The Phoenix Rises
A/N: Hey everyone, some more Romy, a visit to Boston, and things move forward a bit plot-wise. Thanks for all the feedback last chapter – sorry I haven’t had much time this week giving any response to them – just got a new puppy last Sunday, and most of my time has been taken up with him (starting crate training, basic ‘sit’ ‘stay’ sort of stuff, and all that). Anyway, enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 16: Ignition
Rogue woke up as the first rays of the morning sun began to peek through the branches of the trees in the distance. She could still see her breath, and her cheeks felt numb from the still-cool air. She realized that she’d curled up around Sarah, who was lying on her side facing Rogue, under the blanket Remy had wrapped around them.
She glanced down in time to see Sarah snap her eyes shut, clearly already awake. Rogue grinned and poked her in the side, causing her to squirm. “Pretendin’ you’re asleep?” She said in a soft whisper.
Sarah giggled softly and nodded, opening her eyes. “Good mornin’, Rogue,” she whispered.
“G’mornin’. You have any more dreams?” Rogue asked.
Sarah shook her head with a smile. “Nope!”
Rogue pulled back a little, and felt her body protest when the movement allowed some cool air to flow in beneath the blanket, and she moved back to where she’d been lying. “How long have yah been awake, Sarah?”
Rogue felt, rather than saw, her shrug as everything but her head was hidden beneath the blanket. “Only a few minutes.” She smiled and moved her hand out from under the blanket to poke a strand of Rogue’s hair. “Your hair was ticklin’ my nose, an’ it made me feel like sneezing.”
She turned her head slightly to look back at Remy who had also, during the night, turned on his side to face both girls, his arm still stretched out underneath both their heads. “Remy’s still sleepin’.” She said quietly.
Rogue smiled. “Let’s wake him up then.” She said, sitting up, letting the blanket slide off of her. She slivered slightly at the sudden change in temperature.
Sarah giggled and sat up as well, and turned around and reached out a finger to lightly poke Remy in the stomach. She shrieked when his hand suddenly snapped up and grabbed her finger just as it touched him.
“Wasn’ asleep, /petite/,” Remy mumbled, cracking his eyes open, “nice try, though.” He released her finger and she threw her arms around his neck in a hug.
Remy groaned and sat up, trying to shake feeling back into the arm they’d been sleeping on, and it tingled as blood rushed back into it.
“Good morning Remy!” Sarah said brightly, looking up at him with a large smile.
“Morning, /petite/,” he said, and then sighed, squinting in the morning sunlight. “You people an’ your early mornings,” he grumbled, but shot a small grin to Rogue.
“You’re always grumpy in the morning,” Sarah giggled. “That was fun sleepin’ out here, Remy.”
“Good.” He said, reaching a hand up to tousle her hair. He saw her cheeks were flushed a rosy pink. “You cold?”
Sarah nodded and touched her cheek. “My face is. Can we go inside?”
Remy nodded. “Sure, /petite/. Let me warm you up first.”
He reached up and cupped her face with both his hands, and a soft magenta glow began to fill the air, heating up near her face.
She looked at him with amazement as she felt the heat returning to her numb cheeks. “Thanks, Remy.” She said.
“Y’welcome. Let’s go inside before you get chilly again.”
Sarah nodded started unsteadily across the roof as Remy stood up and offered his hand to Rogue. She grabbed it he helped pull her to her feet.
“Do Ah get a face warmin’ too?” She said, her eyes dancing.
He sighed in mock exasperation. “You too?”
He pulled her into a sudden, soft kiss that left her nearly breathless. He pulled away and smirked at her. “If dat didn’ warm y’up, de powers you just absorbed should.”
“It definitely did.” She said softly, smiling at him before she turned to follow Sarah.
Remy bent down and quickly folded the blanket, and tucked it under his arm grinning to himself. As he turned after the two, he saw Sarah near the edge of the roof and look back toward them.
He watched, almost in slow motion, as her foot skidded out from under her as she stepped on a particularly wet patch of morning dew that had collected on the roof.
“Remy!” She screamed as she tumbled off the edge, and he felt his stomach drop away – he wasn’t even close to her: there was nothing he could do, no way to get there in time.
But Rogue was. Despite being a bit preoccupied after Remy’s kiss, she saw Sarah slip and fall. She was close enough to lunge forward, and she managed to grab the girl’s wrist as she slipped over the side. The lunge, along with Sarah’s weight yanking her forward, caused her to lose her balance and slip over as well.
Rogue managed to grab onto the gutter, but it snapped under her hand and she and Sarah began to fall toward the ground four stories below. Rogue pushed off the wall with a hand as she started to fall, and managed to twist her body so that Sarah was above her, and Rogue was falling back-first. She hoped that her newfound invulnerability would save her from the fall while also cushioning the blow for Sarah. Rogue clenched her eyes shut, bracing for the hit.
But the impact never came. She opened her eyes, and found herself looking at Sarah who was staring in shock at the ground beneath them, still nearly four stories below.
Remy was above her, looking down over the edge of the roof, a mixture of relief and shock on his face. He leapt down to the balcony nearby, which brought him to near eye-level with Rogue.
“Y-you’re flying.” Sarah said shakily, trembling from the fright of her fall, however short it ended up actually being.
Rogue looked down, and sure enough, she was flying – or rather, hovering on her back, with nothing but herself keeping them where they were.
Remy leaned out over the railing and grabbed her shoulder, pulling the two of them toward him to the safety of the balcony.
