Note: This is far from the final version.
It's still in the editing stages.
She knows not what the curse
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
~ from "The Lady of Shalott"~
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Still drying her hair with a towel, Rogue stepped into her
room in search of a comfortable pair of shoes to wear for
a morning walk around the mansion grounds. It was only nine,
but it had been a long morning already, with movers bringing
in new furnishings for the mansion, paid for out of some of
Bobby's spring accounting earnings. All of the mansion residents
had received new beds, although Rogue had been granted a larger
bed than most of the others' had because of her "condition."
Seized by a sudden burst of giddy energy, Rogue scampered
across her room and jumped onto the bed, giggling as she gave
the mattress and box springs a few "test bounces."
Finally, she flopped onto her back and lay staring at the
Don't think Ah've laughed like that in months. And jumping
on the bed
haven't done that since Ah was just a kid.
Momma would get so mad at me, and Irene would just stand in
the doorway and laugh...
Even when Ah was sixteen, seventeen
Ah'd still sneak
in a bounce or two when no one was looking.
Rogue let out a sigh and placed a hand on her stomach. "Life
makes us all grow up so fast. Well, I promise you this, kiddo
-- whoever you are -- Ah'll do my best to make sure your childhood
is a happy one, do whatever Ah can do to make sure that you're
happy, healthy and prepared for the future. Ah'll try to give
you everythin' Ah never had when Ah was a kid -- everythin'
my momma couldn't give me
"Still workin' on findin' your daddy, but there's plenty
of men here who'll be fallin' over themselves to be your favorite
uncle." She giggled at the thought. "And then you've
got yourself a real Uncle Kurt -- He's like a big fuzzy elf,
sweet as can be.
"And then there's Mystique
Guess she'd be your
gramma, huh?" Rogue smiled wryly at the irony. Even though
Mystique had raised Rogue through her teen years, it was hard
enough for Rogue to imagine her as a mother, let alone a grandmother.
"She's about the only one Ah haven't told yet, or that
doesn't know already." She sighed. "Guess Ah oughta
bite the bullet and tell her -- just get it over with."
From her table at the back of the café, Raven Darkholme eyed
her foster daughter curiously as the X-woman entered the restaurant.
She's changed her looks a bit, and she's gained quite a
bit of weight. The girl's pregnant -- I know it. Dammit, she
knows better than this!
Mystique lifted an eyebrow and stared at Rogue as she made
her way to the table. This is going to be an interesting
story, to say the least.
Mystique resolved to bite her tongue and let Rogue tell her
news -- without being prodded. I won't say anything
won't say a word
As Rogue came closer, Mystique noticed the false smile her
foster daughter had planted on her face and the way Rogue
was chewing her lower lip. God, she's scared to death to
face me on this. It'll be an hour of pussy-footing around
the subject until she finally starts to talk about it, and
then another two to get the whole story out of her
She's too old for me to baby her anymore.
Mystique was applying jam to a bagel when Rogue reached the
table. "Hi, Momm --"
"So, who's the father -- the Magneto clone in touch
with his inner wimp or the Bayou bigamist? Or maybe you've
finally found someone worthy of your intentions?" Raven
hadn't even looked up.
Rogue sighed and wearily sat down in the chair across from
Mystique's. This was going to go even worse than she had thought.
Why couldn't Ah just do this over the phone? she moaned
"Good morning, Momma," Rogue tried again, her voice
a bit more forceful.
Mystique, for her part, continued to apply jam to her bagel.
"Talk" was all she said to her foster daughter as
she studiously tried to avoid Rogue's gaze.
Rogue began studying the cloth napkin she had set in her
lap, trying to remember the speech she had rehearsed along
the way to the restaurant. Nothing came to mind. "Well,
Ah -- Ah guess you know that Ah'm pregnant -- "
"I figured that much out," Mystique snapped, her
face deceptively calm. "What happened?"
Rogue looked up at her foster mother, her eyebrow cocked
quizzically. "We're not pullin' any punches today, are
Mystique glared at her. "I'm just trying to get the
whole story out of you and keep the beating around the bush
to a minimum.
"You want the whole story, Momma?"
"That would be nice."
"Then shut up."
With a huff, Mystique returned her attentions to her bagel
and tried to put on a look of disapproval, although her inner
amusement at her daughter's sudden show of spunk threatened
to shatter her stern facade.
Rogue ignored Raven's smirk and proceeded to tell her about
what had happened with Gambit. The telling went largely uninterrupted,
although Mystique occasionally saw fit to interject her own
"You did what in a cave?!"
"Ah slept with Remy, okay? Isn't saying it once enough?
Fine. Ah'll say it again. Yes! Ah had
sex! It was unprotected. It was a bad decision. Live
and learn. Now can Ah finish?"
Mystique truly pulled no punches when Rogue finished her
tale of Remy's fate.
"So you left him in Antarctica...It was about time --
he was never worthy of you."
"But that's not -- "
"Pity you didn't do this long ago."
"Knowing him, he's probably still alive -- his kind
never stay dead."
"You need to be more thorough. I thought I taught you
better than that!"
