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"Sleeping Beauty"

Sleeping Beauty

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

This story is in progress.

Sorry about the delay, folks. How long has it been since I've posted? Who knows. I can't even remember the exact nature of this plot. I thought of it during my college years. I can't seem to remember much of anything during that time either. Go figure.
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.
Thanks to Smoot and Mitai for beta-reading.

Chapter 3

A heavy rumble of a passing car woke Rogue from her light slumber. Finding it way too early to get up, she stayed in bed with the covers draped her head, enjoying the warmth of the bed. Rogue stayed there for a moment longer before pulling the covers off her head. Her eyes squinted at the morning sunlight and she groaned, turning over onto her side. She soon came to one conclusion with her time spent on the road. She hated driving. As a flyer, when she needed to get somewhere fast, she just flew. Gravity was never a problem in her case and when she couldn't fly herself there was always the Blackbird to carry her to her destination. Driving was a pain in the neck. There was the traffic, air pollution, and other rude drivers to contend with. And driving was so much slower than flying. The distance traveled in one hour of driving would take only five minutes to cover if she flew.

Rogue, of course, could fly back to Westchester and ditch her car. Joseph would have no problem keeping up with her. He had shown to be very capable of flight. His amnesia didn't seem to have affected his use of his mutant power. So why didn't she? Well, there were a lot of good reasons not to hurry back. At least, that was what she told herself. Right now, she couldn't think of any good ones and the ones she did think of seemed so weak. Truthfully, she was being a weenie. She just didn't want to face Remy. At times she felt like a heel from leaving him in Seattle when there was obviously something eating at him, torturing him. Other times she just didn't want to deal with his ideas of leaving the past buried. In her experience, the past never stay buried and often had a way of coming back to haunt you at the worst possible moments, and from what she felt and what little she remembered from their kiss, his problem was bad, real bad. Something that terrified him to no end. Though she couldn't blame him. Her own life wasn't exactly peachy. There were a lot of things she wasn't proud of. But goddamn, she just wished he would let her help him. If only he would open up a tiny bit.

She sighed. No point moping all morning about it. Some men were bad at accepting help. She briefly wondered if Joseph would behave like Remy under similar circumstances.

Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, she repeated the name over and over her mind. Why did he pick out that name? More importantly, what's going on in his head? She thought back to last night's little event. The bookstore certainly had its charm and atmosphere. A place where a gal could forget her troubles and relax. It was also a place where a gal could lose an omega-class mutant if she wasn't too careful. Joseph running off the way he did spooked her mighty good. She couldn't imagine her relief to find him safe and sound.

Overall nothing bad had happened, so maybe she shouldn't fret so much about it. But a lingering worry stayed with her like a flea on a dog, just itching her on a spot she couldn't quite reach or ignore. What if he had encountered unfriendly folks? Folks who might otherwise cause him to react in unfriendly-like ways? Rogue had seen the darker and more unpredictable side of him. She couldn't be sure what state of mind he was in or how much of that old Magneto was still in him, but she knew it was her responsibility to watch over him and make sure no one got hurt. Had Cyke been here to see her lose Joseph like that, she wouldn't hear the end of it for weeks. She had definitely better get him to Westchester without any more delay. Lord knows how many more little surprises she'd encounter before then.

A small light knock interrupted her thoughts. "Who is it? Joe is that you? Ya sure know how ta ruin a gal's mornin'," she replied, disgruntled. She switched over to her other side and pulled the covers tightly over her head. Why does he have to be such an early bird? It was way too cold to get out of bed.

"Um...Milady. Am I intruding? I could come back when you are ready," a tiny voice spoke coyly.

Milady? The unfamiliar word echoed in her mind until it finally registered that no one should be calling her that. Her eyes shot wide open and she sat up straight in her bed. The cheap flower wallpaper was replaced with stone walls covered with archaic tapestries. The dirty, faded curtains became long flowing curtains that reached the floor, decorated with thick tassels, and the bed itself was a large canopy with thick wool blankets. Not the dull pink covers.

"Milady?" the voice repeated. "Is something the matter?"

Milady? The word echoed in her mind again. Rogue peered down to look at her clothing and found herself dressed in a white-laced nightdress. Where were her x-tra large tee-shirt and sweat pants she had put on the night before? Her head spun around as she tried to find any remaining signs of the motel room. The old television, the broken-down dresser and the lamp with the giant shade; they were all gone.