As he did, she felt something /give/, and she stopped floating, landing on the balcony floor in a sitting position.
“Fuck,” Remy breathed as he pulled the two of them into a crushing hug, closing his eyes in a silent prayer of thanks. “You scared th’hell out of me, both of you. Don’ ever do that somethin’ like dat again,” he said, his voice thick.
He pressed a kiss on Sarah’s head, and another to Rogue’s forehead as he gripped the two tightly. He turned his head to the side, and Rogue thought she caught a glimpse of suspicious wetness in his eyes.
From where her face was pressed against his chest, Sarah mumbled, “That was scary.”
“You’re tellin’ me,” Rogue said, finally feeling her heartbeat begin to slow.
“You’re okay now /petite/,” Remy said softly. “B’cause apparently Rogue can fly.” He said, giving her a grin that partly hid the relief in his face.
Sarah looked up at Rogue, and Rogue could see her face was still pale from the fright of the fall. “You didn’t tell me you could fly.”
Rogue shrugged helplessly. “Ah didn’t know Ah could either.”
‘/Carol? /’ Rogue sent mentally down the link.
‘/Guess I forgot to mention that/,’ she said back, sounding embarrassed.
‘/Anythin’ else you forgot t’mention/?’ Rogue asked dryly.
‘/Um, I don’t think so. But I only had them for about six months and didn’t get to use them much before my dad got me the suppression collar/,’ she said softly.
‘/Oh, Ah’m sorry, Carol, Ah’m just – just tryin’ t’get used to this, Ah didn’t mean to bring up somethin’ that hurts yah/.’
She could almost hear Carol shake her head. ‘/Don’t worry about it, Rogue. I’ve been thinking about it a lot already with you going to Boston for me and everything. I /–‘ she paused. ‘/I think Remy’s talking to you/.’
Rogue broke her concentration, and saw Remy looking at her with concern. “What?” She asked, having heard him asking her something.
“I asked if you were alrigh’, Rogue.”
She nodded. “Yeah. Sorry Ah spaced out there.”
Remy looked at her for a long second, and then realized she must have been dealing with the psyches in her head.
He scooped Sarah up in his arms, and stood. They’d ended up on Rogue’s balcony, so it was open for them to get inside. “I don’ know ‘bout you two, but I’m getting’ hungry,” Remy said as they entered Rogue’s room.
“I am too,” Sarah said, and Rogue noticed some color coming back into her face.
Remy nodded, and touched Rogue’s forearm for a moment. “Well, we’ll leave you t’change an’ all dat, /Chére/.”
Rogue smiled. “Ah’ll see yah downstairs.”
Remy paused for a moment at the door. “Rogue, I was thinkin’, let’s leave ‘round lunchtime for Boston.”
Rogue smiled and nodded. “Sounds good.”
Rogue heard the door clothes, and collapsed back on her bed as her adrenaline rush began to wear off. She shook her head – yet another ability Carol had gifted her with: one that she’d need to work on to see what was possible with it.
She sighed and closed her eyes, bringing two fingers to her lips which seemed to still tingle with Remy’s earlier kiss. Each time he kissed her it made her feel…. alive – like anything was possible, and she felt like she always needed more. ‘/My next hit of Remy/,’ she thought, giggling to herself
What she felt when they kissed was more than what she’d shared with her past boyfriends. Her only kiss with Cody had been pleasant – up until he’s slipped into a coma. She’d kissed Bobby only a few times – little brushes of the lips after a few of their dates. Her only real kiss with him had been in a bedroom at his parent’s house, and shortly after he’d begun pulling away and their relationship deteriorated from then on.
Remy – Remy was different – he didn’t pull away in fear or uneasiness like Bobby always had. He pulled away almost reluctantly – almost as if he wanted to keep kissing her until he passed out.
Rogue bit her lip and finally opened her eyes. No use sitting around daydreaming about him when the real thing was doors away, going to meet her for breakfast, she thought as she pulled off her clothes and walked to the shower.
Outside, in the hall, Remy stopped and pressed another kiss to Sarah’s forehead. “Really thought I lost you dere, /petite/. Don’ think I’ve ever been so scared in m’life.” He whispered in her ear.
Sarah hugged his neck. “I’m okay, Remy, really.”
As Remy walked Sarah to her room, she looked up at him, his comment to Rogue still on her mind. “You’re leavin’ again?” She asked with a cute pout.
He smiled down at her fondly. “Yeah, /petite/. Jus’ for a few hours – Rogue wants me t’go somewhere with her.”
Her pout dissolved. “Well, at least Rogue might keep you from hurtin’ yourself again.” She said, grinning at him.
He laughed as he stepped into her room and set her down on her bed. “I hope so. An’ I ain’ plannin’ on doin’ anythin’ dangerous – she’s just visitin’ someone in Boston, an’ I tol her I’d come wit’ her.”
Sarah looked at him mischievously. “Are you sure you aren’t just takin’ her on a date?”
Remy looked at her with wide eyes, and his mouth fell open. “A-A date? No, /petite/.” He said, his expression becoming one of curiosity. “Why would you think that?”
Sarah’s face fell. “Oh. Well, she’s really nice, an’ really pretty, an’ she likes you, so I just thought you would like her too.”
Remy put a hand under her chin and leaned forward, resting his forehead against hers. “I do, /petite/, but I didn’ think y’knew dat. This trip jus’ isn’t a date.” He lowered his voice conspiratorially. “Don’ tell anyone yet, but Rogue an’ I decided to start datin’.”
