You're going to recognise the beginning
of this, that's because I couldn't get that damn short story
out of my head, so here it is, in a longer (Wolverine included)
version. This is the conclusion of the beginning, if that
makes any sense at all. It ate away at me until I finally
through my hands up in the air and said *oh for crying-out-loud,
alright, I'll write you.*
Once again let me know what you think, oh, and at the end.....
It's up to you to decide who or what you think Rogue has become.
A Shiver in the Shadows
Who knows what true loneliness
not the conventional word but the naked terror?
To the lonely themselves it wears a mask.
Pray that your loneliness may
into finding something to live for,
great enough to die for.
He stumbled through the darkness, some would say trying to
escape that which lay in wait inside his head, others would
say it was the body he'd left behind. Which ever it was he
needed to get away, needed it more than anything. More than
life itself. Whatever that meant to him.
The pain, it was incredible, stretching through his every
vein, his every thought, invading his soul, what remained
of his soul.
He stumbled on blindly, a drunk man, a madman, a killer,
a lover. He reached out towards the darkness, towards whatever
it was that lay in wait for him inside the dark of the alley.
It could take him, it could have him completely, steal him
away from what he called reality, from what was verging on
a nightmare reality.
The trash can clattered behind him, a startling slap in the
face, snapping him back from the pale reverie. He staggered
and fell against the wall. Shivering. So much pain. Why torture
him so, centuries of pain, why let it go on?
"Why, you don't look so good... Hun..."
He snapped up his head, company not what he wanted right
now. The woman stepped out of the shadows as if they'd been
her maker. Her creator. He hadn't sensed her nor seen her.
Something made him look closer. As she stood across the alley
from him, her hand planted on her hip, a few locks of her
hair falling over her right eye ... He saw something, but
what? Something in those eyes, a familiarity, a realisation.
He saw loneliness.
"Sugah, you needin' a hand there?"
"No, stay away." He whispered, clutching at his heart as
though he might still believe that it beat somewhere inside
She smiled, "Don't say ah didn't offer."
He swallowed, his throat dry, but his mind was clearing,
his thoughts calming. He let his eyes roam her body rather
than bid her farewell never to be seen again. Athletic, slim
and strong, but he sensed no arrogance in her, it was survival.
She was survival. It was in the way she stood, the way she
moved, the way she spoke. She was watching him as closely
as he her, she was reading him just as he was studying her.
They were both predators, both striving for survival every
night and both battling and endless game.
He narrowed his eyes, "Who are you?"
"You don't need to know." She nodded slightly, shifting her
stare, defusing her powerful gaze. "Who mah't you be?"
He straightened up. "You don't know?"
She laughed softly. "What does it matter, we's just passin'
in the street..." She glanced down the alley out into the
street beyond. That wasn't strictly true. There were both
in an alley, they were both hiding and running. And time was
running short, "Can't stop and chat, hun, gotta train tah
He narrowed his eyes further making sure she stayed where
she stood. He'd seen her before, he was sure of it. The auburn
hair, the flash of white ... No, perhaps not.
"You lookin' at me like ah--"
He approached her quickly, backing her up a little. Their
gazes locked. She stood her ground and had he known who she
was he wouldn't have dared get so close. "I wasn't here ...
Tonight. You didn't see me." He advised with a lick of his
She studied him closer. Dressed in black it should have been
he that hid in the shadows, or perhaps he always did. She
saw nothing in his eyes but darkness. He had the features
of an angel, a gift from Heaven, or Hell. His hair black,
his skin deathly pale. She lifted her gloved hand without
thinking and gently touched his face with her finger tips,
caressing the skin ever so softly.
He closed his hand around hers and lowered it back at her
side. "I don't know who you are, but you shouldn't be here,
these streets, they're dangerous at night."
"Ah can look after mahself, sugah, don't you worry 'bout
She laughed and the life in her eyes startled him, the dancing
inside her gaze striking amazement within him. He watched
though, as her smile fell away as easily as it had arrived,
only in it's place he saw the true loneliness. Her green eyes
studied him further. He gripped her hand and lifted it almost
as if he were about to plant a kiss over her fingers, instead
he turned her hand over. Gloves. Why so beautiful yet covered
from head to toe.
She snatched her hand away, "Ah believe that's mine."
He smiled and backed up giving her space once again.
"You think ah couldn't have left if ah'd wanted to?" She
teased as she stepped further out of the shadows towards the
"I think you can do whatever you want." He admired her walking
"Hun," She turned, those eyes pinning him down once again,
"Next time, pick another alley tah fall into, cos this one,
He saluted, "There won't be a next time... Rogue."
She frowned and was about to ask how he knew her name when
he was simply gone. Dissolved into the shadows from where
she'd arrived. A smile danced across her lips, a little crooked
one that said too much while remaining silent. She blinked
and turning her back on where he'd stood she walked towards
the street, the city bustle and life devouring her hungrily,
the shadows she left behind rippling silently.
It was to be a meeting that changed everything.
Gambit was talking, she was watching his lips move and could
hear his rich Cajun tones, but she wasn't listening. The meeting
with the stranger bothered her. Wouldn't it bother anyone
if you stumbled into a man on the street who knew your name?
Someone who you knew you had never seen before in your whole
life. Her spider sense was telling her something was very
wrong about that meeting, and not just the meeting but the
man. She couldn't shift the fact that by knowing her name
he had some control that she didn't; and to Rogue control
was one of the most important things in her life.
"Cher, you miles away? Anywhere ah can come with you?"
She blinked and realised Gambit was waiting for some kind
of response. She smiled, "Ah'm sorry, sugah, ah's miles away."
She cast a gaze around her and realised they were still at
the club. "This ain't no good, Remy, ah may as well go. Mah
mind aint on this planet."
"Sure, p'tite. Ah'll get yah coat."
He had known her name. But when they'd first set eyes on
each other he didn't seem to know her at all. Perhaps he had
remembered something. And anyway, she was an X-man, names
got out in this business and she had to say she wasn't one
to hide in the shadows and stay discreet. He'd seen her on
the evening news, that had been it. That was all. Everyone
knew the Professor, everyone knew Magneto. It was only natural
that he'd seen her before somewhere, it had just taken him
a while to place a name with the face.
Gambit drove her back to the mansion. He seemed to have a
natural ability to keep talking even when nobody was listening.
But it felt nice. His voice soothed her, of course it could
be the two bottles of wine she'd consumed, either way she
She pulled her coat tightly around her. Autumn had taken
hold of New England, the leaves were turning while the evenings
were cooling. She missed the Southern states at this time
of year. Missed the warmth she'd always had there. Of course,
there were dozens of reasons why she didn't go back there,
back home. She had enough bad memories as it was, it would
do no good dredging them all up again.
"Cher, you wanna tell Remy about it?"
She cast a weary gaze across at him. "Hun, there aint nothing
to tell. Ah's just a lil' tired."
She was entitled to her silence. Fair enough. But when Rogue
got quiet he knew just a little better than anyone else that
things weren't right. You see, Rogue and 'quiet' didn't go
well together, she had too many voices in her head all competing
at once for attention, it was his theory that the voices were
the reason she was so damn temperamental, either that or it
was the simple fact she was a redhead, in an auburn kinda
way, a redhead, from Mississippi, with fire in her heart and
a quick wit. You couldn't got a more dangerous concoction,
and believe it when he says he's known a few women in his
"Now who's the one lost in his own mind, huh?"
He cast her a sly gaze. "Gambit simply telling 'imself tah
keep his hands tuh himself."
She threw him a stare mixed with disapproval and an all-knowing
grin and then returned to watching the forest blur past them.
The moon shone brightly above, a half moon but bright enough
to guide the way. The mansion would be warm and welcoming
as soon as she'd step inside the door. She'd lost count of
the times that house had been a refuge for her, the times
she'd opened the door and felt genuinely relieved to be back...
to be home. Funny what that Professor could do to a person,
how he could turn a life right around when it seemed all hope
was gone. He was a hero alright, and she'd met enough self-proclaimed
heroes to know what a authentic one looked like.
Look what he'd accomplished with the X-MEN, not the good
guys, y'know the ones, the rebels, the outcasts. Jean, despite
her problems was pretty much normal as was Scott, okay so
he had problems. But where the professor had succeeded was
in Wolverine, in the Cajun here - Gambit, in Morph, in the
lost souls, in the misguided and uneducated... In Rogue herself.
She was the first to admit she had been on a road headed down
and it had almost been chance that had torn her from that
road and dumped her at the mansion doors all those years ago.
The rest, well, she wasn't denying them their fair share of
troubles but they could nearly always guarantee a safe and
happy exit. Not for the ones like Logan. No, that was where
trouble seemed to follow you around, seemed to haunt you,
to paralyse you in your dreams with that all too familiar
fear. She had it, Logan had it and so did Remy.
There was a definite line, even through the X-Men. A line
Xavier fought damn hard to wipe out.
"Woah, watch out!" She'd seen the figure in the road before
Gambit, who had been muttering away to himself about the music
back at the bar. He'd slammed on the brakes and yanked on
the steering sending the convertible into a spin and out of
control. Rogue watched the wall of trees bare down upon them,
watched the moon spin above them. This was not going to be
They skidded down into the slight ditch and slammed sideways
on into the pines.
Rogue fumbled for the seat belt as the engine coughed and
unceremoniously died. Finding the clip she released herself
and reached for Gambit. Pulling him back into the seat she
saw his eyelids flicker. "Remy, sugah, you alright?" She leaned
forward again, shifting and wincing as she realised the door
had buckled and bruised her leg. His pulse was strong. But
he was unconscious.
Damn seatbelt, she cursed, if it weren't for them she could
have stopped the car mid-spin.
The laughter from above snapped her attention away from Gambit.
