DISCLAIMER: Rogue and the X-Men
belong to Marvel Comics. This is an unauthorized use of the
X-Men. I am not making any money off of this so please don't
sue me. This fanfic is copy-right by me, Link.
Timeline: This story takes place before Onslaught,
around the time when Rogue and Joseph first met. The story
is not center around them (sorry) and I selected this moment
for no particular reason. I just wanted to try something different.
That's all. And also don't bother to look for Gambit in here
They didn't finish the entire meal and so they ended up asking
for a doggie bag. Rogue noticed that Joseph was cautious when
tasting the other dishes and had a large helping of the less
spicier food. He's definitely a fast learner, she thought.
The waitress returned with the bill and the customary oranges
and fortune cookies. As she cleared the table, a tiny strand
of brown hair fell free from her pony tail. She looked tired
but still gave a warm smile and politely asked if the meal
was to their satisfaction. Rogue made sure she left a large
gratuity. She knew all too well what it was like waiting tables.
While Joseph snacked on oranges, Rogue snatched up the tiny
fortune cookie and broke it, reading the message inside. 'Be
ready to go on a long journey to far away places.' She
chuckled at the obvious tardiness of the fortune.
I'm already on it, she countered in her mind. From
east coast to the west and now back to the east again, if
that wasn't her long journey then she didn't want to go on
a longer one. She'd seen enough of the country in one year.
The day wasn't over yet and they milled around a bit. They
were near the downtown area and so they headed out to the
stores. Swinging her leftover bag, Rogue carelessly strolled
along with Joseph a step behind her. She wanted to do something
and felt a little restless. And then she spotted the perfect
"C'mon. It's been ages since ah've been ta a bookstore,"
she told Joseph. He nodded and followed behind her.
It was new modern type of bookstore that opened late at night.
It acted more like a lounge room complete with a cafe on the
second floor. Many people were browsing around, some reading,
others relaxing and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Rogue
made her way to the magazine racks, hoping to find something
interesting. Her fingers ran across the smooth glossy covers.
Most had pictures of models or actors and others had a few
well known athletes. Following her example, Joseph perused
beside her. He selected a small yellow bordered magazine and
set out to find a vacant seat.
Two subjects always seemed to dominate the media: Hollywood
and politics. Right now, politics was winning with its upcoming
presidential election. There were photographs of the candidates
with their gleaming white teeth and their hand waves. It was
like a fierce smiling competition, each trying to outdo the
Her stomach went into a knot. If only she hadn't eaten recently,
she groaned. One name struck hard and fast in her mind; Graydon
Creed. With all the problems she had now, she felt life getting
a little more complicated. Just what the world needs right
now, a son of a mutant, mutant-hating fanatic, she brooded.
She skimmed through the article about him. As usual he was
stirring up trouble, proposing tougher regulations on mutants
and promising to create a task force specially designed to
defend the normal public from dangerous mutants. Normal, she
scoffed. That was a word she thought she knew the meaning
to, what he thought she wanted to be. How ironic that Creed
should call himself normal considering who his parents are.
She still had a hard time believing Mystique was his mother.
It had been a long time since she last saw her adoptive mother
and she fervently hoped she's staying out of trouble.
Losing her urge to catch up with current events, Rogue gave
out a huge yawn. It was best to get an early start in the
morning and beat rush-hour traffic. She wasn't in the mood
for another two hour crawl.
"Joe, ah changed mah mind. Ah'm kinda of tired. Let's
go--Joseph?" She looked around, unable to spot his long
white hair. She found an empty chair with an open National
Geographic laying on the glass table. It was the same yellow-bordered
magazine he had picked up earlier, but where was its reader?
"Joe, where are ya?" Sprinting down the aisle,
she stuck her head around the corner. "Joseph?"
she called out again.
Rogue searched for another five more minutes, hoping for
a tiny glimpse of white hair, but no such luck. All she found
were rows of books and book patrons.
Where did he wander off to? He couldn't have been sucked
up by a vortex without her knowing it.... Could he? Oh, god!
She was tempted to take to the air for an aerial view. The
ceilings were high enough, but she pushed that plan away.
How could she lose one amnesiac, rejuvenated super mutant
Rogue stopped and twisted around to find a very young store
clerk. His baseball cap was on backward and he was down on
his knees, busily shelving the paperbacks. Without looking
up from his work he suggested, "You should try the children's
section. Kids always end up there."
"The children's section?" she repeated.
"Yeah. Your kid's probably there right now. And oh,
we have a discount on fairy tales and nursery rhymes this
week only. It's our special deal. Maybe you can get your son
"Uh, thank you," she replied and rapidly walked
away. She had to relax. There was no reason to panic. Joseph
was a reasonable adult and he had to be here somewhere. He
couldn't have gotten into any trouble in a bookstore. Rogue
halted when something clicked in her head and turned back
to the clerk. He had moved on to the next aisle. She didn't
look that old to have a child, did she? She grunted, slightly
offended by the statement. And clerk also assumed that Joseph
was her son. Joseph, her son? Hmph! Ridiculous. It was definitely
more Scott and Jean's department than hers.