Sarah gave him a genuine smile. “Really?” She asked happily – the day she’d met Rogue she’d thought she was perfect for her Remy, and had been pretty sure they liked one another – just as she’d been able to tell Henri liked the girl in the nearby town when he’d taken her into town with him.
Remy grinned and nodded. “/Oui/.”
“Good. I like her,” Sarah said with a slight smile. “She reminds me of my mommy.”
Remy’s eyes darted to her – he’d never thought about her other parent, and that Sarah might miss her. His stomach clenched – what if she wanted to go back to her?
“Where does your mommy live, /petite/? With your daddy?”
Sarah shook her head, a sad expression coming to her face. “No, she’s not alive anymore.”
Remy’s eyes softened, and he reached up to touch her cheek. “Your mommy died?” He asked – she rarely talked about her past, and the only time she had previously mentioned it had involved her abusive father.
A lone tear rolled down her cheek, and she nodded abruptly. “Yeah. A few years ago. My daddy was mean to her too, an’ she was scared of him. She tried to take me away an’ run, but he always found us.”
Remy brushed her tear away, and looked at her encouragingly, hoping she’d talk more about it.
“She died in a car accident. I was in the back seat, an’ someone hit the car where she was sittin’. After that, he blamed me for killin’ her an’ got even worse ‘till he kicked me out.” She said, and her shoulders shook in a soft sob. “I miss her, Remy.”
He engulfed her in a hug nearly as tight as the one on the balcony. “Oh, /petite/. I’m sorry.”
He rubbed the back of her head with one hand. “My mére died too.” He murmured into her ear.
“She did?” Sarah said, her voice muffled slightly.
“/Oui/. She was really nice t’me – her an’ Tante Mattie who you met were de closest things to a real mére I’ve had. She died ‘bout a year after she an’ my pére took me in off de streets.”
Sarah sniffed and looked up at Remy. “Guess we both had sucky lives.” She said, trying to smile at him.
“Well, mine probably wasn’ as bad as yours, but yeah. But I say, from now on, let’s try an’ make each other’s lives a lot better than dey were, /hein/?”
Sarah nodded and smiled. “Yeah.”
Remy pulled back slightly. “I’ll let t’get changed, an’ den I’ll cook you a nice big omelet, /hein/?”
Sarah giggled and planted a quick kiss on his cheek. “Alright, Remy, but it better be really really big, ‘cuz I’m starvin’.”
Rogue was becoming frustrated. After breakfast she’d decided to try out her newfound ability of flight. She’d decided to work in the Danger Room because of its sheer size, which could give her room to fly around. She’d found, however, that while she’d floated earlier, she had no idea how to activate the power.
She’d tried jumping into the air, leaping off of a low ledge the Danger Room provided for her – she’d even tried falling backward like she had on the roof but all that resulted from that was her slamming her head into the floor.
She shut her eyes, growling to herself. ‘/I wish I could figure this out so I can fly/,’ she thought in frustration.
And then she felt the same feeling she’d experienced on the roof. She opened her eyes and found herself standing on thin air several feet above the ground. She realized she’d been approaching it the wrong way, assuming there was a physical trigger, when it really was a mental trigger.
She took a deep breath. “Alright, let’s see how this works.” She willed herself to move upward, and found herself slowly beginning to float toward the ceiling.
Rogue grinned to herself, and began to try directing herself around the room. She thought of moving forward horizontally, and suddenly saw the wall speeding toward her.
She threw an arm up to shield her face as she slammed into it and then dropped to the ground, her concentration broken. She groaned and stood up – the impact hadn’t hurt much, especially given the high speed she’d slammed into it at. It was more a bruised ego than a bruised body.
She attempted the same thing, again and again – one time putting a large dent in the metal walls, slowly getting used to how much thought she needed to put into a movement to get the desired result. It was delicate – too much and she’d hurtle around uncontrollably, too little and she’d float along at a snail’s pace.
Given the speed she’d experienced on her wall-denting run, she couldn’t wait to try outside where she could let loose and see how fast she could fly – but she decided that should wait until she got the basics down.
As she worked on trying to land with the right momentum so that she didn’t skid along with her arms flailing for balance as she had several times already, she managed to get it down to skidding only a few feet – but still too much force and speed.
Rogue saw some movement in the viewscreen of the control room several stories above her, and when she squinted she could make out Logan through the clear window. She glanced at her watch and was shocked to discover nearly an hour had passed, she remembered the schedule in the control room had been booked this hour for Logan and some of those training to become part of the team.
She grinned to herself, and rose into the air, gliding upward toward the viewscreen. She knocked, causing Logan, Jubilee, Dani, and Sam to look up, and she laughed at their slack-jawed stares as she waved to them.
Logan pressed the intercom button. “You’re flyin’,” he stated flatly, a hint of disbelief in his voice.
Rogue grinned widely. “Yep!”
She pulled back into what she intended to be a backwards aerial somersault, but ended up being more of an out-of-control, head-over-heels tumble. She managed to pull out of it and spread her arms to balance herself, and look sheepishly at Logan.
“Well, Ah’m tryin’ to at least. Still don’t have th’hang of it all yet.” She admitted, blushing when he laughed. “Ah’ll head on down to the ground an’ let you guys have your session.” She said.
She looped around the perimeter of the room several times, managing to avoid any collisions, and landed on her feet near the door as it opened, skidding several feet.