Peering up into the darkness she made out the silhouette of
a man. Instantly she was out of the car and drifting a few
feet above the ground in front of him. "Who the hell..." Her
voice caught in her throat as she realised the stranger was
familiar. How could she forget? The meeting in the alley.
"Who the hell do you think you are?!"
He smiled, the moonlight flickering in his eyes giving him
a surreal appearance. He looked past her as casually as if
she weren't there. "You' better get your friend home, he doesn't
look too good."
Rogue dropped to the ground and faced him. "You're gonna
tell me right now what you think you're doing."
He stood his ground. "I remembered you. Funny how the mind
makes it easy to forget."
She clutched at his shirt and pulled him to within inches
of her face it was the groan from behind her that made her
pause. "Ah should kill yer for what you just done." She hissed.
Her stare boring straight into his eyes though causing little
reaction in him.
He gripped her hand and with amazing strength prised her
grip from his shirt. "Go, deal with him Rogue, you wouldn't
want another death on your conscience."
Her strength was superior, it had to be. She was quicker.
Despite this she was unnerved by his presence, not only by
the fact he knew her but how his presence was affecting her.
There wasn't any time for this.
She drifted back into the air a few feet, throwing him a
last marking stare she turned and unclipping Gambit from the
car she scooped him up and headed over the forest for the
mansion. There was no point in looking back, she would have
been alone again, just the same as she had been after their
meeting in the alley.
Okay so she was hiding. Who cared. She certainly didn't.
She counted the seconds before someone would come up to her
spot on the roof and pester her. There was always someone
ready to lend a helping hand, sometimes it was just too much.
Was it so hard to just leave someone alone?
The sun was rising to the East baking the gardens below in
a warm orange glow, the pool shimmering with a soft breeze.
She loved this time in the morning. So quiet. So calm. It
reminded her of when she was a child, before her powers took
over. She used to sneak out of her bedroom window and walk
down to the river barefoot. She'd then sit at the bank and
wiggle her toes in the water. The river was always calm, it
didn't have a care in the world, drifting along at a snails
pace with nowhere to go in a real hurry.
That was a long time ago. Things had changed since then.
She smiled at the sound of that impressive gruff voice. She
even heard him pull a hand across his unshaven chin. An odd
choice to come and console her, but worthy nonetheless. "Hey
there, Wolvie. Got nothin' bettah to do?"
"You know me." He stopped a few feet from the edge, a safe
distance. "Ain't ever got anything to do."
She peered up at him, shielding her eyes from the suns glare.
"You gonna ask me if ah wanna talk about it?"
"Nope. Just making sure you don't jump."
She felt the smile and couldn't prevent the slight chuckle.
He looked down at her, "He wrote off the Cabriolet huh? Well,
that'll teach Xavier to let him drive expensive toys."
Rogue felt the smile settle and stay. She leaned forward
and looked down between her legs at the pool. "Does he remember
"You ask him. Why? Was there something to remember?"
"Just a Deer, right?"
"Right." She kept her gaze pinned on the view down. He already
suspected she was lying, that man could sniff out a lie at
a thousand paces.
She pushed herself off the side, twisted in the air and grinned
at him a few feet from the edge of the gutter. "You gonna
take mah way down or the ol' fashioned way?"
He signalled over his shoulder with his thumb. "The ol' fashioned
way is fine with me." Watching her skip in the air and disappear
out of sight he wondered what was going on with her. She was
lying alright, but what would she have to hide? He didn't
believe she would have intentionally done anything to harm
Gambit, she was capable of it alright but he saw the way she
looked at the thief. Even when she was cursing him into the
ground there was a flash of something beyond all of her facades
she'd created for herself. So, if she didn't hurt him then
someone else did. Or, of course, it could have been a Deer.
Logan chuckled to himself. Time to get off this rooftop before
he fell of it.
Sometimes she'd wished she'd kept something of home. Other
times she was glad she didn't. Times like this, as she lay
snuggled in her bed staring up at the ceiling, she was a little
sad somehow. She didn't even understand it, why the hell would
Xavier? He'd tried to probe her mind, especially in the first
few months of her arrival. Her mind was chaotic, she could
have told him that, in fact she did. He didn't believe her,
or more of a case of he thought different. Well, no big surprises.
Her mind was a maze of corridors and locked doors. She kept
it that way. It was how she remained sane after absorbing
so many alien emotions and memories. She weren't broken, so
no point trying to fix her.
That was how Rogue saw it. Thing is, you get people like
Xavier who have to keep on digging, keep on delving into secrets
and things best left alone. People like him never stop until
they've reached their goal. Now in some cases that was good,
but in hers all it did was open forgotten wounds.
She'd been told once that there was never anyone so vulnerable
than those who didn't know themselves. Her strength was supreme,
her stamina vastly superior to that of a hundred athletes.
She would be another Juggernaut if it weren't for her damn
mind, and her heart.
Hell, she was a powerful weapon, you couldn't count the times
on your fingers that she'd been manipulated for her powers.
In fact, if she had to sum herself up she would say she was
This wasn't doing her any good. Laying here staring up at
the ceiling. These quiet times were always the worst, her
damn mind again, always had to stick it's oar in.
"Dammit..." She sat up abruptly and threw the covers back.
"This is ridiculous, may as well do something with mahself."
She walked slowly and quietly down to the Danger Room. Now,
at this time of the morning, perhaps around two, she often
found herself walking the mansion alone. However, to her surprise
the Danger Room was already taken.
Flicking on the lights in the preparation room she paused.
A familiar character catching her eye. She watched the charged
aces fly and narrowed her eyes. It wasn't like Gambit to brood
alone, if anything he loved attention.
She stood against the glass and pressing her gloved hands
against the surface she watched him intently. She marvelled
at his poise. Many a time he'd left her smiling behind him
as he'd launched himself in through a window or leapt from
one building to another. His grace was indeed unique. A thief
he was, it ran through his blood like the Mississippi through
Louisiana. He moved like a cat, every step, every breath timed
for efficiency. Oh, and could he dance! She'd seen him, rarely
been a partner with him. Dancin' jus' weren't her thing.
She laughed softly. He reminded her of that actor, what was
his name... A great sword fighter. Ah, Gene Kelly.
She laughed again. Perhaps not. Stick a long leather coat
on Gene, fingerless gloves, a Cajun accent. Smack the man
in the face with some charisma and shove him out into the
rain of alluring and flattering phrases, then you'd have Gambit.
He saw her suddenly and instantly commanded the programme
She swallowed, knowing exactly what was coming, then shifted
uneasily as he fast approached her.
The door open with a whoosh of air and his eyes met hers.
She smiled letting her innocence diffuse him, even if it was
only by a fraction. He wasn't taken in by that smile, he'd
seen it too many times. He stopped there as the door swung
shut behind him. "The next taime yah wan' me to lie for you
do yah wanna let me know first?!"
She swallowed again. "Remy, ah didn't have time." She explained,
her pitch of voice a little higher than she wanted it to be.
He flicked his fingers at her, opening his half gloved hand
in a gesture. "Ah get the Prof coming to me asking how it
happened, if it hadn't a' been for Logan's expression you're
lie woulda been out deh in broad daylight for everyone to
She drew in s breath. "Ah told you, ah'm sorry-"
"-Wait, ah don' recall you tellin' me that cher."
She snaked her arms crossed. "Look, you oversized swamp-rat,
ah did what ah did, ah got mah own reasons that you don't
need to know. Why don't you stay outtah it, Remy"
He played at being shocked, "I don' need to know? Oh really.
Right, so this guy forces me off deh road and Remy gottah
stay out of it? Ah don' think so, cher, you gonna tell me
right now what's goin' on."
She fixed her gaze on his. "Ah don't have to tell you anything."
"You think not? P'tite," He smiled, a smile filled with irony.
"Xavier already knows I was lying, nobody can get anything
past hem, you goin' to explain to the Prof that you lied to
protect someone who ran meh off the road!"
She backed up a little. He was right. Xavier always found
out what he wanted to know. He would come to her and ask her
straight out and she would have to tell him the truth this
time. "Gambit, ah don't know who he was."
He didn't believe her. "Ah thank you for saving me, cher,
dis only a shame that you cannot trust meh." He turned his
back on her and quickly left.
Rogue slouched back against the glass. She didn't trust him,
she never had done. But why was she protecting that man. It
was true he'd run them off the road with purpose. There was
something though, something she wanted to know before the
others got themselves involved.
She activated the Danger Room and set about forgetting, for
a while at least.
She remembered the district of New Orleans from when she
was a child, she'd visited there a few times; enough times
to know the place was an intoxication of enigmas and sins,
of the amazing and the dangerous. Not unlike her own home
New Orleans sweltered in the summer heat making men appreciate
the cool summer evenings. Heat haze rippled up from the ground
distorting your vision, making all the peculiar European buildings
take on the unreality of a mirage. Nothing in New Orleans
was real, it was all a dream. She remembered thinking that,
even now she felt sure that her judgement as a child had been
There was something making her remember. Something digging
inside her mind, picking at the cracks in her barriers, flicking
out chunks of security and leaking out the contents.
They were her memories alright, she could see herself in
the dusty store windows, hear her own voice as she asked her
Mama where she was being taken.
Where was she being taken? That she had yet to remember.
Now? Well now she had Logan, Gambit and Xavier giving her
second looks. They wouldn't take much more of this, one of
them was going to demand she trust them and when they did,
she still wasn't sure she could. Well, how could she? She
didn't even know what she knew, but what if it was bad, what
if it as in fact about her? It was this that bothered her,
this that kept he from spilling all. What if it all came back
What had he said... 'You wouldn't want another death on your
What had he meant by that? What did he know?
"Ah gotta find him." She whispered to herself as she
sat alone in the kitchens.
It was the only way she was going to know, know for sure.
Back to the bar. At three in the morning it still buzzed
with life. Even if the life to speak of was a little...odd.