To her immediate relief, she found her lost stray. Amazingly
enough, the store clerk got it right. Sitting in a tiny plastic
orange chair, Joseph was seriously absorbed in one of the
children's book while a group of kids beside him were paying
him no mind. They were enthusiastically playing with the Legos
set there by the store and looked to be in the process of
constructing a large fortress A rather deformed one.
Quietly she peered over his shoulder to see what had gotten
his undivided attention.
"Oh I'm sorry. Were you looking for me?" The light
chair tipped over as he rose from his seat.
"It's all right. Jus' next time, tell me where ya goin'."
She nodded to the book. "Whatcha got there?"
"Uh, it's nothing really. I thought the pictures were
well drawn so I thought I take a closer look." He tried
to put it away, but Rogue snatched a hold of it and flipped
the book closed. The front cover had the lovely medieval picture;
a castle covered by vines and three miniature fairies floating
over a young sleeping woman. Golden letters embossed the upper
portion, marking the title.
"Sleeping Beauty. Ah remember this. Mah mamma read it
ta me once when ah wouldn't go ta bed." She smiled a
bit as she recalled her youth. "She told me if ah go
ta sleep a handsome prince would kiss me awake in th' mornin'."
"Did you do it? Go to sleep I mean," he asked.
"Well, yeah. Ah was only seven years old," she
explained. She thumbed through the pages before handing it
back to Joseph.
"It only means you're a romantic at heart if remembered
that from your childhood."
"Ah guess it does." For an amnesiac, he was very
perceptive or at least tried to be. For her, she only remembered
being very miffed at the trick her mother played on her. Nothing
romantic about that. "Do ya want me ta buy ya a copy?
If ah heard right, the store's havin' a sale." A mischievous
grin suddenly grew on her face. "It'll keep ya busy while
we're on th' road."
"No thank you," he replied dryly. "I do not
think I am that young."
She laughed. "Jus' thought ah ask."
They left the bookstore without any incident and retrieved
the car to find a motel for the night. It took no time at
all to find one and Rogue drove into the parking lot. She
told Joseph to unload while she stepped into the office to
register them in.
The office was empty. She could distinctly hear a television
somewhere in the background and the smell of hamburger lingered
in the air. She saw an 'Out to Lunch' sign and found the nightly
rates on a board hanging on the back wall.
"'Ello? Any one here?" she called out. It was awfully
late to be still having lunch, she thought as she casually
lifted the 'Out to Lunch' sign.
A head popped out of the doorway at the sound of her voice.
He was an elderly man with a thin white wispy hair and a wrinkly
face. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I didn't hear you come in. What
can I do for you?" He quickly yanked the sign off and
pulled out a book.
"Ah need a room fo' the night," she replied. She
pulled out her purse to dig through her things. A slight draft
blew in as the front door opened.
"You and the mister want a queen-size bed or separate
twins?" he asked.
Rogue jerked her head up and gawked at him and then turned
back to find Joseph waiting behind her. He obviously didn't
hear what the old man said because he was only watching the
cars drive by.
She could feel her cheeks warm at the innocent misunderstanding
and answered, "No. We're not married. Ah need two rooms,
please. And if it's possible, can ah have them next ta each
He grinned. "No problem, miss. You and your friend can
have number five and six. Just sign here." She paid him
and he passed her two sets of keys.
As they were heading to their rooms, Joseph asked, "Is
anything wrong? Your face is red. Did that man say something
"It's nothing ta worry about, sugah. It was a mite warm
in there, that's all. Here's yoah key. If ya have any problem,
ah'm next door," she blurted out. Grabbing her things
from him, she bolted inside her room, threw her bags by the
bed and headed straight for the bathroom. She didn't even
notice the shabby curtains, the orange flower wallpaper, the
two-decade old television sitting on old dresser or that the
bedcovers were the color pink. Rogue only peeled off her gloves
and splashed her face with cold water. She stared into the
mirror to discover a slightly wet pink faced woman with a
striking white strip in her hair.
First the guy at the bookstore thought Joseph was her son
and now the old man thought he was her husband. "Ah suppose
next people are gonna think we're brother an' sister,"
she muttered as she toweled her face off.
She didn't particularly understand why she became so embarrassed
at the mistake. It didn't mean anything to her. They were
only friends. Or why she had the sudden need to get away from
him. Sure, he was sorta good-looking, but so were most of
her guy friends; Bobby, Warren, and heck, even Scott had his
days when he wasn't being leader-like. Must be her old-fashion
nature at work.
She slumped down on her bed and clicked on the television.
The news had just ended so the late night shows were beginning.
Taking out the Chinese left-over, she was determined to get
a few laughs before going to sleep.
Continued in Chapter
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