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UXM #350 Aftermath

Stories by Syvan Coyne

Rogue's "death" during Professor Xavier's loyalty test (of UXM #375) forces Rogue and Gambit to re-evaluate their relationship. Meanwhile, the team must also deal with the rift among them caused by Xavier's test. (Unfinished.)

Raw tensions come out in the open and Rogue learns something about herself when Logan stages a Danger Room exercise that pits the X-Men against each other.

"Turning Point"
As Gambit fights to survive Mr. Sinister and the Antarctic cold, Wolverine, Rogue, and Cannonball mount a rescue effort. (Unfinished.)


Web site: Rogue and Romance

WARNING: May be offensive to some as this story may contain adult situations, language and violence.
Disclaimer: Characters are Marvel's, this story cannot be sold or used to make a profit and whatever other legal requirements are necessary consider them said.
If anyone wishes to post this, you may but, please inform me of your intentions first. Thank you.

Wolverine leaned against the wall of what once was called the Danger-Room. The room was empty now, stark, devoid of all technology that had given the room its name. Silent, watchful, Wolverine took a last drag on his cigar before dropping it and crushing it beneath his boot heel. He squatted down next to the prone figure of Marrow, one of the latest reluctant members of the X-Men.

"Get up kid, ya ain't hurt that bad." Wolverine growled. He gave her a not so gentle shove to turn her over.

'Bastard', Marrow thought to herself. Trying desperately not to groan aloud as she rolled onto her back. She had been so sure she could take Wolverine down. He had grown soft over the years. He was older, far older than she was, though he didn't look it. She had been raised by the Morlocks and more recently under the "kill or be killed" teachings of Mikhail in that other dimension. She had survived. She had beaten the others. Why hadn't she been able to take out an old man? She'd been in tough battles before and nearly died before, but never had she hurt so much. She opened her eyes expecting to see the gloating smile of Wolverine above her. Vowing to at least wipe the smile from his face, she wasn't quite prepared to see Wolverine snarling at her nor two claws bearing down on her. She hadn't even been able to raise her hand to hit him when he had her pinned to the floor, two claws on either side of her neck, his knuckles pushing against her windpipe. She knew her eyes had reflected her shock and her shameful fear. 'Shit!!'

"This was just so you don't go gettin' any more ideas for the moment kid. I want yer undivided attention." Wolverine looked intently into her eyes, and though she'd never admit it aloud and resented it even more, Marrow admitted that she understood why Wolverine was known as 'the best there is at what he does'. 'So he wasn't as soft as I believed.' Marrow thought. 'Shit, he's barely even got a scratch on him. The only real hit I made was when he used his own arm to deflect my bone spear. The fucking bastard didn't even flinch as it when through his arm. He'd actually grinned and pulled it out saying thanks for the extra weapon. SHIT!!'

Wolverine saw the different emotions flash through her eyes and knew she resented not only being beaten in general but to being beaten by an X-Man. He flexed his middle knuckle against her windpipe to gain her attention again. "Listen up punk, ya got guts, and a little skill, but, ya got no control and no focus. Keep fighting like that and you'll be dead inna week. Go take a shower, clean up and be back here in two hours." He stood up releasing his claws and walked off without even looking at her again.

Marrow waited until the door closed before giving vent to her anger and frustration. "SSSHHHIIITTT!!!!" She was breathing hard as she got to her feet. "This time old man. Only this time will you ever beat me. Let's see how many 'lessons' you give when I stand over you with your heart in MY hands." Marrow came to an abrupt stop where she heard chuckling outside the door. "Two hours Marrow, and don't make me come and get ya." This time Marrow heard Wolverine walking away down the hall.

"What's up Storm?" Bobby Drake asked as he walked into the old Danger-Room with his best-friend Hank McCoy. He brushed this sandy-brown hair from his eyes with his fingers and looked curiously at her. she was in her fighting togs as were the rest of the team. Just about everyone was there he saw, even the new people, Maggott, Cecelia, the doctor he had personally brought here, and Marrow though he hadn't seen her at first as she was sitting high up in some exposed rafters. Everyone seemed to be standing around in groups of two or three he noticed. Psylocke and Angel were standing next to each other though not talking to anyone including themselves. Sam was talking to Wolverine and Joseph.

