Carol. "Course, she tanned my hide for it. Grounded
me for a month, an' y'try breakin' curfew when one of y'folks
is a precog. Lord, Irene'd clobber me over the head with that
cane of hers before I even done anything."
"And even though Mystique had trained you for it, she
changed her mind?" Jean waved a hand. "From what
I understood, you were acting under orders."
"My Momma changed her min' but Ah di'n'. That's all.
A little bit of miscommunication an' y'get a near dead air
force pilot." I shouldn't be so upset. Even if everyone
does try and corner me with this one just because I admit
it's the worst things I did. It was infinitely more horrible
to realize someone was dying because you wanted them dead
than to pull a trigger; to not have a weapon to blame for
murder. It was more real and frighteningly honest.
"You sound disappointed."
Rogue lifted her head and pensively tugged on the fingertips
of a glove. "Killin' folks was a part of my life, not
that Ah did much outside of self-defense, but Ah saw plenty.
Ah di'n' feel sorry then. Carol wasn'...." Her throat
"Unique?" Jean's eyebrow rose ever so slightly.
"As in you had done a long term absorption before her,
or attempted murder?"
Rogue met her eyes long enough to challenge back. Where was
the line between murder and self-defense? Murder, homicide
in the first degree but unpremeditated counted too and so
did manslaughter and being an accessory. Whenever she tried
to recall what she felt during the blood runs of her days
with the Brotherhood, she came up with facts and no emotions.
She remembered taunting enemies, enraging them into making
stupid mistakes. Amusement. She remembered running, hiding
and holding her breath as her heart pounded unto pain. Fear
and arousal. She remembered holding her weapon of choice so
tight her knuckles locked. Controlled anger. But, when she
thought of willful death, there was nothing. There was the
knowledge of having killed but it had always been an act of
expediency or order. Mystique expected no less.
Jean stretched back in the fauteuil and leaned her chin on
her knuckles. "Our discussions are confidential. You
"Ah know, but the X-Men take care of their own. Carol
was one of their own an' Logan's long time bud an he don'
forget even if he says he does. Because as soon as the Prof
lef', the rest of the team le'me know exactly who's side they
were, especially Betsy, so y'think hard about anything she
says." She gestured helplessly and shook her head. "Joinin'
the team di'n' make me stop hatin' her. When did this turn
int'a moralizin' session, anyhow?" She clasped her hands
so tightly the leather of her gloves creaked. "Tell me
somethin', you love Scott? The X-Men? Your family? Would you
do anythin' in y'power t'protect 'em?"
"I was Phoenix. I sacrificed myself and I'd do it again
but we're not talking about me. You can't blame your mistakes
on poor teaching and how you feel about what you did is very
relevant. So, you were feeling protective of your family?"
"That woman was tearin' my family apart without even
bein' there." The bedpost her foot was leaning against
started to issue a soft crackling sound. She put her clasped
hands on her knee. "They were always fightin' about her,
worryin', debatin'. Ah di'n' like seein' and hearin' that
anymore than any other kid."
Mystique and Irene had given her a haven from a town full
of bigots and the politics of her own family. Haven't thought
about them in ages. After being left with an unwanted
child, that woman she had thought of as Mother, an official
title rather than one of love, had moved in with her brother.
As for Lucien, he had not appreciated being saddled with a
bastard. Nor had he understood what brother or uncle meant.
I could probably tell her about my family and shut her
up for a week. She snorted. Then, after a week, she'd
come back with all that nonsense about children of alcoholics,
neglect, abuse and post-traumatic stress. That's one kettle
of fish I don't need. She pushed those memories away.
"An' y'know what the richest part is? If it'd been anyone
else they wouldn't've been nearly so sanctimonious."
She faltered, shocked at herself for admitting that private
grievance, and dared a quick look at Jean.
Jean tipped her head in acknowledgment. "I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to imply your family was unstable in any way.
I only wanted to know your motivations. And, if it makes any
difference, I'm sorry about the way the team acted."
"Yeah, whatever." Removing her gloves in a flurry
of movement, she threw them across the room but they unraveled,
fluttering to the floor. The cool air felt good on her hands.
She tried to calm her pulse, watching Jean out of the corner
of her eye. The least I could do is have the humility to
let her. "Ah'm sorry too. Ah lost my temper for a
*Right, well then.* Psylocke stepped onto the
astral plane. She was only here because any risky astral maneuver
called for back-up. Jean had told her to watch and stop anything
unusual. This qualified. Jean was fully armored, symbolic
plates wrapped around her torso and over her face and head,
a shield on her arm. As she stood, her hands moved as if tugging
on an invisible cord. Elisabeth traced the motion to an area
where a third figure flickered into and out of existence.
Unlike the semi-translucent forms of Jean and herself, this
figure was gray, the emptiness of the astral plane clearly
visible through it. *A low grade psi or someone very
low on power. Rogue.*
Jean crouched a bit, energy drifting away from her hands
like smoke. The shadow Rogue flickered again, a lighter shade
of gray. Psylocke formed a katanna and edged forward. *She's
feeding Rogue her own psychic energy, baiting her onto the
astral plane, but why all the effort? We've both fought beside
her here. Jean should be able to ask her to come on the plane
She scanned the ambiance on the plane. Her gaze went back
to Rogue. It was darker there, a dull matte area drained of
light. She started to alert Jean but bit it back. *I
can't distract her. I could be seeing things; maybe the area
around her seems darker because Jean's so bright.*
She circled behind the gray avatar, keeping her blade at ready.