Logan stepped inside, followed by his students – or rather torture victims, Rogue thought to herself, remembering some of the more grueling simulations Logan had put her through.
“This another gift from th’girl ya absorbed in New York?” He asked, raising and eyebrow at her.
Rogue nodded. “Yeah, Ah just found out ‘bout it t’day, an’ Ah still need some work on it, but it’s great – almost like ridin’.” She said, thinking fondly of her horse rides.
“It’s makes yah feel free, don’t it?” Sam said, smiling knowingly at her. “Guess Ah’m not the only flier ‘round here anymore. ‘least you don’ have bright energy trails shootin’ outta yer legs like me,” he said with a wry look on his face.
Rogue laughed. “Yeah, definitely a plus.”
“You sure you don’ wanna stay an’ go through our simulation?” Logan asked her.
Rogue shook her head. “No, Ah’ve gotta take a shower – Ah’ve got a lot t’do today. Ah’ll let you torture ‘em without mah help.” She said, winking at Jubilee and Dani.
She left the room, and heard Logan order them further in, and then the whir of machinery as the simulation began. As she moved up the stairs and passed the viewscreen, she instantly recognized the sim. ‘/The Magneto/Sabretooth sim – they’re gonna be sore as hell when they get done/,’ she thought with a sympathetic wince.
“You wan’ me to come in wit’ you, Rogue?” Remy asked her as she stared up at the small, two-story house. Carol had lived at that house with her parents, in the suburbs of Boston.
“Yeah, please.” She said quietly.
Remy leaned into the window of the cab and slipped the driver a fifty – in addition to what he’d just paid him for the fare. “Wait for us here an’ dere’ll be some more where dat came from.” The driver nodded with a wide smile, and leaned his seat back, settling in for a wait that would be well worth it.
Remy and Rogue had left at nearly noon, grabbing a sandwich for the trip. They’d taken the smaller X-Jet as far as they could, and parked it in a secluded spot with its “chameleon” mode activated to keep it from being seen unless someone knew exactly what they were looking for, and where. They’d then taken a cab to Carol’s house.
The flight there had been short, and oddly silent. Rogue had told him after they’d taken off that she was going to spend the time working with Carol with the exercises to heal her mind the Professor had assigned to her. He’d simply nodded his assent, and used the time to catch up on the sleep he felt he’d been deprived of earlier that morning.
Rogue took a deep breath and grabbed Remy’s hand before starting up the driveway to the front door of the elegant little home. No doorbell was visible when they reached the front door, so Rogue lifted the ornate brass knocker and rapped the door twice with it.
They heard movement inside, and in a few short moments the door opened. A middle-aged woman with short blond hair and the same sparkling blue eyes as Carol poked her head through the opening. Her eyes, while just like Carol’s, were red-rimmed and watery.
She glanced between the two of them, and a frown appeared on her face. “I told you people, I’m not going to do an interview. I’m going through enough already with what happened and I don’t appreciate you people trying to dig into our lives any further.” She said, somewhat angrily, before she began to close the door.
Rogue moved a hand out, stopping the door. “Wait, Mrs. Danvers, we ain’t reporters, an’ we ain’t here for an interview.”
She looked at Rogue and Remy suspiciously. “Then what’re you here for? You sellin’ something? Bible thumping?”
Rogue shook her head. “No, ma’am. Ah – Ah knew your daughter. Ah was the last person t’see her alive.”
Marie Danvers looked at them now, almost hesitant. “You – you were the woman that tried to help her?”
Rogue nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
She hesitated, then opened the door fully for them. “Come in, we can talk in the living room.”
Rogue, then Remy, entered the small entrance hall. The place had a well lived-in look, and reminded her of her own home down in Meridian.
“Ma? Was that another – Oh.“ A blond-haired young man stopped as he looked out from a doorway down the hall. He stepped out and Rogue got a good look at him – he was no older than Rogue herself, and was tall, nearly as tall as Remy.
“Steve, why don’t you come with us?” Mrs. Danvers said softly. “Steve, this is…” she trailed off, realizing she hadn’t asked their names.
“Ah’m Marie, an’ this’s Remy.” Rogue said – no sense using their code-names here.
Mrs. Danvers nodded. “My name’s Marie too, and this is Steve.” She looked to Steve. “She wants to talk to us – she was the person that was with your sister when… when it happened,” she said, her voice breaking slightly.
Marie Danvers ushered them all into the living room, and bustled around, grabbing a pot of coffee from the stove and pouring cups for all four of them. She and Steve sat down on the large couch, across the coffee table from Rogue and Remy.
Marie’s hand shook noticeably when she picked up her own cup, and she smiled tremulously at the two strangers. “So you were – you were with her, when she died?”
Rogue nodded. “Yeah. Ah tried everythin’ Ah could to save her, but she was too injured, too far gone.”
“You- you saw her die? Was she – was it painful? Did she die hurtin’?”
“No, ma’am, she was peaceful when she … at the end.” Rogue replied.
“Did she… say anything? Tell you something to say to – to us?”
“Actually, she sort of did, an’ that’s the reason Ah’m here. Y’see, Ah’m a… mutant, just like your daughter, an’ Ah have the ability to absorb people’s memories an’ personalities. Ah absorbed your daughter, an’ she wants to talk to yah.” Rogue said.
The woman’s face twisted, almost angry. “Is this some kind of sick joke? You think that’s funny? You tell me you knew my daughter and then tell me she wants to talk to me when she’s dead? What are you really here for?”