"A training session Bobby. Though that is all I know. Logan and I talked and agreed that we all need to start working together again." Storm answered him. Storm's eyes though continuously strayed to look at Marrow, Bobby noticed. Bobby noticed the subdued almost sullen atmosphere with everyone in the room. He turned to make a comment to Hank but noticed Hank was staring rather intently at Wolverine. 'Looks like there are still a few hard feelings going around.' Bobby thought to himself.

"Hey Logan, Storm says this jamboree is your baby, what's the story, we just checking out the acoustics of a hollow room while we stare at each other?" Bobby said trying to lighten the mood.

"Nope. We're going to see what we've got to work with." Logan walked to the middle of the room. " We've taken some pretty hard hits lately. Between Onslaught and Bastion. Some of ya felt that the Prof. Scott and Jean were the heart and soul of this team and the only thing holding us together. Well we're going to find out right here and now. If we're going to keep this team alive we're going to have to find out what we've got left to give, and what we can expect from each other."

"What do you expect us to do Logan? Has it escaped your heightened senses that we don't have anything to use for training? Great idea Logan, what are we supposed to practice on? Bare walls?" Angel asked sarcastically.

Logan ignored Warrens tone and answered the question. "The room looks pretty full to me, flyboy."


"You expect us to fight each other?!"

"Yup." Was Logan's only reply.

"Oh, great, we survive Bastion and Operation: Zero Tolerance and Logan wants us to finish each other off. Storm, you're not going to let Logan get away with this are you?" Bobby asked.

"The idea has merit Bobby. We have trained against each other before when the Danger-room was operational, why is now different? Though I do not understand exactly how Logan plans to accomplish this."

"Uh-uh, Storm. We've trained as a team together to reach a goal. to find a hidden person. Things like that. Scott never had us fight each other. This is insane." Warren said. "Who's going to decide who fights whom.?"

"I do." Logan said. "We're doing this here so that we can keep things relatively contained. Anyone get's out of control, answers to me. And this ain't going to be a boxin' match boy. This is a free for all. Use your powers, or don't. Your choice. The only rule is obviously no killin' force. If I think someone's gone overboard, they answer to me. Any questions?"

"Just one. Why wasn't ah invited?" Rogue said from the doorway. En masse the X-Men old and new alike turned towards her. The room went totally silent. Rogue was standing there looking at them all. Yet it crossed each one's mind that this was not the Rogue they knew. After the incident with Remy and Erik the Red, Rogue had separated herself from the rest of the team. Neither allowing anyone to approach her nor approaching anyone herself.

Storm walked up to her, not commenting on Rogue's new outfit. "You have been through a lot child, I thought perhaps..."

"Ah ain't no child, Storm! The last time ah checked ah was part of this team. It's about time ah was treated with the same respect."

"it is also my fault Rogue." Joseph said approaching her. When Storm asked where you were, and she told me about this. I told her to leave you alone. That I would talk with you later. Why are you wearing a new outfit?"

"Don't change the subject Joseph. The clothes are mah choice. The decision to join y'all is mah choice. And ain't nobody got the right to tell me what ah should do or not. This is mah life and ah'll live it how ah see fit. Maybe ah've been guilty of lettin' some of ya tell me what to do in the past but no more ya hear. Ah'm takin' control of mah own life again. Now if'n y'all are finished gawking at me. Let's get this show goin." She looked pointedly at Logan. Logan wondered if he was the only one who could sense her inner turmoil. He knew he would have to watch her carefully this time out. She was near the edge and if she was pushed to hard or let loose on her emotions there was going to be a blood bath in this room. Logan nodded in agreement and a little encouragement to Rogue and turned towards the exit door where he was going to watch the proceedings.

Never one to let a tense situation go without getting her own jab in, Marrow dropped to the floor near Rogue and smirked. " Aaawww, Did he dump ya when he found out what a two faced witch ya are? Did ya tell him that ya loved him? Did he tell you? Did he take your heart in his hands and pulverize it and trash it? Did ya actually believe he loved you? Did ya actually believe anyone could love you? Well you could always ask Storm to teach ya how to rip someone's heart out and kill them instead. She's good at things like that. Aint'cha wind witch?"