The avatar flickered out again, leaving absolute black. It
was like the surface of Rogue's mind. *Her shields were
this type of black. They moved, reached out to my mind when
I touched them.* The tip of her sword dipped, then
rose, tilting to the side. Now that she was closer, she could
see the tendrils creeping from Rogue's avatar. They reminded
her nothing-so-much as worms and she was loathe to step into
them. *It's a different type of shielding, a soft shield
like a net instead of a wall. Worst comes to worst, I can
move in quickly, cut quickly to her neck, end this.*
Jean jerked her head in a fraction of disagreement. *Don't
bother. The avatar's just a blind, deaf, mute and inanimate
shell. Attacking it won't stop anything. In fact, I think
it's an anchor or buffer. Take a look at that black stuff.
I move, it moves. If I step close enough, it reaches out towards
my aura. I think this is more than a soft shield; I think
this is her, but I don't know how to communicate on her level
without entering her psyche. Classic catch twenty-two.*
Jean crouched down on her heels and fell quiet.
*A telepath? Empath?* Psylocke studied the
avatar before them. The key to both those mutations was communication.
This avatar was primitive in comparison, capable of neither
speech or symbolism. *Still, the Professor tutored all
of us in the basic rudiments of psychic representation and
if she hasn't learned them, she should have. Why would she
reject the exact form most people are comfortable with, namely,
their real body? It's elementary. Why should we be the ones
forced to alter our method of communication?* Something
as filmy as a cobweb stuck to her arm and she instinctively
took a full step back. The mass of tentacles waved after her
and she raised the katanna over her shoulder. *Ugh.*
The avatar was a concentrated combination of all the
nightmare creatures from a person's dreams.
*Don't worry, in this condition, she has a very limited
Psylocke muttered to herself. Jean and her blasted confidentiality,
as if it mattered. The X-Men were a team, a whole. Trust and
communication were what held them together and allowed them
to function. The others needed to know something was drastically
wrong -- as wrong as possible -- with Rogue. *What's
going on? I saw you baiting her and I know she's several feet
away from you in that room. It won't be a breach of anything
to explain that.*
Jean did not answer.
"Do you still hate her?"
Do I? We fought in the Savage Land, I had a knife but
stopped myself. She didn't. She tried to kill me and would
have if Magnus hadn't been there and my death wouldn't have
benefited anyone. It was not that she was suicidal, but
death in battle did not bother so long as it helped someone
or some cause, without harming another. Otherwise, she would
fight for all she was worth. I was like an animal when
I attacked her in San Fran. I lost control. My hate made me
lose control, but that can't be all there is to it. I don't
let my emotions or desires control how I use my power anymore.
The Prof taught me not to. "No, Ah don' think so."
Jean smiled. "I don't either. The Professor liked to
say you were a shining example of the Dream, someone who could've
been the worst but became a hero."
If it was my choice, my dream, I'd live in a house in
the country, or the city, with someone to love, never bothering
with fighting and hurting to pay off an unwritten obligation.
It did not matter anymore. That had long since been supplanted
by others' dreams. And I don't have all afternoon. "Maybe
Ah don' hate her, but feelin' guilty in retrospect ain' the
same as feeling bad durin' the act, an' it makes a difference.
If we're still talkin' about feelin's, that is."
Jean rested her chin on a knuckle. "Yes, you're right.
Driven by hate and rage your power nearly killed." She
studied the cream carpet pensively before asking, "What
about the other? How did you feel about leaving her in a coma?"
"Honestly? Sometimes Ah woke in the mornin' feelin'
horrible. Ah'd feel the same pain Ah did then. Other days,
Ah was mouthin' the apologies an' regrets t'satisfy my conscience."
She tried to analyze her level of remorse but came to the
same conclusion. Her battle with Carol was in the past, nothing
would ever atone for it and she had accepted that long ago.
It did no good to wallow in grief over the past.
"That's it. Finis."
"And that's how that incident was unique? Violent emotion?
Wasn't it also the longest transfer?"
It was Rogue's turn to smile. Jean already knew both those
things: that she had been enraged and unrelenting. "Only
by a scrape. She fought hard and Ah reckon Ah wasn' thinkin'
straight and she took advantage of that."
"Were you afraid?"
"Ah wasn' scared of my power." The words snagged
on the perpetual trepidation she felt whenever using her power.
A gut level fear that the permanent transfer would occur again,
that once more, she would lose her own life to the selfish
whims of a ghost. No, that's new. I didn't feel like that
in the past. Was it fear of destruction, then? She frowned.
That made no sense. I wanted her dead. I was pleased with
myself. Is that what I was scared of? Feeling something about
killing? "They were a way t'have a good time, t'live
vicariously through others. Pretty twisted, huh?"
"Frankly? A little bit. I couldn't imagine doing that
intentionally." Jean agreed absently, drumming her fingers
on the arm rest. "Then again, that's not what my powers
are for. Maybe yours are."
"Oh, right, Ah'm supposed to maul folks' brains. Tell
me another one. You been talkin' to 'Roro, haven't ya?"
Jean shrugged in admittance. "I gather you're afraid
of your power now, but you weren't before?"
"Ah don' want what happened with Carol t'happen again."
"Because you don't want to hurt someone like that?"
"No, because Ah don'..." want someone fucking
with my life from inside again. "Ah'm sorry. You're
"It's all right, Rogue. It's a very human thought."
Don't you condescend to me! Irrationally, because
Jean had her tacit permission to listen to her unspoken thoughts
if they related to the discussion, she wanted to slap the
other woman. It's just pride getting stuck in my craw.
