5601FIC: X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies, PG-13, Chpt 16
- Jan 10, 2004X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 16 - Winding Down
Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue)
Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with characters from the Marvel
universe or any previously published work.
As afternoon faded into evening, Rogue pushed the large door to the
kitchen outward with a sigh and walked into the hall. She had just
finished helping the last few younger students clean up and put away
their dinner dishes and she was near exhausted after such a busy
Typically, weekends around the mansion were quiet and relaxing (at
least for the students), but Rogue's duties included more than
her studies, and she had been working in the lab with Bobby and Dr.
McCoy for most of the day. As much as she disliked kitchen detail,
at least it was better than being cooped up in the lower levels for
Rogue stretched her gloved arms up over her head and yawned. The
evening light was shining diagonally through the tall windows,
throwing long shadows along the floor. As she reached the end of
the hall, she could hear the sounds of a loosely organized baseball
game out on one of the back lawns.
Strolling out the large back porch doors, Rogue could see about
twenty of her classmates, young and not-as-young, spread out next on
a makeshift diamond. The day was getting chilly as the sun started
to set, and a few still wore jackets when playing outside.
Peter was standing in centerfield, calling quick orders to his
teammates, while Kitty and Tracy were sitting in their
`dugout' doing fairly good impersonations of him. Blink was
standing on the pitcher's mound, looking a little nervous through
his round spectacles, but the other players on the field called to
him encouragingly. They usually rotated positions, so each had a
turn pitching, though it had been systematically decided last summer
that Peter would keep his strong arm in the outfield, which he
grudgingly agreed to after breaking the wooden bats of three
hitters...in a row.
Rogue walked down a few paces towards the lawn and sat down on the
stone steps. She leaned her chin in one palm and smiled softly as
she watched her friends. It had been such a long, sad winter for
them all, she was glad to see a little life coming back into the
After a few moments, she glanced to her left and noticed Kurt
perching quietly on the stone ledge that lined the large bricked
patio. He was gazing in the direction of the game, but his eyes
looked thoughtful and distant. He was crouching, resting his arms
on his knees, his hands steepled at the fingertips.
Behind him, the sky was slowing fading to a deep orange as the sun
set, and he was silhouetted against the light. He sat almost
completely motionless and, if not for the lazy movements of his
tail, Rogue could have easily confused him for a dark, watchful
statue. She noticed his rosary hanging loosely around his neck, and
she knew he was not praying, just thinking.
Rogue stood and walked over to where her friend sat. Out of all the
mutants who had come to the mansion over the past eight months, she
was still the closest to Kurt. She had spent a lot of time just
chitchatting with him, and he always seemed to appreciate every
moment of conversation he had with anyone. He had lived in solitude
for a long time, and though it had not made him cold or bitter to
the world, his long unattended thirst for simple human interaction
made him a quick and loyal friend.
"Hey, Kurt," Rogue said as she approached him. Kurt blinked,
surprised out of his thoughts and then gave her a bright grin.
"Oh, hello," he replied, "Dinner all finished?"
"Yep, every last kiddo fed," she said, and then grinned,
"And most are already running it off," he added as the crack
of a bat, followed by a small group of cheers, filled the air.
They both chuckled as they watched Kitty Pryde run through the first
baseman, whose team suddenly called foul to the `no powers'
rule that most games at the mansion had. Tracy was jumping up and
down along the third base, urging Jamie to `split up, boyo' to
earn her team a few extra points.
Kurt glanced over at Rogue curiously, "How was the work with the
Rogue shrugged, "Not too bad. Lots of paperwork for the kids
medical charts but he kept us pretty entertained. Plus when we took
lil' Melinda down for her check-up, she kept calling him
`Sulley,' for some reason..."
Kurt laughed, "That is from that movie they watched last month.
You know...with the monsters and the doors..."
"Oh...right..." Rogue said with wide eyes, "I hope that
didn't bother him too much..."
"I doubt it," Kurt replied, still grinning, "He seems
like a very understanding man. If I remember, he found the
similarity quite amusing himself."