Steve, an angry expression on his own face, clenched his fists, but Remy half-rose and shot a look at him. “Mrs. Danvers, she’s tellin’ de truth. At least let her prove it to you.”
Marie looked dubiously at her, but reluctantly nodded.
Rogue gave a sigh of relief. “When Ah absorb someone, Ah take a little piece of them into mah mind. When your daughter touched me when she was dyin’, a big chunk of her mind got stuck inside of mine. Ah’m gonna try to let her take control of mah body an’ talk through me.” She said nervously – apart from the unwitting take-over when she’d first absorbed Carol, she’d never let another psyche take control like this.
She closed her eyes and let herself fall down the link to her mindscape, where Carol was waiting for her. “Try t’take over now,” she said softly.
Carol smiled and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Thank you for this, Rogue.” She closed her own eyes, and then she was gone, leaving Rogue alone in her own mindscape.
Remy saw Rogue open her eyes once more, and he again saw the now-familiar hint of blue around her irises, and noticed a change in her posture. She looked over at Marie and Steve, and a wide, tearful smile broke out on her face. “Mom? Stevie?” She said, her accent now different, slightly Bostonian, with no hint of Rogue’s own accent. Her voice was at a higher range than Rogue’s was as well, he noticed now.
“How do we know you’re Carol?” Marie asked, but even then she seemed less dubious than before hearing her voice.
She smiled. “Stevie, you chipped your front tooth when we were little when you ran in front of me on the swing in our backyard and I kicked you in the mouth.” He looked at her, shocked, and she turned her eyes to her mother. “Mom, you were teaching me how to drive, and I crashed into a mailbox and crumpled the bumper, and you told Dad that you did it so he wouldn’t be have something else to holler at me about.”
Tears filled Marie’s eyes. “Carol?” She whispered softly.
Rogue/Carol nodded, and then stood up and moved around the table and was engulfed in a hug by Marie and Steve. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” Marie sobbed into her shoulder. “If I’d stood up to your father – if y-you weren’t wearing that- that damned collar of his, none of this would have happened.”
Rogue/Carol shook her head. “No, don’t do that to yourself Mom. There was no way you anyone could have expected that to happen to me, and no way you could have gotten dad to change his mind about me.”
Rogue/Carol finally pulled back, her own eyes teary, and smiled at the two of them. “Rogue - Marie, the girl whose body I’m in, helped me after I was shot, and her powers took away the pain for me, and gave me this chance talk to you.”
She smiled over to her younger brother. “Stevie, you’ve grown up so much since I last saw you. It’s been, what, almost four years now? You should be finishing up school soon, right?”
He nodded – he still seemed a little weirded out by the concept of his sister in this other girl’s body, but seemed happy to get the chance to say goodbye. “Yeah. I’m going to go straight into the Army once I graduate high school this May.”
Rogue/Carol smiled widely. “I’m proud of you, Stevie. You’ll do great.”
On the other side of the couch, Remy shifted uncomfortably on the couch – while it was Rogue there in a way, it really wasn’t, and he felt he was intruding, listening in on a close family conversation. “Could I get somethin’ t’drink, Mrs. Danvers?” He broke in quietly.
She nodded and started to stand up, but he held up a hand. “Please, no need for dat. Stay wit’ your daughter – jus’ let me know where de kitchen is.”
She smiled, surprised, and sat back down. “Just go back to the hall and take a right – the kitchen’s at the end of the hall. Glasses are in the cabinet next to the refridgerator. Help yourself to whatever we have.”
Remy nodded his thanks and left the three of them alone together. As he walked down the hall he saw a number of pictures in frames covering the wall, showing Carol and her brother when they were babies, all the way up until they were in their early teens.
He noticed that the pictures changed somewhat when Carol was about sixteen – or at least that was his own estimate of her age from looking at them. Her father was in hardly any of the pictures with her after that point, and Remy noticed she began to wear higher-necked tops and scarves around her neck. In one he could make out a silver gleam peeking out over a scarf, and he guessed that was the mutant-nullifying collar Rogue had mentioned to him.
He realized that the change in pictures likely corresponded to her coming into her mutant abilities, and her father’s resulting reactions to that. Remy shook his head – Sarah had experienced much the same shunning although it seemed to a further extent, and he had a feeling she’d always carry the scars of that with her. He’d try his hardest to make her forget, but there were some things that never went away completely.
Remy walked further, into the kitchen, and he found a cold can of Dr. Pepper in the refrigerator. He popped it open and took a long drink from it as he sat down casually at the table, staring out the picture window in the kitchen that showed the small lawn behind the house. A small flower garden had been planted near the home, and a number of the flowers were already well in bloom with the relatively warm weather they’d had the past weeks of spring.
Remy pulled out a deck of cards and shuffled them rapidly before dealing them out for a game of solitaire. ‘/Doesn’t look like a good start/,’ he thought to himself as he looked at the card that had been turned up.
He played through several games, and lost track of time as he played. When he finally reached for the soda again, he found the can now room-temperature, so he downed the remaining soda in one gulp and set down the can.
Remy drummed his fingers on the table absently, and then decided to continue working on his powers as he had been for the last week. He stretched out a hand to the soda can, and slowly brought a kinetic charge out from his skin, charged the can, and slowly retracted the charge, each time getting closer to keeping the charge only to the air molecules around his own skin.