The band that now played was headed by a female singer and
the music, well, it could be described as soft rock. Rogue
caught the eye of the singer purely by accident but recognised
something in her straight away. Her blond hair was short,
flicked out at the sides as if she'd slept on it then ruffled
it briefly before facing her audience. Her eyes were a dazzling
blue, almost too bright to be real.
Rogue turned her attention on making her way through the
crowds to the bar. The girl had been the very same one Gambit
had taken a disliking to, or rather hadn't appreciated. Not
like Gambit to pass up an opportunity with the opposite sex.
This was a good a place as any to start looking for the stranger.
"Back for more?" The barman asked with a wide and wise smile
on his face.
Rogue flashed a smile back, "Couldan' stay away, sugha."
This time of night, like New Orleans, things looked different.
People acted differently. She's always considered the night
another hiding place, and she wasn't alone. There was a particular
breed of people that thrived at night, the rest went home
at one in the morning and called it a night. She watched them
now, out of the corner of her eye. The loners, the young,
the hungry. There were those who watched as eagerly as she
did but for different reasons.
Taking a sip of her drink she was reminded of the evening
those few days ago when she'd agreed to join Gambit for a
drink. She'd barely listened to a word he'd said all evening.
Why did he insist on pursuing her, didn't he get it? She was
out of bounds, off limits, untouchable, literally.
The singer slowed the beat and her smooth voice calmed the
air as she began to sing a ballad. Rogue let herself slip
into the atmosphere and slip at the same time into anonymity.
The wine was nice, a little warm but nice all the same.
"You drinkin' alone sweetheart?"
She lifted her gaze to the man who had invited himself to
sit next to her, brushing her arm as he did so. "No, hun,
I's waitin' for someone."
"Really, well you been her a long time, maybe he aint comin'."
She studied the lines on his face and wondered what he'd
seen to make him look so weathered. His eyes were bloodshot
and his ability to focus practically non-existent. He displayed
his drunkenness by reaching for her arm and gripping it tightly.
Rogue pried his grip from her arm. "Sugah, wha' don' you go
home, ah think you've had enough of that there Southern Comfort."
He grinned wildly, "You can be mah southern comfort sweetheart."
She smiled with her eyes narrowed. "Ah told you, ah got a
friend ah'm waitin' for, you'd better find someplace else
She saw his expression change, saw the look in his eyes change
from half asleep alcoholic to angered drunk lunatic. It was
enough to warn her. She kept hold of his hand rather than
letting him have it back she leaned close to him and began
to tighten her grip. "Listen to me, you don't want to sit
here, go pester someone else." She watched him begin to twist
his body as her grip became painful, twisting himself he let
out a whine.
She shoved him away from her and looked away as he stumbled
and fell backwards into the crowd.
Men. If they figured out that being intelligent got the girls,
well, there was no chance of that ever happening.
He picked himself up and casting her a last wary glance let
the crowd swallow him up.
Rogue smiled into her glass as she took a sip.
"Well, well, well, fancy meeting you here."
That same old gruff voice, the same old scratching as he
pulled a hand over his unshaven chin. Rogue looked over her
shoulder, "All ah get is assholes buggin' me."
Logan played at acting hurt, "I've been called many a thing
She slapped the seat beside her cutting him off in mid sentence,
"You'd bettah sit da'n."
He took up her offer and ordered a Jack Daniels while Rogue
watched him closely. He threw her a smile, "Nice singer."
"So, ah'm guessin' you were jus' passin' at three in the
morning?" She said, still smiling and watching.
He lifted the drink to his lips and winked, "Of course, what
else do you think I do at night? Cos I certainly don't sleep."
His eyes returned to the singer as Rogue took a sip of her
After a few moments she asked softly, "You gonna ask me why
"Nope." He replied, his attention still on the singer as
she swayed like a snake to the song she was creating.
She found herself smiling into her drink again. Better Logan
than Gambit, or worse, Cyc. Jubilee would have been fun, they
could have got wrecked together, not that she condoned such
things. Storm, nah, same as Cyc, too damn wrapped up in what's
right and wrong. Now Beast was always worth sharing a drink
with, he could baffle you in seconds or tell you the reason
for living and leave you astounded for hours and unable to
sleep for a week. Jean would have successfully persuaded her
to go back and that wouldn't do any good.
Logan turned and faced her suddenly, "Stop thinking. Nobody
sent me. I figured I may as well keep you company. Two insomniacs
are better than one."
She blinked, her expression frozen for a moment as she decided
what had brought on this sudden honesty. She the raised an
eyebrow suspiciously. "You bidding for listener of the month
"Damn, you got me all sussed out." He chuckled.
Rogue ordered another drink and relaxed as she watched the
singer continue while at the same time watching Logan out
of the corner of her eye. You never could be confident you'd
ever figured him out. Just when you thought you knew him he'd
turn round and slap you in the face with something new. She'd
envied his freedom and felt his pain many a time. She'd watched
him defy everyone, argue with everything and she'd wished
it had been her saying and doing those things. He was a man
of little patients but despite what others may think he had
tremendous control. Something she lacked. Behind the anger
and impulsiveness he was an animal, the military and Alpha
teams had turned him into a killing machine.
She looked at him now while trying not to make it seem obvious.
He sat as still as a statue, his eyes cold while his stare
was unmoving. He was in a constant state of readiness. His
muscles tensed, his mind alert. Before he met the Professor
he was a machine, quite literally. Training like that
forced itself to become second nature.
"What you lookin' at me like that for, kid?"
"Ah's wonderin' when it was yer last shaved, yah animal."
He threw her a glance and a smile. Perhaps it was the alcohol,
or perhaps it was the chaos of the last couple of days, but
whatever it was that led her to her next question it seemed
genuine enough, almost too genuine. "Logan, you ever wonder
why we're here? Why this is all happening, what we're supposed
to do?" She lifted her gaze from her drink and saw how sincere
he was looking.
He leaned a little closer while concentrating on tracing
the lip of his glass with a finger. "If I were to start thinking
like that I'd shoot myself."
She smiled thinking he was joking then quickly dropped the
smile as she realised he wasn't.
"Thinking never did me any good, kid. If I start to think-
well, y'know what. I reckon you must know exactly what it's
like. You tell me."
She finished her drink abruptly and began to wish she hadn't
asked. "You start to think and things get outtah hand....
you er.... hell, you start falling."
He blinked slowly, meeting her stare briefly. "Exactly. An'
I never liked fallin', from any height."
This time she held his stare. "So, why are you and I here
Wolverine? Why us, huh. It jus' don't make no sense. If there's
a God up there why choose us?"
"No, wait," She laughed, "I know this one. Cos He works in
"Actually I was going to say, cos He's got a twisted sense
She smiled warmly and let him brush a lock of hair back from
in front of her eyes. "Ah, yer big ol' softie. An' they say
Wolverine's as hard as an ol' Chevvy pick-up."
He let his hand drop and finished his drink. "C'mon you.
If we don't get back they'll all start talking an' I'll have
Gumbo on me back."
They left with a last glance at the singer as she began to
sing a soft rock number, her voice as intoxicating as at the
beginning of the evening.
A light rain had fallen glazing the cars in the lot with
a fine mist from which the light from the streetlamps glistened.
The early morning air still held a chill that misted their
breath while the stars peeked through the dark clouds above.
"You gonna tell me who that guy was that ran you an' Gambit
off the road?"
Rogue stopped mid-stride as Logan unlocked the Jeep door.
"Ah knew you were out here for a reason, ah jus' knew it."
"Don't get all bent outtah shape, I'm curious is all. You
got a right to secrets, hell knows ah got enough of 'um to
last a lifetime."
She hugged herself trying to keep the chill out while she
contemplated telling him everything. What was there to tell
anyway? "Ok. Ok. Alright. I stumbled into the guy earlier
on in that evening. We said hello and that was about it, ah
didn't think anything of it til', well, till' he ran us off
the road." Logan listened patiently, all of his attention
on her. "He says he knew me, says he knows me. He said
something else too, something that if ah tell yah it don't
go any further."
She shifted uneasily. "He er ... He said ah, er, that ah
didn't need another death on my conscience."
Logan worked hard at keeping his expression motionless although
his first reaction was one of shock, if a slight change in
his breathing pattern could be described as shock. Rogue was
what he called ultimate innocence. She was untouched and naive
despite her experiences. She remained the most honest and
probably the most reliable of all of the group. He'd trust
her with his life, in fact he remembered he had, several times.
Okay, so she could be a little wild every now and than but
there was no crime in that.
She was watching him, waiting for some kind of a response.
He glanced briefly away, up at the stars then back at her
anxious face. "You gonna tell me what happened?"
She swallowed. A lump had suddenly appeared in her throat
making it difficult for her to breathe. She cleared her throat
and took a deep breath. Why was she doing this? Wait, she
wasn't doing anything. She smiled a little, shifted her gaze
perplexing him as he waited for her response. She simply rose
into the air and out of sight.
Logan stood there for a while. It was like Gumbo had said.
It was too easy for her to run away, all she had to do was
take flight and literally she could get out of anything she
He smiled and shook his head then climbed into his jeep.
Gambit looked eagerly around the group seated round the table
while at the same time flicked a card between all of his fingers
on his left hand. Xavier was talking, his cool dulcet tones
filling the war room with it's authority while they all listened
intently. All accept him. Storm was looking as serene as ever,
her chocolate skin in direct contrast to her long white hair
and her icy blue eyes. She caught his stare and frowned a
little. He smiled, teasing her.
There was Jubilee, desperate to get out of here as always.
She had such urgency for one so young, wanted to do and learn
everything before she was nineteen.
Jean sat next to Cyclops. Gambit smiled internally, he bet
they were talking to each other, muttering away inside their
minds while still remaining role models for the rest of them.
Then there was Wolverine, looking as intense as ever. He
never gave himself a break. If it weren't for the fact he
would live pretty much forever he would have died of a heart
attack by now.
