DISCLAIMERS POSTED IN PART 0
* * *
The rest of the trip passed with little conversation. Emma made a few
attempts at small talk that her traveling companion let fall by the
wayside. Rogue wasnt inclined to chat with Frost. Little Marie Gordon
from Mississippi might have babbled the trip away, out of nervousness or
friendliness or a genuine desire to get to know her new headmistress, but
Rogue had learned from Logan how to be comfortable in silence. Especially
when there was nothing worth saying or no one particularly worth saying
it to, and Maries first impression of Emma had left her inclined to be
guarded around the older woman. Besides, she was still speculating on the
conditions to be found at the Academy and debating methods of returning
to her accustomed Logan-intensive lifestyle two very absorbing topics.
It was late evening when they arrived. Having stopped for dinner on the
road (since they would arrive too late for the dining halls hours),
there was not much for Rogue to do for the evening but start unpacking
and go to bed. She met a very few people three young men who helped
carry her luggage inside in a single trip, and whom she wasnt quite sure
yet were students or staff, as well as the "Head Resident" at the dorm.
The latter a maternal woman who might have been a former student or
hired staff for all Marie could tell promised to introduce her to some
of her new housemates the next morning.
Marie was pleased to find she had been given a room to herself albeit a
small one. She wondered whether solitary rooms were the norm at this
school or an exception had been made for her as a concession to her
mutation. Whichever the case, the privacy pleased her. Sneaking around
for *whatever* reason was much easier without roommates.
* * *
"I propose we spend today's telepathy period hacking into the minds of
some of our favorite screen idols. A gold star to the first girl who
discovers the awful truth about Tom and Nicole..."
Emma Frost, NEW X-MEN #2, by Grant Morrison
* * *
The next morning, Rogue was given the promised introduction at breakfast,
passing her new housemates in a blur of names and faces. One, who
gigglingly responded to Maries introduction as "Rogue" with the name
"Catseye," volunteered to show her around the campus.
The end of the tour was at Emmas office, where Catseyes knock earned a
telepathic response. ::Thank you, Sharon. Marie, come in.::
Marie frowned. [She could have just said, "Come in." She didnt have to
use telepathy.] Then she shrugged, opening the door. [Different strokes.
Just because the Professor likes to keep the mental stuff to a minimum
doesnt mean thats the only way to do it. And it doesnt *have* to mean
Emmas pushy or anything like that.]
[Doesnt have to mean she isnt, either,] Inner Logan warned.
"Ah, Marie. Please sit down," Frost said, barely glancing up from the
papers on her desk. "Now, I understand that youve been having some
trouble controlling your gift? Which does what, exactly?"
"Dont you *know*?" [You had me yanked over here claiming you could help
me control it better than Xavier could, and you dont even know what it
"Ive been told you can borrow other mutants powers, and may leave
people in a coma with a touch. But I want you to describe it in your own
words. What does it feel like to *you*?"
Slightly mollified, Rogue told her, "Like its their life pouring into
me. Thoughts, memories... Powers, if theyre a mutant."
"And its at the slightest touch? No way to prevent it?"
Marie hesitated, caught between trusting this stranger with her secret
and telling an outright lie. "Magneto was the third person I touched, and
I managed to keep from taking enough to leave him in a coma." Which was
true, without giving herself away just yet.
"And does anything you absorb persist over time, or are all effects only
"Powers fade. So do thoughts, but memories can linger, and the more I
touch a person the stronger their personality is in my head." [*Massive*
understatement.] Subliminal Logan grumbled in agreement.
"Hmm. Interesting. Let me see..."
And just like that, Emma Frost was in Maries head.
Marie froze in shock. Inner Wolvie snarled angrily at the intrusion.
Subliminal Erik, faded to a mere ghost over time, perked up at the
familiar touch of mental fingers flipping through ones thoughts. [Well,
well, seems shes a great deal less *principled* than Charles, isnt she?
Are you going to sit still for this, girl?] he inquired.
[NO!] was Maries angry response, echoed by Logan/Wolverine.
::Dont struggle, child, Im just looking at your memories of using your
power...:: Emma told her, not ceasing her rummaging for an instant.