"Oh mah lawd! What in sam hills is goin' on here?"

"Your highness? Is something wrong? What ails you? Please answer." The voice became louder and more frantic.

Rogue quickly leapt out of bed and found herself standing the middle of a spacious and strangely decorated room. She nearly jumped back into the bed when she noticed that her bare feet were not standing on the shag carpet. Instead, the head of a bear was attached to this one. She found a full length mirror by a huge oak dresser.
In the reflection, she saw her own self with the same old white stripe in her auburn hair. At least she still had that. She wasn't different. The creaking of the door hinge broke her from her trance and reminded Rogue she wasn't alone. The door first cracked open a tiny sliver and then the sliver widened with an elderly lady cautiously peeking through.

"Where am ah an' who are you?" she asked, puzzled.

The old woman stuck her head through the opening and looked around the room. When she found nothing wrong, she relaxed and smiled, revealing a missing tooth. "Princess Rogue, whatever do you mean? It is just I, Melli. Heavens, it is near noontime. You have slept through the whole morning, child," she explained. She pulled the wooden door wide open and stepped inside. Rogue almost tripped over her feet when she saw what the old woman was dressed in. She was wrapped in layers of garments and the sleeves hung down so low, it almost touched the floor.

"Princess? Who are ya callin' a princess?" she questioned. "An' who are you again? Melli?"

The old woman looked like she was about to faint. Her face lost all of her color and her hand flew to her neck like she was expecting the Grim Reaper at her doorstep. "You can't have forgotten me. You break my poor old heart if you do. I've taken care of you since you were a wee baby."

Rogue eyes narrowed suspiciously and she frowned. "Are ya on some medication, granny? Ya musta gotten th' wrong room. Ah nevah seen you b'fore in mah life."

The old woman's expression changed from sadness to concern. "Your highness, please. Rest easy. Your ordeal has put too much strain on you. Perhaps a good bath and a hot meal will ease your weary head. Come, child. Let old Melli take good care of you."

She extended her bony hand and Rogue backed away from her until she hit the bed. She was thinly dressed as it was, and there was no need to find out what was in the old woman's head. "Ah think maybe ya gone plumb loco, lady. Where's the manager?"

"Manager? Princess, whatever are you talking about?"

"Nevah mind. Ah'll find him mahself." She dodged around the old woman and stormed out of the room. Walking out barefoot, she headed down the hallway ignoring the cold draft flowing up her gown.

"Your highness, wait. Please. You should not be moving around dressed in that. You will catch yourself a death of cold." Seeing that she would be unable to stop Rogue, Melli ran off in the other direction, shouting. "Maria! Maria, hurry! The Princess is not well. Oh, where are you, lazy girl?"

"Ah'm gonna find out what's gonna on here if that's the last thing ah'm gonna do. Joseph! Where are ya? Holler if ya can hear me," Rogue yelled. Was he also locked up in another room? Maybe little old man would be waking him up and asking to give him a bath too. She giggled and then grimaced at the idea.

She walked passed several other people all dressed in strange outfits. Some of the women gasped as she ran by. The others simply shielded the men's eyes when they gaped at her. She ignored them all, though some things were too out of place not to notice. She passed through a huge archway that led to a capacious area, and there she stopped and stared.

Toto, we're definitely not in Kansas any more, she thought. The room was a library of some sort; at least three levels high filled with hundreds of books of every size and color. The sunlight poured through stained-glass windows, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. At the far end of the room was a massive fireplace with two ornate statues, standing on each side. Definitely not the motel. She expected the Munchkins to appear next, singing and dancing their little tune. Well, not really, but if they did, she wouldn't be surprised.

"Who's in here?" a man called out.

Rogue turned around and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw whom the voice belonged to. "Scott, yoah here? Thank goodness.What's goin' on here? Where's Joseph? Where's everyone else?"

"What did you call me?"


"Is that any way to speak to your father?"

Rogue's mouth dropped open. "Father?"

"Yes, daughter? Now what is all the excitement about? And who is Joseph? There is no one here by that name."

"Don't tell me ya gone crazy too." She stared at Scott and the clothes he was wearing. He wore his usual ruby quartz visor, but he also wore a deep blue velvet puffy shirt with a gold chain linking one side to the next. And his pants -- well, she wouldn't exactly call them pants, more like tights, were showing off his legs, which weren't too bad looking in her opinion.