That and my nerves over tonight. "Ah di'n' feel bad
until after Ah met Rossi, her lover. It was him who showed
me how much Ah'd taken from Carol, made me regret." I
already tried to tell you that my morals were different. There
was no doubt in my mind, no questioning of values.
"None at all? I refuse to believe that you didn't know
what you were doing was wrong."
She felt tic start in her temple. "No, no doubt. Only
as much as you might have 'bout the Dream. Mystique, she caught
me early, molded me. Ah believed in her." Sometimes
I still do. "It's why the Prof was so quick t'get
me on the team. He knew what Ah could've turned into."
"I don't believe that. I believe you were young, impressionable,
had suffered shock that let you cling to a new purpose in
life, but I don't believe you weren't intelligent enough to
see what you were doing was wrong, that you were breaking
Mimicking Jean's earlier expression of doubt, Rogue raised
a eyebrow. "If Ah did see, it di'n' matter none. Why's
that so hard t'believe?"
"Why are you so angry?"
She had been expecting that question. "Because y'not
listenin' an' Ah di'n' agree t'talk t'you about the same ol'
hogwash. Simple truth is that Ah flat-out di'n' care. Got
that? Ah did not care. She was in the way an' Ah got rid of
Jean sat back with a thin frown. Her eyes were out of focus.
Rogue was surprised to hear herself hiss under her breath.
Jean was paying attention to something or someone else. In
her book, that was breach of confidentiality. "Know what
Ah'm wonderin' right now?"
"Ah'm wonderin' what y'opinion of me is, 'cause y'know,
Ah figure it's gon' effect what y'do to fix
me." She knew it would. Everything a person did was colored
by their beliefs about what was right and wrong including
powerful telepaths. Although she dearly wanted control of
her power, she was sick and tired of following others' moral
codes; jumping when they said jump. Mystique, Jean, Scott,
even Ororo wanted her to be their version of a good soldier.
She was sick of it. How I use my power should be for me
to decide and if it gets me killed then so be it. Nor
did she enjoy them ganging up on her.
"In other words, am I condemning you? It this another
trick, a dangling carrot? Will I be helping you to benefit
myself in the long run?" Jean inclined her head. "Yes
and no. Not the way you mean, but I still need to know how
you feel. I need to know so I can help you, if possible, and
everyone can stop worrying about you."
Worrying? Is that how it's phrased these days?
"Yes, worrying. Would you do it again?"
Kill to save someone I care about from a persistent and
fanatical enemy? Sure. "The well bein' of the group
matters more than the individual. We fought once before, an',
well, Ah'm not 'bout t'repeat what happened. Ah'm sorry Jean,
but while Ah agree what Ah did was criminal, especially from
a 'path's point of view, she had it comin'." Look
at her. Older, married, Phoenix, been to the future and back
again, died, cloned. Heck of a life. And still doesn't know
any better than to snoop. It was strange to know so much
about people but to be baffled by one person, any person.
Wonder what she's thinking. Hell, wonder who she's talking
"Okay, I still haven't ruled out the possibility of
post-traumatic stress, but what exactly was the pain you described
earlier and did the Professor say anything about it?"
"Huh?" Pain? What pain?
Jean winced. "I didn't mean to intrude on your thoughts.
You mentioned it once in a previous session and have been
thinking about it on and off recently."
"An' Ah'm sure this eavesdroppin' is all a big mis-un'erstandin'."
Raising her hands in apology, Jean attempted to console her.
"When I'm this close to someone who thinks as loud as
you do, it happens. If it bothers you that much, keep in mind
that your brain's a bit on the alien side. It's not an open
Her palms were sweaty. "Ah'm sorry. Jus', warn me next
time. Ah don' like bein' surprised like that." Had Jean
learned anything about her plans? If Scott was watching her
like an eagle, anything amiss might be reported. I wouldn't
mind having someone along as back-up, but they probably would
scare off the folks I'm supposed to protect.
"You want to keep going?"
"Yeah." She licked her lips nervously.
"Okay, next question. What did the Professor do about
"Not much. He sat me down, asked questions, then went
inside my mind and blocked a bunch of things off. Ah don'
really remember what he said." That day had been a turning
stone of her life. She would always remember the austere study,
the way she had shook uncontrollably with tension, and the
Professor inside her mind. Every instinct she'd possessed
then had screamed at her to purge his presence, to flee the
mansion, to go back home. It had been one of the few times
since her childhood that she had been terrified.
Jean rubbed the corner of one eye looking skeptical. "I
have a small stack of folders here that, presumably, contain
all the things the Professor altered or found unusual. According
to him, he tamped down your power, which was necessary under
the circumstances, and 'enclosed the Carol persona'."
She raised her brows. "He doesn't mention anything else
on paper. It would be very helpful if you could tell me anything
She picked at loose threads at her knees. Her power changed
her every time she used it, a little bit here, a little bit
there. The worst was not that it happened but that she could
not say it had. As a rule, she avoided thinking about that.
It was not that much of a problem. Yeah, people change,
it's just a more extreme in my case. Haha. Funny funny.
"Do you know exactly how he set up the mental blocks?"
"Naw. Ah've absorbed 'paths, includin' him, but Ah don'
rightly un'erstan' how they do what they do. Ah mean, Ah do
when they're inside of my head, but not later. He tried t'teach
me but it di'n' take 'cept for the usual shieldin' folks pick
up around' here."
Jean looked affronted. "You honest to God don't understand
psychic representation? You can't mentally construct a wall?
What about sensing another mind when it's linked to yours?"
"No, no an' no. Ah mean, why would Ah? Ah ain' no psi."
The other woman blinked. "Yes...you are." She looked
away with a mutter. "You know, I'm surprised you let
him do anything at all."
That's the second time she's said that. "Wasn't
negotiable. Terms of agreement. The Prof, he's very much the
business man." Any excuse to control my power would
have worked for him.
*That went brilliantly, didn't it?*
*Not now, Elisabeth.*
She chuckled in a blithe sort of way. It was either that
or irritation. *If it was either of us in this situation,
the Professor wouldn't play guessing games. He'd tell us outright
what we were doing wrong, why it was wrong and step us through
fixing it.* Kid gloves were not her way. Cutting to
the heart of the matter was. Rogue's avatar was writhing like
a nest of very irate snakes. *Either we leave now or
we take a risk, but talking about feelings isn't going to
get the job done.* Betsy pitched her katanna at the
dark mass and smiled in grim satisfaction when the blade was
*Jesus Christ!* Jean lunged up, ready to intercept
the attack she expected. When nothing happened, she redirected
her anger at Psylocke. *What the hell did you think
you were doing?*
*Getting an honest reaction out of you.* Elisabeth
floated. *Why were you so scared? I thought you wanted
her angry,* she goaded. *You said that if she
did, she'd be so busy displacing it onto you that she'd tell
us what we need to know. All we know that when she's angry,
her power starts kicking in. Well, isn't it that grand. *
*I'm not scared. I'm being cautious.*
*Cautious? Is that what you call staring at that thing,
that monstrosity, in horrified fascination while talking about
doing something about it while not doing anything? That thing,
every nightmare you've ever had and you can't keep it out
by pulling a blanket over your head. And you know what? That
thing is Rogue.*
*Do you think that you could tone down the paranoia
a teensy bit? Nightmare? Horror? I understand you don't agree
with my methods, but letting everyone in on this will cause
people to take sides or extreme views and you know how Rogue
*Ah, yes, we all know how she is. Why don't you admit
it? The Shadow King feeds off negative emotions, Selene needs
life-force. I doubt those two exist in a vacuum. I think our
fellow X-man here is a vampire by any other name. I think
the Professor was acting for the good of the many by trying
to nip her power in the bud.* She grinned fiercely,
daring Jean to deny the truth. *So, tell me, will you
continue to 'help' her, to bring her power to fruition? Do
you think that accepting responsibility for anything she does
by accident will comfort anyone who's lying in a coma?*
*What do I think? I think that the Professor brought
us together not simply as his private army but to teach people
to accept their mutations. I have to do what I believe is
ethical and right. Yes, I made a mistake. I under-estimated
her sensitivity. Yes, I'm nervous. I don't know what you see,
but I see a blob with tentacles. Up here, that usually means
your subconscious is trying to give you a warning. If we screw
up now, we might not have a second chance. Furthermore, how
can I explain it to her if she doesn't know the language?
She came here to learn.*
*She came here to squelch Carol Danvers.*
*But it's not why she stayed. What good are dreams
if you don't act on them?*
*By putting us all at risk? We had the Professor to
guide our powers to make sure we didn't accidentally knock
off anyone. You admit you can't even communicate with her
anymore. Oh, she's too alien. Oh, I have to be careful because
she might have bad feelings. Oh this, oh that. You don't get
it, do you? Well, I'm going to admit what you won't. You,
the mighty Phoenix, are blind. *
*Blind to what?*
*She's a leech, a parasite! The worst kind of monster,
which is what is what your subconscious is trying to tell
you. Why don't you try listening to your instincts? Why don't
you try looking at these?* Betsy leapt backwards,
allowing her psionic powers to flare around her. As she did
so, the light contrasted with the tendrils that had insidiously
latched onto her. *See the threads connecting us to
her? All this time we've been talking, these have been connecting
with us. Or are you so powerful that something that small
is beneath you?* She raised her hands, fingers spread
and motioned as if pulling on taffy. *And that's not
the best part. You know what is?*
Jean was shaking her head in shock. *How could I have
*How, why? Because you were too busy talking. The best
part is that this *thing* has been latched onto me since our
last Danger room session. Do you think that what Rogue did
was some kind of fluke? The girl has a mean streak.*
*No, you listen to me. You watched the tape, right?
You saw how she goaded Warren, how she pinned him down, deliberately
hurt him. She's done that before, to me.* She gave
a thin smile. *After and before you were on the team.
Some sort of fighting ethic she probably picked up from Mystique.
She doesn't like it when an opponent lets her win, even if
it makes sense. So you give me a good reason to stick my hand
in the tiger's cage.*
She could see the psychic lamprey but had not been expecting
anything to openly slip past her defenses. Jean almost could
not believe it. How could Rogue cut through our shields
so easily? When? When did it happen? Now? Last night? The
time she called for help? Is it caused by proximity, telepathic
contact or active use of her power? There were too many
questions like pieces of a puzzle in shadow.
Jean gathered a small bit of psychic energy and let it drift
to test the currents around her. The flickers of energy coalesced
into a blob, about level with her heart, then stretched out
into a strand like water running down a string. Within inches,
the light disappeared and where it did she could almost see
a black strand begin. There was no pain or numbness. A
hook into my core psyche? A conduit, copy, short-cut...the
residuals in her mind? Are the 'ghosts' I see nothing more
than shortcuts? Is every person she ever touched still connected
to her? No, there were few residuals in Rogue's mind.
So they can be eliminated, but it took an other-wordly
mystical device to do it. Jean did not have Siege Perilous
at her disposal.