Rogue nodded and looked relieved. She knew many of the others joked
about their mutations openly, like Siryn or Kitty, and though it was
never malicious, Rogue could not imagine talking about her power in
such a way. Even Kurt made the occasional quip about his tail, but
for her it was just too difficult.
"Did Storm say when they would be gettin' back?" Rogue
asked, and Kurt shook his head.
"No, but I don't think they expected to stay long," he
replied, "Ms. Monroe did not say the girl was returning with
"Actually, she is," a new voice called. Rogue grinned as
Bobby walked up next to them. He slung one arm casually over her
shoulder and pointed at the sky.
"Cyclops just radioed from the jet..." he explained,
"Said to get a single room ready for a new guest."
Kurt nodded with a smile, and Rogue looked over at the field
thoughtfully. With how frequently new arrivals were coming to the
mansion, she figured the Professor would need to start building
additions to the dorms.
Bobby and Kurt began talking about the training sessions in the
Danger Room that had been scheduled for next week. Rogue listened
vaguely, and folded her arms. Storm had insisted Rogue also choose
a time to meet for training, though Rogue was not sure how the
elaborate facility could help her control her power.
She was not like Bobby or Kurt or Peter, whose gifts could be seen,
manipulated and made useful. Her gift was not a gift, simply a
complicated and uncontainable way to take what did not belong to
Inwardly, she almost felt as if her power made her an unwilling
thief. And she would not touch someone, not take their very life
force, just for the very unlikely chance she would learn a little
bit of control. She would not risk someone else's life like that.
Suddenly, a wail from the baseball field drew her from her
thoughts. Bobby moved quickly down the steps and across the field,
and Rogue followed, hearing from behind her the soft, strange noise
that accompanied Kurt's teleportation.
On the grass, Blink was sitting near `home plate,' cradling
his arm and wincing in pain. Kurt was already at his side when
Bobby and Rogue caught up. He held the boy's arm and had Blink
move his hand experimentally. Kurt patted the boy's head
"Just twisted, I think," he said, "But better go see the
"What happened?" Rogue asked, and Kitty looked between her
friend and the boy with concern.
"He was trying to slide into home guess he tripped and came
down on his arm."
Blink sniffed unhappily and nodded, as Kurt helped him to his feet.
The other children had formed a loose circle around the fallen
player. Bobby put an encouraging hand on Blink's shoulder.
"Think you can walk down with me?" he asked, and when Blink
sniffed and nodded again, Bobby grinned, "Ok, let's go then.
Did you at least get to the plate?"
"Damn right he did!" Siryn said, giving Blink a grin as he
walked past, "Don't worry, kid, the doc'll fix you up
good. Hurry back, though! You're the only pitcher on Peter's
Blink grinned back and headed up towards the house with Bobby.
Rogue touched Bobby's arm lightly with appreciation as he walked
past. Standing here, surrounded by her friends, she realized she
was happier than she had been in a long time, despite all of her
"Guess the game's over let's pack up," Peter
said. The sun had set,
and the first stars had begun to appearing in the darkening sky.
The kids gathered their things and started to head inside.
The lights along the patio flickered to life one at a time and Rogue
folded her arms around her and shivered, sadly admitting to herself
that is was not quite spring. Kurt was ushering the last few
students inside, promising the enthusiastic youngsters to make
snacks for whatever movie they planned to watch.
Rogue was following the crowd up to the second floor, when Bobby
appeared from the elevator with a much less disheveled Blink and
followed by Henry McCoy.
"Well," the doctor began with a grin, "Let's hope
that closes up shop for the night. No diving for the popcorn, young
"I'll reach with my good arm!" Blink said before charging
up the stairs past Rogue, waving his Ace-Bandaged wrist like a
trophy. They heard his pounding steps reach the second floor common
room, where he was greeting by Siryn like a returning war veteran.
"Gonna watch the movie with us, Doc?" Bobby asked the taller
man, who shook his head.
"No, I have a few things I want to straighten up in my classroom
before turning in," Henry said, "But I'll check in on
Blink one more time before he heads to bed. Thank you both again
for your help today. I'll see you in the morning "
With that, Rogue and Bobby both said good night to the doctor as he
wandered happily towards the school rooms. Hand in hand, the pair
headed up the steps together to join their friends.