"And now you're stuck with his brat -- you definitely
knew better than that! And I suppose you're
actually going to keep the little -- "
Mystique's tirade was cut short by an anguished cry from
the other side of the table. As she finally looked up from
the bagel she had studiously been concentrating on to avoid
Rogue's gaze, her cold eyes met Rogue's now red and tear-filled
ones. Her daughter's evident pain melted her own cold anger
into shamed embarrassment. Her stern facade dropped almost
completely as she reached out her hand to grasp Rogue's gloved
one, and then moved her chair closer to Rogue's to offer a
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Raven said softly as she
patted Rogue's hair.
When Rogue had composed herself, she pulled away from Raven
and made an attempt to wipe her eyes and nose with her napkin.
"'S'Okay...probably deserved it anyway..."
Raven grabbed Rogue's arm and forced Rogue to meet her steely
gaze. "No. You didn't deserve that. I apologized, and
that should be the end of it. Understand?"
Rogue looked up at Mystique with a note of surprise: Her
mother had never been so forceful about her apologies before.
"Good." Mystique backed away from her daughter
and returned to her original place at the table. "I'm
assuming that since you and I haven't spoken in over six months,"
she said, finally biting into her jam-laden bagel, "there's
more to this story than what you've said so far."
"Ummmm...Yeah..." Rogue said hesitantly. She had
been unsure how to tell Mystique about what had happened since
Antarctica, and had considered not telling her anything at
all. But given Raven's own past history with the Shadow King,
Rogue decided, with some uneasiness, to tell the whole story.
But not just yet.
To give herself some more time to ponder just how to phrase
her story, Rogue suggested to Raven that they order their
meals before she started talking. Mystique assented, but eyed
Rogue curiously as she spoke to the waiter and waited almost
serenely for her food.
Finally, breakfast had arrived and Rogue had to tell her
story. She began haltingly, but by the end her voice had built
up strength and confidence, and she delivered her tale calmly,
trying with some difficulty to erect a wall between the words
she spoke and the emotions the memories threatened to rekindle.
From the other side of the table, Raven watched her daughter
with rapt attention, trying with little success to hold back
her rapidly mounting anger at what the Shadow King had done
to Rogue. After his murder of Destiny and his attempt on her
own life, Raven had no great love for the Shadow King, and
learning of his manipulations of her daughter only served
to multiply her hatred.
Raven felt disappointed in herself, as well, for not having
had been there for Rogue to protect her from what had happened.
She knew that Rogue was an adult and had likely faced worse
in the years since their parting, and that her own maternal
sentiments were irrational, but at the same time she could
not hold back her own feelings of guilt. He went after
Irene, and I couldn't save her. Even now, I haven't really
gotten over it...
I don't want to think about what would have happened if
he'd been successful with Rogue.
Rogue's depression and attempt on her own life distressed
Raven as well, and Mystique again felt guilty for not having
had been there for her daughter, although her guilt was mixed
with a degree of anger at Rogue for not having had come to
her when she was going through such a difficult time -- and
she was disappointed in herself as well that Rogue evidently
hadn't trusted her enough to come to her.
When Rogue had finally finished her story, Raven came to
her side and the two shared a tearful embrace. Rogue felt
relieved that the telling was finally over, but she relished
the renewed bond she felt with her mother, talking and sharing
as they hadn't done in years.
Raven, too, appreciated the renewed sense of trust, and she
resolved to become more of a fixture in Rogue's life, more
of a mother figure and friend than ever before. She knew better
than Rogue the pain of pregnancy and giving birth, as well
as of regrets and loves lost, and Raven wanted to be someone
Rogue could come to for advice or simply overall support.
Yes, she fully expected Rogue to live her own life and be
independent, just as Raven had taught her, but at the same
time she wanted to play a greater role in her daughter's life.
Especially if there was a grandchild on the way.
Mother and daughter broke from their embrace and returned
to their places at the table. With more tenderness than was
usual for her, Mystique asked softly, "So what are you
going to do now?"
Rogue shrugged. "What else can Ah do?
Continue on, same as Ah have. For now, Ah'm stayin' with the
team and helping out as Ah can." She looked down, her
face flushed with embarrassment. "Ah don't know what
Ah'd do without them. They've been so great ta me, even after
everythin' that's gone on...Ah don't think Ah'll ever be able
to repay them for that."
"They're your friends, Rogue, and you've done as much
for them as they've been doing for you. But what are you going
to do about the baby?"
"Keep it, of course. Ah've always wanted a child --
a family -- of my own. Yeah, this is comin' quite a bit ahead
a schedule, but who knows -- this kiddo's probably a
blessing in disguise for me." Rogue reached out and squeezed
Raven's hand. "And with you, Kurt, an' all the X-Men
around, Ah reckon the baby will have as good a family as any
-- maybe even better."
Rogue gave her foster mother a sly smile. "B'sides,
maybe havin' a grandchild a your own -- "
"Don't even start..." Mystique was quick to interrupt
A grandchild. As they continued their meal, Raven
pondered the concept and chided herself. Leave it to me
to become the "doting grandma." Heaven help me if
I start baking cookies...
To be continued.
Note: The references to Rogue and
Gambit's "interlude" in the cave are based on the
wonderful fan-fic "You
Did WHAT in a Cave?" by Poi Lass. It's hilarious,
so if you haven't read it, check it out.
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