Beast winked at Gambit and silently urged him to listen before
he got caught.
Gambit continued passing the card between his fingers. Rogue
was absent this morning. He'd been harsh, he knew it. She'd
needed to hear it though. The world didn't revolve around
her. Hell, no. The times she'd put herself before others.
Well, there were plenty, there was that time... No. When she...
No, that wasn't her fault. There had to be plenty of times.
The card stopped between his forefinger an thumb and he looked
up. Okay, they're all lookin at yer Remy, they is waitin'
for an answer...
"Yeah... Ah gotta agree with yah there Professor." The worlds
rolled of his tongue like poetry and this time it did the
trick. Xavier continued while both Beast and Storm threw him
a look a disapproval.
"Does anyone know where Rogue could be this morning?" Xavier
Eyes once again fell to Remy, all eyes accept Logan's. Remy
shrugged, "Wha you's all lookin' at me? Ah'm the last person
she tells anythin' around 'ere."
Outside in the hallway as they all filed out Gambit caught
Logan's stare and drew him away from the others as they left
to carry out the days good deed. "Nah, Remy not usually int'rested
in wot u' up to Wolvie, but when it involves mah-"
Logan narrowed his eyes. "Spit it out Cajun."
Gambit tensed his jaw and spoke through his teeth. "You know
where Rogue is. You gonna tell me?"
"As usual, Gumbo, you got it all wrong. Ah don't know where
she is. We spent a little time in the city last night, she
left and ah ain't seen her since." Logan smiled crookedly,
damn he loved to play games with the Cajun. Turning he started
to walk away.
"You spen' deh night wid her?" Came the Creole voice behind
"I didn't say that."
Xavier voice interrupted. "Remy, can I please talk with you
for a moment."
Logan chuckled to himself and slipped a thumb over his jeans
pocket. Gambit ought to relax a little more often.
Sunlight brightened and warmed the coldest day of the year
so far. The forest that enclosed and protected the mansion
was a blush of reds and browns, leaves falling into the slow
flowing river and collecting around the waters edge.
Logan heard the gravel crunch as Gambit approached him, he
knew it was him, could smell New Orleans on him. Logan reached
deeper into the V8 engine of the jeep. "What can I do you
Before Gambit could answer the gentle hum of a cars engine
rose above the trickling of the river at the same time demanding
They both turned and watched the blue Convertible wind it's
way along the drive until it reached the mansion and skidded
to a halt on the gravel.
Logan leaned back against the front of the Jeep as Gambit
immediately made his way towards the car.
Rogue opened the car door and stepped out into the sunlight.
If she wanted to ruffle a few feathers she was certainly doing
a good job. For one, Logan mused, that was Jean's personal
He watched her tense as she must have seen Gambit from behind
her sunglasses. From where he was he could make out her expression.
Damn, it was like they were married.
She held up a hand, "-Don't. Jus' stop ra'ht there shugah."
Gambit lowered his tone. "Wad is goin' on wid you cher?"
She smiled. "Nothin'."
Logan returned to the engine waiting patiently for him to
'Oh she may be weary, an' young girls they do get weary,
wearing that same ol' shaggy dress, but when she gets weary
try a little tenderness....
You know she's waitin', just anticipating, the things
that she never never, never, never, never, possesses yeah,
but while she's there waiting without you try a little tenderness.'
It was the image of Magneto showing on the television that
stopped her singing. She twisted the volume knob on the midihifi
and snatched at the remote to turn up the volume on the TV.
Moments later they were called to the war room. Rogue opened
her window and looked out over the grounds of the mansion.
She knew what they said about her, how easy it was for her
to run away but did they ever think that it might be too painful
to stay? No. It was brave to stay, it took courage and you
were a real hero if you stayed and dealt with it.
Well, to hell with them.
She never said she was a hero, she never pretended to be
anything other than what she was and that simple wasn't enough
Logan caught her ankle and yanked her bank in through the
window. She fell into him and twisted in his grip. "Get yer
hands off'a meh!"
He caught her wrist and yanked hard snapping her back into
reality. "Rogue, don't walk out on us."
"Ha, comin' from the man who can't be trusted to stay around-"
She struck him hard across the face, too hard. Forgetting
her strength she knocked him back against her dresser, it's
Logan shook his senses back into their rightful places and
saw the fear in her eyes. "Don't do it."
Too late. She was gone.
The air whooshed around her as she rose higher and higher
into the night canopy. It's ice cutting into her eyes and
freezing the air in her lungs. She didn't care.
Then she stopped.
They were right. She couldn't run. He was part of her. Inside
her head, inside her mind and no matter how hard she tried
to run and hide she couldn't get away from him.
The city welcomed her, wrapping her in it's steamy warmth
and wan orange glow.
The same ally beckoned her. He'd been hunting her, when in
fact she had found him. Landing softly the memory of that
evening came back to her. He'd stumbled towards her oblivious
that she was there watching him. He looked sick, frightened.
She remembered thinking that he could do with someone giving
him a hand.
His eyes were dark, they had held a dozen mysteries, pulling
her inside and trapping her there amongst those mysteries.
Pale, he'd been so pale. He stumbled towards her breathless
and most certainly running from something.
Rogue touched the brick wall with her gloved hand. He'd looked
at her hand, he'd wondered why she wore gloves and then realised
that she was covered all over. It was then he must have remembered.
Those eyes. That gaze, filled with fear.
There was something there. Something making her remember.
Something else familiar, something other than the loneliness
She stepped out into the light of the main street and for
a moment cast a gaze over the stationary lines of cars, headlights
peering into the rear lights of the car in front. Turning
right she walked briskly down the sidewalk, passing under
the neon lights and canopies. The next alley caught her eye.
A strip of yellow crime scene tape had been tied to a post,
it hung lose now, flapping back and forth, taunting her with
She could smell the blood. It was all too familiar to her.
The scratches on the bricks drew her attention, four scratches
betraying the pale red underneath the surface. There had been
a struggle, someone had died here. She knew. She just knew.
The air, the chill. This place was set aside from time, from
His name is Jason.
Oh dear lawd, ah remember...
New Orleans. She had been young. Naive. Her powers had just
Rogue sank to her knees. The realisation of what she'd done
ran through he veins making her tremble. She covered her face
with her hands and fought for breath.
This couldn't be possible. He was dead. She'd watched him
die. She'd killed him.
A city. The same as all the others. Accept this one was New
Orleans, the city itself was alive. The streets hummed while
the bars trembled with blues music. There was music on every
corner and danger down every dark ally.
She'd been young, too young to know any better. It had been
fun. A little trip that nobody knew about. She'd been here
before, of course, and she had fallen in love with the place.
But things were changing at home, soon she would have to leave
if her papa didn't kill her before then. So this was a little
treat. A trip for herself. Something nobody knew about and
nobody would ever know about.
It had all gone fine. That was until night fell. She barely
even realised it was dark. Wandering along the sidewalk, a
hundred tunes from the day inside her mind.
Time passes so quickly when you don't watch it. It sneaks
away from you then shocks you for fun.
She didn't know what the time was but it had been late. He'd
stalked her for some time, watching her well before night
fall, spotting her in one of the many bars. She stuck out
like the country girl she was. A long way from home, he could
tell. She walked as if she didn't have a care in the world,
her hair tied back with numerous strands fallen lose as though
she simply didn't mind.
She was freedom. He'd seen her, watched her and now he followed
Rogue lifted her head and looked down the alley, looked at
the yellow crime scene tape. She could feel it, her body trembled,
her skin crawled. It was all coming back and she was helpless
to stop it.
Xavier could stop it. Before...Before she remembered it all.
"Professor?!" She called, flinging open the mansion door
and bursting inside. "Professor?!" She marched down the corridors
calling a he went but was met with silence. "Gambit!" She
could hear her voice becoming more and more urgent, she could
even hear her own fear growing.
Rogue swung around. "Storm, where's Xavier? I need to talk
to him, now."
"He's left. Something's happened to Magneto."
Rogue felt her chest tightening. She was fighting her mind,
fighting it all of the time, but it was winning. She clamped
her hands aside her head. "Where's Jean, where is she?"
Storm approached her. "She's gone with the Professor, Rogue,
Rogue backed up. "No. No. Nothing." She could see him. In
her arms. Bleeding. Dying. "G-Gambit?"
Storm tapped the communicator on her shoulder. "Remy,
please come to the lounge right away."
"...Der somethin' wrong Stormy?"
Rogue backed up further and hit the wall. Squeezing her eyes
shut she willed the memories away. Begged them to leave her,
just for a moment. No, no use. With a scream she launched
herself through the window and once again out into the night.
Storm quickly followed.
Rogue channelled all of her energy into her speed, every
thought, every breath went into her need to travel faster.
She left Storm far behind.
The landscape rushed by below her, rising and falling away
into the sea.
She was winning. Her mind was clearing. She began to slow
and calm herself.
'Ah, can see you Rogue, ah can see you runnin' from me.
You can't run from me, Rogue. I'm part of you now. You're
part of me. You killed me Rogue, now it's time ah returned
the same to you. You're mind Rogue.'
It seemed that her breath caught in her throat, she fought
for air but none came. She was passing out and even then she
knew what dream awaited her, lurking there in the darkness
of her mind waiting for it's chance to rear it's ugly head
and bare it's sharp teeth.
She was first aware he was behind her when the silence fell
upon them. The city seemed hushed suddenly, the music stopped
and the life faded away. She felt her heart sink and the hair
on the back of her neck prickle. It was then he caught hold
of her and dug the knife into her back. Shoving her sideways
into an ally she stumbled and fell over. She felt the wall
meet with her forehead, felt the sting and then nothing for
a few moments. When finally her senses came back the knife
was once again in her back. She was pinned down, a heavy weight
preventing her from moving.
If she could just gather her thoughts back together.
