DISCLAIMERS POSTED IN PART 0
* * *
Somehow Marie had been expecting her parents to personally transfer her
to the new school. So when a minivan from the Massachusetts Academy
appeared at Xaviers front gate the very next weekend after that phone
call, it came as a shock all around. [Yeah, I *know* New York is a long
way up from Mississippi, but they could have waited for a long weekend or
spring break or something, or taken a few days off work, or flown up and
rented a car or something. If they care so much about *which* mutant
private school I go to, why arent they inspecting this one personally
before leaving me there?] She didnt get to share this complaint with
anyone, being too busy packing up her clothing and other things. Kitty
and Jubes, already shocked by the news of her transfer but doubly so by
the abruptness of the move, helped with the packing, and a number of
others Logan silently among them helped carry bags and
hastily-scrounged boxes from her room to the vehicle outside.
Yet another reason to resent the suddenly-imposed deadline was the
inability to give Logan a *proper* farewell. Marie was mobbed by friends
and teachers from the start of the packing until her final departure, all
of them milling around helping or getting underfoot, swamping her with
assorted well-wishes and tearful goodbyes. No time for a private
one-on-one with Logan.
Her best opportunity came when the last of her things had been loaded.
Professor Xavier by that point was out on the driveway, backed by Scott
and Jean, expressing well-bred annoyance to none other than the
headmistress herself. Emma Frost had personally made the trip to
Westchester to fetch Rogue, who was feeling singularly unimpressed by the
honor. A fair percentage of the mob had chosen to witness the debate, or
perhaps just to inspect the Professors counterpart. Marie had no
interest in the extremely polite argument the *real* decision having
been made by her parents, this was nothing more than an ineffectual
protest on Xaviers part and would have the entire drive to
Massachusetts to get acquainted with Frost. Logan was far more important,
and right now seemed to be about the best time shed have to avoid
attracting the attention of most of the potential eavesdroppers.
Except that she couldnt think of anything to say between the two
categories of "things she wanted to do" and "things she felt safe doing
in front of witnesses," there was nothing in common. Logan saved her from
her dilemma, removing his dogtag and placing it in her hand again. It
meant the same thing as it always had hers to keep until they saw each
other again, a promise that they *would* see each other again. As he
closed her gloved fingers around it yet another time, he said, "Thingsll
She smiled, and saw the answering smile in his eyes that he hadnt
allowed to reach his face. In the emotional atmosphere of the mass
farewell, she felt it safe enough to risk a hug. He inhaled deeply,
getting one last dose of her scent to last him until the next time,
however much of a wait that might be she knew, because she was doing
the same. With her face against his shoulder, she murmured for his ears
alone, "Ill check out our options and let you know..."
Pulling back, she saw that he had allowed the smile to leak out onto his
face which was just as well, since the underlying sadness had begun to
well up in his eyes. Taking the dogtag in her hand, she hooked the chain
around her neck, pulling her hair over it and dropping it into
concealment behind her shirt. He watched the silent promise to wear his
name against her heart and then ducked back out of the crowd.
Marie knew that he might have apparently disappeared right now, but would
be finding a vantage point to watch until the minivan was out of sight.
Sighing, she made her way around the van to the low-key argument between
the various adults present. "All packed up," she said, interrupting
Xaviers exhortation to at least wait for the nearest break in grading
"Ready to go?" Emma asked with a charming smile.
Rogue studied her and decided that Frost probably couldnt help being
beautiful, composed, and sophisticated but it certainly didnt make her
much more likeable. "No but the cars loaded."
The headmistress gave her a look elegantly balanced between disapproval
at her rudeness and indulgence at her youthful outspokenness. Marie
suspected that once Frost was no longer trying to "win her over" or
performing for an audience, as the case might be the indulgence would
disappear and the disapproval would turn several degrees chillier. "In
that case, lets be off," was all she said.
"Goodbye, Rogue!" chorused Kitty and Jubes unhappily. She actually saw
the pauses as they took a deep breath each before cautiously giving her
the hugs that they so clearly felt were indicated under the
circumstances. Marie refrained from sighing at the unnecessary caution.
After all, neither one *knew* that it was unnecessary.
"Take care, Rogue," was Scotts contribution, and Jean added, "Well miss
you." Another hug each, Jean rather more cautiously than Fearless Leader
Scott, whose stiffness seemed more attributable to an excess of Leaderly
Dignity than to any nervousness at her mutation. [Pretty damn careless of
you, Scooter thatd be one hell of a "gift" for my girl to absorb
accidentally,] Subliminal Logan grumbled.
