Mystique recruits Rogue before the Xmen and gets caught up in the growing conflict. But everything changes when she starts falling for their leader, Scott Summers. Scott/Rogue.
Chapter 4: What if?
In wake of the Blob incident, Scott and Rogue began hanging out with more frequency. They had to be careful to avoid scrutiny from Mystique, but Rogue took that risk for the sake of holding onto the first friend she had in a long time. But things were different after that night in the park. They had almost kissed and they admitted they were attracted to each other. A developing friendship was one thing, but having it grow into something else is was another matter. However, for now they stuck to friendship.
As the days passed, Rogue called Scott regularly in the evenings and they hung out after school. They had to be careful about Mystique, but she was so busy dealing with principal duties and yelling at the Brotherhood that she hardly took notice. And while Jean, Kurt, Kitty, and Evan remained friendly they still had mixed feelings about Rogue.
Jean, especially, was concerned. She was psychic. She could sense something between them. It went deeper than they let on. The way they talked and looked at each other was unique. Jean talked to Scott many times about Rogue. He was still adamant about giving her a chance. He believed the friendship he was developing with her was strong. But for Jean, it was getting a little too strong.
However, Jean tried not to think about that as she ate lunch with Kitty, Kurt, and Evan on a regular day in the middle of the week. Scott was off with Rogue again, so he would join them late. But it didn't keep them from having a good time.
"So did you guys hear about Duncan Matthews's party this Friday?" said Kitty, taking a bite of her vegetarian salad, "His folks are throwing one to celebrate him setting a new passing record for the district."
"Yeah, I've heard plenty," said Jean, "I'm invited, actually."
"Big surprise," said Evan, biting into his burger, "Duncan's just a spoiled rich kid who gets way too many privileges. Those parties are way overrated."
"Are you kidding?" exclaimed Kurt, "It's still a party at a big house vith food, music, and girls! Vhat's overrated about that?"
"I'll bet Logan and the Professor could think of a few things," said Jean, "It just takes one little incident of phasing, sneezing, or a holowatch shorting out to blow our cover."
"Why should that keep us from having fun?" shrugged Kitty.
"Yeah!" said Kurt, "I've never been to an American party! I can't vait to get zhere and boogy as zhey say!"
Making his point clear, Kurt got up and did a few moves that earned him some amused looks from the others. His dancing clearly needed work, but a party from Duncan Matthews could give him a place to vent some of that excess energy of his.
As Kurt was getting his groove on, Scott made his appearance. After having spent some time with Rogue, his mood was good. But seeing Kurt's unorthodox dance moves was enough to make anybody think twice.
"Whoa Kurt, don't make me call a hospital. Dancing like that will make people think you're having a seizure," said Scott, trying hard not to laugh.
"Says you, mien friend," said Kurt, finally stopping, "Since vhen do you make jokes about dancing anyways?"
"More importantly, since when do you make jokes?" added Evan.
"I have a sense of humor!" said Scott in defense.
"Right," said Jean skeptically, "Come on, Scott. What's going on? Why are you in such a good mood?"
Scott stammered, never one to be to careful about his demeanor. Befriending Rogue had affected him in an overt way. But nobody ever called him out over it until now.
"I'm having a good day, that's all," said Scott, sitting down with his lunch.
"Nothing wrong with that," shrugged Kitty, "So how's Rogue?"
"She's doing okay," said Scott, taking a bite out of his sandwich, "Something weird seems to happen with the Brotherhood every day. She's yet to run out of crazy stories."
"And you say ve're a handful," mocked Kurt.
"Have you ever run through the house at super speed, looking for your favorite porno magazine, kicking up a tornado in the process that blows out half the windows?" grinned Scott.
Kurt, Evan, Jean, and Kitty looked wide-eyed at Scott, not knowing if this was another joke. It was odd seeing him with a sense of humor. Rogue's cynical attitude might be rubbing off on him. And if she was telling him stories like this, they must be getting close.
"Uh..." stammered Kurt.
"Thought not," grinned Scott.
The others shared a good laugh, but Jean wasn't amused. Her sense of humor wasn't on at the moment. No matter how often she saw it, this situation with Rogue didn't sit right. She had known Scott for years. In that time she never saw him act like this. Even if she was just a friend, it made her anxious.
"I...better get going," she said, picking up her half eaten lunch and leaving, "I've got a test in history I should probably be studying for."
Casting a concerned look, Scott got up to stop her, but she didn't give him the chance. She didn't even look back.
"What's her deal?" said Evan.
"Beats me," shrugged Kitty, "Guess she doesn't trust Rogue."
