Down-Home Charm Photo Album Songbank Fan-Fiction History Books Fan Art Miscellania Links
Fan-Fiction >
Post-Claremont >


Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


Rochelle follows Ororo down the winding path to the lakefront, trying not to stumble. This has all been so strange to her. She still isn't completely used to being in this body. She stops suddenly, awed by the beauty of the first light of dawn striking the deep blue waters. Ororo smiles brightly, encouraging Rochelle to join her in the shallow end of the lake.

Following her godmother's example, Rochelle steps out of her robe and wades in. Laughing, she splashes Ororo. Ororo's stern frown lets Rochelle know in no uncertain terms that this is a time to be serious. She bows her head, acknowledging her submission. Ororo hesitates. This situation is surely as unusual for her as it is for Rochelle. In her eyes, she sees Rogue's body, Rogue's face and hands, but in her heart, she knows that it is truly Rochelle's spirit lingering inside.

Ororo takes a handful of fragrant leaves and crushes them against her skin. She nods to Rochelle, who does the same. Ororo raises a bowl to her lips, sips, then passes it on to Rochelle. She sips, then gags at the unexpected taste of vinegar. She watches Storm place a cube of sugar in her mouth and does the same.

"Remember this, Rochelle, it is the way of the Baoule, our way, to accept the bitter with the sweet. The vinegar and sugar remind us of the true path of our lives. It is not our place to question the blessings or misfortunes which may occur."

Rochelle nods. She remembers her mother telling her the same. A moment of sorrow washes over her as she remembers being told that Raoua, her mother, had passed into the village of truth. She lifts her chin, determined to show herself capable of rising to the challenge presented to her. This woman before her was worshipped as the goddess of her people; Rochelle would do nothing to cause Ororo to think less of her.

"You understand, little one, that you cannot remain in this body?"

Rochelle nods.

"It will not be easy, but you must complete the journey you were intended to make, Rochelle."

"Yes, Nana."

Ororo annoints Rochelle with a handful of water from the lake.

"May Nyamia be with you, child, and brighten your face."

Rochelle wades slowly from the water to the grassy bank. The morning sun clears the line of distant trees, sending sparkles of light across the waves. She dries Rogue's body, and slips into the new, soft robe which Ororo brought for her. There are gloves, also, which she slips on, as Rogue would. She turns, squaring her shoulders much as Ororo might, and faces her godmother.

"I am ready."

Ororo, clothed again in her caftan, seats herself comfortably. She opens her arms to Rochelle, who accepts her embrace without hesitation. Ororo adjusts her body, letting Rochelle's legs fall across her lap until she is cradling her much as she use to do. Rochelle slips her hands around Ororo's neck. She nuzzles her cheek against the comforting softness of Ororo's breast. It will the last time she hugs her godmother. Ororo's arms tighten in response.

"What do you remember, Rochelle?"

"I was in church."


"You were there, with mother and father."


Step by step, Rochelle retraces the last moments of her life. Her voice is vibrant at first. Full of the youthful exuberance she had on that day. Excited by her new dress as much as by her first communion. As she remembers, her voice falters then drops to a whisper.

"I am frightened, Nana."


"There is a man here. Why does he keep watching me? He looks at me as if I should know him, but I do not."

Ororo's throat tightens.

"What is he doing, Rochelle?"

"I do not understand. Please, Nana, I do not want to do this anymore."

Rochelle's tears dampen Ororo's skin. She closes her eyes, feeling her own tears trickle down her cheek. Sometimes, it seems she has lived too long for one lifetime. Grief. The one constant in her ever-changing life. She forces herself to push on, for Rochelle's sake.

"What is he doing?"

"He talks to me--softly. He likes my dress. He does not seem to be a bad man. His eyes shine, Nana. He is reaching out to me. I can feel his fingers on my cheek. It is not right. It does not feel right."

Soft puffs of air from Rochelle's mouth tickle Ororo's neck as her breathing quickens in fright. Her heart beats faster. Hands that are no longer a child's tighten into fists. Rochelle curls Rogue's body close against Ororo. She whimpers.


Ororo cradles Rochelle, rocking her soothingly.

"Tell me what he is doing, Rochelle."

"He is taking my spirit from me, Nana Ororo."

She cries out. A seizure racks her body. Then another. Through it all, Ororo remains frustratingly helpless. She tries to take comfort in knowing that, this time, Rochelle will not die alone. It does not help. Her lips move softly against her goddaughter's head, silently whispering Baoule prayers for deliverance. Rochelle stiffens. A final, strangled cry escapes. Rogue's body goes completely limp.

Ororo gently lifts Rogue's face to hers. She's stunned to see trickles of blood on her nose and ears. A vague remembrance of Henry telling her that this type of bleeding may indicate cerebral hemorrhage flashes through her mind. Rogue sighs. Her eyelids close.


Bright Lady, be merciful!

Ororo gently shakes Rogue. No response. Worried, she reaches out with her mind for help.


>>I'm here, Storm.<<

>>Rogue, I cannot revive her!<<

After a moment, Jean's gentle probing touches Ororo's mind.

>>I've reached her, Storm. Apparently she's in a semi-comatose state until Rochelle separates completely. I wouldn't worry. I was able to get a clear contact with Rogue and she should recover when you've finished with the funeral.<<

>>Thank you.<<

>>Are you all right?<<

>>I will be well.<<

Ororo cleanses the blood from Rogue's skin. The realization that Rochelle is, for all purposes, gone, sinks in. She cradles the body closer, rocking her in a way Rochelle will never again experience. Her fingers brush the hair from Rogue's forehead. And when all of the little caresses and soft whisperings are completed, Ororo Munroe weeps.


Continued in Chapter 18


Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction / Fan Artwork / History Books / Photo Album / Songbank / Miscellania / Links / Updates

Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by Marvel Comics.
Privacy Policy and Submission Guidelines