Rogue hadn't even looked at Marrow during her taunting. Rogue doubted that Marrow was even aware that they had been walking around the room while she sized up the other X-men. Marrow was like a bad puppy, Rogue thought, gnawing on things they shoudn't be. Well Marrow had been gnawing where she shouldn't be and made things red and irritated. Rogue had had enough. This puppy had sharp teeth and needed to be disciplined. Rogue came to a stop. Marrow smirked again. "What's the matter little skunk-head? Did I hurt your little feelings?" Marrow taunted. "Why don't ya go run away and hide? Why dont'cha go runnin' back ..." Marrow was cut off suddenly as she went sprawling into the middle of the room.

"Marrow either you better take control of yoah mouth or ah'll do it for ya. Ah pulled that punch, sugah. Ah won't be so nice the next time, heah?" Rogue didn't wait for Marrow's response. She took to the air for a different view of the room.

"Last one standing is the winner. Got it? You can go as far as knocking your opponent out. Anyone gets carried away, gets carried me." Logan looked at each of participants in the group before him looking to see who the problems might be. All of the newbies were trouble, because no one knew how they reacted under pressure, which was a part of the exercise. It might even help release some stress, when personal grudges etc. could get settled. "I'm turning the lights off for 10 seconds, when they come back on go at it." Logan reached up to turn the switch off, noticing that Storm, Rogue and Beast were already beginning to move from the spot they had been standing in. Good. He even noticed that Doc Reyes seemed to have picked up on the idea and as the light switched off she had quickly looked around to see who was where, taking a quick step backwards. "Remember, you are working for yourselves this time out. Your goal and only goal is to be the last one standing."

Logan's advanced senses could easily pick up where everyone was in the room. He had noticed that Marrow was quite close to Storm, no surprise there. What was surprising was that Storm was still on the ground. Angel and Sam should be almost face to face when the light came on. Beast had closed in on Maggott and Psylocke was closing in on Joseph. Bobby should get surprise from the Doc, Logan thought, she was crouching right behind him. Rogue appeared to have chosen Psylocke as her first target. Logan nodded his head and grinned in the dark. For Rogue the one with the fastest possibility of taking her out was Psylocke with her telepathic powers. There were others of course but Betsy would have the best shot. Joseph hadn't moved and Logan caught a whiff of electromagnetic discharge. 'Hmm,' Logan thought, ' pears, Joseph's got himself an idea to make this a quick fight.' wonder if it will work?

Logan turned the lights on.

Everyone seemed to move at once. Even the newbies, Logan noticed. His fighting prowess took over and like what happens with some doctors where seconds turn into minutes everything slowed down to Logan as he saw th battles taking form in front of him. Storm and Marrow will fall, was Logan's first thought. The pair are focusing totally on each other and ignoring everyone else. Fatal mistake, Storm should know better. Beast was taking on an unknown, should be interesting. Reyes was smart, she picked on Bobby for a reason. Maybe she thinks he'll have a harder time taking her out, maybe it's because his powers are the only ones she really knows. Rogue was holding back for a second or two, why? Logan thought, has she lost her nerve? No, he saw it now. 'good girl' Logan thought, he glanced around 'does she see...yup she does.' Logan's attention switched again and saw that Rogue wasn't the only one thinking ahead in this fight. Sam had activated his blast shield right in front of Warren, blowing Warren off his feet and into a wall. The mighty Angel had been stunned in the first 20 seconds of the fight. Sam hadn't stayed where he was though, 'Cable's training' Logan thought as he watched Sam skim the room and head towards Beast and Maggott. Beast was getting a bigger fight than he had expected. Maggott's...maggots had detached themselves from him and were attacking Beast from different sides. Beast was having to defend against them and Maggott's fists making it a rather intriguing battle. Doc Reyes meanwhile rolled herself at the back of Bobby's legs. Her shield came up and she knocked him over backwards, and by being relatively close to him she had avoided really hurting herself. Logan appreciated her ingenuity. Reyes scampered to her feet and threw herself at Bobby. Her shield came up again and although she grunted, so did Bobby who had smacked his head rather hard when he hit the floor. Leaning upwards the Doc pinched Bobby's nose and used her other hand to clamp over his mouth, trying to get him to pass out. Bobby started to struggle in earnest now trying to get oxygen back in his body. When Doc Reyes jumped on him she had knocked the wind from him, then was denying him the ability to get more oxygen into his body. Bobby lashed out in the last seconds before losing consciousness, He tried to push the restraining hands away from him and when he found his arms restrained by Cecilia's legs where she straddled him he used his powers to cover her in ice to push her away, but she didn't let go and in the end she had managed to knock Bobby out but he had taken her with him, by lowering her body temperature and causing a form of hypothermia to knock her out.