She hoped that any siphoning that might be caused by the
hooks was a sentient behavior and not a primitive predatory
one that gave no care for friendship or family. But she
has been attacked psionically and nothing happened along those
lines. Her relief was short-lived. On the other hand,
her power is running on neutral. With consciousness it might
become a deliberate and unstoppable act. Would an inhibitor
render the connections impotent?
She put two fingertips over her own heart. The strand there
was symbolic, nothing more than her minds interpretation of
the connection as much as Elisabeth's katanna was a representation
of here power but the meaning was clear. Any attempt to amputate
the link could result in her death. *Well. Then there's
only one thing to do, isn't there? I have to get her to feel
her power twenty-four seven so she can avoid any accidental
effects caused by mental stress.*
*Going to ignore me, are you?*
*I'm not ignoring you, but an inhibitor or some other
quick fix isn't going to cut it. I have an idea.*
Rogue watched Jean dryly. The telepath had fallen silent
for a few minutes now, eyes unfocused but face animated. If
I didn't know it before, I sure do now. She's talking about
me behind my proverbial back. She tapped a finger tip
on her knee, waiting with growing resentment.
Jean blinked. "All right, next question. I've talked
with some of the others about Carol. With the exception of
the Professor, they all believe she was a separate entity
inside your mind. I know you mentioned this earlier, but what
do you think?"
"One thing, sugar."
"Who you talkin' to? When y'not talkin' t'me, that is."
Jean froze momentarily but hesitated long enough that Rogue
looked away, refusing to answer until her own question was.
So much for confidentiality. "Tell her Ah said
"She's my back up."
"Mm hm. Ah figured. As for Carol, she seemed mighty
real. An' Ah know she was live an' kickin' as Binary at the
same time. Ah guess by some cosmic exception, she was allowed
t'be in two places at the same time," she drawled.
"I think I see." Jean crossed her arms. "Well,
unless she was a temporal anomaly, we both know that wasn't
possible and if one of them wasn't real.... No offense, but
I wouldn't have put up with that in your place." Giving
no time to respond, "I know this upset you, but what
was the pain you didn't mention--I'm assuming pain from your
emotional recollections--that caused you to abort your absorption
The question made her uneasy. "Jean, Ah've tol' you
more 'bout her than anyone else but before Ah answer anymore
questions, Ah need t'know what y'goin' after."
Jean managed to look reluctant, worried and grim at the same
time. "I need to go inside your mind but the last time
I was there your power chased me out, literally. Betsy's going
to watch my back but there's no telling what could happen.
There's a pretty considerable risk that you could accidentally
absorb me so I need to know how permanent the transfer is
and if I can spot it beforehand. And, since most mutants associate
a particular sensation with their power I thought...."
She drifted off after noticed Rogue holding her hands up.
"Hold y'horses an' let this sink in."
She concentrated again on what she felt when using her power,
running through each of her senses. Sometimes, after an absorption,
she would have schizophrenic episodes, seeing, hearing or
even feeling a memory but Jean wanted to know the during,
not the after. First there was a tingle, a physical sensation
that did not hurt but could be compared to feeling a breeze
or static. Then she was aware of thoughts and emotions simultaneous
to her physical alterations, which usually did not cause pain
unless extreme or painful to the victim themselves. She chewed
on her lip. What about Carol? Her mind shied away from
the memory, but she forced it back.
Rage. Absolute rage, Carol's or hers, both of their's combined.
A desire for dominance. Fear. Elation. Rogue shrugged. That
was bloodlust in a nutshell. So I used my power in conjunction
with a strong emotion. I guess that might've affected how
it worked. She noticed her knee jittering and stilled
"Ah think Ah felt her start dyin'. Ah was scared, confused
an' wanted t'let go." Turning away, she refused to meet
Jean's eyes. "But Ah di'n."
Jean was nodding meditatively. "Is that all there is
"Ah think so." Her mind turned back to the sensations.
Like a breeze or trickle of water...or peripheral vision.
Her thoughts screeched to a halt. That was what this session
had to do with last night. My lord. If what Jean's saying
is right then that stuff I was imagining was my power kicking
in because I was mad at her for bothering me.
"Rogue? I'm assuming that you don't want to wear an
inhibitor day in and day out, not that it would be healthy
to begin with. I'm also assuming you want control of your
power and that means we need to figure out if there's any
type of sensation keyed to your power that would let you affect
your use of it, even if you can't control it outright. So,
is that all?"
Rubbing her palms on her jeans, Rogue swallowed and looked
away. I could ignore her, tell her to leave but hell if
I'm going to let Cyke push me around. Of course she wanted
control, the ability to use it in gradations like she had
in the past absorbing a single memory, thought, emotion, or
physical characteristic. I have to be the master of it.
I can't let it affect me. When my power affects me, I go loopy.
I forget who I am. I hurt people.
She might not know psychology or nuclear physics but Rogue
did know about control and it was not about succumbing and
abusing one's abilities. That was one of the points on which
she and the Professor fully agreed. It's how you turn into
the enemy. If I restrain myself, I control my power, just
like Storm. A part of her rejected that parallel. I
wish.... No, she could not think like that. Very often,
what she wished for concerning the use of her power she got
and many of those things were not hers to take. Not that she
was about to reveal that to Jean. Most importantly, control
was not about lashing out in anger. How could I forget
one of the Rules like that? She laughed to herself. She
had not referenced Mystique's teachings in ages.
"The other night, Ah attacked you, di'n' Ah? With my
power, somehow. Jus' like y'said." She looked at her
bare hands. How could she control her power if covering her
skin did not work? Did Jean realize what she was saying?