"Remember, Rogue, you always have a home here if you want it," Xavier
said. There was a firm promise lurking in the back of his eyes.
"Oh, I want it its my parents that need convincing," she murmured.
"Perhaps," was his enigmatic response. Marie wondered if he were
referring to the freedom from certain parental controls that came with
ones eighteenth birthday more than a year and a half from now, in her
case or to her own previously demonstrated tendencies to up and leave
when a situation seemed untenable.
Was he actually implying that he would help hide her here, against the
wishes of her parents, were she to run away from the Massachusetts
Marie really *did* want to hug Charles at that point, but it seemed a bit
tricky to bend that low especially with the pretense to maintain of her
dangerous skin. She felt a sudden urge to kiss him on the cheek instead.
Or better yet, the top of his head. The wheelchair left him at a
convenient height for it, and the ensuing reaction might even be the one
thing that could keep her from being shipped off with Frost.
"Might" being the operative word. The stated purpose of her transfer was
to get better training in control of her gift, but with her parents
permission given and her baggage all in the Academys van, Marie had a
nagging suspicion that it might take more than a few seconds of
unprotected skin-on-skin contact to keep Frost from taking her out of
there. She had no real basis for this idea beyond her own unpleasant
initial impression of Emma, but there it was.
Marie decided to settle for the hug after all, making it into a sort of
sideways one-armed effort with her head turned away to keep a
"protective" layer of her own hair between their faces. "Thanks for
"I *am* sorry I couldnt do more to help you with your gift," he said
softly, for her ears alone.
Straightening, she replied, "Dont worry about it." And smiled.
Without actually coming right out and *saying* that she had control now,
she did the next best thing and let her total lack of concern in that
particular area shine through in her expression. Xavier might not have
been able to clearly read the oddly layered collection of minds between
Rogues ears even had he been generally inclined to snoop through
others private thoughts without cause but he was a perceptive observer
of human behavior, and he was able to read enough in that smile to give
him pause. He nodded thoughtfully, eyes never leaving hers, as the regret
left his face to be replaced by something else.
Marie turned away before she had quite identified the "something else,"
to find Frost frowning at her.
The expression smoothed itself away so quickly one might almost have
questioned its existence. "And if thats it for the goodbyes, I think
its time to go now." With a graceful, poised motion of one slender hand,
Emma indicated the minivan. Marie accepted the silent instruction, moving
around to the passenger side and climbing into the front seat.
"Goodbye, Rogue! Goodbye!" came the chorus, with Jubilee adding, "Dont
forget us, chica!" and Kitty reminding, "Youve got our phone number!"
Marie waved as the van backed, circled, and headed down the driveway and
out the gate.
As they passed the school walls and her friends, teachers and lover
were out of sight, Marie leaned back in her seat with a sigh. Kittys
last comment had brought something to mind, and she turned to her new
headmistress. "Whats the policy on phone calls in the dorms? Do we have
our own phones, or is there a house phone at least, or a pay phone,
"There are a few phones on the first floors of the dorms and in a few of
the common areas. Outgoing calls only, Im afraid, and no calls at all
after midnight, barring emergencies. And we ask that all students
remember the phones *are* shared, and not monopolize the line for too
long." Emmas face had an almost prim expression.
[Ah, well, could be worse. Might be hard getting privacy or even to a
phone at all, if theres a line waiting to use it but at least they
dont seem to be cutting off all outside communication...] "I guess
theres always e-mail..." she commented, watching Frost in her peripheral
vision to see her reaction.
And a reaction there was an almost distasteful set to the mouth for an
instant, before speaking. "There *are* computer labs, for term papers or
other assignments, and internet access *is* available, but we generally
prefer that the computers be used for mainly school-related purposes." A
pause, before the almost grudging admission, "Although usage of the
computer lab for personal or entertainment reasons is allowed, so long as
no one with an academic purpose is kept waiting."
Marie nodded, satisfied for the moment. [I wonder if they monitor what
the students do online, or block certain sites or anything like that?
Think Ill save that question for later dont want it to sound too much
like Im looking for ways to send secret messages out of there...]
* * *
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
GET INTERNET ACCESS FROM JUNO!
Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit: