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4061Fic: Falling Into the Sky 2/8 (Caligo)

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  • Shaz
    Jan 18, 2002
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      The previous stories in this series may be found at the homesite:
      www.greymalkinlane.com/caligo WRBeta: "Durga's LAment" was NOT dropped to
      this list. See the link above for a catch-up (the story was focused on
      other characters, Rogue's part was a bit too subplottish to land on WRBeta.)
      And while this story CAN stand alone, I don't recommend that it does. The
      importance of details may be missed. --Shaz


      ~*~*~*~


      I woke up to the sound of a siren, and it honestly took me a few moments to
      figure out whether or not it was one-- coming for me, or two-- meant that I
      had in fact overdosed and was now in the hospital.

      But no, I was still in my dirty little hotel room.

      The comedown off synthetic heroin for the first time was like getting hit by
      a bus. I had all the voices back. Melissa was in a mood, and because I had
      absorbed her more wholly than anyone else, she was much more like a
      different person walking around inside my brain rather than random memories,
      and God, was she agitated.

      Then there was the headache. Ooh, like a huge hammer banging at my skull,
      making my stomach all fluttery and legs wobbly when I tried to stand. The
      room actually spun, and after an hour of trying to confirm that, yes, the
      window was open and that was actually wind blowing through the thin
      nightgown I had put on at some point in the night, I was sure that despite
      the bliss of temporarily being myself, I'd have to think about dabbling with
      chemical highs again.

      Yeah, right. Some people get hooked on the chemical part of a drug. I fell
      into that group six hours later, actually craving that first rush into my
      bloodstream, but I also had another, initial problem, aside from the
      headache.

      Listening to a screaming Melissa Marr is like putting your ear to a speaker
      playing death metal at top volume. It's loud and obnoxiously unending, like
      she was to me. If she was like this in life, it's no wonder she had so
      little success in her career.

      And people wonder why I hate her so much.

      Roberto came to me that night. I spent-- I think I spent-- most of the day
      staring at the way my hands were shaking and pondering how normal the
      reaction was. I had managed to grab some of the protein bars out of the
      mansion's fridge before I left, and ate one to stem the hunger, but overall,
      I just felt weird for twelve hours.

      Roberto brought Chinese and beer when he showed back up, and after I
      unlocked the door and let him in, he sat next to me on the bed after I
      unlocked the door, handing me a box of chop suey and telling me to eat.
      That it would help, and even though I've never had a huge love of Asian
      food, I never ate so many pieces of bamboo shoots and bean sprouts before in
      my life.

      Free dinner after being such an uncomplaining customer, he said. I took it
      as a come on, and told him that I couldn't-- not "didn't want to"-- and he
      shrugged it off.

      Then he asked me if I wanted more. More, as in, more heroin. Melissa
      jumped back in my head, doing her disembodied impression of a whipped puppy,
      and my stomach tightened around the food I had just given it, but I wasn't
      stupid. I remembered being Marie again, being able to laugh at the jokes I
      used to find funny when I was sixteen, and being able to enjoy the night air
      with the innocence mutant powers had taken away from me.

      And for a moment, I idly wondered if the heroin would not only silence the
      voices, but would also silence the powers.

      I handed over eighty dollars before Roberto left my room at midnight.
      Between him, the hotel and the cab ride here, I was nearly out of cash.


      ~*~*~


      After two nights of being high and watching David Letterman from a whole new
      perspective, I finally stepped into the night air and let myself wander in
      New York. I could trust my own ability to walk and talk enough that I
      wanted to see the city a bit more, and despite the fact that I knew I was in
      a bad part of town, I didn't care. I didn't have anything to steal, no
      purse, no backpack. Let the rapists try to touch me, I could kill them with
      a touch of a pinky.

      I was a mutant. Most people already cowered in fear over what we could do
      to plain humans, and if someone crossed me, I'd give them real reason for
      that fear.

      It wasn't that I had forgotten Xavier's lessons, but as I walked down one of
      the many numbered streets-- why bother looking as long as I could find my
      way back to my hotel room?-- I realised that in the real world, those
      lessons had to be played out differently. There were no leather uniforms
      nor nifty technology. Magneto-- blissfully silent in my head-- was a weird
      guy, one that the people that I passed as I wandered would never believe in
      unless they saw him.

      So Rogue, the mask turned off as I wandered the streets of New York as a
      high Marie, had to be as much a myth as the rest of them back home. If I
      somehow managed to mention the redhead probably still stuck in the hospital
      or her husband, the worry creasing his brow into premature age, it'd have to
      be real names, not Cyclops or something equally outstanding.

      Using their codenames was a sure fire way to make people think that I was
      tripping, ironic about the truth of that accusation aside.

      That's when I met Wanda. How was I to know, standing there and genuinely
      thinking that the eighteen year old was just another youth of the street who
      got bold enough to notice me, was a fellow mutant.

      She pegged me real fast though. Must have been the stitches I was a week
      away from getting out of my forehead mixed with the gloves and white bangs.

      Huh.


      ~*~*~


      I spent my twenty-first birthday with Wanda Maximoff, sitting in an all
      night cyber cafe with a double latte and a computer between us as we
      talked-- as quietly as we could over the sound of fingers flying over
      keyboards-- about what we were both doing here.