In the opening seconds of the battle, Betsy lunged at Joseph using her ninja skills to take him out. Joseph had already protected himself from attacks by surrounding himself with an electro-magnetic force bubble and Betsy bounced off him. She did succeed in distracting him though as he hadn't thought to be attacked so quickly and certainly not by Psylocke. He had thought perhaps, Rogue or Storm, maybe even Iceman. Joseph had planned to hit everyone with an electro-magnetic shock and take everyone out in one go. Then maybe he could get the chance to apologize to Rogue properly and not in front of the whole team. He had been nearly ready to strike when he had been hit by Betsy. Feeling annoyed at being distracted and losing his concentration, not to mention his hold on his powers to send out the pulse he turned on Betsy, preparing to hit her with a blast of magnetic energy. Betsy, when she had been knocked aside by Joseph's shield used her new powers of passing through shadows and disappeared. She returned seconds later off to one side of Joe and using her psychic knife, attacked. Joe raised his hand and released his power at her. They both missed each other. Psylocke fell back on her ninja tricks dodging Joe's blasts. Rogue didn't know why Psylocke didn't just make Joe pass out telepathically. Then she started seeing a pattern to Psylocke's attacks. Betsy was enjoying this cat and mouse game she was playing with Joe, Rogue noticed. It could cost her, Rogue thought. She didn't try to interfere though. She waited to let them wear each other down. She would use them both anyway once they had worn each other down. It kept her fresh and the others would be worn out. Rogue looked around sizing up the competition. They were all wrapped in their own little battles she noticed. With the exception of Sam. He seemed to be scoping out the players as well. She braced herself for him to attack her as soon as he noticed she wasn't fighting anyone but, he veered off towards Storm and Marrow. The immediate threat gone, Rogue turned her attention back to Psylocke and Joseph. Joe also seemed to be picking up on Betsy's pattern and his shots were coming increasingly closer to their mark. Betsy wasn't even attempting to get in close to Joseph at this point Rogue noticed from above. Sam went shooting around between her and Psylocke and Joe while carrying Marrow. Rogue saw Storm shoot lightning at Sam, heard the thunder that she released. Marrow was screeching bloody murder and cussing a blue streak. Rogue watched Sam's flying become increasingly erratic. Though he appeared to be trying to head for Beast. There was another flash of lightning and Rogue saw Marrow drop to the floor, she was up in seconds though and pulling the bones from her shoulders. Rogue shuddered. There was more lightning and thunder and Rogue saw Storm flying back towards Beast and Maggott. There was an incredible crash but Rogue didn't look up as the game below her seemed to be coming to an end. Betsy dove into a shadow a split second before being hit by Joe's blast. Rogue noticed Joe's personal shield had flickered off. The boy was getting tired. Betsy was wearing him down. This time Betsy came out of the shadows directly in front of Joe. Her psychic knife manifested itself within a blink of an eye and she attacked. Psylocke's "knife" penetrated his failing body shield as Joe released an electro blast. Psylocke's power caused a surge in Joseph's power, and Psylocke was knocked unconscious by the force of it. Which sent her flying through the air. Joseph fell to his knees but didn't pass out. Rogue swooped down and caught Psylocke but, instead of putting her down she redirected Psylocke and sent her sprawling towards Marrow and Storm, Storm, being more skilled and more used to multiple battles going on around her, caught sight of Betsy's body coming at them before Marrow did and managed to avoid a direct hit as Betsy's body slammed into Marrow and subsequently her own. The three women ended in a tangled heap, which was hampered by Betsy being unconscious.

