Stories by Onyx
Rogue is confronted by the ghosts of those she has absorbed, and realizes the truth behind their anger at her.
"The Death of a Dream"
A What If? style story, based on the 1997 two-parter in which Psylocke defeated the Shadow King. Two years ago, all the telepaths were killed during a ferocious battle with the Shadow King, and now he holds this post-apocalyptic world beneath his heel. Brother kills brother, friends become enemies and new, unthinkable alliances are forged.
"The Resurrection Gauntlet"
Sequel to "Death of a Dream." Six years after the Shadow King has been defeated and the Brotherhood scattered, the future remains bleak for mutants and humanity alike. Sentinels and rogue factions of the Brotherhood remain, and Sinister rears his evil head amidst the chaos. Worst of all, the the two children who may hold the key to the worlds salvation are in danger. Can even the Master of Magnetism prevail above it all as he leads a new team of mutants into the fray to pursue a forgotten dream?
Web site: X-Men X-Travaganza
Disclaimer: All characters featured
in this story belong to Marvel and are used without permission,
blah, blah, blah :) You all know the drill.
About: This story was inspired by Uncanny X-Men #236,
wherein Rogue faces a scene much like this one. In that issue,
Carol rescued her from her ghosts because they still needed
each other. Now, with Carol finally gone, Rogue must face
them on her own.
Archiving: If you would like to archive this story,
please email Onyx
(that's me!) and ask for my permission. Otherwise, I will
have to hunt you down, tie you up, tape your eyelids open
and force you to read every bad X-Men comic ever written!
Don't make me do this! I have Lobdell comics out the yang
and am not afraid to use them! :)
Alone. She has always been alone, ever since she can remember,
in some way or another. As a child, it was being orphaned,
as a teen and adult, her mutant ability which she could never
control. It is dark here..(safe?) within the depths
of her soul. Retreating to the most primal of states, so deep
within herself that she (does not even want to?) cannot
even find the road home, traveling through the darkened streets
of her subconscious mind. The thought catches
to take hold, the images forming reality around her. Slowly
bleeding into life, appears a darkened city street, surrounded
by twisted, dilapidated buildings, crumbling with their own
age and rot. As silent and barren as a tomb, she knows that
nothing living dwells here. Any life it might have carried
once, fled long ago. Blackness all about...shadows within
not even a lit window to offer comfort or call
a wayward soul home. "Too dark", she thinks
immediately there is light. The neons flare all about her,
proclaiming their tacky and sometimes profane messages in
a rainbow of color from one end of the street to the other.
Bathed in their harsh light, she squints, truly seeing her
surroundings for the first time.
There is no sky
simply a dark pall which hangs above
the city like a disembodied soul, discernable only where it
meets the even blacker horizon in the distance. Not even a
breeze stirs upon the humid streets, the air about her almost
fetid as it clings to her form like second skin. Loathing
its touch, she brushes at her arms, hoping to drive away the
but it remains, as if it had (always
been there?) a life of its own. Trash litters the gutters,
lining the city street like forgotten treasures cast aside
long ago. Her nose wrinkles in disgust as the smells assail
her, decaying matter and debris fouling the air with their
pungent odors, somehow only worsened by the faint scent of
cheap perfume which fails to mask the stench. A concrete garbage
bin, a graveyard to an era past. Some of these buildings may
have been beautiful once, even majestic, rising high beyond
the horizon as if to touch the sky. Now they resemble little
more than broken, twisted fingers, grasping desperately upward
into the darkness as if for freedom The entire cityscape,
jagged and haphazard as it is, gives no illusions of grandeur
this is the bottom of the barrel. The poorest and cheapest
of big city backstreets.
Despite the oppressive heat, she brings her arms up to cradle
herself, as if to warm (protect?) herself. "Seedy
neighborhood," she thinks. "Thought ah had more
class." The thought startles her, the very cohesiveness
of it. She had been drifting within herself, with no line
to hold her. Out of mind, out of time, within a comforting
blackness that she had thought she could quickly grow used
to. There was no guilt here, no reminder of the sins and betrayals
of her past. Suddenly, she realizes, she has come aground.
"But why here?", she wonders. "After all ah
been through in mah life, this is the best my subconscious
can do to represent itself? Is this all there is inside of
me?" Again, she rubs her hands against her shoulders,
as if feeling a sudden chill.
