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Stories by Amanda Sichter

"After Midnight"
Jean, crazed by grief and loss, takes to killing babies, and the X-Men must stop her. An alternate version of what happened during the six-month gap.

"All Creatures Great and Small"
The mansion becomes home to mutant farm animals. Don't ask -- just read it.

"And I Alone Am Escaped to Tell Thee"
The story of how Gambit became the Witness.

"Cigarettes Will Kill You"
Gambit explains to Rogue how he escaped Antarctica.

"Dealing with the Devil"
Gambit, trapped in Hell, tries to win back his soul in a blackjack match with the Devil himself.

"Hungry for Your Touch"
Before she absorbed Ms. Marvel and gained a second personality, Rogue's attitude toward her powers may have been very different.

"Love Lies Bleeding"
Gambit from the future has to come back to the present -- and kill Rogue.

Gambit explains what he wants in a relationship, and what's not working when he's with Rogue.

"The Princess, the Thief and the Tall, Stone Tower"
Once upon a time, a maiden fair was imprisoned within a stone tower, and only a thief could free her from it.

"Something Just Like Weeping"
Rogue gets married and finds that "normal" life isn't as nice as she'd hoped. Especially when it includes abuse. The sequel is "Dreams to a Reality", by Aimee Boling Sze.

elsewhere in Alykat's World:

A short, emotion-centered story wherein Bobby Drake and Bobby DaCosta get together. Slash.
(mature themes, sexual content)
(at (un)frozen)

"A Day at the Races"
Bobby and Hank try their luck at the racetrack, betting on horses.
(at (un)frozen and Stars & Garters)


Well, last week I took Rogue all the way in one direction. This week I've taken all the way in the opposite direction. This story contains nasty themes - not adult, just nasty.
Disclaimer: Most of the characters belong to Marvel and I'm not attempting in any way to run away with their profits so they shouldn't sue me. Daniel, painful though it is to admit it, belongs to me. I doubt anyone will want to borrow him.

She hummed as she laid the table, a bright brittle music that underscored her careful movements with broken half-notes. She put out the plates, carefully spaced, laid knives and forks with exquisite precision, adjusted the centrepiece until it was placed exactly in the middle of the table. Finally she stood back and looked on her handiwork. Perfect, everything was absolutely perfect.

She stopped humming as the smells from the kitchen wafted in to the dining room and she hurried to make sure nothing had gone wrong with the meal. She had learned to cook since she had married Daniel, learned to make perfect dishes that exactly matched his tastes. She checked the simmering pots and oven and nodded to herself. Nothing had gone wrong here.

She went back to the bedroom and checked herself in the mirror. Daniel had laid out her clothes for her this morning and she checked that she was wearing them exactly as he had asked. The bright green dress accented her eyes perfectly and accentuated the white streak in her hair. She lifted up the dress and checked that her stockings hadn't run. She admired the long line of her leg under the dress, the pale smoothness of her stomach, her still-rounded breasts. Daniel did so like her to stay in shape - her hours of exercise were never a chore when he held her in his arms.

She lowered the dress and checked her face and arms carefully, their paleness shining in the mirror. One of the advantages of invulnerability was that the bruises rarely showed. So now, when she checked, she saw that no mark marred her white flesh and she smiled. Everything was absolutely perfect.

Rogue smiled at her own reflection. Everything was perfect. She needed everything to be perfect. Tonight she was going to ask Daniel if her friends could visit and for him to agree everything had to be perfect.

She frowned slightly at herself, chewing gently at the corner of her lip. It had been a long time since she had seen her friends. Daniel told her that it was better that way and she knew that he was right. They didn't understand. They just didn't. If they saw the bruises they used nasty words like abuse. They didn't understand that Daniel wasn't abusing her. He just had to punish her sometimes. He had to - she did things wrong and when she did she knew that she deserved to be punished. She deserved it. She did.

She wondered how long it had been since she had seen her friends. She almost couldn't remember now - it had been at least a year since she had been to the mansion. Their phone-calls were less now - she didn't return their calls when they left messages and the fact she wouldn't visit them meant that a distance was growing between them.

Remy had vanished before the wedding.

Mystique wouldn't talk to her at all.