"Just like I wanted it wind-witch." Marrow snarled. "We gonna dance the dance or what?"

"You cannot win Marrow. You have not the skill of a true warrior nor the control of your mutant powers to be a true threat to me. I will not back away from this fight though, your anger and hatred must be contained, and controlled. Since you have shown no thought to controlling yourself. I shall do it for you." Storm formed a small tornado and lifted Marrow from her feet.

"You and the old man keep preaching the same thing wind-witch. Ya both sound like a broken record...control, control, control...ya so interested in control...try controllin' this." Marrow yanked two protruding bones from her back and leg. With a pop they broke loose and Marrow threw her bone spears at Storm. Storm easily dodged the first but the second spear grazed her head. Dodging again Storm cried out and let Marrow drop to the floor. Storm heard Marrow grunt as she hit the floor, and the unmistakable sound of breaking bones, whether they were the external bones that grew from Marrow body or bones that she used Storm neither knew nor cared at this point. Storm was angry. She raised to her feet and ran her finger over her cut scalp, surprised by the amount of blood that was flowing from the cut. A wind picked up in the room and storm's eyes started to glow ominously. Logan straightened, he didn't want to take her out but, he would if he needed to. He positioned himself to attack. Sam circled above him and swooped down to take Marrow out of the fight, Sam reached down and grabbed two bones that were sticking out from Marrow's shoulders. Marrow screamed at him. They lifted off into the air where Sam was going to throw Marrow at Maggott and Beast who were still fighting it out.

There was a bright flash of lighting, and a loud clap of thunder right by his ears. "YOW!!!" Sam changed direction trying to avoid the lightning. It wasn't hurting him yet but he could definitely feel the electric shock of them. he didn't relish the idea of being hit by lightning anymore. Marrow was still screeching at him. Calling him all sorts of names. Some of which he hadn't even heard of before. Storm was suddenly in front of him floating very serenely a mere ten feet from him. "Aaacckkk!" Sam managed to croak out. Desperately trying to avoid running into her. He knew he should run her down. that it was part of the exercise, and he knew he had just made a big mistake. but it went against everything his momma and daddy had taught him about hitting girls. " 'don't you ever, for any reason raise your hand or fist to a lady Samuel. A man is physically stronger than a woman and it is disgraceful that anyone should use their own physical superiority to dominate anyone else. It ain't right. It aint right to use your strength against anyone smaller than you and don't you forget it. There is no excuse for it. Period. Use your head. Ah ain't saying that someone smaller than you or a lady can't hurt you. They can. But, you being bigger and stronger have more to fall back on than either to keep gettin' hit or striking back. Use your strength to restrain 'em so they cain't hurt you no more. Yell at 'em ifn ya need to but don't you ever let me heah that ya raised your hand to a lady or you'll answer ta me. And you can learn what it feels like to be the smaller, weaker person in a fist fight.'"

Sam had never forgotten that and after his father had died, he had made sure that he taught his brothers the same thing and that his sisters knew it was just as disgraceful for a woman to strike someone as well. That being girls didn't mean they didn't hurt when they hit someone, but that not all men were alike and if they got used to hitting their brothers because they knew their brothers wouldn't hit them back wouldn't protect them from other boys or men who didn't follow the same thing and it could cause more problems.

