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"Sleeping Beauty"

Sleeping Beauty

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

This story is in progress.

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 either.

Chapter 2

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 solution.

"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 other.

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 like this?


"Excuse, ma'am."

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 a copy."

"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 other?"

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 to you?"

"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 3.


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