"More like she doesn't trust Rogue vhen she's hanging around Scott," added Kurt with a suggestive grin.
"Shut up, Kurt," said Scott, packing up his lunch and going after her.
As annoying as that comment was, there was some truth to it. But Scott didn't want to confront it at the moment. Jean was his first concern.
"I better go talk to her."
"I'll tag along," said Kurt.
"You and Evan have a storage room to clean if I recall," reminded Scott, "Principal Darkholm is already fuming for that skateboard trick you tried to set up in the hall."
"Man, that woman is a Nazi! I swear!" groaned Evan, "Do one little trick in the gym and its instant punishment."
"Speak for yourself," muttered Kurt, "You're the one who vent along vith it."
"And you're the one who dared me to do it!" argued Evan.
"Save it for the danger room, you two," said Scott, "I've got to go find Jean."
Leaving the two teens to eat the rest of their lunch in a disgruntled mood, Scott pursued Jean as she stormed off towards the library. She knew he was coming. She was psychic after all. But she didn't look back out of her own stubbornness. It didn't stop Scott, having dealt with her in this mood many times before. But he was determined to find out what he had done wrong.
"Jean! Jean, wait up!" said Scott, finally catching up to her.
"What is it, Scott?" she said in a disgruntled tone.
"Slow down for a minute, will you?" he said, catching his breath, "Just tell me what I said wrong back there?"
"Damn it, Scott! Leave it alone!" she shot, "It doesn't matter anyways."
"It does to me," said Scott adamantly.
Jean was about to storm off, but a gentle hand on her shoulder held her back. She may have been stubborn, but so was Scott. And if she ran, he'd just keep chasing her. Accepting his persistence, she let out a deep sigh and rubbed her sore temples.
"I'm sorry," she said, swallowing her frustrations, "I just...I'm a mess right now."
"I can see that," he said with a light hearted smile, "But I've seen you do worse."
"Yeah, yeah...bring it up again, why don't you?" she said, her tone lightening up somewhat.
"But that's not the main reason, is it?" he added.
Jean could have easily lied her way out of it, but not to her best friend.
"No. It isn't."
"Is it about Rogue?" he pressed on.
Jean looked away, hiding her conflicted expression from Scott.
"Maybe," she answered.
"Maybe?" said Scott in confusion, "Look, I know I've been spending a lot of time with her, but it's not like we don't still hang out."
"It's not that," said Jean, a touch of emotion in her words, "It's just...Scott, what does Rogue really mean to you?"
Scott didn't expect that. He bit his lip before he responded, not wanting to just throw it out there. He had been struggling with this since that night they almost kissed. Now Jean was putting him on the spot.
"I..." he stammered, "What do you mean?"
"Does she mean more to you than a friend?" asked Jean bluntly, "Do you...does she..."
She couldn't even bring herself to say it. Scott pulled her into a closer embrace, reassuring her that he still cared. But it didn't ease her concerns.
"Jean, she's a friend...a really good friend," said Scott, "I can't say she isn't more. She and I...we share a lot of stuff together that we can't share with anybody else."
"You just met her and you can tell her things you can't tell me?" said Jean bitterly.
"It's different, Jean," said Scott.
"I...can't put it into words," said Scott, diverting his gaze, "Just know there are some things we connect on that are hard for other people to grasp. You know I don't talk about my parents, my past, or having to wear these goofy shades 24/7 a lot."
"And you do with Rogue?" pressed Jean.
"At times...yeah," said Scott, "Believe it or not, she's dealt with a lot of the same issues. And I've never met someone who I can relate to like this before."
"Not even me?!" shot Jean, "I'm your friend, Scott! Why can't you tell me?!"
"Because there are some things you just can't understand," said Scott calmly, "I'm talking about things that nobody can understand unless they've experienced it themselves."
Jean wanted to slap him for thinking she didn't understand. But she held herself back and turned away for a moment. She knew deep down it was true on some levels. She came from loving parents in an upper class neighborhood. Scott was an orphan from Alaska. As close as they were, there were just some things she could never grasp.
"Look, Rogue and I are close, but you're still my best friend, Jean," said Scott in a soft tone, "We grew up together. You know me and I know you. I don't want to lose that."
"Neither do I," said Jean, turning to face him again, "I just can't stop myself from worrying."
"Well I promise you, cross my heart, that I'll never let anything destroy our friendship. You have my word."
It was a comforting feeling, hearing that honorable tone in his voice. Its part of what made Scott Summers a man to admire. He never made a promise he wasn't willing to keep. Jean knew that better than anybody. Even if he did feel something for Rogue, he wasn't going to let that tear them apart. And his word was good enough to convince her.