"You ask me, you got it just right, kid. This neighborhood
suits you just fine. Trash for the trash."
The voice comes from behind her, but she does not even need
to turn to recognize its owner. "Carol Danvers,"
she whispers, her voice so shaky and thin that it is barely
audible, even upon the still air of the night. Her heart freezes
in her chest, blood turning suddenly cold, and she rubs her
hands against her arms vainly to warm them, knowing she cannot
escape this, nothing can save her from this.
"That's right, 'shugah.'" Carol's sarcasm is thick
as she moves around her, into her line of vision. Still wearing
her Ms. Marvel costume of years ago, she appears almost bigger
than life, a colorful splash of paint upon a dingy backdrop.
Long legged, beautiful and powerful, Carol Danvers had once
been the epitome of a super-heroine, representing the ideals
of such as an Avenger. But no longer. Smoothing her long blond
hair back from her face, Carol gives the girl a wicked smile
before continuing. "Long time, no see, 'shugah.' I was
beginning to think you had forgotten your old and bestest
"You're dead, Carol. Go away", she whispers, turning
her back on the woman again. "You and me, we parted ways
a long time ago after the Siege Perilous."
"Ah, yes," responds Carol, dryly. "That was
the point at which you forever destroyed Carol Danvers, once
and for all." She stalks in a slow circle about the younger
girl, like a killer moving in for its prey. " How very
thoughtful of you to finally finish the murder you began so
many years ago."
She closes her eyes, gathering her emotions, her thoughts,
trying to focus beyond the fear she feels, beyond the bone-numbing
cold which has settled into her frame. Colder and colder as
Carol moves ever closer to her with slow, deliberate steps.
"We been through this," she snaps through chattering
teeth. "You know ah never meant for that to happen."
"Like you never meant to leave the cajun boy to die
in Antarctica, 'shugah'?" she grins maliciously, bringing
her face within inches of the younger girls, watching her
fallen expression with something like wicked glee. "But
it did happen. It happened and now you have to live with it.
With both of us. What you feel now is just a taste of what
of what I endured. Think you can live with that?
Think I'm going to let you?" she laughs aloud, though
there is no humor in the sound, sliding around behind the
girl. "Our time together might be done, 'shugah'
rest assured, we'll never be even. And you'll never be free.."
The voice draws closer, breath hissing against the back of
her neck. "You may be rid of me, but you can never be
rid of your memories. And I'll make sure you never forgive
yourself for all the grief you've ever caused." The voice
fades, the last word drawing out in a long, sibilant sound,
its echo dying away long before the emotion it provokes does.
The feeling begins to return to her limbs as Carol's presence
fades, the chill slowly receding. "So cold
how Remy felt?" she wonders dully. A passing vision of
his still form lying on the barren plains of Antarctica, a
stabbing pain through her heart, and then she steels herself,
waiting for the stinging retort she knows will come. But none
does. Carol was gone, as if she had never been, and that was
as true in life as it was in here. Carol Danvers was gone.
Wiped out of existence years ago by a young girl who didn't
know the limitations of her own powers.
"Alone again," she thinks, eyes traveling up the
long city street aimlessly, not really seeing the vision before
them. Her thoughts drift back to that summer night
hot, so reminiscent of the night here. Just another job
run for Mystique and the Brotherhood. But it hadn't worked
out that way, had it? No, she had remained in physical contact
with Carol Danvers for too long, and the transfer of the woman's
abilities and memories had become permanent. In an instant,
in a horrible, unexpected accident, both lives were forever
changed. She had stripped Carol Danvers of all her powers,
everything that made her who she was. For her
part, her mind could not assimilate the two dramatically different
psyches, and she lost any sense of self she had ever had.
A fitting punishment, perhaps, for a crime that was almost
the same as murder. Yes, she had murdered Carol Danvers as
much as if she had driven a knife through her heart. And then
tried to murder her again when Carol's psyche was finally
separated from her own. With only enough life force between
the two of them to sustain one being, she had fought for her
very life against the former Ms. Marvel. She would have lost,
too, if not for the intervention of Magneto. .Magneto
His image flashes before her
his steel-blue eyes losing
none of their intensity within her mind. So handsome
tormented. A man with a past he cannot remember, and she with
one she would give anything to forget.
.," she trails off
the whisper, not quite (daring?) knowing how to finish
her plea. His image grows solid before her, taking on substance
even as she watches, until he is almost as real as herself.
