Past Forward - Jamie (madjm@...
Disclaimer, etc., with prologue
The feeling was strange, almost as if the forest were welcoming her. The air
felt familiar, loving, like it was embracing her.
Rogue took a deep breath and blew it out. She felt the remnants of Logan in
her, trying to force his way to the surface. If she hadn't believed Sidre
before, she certainly did now. This was where he was from. Her guardian.
She knew Sidre wasn't even close to telling them all they needed to know,
but she had the feeling that she could trust the woman, and somehow she knew
that trust was coming from Logan. Since Logan didn't trust many people,
Rogue was willing to give Sidre some time before she demanded to know what
was going on.
For now, it was enough to absorb the fact that she was from this place, and
that she was going to be able to touch. And that she was a freaking
princess. Rogue snorted, startling Celeste, who was walking beside her in a
fairly companionable silence. Was there anyone on earth who was *less* like
a princess than herself? She doubted it.
And then there was Celeste. Her cousin. Though she didn't really like her,
Rogue could respect someone who could take care of herself. She doubted
Celeste would've needed to have Logan almost die to save her. She probably
would have kicked Magneto's ass, and knifed Mystique on her way out the
Sidre called a halt a few minutes later, conferring with Risa for a few
minutes before calling to Rogue. At least she'd stopped calling her
"You will come with me into town," Sidre said, not even attempting to make
it sound like a request.
Rogue sighed. Trusting Logan's faith in this woman was wearing a little
thin. She left her pack with Jubilee, who barely paused in her description
of basketball to nod and take the bag. Alyn, Rogue was amused to note, was
hanging on Jubes' every word, looking at her like she was a goddess or
something. She bit back a grin and turned to join Sidre. It was about time
Jubilee got lucky.
As they walked the short distance into town, Sidre spoke in a low voice. "I
know you have many questions, Rogue. I promise to explain everything to you
tonight. There are things ..." The older woman sighed, and when she spoke,
her voice sounded almost defeated. "There are some things that you need to
know. Only you."
Rogue nodded but didn't answer. Somehow, getting answers wasn't as
Twenty minutes later, they came across a town in the middle of the forest.
Rogue had no clear memories of this place from Logan, and she realized that
she'd expected it to look like the Ewok Village from "Return of the Jedi."
With a name like the Untamed, she'd expected Logan's people to live in huts
and run around wearing loincloths or something. She allowed herself to
imagine Logan in a loincloth and finally had to quit, as the picture was
extremely attractive in a primitive way.
The town of Roan was just as modern as Fairfield, but much prettier. The
homes and other buildings were made of wood, and they were nestled among the
trees, looking as if they'd grown there. The trees were thinner in this
area, and Rogue could see they opened to a large clearing ahead where the
sun was allowed to peek into the forest.
Sidre led her along the road that wound around trees and houses. She
obviously knew where she was going, so Rogue felt comfortable following her
and trying not to stare at the people who streamed around them, ignoring the
strangers in their midst. Rogue realized they probably already knew Sidre
and didn't really care who she was. She revised that opinion a moment later
as she realized the creeping feeling along the back of her neck meant she
was being stared at. She twisted around but couldn't catch any one person
staring at her.
There were a lot of people, dressed in the same kind of clothing worn in
Fairfield, though fewer of the women wore dresses and more chose to wear
pants. She couldn't blame them. Rogue studied their faces and tried not to
make it obvious. There was something about the people that reminded her of
Logan, but it wasn't anything specific she could point to. Perhaps she was
just seeing something because that's what she expected.
Never assume. That was something Logan taught her when he was training her
to fight. It applied to a lot of situations.
Sidre skirted the clearing, barely dodging the three kids who came rushing
through from a path to the left. Rogue laughed as the little boy of about 5
crashed into her legs. She knelt down and set him back on his feet.
"You OK?" she smiled at him.
"M'fine," he said seriously, looking up at her with beautiful hazel eyes.
"Did I hurt you?"
She swallowed a laugh. "I think I'll be all right," she said, just as
serious. "Thank you for asking."
