Disclaimer: Most characters in
this story are property of Marvel, as are some events. I'm
not making a cent out of this, so I guess that they can't
sue me. This story is freeware, and can be distributed to
anyone you want. If you wish to archive, I'd appreciate an
If I don't answer in a week, feel free to put it on your page.
This story contains no scenes of violence, profanity etc.
It's all ages, and squeaky clean ! Apologies to those who
like the idea of Rogue and Joseph together (the very suggestion
makes me sick !) this is one of 'those' stories ;-)
Without any further ado - I present my very first fan-fiction
RogueStar (e-mail me at: email@example.com)
Smoke and Mirrors
It seems like all my life I've been hiding behind a mask;
lost in a room o' smoke and mirrors.
Dere is an exit somewhere, far off in the distance, but every
turn in my life takes me farther from it and deeper into de
lie. I t'ought once I saw the neon sign flashing de way out,
but den the mist rose, and when it finally cleared, de sign
was gone. My life is like dat: a funhouse of incredible complexity,
twisting itself farther and farther in, approaching de center
of a spiral. What is dere I don't know, yet don't want t'find
out.You know how it is when you're trapped by de circumstances
of your life, by what you've done. It's a feeling of utter
hopelessness, of utter fear; fear of what you've done and
what you might do. You need someone to pull you out; to set
you free; to spring the trap. Dat's where she came in. But
I've lost her now and I don't know if I have any hope of ever
getting her back ... both for myself an' my freedom.
It started a long time ago, Ah guess. Back in th' little
town of Caldecott in Mississippi, where Ah was born. It was
a small town; a quiet town; a town where Farmer Jones buying
a new cow was a major event. It was a town where privacy was
nonexistent, where th' only thing a body could do with her
life was get married and have seventeen children. Ah thought
once that that was what Ah would ... could do ... Ah realise
know that Ah was wrong. That night changed it all. It was
a night like any other, harvest moon hangin' in a dark sky
studded with stars, except for one thing - it was the night
I was going out with Cody Robbins for the first time. Mah
best friend said he was everythin' a girl could want in a
future husband - obviously, in her mind, we were already married.
Ah was wearing a green, long-sleeved dress, matching shoes
and white sweater. Ah thought Ah looked decent ... Cody
obviously agreed. At the end of the date, which took place
at th' only restaurant in town, he kissed me. An' that's when
Ah felt them for th' first time, mah powers.
It was as if everythin' about him flowed into me, his soul,
his energy and his memories. Through his eyes, Ah experienced
his past, his present and his hopes for th' future, a future
Ah took away from him in one kiss. Ah ran as far away as Ah
could, seeking refuge in the only place possible - home. Ah
cried all night, both for him and mahself. The next mornin',
they found him, he was still breathing - barely. They rushed
him to a hospital, connected him up to a respirator and then
continued to find out why he was how he was. Naturally, th'
first person they came to ask was me.
"Miss ... ?" The plump policeman walked into the
house, puffing on his cigarette. "We're here to ask you
about yer involvement in th' incident which occured last night."
Gazing around, he was not impressed. A typical, poor-white
farmhouse complete with mangy dog.' he thought, Lawd,
how Ah hate Mississippi!' He'd always dreamed of something
bigger, something better; a post in New York or Seattle, one
of the big towns - not a town like this, where a chicken theft
was a crime. This boy, Freddy ... or something like that,
was his ticket out of here; his ticket to greatness.
But this girl who stared at him with terrified emerald eyes,
she was different. Perhaps it was the white stripe woven through
her braid, highlights without a doubt; or perhaps ...
"It wasn't mah fault, Ah didn't mean to ... honest."
Tears trickled down her cheeks. "Ah just touched him
and then he ... he ..." The last words were lost in sobs.
She was a mutie. The sentence finished itself in the officer's
"There, there. Ah understand."
"Please ... don't tell anyone." She begged.
"Ah won't." However, in his mind, the headline
was already written. Mutie girl puts local boy in a
coma - heroic officer solves case.'
Caldecott, Mississippi, a quiet town in a furore. One of
their own, Cody, had been put in a coma by a girl, a mutant
- ironically enough, a resident of the self-same town. Anti-mutant
feeling exploded in riots and trials in which extremists acted
as judge, jury and executioner. It was a whirlwind of accusations,
fabrications and hatred. In the heart of this storm, the girl
responsible could only whisper, "He promised."