/David, quivering atop her bed in her old bedroom in Mississippi.../
Marie imagined her mind as a Rolodex, with Emma flipping through her
memories. She imagined herself slapping Emmas hand, slamming the desk
drawer shut with the card file inside only to have her "hand" grabbed
::I told you not to struggle,:: Emma told her, annoyance leaking through
in her mental voice as she held Maries "hand" still and continued to
/Logan, guilt and horror transmuted into frozen pain at the end of her
[HEY! Get the hell out of here!] Subliminal Logan entered the fray,
because only Marie was being "held" helpless.
Not so helpless anymore, as Emmas "grip" loosened with the distraction
but only until she had Inner Logan as well.
/High above the harbor, struggling ineffectually to keep Erik Lensherrs
life from flowing into herself.../
Realizing what memories would be turned up next, Marie struggled harder,
Inner Logan fighting alongside.
/Standing in a deserted classroom, lips and tongues exploring, delighting
in the taste and feel of bare skin and lips pressed together.../
Irate, defensive, and offended, Inner Wolvie dove into the brawl, shaking
Emmas control and pushing her away from those highly private memories.
Even Subliminal Magneto and David helped, distracting Emma a bit more as
Marie and her interior boyfriend shoved Frost away, combining efforts to
"slam the door" behind her.
Leaving it up to her interior committee to guard the perimeter and keep
Frost from sneaking back in, Marie glared coolly at the woman behind the
desk. "Not so easy to control a mob as a single person, is it?"
Emma refused to be glared down. "Thats certainly one way of looking at
it." A pause. "And so your lack of control of your power?" A wry upward
twist of one corner of her mouth.
Marie returned it. "No longer a problem."
"And you pretended otherwise because...?"
Cards on the table now *some* of them, at least. "Because the only
reason my parents let me stay at Xaviers was to get control of my power.
If they knew I had it down, theyd yank me right home to Mississippi." A
moments thought, then the observation, "If Id known theyd try sending
me to a different school, I might have gone ahead and told them."
Frost laced her hands together, considering. "And was home so very bad?"
A trace of sympathy creeping into her voice whether genuine or merely
an attempt to gain the girls confidence, Marie wasnt sure.
Realizing that the *real* question being asked was, "Why did you want to
stay at Xaviers so badly?" Marie avoided the true inquiry with a literal
answer. "My parents were okay, but the rest of the town was bad, after
my mutation kicked in." She didnt elaborate.
"Ah." Apparently satisfied with the implication that Xaviers had been a
welcome refuge from anti-mutant bigotry a truth, though not the entire
one Emmas next question was, "And do you think this Academy will also
be better than your home town?"
Marie gave her a half-smile and an honest answer. "Im waiting to see how
it turns out before I go deciding one way or another."
Emma nodded. "I see. Fair enough." Rising from her chair, "In that case,
I think your schedule will be revised. If your control over your power
proves satisfactory, we may change some of the allotted practice time for
something more useful. Next week, I think for *this* week, just follow
this schedule and well get an idea of where you would most benefit from
the extra time." She handed Marie a sheet of paper, blocked out Monday
through Friday with classes, "practice time," and study periods.
Accepting the implied dismissal, Rogue headed for the door. Struck by a
thought, she paused and turned back to the headmistress. "If Im not
pretending to be untouchable, should I get rid of my gloves and scarf?"
Emma raised an eyebrow. "Are you safe to be around others without them?"
"Yes. Ive been going around in public without them for the past few
months and havent had any accidents."
"In that case, I think you may wear what you wish within the dress
code, that is." Again with an almost prim pursing of her lips, Frost
resumed her seat.
Marie let herself out of the office. Closing the door behind her, she
thoughtfully peeled off her gloves as she walked away. [Dress code, hell
walking around without *these*, I *still* feel damn near naked!]
[Good. I dont want you shedding lots of clothes around all these kids
without me here to fend the punks off.] Subliminal Logans opinion of an
excess of bare-Marie-skin in his absence was on record.
She felt a smile curling her lips. [Not a problem in this weather its
damn near cold enough for me to want to keep the extra layers on
[Still nice to be able to eat lunch without gloves and not be
considered a safety risk...]
* * *
She Whose Quotations Are Both Exotic and Appropriate
Keeper of his Deadly Startle Reflexes, Guardian and Examiner of the
Adamantium-Revealing X-Rays, and Official Listener for the Occasional
"Getting fired is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That
way, we'd quit treading water and do something with our lives."
-- Tyler Durden, _Fight Club,_ by Chuck Palahniuk
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