The knife dug in forcing her to scream. A hand clasped over
her mouth and yanked her head back. She felt the cold of the
blade on her throat.
This wasn't happening. Not to her. It was a dream.
"Scream an' ah'll cut yer wide open, yah hear me?" He waited.
"Ya hear me girl?!"
She felt a dribble of something run down her neck and whimpered
Logan was the nearest to her location. When Storm had radioed
him and told him of Rogue's whereabouts he told her he would
be there in ten. In fact he made it in five after breaking
several laws. She was unconscious and had fallen from some
height by the looks of the small crater she'd created in the
park grounds. He checked for a pulse and found it strong.
"Rogue... you in there kid?" He turned her head to face him
and brushed her hair back from her face. "Rogue..."
She gasped and swung for him. He ducked, caught her wrist
and pinned it down.
"No!" She screamed in sheer terror. "GET OFF ME!"
Logan slapped her and met her stare.
Her breathing slowed, she blinked. "Ah'm okay, ah'm alright,
you can let me up."
He though about that for a moment then moved off her and
stood up. He held out a hand.
She welcomed his help and on her feet brushed herself down.
"Ah'm okay." She kept repeating.
Logan reached for the communicator on his belt when she planted
a hand on his. "No. Don't"
"Rogue, I have to. They have to know, Storm has to know you're
He hesitated. She certainly wasn't okay. Far from it. She
was a wreck.
"Please." She whispered.
He let his hand drop to his side. "So, what is it you want
to do? Where you going to go co I can't let you go alone."
She waved his help away and turning her back on him walked
away. "You don't need to get involved."
"It's too late for that."
"Stay out of it." She called back.
He sighed and jogged after her. "You can fly away from me
if you like, if not you got me for the ride."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm fine. Really. Jus' need
a lil' time a' mah own."
He chuckled ironically. "Look, ah been around the block a
few times an' ah know a few things. One, you're scared. Two,
you're dangerous. Look at the mess you made of this park.
Three, you need help weather you like it or not. So I might
not be your first choice but ah can listen as good as anyone
and I think that's what you need."
She managed a fake smile. "I can manage. You go home, get
He stepped in front of her. "Right that's it, woman. I don't
have time for word games. This is about that guy ain't it.
Don't turn away from me Rogue-"
Rogue closed her eyes and saw him there. Pale. Dead. "Ah
He saw a tear roll down her cheek and resisted the urge to
wipe it away with a thumb.
"That's it. That's all there is."
He narrowed his eyes. "That aint it."
Logan slammed his hand down on the desk. "Look, just give
us the keys alright." The looks he was getting from the guy
at the reception wasn't what he wanted right now.
Rogue turned away knowing she looked awful and was arousing
They had driven in silence, both knowing where they were
going. The elevator had delivered them to the third floor
in silence and now they stood awkwardly in a little room.
It's large window reflecting themselves back at them.
"If you ain't gonna go back to the mansion then you gotta
He smiled wanly. "I don't bite."
"I've heard different." She replied, sounding bitter rather
He closed the blinds making the room seem instantly smaller,
if that were physically possible. "There's a minibar."
She smiled a little. "No thanks, hun." Her smile grew. He
looked so out-of-place. His hair was unruly, a stubble of
an early morning beard appearing. He was a mass of contradictions.
A mess of everything else.
Rogue moved to the end of the bed and sat down. "He's er....
He's called Jason."
Logan crossed his arms and listened.
She smiled as if she was ashamed and looked down into her
lap. "He.... Ah, ah was young, ah dun' ever know haw old ah
was..." She swallowed. That lump appearing again. "I...er...
New Orleans... Ah saved up and took mahsel' to New Orleans
for a day." She looked up and laughed nervously. "Everybody
thinks I'm the little innocent one. Everyone thinks I'm stupid.
Don' know anything, po-white-trash..."
It was Logan's turn to swallow. "That aint true."
"Well, sometimes you do a great job of hiding it... but ah
know," She shrugged and whispered, "Ah know."
Logan pulled a hand down his face and drew in a breath.
She looked up, expecting him to speak but he stayed silent
and met her gaze.
"He er... He saw meh, saw poor country gal. Young, defenseless,
easy prey." She shifted uneasily again. The memories were
coming fast now, her body was crawling with sensations, her
stomach sick. She laughed again and wiped a tear away, "He's
insane. He'd done it before. Killed others, ah knew as soon
as ah saw his face-he made me look him in the eyes. Forced
me to look at him." Rogue sniffed and sighed heavily, "Nobody
knows. Nobody. Ah didn't even know mahself. How's that for
She should be talking with Xavier, not me. Logan thought.
I can't do this. "One sec." He crouched down and opened the
minibar then thought better of it and closed it again. "Okay."
She laughed despite herself. "You're mad, Logan, Xavier ever
tell yah' that?"
"I think so."
"What the hell am ah doin' here, with you? I mean, no offence,
but of all the people I could have picked to spill my history
out to and it's you."
"I know. Tell me about it."
"Ah am..." She was about to laugh and stopped. Closing her
eyes she brushed yet another tear away. Standing up suddenly
she paced the three foot of room she had to pace. " I need
to forget, dammit, not remember."
"Too late for that."
She met his stare again. "You've seen a lottah things Wolverine,
this aint of any interest to you, ah don't why ah'm bothering."
He frowned. "What are you saying? That I don't care?"
"No.... Well, yeah, you seen people die, you seen people
get hurt. What's my little life gotah do with anything?"
He gritted his jaw and ground his teeth. "Kid, listen to
what your saying for a second will yer. If I didn't care would
I have sat for hours in a bar with an awful singer, would
I have broken six speeding offences to get to you when Storm
told me about what had happened, would I have brought you
here, would I be standing here now? You been around Gumbo
too much, now there's someone who don't give a damn."
"What? You couldn't be more wrong about Remy."
"Yeah? So where is he?"
Rogue frowned. "You wish you weren't here don't you. You
think this aint your job, it's Gambit's job to look after
lil' ol' me and mah lil' ol' worries."
"No?" She marched up to him and met him in the eye. "All
you care about is Jean and how to get her away from Cyc-"
He controlled his breathing, locked his jaw and clenched
his fists. "Watch it Rogue. Jus' cos your a lass don't mean
ah wont know yer on yah backside."
"Yeah, go on..." Inches from his face, the both of them breathing
fast, thoughts racing. She backed off. "Aw lawd ah'm so sorry,
He saw she was stumbling and caught hold of her. She fell
into his grip and felt him tense. She didn't care. All she
wanted now was someone to listen, someone to care. When he
closed his arms around her she sunk into the embrace and closed
She wished it was.
"He stalked me. For hours, must have been. He knew my name,
knew how much money ah had left, knew what time ah had to
be back at the station. He got hold a me, threw me against
a wall. It er.... it knocked me out for a few seconds. Enough
for him to pin me down. He...er He had a knife, one of those
combat knives." She lifted her chin and stroked her throat
as if soothing the memory away. "Held it to my throat, threatened
to cut me open...
"Ah knew a's weren't normal then, but it was premature. I
didn't understand what was happening to me so I didn't have
a chance in hell of controlling mah powers back then. He pulled
me onto mah back," She cleared her throat, "Pressed the knife
against mah throat. He told me he was going to kill me anyway.
Told me if I struggled he'd make it a quick death... told
Logan watched almost helpless as Rogue buried her head in
her hands and let the sobs take her. What was he supposed
to do? Comfort her? Go over there and tell her everything
was okay and that the pain would go away. The pain doesn't
"Ah er... I begged him not to hurt me and he pulled th-the
knife.... across mah throat, jus' a lil'... Damn, ah could
feel it cut intah meh, y'know, feel it slice into mah skin.
"He stole everything, which weren't a lot." She gasped, "He
told me everything he was doing. Ah damn well would have rather
not know! He.... er.... Ah feel sick."
She stood up and began to pace again. Breathing heavily she
wished the nausea past. Opening her eyes she met Logan's stare
and held it rigid. "He ripped mah clothes. Mah papa beat me
for the mess ah came home in, called me trash, mutant trash."
Logan wanted more than anything to look away, to bow his
head. Anything. By holding his stare she was taking him there
and making him feel the pain. She was forcing him through
it, making him see and understand.
"He tried to rape me. And he wouldah done had ah not been
a mutant, ah'd be dead now if ah were normal. He ....touched
She closed her eyes and fought the sickness again. You's
mine, Roguie, ah got yer now.
"Ah couldn't do anything. Could barely breathe with that
knife... He er... H-he tried to,er..."
Logan looked away, he had to.
"In that state ah guess it made mah powers worse, made 'em
react. Ah didn't know what was happening. Ah mean, this was
before Cody. Ah thought ah was dying when it happened. Thought
it was mah life flashing before mah eyes, but it weren't,
it was his. It made me insane, you have tah understand Logan
that ah didn't know who ah was for a while, all ah knew was
that ah was in danger and ah was gonna die if ah didn't do
"When his memories faded from mah mind he was bleeding, ah'd
stabbed him. He died in mah arms. I felt him go. Watched him
die. Nobody knew, til' now."
Logan sighed. He was exhausted. "Dear God Rogue..."
She caught his stare, made him look at her. "Ah'm still meh...
He smiled. "I know." Without thinking he stepped up to her
and pulled her to him. The overwhelming need to protect her
shocked the both of them but it soon subsided. Rogue leaned
into him and closed her eyes. "Ah can't get rid of the memories
now, it's all ah see when ah close mah eyes."
"It'll pass. Give it time."
Surprisingly she slept, even if her sleep was sporadic and
riddled with bad dreams. He watched her from the chair in
the corner, occasionally going to her side when her whimpers
were too much to bare.