He was startled from his exercise when the door in the kitchen, which apparently opened to their garage, swung open, and a tall, broad-shouldered, balding man that he recognized from the photos in the hall, strode in. “Marie, I’m-“
He stopped in his tracks when he saw Remy, and Remy quickly retracting his charge back into his hand. “Who are you? What are you doing in my house?” He demanded angrily, his eyes seemingly searching for something close by to use as a weapon.
Remy raised his hands in a peaceful gesture. “Mr. Danvers, I’m here with a friend dat knew your daughter. Your wife invited us in.”
“She let a mutie like you stroll around our house?” He said, more an insult than a question. “Marie!” He bellowed loudly, before turning back to Remy.
Remy was pretty sure he picked up a soft curse from the distant room, and in moments Rogue/Carol, Marie, and Steve all walked into the kitchen.
“What do you think you’re doing, Marie, letting these muties into our house?”
Marie’s jaw tightened slightly. “Joseph, please. Hear them out. This girl – she was with Carol when she died, and her abilities let her take a piece of Carol with her in her mind.”
Joseph’s face creased into a snarl. “Get out of here, both of you. I won’t have you filling my wife’s head with your mutie bullshit.” He said, grabbing Remy’s arm, and shoving him back toward the entrance to the kitchen, moving to do the same to Rogue.
Rogue/Carol grabbed his arm with one hand and twisted it away, reaching out with her other to grab Joseph by the collar and lift him nearly a foot in the air. “No, Daddy. No more. I’m done being a meek little girl that you can push around, that does whatever you tell her to. That got me killed, last time I checked, when you made me wear that damn collar and go to get the ‘Cure’.”
He looked at her in panic, trying to struggle free. “Yes, Daddy, it’s me, Carol. Things are a little different when I’m not being your good little dog wearing my collar, aren’t they. You listen to me, Daddy. I’ll never forgive you for the way you treated me after you found out I was a mutant. Never. And I never want to see you again.”
She brought his face closer. “But you leave mom alone, and quit treating her like crap like you have been since I was seventeen. I thought maybe finding out I was dead would have knocked some sort of sense of decency into you, but I guess that was just wishful thinking.” She dropped him, and he stumbled back into the door, fear in his eyes.
Rogue/Carol turned to her mother and brother, and gave them a hug. “It’s been great to see you again, and talk with you like this, but I think we should get going.”
Marie nodded reluctantly and pulled back. “Tell Rogue ‘thank you’ for us, for giving Steve and I this gift.” She said, tears on her cheeks.
She smiled, and kissed her mother on the forehead. “I will. I love you both.”
She turned toward Remy, and gave him a hesitant smile. “We better go before that cab-driver decides to take off.”
Remy nodded, and followed her down the hall, out the front door. Outside she put a hand on the wall, and wavered slightly. She blinked rapidly, and looked back up to Remy.
“Hey,” she said shakily, and he knew instantly Carol had given control back to Rogue.
He put an arm around her shoulder to steady her as they walked down the driveway to the taxi. “You alright?”
Rogue nodded and entered the cab as he held the door open for her. “Yeah, Ah’m fine. Just never done that before. It’s a little jarrin’.”
Remy climbed in behind her, and passed the man another fifty. “Thank you, /mon ami/. We jus’ wanna go back to where y’picked us up, okay?”
The driver grinned, pocketing the bill, and put the car into gear. “You got it.”
Remy put an arm around her shoulders once again, and rubbed her arm with his hand as she leaned her head back onto his shoulder. “You did a good t’ing back dere, Rogue. I’m proud of ya.”
Rogue blushed and looked up at him. “Ah just did somethin’ for a friend.”
“/Oui/, I know.” He moved his hand up to her neck, and slowly started massaging the muscles along the back of it, occasionally moving to her shoulders.
Rogue sighed contentedly, and craned her neck back to look up into his eyes. “Don’ think Ah could have done it without such a wonderful… boyfriend,” she said, savoring the word.
Remy shook his head, a twinkle in his eye, and placed a finger on her lips. “Nuh-uh, /Chére/, I ain’ your boyfriend yet. Still got to take y’out on a date b’fore dat’s official.”
Rogue smiled back playfully. “Well then, just what did you have planned, Mr. LeBeau?”
He leaned down lifted her hair so he could press several soft kisses to the bare skin on the back of her neck. “Well,” he said quietly. “I was thinkin’ Monday, after your classes, I could take you out on de back of my new motorcycle, an’ take you to a nice restaurant in de city, maybe go see a movie before we eat. Den we see where t’ings go from dere. How’s dat sound, /Chére/?”
Rogue shivered as he kissed her neck, and reached up a hand to tangle it in his hair. “It sounds wonderful, especially for a first date,” she said, smiling as he brought his face next to hers and settled his chin onto her shoulder.
“Certainly the best first date anyone’s ever asked me out on before,” she said wryly – Cody had taken her to a BBQ stand, and Bobby had taken her to a local diner, albeit one with some rather good food.
“Well den,” he whispered, his breath warm on her ear. “Monday night it is, /ma Chére/.”
Dozens of birds took flight from the wooded forests surrounding a Canadian lake, startled by the nearby disturbance – the loud rumbling and the prolonged red blast of light that occurred close by.
It wasn’t the first time they’d fled a disturbance – months ago they’d flown quickly away when a wall of water came rushing down on the low-lying parts of their forest, and ripped apart the landscape.
Life had finally returned to normal as the flood eased, and the wildlife had begun to get used to life on the new shores of the lake that had been created, when they were disturbed once again.