"Ah know it's you, daughter." The heavy-set bearded
man folded his arms across his chest.
His auburn and white haired daughter looked at him with pleading
green eyes. She was clutching her old ragdoll, hugging it
tight to her body.
"Please, daddy, let me explain."
"Explain what ? That yer a mutant freak, that it ain't
yer fault because o' the fact that God made you a mutie..."
"God don't make muties, he don't make freaks - it musta
been somethin' you did. Lawd, child, didn't Ah raise you well
enough after yer no-account momma left us? Ah'm ashamed o'
the fact that y'are mah daughter... that mah own flesh and
blood is a FREAK !"
The bus-stop was cold with a wind blowing through it, chasing
the litter and dry leaves. A man leant against a lamp-post,
smoking a cigarette. The grey smoke blew up into the air as
it discharged from his lips, diffusing into the black, moonless
night. On the bench, a girl clutched a bus-ticket. One-way.
It didn't really matter where, just as long as it wasn't there.
Shivering, partially from cold and mostly from fear, she pulled
the jacket tighter around herself.
"Got the time, miss ?" An old man reeking of tobacco
and sweat approached her.
"Yeah ... it's 12.15."
"The bus should be here soon." he said, sinking
down on the seat next to her.
Nervously, she moved away.
"I had a girl once, like you." He continued. "But
she married, moved away, disowned me. Her old father didn't
fit her new image. Still, que sera, sera."
"Ah beg your pardon ?"
"It's french, it means: what will be, will be."
"What will be, will be." She whispered to herself.
"And you ? Why are you here all alone ? You can't be
more than 15."
"Mah daddy decided that Ah didn't fit in with his image
"Shame when that happens. I would give anything to have
my daughter back. Perhaps, one day, your father will realise
that as well."
The girl laughed, a bitter tone in her voice. "An' hell
may freeze over."
"The train's here."
Almost as soon as those three words were spoken, the train
whisked the girl and the old man off to a new city, and, perhaps,
a new start.
The city was an unfriendly place to those who came from afar.
The city was filled with millions of people, all of whom cared
only about themselves, their family and friends. The city
was no place for a girl who was alone. For many days she wandered
the streets of New York, her dollars buying only the very
lowest steps of Maslow's Hierachy of Needs - food, drink and
shelter. Every night she lay awake wondering what she could
do when her money ran out and when at last it did it
seemed that providence had smiled on her. She found a home
- of sorts - and a mother - of sorts.
Her name was Raven Darkholme. She said that she was a divorcee
who had lost her children in a bitter custody struggle. She
said that she was desperate for a child to call her own again.
The girl had no choice but to accept Raven's proposition.
It seemed good; a house, three meals a day, a bed in which
to sleep, and someone to call momma. Raven, not suceeding
in finding out the child's true name, gave her one - Rogue.
She then said that she would introduce her to some friends
of hers who belonged to something called the Brotherhood of
Evil Mutants. Inwardly, Rogue cringed at the thought - the
name alone was ominous - but Raven had been so kind to her,
she couldn't accept that Ms. Darkholme wouldn't act in her
best interests. Besides Raven had said that they could teach
her to control her burgeoning mutant powers ... and Rogue
would take any chance she was given to be able to do that.
No matter if the price was her soul. The people at the Brotherhood
seemed nice, apart from the fact that something about them
gave her shivers each time she was near them.
It was a quintet of hatred, comprised of Pyro, Avalanche,
the Blob, Mystique and Destiny, under the auspices of a man
known only as Magneto. Their sole desire was to gain power
for mutants, by any means necessary, including, and preferably,
total genocide of Homo Sapiens. Naturally, as every force
of evil has its analogous force of good, they had many enemies.
One of whom were the Avengers; an assemblage of noble heroes
dedicated to upholding the rights of those who were unable
to defend themselves. A member of which was Carol Danvers,
also known as Miss Marvel...
Carol Danvers was th' person Ah stole mah powers from. Not
mah real' powers, those Ah was cursed with at birth,
but the powers Ah use whenever Ah go out t'save the world
- the powers of flight and super-strength. Sometimes Ah wonder
how mah life might've been different if Ah hadn't gotten them;
if Ah hadn't been on the bridge on that day; if Ah hadn't
listened to Mystique. The absorbtion was a simple matter -
Miss Marvel hadn't heard of me or of mah powers. Ah snuck
up on her and touched her. Like a thief or an assassin who
uses darkness to cover their deeds.