Rogue remembered crying the last time she had seen her mama. Crying because her mama had said ugly things about Daniel, had shook with rage as she told Rogue exactly what she thought of her husband. Rogue had sobbed as she had tried to explain to her mama how Daniel didn't mean it - if she could just do things right then he wouldn't have to chastise her. Mystique had finally banished her from the house and had never spoken to her since.

Well, I won't cry anymore, thought Rogue to herself. There was nothing to cry about. Nothing whatsoever. Her life was perfect - just perfect. She didn't need to cry because she was perfectly, perfectly happy.

Her eyes drifted up to the clock and she started. Six-fifteen. He should be home now. He had to be home now. If he was late, if someone had held him in up in traffic, if the subway was late, then he would be angry. He couldn't be angry when he got home - she'd put so much work into making sure everything was just right. Rogue felt a moment of frozen terror and then her lips began to move as she silently prayed. Please, God, let him be home on time, let him be happy, let him see everything is right, please, please, please, God, just this once, please.

Her body melted in relief as she heard his key slide into the door and she almost ran downstairs. She stood waiting in the dining room for him to walk in and see her, her heart beating fast in her chest.

And then he was there and he was smiling at her and he held flowers for her, for her, and she thought she would dissolve with delight. "Daniel," she breathed.

He put down his briefcase and walked towards her, his smile wide and he presented the flowers to her. "My love," he said, softly. "I brought you flowers, Rogue. I'm sorry for last night - I shouldn't have punished you, I know. You try so hard to be perfect for me. Can you forgive me?"

"Oh, my love, there's nothing to forgive," she whispered and took the flowers from his hand and then he was leaning forward and his hand was sliding over her cheek and she nuzzled her face into his touch, his touch, and then his mouth was pressing gently on hers and the scent from the roses made her dizzy and she felt almost fragile with happiness.

He drew back from her slightly and then caught her fingers in his and kissed them. "Perhaps we should have dinner first," he said and waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.

Rogue laughed and cupped her hand around his cheek, protectively, possessively. She loved the feel of him beneath her fingers. It felt like flesh, soft, warm flesh. She couldn't even sense the molecule thin force-shield that hovered over Daniel, that made him still the only man she could ever touch. All she could feel was his warmth and the soft, gentle curve of his cheek.

'It should be perfect now, sugah,' she whispered. "You sit down and Ah'll get it for you."

She bustled through the kitchen quickly, putting the finishing touches on his dinner and hers and brought it out. She sat anxiously waiting until he had devoured the first mouthful. "Gorgeous," he pronounced and she sighed in relief and picked up her knife and fork.

"What did you do with your day, dear?" Daniel asked and Rogue smiled. He cared so much about her.

"Ah went shopping with the money yah gave me this morning," she said. "Ah went down to Walmart at ten and bought the groceries and Ah was back by eleven."

'Did you talk to anyone?" he asked.

'No," replied Rogue, quickly. She used to talk to people when she went shopping, using the opportunity to relieve the crushing boredom of her life. But Daniel didn't want her talking to anyone else. He didn't like it at all. She understood that now. She wasn't bored - she just hadn't understood, that was all. But now she knew that the only person she needed was Daniel. The only person.

"Good," said Daniel. "Rogue, my darling, this meal is magnificent."

"Ah hoped you'd like it," she replied and smiled at him. He smiled back at her and his leg brushed against hers under the table. Rogue flushed slightly in anticipation but decided that now was the time to ask her favour. "Tomorrow's mah birthday, Daniel," she said, softly.

"I know," he grinned. "I've got a present just waiting for you. It'll be perfect, I know it will."

"Of course," said Rogue. "Of course it'll be perfect." It would be, she knew. His presents were always perfect for her. Daniel bought them for her and if he said they were perfect, then they were. She continued, "Yah know Ah've been trying really hard to do all the things yah want me ta do."

"You have, Rogue," he said and smiled at her. "You've been very good. You know that. Why, I only have to ring you twice a day now. Surely, you've noticed."

She had noticed. She had. It had been six times a day for a long time, ever since she'd gone to the mansion without telling him. He just wanted to keep her safe, she knew. But now it was down to twice a day and she was grateful. He trusted her. He loved her. That made her happy.

"Ah have, honey," she said. "Ah'm so pleased you notice cause Ah'm trying so hard. Ah just - well, Ah wanted to ask yah, since it's mah birthday tomorrow - Ah was wondering if Ah could invite the X-Men over. For a party for me?"

