So, yeah. She didn’t get angry often. When she did, she hid it well.
Problem was, she was getting very angry right now. Hearing Xavier say once again that the junior team wasnīt ready for a new mission did that to her. By now, she should have been used to his over-protective side and all his crap but it had yet to happen. Every time he was like this – and, oh God, it was too often – she wanted to shake him until he realized that wars donīt distinguish between soldiers’ ages.
Then again, could he even admit that a war was heading their way? Of course fucking not.
She rolled her eyes, trying to calm down enough to hide her feelings. Rogue, she reminded herself. You respect this man, and you need to show that respect. She tried to remind herself how much the man had done for her. This method had calmed her down before, but it was getting less and less effective with each day’s passing.
“I understand what youīre saying, Professor. But you will need more people this time.”
“This will not be a real fight, Rogue. We need not outnumber them.”
She snorted at his words. He always said that too, but the truth was, every time they went out on a mission there *was* a fight, and FOH wasnīt as kind as he would like to believe. Manners and discussions werenīt part of their language. We were monsters to them, and they desired nothing more than to erase our existence from the face of the planet.
And truth be told, she wanted to do the same to them. Hence her desire to accompany the X-Men on a mission.
Everyone was staring at her, affronted by the way she was speaking to the Professor, endlessly surprised that she was so eager to fight the bad guys. She was used to that too. They could be so frustratingly idealistic, always believing they could beat the bad guys without ever fighting dirty. Sometimes she laughed inside because they reminded her of a hippie commune -- make love and not war, and all that crap.
“Youīre planning on raiding a place thatīs used to hold and torture mutants, and you donīt want harm anyone? Do you really think they will let you destroy the place without fighting back?”
“I know they may try to fight, but that doesnīt mean we have to harm anyone. Our only goal is to rescue the mutants being held there, and destroy the building so it’s unusable. Rogue, if we start hurting people who as scared of the changes they canīt control, then we will become the beasts they already fear we are.”
“What are we supposed to do? Turn the other cheek?”
“Perhaps . At least until they realize what a mistake they are making.”
She opened her mouth to say something, but the words wouldnīt come out. It wasnīt the first time they talked about this, but it was the first time Xavier had told her to simply endure this hate and accept it as something normal. Does this man have blood in his veins? She wondered.
She was tired of all this. So damn tired. The only thing she could do now was to exit the room and leave the others enjoy their fake happy word. If they wanted to keep lying to themselves and get themselves killed, well… she guessed that was their right. No one was going to listen to her anyway, no matter how many times she tried to make them realize the mistake they were making.
It wasn’t like she wanted them to kill whoever got in their way, but they should at least realize that there would come a time when it would be necessary to shed some blood to achieve their purposes.
They could be such hypocrites. The spoke of mutants and humans being brothers, of how the world should learn to accept them; how one day, there would be no barriers between them – yet they kept her hidden under layers and layers of clothes, fearing her enough to not let her get close.
As if she was capable of killing them with gloved hands. As if she wasnīt careful. She wasnīt exactly looking forward to touching them without gloves. Using her powers was not a pleasant experience. Sure, it gave her extra energy, and experimenting with other peopleīs powers was fun, but the absorption of their thoughts and memories was hell. It was like someone raping her mind, forcing themselves inside of her, making it hard to distinguish where she ended and they began.
Nobody at the school made it any easier for her. She watched people flinch as she moved about the house, heard them gasp when she reached for something a little too close. There were times that she hated them and wanted to touch them out of spite--so they could have something real to fear.
But life was like that for her. Life sucking skin would never be the best thing for your social life She grinned wickedly, enjoying her own sense of humor.
She opened the door to her room and let herself fall onto the bed. If she closed her eyes and breathed deeply sheīd be able to forget about everything and simply feel the soft hum of her skin. It was a nice feeling. She loved the vibrations, relaxing her from the tip of her toes to her very last hair. It was almost like sitting on Loganīs motorcycle – feeling so safe and sure because she knew that, no matter what, someone was protecting her. Sometimes it would be Logan, sometimes it would be her own skin.
Unconsciously she reached up to caress the tags around her neck. Logan had returned once after leaving her the first time, just to spend some time with her and collect more information from Xavier, and if the thought of him telling her to keep the tags made her smile, well, she wasnīt going to feel ashamed about it. He was the only one who understood her, the only one who saw the world as she did. If only he spent more time at the school, things would be better.
A melancholic sigh escaped her lips. She really hated being at the school. She couldnīt even remember why she stayed there. Friends? She didnīt have any. Not real ones. Safety? The X-Men were more likely to invite her enemies to tea and cookies. Logan? Yeah, maybe he was the only reason she stayed. She knew he would come back eventually.
But...he would find her anywhere if he really wanted to. He was stubborn and good at tracking people down. As he’d told her in the past, he could smell her better than anybody. When she pressed him, he said it was probably because he spent so much time with her...and something else he never wanted to share.