"Did ya fall off yoah rocker? And what are ya wearin'? Ah hope ya don't mind me sayin', but that's really tacky. Ah wouldn't be caught dead wearin' something lahk that, Scott."

"Tacky?!" he bellowed. It didn't take a genius to see Scott did not like his clothes referred to as tacky. "Rogue, I have had enough of this. Go back to your room and get dressed before I have the guards drag you back. I knew I should not have allowed you to attend that banquet. You are much too young to be up so late."

Rogue was speechless. She might have stood there forever staring at Scott if a certain lovely red-haired lady hadn't approachex them. The hem of her dress reached the floor where it dragged, making a small sound, which alerted Rogue to her presence. A simple array of jewelry decorated her neck and arms. The most prominent one was the gold medallion with the mythical phoenix engraved on it.

"Jean," Rogue uttered quietly. "Is that you?"

"Oh Scott. Do not be so harsh on the child. She simply had too much wine at the festival."

Scott only folded his arms and scowled at his wife. "It is no excuse. Young royal princesses should not be shouting and prancing about like water nymphs. It is not decent and certainly not ladylike. As our only daughter, it is her duty to uphold a proper and honorable image as a noblewoman. What she does will reflect on the family honor."

Jean smiled warmly and moved gracefully to him and pulled at his arm. "But what is honor? Nothing more than false pretenses to appease our own needy vanity and pride. And what is pride? A luxury we can surely do much without."

Scott wasn't in a playful mood and would have none of Jean's banter. He kept his arms firmly by his sides. "As a royal personage of such high standing, it our responsibility and duty to maintain a realm of dignity, nobility and order. If commoners can not be guaranteed of this simple task, then there is surely chaos and madness in the world."

"What is a little chaos now and then to animate the body and the senses," Jean retorted. "To liven up the spirit and the home."

"Order is what we strive for and what we must achieve," Scott countered, raising his voice and his chin. "There is peace and prosperity in law and order. Nature has her order and so shall we."

"What is day without the night? What is hope without despair? And what is the sun without the moon? The first can not do without the other and the other can not survive without the first. Both you and I know there must be a balance between the two. And between the two you will have your harmony."

He tossed his hands into the air and spun around. "Enough! You lead me around in circles like a tied donkey. I cannot tell if I should either go insane or become enraged."

Jean chuckled. She took his hand and kissed his palm ever so gently. "O husband of mine, you take matters much too seriously. There are far greater matters for you to encumber yourself on than the conduct of one daughter. No harm was committed. No lives were lost. You only wreck havoc on your nerves and senses. Come, forget last night's event and indulge the good day while you can. Life is too precarious to waste on such an innocent and unimportant happening."

Scott laughed. "And you, my dear precious wife, are too relaxed a woman to suit my taste or my sanity." He gathered her into his arms, leaned her back and planted a passionate kiss on her lips.

"Jean? Scott?" Rogue muttered. She realized she wasn't in the Land of Oz, but in the Twilight Zone. They weren't talking like their normal selves. In fact, she didn't know what they were just talking about. She wanted to question them, but they were still kissing. Rogue suddenly felt like the third wheel and wondered if she should leave them alone, especially since Scott's hands were roaming all over Jean's body. When they did finally come up for air, Scott released her, but very reluctantly.

That must have been some kiss, because Scott was now beaming. "Very well. I will take your counsel, but only because you advised them."

"What is the matter, my child? You appear lost. Did you eat something that disagreed with you?" Jean asked. She must have noticed Rogue gawking at the two of them.

Scott snorted at her question. "The wine has not left her mind. Come, daughter. Let us take you back to your room so that you may sleep off the effects."

Rogue flinched and tried to pull back her arm as Scott's fingers closed around her wrist. The move was so unexpected, she couldn't react fast enough to prevent him from making contact with her skin. And another strange and unexplainable thing occurred again and was soon added to her growing list of confusion. Absolutely nothing happened. It was as if her absorption power never existed or was somehow nullified.

Still expecting something to occur, she continued to watch Scott, waiting for the inevitable surge of emotions and memories to pour madly into her mind. Instead, Scott managed to lead her away without much effort, which shouldn't be the case if she had her super-human strength as well.

"Jean? Scott? What's goin' on?" she spoke in a near whisper.

Nothing made any sense. Her world was literally turned up-side-down and inside-out.

Stunned and confused, she was quietly led back to her bedroom.


To be continued.


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