It was a mistake. She knew it was a mistake. His eyes went cold, so cold and Rogue quailed inside. "Ah'm sorry, Ah didn't mean it," she started but he cut her off brutally short.

"Tomorrow is our day," he said, harshly. "I've planned the whole day. Everything. I've organised it all - it was going to be so perfect. Why did you have to go ahead and ask for something as stupid as that?"

"Ah'm sorry, Ah'm sorry," said Rogue, quickly. "It doesn't matter. Ah know it'll be perfect. Ah don't need to see anyone else. Honestly, Daniel, Ah don't."

"Then why did you ask for them to come over?" said Daniel implacably. Then he threw the one weapon she could never fight against into her face. "If you don't like my company, I can always leave you," he said.

Rogue thought she would die. "No," she half-screamed. "Don't say that, Daniel. You're all Ah need, you're everything, Ah need you, Gawd, Ah need you, Daniel. Don't leave me, don't leave me, don't even threaten me with it, Ah won't ask again, Ah promise, just don't leave me."

Daniel settled back in his chair and stared at her, impassively. Rogue's heart beat a frantic rhythm as she tried to sense what he was thinking, tried to think what she could say to mollify him.

"I don't know why I stay," he said. "When you keep doing these stupid things, when you keep getting it wrong. I should just leave you. I can get someone else just like that, Rogue," he said and snapped his fingers. She flinched at the sound. "But who would have you? Who would take you on? You're too stupid to be able to do the simple things I want you to do and you think you could get anyone else. You're utterly useless and stupid and you can't even touch anyone else. There's only me, Rogue. Only me in all the world that'd bother with you. So, when are you going to get it right, Rogue?"

She looked at him beseechingly. "Ah will get it right, Daniel, my love, Ah promise Ah'll get it right. Ah'm learning, remember, Ah'm much better these days. Just don't leave me, please, please don't leave me. Ah'll get it right for you. Just please don't hit me."

A mistake. The worst mistake. She knew it, she knew it, she couldn't have made a worse mistake.

Daniel stood up so fast his chair tipped back and fell over. "Don't hit you?" he said, and his voice was terrifying in its dispassionate anger. "Are you telling me what I should do?" he continued. "Are you telling me I don't have the right to punish you when and where I see fit? Are you?"

"No," said Rogue, her voice a whisper of fear. "No, Ah'm not trying to tell you that. Please, Daniel, don't think that. Ah'm yours. Yah know that. Anything you want, you can do anything you want. Ah was stupid. Ah'm always stupid. You know that. You know I try. Please, please, Daniel, let me make it up to yah, please."

"You will make it up to me, Rogue," said Daniel, his voice promising only hurt. "You won't have a choice. You don't have a choice. But first you're going to be punished."

She didn't move from her chair when he hit her the first time, his fist clipping her across the chin. But as he continued to beat her, with the steady, methodical blows of a man intent on savagery, she somehow found herself up against the wall, cowering down beneath his fists as he continued to rain down his blows. She found herself pleading, her voice nearly incoherent with terror. "Please, Daniel, please, please, don't, don't Daniel, please."

His voice cut through her terror like a knife, a whip-cut. "Tell me you deserve it," he said. "Tell me you need to be punished. Tell me you'll never be this stupid again. Tell me!"

She told him, her voice ragged as she told him she loved him and she needed him and she deserved this, she deserved this and she would never be stupid again, please Daniel, just believe her, she needed to be punished, just please don't ever leave her.

And even as his hands caught at her wrists and began to drag her up the stairs to the bedroom, she heard her words, her broken words and she heard some other sound beneath him that she could nearly identify.

It sounded just like weeping.


The End

I didn't write this as a 'gee-I-hate-her-let's-do-something-nasty' fic for Rogue. As I said before I'm trying to work out what to do with her in something else, so I'm trying to get in her head. With Rogue's current incarnation in Marvel, I found myself thinking that she had exactly the right weak points in her psyche to allow herself to get into this situation. And unfortunately, as far too many women have discovered, once you are in the middle of an abusive relationship, it can be incredibly difficult to get out.
So I suppose you can consider this my effort for National Stop Domestic Violence Day in Australia, which passed - as usual - without being noticed at all.


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