"You promise?" she said, wanting to hear it again.
"I promise," said Scott adamantly, hugging her close.
"Good enough for me," she said, returning his embrace.
It still concerned her, but Jean managed a smile none-the-less. She hated herself for going off like this, but it was difficult when her emotions got the better of her. And Scott had a way of triggering many. Yet still, she had one last burning concern.
"Just answer me one last thing, Scott," said Jean.
"Anything," said Scott intently.
"What if Rogue could touch? Would things be different between you two?"
Scott froze. He was about to answer, but no words came out. Ever since he met Rogue, her powers were the defining issue that affected her. It's part of what made her so isolated and cynical. There were a million other parts to her personality that he connected with, but it was that one inescapable barrier that had the most impact.
But say she could touch. How would that affect their friendship? That night when they almost kissed came rushing back. If it weren't for her powers, it may have actually happened. It was a lot for Scott to consider and it tore greatly at his emotions.
"I don't know," he said distantly.
Jean expected that, but not to this degree. Maybe it's because he never considered it himself. At least now he'd have something to think about when dealing with this girl.
"I understand," she said, "Come on, let's get to class. I promise I'll stop bugging you about it if we can work together and get through this test."
"Deal," said Scott with a smile.
Yet even as they walked off hand in hand, Scott's mind was going a mile a minute. He couldn't stop pondering the possibilities. What if Rogue could control her powers? What would that do for them and the feelings he was quickly developing for her?
While Scott, Jean, and the rest of Bayville High returned to class, Kurt and Evan spent their gym period cleaning out a few storage areas that hadn't been cleaned in years. Clearly, Principal Darkholm didn't expect them to succeed. It was more an act of vengeance for them acting out like regular teenagers.
"Man this stuff is old," said Evan as they opened the rusted doors near the east end of the school, "When's the last time they cleaned this place? The seventies?"
"I vouldn't be surprised if it vere ancient," muttered Kurt, "I swear, she's singling us out. I doubt she's made anybody else do zhis before."
"Guess that means we're her favorites or something," added Evan as walked through the cobwebs.
"Gee, I vonder vhy," said Kurt, his tone dripping with sarcasm.
"Let's just get this over with. We'll start with the boxes on the end. Doesn't look like anybody's touched them in years."
With an exasperated sigh, the two boys went to work. It was dirty, dusty, and dingy. No doubt this was a punishment and no love was lost on Principal Darkholm. But if this is what she nailed them on from a simple skateboarding accident, they shuttered to think just how far she would go.
Most of the boxes had old construction gear inside, most likely from when the school was first built decades ago. Other boxes had old gym equipment and rusted mechanical parts. Much of it was fit only for a junkyard. Chances were they'd fill up the dumpster in no time.
"Oh gross, man!" exclaimed Kurt before picking up another box.
"What is it, Kurt?" groaned Evan, rubbing the cobwebs from his hair.
"I just saw zhe fattest rat. Zhere better not be more. I hate rats."
"So says a guy who has fur," commented Evan.
"Shut up," said Kurt as he moved the box, "Let's just get zhis done before..."
Suddenly, Kurt was cut off as something caught his eye. After moving the oversized box, he was confronted with a sight he hadn't expected. Not far from where he saw the rat, there were an old, heavy duty metal door that was covered in dust and rusted in some areas. It was the last thing one expected to find in a room as old as this. Then again, they were the teenagers with the superpowers.
"Vow," said Kurt, pushing the box aside, "I vonder if Darkholme knows about zhis."
"What is it man?" said Evan, joining his friend, "Whoa, this is new."
"Or old from zhe looks of it," said Kurt, rubbing some of the dust off the handle, "Maybe it's a bomb shelter or something."
"Or maybe a hidden entrance to the girls locker room," grinned Evan, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"Only one way to find out," said Kurt, sharing his excitement.
Grabbing the handle, he tried to open it. But it was locked tough, almost as if it were a vault of sorts.
"Damn, zhis zhing is heavy," said Kurt, not feeling it budge.
"Guess we'll have to go the express route if you know what I mean," grinned Evan.
"I read you, but zhat could be dangerous you know," said Kurt, "If I teleport inside a place I don't know, ve could end up fusing vith a boiler or something."
"So you just wanna leave this thing alone?" quipped Evan, "Just keep ignoring it while we clean up this mess for Darkholm?"
It wasn't much of a debate. If they didn't take a peak now, it would never stop bothering them. After all, they were X-men. X-men weren't afraid to take chances.
"Point taken," grinned Kurt, grabbing his friend's hand, "You ready?"