They weren’t the only ones – in Salem Center, New York, Charles’ Xavier’s eyes snapped open as he felt the rip in the psychic plane. Logan and Ororo suddenly rushed into the his study, and he realized he’d been so focused on the disturbance that he’d been broadcasting quite loudly into the minds of everyone in the mansion.
“Professor, are you okay?” Logan asked him.
He looked up at them. “Get to Alkali Lake.”
“You don’t want to be here,” Ororo said, knowingly, as she and Logan walked through a dense fog away from the X-Jet: they’d had to take the larger jet to Alkali Lake as Xavier had given Rogue and Remy permission to use the smaller one for the afternoon.
“Do you?” Logan asked her. He felt uneasy about this – returning for the first time to the place where he’d not only lost his memories and been experimented on by Stryker, but more importantly the place where they’d lost Jean – where she’d sacrificed herself to save them. He couldn’t blame Scott, though, for having come here after he’d left the mansion – this was the place his fiancée had spent her last moments.
As Logan and Ororo walked through the fog, his senses were alert – something was off about this. There was something here that wasn’t right.
Ororo stopped walking, and placed a hand on his arm. “No, I don’t. But the Professor said he sensed Scott here, and something was wrong. This is the last place I ever wanted to come back to.”
Logan shot her a small smile – he’d been thinking so much about his own feelings he’d forgotten what it must be like for Ororo as well. She and Jean had been very close friends for years, well before he’d met either of them. “Can you do something about this fog?” He asked her gently. “I can’t see a damn thing.”
She smiled back, and then lifted her face to the sky, her eyes turning a ghostly white as she called on her powers, and he felt a wind begin to pick up, and the fog started to dissipate.
They both stared in amazement as the fog disappeared, and their surroundings became visible. Rocks, large boulders, driftwood logs, all were floating aimlessly through the air as if on strings. ‘/Or telekinesis/,’ Logan thought to himself – was this a coincidence: levitating objects at the site of the death of one of the few people he’d met who had that ability?
He tapped a small rock and it bounced and spun away – it was like the images sent back from outer space of a zero gravity environment.
“What the hell?” He muttered, and exchanged a glance with Ororo. He could tell she was having the same thoughts as he was about the levitation.
She broke his gaze and started walking further down the ‘beach’. As she moved away, he walked closer to the shoreline. As he neared it, he spotted, floating out from behind a large boulder, what looked like a pair of sunglasses floating in the air. As they drifted into his hands, his uneasiness grew: they were the same ruby-tinted glasses Scott wore while not on a mission.
His head jerked to the left when Ororo screamed his name further down the beach – she sounded worried and confused. He shoved the glasses into his pocket and took off down the ‘beach’ at a sprint. He crested a small ridge, and found Ororo kneeling next to a body.
Logan felt his heart skip several beats when he recognized her – ‘/Jean/?’
Ororo looked up at him. “She’s alive,” she said, wonder in her voice, and he knew they were again thinking the same thing – /How is this possible/?
It wasn’t until Rogue and Remy entered the main floor of the mansion after having parked the jet in the hangar, that Rogue realized the atmosphere among the students seemed… charged. She mentioned this to Remy. “Somethin’s up. Somethin’ happened while we were gone. You think there was another terrorist attack?”
Remy shrugged. “I noticed it too.”
He spotted a familiar face walking down the hall. “Hey, Annie!” He called, and she walked over to the two of them. “You know what’s goin’ on? Why’s everyone look so spooked?”
A worried look crept over Annie’s face. “While you were gone, Logan and Ororo left in the other jet, and came back with a patient for me. Jean Grey.”
Rogue gasped. “What? Jean? How- how is that possible?”
Remy’s brow furrowed. “Stormy tol’ me Jeannie died a few months ago.”
Annie nodded to both of them. “I know. It seems she somehow survived. Charles thinks it has to do with her powers, but there’s something he didn’t say out loud – something that he’s worried about. I’ve been checking her out, and she seems perfectly healthy. I left Logan with her for a while, but I’m heading down now to check in on her. I might need to set up an IV drip.”
Rogue perked up. “Could Ah come with yah, help yah out? Ah wanna see how Logan’s doin’, too.”
Annie nodded. “Sure, Rogue. I’ve been meaning to get my hands on you anyway – Charles wanted me to run some blood tests on you to see if anything has changed since you absorbed that girl.” She said.
Rogue patted Remy’s arm. “Ah’ll see yah later, Remy.”
He pouted, and gave her a hurt look. “I see how it is, /Chére/.” He said, before his mouth quirked up into a small grin. “Go on, I gotta find Sarah anyway.”
Rogue smiled, and followed Annie down the hall.
“So, how’s it going with him?” she asked quietly. She’d been the first and as far as she knew, only, person Rogue had talked to after their kiss in the changing room the day before, and she couldn’t be happier for her.
“Well,” Rogue said quietly as they walked down the stairs. “Like Ah said, we’re keepin’ it quiet, but he asked me on our first date, Monday night. He said we’d go to a nice restaurant and a movie, an’ if Ah know him, he’s already got everythin’ planned.” Rogue said, blushing.
Annie smiled widely and slung an arm around Rogue’s shoulder. “That’s great, Rogue. I’m glad you two are getting together. You deserve someone like him.”
Annie lowered her voice further. “And he’s so great with kids – you saw how he and Carter clicked instantly, and the way he is with that girl he brought – Sarah – just makes you want to melt, doesn’t it?”
Rogue flushed, but nodded. “He really is great with them, although it’s a little early ta be thinkin’ of havin’ kids,” she said, somewhat embarrassed.