He thought back over what she had told him. It had been a
lot for a child to cope with, a child who already had enough
problems without being attacked. No wonder then that she had
buried the incident so deep that even Xavier couldn't find
He woke to the sound of running water and shifted with a
weary groan. He'd slept in some places but none so uncomfortable
as that damn chair. Climbing to his feet he stretched and
cracked the muscles in his neck.
Moving to the door leading to the en-suite he saw her silhouette
behind the shower door. He looked away. "Rogue, you okay?"
He called, lifting his gaze and watching her raise her arms
and pull her hands down over her hair.
Now any gentleman would of course go back and sit down. It
almost happened, his conscience getting the better of him.
But his eyes stayed and therefore so did the rest of him.
He stood a little transfixed as he watched her blurred image
move under the jet of the shower head.
"You got some sleep then?" She called.
He swallowed and cleared his throat, "Yeah." This was no
good. He turned away and made himself stand at the windows.
The city gaped before him in the early morning sun. A little
smog shifted as a mist through the streets while many of the
cars heading for week still had their headlights on.
He turned and once again diverted his eyes elsewhere. "Hey,
She glanced back at the shower as she pulled the towel tighter
around her. "Ah needed that."
"We should contact Storm." He replied as he looked out of
the windows again. He could see her pale reflection. Quickly
he walked into then steamy bathroom and filling the sink splashed
cold water on his face and pulled his wet hands back through
"The comms have been on since ah woke up. They ain't tried
to contact us yet."
He raised his head and looked at his reflection. She's
telling you about her attack and you're thinking about hat
it would be like to touch her. Get a grip. She ain't: one,
available, two; willing... He bowed his head and looked
into the water. Droplets falling from his face rippling the
"You okay Logan?"
He was only human right. It was natural. But not Rogue. She
was a friend, she was a companion. Nothing more and never
would be anything more. Rogue was like a daughter to them
He snatched a towel, scowled at himself and returned to the
She was dressed, her wet hair tied back and hung over one
shoulder. She smiled, "Ah feel really weird... Logan, can
we keep this to ourselves. Ah ain't ready for he others to
He heard the footfalls suddenly and frowned as his attention
went to the door. Seconds later an explosion shook
the room making them both flinch back in reaction. The door
burst open, cracking it's hinge and falling lose. As the dust
settled Logan and Rogue were faced with Gambit, Storm and
At first everything seemed fine, and then Logan witnessed
the look of disgust on Gambit's face.
"Whad' deh 'ell is goin' on here?!"
Logan glanced at Rogue who looked equally shocked. Now, he
couldn't say anything about what really had happened and gauging
n the situation they'd been found in it was gonna be kinda
difficult to lie his way out of this one.
They were waiting for a reply.
Beast sighed, "I believe this might be what one calls a sticky
Gambit stepped forward, "This aint noh sticky situation,
is it Rogue."
She licked her lips, "Well, ah...." She couldn't tell them,
not here, not now It was all wrong. She looked at Logan for
answers and he shrugged.
"Rogue...." Gambit urged. "Tell me this aint whad it looks
"It ain't shugah."
"So what is it?"
She looked at Storm, at Beast and then back to Gambit. She
closed her eyes and sighed. She heard Gambit push past the
others and march down the hall. Damn, why did they have to
find em' now. Why not just leave them alone.
Storm and Beast stood looking a little out-of-place. "Maybe
we should leave you two to it." Storm said, her voice cold.
Logan shook his head, "It aint what it looks like, Storm."
"No? Then why did you not answer our efforts to try and contact
you?" They both looked at the comms sitting neatly on the
Damn, what was he supposed to say?
"You could have at least let us know you both were alright.
We've been searching all night to try and find you."
Logan scratched at the back of his neck and looked sheepish.
He shrugged, there wasn't much else he could do. Storm left
then, hurrying after Gambit.
Logan sighed and looked at Rogue. She shrugged sadly.
"I think I'd better follow. You two are alright?"
They both nodded and Beast left.
"Ah'm so sorry Logan." Rogue apologised the instant the others
were out of hearing distance.
"Hell, forget it. Of they want to believe it let 'em. C'mon,
lets get outtah here before we get charged for the damage."
The mansion looked darker. The grounds were quiet as Logan
pulled the Jeep to a halt in front of the steps. "Well, home
Rogue took a deep breath and summoned the courage from somewhere.
"You think they're mad at us?"
She threw him a smile that said a lot and climbed out of
Gambit met her face to face as she opened the front door.
She gasped, "Gambit, hun, listen-"
He slipped a card out from up his sleeve and charged it slowly.
"Get outta mah way p'tite."
She pressed a hand against his chest. "Gambit, will yer stop
and listen for a sec?"
He shoved past her and descended the steps toward Logan waiting
beside his Jeep. Gambit stopped a few feet from him, the card
buzzing in his hand.
"Don't do it, Gambit." Wolverine advised coolly.
"An' why the hell not?"
"If you would stop an' listen to her-"
Gambit gripped Logan by the collar and shoved him back against
the Jeep. In an instant Logan felt the claws extract. He pressed
them up under the Cajun's chin and sneered, "Get off a meh,
Gambit raised his lip in a snarl. "Ah should kill yer."
"You wont get the chance and you know it."
"Boys!" Rogue caught hold of Gambit and yanked him back away
from Logan, she threw him against the steps. "Lawd, Gambit,
will yer calm down!"
"You can't protect him Rogue." Gambit threatened as he climbed
to his feet.
"What? What the hell are you talking about. Get some a' that
spice outtah your damn skull and listen!"
"Ah don't need to hear whad you gonna tell me, cher. You
think ah can't smell him on you! Ah know exactly what happened,
don't waste your time trying to lie."
"Gambit, Remy... Do you think ah could do that to you?"
He smiled crookedly, "Ah know you could, cher." He climbed
the steps and slammed the mansion door behind him.
Logan retracted the claws and stood staring at the door for
a few moments. "This could get interesting."
The tension was what you might call suffocating. Few words
were passed between Logan, Rogue and the others. In Xavier's
absence the weaved quilt of the team was slowly unravelling.
"Hey." Logan greeted Rogue as she breezed into the kitchens.
She stopped and looked at him warily.
She frowned. He was seated at the counter, a single claw
protruding from his flesh. She watched as he proceeded to
skin an apple with that claw.
"Can I do you for something?" He asked after several minutes
"Ah was jus' on the hunt for a snack but ah think ah'll pass...
You gonna eat that?"
He lifted his gaze and smiled, amused by her apparent innocence.
""What else am ah going to do with it?"
She pulled up a tall chair and slipped onto it. "Isn't it,
His smile grew. "The story goes I use these things to cut.
Cut anything, flesh, metal, even bits of spaceship when ah
can get my hands on it. These claws, kid, retract back into
my skeleton, back into my skin. I'm less likely to catch anything
from an apple than I am.... an alien, for example. Ah aint
Rogue swallowed. "Ah see."
He sliced the apple in half, "Want a bit?"
Her face screwed up in disgust, "Think ah'll pas on that
one, Wolvie." She was about to get up and leave when his stare
demanded her attention.
"You getting the cold shoulder?"
"Am ah! Ah can't do anything without eyes burning into mah
"Yeah, know that feeling. So, how do you reckon we set things
"You want me to tell them the truth?"
"Not if you aint ready."
"Well, ah aint."
"Okay, alright, don't ruffle yer feathers. We gotta do something,
ah don't trust that Cajun, he's probably making a voodoo doll
as we speak."
Rogue rested her elbows on the counter surface and searched
his face for a sign that he might have an answer. "Ah gotta
go after Jason." She finally said.
Logan neither agreed nor disagreed. "I'm guessing he has
to be a Mutant. You killed him right, well he ain't dead any
She nodded. "Maybe Xavier has something on him."
"It's a start..."
"You can hack into this thing?" Rogue asked as she glanced
over her shoulder at the door behind them.
"Rogue, you know me." He sat himself down in front of the
computer terminal and began to decipher it's code.
Rogue watched eagerly. They were already in trouble in more
than one way, she was just dragging Wolverine further and
further into her mess. Still, she wasn't dragging him kicking
and screaming. In fact if she didn't know him better she might
think he was enjoying the whole thing.
Ten minutes later he was in but there was nothing in the
files about Jason or anyone even similar to his description.
Logan told her it didn't mean anything, a few well played
moves and a bit of luck and a Mutant could remain undetected
"Thinking about Gumbo? I wouldn't waste your time."
Rogue flashed him a warning. "What is it with you two. Anyone
would think something happened to make you both hate each
"I never said I hated him."
She caught up with him as they walked towards the Library.
"Alright, sugah, why don't you like him?"
"I'm not getting into this. We already got ourselves a rift
in the team I don't want to go and make it worse."
"Maybe he got a bit personal with Jean, ah know how he can
be with women."
Logan ignored her. "I'm gonna pull in a favour and see if
we can track him the old fashioned way."
The library was uncomfortably hot and the stale smell of
books familiar of school. Rogue hung around, pacing the room
as she seemed to have found a habit of doing. Logan made his
call and waited by the fax machine. "So, you love him?"
"Huh, you talkin' to meh?" She called as she pulled an old
book from a shelf. She squinted at the writing on it's spine
and wished the lights weren't so dull.
She laughed. "Who knows? What a question, you gettin' all
personal all of a sudden." She cast a sly grin at him over
"Can't hurt asking."
She opened the book and traced a line down it's contents
with a gloved finger. "I reckon but then what do ah know?
Ah wouldn't know love if it bit mah behind. You love Jean?"
Logan fidgeted and urged the fax to hurry up. "It's been
so long ah don't know anymore."
"Woah, that was a lil' personal for Wolverine." She slammed
the book closed, replaced it on it's shelf and turned to look
"You could do so much better than Gambit, he's a thief and
a liar. You ever been on a guys night out with him? No. Believe
me, you ain't his only interest, cher.""
Rogue frowned, "Wha you tellin' meh this?"