So, why was she staying?
Time and time again, she asked herself that question. What was the real reason? She wasnīt happy. In fact, it was the other way around. The mansion never felt like home, she was living a life that was a lie, and most everyone in her life feared more than loved her.
A new thought formed quickly. If she couldnīt find a reason to stay, she should leave. She should find herself a life that made her happy.
There would be no more feeling like a freak among the freaks. No more wearing layers of clothing, even in the privacy of her own room. No more of anything she didn’t like. Looking back, she always knew this day would come, and she had saved a lot of money. She had secretly been working online, translating books and texts from German to English (that had been thanks to Erik), and even though she never left the mansion, she still received the allowance that Xavier gave to all the teenagers.
It was enough to let her wander for some time, until she found the right place to settle down. Not that it would be a glamorous life, but she would be able to feed herself and have a place to sleep. Running away from Mississippi had taught her a lot, and she had no desire to go back to being hungry, cold and scared--especially when you had no money and no one to ask for help.
But things were different now.
A big smile formed ion her face while she packed her stuff in a duffle bag. For a brief moment she regretted she had grown so much in the (almost) two years she had been in the school. She wanted to use her green hooded coat, but it didnīt fit anymore. What a shame, she thought, giggling to herself.
Once she had everything she could need, she looked back at the closet with the green coat. She knew there was no use for it, but… she couldnīt to leave it behind. If she had her way, she’d never return to the mansion. The old piece of fabric – it was really worn out and had some rips sheīd never repaired – was a reminder of everything that happened to her, of how strong she had to be to survive for so long in the road, and especially of how she met Logan, the event that changed her life. She walked back to the closed and retrieved the coat, forcing it into the duffle bag, even if there wasnīt so much space left for more things.
She wanted to leave the past behind by leaving, but there were some parts of that past that she wanted to remember forever. The experiences that made her who she was now and the only person in the world who really loved her (even if it wasnīt a romantic feeling). There were things too important to forget.
She looked around, realizing how foreign the room looked. As though it knew it had never been the right place for her. It was the same feeling she’d had when she’d first arrived--even though she knew this place was supposed to be “home” now, that foreign feeling had never really gone away. Maybe she was a freak, maybe she just wasn’t like other people. After all, the other boys and girls who lived there were happy, and so grateful that they would never even thinking about leaving..
Yeah, well. She still thought they were all lying to themselves if they thought they would be safe, or that the world would be safe for very long. Ha, fucking ha/ She was happy not being normal. She saw the truth, and that would keep her alive when the real future became their present.
It was already getting dark. She knew she should wait another hour before sneaking out. It was safer that way. She wasnīt in the mood to explain herself. They wouldnīt understand her reasons -- just they didnīt understand anything she ever said.
If she was honest with herself, she believed. Xavier only wanted her at the mansion so he could make sure she wasnīt using her powers in a way he didnīt agree with. Like stealing other mutantsī powers in order to protect herself, or even going to the dark side of the force or something stupid like that
That time passed quickly while she reflected on everything that had happened in the past two years. Not every memory was a bitter one. Xavier was mostly a good man--too lost in his dreams to get things done--but otherwise honorable and good. He had tried to help her gain control over her skin, spoke with her about the bitter feeling she had for her parents, and helped her move on from the angriness and pain.
There was Scott, too. She had to admit that she would miss him. As soft as he was, there was a part of him that was bitter about his mutation, a part that understood her and how much she hated all the clothes she needed to wear. In the same way, he needed to always wear his glasses, whether in the shower or in bed, and feared that someday he would hurt someone by accident.
But things had to be done, and changes made. Rogue pressed her ear against the door, listening for anyone wandering the corridor. Luckily, no one seemed to be around. Quickly, she grabbed her new coat and her bag and headed for the front door. For a supposedly safe place, it was damn easy to enter and leave without anyone realizing it.
When sheīd stepped outside of the Iron Gate, she relaxed. Nothing could stop her now. She was free, finally free. Her feet splashed in the puddles as she started running, but she didnīt care. It had rained a lot that day, and for some reason, she took it as a good signal. She loved rainy days; they made her feel melancholic and lazy in her.
She was heading for the train station, but not the same one she used the last time. She didn’t exactly have fond memories of that day, and since she’d touched Erik--or, more accurately, since he’d touched her--something inside her hurt whenever she took a train. It brought back feelings, memories, and especially smells of burned bodies and putrefaction. Not a pleasant experience, but trains were the best way out of the city. She wanted to head to Albany, then Montreal. Once in Canada she would start looking for a small town, someplace where wearing tons of close and being a little different--though she’d never reveal just how different-- wasn’t such a big deal.
In her mind she could already see it. A nice. almost normal life. No big plans, just her living life the way she wanted. Not giving explanations to anyone or arguing about a future war.