Jean was nodding in excitement. "Yes! That's it. So
you can see what I'm saying? That part of your power is psionic
and separate from the physical?"
"Ah hear you." Do you hear yourself? "Ah
guess what Ah feel is tactile but it's hard t'tell when it's
real or my imagination. It's like, Ah'm touchin' sometin'
that ain' there, an' Ah absorb it an' it's in the same place
a person is but it's...it's the real them." Rogue rubbed
her temples. She did not have the vocabulary to explain what
she sensed and knew on an innate level. "Ah
used to... t'let myself feel what Ah was doin'." How
do I put this in terms she'll understand?
"You used to, but you don't now?"
"Ah can't afford to," she took a slow breath, "'cause
if Ah do, Ah lose control like las' time in Israel and before'
that with Carol. Y'were right in thinkin' my emotions affect
what Ah do, but that's true with anyone," she quickly
qualified. I always knew they affected the outcome, but
to initiate contact?
"Mm. Maybe. Or it could suggest that control of your
power is keyed to a portion of your lower brain rather than
a cognitive process." Jean was talking more to herself
than to Rogue. "Which could be a distinct problem but
doesn't leave out the possibility of a cognitive influence."
"Uh huh. Okay."
Jean eyed her shrewdly. "You understood what I said."
Rogue smiled glumly.
"And while all this is very interesting, there's one
last thing I need to know: Did the bloodlust come before or
after the absorption?"
She lost her smile and went cold. She makes me sound like
Logan when he's berserk or...Sabretooth and his glow. While
a successful use of her power did hold a sexual thrill and
a drug-like high--she did not kid herself on that point--she
would not call it bloodlust. It was more like the elation
following a hard-won victory that perhaps only an 'action
junkie' could understand. "Ah have more control 'an that.
Ah tol' you, Ah don' let that sort of thing happen anymore."
"So you do feel something, problem is, it's not a socially
She's gone off the deep end. All the new ideas, Jean's
theory, the barrage of questions combined together into a
tangle of ludicrousity. She needed to think about this. She
needed time alone but Scott and Mystique were both in a rush.
Now, now, now. Why's everything happening all at once?
Maybe that was why she rolled her eyes and laughed. "Ah
jus' said Ah di'n' so before' y'go spoutin' off all that about
"But you did. And if unrestrained use of your power
is that pleasurable it could very well explain-"
"Jean! Listen t'y'self. You're spoutin' psycho babble
an' jumpin' t'conclusions! Y'tellin' me y'don' enjoy usin'
your power?" She avoided her gaze feeling herself blush,
then gained hold of herself. She knew her blatant skepticism
showed. "It has nothin' t'do with addictions or bloodlust
but it is easy t'use an' it hurts people an' Ah can feel them
hurtin' but at the same time Ah'm not the one hurtin'. Ah
feel bad about that but anyone would in that situation."
She paused to snort humorlessly. "At least, Ah like t'believe
anyone would. That's why Ah can't afford to use it so Ah don'
see how feelin' my power is gon' help. It...."
It would make it worse, because then I couldn't even pretend
it doesn't exist. I'd constantly be aware of it, tempted.
Jean began drumming her fingers again. "You might not
have a choice. In nature, pleasure and pain are very fundamental
cues that a particular behavior is necessary for survival.
You're only digging a deeper hole for yourself by trying to
ignore it. And if you don't...." She fell back in her
seat and looked away. "Dammit. Storm's right."
Yeah, sure she is. And stop fidgeting. "What
are you so upset 'bout? Y'ain' the one who has t'deal with
this fucked up power."
Her eyes narrowed. "On the contrary, I do have to deal
with your fucked up power. You're my patient and I have to
do what's best for you. Unfortunately, I've also been asked
to do what's best for the team and the two goals are dichotomous."
Her patient? That definition did not sit well with
her. Since when did she become my doctor? Rogue slid
off the end of the bed to pace. Within two steps, she collided
with an invisible wall. She looked at Jean who started to
"Ah was jus' workin' off some steam. Y'think Ah was
comin' after you? The big bad dangerous psycho?" The
words had no bite. It was as if though the very fact that
Jean found it necessary to erect a telekinetic barrier between
them knocked the wind out of her.
"It was a precaution." Jean carefully resumed her
seat. "You're not crazy, but like I said, your power
has been acting up. I can't help you if I'm hurt."
"You? Worried about my li'l' ol' powers?" Like
a mime, she ran her hands along the telekinetic wall between
her and Jean. It curved at the edges, away from her. She's
been in a TK bubble the whole time. The whole frigging time.
No wonder she's so cool about this. "Ah'd be much
obliged if someone would tell me what in tarnation Ah'm doin'
wrong. It's not like Ah get mad on purpose."
Jean eyed her tensely. "Can you please not do that?"
"Ah'm not pushin' that hard."
Jean nodded briskly. "You're not. That's not what I'm
worried about." She was sweating.
Rogue dropped her hands to her sides and studied the telepath
curiously. That really frazzled her, just me touching her
TK shields, but I haven't even done anything. Or maybe I am,
according to what's been said. Past her, out the window,
she could see the sun. Childishly, regretting what she had
told Jean, she wanted the telepath and her shield gone. All
this talk isn't helping and I can't let her in my head now,
not if Cyke's nosing around. I mean, he's a good leader an
all, but my personal life is just that.
Jean held perfectly still, remembering last time. She forgot
to breath. She wanted to throw up. She closed her eyes but
merely created more blackness and re-opened them. Rogue was
in her personal space, that sickly avatar calmly and casually
etching through her shields, TK and telepathic alike. A mental
retro virus. A spider. A bogeyman. But it's just my imagination,
my perception of her actions. She thought of serenity.