Kinda ironic, if Ah think about it. But Ah don't want to
... it still hurts too bad... Instantly, her whole life flowed
into me and Ah was swept along on a river of memories. Ah
wanted to let go - Ah knew that it Ah hung on for too long,
somethin' bad would happen. Ah would o' let go - if it wasn't
for Mystique. She told me to hang on tight; to not let go
no matter how Ah felt ... hurt.
Soon, Miss Marvel was a limp figure in mah arms and Ah had
her inside me. After that Ah couldn't stay, Ah ran away again
and sought the one person of whom Ah had heard so much - the
one man who could perhaps do the impossible.
Charles Xavier regarded the young woman standing on his doorstep
with a mixture of apprehension and pity. His one finger was
poised on the communicator which would call his X-Men within
seconds if she became violent. Was this the dangerous
woman of whom he had heard so much and knew so little ? Was
she the one who had taken down his X-Men just previously?
If so, why was she here ?
"Sir, Ah ... Ah need your help." Her voice was
deeply Southern, Mississippi or thereabouts.
"Certainly." Xavier hesitated for a minute before
continuing, "What is wrong ?"
"Ah want to learn how to control mah powers... Ah want
to be free of the ... the dreams."
"More like flashes of ... of the past but ... but it
"It is possible that part of Miss Marvel's persona was
transferred into you when you touched her. This would result
in the flashes' as you call them."
"So, you know about Miss Marvel ?"
"Yes, it is hard to keep much from a telepath, I'm afraid.
Besides which, the near-death of one of our nation's heroes
is headline news in any country."
"One of our nation's heroes ?! Momma ... Ah mean ...
Raven said she was evil ... that she was trying t'steal something
that belonged to us."
"This Raven of whom you speak ? Who is she ?"
"Ah'm not sure any more ... if Ah ever was. She called
herself Raven Darkholme, but Ah've heard others call her Mystique."
Charles Xavier grimaced, this Raven Darkholme, whom the young
woman called mother, was a lethal shape-shifter, a believer
in Magneto's vision of mutant supremacy.
A vision for which he felt he should bear some responsibility
Xavier realised that the girl was looking at him with something
akin to concern on her face. He must have been lost in his
own private thoughts again.
"Can y'help me ?"
The professor stopped, caught between Scylla and Charybdis.
On one hand what she was asking him to do was unthinkable,
to take a known enemy into his house and train her in the
use of her powers was insanity. On the other, that was exactly
why he had formed the X-Men - to educate mutants in the use
of their powers and show them why they should use them to
protect a race who would rather see them killed. Compassion
"I can't promise anything, but I will try to the very
best of my abilities."
"Sir, thank you." She smiled, "Ah can't say
how much this means t'me"
"Thank me after you've had a hot bath and a meal."
He opened the door and let her inside.
Cyclops glared at his teacher, his mentor and, more importantly,
the man who was like a father to him.
"No disrespect, sir. But do you know who she is ?"
"Yes, I am aware of the fact that she is the mutant
who put Miss Marvel in a coma and I am aware of the fact that
you were beaten at her hands." Xavier stoked the fire
in his study.
"Then why is she here ?"
"For much the same reason you are; to learn how to control
"You know what I mean."
"I know, Scott. But I also believe that everyone deserves
a second chance. How can I expect others to forgive and understand
if I can not do the same ?"
"But others don't have as much to forgive or understand
as we have to for her."
"Enough, Scott. I am aware of your objection to my decision
- I respect that and I ask you to respect my judgement in
"I do, sir, but this matter could mean the end of the
"Unlikely." The professor turned around and looked
his first student in the eyes, "Thank you, Scott. It
is always a pleasure to see you. Now, please leave - I have
much to do."
"As always, sir, I will have to accept your judgement
in the matter."
Iceman studied the young woman with consternation. She was
sitting directly opposite to him at the dinner table. Her
green eyes were downcast and it appeared that the meatloaf
was occupying all of her attention. Next to her, the weather
goddess, Ororo Munroe was engaged in the mundane activity
of eating carrots, as was Beast, ex-Avenger, Scientist and
"So ..." He attempted to start a conversation,
"Where do you come from ?"
"Ah, the hard-to-spell state."
He laughed, expecting her to join in. She looked at him oddly.
"What's so funny ?"
"You know, M-I-S-S-I-P-P-I-S-S-I."
"Actually, my frosty friend. That spells Missippissi."
Beast told him, amusement on his face.