She stares at him for long, silent moment, thinking, remembering,
even as she realizes that he is not truly there. Less real
than Carol somehow
more ethereal. More a ghost of memory
than a true representation of him.
"What, Rogue? What would you wish?" he asks, his
voice as kind and gentle as she has always remembered it,
smiling as he reaches up to touch
"No! Don't touch me, Joseph." she shrinks away,
recoiling from his hand as if she had been struck.
"A li'l late for that, petite, no?" comes the mocking
voice now, deeper, more baritone with its thick accent.
Horrified to the core of her soul, she cannot help herself
as her eyes rise, riveted upon the rapidly changing face of
Joseph. The sweet smile fading, replaced by a cocky, half-smirk,
steel-blue eyes glowing brighter until they burn like red
hot coals. The features sharper, more defined, though no less
handsome in their own rugged way. "Remy
she whispers, at once terrified and relieved, repulsed and
yet drawn to him.
"Thas right, petite. Nice to you haven't forgotten me
if you did leave me to die," he continues in that easy
voice of his, the one that oozes like melted butter, soothing
even the most troubled soul. The voice that wooed her, that
made its way into her heart and became part of her. Oh, how
she loved (loves?) that voice.
His words strike home, and she crumples before him, knees
going weak and giving out as she slumps to the ground. "You're
not really here," she says flatly, her voice lacking
the conviction of her words.
," he makes a sweeping motion with
one hand through the air, a cigarette appearing between his
fingers as he reaches the arc of his movement. Drawing it
back down to his lips, a bright flame appears in the darkness
and dies, leaving behind a glowing ember. Exhaling smoke in
a curling blue-gray cloud, he continues. "Dat not entirely
true, petite. No one knows better den me dat whatever a body
takes into it, whatever deeds a body does, it keeps a bit
of. Sometimes it's only a memory, sometimes it's only a stain
or two, and sometimes, enough to blacken an entire soul. Everything
we take in leaves something behind, petite."
She stares at the ground, eyes fixed on the tips of his boots
as he speaks, not daring to meet his eyes. The silence stretches
between them like a chasm, yet another barrier she cannot
break. Finding herself without words as her mind reels with
the implications of his statement, she begins to retreat even
further, willing this world away, seeking a deeper place,
a darker place, a place where she will not have to face this
him. She cannot. The city shimmers about her, growing dim
for a moment, almost flickering
as if its power supply
had suddenly been cut short. And before her, one booted toe
begins to tap.
," she manages to croak, staring with
disbelief at the form of Gambit still before her. The street
beneath his feet, almost transparent, intangible
yet, he stands upon it, solid and real as she. "How?"
she wonders aloud, and regrets the question the moment it
leaves her lips. The city snaps back into focus as she finds
her total attention upon him, escape forgotten.
"So, glad you asked petite", he replies, his smile
evident in his tone of voice. "Dat's what I been tryin'
to tell you. See, everyone you ever touched, everyone you
ever took into you through their memories and powers, dey
all still here. Beast would probably call it some kind of
a small piece of each person left behind
as they passed through your mind. Me
I just call'em ghosts."
He pauses for a long moment, as if to let the words sink in.
"And in here, chere, dey just as real as you are."
I stole a tiny piece of every one of
them?" she asks timidly, still trying to evade the truth
even as her heart sinks within her chest.
The sly smirk deepens, one corner of his mouth curling up
into a tiny sneer. "But petite, dat's what you do. You're
a thief, just like me. Only you steal lives instead of purses
or hearts. You reaped a real coop when you got me, though
and life. You took it all away chere. Years of struggling,
trying to be a better man den I was, learning to love
you destroyed it all for me in less time than it takes to
The tears brim within her eyes, threatening to spill over
in a torrent of emotion. Concentrating, she wills them back,
holding them in check, knowing somehow, that if she does not,
she will lose herself completely in them. "Remy
.", she breaks off, not quite knowing how (daring?)
to finish her sentence.
He hunkers down, balancing his weight on the balls of his
feet as he wraps his arms about his knees. His voice is almost
tender as he speaks, one gloved fingertip touching a lone
tear as it escapes the confines of her lashes. "What,
petite? Sorry? Is dat what you were going to say? How sorry
you are?" Withdrawing his hand, he shakes his head, uttering
a dry, bitter laugh. "Darlin', you ain't seen sorry yet
his voice grows low, more conspiratorial. He gives a sly glance
to either side, then rises, the ever-present smirk growing
even wider as he stands.