He shrugged, "Cos'..."
"Cos what? I'm too naive to know better?" She planted her
hands on her hips defiantly and walked up to him. "Ah ain't
naive, ah've seen enough horrors to keep me awake all my life.
I've known and made enough mistakes to understand what ah
get myself in to. You look at me and you think I'm innocent?
Think I should be protected? You're naive Logan-"
The fax buzzed between them and churned out several pages.
Logan gathered them up. "Three attacks in the last three weeks.
She snatched the data out of his hands. "Mah lawd, they're
dead, all of them."
"All with the same M.O."
She remembered his face as he leered over her. She should
be dead along with the rest of them. "How many since then...?"
She whispered. And he had barely aged, he looked the same
in the ally the few weeks before as he had done all those
years ago. "Does it say where the attacks were?"
He snatched the data back. "Yeah..." Finding a map he spread
it over the table and pinpointed the locations. They were
within five miles of each other but that still left a huge
area to search.
Drinking alone, well who cared? Nobody. Even Gambit didn't
give a damn about her. Logan had showed her the truth she'd
already known but ignored. She was nothing. A shell that could
never be touched, never loved. Why was she even alive, why
had she survived these years when those around her had died?
What made her so special. She couldn't have children, couldn't
even offer someone comfort. Wasn't that part of life, to live,
to love, to care for. So what was her purpose. There wasn't
She angrily swept her tears from her cheeks.
What times was it? Three, four in the morning? This was wrong.
So very wrong. Storm was denying her, ignoring her. Gambit,
well, she would be lucky if he ever spoke to her again. They'd
all trusted her and she'd let them down. She wasn't worth
the air she breathed.
She jumped and sitting upright hid the bottle behind her.
"Remy..." Her trembling voice betrayed her and she broke down.
He watched from the doorway, the light behind him throwing
him into silhouette.
"Oh Remy, wha did Xavier bother to help me, of he'd left
me alone ah would have been alright..."
She looked up and saw that he'd left her, she was alone.
"Aw, lawd help meh, ah never wanted this to happen!"
Her cries filled the corridors but went unanswered.
Storm cast a powerful gaze around the tired looking group.
Every one of them looked about to break down, all accept Beast
who appeared to be immune to everything.
"Wha you askin' meh, ask him."
Logan clenched his jaw and flashed the Cajun a warning. "Storm,
I don't know where she is."
Beast spoke up. "I found an empty bottle of Jack Daniels
in the Library this morning while replacing some books, one
glass beside it."
Storm's gaze darkened. "Logan?"
"Then we can assume that Rogue drank it's contents."
"...Ah saw her." Gambit mumbled, "She was there." All eyes
trained on him. "She er... she was pretty drunk."
Logan scowled at him. "And you left her there?"
"She don' need me, Wolverine."
"She needs someone!" He stood suddenly, the words on the
tip of his tongue, the truth ready to be told.
"You seem a good a comfort as anyone of us here."
Logan snarled, "Cajun, you gotta get yer priorities straight.
Have you even stopped to listen to her, EVER?!"
"Of course, mon dieu."
"Then you know why she's running scared? Then you know why
she's reacting like this do you? Do you even have a clue,
have you even considered that her reasons might be something
different to what you've all assumed-"
"-Logan, do you know something?" Storm asked softly. Her
He closed his eyes and saw her on the edge of the hotel bed,
trembling all over, crying. "I er..." He shook his head and
left the room. In the Library he found the bottle Beast spoke
of, the smell of the alcohol filling the air with a sweet
tang. "Rogue.... where are you?"
The television flickered in the corner of the hotel room,
on it a tape and been paused. The man leaned forward and caressed
the screen with his fingers. "Ah missed yah, Rogue. Mah you
grew up good."
He'd watched the tape over and over. A news report he'd taken
from the City Library. The X-Men. A collection of Mutants
who fought for the side of the right. And there she was, his
Rogue, his lost rose. There in front of him all of this time.
He hadn't been sure he was looking for something until he'd
finally found her again, now he knew what he had to do to
make everything complete, to make it all make sense.
She was beautiful, and strong, a real challenge, not like
the others who gave up too easily, oh no, not his Rogue. She
was his, the only one to have connected with him. She'd killed
him afterall, how much more personal could things get? His
shadow, his companion. She was always meant for him, she was
completion, she would make the pain go away.
Not long now, mah sweet. Oh no. There's no other way out.
Logan opened the Jeep door and peered inside. "Hey, you gonna
tell me why you've picked my wheels as a hiding place?"
Rogue squinted up into the blinding sunlight. With a groan
she shaded her eyes, "Man ah feel like cold molasses. Urgh,
"Rogue, you have to tell them."
She sat upright and frowned. "You seen me lookin' bettah
"Rogue, are you listening to me?"
"Damn, see, ah aint so innocent. A pickled lizard all on
He climbed into the drivers side and closed the door. "You
smell like a brewery."
"Wha thank you kind sir."
"What ever has gotten into the pretty little head of yours
you need to sort it out now. Things will only get worse."
She planted a hand on his cheek and brushed his skin as though
she could feel it without the gloves. "Ah knew you were watching
"Forget that. Listen to me, kid."
"In the shower, you remember, ah saw you watching me."
He brushed her hand away. "Snap out of it Rogue or I'll snap
you out of it for yah."
"You wanted meh, they all want meh." She laughed ironically,
"An' none of 'em can have lil' ol' meh."
He gripped her shoulder and forced her to meet his stare.
"You've got people that care about you inside, they need to
be told the truth. You owe it to them."
She met his lips with hers for a second, or what seemed like
a second. In that one moment she felt his mind rush into her,
flush through her memories and replace hers with his. It was
over before she knew it but he was unconscious.
She clambered from the Jeep then thought better of it. Back
inside she shoved Logan across into the passengers seat and
starting the engine she sped away from the mansion.
Logan woke and was disorientated for a few seconds. He sat
up, realised he was in his Jeep then saw Rogue ahead of the
Jeep, the headlights bleaching her white as she stood at the
He stumbled out and waited a few feet behind her.
"Ah could say ah'm sorry for years. It's all ah ever do well."
"Rogue, you need help. We can call Xavier back."
"Help? No. I need to find him and put an end to this. You
see, it's him, he's inside me, Logan, and the more ah think
or him the more he changes me."
He stepped up behind her and gripped her shoulders. "They're
waiting for you, they want to help you."
"No. This is nothing to do with the X-Men, this is all to
do with me. They can't help me. This is mah life, ah have
to do this." She turned and closed her arms around him, "Thank
you for everything, Logan. Ah never knew you were such a good
"Just don't tell anyone otherwise I'll never get rid of them."
She laughed softy and lifted her gaze to his. "Ah wont forget."
"Hey, this aint good bye."
She pushed away from him and walked towards the Jeep. "Ah
owe you one, Wolverine."
"Rogue, this aint goodbye, you hear me?"
She saluted and shot into the air leaving him standing alone
in the headlamp beams.
What kind of friend would he have been if he'd let her go
alone. Now, he disliked people who broke any kind of promise,
people who neglected a trust someone had out in them. But
in this instance he had no choice.
The group gathered round him and for once he wished Xavier
were here. The faces of his companions stared at him eagerly
awaiting the reason for this meeting. Gambit's expression
had fallen solemn since the last time they'd spoken.
He told them what he knew.
These people were all he had, and how he hated to admit it.
But they were also all Rogue and they would never let her
down. This band of the mismatched, of the odd, or the powerful.
A silence fell about them when he'd finished. He waited,
taking in the chill in the air and the quiet around him. He
would never say 'I told you so' but in this instance they
already knew they had been wrong and very wrong at that.
"This man is a killer, and to top it all off he's a Mutant.
Rogue thinks she's going up against the man she met years
ago, I'm guessing that he's much more than that now. She believes
she's strong, she believes she can deal with this on her own
and she may be right, but just in case she's wrong we need
to find her."
"She's turned her locator off." Storm said softly.
What better way to catch a killer than provide him with his
prey. He would come to her.
She walked with her head down, her hands in her jacket pockets
but she was far from vulnerable. He would expect her to be
weak, he would expect her to be as she was when she was young.
He wouldn't know she had controlled her powers, and not only
that, now she was twenty times as powerful, one hundred times
as powerful. She could break his neck at the click of her
fingers should she wish it. It was her turn to play his game.
Of course he'd seen her drop out of the sky like a bird and
land softly in the ally branching off from the street below.
Ah, she was beckoning him, calling him out of hiding to her.
Well, how could he resist. Closing his eyes he sensed her
as she walked away from the building. Withdrawing inside himself
he could feel her, hear her breathing, hear her thoughts.
His memory flashed his death into his vision. The cold blade
sliding into his stomach, feeling the metal cut into him.
Even then she had been strong. Now she was beyond powerful.
Her strength was astounding, her poise miraculous. Not only
had she mastered flight but she had mastered the ability to
Still, her mind was the same. And that was where he held
her. That was where he saw her now, a frightened little girl,
afraid of what she could do, afraid of what she had done.
Inside she was completely different, inside she was weak.
She knew she was being followed and smiled, so many years
since she had every felt threatened, so many years since she
had been physically vulnerable. She may be a little nervous
but that was all and that was perfectly natural. Her body
was providing her with adrenalin as if she wasn't strong enough
She spun, "Logan, I told you..."
He smiled and shrugged helplessly. "It's my job to look after
"Your job?" She glanced behind him as he continued towards
her. "Have yah been followin' meh for a while?"
"No, a few minutes, I was trying to catch up with you."
As he stopped in front of her she reached out to place a
hand on his shoulder and advise him to take cover somewhere
while she baited her. It was such a simple movement, a simple
gesture, one of guidance, of condolence.
When he shrunk away from her as if her touch was poison she
froze. There was something very wrong and in those milliseconds
of realisation her heart sunk through the concrete below her.