Iceman looked abashed, "It does ?"
"Yes, Mississippi is spelt ..."
"Enough already, We aren't in class right now."
Bobby Drake held a hand up in surrender.
"It seems like you should spend more time in that hitherto
unknown room, Bobby." Henry McCoy smiled.
"Ha ha ha ha."
"Hmm ? Didn't I order my peas thermically enhanced ?"
Beast poked at the frozen mound with his fork.
"Special order, peasicle !"
"Bobby, are you misbehaving again ?" An amused
voice asked from the doorway.
Iceman turned around to see the beautiful, red-headed telepath
known as Jean Grey. By her side, as usual, was Cyclops, who
did not look very pleased, as usual.
"Take a seat, Cyke. Jean." He gestured to a few
Ostentatiously, Cyclops pulled out a chair as far as he could
from Rogue and sat in it. Jean, naturally, followed
"If you would pass the salt." Scott asked.
Rogue handed it over to him. He let her put it on the table,
before picking it up as if it had the plague.
"Thank you." His tone gave the opposite meaning
to his polite words.
"Mah pleasure." She stifled a yawn, "And if
y'all will excuse me, Ah'm tired and would like to go t'sleep."
"Allow me to show you to your room." Storm volunteered.
"Thank you." She stood up and pushed her chair
Ororo led her out of the room and up the stairs.
"Cyclops doesn't seem to happy about havin' me around,
does he ?" Rogue commented.
"Scott can be ... difficult. I have known him a while,
though shorter than some of the others. He does not adapt
well to change; give him a little time to get used to the
"Ah know, but havin' him glarin' at me from th' other
side of the table ain't exactly mah idea o' fun."
Storm laughed, "He was hardly making an effort to be
friendly, was he ?"
Rogue joined in, "One might say that."
"Here is your room." She pushed open a door to
her right. "I am afraid it only contains the bare essentials,
but I am sure it will suffice until you can redecorate it."
"Thank you again. For everythin'. Ah don't know if ya
know how much Ah appreciate it."
Storm squeezed the younger woman's shoulder. "I have
a fair idea. Sleep well."
Closing the door behind her, Rogue surveyed her room. Storm
was correct in saying it only had the basics: bed, chair,
dresser and cupboard. She packed her clothes away in the closet,
before sinking onto her bed.
"Perhaps something in green." was her final thought
as she drifted into sleep.
Mah room isn't much different from those early days. Naturally,
Ah've painted th' walls a few times, bought new sheets an'
stuff and added some photographs - but otherwise it is exactly
th' same. Same bed, same chair, same dresser, same cupboard,
only thing different in it is me. Ah always thought after
Ah kissed Cody, Ah'd never fall in love again. From then on,
Ah felt that love was dangerous; was a bomb - hold it too
long an' it'll blow up in yer face - takin' you with it, and
leavin' nothin' behind but smoke. Ah was right.
He looked as if he owned the place. The words flickered in
and out of Rogue's consciousness. His easy assurance and confident
grace was far removed from her own first days when she could
barely string a sentence together without stammering. He was
talking to Storm; he'd come with Storm; for all she knew,
he was in love with Storm. Why do Ah care ? She looked at
her hands, and repeated her vow to never fall in love again;
to never be loved again. Not the latter part was too hard.
What man could ever want a woman he couldn't touch ? And why
did she want to be touched by this particular man ?
The questions had no answers. Storm laughed. The sound set
Rogue's teeth on edge, although it never had before. To disguise
her discomfort, she looked around the room. Scott was regarding
the new arrival with his patented suspicious look on his face
while, next to him, Jean was looking at the snacks with trepidation.
Iceman had made' them with some assistance from Wolverine.
'You ice, I slice, bub.' seemed to be the principle behind
them. Hence the iced salami, iced pizza, iced ham, iced chicken
and iced potato chips! She absent-mindedly took a handful
of chips, and put them in her mouth, letting them melt before
chewing. Storm laughed again. Is he that funny, Sugah ? The
words came unbidden into her mind. This was ridiculous - she
was jealous of a woman laughing with a man to whom she hadn't
even talked ! If she wasn't careful, someone might almost
think she was...
French. The accent was even familiar. The memory of the old
man at the bus-stop came drifting back. His words ... que
sera, sera. What will be, will be.
"Yes ?" She yelled, annoyed at having her train
of thought derailed.