Not that sheīd had time to plan anything. An hour and half ago, she was still asking herself why she bothered staying at Xavierīs. Time was something she wasnīt going to worry about. Sheīd start making plans once she was on the train. Theyīd distract her from Erikīs fears.
Her ticket in one hand and her duffle bag in the other, she tried not to shiver while she looked for her seat. It had started to rain while she was walking to the station, and her hair was so wet she could hear it dripping on the wooden floor. The train was one of the new oneīs that looked like they came out of the 1920īs. One of those lucky moments I hardly ever have, she thought. These new trains had compartments so she wouldnīt have to worry about having too many people around her.
She was happy when she found her coach, and her compartment was the first one. Finally, she’d be able to sit down and get warm. She’d have to get used to the cold soon enough, and maybe even more clothes, but the thought that it was her choice, and not an obligation, made her stupidly happy.
Slowly, so as not to disturb the old man who seemed half asleep in his seat, she entered the compartment and placed her bag above her seat before sitting down. The man sat in front of her next to the window, while she stayed near the door. He too looked like something out of the 1920’s. He was wearing an elegant camel colored gabardine coat and an expensive hat covered half of his face, so she could only see his white hair and thin lips.
Strangely, she felt as though she recognized him. As if she had seen him somewhere before, but couldn’t quite pinpoint where. She didn’t leave the school often, and didn’t tend to remember random people well--her memory wasn’t quite that good. Where did she know him from? Could it just be déjā vu?
Shaking her head and smiling at her own foolishness she took her mp3 player from her coat pocket and put on her favorite playlist, a mix of rock and songs with deep lyrics. Usually, lyrics are what cause her fall in love with a song. Lyrics told stories and described feelings and spoke of how damn hard life was for everyone, whether human or mutant. It was nice to know that pain and fear were not exclusive to certain gene pools. If that made her a bad person, she didn’t mind at all.
The next song started, and at the same time, the train started to move. The movement and warmth lulled her into sleep. Soon, her mind was lost in a world of dreams that she wouldn’t remember once she woke, but that that moment she had nothing to worry about. The future seemed good, and she was in charge of her own destiny once again.
For the first time in a long while, her dreams turned painful. She didn’t understand what was happening, or where she was, and her skin ached with a lust she’d never felt before. It wasn’t exactly erotic; more like hungry, almost starving. The buzz she normal felt when she was calm was now a vibration strong enough to make her feel like she was the epicenter of an earthquake. It radiated from her belly, and slithered like a snake until it reached her fingertips.
She craved and needed to extend her hands and take and take and after taking it all take even more. Her skin was almost whispering in her ear how much it wanted to eat, to steal the life out of all the people around her. Rogue has never feel like that before.
There was fire around her, burning her clothes but not touching her body. The power was so strong she was getting drunk on it. She felt fear, power, pain, lust, and an odd feeling of being lost in the middle of nowhere, yet she could sense others around her.
Dark red irises observed her surroundings. The place was unfamiliar but she could see it had been a large city before something had destroyed it. It was large enough to be New York or San Francisco, or any other major city in the United States.
What happened here? She asked herself. Who--or what--was responsible for this destruction?
For the first time she realized where the power and heat was coming from. The fire that looked like a fragile bubble was coming from her. She gasped at that revelation. It had been her that destroyed this place, wasn’t it?
Her eyes opened abruptly back in the real world. She was frightened of this dream that had revealed destruction and power that wasn’t hers. But it had been a dream. She repeated that to herself, trying to calm down. She’d suffered through nightmares of Logan and Erik’s for months, and occasionally still did. Sometimes she even had dreams about Liberty Island. But they were nothing compared to this dream.
Maybe it was that thought that made her realize where she’d seen the older man before. She raised her head, frightened of what was in her mind and right in front of her, and looked at the man.
But he was nowhere to be seen.
Was she going crazy? Not that that would be anything new. Sometimes she doubted her own sanity. Having voices in your head and cravings for things she’d never tried before--like expensive food or Cuban cigars--would do that to you.
Was she imagining things? It was possible. It might be the only explanation for what she thought she’d seen. Laughing a little, she felt like kicking herself. For a moment she’d actually thought that Erik Lensherr was sharing the compartment with her. How stupid was that? He wouldn’t take a train if his life depended on it. And even if it had, it would be too much of a coincidence for it to be real.
Even knowing that, her mind couldn’t stop thinking about it. She had Erik in her mind, and she knew almost everything about him, from his hobbies too his smell.
But it seemed time had dulled his memories, even if it hadnīt erased them.
She would be able to recognize him anywhere, just like she could with any of the others she’d absorbed over the years. But it seemed time had dulled his memories, even if it hadnīt erased them.
And it was him.
She knew it.
She could feel it in the way her heart was beating faster and a thin layer of sweat covered her forehead. She wasn’t easily frightened, but that man had nearly taken her life. No one can forget an experience like that.
Now what was she supposed to do?