"As I'll ever be!"
With a single bamf, the two teens disappeared in a cloud of smoke. They reappeared on the other side of the heavy door, only to find themselves in total darkness. Luckily, they hadn't fused themselves into a boiler as Kurt had warned. Now it was just a matter of finding out what this strange place was.
"Vell all our molecules are in place," said Kurt, "So vhere are ve?"
"I don't know," said Evan, feeling around for a light switch, "Can't see a thing."
The two boys stumbled around in the dark, looking for a light. They tripped over what felt like wires, so there had to be electricity in this place. It took some stumbling, but eventually they found a light.
"Hey! I think I found it!" said Evan.
Flipping the switch, a series of fluorescent lights came on overhead. They were dim, hinting they hadn't been used in years. They revealed what looked to be an old science lab. All around them there were tables with beakers and old fashioned computers. For a school, it looked pretty advanced.
"Vow," said Kurt, looking around, "Vhat is zhis place?"
"Beats me," said Evan, looking over the tables and equipment, "But talk about retro. This stuff is like a science nerd's antique museum."
"Doesn't look like it's been used in a long time," mused Kurt, rubbing some of the dust off the beakers.
"It probably hasn't. Think Darkholm knows about this?"
"I don't know. Maybe zhis is a mad scientist created her. You've gotta admit, she could give Frankenstein a run for his money."
"No kidding!" laughed Evan.
Suddenly, his eyes fell on a strange device sitting atop an old computer terminal.
"Hey, what's this?" said Evan, picking it up, "Old school video game or something?"
"Dude, be careful vith zhat!" warned Kurt, joining his friend.
"Man, don't get all Cyclops on me," said Evan, looking over the device, "Maybe it still works. Look, there's even a reset button. Let's see if..."
But as soon as Evan hit the reset button, the device came to life. It hummed with a strange power, vibrating as the unseen mechanisms within went to work. For a seemingly old device, it still had some life in it.
"Wow!" said Evan, dropping it as it started to glow.
"Get back!" exclaimed Kurt, tackling his friend to the side as the device erupted in a plume of light.
The lights flickered as a blinding flash inundated the room. Kurt and Evan covered their eyes, not knowing what they had unleashed. For all they knew they could be facing a seven headed monster. But when the light faded, they were surprised to see a distinctly human figure standing before them.
He looked to be their age, bearing tan skin and a Native American appearance. His clothes were strange. They looked right out of the seventies, bell bottoms and all. Clearly, he was out of place. But he didn't appear threatening.
"Far out," he said, rubbing his head, "I thought I'd never get out of that thing."
Looking back at the young man in shock, Kurt and Evan got up and approached the figure.
"Uh...ve come in peace?" said Kurt, saying the first thing that came to mind.
"Dude!" said Evan, giving his friend a strange look.
The stranger couldn't help but laugh. He was glad to be free, but clearly things had changed.
"Okay, I can explain," he said, "My name's Forge. I've sort of been trapped in a parallel dimension. Uh...you guys wouldn't happen to know what year it is, would you?"
Kurt and Evan exchanged looks. Clearly, this was going to take some time to sort out.
Scott was in a daze for the rest of the afternoon. After his talk with Jean, he couldn't stop thinking about Rogue. Every what if question he could think of was going through his mind. What if he was developing feelings for her? What if she felt the same way? What if she could touch? Some seemed more plausible than others, but he just couldn't slow his mind down.
The rest of the day passed in a blur. He barely remembered going to his classes or sitting through lectures. Rogue dominated his mind and kept him distant for the rest of the day. He was relieved when the final bell rang. Maybe some time in the danger room would distract him.
But as he was making his way out to his car, his gaze fell on Principal Darkholm's fancy new car. Sitting the front seats, Rogue and Principal Darkholm seemed to be talking about something. It looked a little contentious, but there was no yelling. Scott stopped, his eyes fixated on the Southern girl who had come into his life so suddenly. As the car pulled out, her eyes found his and she smiled back at him. Despite her mother's presence, she waved. Scott smiled as well, waving back as they rode off.
With a deep sigh, Scott shoved his hands in his pockets and returned to his conflicted thoughts. Seeing her just made him think about it even more. And no matter what he did, he couldn't get this girl out of his head.
'Damn it, Rogue! Why can't I get you out of my head?'
Suddenly, Scott was broken out of his daze by a familiar voice.
"Scott! Hey Scott!" said Kitty, running towards her friend, brimming with energy.
"Hey Kitty. Where's the fire?" laughed the older teen.
"See for yourself! Come on! We have to get back to the mansion! Kurt told me they found a new mutant and Xavier came to pick him up!"