Storm was a lady. He just couldn't bring himself to take her out in so physical a manner. He should have let go of Marrow. he thought as he turned away from Storm. Then Marrow would have plowed into Storm and maybe they would have knocked each other out. 'Now you think of an idea.' Sam thought, He dropped low, and circled the room again with Marrow cussing him the whole way. He heard Beast yell out as one of those little maggots bit through Hank's blue fur, Sam guessed. Making a decision, he headed for Beast and Maggott, Beast and Maggott were back in a corner away from most of the others. 'Jeez had this only been seconds? He saw Doctor Reyes and Bobby struggling on the floor below him. He saw Pyslocke jump at Joe and bounce off. He saw Rogue floating above Joseph and Psylocke, watching him. 'Where did Storm go?' Sam thought as he stuck close to the ground and close to one wall. "YOW!! Hey Storm that hurt!!" Sam hollered. She must really be sending big bolts at him, for him to be really feeling it. He was invulnerable when he blasted but he could feel things. Electric shocks affected him in a different way than other attacks though as well. They actually could zap him enough to lose concentration and then he would stop blasting and fall. He expected the next hit, but not how powerful it was going to be. He saw spots in front of his eyes this time and his arms went numb. Marrow must have noticed because she struggled and broke his hold and tumbled to the floor. Storm was suddenly in front of him again. This time he didn't try to swerve. He got to within five feet of her before his dad's voice popped into his head again. "Oh crap!!" and tried to turn. Storm just stayed there as serene as you please like nothing was happening. There was a blinding light as he turned away from her. A thunderous bang and another bolt of lightning hit him. He was disoriented, confused. He tried to get close to the ground to get his bearings. His vision cleared. He was on top of Hand and Maggott. he didn't want to kill anyone, he tried to stop. Beast managed a rather understated "Oh my." Maggott could only look at him in horror, and Sam had a fleeting thought that Marrow had a very bad influence on him as he yelled "SSSSHHHHIIIIITTT!!!!!!" as he plowed into the combatants, like his namesake.

By the wall next to the door Wolverine cringed, enjoying himself immensely. 'Oohhh, that's gonna leave a mark.' No one was moving in Beast and Maggott's corner. Warren had come to and sheepishly joined Wolverine on the sidelines. "What'd I miss?" Cringing as well, as the three men plowed into the wall behind them.

"Down to those five." Logan indicated Storm and Marrow who were re-engaging in their little fight, Betsy and Joseph who seemed to be playing cat and mouse and Rogue who was floating above them all watching. Warren sucked in his breath when Betsy barely dodged one of Joe's shots by diving into a shadow. Then she re-appeared in front of Joe Her psychic knife glowed a bright pink colour and she attacked, Joe yelled, Betsy cried out. Joe fell to his knees, Betsy was going to be killed Warren thought as she shot through the air. He was about to fly out and catch her when Rogue snatched her out of the air. he was about to call out a thanks to Rogue when Rogue turned in mid air and threw Betsy at Storm and Marrow. Warren yelled out in anger about to fly back in to the battle area and attack Rogue but, Wolverine's claws were suddenly in front of his face. "Don't interfere flyboy. Rogue didn't throw her to hurt her only to run interference. Look." Betsy's weight was used to bring down Storm and Marrow, though she didn't hurt anyone. Warren looked back at Rogue who had watched the fall then turned back to Joseph.

Joseph was desperately trying to get his bearings. He got his feet under him and looked around. Storm, Marrow and Psylocke were all in a tangled heap. He appeared to be the only one standing. One jolt of electricity and he would win. He heard a whooshing noise and looked up to see Rogue above him and landing directly in front of him. She looked as pretty as she had when she had walked in. More importantly she didn't even look out of breath. 'Damn. There goes my chance of winning.' Joe thought to himself. "Don't suppose you would be willing to let me catch my breath first would you?" He said to her with half a grin.

"Sorry sugah, but, ah intend to win this little fracas. If it makes you feel any better though, ah plan on winnin' usin' some of yoah power..." She smiled softly at him and kissed him on the cheek. He collapsed at her feet. Rogue turned towards her remaining competition. Marrow stood first. Storm shortly after her. Wolverine became aware of others joining them. Beast, Sam, and Maggott came to stand next to him and watch. Maggott's "pets" chewed through the ice and freed Doctor Reyes and Bobby. Wolverine heard Maggott commenting on getting to see a free cat-fight and grinned. The three women circled each other aware that the battle had come down to them.

"Hey wind-witch, you gonna try and kill me again huh? Gonna try and rip my heart out again? Maybe you and the Cajun had more in common than you are willing to admit to huh?" Marrow goaded.

"Shut up Marrow." Rogue growled.

"Gonna make me skunk-head?"