He smiled. Okay so the charade hadn't lasted as long as he
had hoped, but it had had the desired affect.
Rogue staggered back, then regaining her composure she reached
for him, this time with conviction. "You ain't Logan." Her
words slipped easily from her mind and into reality but the
image was all wrong. Her outstretched hand went through his
shoulder as though he wasn't there.
"No, perhaps i'm not." He looked down at her hand, at her
fingers twitching as she tried to feel for something that
wasn't there. Those gloved fingers reaching, stroking, touching
but touching nothing.
Her hand shot to her mouth, "You aint real." She whispered,
her eyes open wide with a new found fear of the unknown.
"I'm real alright, Rogue, jus' you killed me a long time
She'd reached for him but he hadn't been there. Not physically
anyway. He stood before her as Logan, his words sounding like
She watched the image of Logan fizzle away, dissolve into
something and someone that triggered vicious memories inside
"You know me Rogue."
The same man she'd seen in the alley, the same man who'd
taken her hand and raised it as if to examine her, as if to
kiss her fingers as though he were a gentleman, the same man
that had tried to steal her life away from her, that had violated
her, that she'd killed in cold blood.
He opened his arms, raising his palms to the sky, opening
himself to her, welcoming her knowledge. "It's me Rogue, your
rival, the only person who can compete with you. Touch me
Rogue, feel me..."
She backed up. She couldn't touch him. Her hand had passed
right through him which made him a ghost, ghosts are harmless,
She smile with false enthusiasm, "You give yerself some credit,
why would I even want to spit on yah. Ah aint that lil' girl
you almost killed, not anymore, it's been a long time, a lot
has changed stranger and you'd do good to leave me alone."
He stepped forward. "Or what? You'll hurt me Rogue? Try it."
He laughed. The sound travelled around her, spiralling into
her mind and pulling at the hooks embedded in her reason.
He stepped forward again, "If you can't touch me Rogue how
do you expect to hurt me. All you are is a little girl, as
helpless as you always were."
She flew at him with uncontrolled emotion and passed through
him. A shiver swept through her and her strength was drained.
Staggering back onto her feet she turned and met his powerful
gaze at the same time he turned and marked her with his eyes.
It was his turn.
He rushed her, slamming her back into the wall of the building
with a speed she couldn't follow. Before she knew it her back
was slamming against brick and her strength was leaving her.
He gripped her around the throat. "You may not be able to
touch me but ah can surely touch you and ah's takin' what
belongs to me, what ah should have had a long time ago. You
made me like this, you made me."
She reached for him out of instinct and once again her flailing
grip passed straight through him and she snatched at air.
This wasn't right, it didn't make any sense. But she knew
better than to expect any sense out of this world. She'd seen
things that defied the laws of nature, the spat in the face
of physics. She's seen such wonders and become one herself.
He was no more unusual than she was.
He snatched at her inactive communicator and tore it from
her suit, flinging it out onto the road.
Rogue searched desperately for a way to beat him, if she
couldn't touch him what good was all of her strength going
to be. There had to be another way around this, underneath
all of her strength she wasn't a little girl, she was Rogue,
she was powerful... her mind was strong...
His hand roamed her body snapping her back into what was
supposed to be reality. Sneering, because that was all she
could manage, she said, "Touch me and ah'll find a way tah
kill yah again!"
"Too late!" He hissed, sneering in return and pressing himself
against her. "That feel good Rogue, think of it, you unable
to touch me but ah can sure touch you. Think, you who has
been cursed with a vampires kiss, so defenceless. Ah, the
irony, doesn't it make you wanna to cry."
She lashed out, tried to strike him but felt nothing underneath
her palm. She kicked but her legs flailed in the air. How
can he not be there and yet pin her down. It wasn't real,
it couldn't be real. She closed her eyes and thought of Xavier:
>Help me, ah need you...<
The ice cold brush of skin against skin snapped her out of
her mental plea. No, this was not how this was supposed to
be, this wasn't how it was supposed to happen.
In the real world she would absorb his power, his life, he
would be hers. But now? What was happening, why... why like
His expression froze on her, his body appearing to tense.
He looked at her fiercely, his stare digging into her and
all she could do was blink back at him like the innocent defenceless
child she was.
A smile lifted one corner of his mouth, a smile filled with
so many things. The same smile that a wolf might use while
watching it's unsuspecting prey. His expression engaged her,
trapped her under his spell.
She felt herself beginning to fall, a sensation familiar
to her, but not a sensation such as this whereby she knew
there was nothing she could do to stop herself. She was tumbling
into the darkness and he was sucking her down, faster and
faster. With his stare fixed on her he pulled her into him,
drew all that she knew out of her and left her feeling barren,
left her in the silence that she'd been so afraid of for decades.
He knew her fears, knew her dreams, knew it all. While she
felt herself slipping away she knew she'd made a fatal mistake.
The Blackbird landed with a rumble of the reverse engines
and the burning hot thrusters of the directional turbines.
Few curtains twitched and those that did watched in anonymity
from the safety of their homes.
Gambit scooped up the communicator from the road and turned
it over in his hand. The fabric attached to the back told
him that the device had not left its host peacefully. So where
was she? He lifted his head and looked around him.
"Anything?" Cyclops called as he descended the steps of the
"Noh, jus' her communicator..." He continued to scan his
surroundings. It was a crack branching up the side of a building
that caught his eye, like a lightning strike trapped in brick
it cried out danger. He began to make his way towards the
alley every step causing his heart so sink further. "What
is it?" Cyc's voice echoed through the street behind him.
The light from the street yawned into the alley opening and
there she lay. He stopped, his feet frozen to the concrete
suddenly. Perhaps it wasn't her, perhaps it was someone else.
"Gambit?" Cyc again.
He held up a hand as he looked closer. He could make out
the dark green of the suit that covered her from head to toe,
although it was streaked with something of a lighter colour.
He stepped forward once. "...Cher...?" He called, his voice
barely above a whisper should he disturb her. It may sound
insane but the peace was something he didn't want to shatter,
not this time.
His pace quickened as he heard Logan's voice somewhere behind
As he drew closer he saw that her suit wasn't streaked with
something but it had been torn, what he'd seen had been her
He knelt beside her and turned her face towards him. For
a moment he thought she was dead, her eyes were open wide
while her stare gazed up into the sky. Her lips were parted,
her moist white teeth catching a glint of light from the street
His breath caught in his throat, "....Rogue....No, cher,
you can not leave Remy... He won' led you."
He thought he saw her lips move, thought he might have heard
her whisper. He felt for a pulse at her wrist where her gloves
still covered her flesh. He wasn't sure if he could feel anything
Scooping her into his arms he stood and turned back towards
Both Logan and Cyclops were silence as Gambit emerged from
the shadows, Rogue limp in his arms. Cyclops heard Jean gasp
behind him but he didn't move to comfort her.
"She can't be..." Logan whispered without knowing he had
even spoken. She can't be dead. He'd let her die? He watched
Gambit approach them and snapped himself out of it.
"We hav' to ge' her back to deh mansion! NOW" Gambit called.
He would never truly leave her. She realised that now. He
was part of her like all the rest only this time it hadn't
been her own doing, he'd made it his way. He'd invaded her,
slipped inside her soul and made himself at home.
Xavier had asked if he'd been real at all and at first she'd
snapped back at him and accused him of calling her a liar.
Only later had she realised that he may have been right about
part of it.
Had he been real? She hadn't touched him, she hadn't felt
him, she'd had no affect on him when she'd tried to retaliate.
But wasn't that how he worked. In truth he had been like a
Ghost, she'd killed him and he'd come back to haunt her. Wasn't
it as simple as that?
No. He'd been the same as her. She'd killed him alright but
it had triggered something, he'd died but at the same time
he'd begun a new existence. When she'd run away from him all
those years ago, when she'd realised what she'd done and she'd
fled. She hadn't merely killed him, but she'd made him stronger.
Made him a monster.
Had he been real? To her he was so much more than that. To
others he was a Ghost, a shiver in the shadows as it were.
To Xavier he was a mental apparition, to Logan he had been
a challenger, to Gambit... the man who'd taken Rogue away
from him, away from all of them.
So what was she supposed to do? Look at herself in the mirror,
at her reflection at the waters edge and pretend it was actually
her she saw staring back at her. Or the man with the features
of an angel and the heart of a serial killer, if had had a
heart at all. Well, now he had everything, he had a heart
and soul and a life to go along with that. He had her. The
one person who's alluded him both in his dreams and in his
She'd died, as Gambit had thought she had. She'd died and
left all of herself behind, he'd taken from her what he'd
promised he always would. Her innocence.
She was nothing.
She'd watch Logan watching her, she'd watch Gambit flicking
a card between his fingers and know his thoughts were of how
he'd let her slip away. Xavier spoke to her but she rarely
answered, he could invade her mind but he would never allow
himself to do that.
Jean whispered comforts but they were worth little and Storm
would pray for her.
Rogue barely understood if she was alive or not. She barely
understood anything anymore, anything other than the fact
her home no longer existed, her friends... her love... All
stolen. She watched in silence as the charade continued, as
words were exchanged, battles were fought, won and lost. She
watched lives fade away, dreams die. What was left for her
in a world filled with so many shadows and no light to guide
"Rogue, I know you can hear me..."
She lifted her gaze and rested her soft stare on the lone
man seated in the arm chair. A shot of whiskey in one hand,
Could he know, could he sense her? Wolverine....?
He shifted slightly and looked right at her, moments passed,
but then he shook his head, downed the alcohol, slammed the
glass on the table and left the room.
She reached out for him, her gloved hand brushing the flesh
of his arm but he barely felt her.
If only they could hear her, if only they would believe.
For now all she can do is watch. Perhaps if she waits long
enough they'll see her... or perhaps not.
Either way she was with them. Whether they knew it or not.
She would always be with them.
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