"See, I been here for quite a while now. Had plenty
of time to make some friends
and ain't none of them too
happy wit you, petite." With a grin, he steps back, a
shadowy crowd suddenly forming on the empty city street.
They are distorted at first, like images glimpsed through
curved glass, slowly becoming more defined. She recognizes
each silhouette, each curve and nuance of every individual.
Juggernaut, Captain America, Thor, Thing, Wolverine, Storm
many of them, their numbers growing even as she watches. Every
person she ever touched, every memory or ability she ever
stole, all of them, still here within her, like ghosts from
the past. Some of them appear very faint, almost transparent,
others so vivid and real, complete to the most minute detail.
She raises her hands (against?) to them, as if to (ward
them off?) plead their forgiveness, her mouth opening
as if to speak, yet no words spill forth. Any apology locked
tight within her throat, the only sound she hears is that
of her beating heart, its rhythm suddenly leaping forward
with adrenaline. She knows what comes next
oh yes, she
knows all too well. It is what she herself would seek, if
she had been violated so. Suddenly, a chill wind rises, sweeping
over her body and raising the hairs upon her neck. She shudders
and wraps her arms tightly about herself, bowing her head
so that she will not have to watch, accepting her fate silently.
She pauses for just a moment to ponder the irony of the sudden
after all, revenge is a dish best served cold
She makes no sound as they come for her, refusing to cry
out even as they rend, tear, pummel and blast her. She is
lost in the flurry of blows, each excruciating moment of pain
an eternity, each blow a reminder of her past sins. She almost
welcomes it, not fearing her death
in fact, she nearly
embraces it, moving closer toward the comforting blackness.
Justice served at last, she thinks, as coherently as she can
beyond the pain. She forces herself to keep her eyes open,
to witness every moment of retribution. Their faces swirl
before her, a myriad sea of color and feature
enemies, even those she does not know. Their visages twisted,
almost demented with their terrible pleasure at her pain,
loving every moment of revenge. They are demonic, savage,
caricatures of their normal selves, and she cannot help but
wonder if they were always so, just beneath the surface. Always
hating her for what she took from them, always wanted to pay
her back for violating their very body and soul.
Body broken and bleeding, injured beyond any chance of repair
or life, and yet she lives on. Enduring it all without complaint,
she prays incessantly for the end. The end of her pain, of
all her years of torment and loneliness, to be finally free
of the guilt over what her powers have inflicted on others,
to finally pay the price for her transgressions in this life.
To be forgiven, to be absolved.
So cold, she thinks, no warmth left. Surely the end must
draw near, her lifesblood spilling onto the dirty concrete
of the city street.
eeee." Her words
are but a whistle of air as she forces them through cracked
lips and gum, a testament to the life she still miraculously
"Ready for the end, darlin'?" Wolverine's bloody
claws almost seem to flex as he clenches and unclenches his
fists, eyes dark and intense as he brings his face closer
Unable to speak, she tries to nod instead, her head lolling
helplessly to the side as her severed, battered muscles give
"That'd be the easy way out," he agrees, nodding
slightly. "But that's not the way it works." He
stands, sheathing his claws with a click of finality.
And before her eyes, the phantoms begin to wink out, one
by one, as if they simply ceased to exist.
," she gasps, almost desperate
to stop them. They cannot leave yet, not before the final
judgement has been carried out. They can't leave her like
a broken shell of a human being, dying slowly and
forgotten all alone. Even she had never been so inhumane
Oh, but hadn't she? Came the mocking voice from the back
of her mind. Hadn't she when she had stolen Carol Danvers
life and then tried to kill her? Hadn't she when she had fought
against Carol for her own lifeforce, lifeforce that would
have let Carol live again? Hadn't she when she had stolen
the X-Men's powers to better defeat her own opponents?
But Ah was only trying to help them win, to save mah own
life, she pleads against the accusations.
Liar! You did it because you enjoyed it, you wanted to feel
their lives inside you, to have something to fill that empty
void you carry around. You can't have your own life so you
live through others, isn't that it?
No! That's not true! Ah didn't
" Her own voice. She stops speaking
in wonder of the sound, awareness finally returning.