His patience apparently ran out as the two little girls playing with him
yelled at him to hurry up. Sidre motioned impatiently for Rogue to follow
and took off again. A moment later, they came to a large wooden building on
the opposite side of the clearing. The sign at the front was written in a
language Rogue had never seen before, but somehow she knew this place was an
She followed Sidre inside, into what was obviously a bar and dining room.
Though nearly everything in the empty room was made of a dark wood, the room
still managed to look cheerful. The row of windows along the front of the
building all had flowers blooming in windowboxes, and metal fixtures on the
ceiling held rows of candles. Fire crackled in a large fireplace at one end
of the room, and lovely woven tapestries hung along the walls next to the
Rogue had only taken a moment to gape at her surroundings, but Sidre was
already across the room talking with another woman. When she got closer,
Rogue got a good look at the woman and nearly tripped. She was just about
the most beautiful woman Rogue had ever seen, nearly 6 feet tall, with long,
honey-blond hair and distinctly catlike eyes. As she moved forward to shake
Rogue's hand, she seemed to slink rather than walk.
Rogue wondered if all the women Logan had known before were this beautiful.
She sighed. No wonder he wasn't interested in a kid like herself.
The woman, Sara, was a widow who owned and ran the inn and was more than
happy to set them up with several rooms for a few days. The place was pretty
deserted at this time of year, so everyone would get rooms to themselves.
After one of Sara's young sons was paid to go back and lead the rest of the
group to the inn, Sidre disappeared somewhere. Rogue was tempted to wander
around the town some, but she was suddenly very tired. She sank onto a bench
in front of the fire and leaned on the table, waiting for the rest of the
A few minutes later, she'd started to daze, her eyes drifting shut. She
snapped to attention as a bowl was set in front of her.
"You should eat something," Sara said kindly. "I hope you like stew."
"It smells great," Rogue said truthfully, taking the spoon that was offered.
Sara started to leave and then paused. "I would have known who you were,"
she said softly. Rogue imagined it was almost a purr. "You look exactly like
"My ... mother?" Rogue was surprised and horrified at the tears suddenly in
her eyes. She blinked them away. "Did you know her?"
"When I was younger, before I married, I worked in the city. At a
dressmaker's. I didn't know your mother, but I helped make many of her
gowns." Sara smiled again. "She was so beautiful, and all the people loved
Rogue smiled but decided not to ask anything more. Sidre was likely to know
more about her true mother, and she wasn't entirely sure she was ready to
know, anyway. After all, her parents obviously were dead. The story didn't
seem to have a happy ending, and she wasn't sure she wanted to hear it.
Rogue dug into the delicious soup, some kind of meat and vegetables. It
seemed like it had been ages since she'd had a real, hot meal, and she found
she was starving. When the rest of the group showed up a few minutes later,
Rogue was on her second bowl, along with a thick slice of bread and some
kind of ale to drink.
Jubilee took one look at her meal. "Oh. My. God. Real food!" she squealed,
and grabbed Rogue's spoon. Risa and Alyn were laughing at her as she sat
next to Rogue and started eating from her bowl. Rogue even saw Celeste crack
a smile. She thought she'd fall of the bench from the shock of it.
Sara and another girl quickly served everyone, and Rogue took another bowl
rather than try to retrieve the first one from Jubilee, who was ignoring
everyone in favor of the food.
A girl could lose a hand that way.
An hour later, almost everyone had gone to bed, even though it was still
early. Sara's dining room was packed with people, and Rogue and Jubilee sat
on a bench in the corner just watching.
"Sidre says she needs to talk to me alone tonight," Rogue said finally.
"That ought to be a laugh-a-minute," Jubilee cracked. "Where is she,
"I don't know. She disappeared a while back. Probably on some mysterious
"You do know," Jubilee said slowly, "that she hasn't told us jack."
"I noticed that," Rogue said, chuckling. "It's annoying, but my inner Logan
seems to trust her. We'll see what she has to say tonight."
"You'll tell me all, of course," Jubes said firmly.
"Of course," Rogue said mildly. Unless she had a reason not to tell.
They both saw Sidre come inside at the same moment. "Well, chica," Jubilee
said. "It's time for me to go nighty-night. Talk to you later."