She believed in serenity. She became serenity. And then gathered
energy for a psychic defense though this was not a monster.
This was an ignorant developing psi trying to forge contact
with a telepath. Jean almost convinced herself.
Elisabeth was creeping up behind the avatar, sword at ready.
Her face was set.
Jean whispered. *Don't. Don't move. Just. Don't. Move.*
After a few moments, the tendrils swarming around her pulled
back, wrapping into themselves.
Jean swallowed. *I was thinking. The Professor taught
us to form avatars on the astral plane to avoid dissipating
and to make communication easier but what if a person's sole
purpose is to do exactly that? To extend their boundaries
and to absorb other minds into their own? Wouldn't a contained
avatar be counterproductive?*
*You're suggesting the Professor dropped the ball?
Call me crazy, but I didn't and wouldn't enjoy being absorbed
by someone else's mind.* Elisabeth pointed her sword
at the dark area. *I'm going to say it again until you
hear me. That is not something you let loose on people, especially
if the owner of that power can't control it. If he did teach
her to contain her power, and conveniently didn't mention
it, all the better for us.*
*No, I understand his reasons. I just don't think she's
going to fall for the same trick twice. She's rejected the
blocks he placed on her power, his way of representing it,
and I can't force things back. She psi-blind, Betsy! She has
psi-related abilities and she's psi-blind! That's no accident.
Either someone burned her out as a child when her power was
emerging or the Professor decided that keeping her ignorant
was the best way to keep her under control. Either way, I
have a lot of work cut out for me.* She brought her
fist down on one knee catching the attention of Rogue's avatar.
It twisted up like a snake and Jean froze again until it settled
down. *I have to make contact. I'm so close but she
Elisabeth paced. *That thing, sick or not, took a chunk
out of me the other day! I understand what you're doing, but
I won't sit by and watch it swallow you whole. It would be
irresponsible of me.*
*That's why I didn't want to tell you. Scott wants
me to slap an inhibitor on her. I could do that, but it would
only delay the inevitable. And we all know that mutation suppressers
cause progressive damage to cellular structure and brain waves.
You can't force a person not to walk without causing muscular
atrophy.* She waved a hand at the avatar. *That's
exactly what we have here. I can't , with peace of mind, compound
the original mistake.*
*I'm not telling you not to do this. I'm asking you
to take a step back from it to avoid an accident.*
*One last try before we tell anyone else. You have
Elisabeth crossed her arms and tipped her head up in aggravation,
then sighed loudly. She looked over her shoulder, down at
Jean, then tipped her head. *So what do you think she
*A data thief. Maybe a bit of psi-siphon. She could
be a vampire like you suggested except we'd know it by now.
Even if her psychological motivation system was circumnavigated
somehow, and it clearly has been, biology would have taken
over. She would have shown increasing symptoms the longer
she avoided using her power.*
*Why not both?*
*She incorporated Carol's mutations. Most likely, she
does the same with minds. That's information not energy oriented.
I know I sensed her first when she latched onto my shields,
later she tried to take a bite out of my avatar, but I don't
think she *needs* to feed off psychic energy. What we have
to remember is this thing is merely representative of the
psychic component of her power. It's all we can see from here.*
*You're saying this thing is essentially harmless as
long as no one bumps into it? That this is a sensory aura,
a psychic organ extending, let me guess, no further than her
own physical space?*
*Your guess is as good as mine. Following that logic,
from her point of view, her skin. Maybe that's how it was
but not anymore. It's like it's trying to absorb us but not
quite succeeding. She needs to touch us for her power to fully
activate so I'm not too worried. What I'm worried about is
that the psychic process is linked to the physical process
which may cause it to...alter her behavior.*
*You mean the psychological motivation may forcibly
trigger the biological one or vice versa, then feed back into
reactive behavior or cause a mental breakdown.*
Jean was rubbing the bridge of her nose in surprise that
Betsy understood.*I've never met an energy based mutant
who wasn't aware of the energy they could manipulate. Somewhere
along the line, the feedback loop between her cognitive processes,
her physical power and this, what we see, the psi-sensory
half of it was broken. And I don't know. I don't know if it's
physical, though Hank might but if he knew I can't believe
he wouldn't have told one of us, especially Rogue. Maybe it's
this thing that we see. Maybe the psi-sensory part of her
power is damaged. Or maybe it's all mental.*
*The theory being that if she can't sense the full
scope of her ability then she will not master and use it against
her friends. Isn't that a good thing? Do we really want to
restore that feedback loop? What if the Professor left her
this way for a reason? What if she wouldn't be able to control
her impulse to use her power?*
Jean hesitated. *I can't rule out the possibility,
but I don't think so. As a telepath myself, I know how comforting
it is to feel secure in my own ability and defense, as should
you. To meet a mutant that is specifically designed by nature
to prey on the mind and genetic structure disturbs me more
than I'd like to admit. And if she's a psi-siphon the way
you suggested....* Jean shook her head. *You
can't block out a siphon with mental shields or stop them
with a pure psionic attack. In a worst case scenario, anything
a telepath does will make her stronger. The Professor may
have been trying to do what was best for her but maybe he
was a little bit scared too.*
Psylocke laughed. *You've contradicted yourself. Our
shields didn't stop her from latching on. You said it, she
would have shown increasing symptoms and isn't this a symptom?