"Guess my charm isn't working too well on you ? Henh
She turned around to come face to face with the man who she
had been watching earlier.
"Ah ... ah ..." She felt a blush creep over her
face. "Didn't mean t'snap like that."
"You southern ?" He smiled, "Me too."
"Yeah - Ah'm from Miss'ssippi."
"I'm from Louisiana - N'awlins to be precise."
"You're cajun then ?"
"Was it jus' my general appearance or did ya work dat
out from de accent ?"
"The latter. Only ever met one before."
He nodded, "As for me, I've never met any femme half
as pretty as y'are."
"Usually Ah like t'know th' name of th' man who compliments
"Remy. Remy le Beau. Enchante, chere." He lifted
her hand as if to kiss it, but she slipped it out of his grasp
and put it behind her back.
"They call me Rogue."
"Not mah real one."
He smiled in recognition, familiar with the masks people
wore and the names by which they chose to be known. He'd had
many of both.
"So, guess you're a mutant as well ?" He asked.
"D'Oh. Everyone here is."
"And your power is ?"
She looked away, knowing that telling him could mean the
end of the impossible dream that she had built in this short
space of time.
"Ah can fly, lift... uh ...about 50 tons and ..."
She hesitated. And what ? Ah can steal people's lives away,
taking with one touch everythin' they ever were and could
be. Ah can kill most everthin' about them. "When Ah touch
someone, their powers and memories are ... transferred into
mah body...usually leavin' them unconscious. "
Rogue laughed bitterly.
"Dat's why you took your hand away."
"Yeah - Ah wouldn't want you to end up in a coma on
your very first day here."
"Perhaps it might be worth it ?"
"Pity." He smiled, as if doing so might take away
some of her hurt and pain.
"What is your power ?" She said pointedly, covering
all her confusing feelings with a simple question. He knew
now, so why did he pretend to be interested in her ? Did he
want to hurt her?
"As your resident scientist might say: I c'n change
potential energy into kinetic energy on contact.
What dis means is ... I explode t'ings."
"Explode things ?"
"I'll have t'show you."
"Remy ?" Storm walked up to them, "I see you
already have met Rogue."
"Perhaps now we should go and meet the Professor."
Storm jerked at his arm.
"Bet he's not as pretty as Rogue."
"Be that as it may, we do need to go talk to him in
order to see if you can stay permanently."
"Chere, we discussed this on de way back from Paris.
I said I'd see ya safely home, den I'd return t'mine."
"Y'mean ... you ain't stayin' ?" The words came
out of Rogue's mouth almost automatically.
"Sorry, chere, Places to go, people t'see, all de rest
of it." He shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah guess. Pity." Her words belied the look in
"Perhaps a few days ?" He suggested. "Poppa
said ya should never disappoint a lady."
"Y'think Ah mind either way ?"
"We'll have t'see about dat as well."
"Ah'll save you th' trouble - Ah don't."
"Come on, Gambit. You haven't met Scott or Jean yet."
Storm was impatient.
"Do I want to ?" He whispered to Rogue.
"No." She suppressed a smile.
"Strange. Dat's what I was going t'say."
"Well ... see ya around de Mansion." He said as
Storm dragged him off in Scott's general direction.
"You can close that bottom jaw now." Iceman said
Rogue jumped, "Y'all ... startled me."
"I bet." Robert Drake nodded his head.
"What do you want, Drake ?"
"I don't trust him. You shouldn't either."
"I also hope you don't fall for him." Iceman looked
"Why, Bobby Drake. Are y'all jealous ?" Rogue grinned.
"Seriously, Rogue ... I don't want to see you hurt.
And that guy has 'juggle-with-carving-knives' written all
"It's not that Ah don't appreciate your concern but
Ah AM quite old enough t'look after mahself."
"Just a warning from your friendly neighbourhood Iceman."
"Thanks, Bobby. And by the way, Ah don't have any intention
of doing so."
"Good, but the fact is you usually don't plan to fall
in love with anyone."
"Don't you worry about me. Ah'm not attracted to him
in the least."
"Hence the drooling earlier."
"Ah was not drooling !"
"Only by the very finest of margins."
"Drake - don't you have somethin' better t'do ?"
"Find somethin' then."
"Okay, okay ... I get the message." He smiled then
Rogue shook her head in annoyance because, if she was honest
with herself, she knew that she was halfway to doing the very
thing about which Iceman had warned her. Even worse, she didn't
seem to want to fight it...
Continued in Chapter
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