As Jubilee slipped away, Sidre motioned to Rogue. "Come," Sidre said in a
low voice, drawing her back into the kitchen. Sara was still back there, and
she nodded but didn't try to stop them from entering another room adjacent
to the kitchen. It was a storeroom, but a small table and two chairs were
crammed into the back.
After they squeezed themselves into the seats, Sidre wasted no time getting
to the point.
"I've told you very little," she said. "This is because I will only have to
repeat everything once Captain Logan and his friends arrive."
"Yes, he is bringing two people with him," Sidre sounded annoyed. "I do not
understand what is happening, but things are not going according to my
Dream. That rarely happens, and I feel it will only complicate matters."
"Your dream?" Rogue was confused. For the moment, she put aside the question
of who Logan was bringing. "Do you ... see the future?"
Sidre sighed. "That is my Gift, yes. I Dream of future events, and often
they involve duties I must undertake. One of those duties was to take you as
an infant, on the night your parents and brother were killed. At that time,
I did not know what was to happen to them, but I knew they would not survive
the night. I also knew, for the sake of this land, that you *must* survive."
"You knew my parents would die? Why didn't you warn them or something?"
Rogue's voice raised, despite a warning look from Sidre. "You could've saved
"Hush, girl," Sidre said sternly, and Rogue sank back in her seat. "You
understand nothing. I could have warned them, but they would not have
believed me. It is impossible to stop a death that is meant. When I was
young, I tried once. ..."
Sidre sighed. "That is not the point. It was my duty to protect you, and
that is what I did." She poured herself a glass of water from a pitcher on
the table. "After your parents' death, your uncle, Deven Maron, took over
the throne. Though a few suspected at the time that he killed your parents
-- and most people believe that now, whether they say it out loud or not --
at the time he offered great comfort to the people. He spent a great deal of
effort to find you, as well. But Captain Logan and I brought you here for a
short while, and then we made it to the gateway."
"What *is* that thing, anyway?" Rogue asked. "How did it get there?"
Sidre shrugged. "I do not know. I first learned of it when I saw it in my
Dream. As I said, things usually happen as I've Dreamed them. But things are
different now. I knew you would return to take the throne back from Deven
Rogue sat up straighter. "Hold on. Take the throne? Why would I do that? I
don't want a throne. I'm not a princess, I'm just a student!"
"You may not want to be a princess, and yet you are," Sidre said, obviously
annoyed. "I would not wish to be a Dreamer, and yet I am. Deven cannot be
allowed to continue his reign. It was for this purpose you were born.
Perhaps it is my purpose as well. But things are different, and there is
more to tell you."
Rogue nodded and slumped in the chair. This whole princess gig was really
"You were to return months ago, and Captain Logan was to bring you. This is
how I Dreamed it. I began to worry when you did not come, and that is why I
sent Risa and Celeste to the gateway to wait for you. I am not sure what has
changed, but I Dreamed again last night. Captain Logan comes with a man of
dark hair and a mask of some kind, and a woman with red hair ... who has
strong mental abilities."
"Scott and Jean," Rogue nodded again. "If they saw him leaving, they
wouldn't let him come alone."
"The woman ... Jean," Sidre said slowly. "She is quite powerful, though she
has not met her potential yet. I wish to wait for her before we try to teach
you to control your power. Her Gift will be helpful."
Control her power. Rogue allowed herself a little hope. She had done
meditation and exercises with the Professor for years but rarely let herself
believe that they would work. It was too painful to find out they weren't
doing anything but reducing her stress level a notch or twelve. But now,
Sidre seemed to believe they would be able to help her.
"There is more," Sidre interrupted her thoughts. "I have Dreamed often of
confronting Deven Maron. You must be able to control your Gift, because you
must use it to absorb the Gifts of your allies. This is how he fights, and
you must do the same. You must face Deven. You *will* defeat him. I have
seen it. But ... my most recent Dream showed me something new."
Rogue found that she was holding her breath, and she briefly wondered if she
was developing psychic powers, because Sidre's next words were no surprise.
Sidre took a deep breath, and Rogue focused her eyes on a drop of sweat that
wound down the woman's forehead. When the words finally came, they echoed
inside her head. "You will defeat Deven Maron ... but you will not survive
the battle yourself."
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