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

Judas Complex

First Martyred
Blurry Abstractions
Suspended Judgement
Psyche Heist
Traitor's Kiss
Hysteria's Poison

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Marvel Comics, and are used here for entertainment only. Don't archive without asking. Feedback is adored - and Danke.

Part 4: Traitor's Kiss

In the Garden I was playin' the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart
You -- you were actin' like it was the end of the world
-U2, "Until the End of the World"

Above her, the sky: the half-set, bleeding sun, the half-risen, bloodless moon, and an uncountable number of glittering stars.

Below her, her homeland: stretching forever and ever and ever to greet the sky, covered by waving grasses and sparse trees, the occasional wild animal, and one lone river which wound itself like a mamba far away to the south.

Ororo sat on the highest peak of a single monolith standing in the center of it, enjoying the wind which whipped around her and the sights available to her from her perch. There wasn't anything to hold her in, here, nothing to impose on her freedom. Danger didn't exist, nor did pain, nor anything evil. It was only her and her goddess here, her and nature.

Even for a Danger-Room made simulation of perfection, it was amazingly real.

She needed to be here to clear her head, cleanse her soul, and to seek answers. The wait for death -- or life, or revelation, or anything -- had been driving everyone up the wall. Repeated searches and scans had led to nothing more than rapidly declining morale. There was nothing to indicate who might have killed Hank. There was nothing to tell who'd taken off with Psylocke. There was no hint as to who was preying upon the GenXers. Not one thing.

No hint that we can see. No hint that we can touch or smell or feel, she thought. But beyond that, there must be something.

From far away, she heard a noise- an odd one which didn't fit into the environment she'd created here. It was like a long electronic beeping, or the crackle of electricity, and somewhere in what looked like the distant horizon was a flash of light. She climbed down from the rock curiously, and walked toward the disturbance.

It didn't repeat itself. A glitch in the program? she thought. It seemed most likely. The closer she came, the more the colors of the simulation seemed just a tad bit too light or too reddish.

There was another noise, this time behind her. This she recognized immediately, something horridly familiar from childhood: the laugh of a hyena.

She turned. There were shining eyes looking at her, at least nine pairs of them, coming closer. And then they stopped. She stared at them as they stared at her, she and they like sworn enemies, sizing each other up and considering both strengths and weaknesses of the other. It was nearly hypnotic.

She barely had the time to lift up in the air screaming before all of them plunged forward, and one grabbed on to her ankle. Its teeth bit deeply, and when she called a bolt of lightning to strike it away, it took a chunk of her flesh with it, leaving a gaping wound in her leg which glittered black in the false moonlight.

Hyennas don't just attack people ... she thought sluggishly, clenching her teeth to keep from yelping as the winds carried her higher. She reached down to take her communication badge from its place at her hip, calling for someone to come and turn the simulation off. Below her, the pack was getting angry, snapping at the air and laughing maniacally.

A second later, they all became as discolored as the horizon had, and then slowly faded away with the rest of the scenery as the hard metal of the true Danger Room reappeared, and the foor clanged open.

"Ororo!" Scott called to her from below. "Come down!"

She obeyed, allowing the wind to stretch her injured leg out before settling to the floor.

"What happened?" he asked. Logan, who'd come running in behind him, kneeled at her side and began to inspect the gash.

"It went out of control," she gasped, "it created animals ... they attacked ... "

"Cyke," Logan said, "Look at this." He meant the gash. "Unless somethin' changed without me knowin' about it, we aren't supposed to set the room to do damage like this. Either 'Ro accidentally messed up her codes ... "

"Or somebody else changed them?"

"It had to have been a mistake in the programming," she told them, weakly.

"Check the computer for any sign of tampering," Scott demanded, ripping away the fabric of his shirt and wrapping it around Ororo's foot.

Logan did so, scrolling through endless codes in the door's control panel and searching each intently. "There's nothin' here," he said, finally. "Nobody's touched it."

"Somebody had to ... "

"But nobody has. Probably just a glitch in the system, like she said. If there'd been anybody foolin' around with it, it would show."

"Are you sure?" Scott asked.

"O' course."

"I do not mean to seem ungrateful for your rescue, gentlemen," Storm spoke up, "But I think I will pass out if I do not get to the medical laboratory soon."