"Ah'm whole again," she whispers, both happy and
saddened by the fact, all the while pondering how it could
be so. "As perfectly whole and
miserable as Ah was
." Slowly, she rises from the dirty street,
testing each limb for stability and finding them as strong
as ever. As if the whole scenario had never happened
it had...hadn't it?
"Sure did, darlin.'" Wolverine's voice from behind
her. She spins, ready for his attack, and finds herself facing
not just one teammate, but all of them. Her stance relaxes,
and she again accepts her fate. Who, if not the X-Men, had
more right to (hurt?) punish her? In the front stand
Wolverine, Storm and Gambit, their expressions unreadable
as they stare at her.
"Then why am Ah still alive?" she asks, almost
"Because, chere, dat was never de intended outcome,"
Gambit replies smoothly from Storm's side.
but why not?" she asks, her voice growing
small again as she sinks down to the ground, giving in to
the weight of the sorrow within her. "Ah
to die after everything Ah did
"So you would just give up then? Without a fight? Without
striving to make up for whatever wrongs you have done in your
past?" It was Storm speaking this time, and the calm,
even tone of her voice held just a bit of reproach. "I
cannot believe that you have spent so much time with we X-Men
and yet learned nothing of our ways."
"But Ah have tried!" she cried out, raising her
head to look at them all. "Ah have! And it's not enough
"And why is dat, chere?"
," she struggles to
answer his question, the conflicting emotions within her so
tangled that she cannot put them into words. "It just
isn't," she finishes, in a bare whisper.
"An who says so, darlin'? Who passes judgement on any
o' us in this life, besides God himself, if you believe in
Again she is almost stumped by the question, thinking the
answer obvious. "Well..but
she replies helplessly. "Everyone Ah ever known has passed
judgement on me one way or another."
"But who passes your sentence, Rogue? Who is that makes
you suffer for your sins in this life?"
She is left wordless, without any hope of answer. She has
never pondered the question before, she realizes, and now
that she does, there is no answer
she doesn't (want to?)
know. She stares at them for a long time, wondering if they
know the answer, wondering if she should know as well. They
seem so sure, as if they all know, she thinks. Why doesn't
"Ah don't know", she says finally, admitting defeat.
"You, chere." Gambit drops down, resting on his
knees before her. "Only you."
"M-Me?" she asks, her voice filled with disbelief,
too stunned by the revelation to even let it register yet.
"That's right darlin', only you. You're the only one
that can forgive yourself, and you're the only one that can
make yourself suffer."
," she struggles to grasp
the concept, feeling the realization dawn on her. "All
of this," she gestures weakly at the city around them,
Ah did this?"
Storm nods gravely, looking at her with something like sympathy.
"These phantoms, they exist to be sure, but they are
an inevitable by-product of your power. All of them, save
Carol and Cody, have survived their encounters with you unscarred.
You have repented for those mistakes ever since they happened,
and yet you still torture yourself with the thought of their
hatred for you. These phantoms have no power over you, no
unless you let them."
"Forgive yourself, chere," Gambit urges, taking
her hand in his.
"And ya'll forgive me?" she asks quietly, not really
believing that they ever would.
"For what, darlin'? For not knowin' any better? For
tryin' your hardest to make it right when you finally did
know better? For fightin' for your life?" Logan shook
his head. "There's no forgiveness to be asked for that."
Stunned, she barely notices the tears streaming down her
cheeks as she turns to Gambit. "Remy
do ya'll forgive
"You only did what I would've done to myself, chere,
when you left me behind. How can I blame you?"
She gives in to the sobs then, wrapping her arms around Gambit
and holding him tight against her.
"Forgive yourself, chere
.forgive and den all tings
"Even controlling mah power?" she asks softly,
"Especially dat." He smiles, drawing back to brush
her cheek lightly with one gloved hand. "Once de healin'
starts, once you accept who and what you are, you can do anyting.
," he whispers, his form growing hazy and
beginning to vanish.
A moment later, she sits alone on the city street, her mind
filled with everything she has learned. "It's been up
to me all along," she says, realizing it aloud with wonder.
Then she smiles for the first time, her heart almost as light
as her form as she takes to the air, climbing her way from
her subconscious with rapid speed. The dingy city fades away
behind her, and she just sees the beginning of a new structure,
solid and beautiful, begin to take form in its place.
And then, she wakes.
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