Ororo, puzzled, leaves Rogue's empty room and steps back
into the hallway.
The roof, perhaps?
As she summons a gentle wind to lift her to the cupola, she
notices the entrance to her attic sanctuary is open. Instinctively,
she changes her commands, allowing the breeze to carry her
to her room upstairs. She lands lightly.
Glancing up, she's surprised to find Rogue gazing intently
at a pair of African game sticks. She watches as her teammate
tentatively picks up one, then the other. Rogue taps one end,
flips the stick, and taps the other end. Ororo feels a sudden
chill that has nothing to do with the weather.
Surely Rogue cannot know--
Rogue continues, manipulating the sticks into a quicker series
of rhythms and taps as skillfully as a native. She hums softly.
The music creates a challenging counterpoint to the sticks.
Storm hurls a ball of lightning, knocking the sticks from
Rogue's hands and startling her in the process.
With great care, Storm retrieves the gaming sticks and returns
them to their special place. She turns to Rogue, ice in her
"You could have asked my permission, Rogue, if you wished
to use my possessions."
"'Your possessions?' Funny, ah seem to remember ya always
tellin' us that the Baoule didn't believe in possessions.
What one person had, the whole village had a right to use.
Just like a child didn't belong to her momma or daddy. Everyone
in the village was responsible for her."
"These were Rochelle's."
This ain't right. Ah do remember those sticks.
Just like they were mah own. And that game, that song, it
felt right, somehow. Just like bein' here, in Storm's
room, makes me feel safe in a way ah nevah felt before. Oh,
Lordy, ah feel like ah'm gettin' all crazy in the head again,
like ah did after ah absorbed Carol Danvers. An' that look
on her face. Ah can't tell her the truth!
"Ah remember ya tellin' me."
No, Rogue, I am certain you do not. Yet, how could you
possibly know? As it is, there was no harm done, Windrider.
Merely old wounds being reopened. Which, considering your
behavior yesterday, is perhaps appropriate. This is a time
to heal, not harm.
"Perhaps--it was a long time ago."
"Ya know, this ain't the way ah wanted things to turn
out. When ya first suggested me absorbin' Gregory, ah was--thrilled!
For once, ah thought ah could use mah powers to do some good.
Ah was really hopin' ah could find her for ya. Ah'm sorry
ah couldn't tell ya what ya wanted to hear."
"No, Rogue, it is I who should apologize. When you have
lost a loved one--"
"Ah'm the last person ya need to be tellin'
about how it feels to lose a loved one!"
The spark of anger in Rogue's quick reply is unmistakeable.
Of course. Irene. Ah, Ororo, you are not improving the
"Funny how easy it is for some folks around here to
think they're the only ones grievin'. No wonder Gregory hates
ya so much."
Rogue, on her way to the door, stops and turns.
"Ya forgettin' ah absorbed everythin' from him. Mem'ries
don't lie, Storm. Seems like there's a lot you didn't tell
Professor Xavier when you joined the X-men. Seems like your
hands maybe ain't so free of blood, either."
With that, she leaves. And Ororo self-consciously goes to
the sink to wash her hands before lunch.
Continued in Chapter
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