There was something beautiful about pain. She certainly didn't like it, of course, but in a way, it was a wonderful sort of glass, through which more colors of the world could be seen.

She wasn't so sure that needles could be seen in the same optomistic light.

The Professor drew the syringe back out of her foot, and then added another layer of bandage around her treated wound. "You were very lucky," he told her. "It didn't reach the bone."

She managed to pull her eyes back down to her leg, glad to see that the injection puncture had been covered, as well. She hated needles. They came immediately after being trapped in small, dark, windowless rooms on her list of things she feared. They were unnatural, something made by the hands of man and not the wind, the sky, the plains, or anything else of her goddess's creation. The very sight of one made her feel queasy.

"I know," she said, wondering if she should stand.

Xavier smiled and said, "I think it would be better for now if you didn't. Besides, you need rest. You look exhausted."

"I am rather tired," Ororo agreed. "Though I can't for the life of me think of why."

"Stress," he reasoned, and patted her shoulder. "I'll leave you alone now, but I think you'd better see Remy before you sleep."


"He's been hovering around outside your room since you were brought here. Jean's been yelling at him to stop pacing for the better part of an hour."

"Do you have any idea why?"

He shrugged. "He'd worried, I suppose. Will you see him?"

"Of course."

He nodded and left, leaving the door open. Moments later, Gambit's head popped in. "Chere?"

"What brings you here, my friend?"

"I was just wonderin' how you were doin' now," he explained, looking sheepish.

"Ah," she said.

"Okay, so that wasn't entirely the real answer."

"I hadn't thought so."

He shut the door behind him and then sat next to her on the bed, embracing her. "I was real worried when I heard what happened," he said.

"My injuries were not serious. I should be up and around soon enough."

"Well, it scared me all the same. If I ever lost you, Stormy ... " he trailed off, distressed, and hugged her tighter.

She patted his arm. "It is not as though I have never been injured," she told him. "And I believe that you have the team record for being hurt the most in and out of battle. This was hardly serious compared to many of your own breaks and cuts."

"So? Don't mean I can't worry about you."

"I still don't believe that this is the only reason you would be so worried."

"I jus' told you ... I couldn't bare to loose you. You're my best friend. You're the only one left on my side."

She lifted a brow. "That is ridiculous. We are all on your side. And what of Rogue?"

He said, "I haven't talked to her since before all this began. Not really."

"And why is that?"

"...not sure ... ."


"You got an uncanny way of making me look like a fool sometimes, 'Ro," he said.

"No more than you have an uncanny way of acting like a fool. "

"Hey ... "

"You will go talk to her," she ordered, "And when you are done, please bring me another blanket. I do not think the Professor would be very happy if I called up a breeze in here to warm the room up."

Since the moment he'd first met her, Rogue's beauty had always managed to strike him. She didn't have the exotic look Ororo or Betsy had, she didn't have Jean's fiery -- and occasionally almost innocent -- knockout loveliness. What she did have was eyes deeper than a soul, perfectly kissable unkissable lips, hair all the colors of fall leaves, an undefineable "spunk" in the way she moved, and a nose cuter than a button. At least, if you'd asked him, that's what he'd say.

But beyond the outside was the inside, and that's what he loved the most about her -- her sadness, her despair, her loneliness, her charisma, her strength, her sense of humor. She was nearly the flipside of him, but completely the same. The same intrinsic sense of honor. The same need for touch -- and in no way only physical. The same second-hand heroism, the same haunted dreams, the same misanthropy. Things not on the surface.

That was why he could talk to her the way that he did. It was also why he couldn't talk to her about some things, and couldn't bring himself to say things which would have slipped off his tongue easily with anybody else.

Possibly because y'can't bring yourself t'lie to her.

Not that every word you say to anybody is true.

In any case, it was extremely difficult for him to look into her eyes -- which were clouded with something he didn't recognize -- and try to bring himself to say: "Do you trust me?"

She didn't answer right away, which made his heart twist unexpectedly. "Do I trust you? What do you mean?"

"Just that. Do you trust me?"