      My birthday-- which I had nearly forgotten thanks to my newfound addiction's
      interesting habit of taking away my internal sense of time-- was three weeks
      into my habitation at the crappy hotel. For the third time I had tapped
      into Xavier's account to take out a thousand and change dollars to get me by
      for a week, and I had the boldness to tell Roberto that he'd made me a much
      happier person as a user, but simply could NOT get sex from me no matter
      what price he offered me. And I let Wanda see where I was staying.

      The cyber cafe was her idea. She wanted a strong hit of espresso after
      nearly squishing a cockroach in the lobby.

      But, apparently, I can't escape home. Twin sister to now eighteen Pietro,
      long time resident of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Wanda's path in
      life was a more freelance existence leading to an unofficial position in the
      Avengers to be made official when she was twenty-- the year I earned my own
      X-Men wings-- thereby thrusting me within arm's reach of yet another group
      of heroic types.

      Though this group, not all of them were mutants-- curious thing-- wouldn't
      be entirely thrilled to see their future member hanging out with my sort. As
      in, the junkie kind.

      Oh, yeah, and unlike the X-Men, the Avengers are allowed existence by the US
      government. Last time I checked, we were considered an underground,
      potentially violent sect of internal terrorists.

      That's what Hank pulled off an FBI computer about us last year, anyways.

      I think Wanda wanted me to help the Avengers, get involved, use all these
      connections that I never quite told her everything about and help them, that
      she could even get me a decent place to live.

      I didn't have the heart to tell her that if I couldn't stay and help my
      friends save the world, I wasn't going to help strangers. Part of it was
      her apparent missing of the new twist in my life-- apparently I hid my
      heroin addiction better than most-- and that I couldn't take even the
      thought of having to use my powers to stop someone.

      When Scott told me it might one day be necessary, I accepted it. Maybe a
      little naively, but I accepted the fact. But some guy that went by "Captain
      America?" Um, probably not. At least Scott had humility behind his
      leadership duties, and I didn't know the other one.

      My lack of trust had increased with the regular presence of Logan. If you
      can't trust them, they shouldn't be able to order you around, he used to
      say.

      Only now I found this theory on life absolutely true.

      Thankfully, being too high to notice the voices in my head, or the years of
      training I had received in Westchester, I didn't feel any guilt for thinking
      about Logan.

      That was another sensation that I didn't miss. I even mentioned him to
      Wanda, not telling her that he, of course, went by "Wolverine" come time for
      battle, but that he was a guy that I knew when I first came to New York, and
      liked. Strange how, even in a state of relative bliss, I never admitted
      love for him. She thought it was kinda funny, and nodded at me. Sometimes
      it just happened that way, she said, and ordered another double espresso.

      Logan "just happened that way." It was an interesting idea. Maybe in a
      clean state I might struggle and fight, maybe even try to admit love for the
      man who was so willing to die to save my life; but with a nice syringe full
      of China White in my blood, working on hour three of six or seven, I was
      happy to say that I liked him, that he was damn attractive and I'd have sex
      with him in a flippin' heartbeat.

      We laughed over that one.


      ~*~*~


      In my waning moments between hits, forcing myself never completely to lose
      cold stone sobriety in order to remember why I let myself get this way in
      the first place, I wondered about what I was going to do. I had been at the
      hotel for a couple months now, an hour away from the mansion, and not once
      had contacted home. Not Xavier, whose account had been a nice source of
      funds without any sign of ending. Not Scott, who was still likely being the
      dutiful husband to a woman who never deserved to fall out of that second
      story window. Not Ororo, who had handed me her stack of old notes when I
      was about ready to scream in agony over the physics test I was cramming for
      a veritable eternity ago. Not even Remy, who told me to hold it together
      and did his best to comfort me when Melissa begged in my head for the
      beatings to end.

      I loved them all, I wanted them to know that, but I couldn't reach out. I
      just couldn't. When Wanda asked me where I called home, I froze. Mentioned
      Meridian, but the look on her face told me that she knew I hadn't been in
      the deep south for at least a few years.

      Five years, or something close to that. Must've been the accent. I still
      had the drawls and vowels that simply would not change to a gentler
      pronunciation, but some of the slang that was uniquely New York-- and a
      mutant filled Westchester-- had ingrained itself on my speech patterns.
      Dead giveaway, especially when I wasn't paying attention.

      Something to do with the heroin, no doubt. I could walk into almost any
      place within ten blocks of my room, grab food or supplies and not come off
      like the junkies I would pass as I walked back. It was all about the
      clarity of being Marie, not Rogue. My clean life was the muddled one, the
      one that was fraught with problems.

      And sitting there one day on my bed, a set of sheets I bought and laundered
      myself underneath me, I decided that it was time that I tested the full
      breadth of the clarity I enjoyed every night.

      I wanted to see if my powers, my ability to absorb people, were gone.

      The problem was, as I picked at the dried fruit from a bowl in my lap, that
      I had to choose someone who wouldn't be missed and would give me the least
      problems if I did start to absorb them. Some poor soul that would endure a
      second of a touch as I closed my eyes and prayed that little mutant Rogue
      had gone away and I could burn the gloves that cloistered her behind a
      constant shield of fabric.

      However, as I sat there oblivious to what a new friend with Avenger
      connections meant, I didn't realise that I'd never have the chance to try
      my little experiment.


      ~*~*~*~
      [cont'd in part 3]


      Shana

      -------------------------------------------
      "Life? Life's pretty much a knife fight in a dirt covered bar; and if they
      get you down, you best get back up." "Last Call at the Broken Hammer,"
      Andromeda