"New mutant, huh?" said Scott curiously, "Guess we shouldn't keep him waiting."
Following Kitty to his car, where Jean was already waiting, Scott felt his mind ease. Maybe a new recruit would take his mind off such conflicting matters. This mess was tearing him apart. Hopefully, he would think of a solution soon. But at the rate he was going, it felt as though it would be a while.
Upon returning to the mansion, Scott and the others were briefed on their newest arrival. His name was Forge, a mutant who claimed he could build anything. He had a passion for tinkering, but apparently he tinkered too much one day when he built what he called a trans-dimensional inducer. While few understood the physics of such matters, the short end of it was he got trapped in a strange pocket dimension and stayed there until today.
It took him thirty years to get out. Obviously, he had missed out on a lot. But remarkably, he didn't age a day. He went into another round of scientific jargon explaining how the nature of the dimension kept him young, but he was glad to be free and was deeply indebted to the X-men for their help.
Already, Forge seemed to get along well with Kurt and Evan. And when he heard about the danger room, his eyes lit up and offered his complete services as a token for freeing him. And while Xavier offered him a place at the institute, Forge had missed out on a lot and wanted to catch up.
"Well everything seems to be in order, Forge," said the Professor kindly as he sat with the young man in his study with Scott and Jean by his side, "Bringing someone back after being gone for 30 years is no easy feat, but the process is well under way and should be complete within the week."
"Wow, thanks Professor," said Forge, eagerly shaking his hand, "I can't tell you how much all this means to me. It's nice knowing I'm not the only one of my kind."
"Think nothing of it, my boy," said Xavier with a smile, "It's what we X-men do."
"Well if you ever need a guy who can build anything, you know who to call! But for now should probably get back to my folks. I'm 30 years past curfew."
"I understand," said the Professor, "Scott will ensure you get home. You have our number if you need anything."
"Far out, man! Thanks!"
Scott and Jean tried hard not to laugh. They would definitely have to work on his slang. Talking like that in public was sure to earn him some looks and he had been though enough after 30 years in a pocket dimension.
After one last goodbye to Kurt and Evan, Forge followed Scott to the garage where his car awaited. He hadn't seen his parents in a long time and was eager to embrace them once more. He had a great deal of explaining to do, but he didn't care. The nightmare was finally over for him. He even got some new friends out of it.
"So you can shoot lasers out of your eyes, huh?" said Forge as they got into his car, "Very cool. Like something out of Star Trek. That's still around, right?"
"Uh...I wouldn't know," said Scott, strapping himself in.
It didn't sound too encouraging, but Forge shrugged it off.
"Well thanks again for doing this," he said, "I know I've said it a million times, but being stuck in a pocket dimension for thirty years isn't as fun as it sounds."
"I can only imagine," said Scott as he pulled out of the garage.
"Just remember, if you guys need anything, namely tech support for your gadgets, you know who to call. There isn't a machine I can't build!"
Forge's enthusiasm was uncanny, but Scott didn't mind. He seemed like a nice guy who was genuinely willing to help them. And as mutants, they could use all the help they could get. But at the same time, part of that offer got him thinking.
As they drove off, Scott thought back to Rogue. All day, he had been wrestling with issues about their friendship. Memories of that night they almost kissed came rushing back. He couldn't help but wonder what would've happened if she could control her powers. Would they have really kissed? Would it have really led to something?
Looking over at Forge, he couldn't help but latch onto that claim of being able to build anything. Did that extend to something that could allow Rogue to touch? But even if he could, what would that do to their friendship? And how would it affect them if those barriers suddenly disappeared?
"So uh...your mutant power helps you build anything," said Scott, "Anything at all?"
"Oh yeah, it's in my blood...literally," he laughed, turning his hand into a cache of mini tools, "I could take this car and turn it into a starship if I wanted."
It was a bold statement, but given this kid had already made something that sent him into a pocket dimension for 30 years with 1970s technology, Scott was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"So what if I said I had a friend who needs something built to help her? Could you build it?" he asked seriously.
"It depends," said Forge with a shrug.
"Depends on what?"
"Whether you want it in pink, green, or metallic blue!"
Scott couldn't help but laugh. Forge seemed pretty confident in himself, but it got the point across. He didn't know why he was doing this, but he wouldn't lay his thoughts about Rogue to rest until he tried. He owed it to her for being the one person who understood. Rogue didn't deserve to live a life trapped in her own body. And if Scott had a chance to help her, it was up to him to take it.
"In that case here's the situation..."
Up Next: Scott gives Rogue a gift and things take an unexpected turn.