"I ... o' course I trust you," she said, slowly. She slid up from where she'd been lying on a couch, and watched him intently with her arms stretched to either side of her. She looked as though she was bracing herself for something. "O' course I do."

"I'm serious," he told her. "I need t'know what you really think."

"I just told you," she said.

"But y'don't sound like you mean it!"

She bit her lip, considering him with her head tilted to one side. "I do trust you," she said. "Really, I do. With my life. With my heart. I don't think you'd ever hurt me."

"But ... ?"

"Dammit, LeBeau ... " she stood with her eyes narrowed, and then poked a finger in his chest. "You'd never hurt me, I'm convinced o' that ... and you'd never hurt Storm, neither. You'd die for us soon as let anybody break our nails. But I wouldn't ever let you alone in a room with Warren, or Bobby.

"So you do doubt me," he whispered.

"I doubt you 'cause you doubt yourself so much," she said, sincerely. "There's no way you could've killed Hank. You COULDN'T do it. You're too good to do such a thing. But you've been actin' like the guilty party since it happened."

He took her by the shoulders, and held her at arms length. "Rogue," he said, "kiss me."

"What're you talkin' about?"

"Kiss me," he said.

"That ain't gonna help a thing ... "

"Do it, an' I'll know that you know I'm innocent. You'll know everything about me. There won't be a need f'r you not t'trust me."

"You've been drinkin' somethin'," she snorted, and pushed him away. "There ain't no need for that."

"There is a need for it ... I gotta know that you're in my corner." He smiled lop-sidedly. "I gotta make sure."

"I am on your side," she assured him. "Always have been, always will be."

"But you don't even know ab-"

She said, "I can see the truth without it. The last thing that I need is you lyin' around half-dead right now."

He thought on her words for a while, and then raised two of his gloved fingers to his mouth, kissing them, and then placing them on her own lips.

"I'd never hurt you," he said with a smile. "I'd do anything to make sure nobody even broke your nail."

"I trust that you would," she told him.

It was totally unreasonable, a thing he might have laughed at in someone else, but right now the thunderstorm was scaring him to pieces.

After all, it wasn't like there weren't storms all the time here. He'd grown up with them, and the mansion's weather, since it was most often dictated by the whims and emotions of Ororo Munroe, had always been a little ... odd. No doubt it was Storm's fault that the sky was crashing tonight, and it was all an extension of the pain her wound was causing her. But every blast still made him feel like grabbing a blanket to hide under.

Fear was better than grief, at least; grief ate away at the soul, but fear directed attentions away from oneself and towards everything else. He very nearly welcomed the change. He hadn't slept since Hank's death, and Drake's mind hadn't hardly wandered from the path of "He's gone ... why couldn't I have saved him? I was right there ... how completely useless could someone be?!?" since the incident. Jean had tried to reach him. So had Storm. Even Rogue had tried to bring a smile to her face, though she'd said hardly anything to anybody lately.

Not that anybody was smiling much now.

Another thunderstrike outside, like the collective crash of a thousand snare drums. He managed to hold his ground instead of jumping this time. Why was he so scared? He forced himself to give himself answers: 1) all bad slasher flicks had gruesome thunder-and-lightning-scenes; 2) he hated loud noises; 3) it was dark, it was foreboding, it was ominous. Bad reason, bad reason, bad reason. C'Mon, Drake- it's just a bunch of clouds bumping into each other. They can't hurt you.

There was a flicker of white light. One alligator, two alligator ...

Lightning could hurt, if you happened to be standing in the middle of a lake, he thought. It brought fleeting questions about ice and electricity to mind, and then other random images of Hank guffawing over the stupidity of the whole situation.

Four alligator, five alligator ...



Flicker of light.

One, alligator ...

Oldest trick in the book- calm yourself down using children's techniques, like counting how far away the lightning real was. One alligator, one mile.

Two alligators, two miles.

Three ...

Four ...

Five ...

Six ...

Flicker of light ...

One, alligator ...

Two, alligator ...

Three ...

Four ...

Flicker of light.

This wasn't helping at all.

Well, he thought, maybe it would just be better to try tea. That was what Hank always recommended. Had recommended. Past tense, Bobby.

He forced himself up, out of his room and on to a "mission" for the first time since Hank died.



Continued in Chapter 5


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