Annie smiled. “It’s never too early for that, Rogue.” Her smile faltered slightly. “I learned that the hard way, with David. If you’re in a relationship and you know you want kids, make sure he feels the same way as soon as possible or it’s just a waste of time and a waste of love.” She said sadly.
Rogue shot her a sympathetic look as she opened the door to the Med Lab. Whatever she was going to say was forgotten as when they entered to see Jean Grey, standing, wearing a shirt and only a small pair of shorts, looking at Logan with a confused, vulnerable expression as he asked her something.
The entire room felt as if it was charged with dangerous energy. Jean’s head snapped up at their intrusion, and she seemed to change completely. She pulled away from Logan, her eyes dark with an almost predatory hunger, her skin darker than normal, almost as if it was mottled by a dark energy.
Rogue and Annie suddenly found themselves being slammed, telekinetically, into the wall with enormous force. Rogue heard Annie cry out, then fall silent as her head smashed into the wall.
Rogue felt the impact, and her mind raced, trying to figure out what was happening. She went for the safe bet and feigned unconsciousness even though the blow had not hurt her in the slightest.
She cracked her eyes open and she saw Logan grab Jean by the shoulders. “Jean, stop, the Professor can help,” he said.
“I don’t want his help,” she snarled. Without even a movement she hurled him back into the wall as well using her telekinesis. The table flipped out of her way as she strode for the door, and it burst from its hinges and was flung into the hall in front of her.
Rogue yanked off a glove and lunged at Jean’s bare leg, and grabbed on, bracing herself for another absorption. Jean’s head snapped down in surprise, and Rogue felt her try to yank her off violently with her telekinesis.
Rogue could see the surprise in her Jean’s eyes as she held on with her new strength, and then she felt the contact begin to take effect.
This was different than all her other absorptions. This time, it felt like her arm was set alight, and the feeling spread down her arm and up to her mind, but she grimaced against the pain and held on as Jean dropped to her knees, panting.
Finally, the pain too much, Rogue released her with a grimace. She was shocked when Jean still moved, falling back into a sitting position. Looking at her face however, she saw this was the same vulnerable Jean she’d seen as she entered, not the one that had looked at her like she was a tasty dinner.
“R-Rogue,” she breathed. “Please, help me. I can’t control her for long – you weakened her enough, but we need the Professor.”
Rogue, confused but glad to listen to the Jean she recognized – the Jean that wasn’t slamming her into a wall, closed her eyes and called out mentally to the Professor. A minute later she heard footsteps in the hall as Ororo entered, looking between them in worry, which grew when she saw Annie unconscious, and Logan groaning as he regained his own consciousness.
Moments later, Charles wheeled into the room, his expression grim.
Jean reached up and grasped his arm desperately. “Charles, please, she’s trying to break free again. I can’t keep her back any more without your help. Rogue hurt her, but she’s recovering – fast.”
Charles nodded and quickly placed the palms of his hands on either side of her head. Logan slowly stood, and looked at the two in concern, and not wanting to disrupt them, walked over to Rogue, and helped her up.
“You okay, Darlin’?” He asked her quietly.
She nodded. “Takes more’n a wall to hurt me these days. I’m worried about Jean.”
Jean and Charles broke apart then, gasping from effort. Charles leaned back in his chair. “That should hold for the moment, long enough for you to get some of your strength back.”
‘/ROGUE/!’’ Carol’s panicked cry echoed in her head, causing her to jump visibly. ‘/Please, help me! Things are going crazy in here/.’
Rogue’s eyes lost focus as she moved down the link. When she reached her mindscape, she found a large area ablaze with a rather furious fire. Carol was trying to put it out by kicking and throwing the dirt from the forest floor onto the nearest section of the fire, having no other tools to help her.
Carol looked over to her. “I don’t know who you just absorbed, but they’re putting up one hell of a fight in here. We need to put this out before it hurts your mind even more.”
Rogue closed her eyes, and slowly, ever so slowly, rain clouds appeared overhead, and a drizzle began to fall. In moments it turned from a drizzle to a downpour, and the fire slowly began to hiss to steam, and shrink in size.
Rogue finally collapsed to her knees in the mindscape, exhausted and still in pain from the absorption as the last of the fires went out.
Carol looked at her in concern, and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Whoa there, Rogue, are you okay?”
“Yeah!” Rogue said, clearly faking enthusiasm. “Peachy.” She said, before falling forward, unconscious.
Outside her mindscape, the rest of her did much the same, her eyes rolling up inside her head as she fainted backwards onto a surprised Logan.
A/N: Well, there you have it. Not quite as long as the past few, but still quite a bit happening (and I was starting to burn out with the 10,000+ words a week, although this one’s 8000 or so). I tried to keep the word-for-word repetition of scenes from the movie to as small as possible, and when I did use them I changed a bit (some of the dialogue at Alkali, etc.). Figured I’d end it with a bit of a cliff-hanger as well. (grins evilly)
Next chap, we see quite a bit more with Remy and Rogue (first date!), maybe another Professor Remy situation, some more Jean, and things begin to pick up in pace. Right now I have only an extremely rough outline so the next chap likely won’t be out until next Sunday.
Anyway, thanks everyone for reading; let me know if you liked it or not!
And, just thought I’d make a note of something I realized: This story is officially, if I’ve got my info right, longer than most full-length novels published mass-market (I’m at ~140,000 words, while most 300-400 page novels are about 75,000-120,000 words)!