Rogue came in closer. As did Storm. "This is my battle Rogue. I will finish with Marrow and then we shall continue this exercise."

"Ah told ya when ah came in Storm. Ah ain't backin' down no more. Ah'm in control of mahself, the rules were set for this fight. You ain't gonna change 'em to settle your own little vendetta."

"Stay out of it Rogue." Storm said again. her eyes starting to glow.

"You've been so wrapped up in yoah own fight Storm you haven't seen what was goin' on around ya. First though, ah think that Marrow has to go. She's been gettin on mah nerves since she got heah."

"I will tell you once more Rogue, stand down on this. Marrow is mine to fight. I will deal with you later." Storm turned away from Rogue and faced Marrow.

"Wrong move 'Ro." Wolverine said under his breath. Rogue has been wound up so tight she bound to blow. She's lookin' for an outlet. She's tryin' to get some control back and you're ignorin' that and tryin' ta walk all over her to achieve what you want. You're a leader Storm, or you were. You should have seen this. Avoided it or diverted it by now, but, you've made things worse. Out loud he said. "Stand ready guys this just might turn ugly."

Rogue stepped closer into the battle. Storm turned on her. "I warned you child. If the only way for you to learn is by being forced, so be it." she raised her hands and lightning started to crackle.

Rogue had but seconds to act. She saw Marrow laugh. Saw the lightning shoot straight from Storms hands towards her. Rogue flicked her wrist and the lightning curved away from her and struck Marrow, blowing the girl off her feet. She lay unconscious about fifteen feet away. Rogue looked at Marrow for a moment then looked back at a stunned Storm. "Are ya happy now Storm. you beat her. You lashed out in anger. If ah hadn't siphoned off some of the power of yoah blast with Joseph's power, Marrow would be dead right now. You lost control Storm. You who preached it to me since day one of mah comin' heah.that ah had to control mah anger and mah powers. Well guess what ah have. It's been one hell of a battle but, ah've done it. I finally figured out what ah was doin' wrong all these years. Ah kept trying to control the things around me and the people around me like you and Scott. But somethin' happened when Erik the Red forced me to kiss Remy last time. Ah absorbed Remy and ah deserted Remy, and ah hated Remy, but as the mem'ries started to fade ah realised somethin'. Erik the Red had controlled me when ah kissed Remy, Remy's feelings of self guilt and hatred controlled me after ah'd kissed him, that was why ah left him behind. But when ah got back and ah said that Remy was dead to me it was because ah was angry at him. Ah had realised then that his force of will had taken over me and he made me leave him behind. He wouldn't listen to me in mah own head. Even when he had regained consciousness the remaining thoughts still ordered me about and made me do things ah didn't want to do. After his mem'ries were all gone, ah sat up all night thinkin' and ah realised that ah am to blame for what happened, to mahself and Remy. Ah was so used to givin in, to acceptin' defeat because ah couldn't do anythin' about losing control, ah realised ah hadn't lost control of mahself ah had given up control of mahself, ah wasn't even tryin' to do anything to help mahself. Ah had given up before ah even tried. Ah've been thinkin' about it since ah got home and when and how ah let it happen, and ah found it was when I tried to hard to control the things around me and not control mahself. That's what ah'm changin' now Storm. It may be too late to save Remy but ah plan on tryin. Ah'm takin' mah life back, Storm, and if that means startin' heah then so be it." During her speech, she had walked right up to Storm and was now within arm's length. She clipped Storm across the chin and knocked her out. Rogue was the last one standing. But she had gained more than the victory of the exercise she had won a victory over herself.

Rogue smiled and turned to look at the others.

Joseph was smiling at her. Logan was smiling as well. Those two men seemed to catch the deeper meaning behind what had happened faster than the others. Rogue didn't stick around though. She had someone to find. Someone she cared about. And this time HE was going to listen to HER. As she went to leave the Danger-Room, Logan asked, "Want some company?"

That was the best thing she liked about Wolverine. He always offered to help. to stand at your side. Not tell you what to do.

"I'd like that Logan."

"What are we waitin' for then. We got us a Cajun popsicle to find." Together they left the room and went in search of Remy LeBeau, Gambit, their friend.


The end.


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