Destroying her mental shields, her containment as it were,
is not a symptom? The psionic aspect of her power attempting
to act independently of her free will is not a symptom? Jean,
think. If we're going to play guessing games then we should
assume the worst. Data thief, psi-siphon, they are names for
the same thing only one is more palatable than the other.
I told you what happened in the Danger room. She didn't just
absorb the energy from my psychic knife. No! She used it as
a conduit until you forcibly cut the link. Don't try and tell
me she's not a vampire.*
*All right, okay,* Jean placated.*So
what if she is? What if she gains genetic and mental data
while feeding off her....*
*I don't like those terms.*
*Why not? It's what we are to her, or her power, if
it makes you feel more comfortable.*
*Fine, victims, but what's the biological motivation
behind it then?*
*That's obvious, luv. Why use your own energy to alter
your genetic matrix when you can use someone else's? And if
we're talking nature here, then being stronger is desirable
in its own right. If you don't believe me, ask Storm.*
Jean sighed and crouched back down in front of Rogue's avatar.
The threadlike feelers tracked her movements like a coral
directed by ocean currents.*If she needs to absorb,
then blocking her awareness of her sensory field is still
a temporary solution. It would be unethical for me to burn
her out completely even if I knew which part of her mind to
hit before she drained me. I don't know how you use your power,
but I don't use mine by looking around and seeing if anyone's
standing on their head singing "I'm a little teapot"
to say, "gee whiz, I must be using my power". Nor
do I expect it to work on its own if I look at someone the
right way. I direct my power. Even Scott can do that to a
certain extent. Maybe this is all bizarre extrapolation on
my part, but it won't hurt to check if I can get her aware
of what she's doing before she does it. I'm willing to take
the risk that she *can* control herself. Will you help me?*
Psylocke crossed her arms, forming another katanna which
she tucked under her elbow. As much as this situation made
her skin crawl, she too believed that a person should be granted
a second chance. Even if the team had given her the third
degree after the Revanche mess and no one paid this much attention
to her after Crimson Dawn other than to look at her oddly,
she could act more responsibly. She had to or else Jean would
put herself into a coma. *No, I agree with you on that
point. Someone or something made a bloody mess of her psychological
*Right, and the fight with Carol made it worse. Whatever
happened during that fight, or directly afterwards, scared
the living shit out of her. She goes to the Professor, he
helps but doesn't solve the root of the problem either because
he can't or won't.*
Elisabeth scowled. How could Rogue have been like this all
along? How could the Professor have concealed this from them?
Why would he? For that matter, why had Carol concealed this?
Surely she had been aware of the intricacies of Rogue's power.
Psylocke recalled all the times she had disabled Rogue telepathically
in the Danger room or during practice. She remembered joking
about it. She remembered Rogue's edged humor that maybe no
one wanted to see what was in her head. *Which leads
us back to the first option.*
*Trauma at the developmental stage. Many psions are
very sensitive when their powers first manifest. Too sensitive.
A budding psi-sense limited to her own physical space....
Hypersensitive skin? Maybe it was painful for her to touch
or be touched.*
*Or the opposite*, Psylocke suggested with
a laconic shrug. *Imagine how confusing that could be
a young girl.*
Jean almost objected reflexively, but for one thing. Touch
was an universal social behavior among humans. The first thing
most people did after seeing something was reach out to ascertain
the visual. It could overcome language barriers. Infants deprived
of touch were known to die or end up with developmental disorders.
Her psychological motivation? Is it so damned obvious:
a reward system for engaging in a behavior important to her
unique survival. That would be classic. The corollary being
that if she refuses to engage in that behavior by ignoring
or shutting down that system, there's a toll on her due to
the unmet biological drive. In this case the toll is on her
ability to control herself as we suspect. Which leaves one
question, what happened in her childhood for her to create
such a negative association with a positive behavior? She
mulled over the idea in silence. It was appealing, but jumping
to conclusions had serious side-effects. *You're not
suggesting sexual abuse are you?*
*Or something she may have interpreted as such. It's
all a matter of perception. Depending on how abuse happens
and whether on not they realize it is abuse, children don't
always find it especially traumatic. Or rather, they do, but
not until it's too late. After all, they're incredibly malleable.
It's often when they hit puberty or begin sexual relations
that the previous abuse causes difficulties.* Elisabeth
shifted the katanna to her shoulder with a doubtful expression.
*Don't you think that's jumping to conclusions? Sexual
abuse isn't something to joke about or dismiss off hand. I...*
Jean threw up her hands. *And I don't have the experience
to deal with something like that. Yes I'm a telepath. Yes
I studied clinical psychology but I'm not a therapist and
Rogue's impossible to talk to. If you're right, who the hell
are we going to find to talk to her?*
*You're the one who asked. I was following through
on the idea.*
*Maybe, but we can't assume that just because she won't
talk about her childhood. There could be other reasons.*
Mystique's blithe words haunted her and Jean hoped there were
other more palatable reasons for Rogue's reticence about her
past and the cause for her control problems. She implied
that Rogue was abused but that it was irrelevant, that I shouldn't
make a big deal out of it. How can you not make a big deal
out of it? Or was she misleading me, trying to hurt me? Jean
calmed herself. Hysterics helped no one. *Mystique only
hinted at abuse. That could be anything from neglect to mental
to physical to sexual violence. Rogue could have found completely
innocuous touches invasive...and she would have wanted them
to stop, *subconsciously* triggering her power to avoid feeling
Jean clasped her hands in front of her face. *Perception.
*Could it be so simple?* How old was she, assuming there was
abuse involved? And who will she trust enough to talk to?*
Continued in Chapter
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