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FIC: Lost Without You [1/2]

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  • Anita Lorenz
    Lost Without You by Nancy Lorenz. E-mail: tosh@opera.iinet.net.au Rating: PG - 13 Archive: Indeed, go for it. Just mail me. Classification: Rogue POV L/R
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2001
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      Lost Without You
      by Nancy Lorenz.

      E-mail: tosh@...
      Rating: PG - 13
      Archive: Indeed, go for it. Just mail me.
      Classification: Rogue POV L/R Angst Action/Adventure Major USTage
      Series: None
      Spoilers: The Movie
      Synopsis: Rogue comes into her own when she takes a stand.
      Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox. Lucky Fox. Marvel
      don't deserve them. They deserve to be kicked in the NUTS!
      Feedback: Feed the Monkey, it'll dance the tango for a dime.
      Author's Note: This isn't Beta Read yet.
      Thank You to: Gowdie, Molly, and all those people that promised to give me
      feedback on the story but never actually got back to me in time. Sorry girls,
      impatient. Time is money. Or something like that anyway.
      Dedication: To my darling cat, Xena. You were gone from me for a whole day,
      and I went crazy without you. Your sweetness, vivacity, spirit and love
      me. I know you're 'just a cat', but to me, you make my world. I love you

      And to Rat-Cat. I'm so sorry I couldn't help you, I did the best I could. I
      you're happier in heaven, sweety-pie. Your friend, Nacey.


      ~ means Charles Xavier's Supertravelling Low Cost Phonecall Thoughts [tm]
      / means Rogue's inefficient but serving personal thoughts [not tm]


      You know, being a student here at the School for the Gifted, and watching him go
      out on mission after mission to return very much unscathed, I took it granted
      that he returned at the end of them. I didn't go on them, so I never knew the
      danger. I'd seen other X-Men hurt, but not him. Not Wolverine. He would
      look messed up, his hair spiky in all the wrong places, and his leather suit
      shredded worse that a Whitehouse legal document, but his flesh would be whole.
      No matter how tired he looked, I felt safety in that.

      It wasn't till the day I went on my first mission of my own that I realised how
      much danger he went through all the time. It was like the Statue of Liberty all
      over again, but I remained strong. I gripped my fists inside thick leather
      gloves, keeping the tail, listening for Cyclops, following the plan. I belted
      the ass I was supposed to belt, and played the part of fierce sassy Rogue to a
      T. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see they were all proud.

      I had to be strong though, because I couldn't be scared anymore. There was
      being scared, and dying, or being strong, and battling. I liked battling, it
      was something new for me, and it made sense. More sense than being scared ever
      did to me.

      Maybe I gained that from the Logan inside, then again I couldn't blame my Inner
      Logan for everything I did that seemed to be unhealthy. That's not fair on
      Logan, and not fair on me. Those around me don't give me too much credit. The
      second I'm strong, they nod and agree that the Logan inside is making himself
      known. It was just the Inner Marie, truth be told.

      No amount of inner strength was going to aid me this time. Xavier had picked
      those for this mission, and I wasn't one of those included. It was for no other
      reason that despite my invulnerability, I was injured recently in something as
      stupid as a car accident. Failed brakes. My leg was reknitting itself faster
      than your regular person's leg, but I was still limping, ergo - I wasn't to go.

      It sounded dangerous, the kind of mission Logan just loved. It was the first
      time in ages that I stayed behind as he'd gone. It was different this time, so
      different. Back then, I'd let myself accept that he'd be fine, and I was blind
      to what was really going on.

      Witnessing the hardships the X-Men battled first-hand, suddenly waiting seemed

      I had no choice as I sat in my room, feeling the deep rumble of the X-Jet's
      engines shake the floorboards, not needing to look out the window to see the
      flash of light created from them speeding off towards their goals.

      The first hour I spent reading, trying not to think about Logan.

      It's the strangest thing, reading to keep yourself from thinking. It's like
      all your brain shuts down, and all there is are these words, that book. That
      book is your world, and the moment you draw away from it you feel a dull ache -
      that's reality - so you throw yourself into fantasy again. Just for a little
      while longer, just to escape the hurt.

      Why I was hurting eluded me. Worrying was never in my nature, because I was
      always one for action. No point whining and fretting when there's things to be
      done, that sort of thing. But as I sat in my room, immersing myself in a
      random Star Wars novel, my stomach churned. My cheeks burned. My head felt
      slightly light.

      Worry was wrapping me up.

      The second hour I spent sitting with Jubilee in the rec room, watching the
      X-Files. It proved to be a little more painful than I realised it would be. It
      was a repeated episode, and Scully was wandering about, eyes large and watery,
      her heart aching for her lost partner. Of course, Logan wasn't lost. He was
      just on a mission, and he was fine, just fine.

      My heart wouldn't believe that, no matter how many times my brain repeated it.

      The third hour to the fifth hour I spent outside on the lawn. I took out a
      blanket, pillow, dragged one of the deck-chairs from the patio out and with a
      beer and a cigar, I just gazed at the stars. How one could spend two hours in
      the middle of the night puzzles me to this day, but that I did. Somehow the
      sky, the stars - it cooled the burning sickness in my heart. My stomach always
      twisted, turned, threatening to empty itself. In the past hours, I didn't eat
      anything. Eating wasn't an option. Living wasn't an option till Logan
      returned to me.

      So I thought back to all the times I treasured with him, and after the years
      together that had been many, and how wonderful he was to me, how different. I
      comforted in the fact he was strong. Logan was strong.

      I lamented the dedication to our cause, the dedication that seemed to make us
      miss the fact that we needed each other so badly. I wouldn't say it stopped us
      from ever being more than the closest of friends, because we're more than
      friends could ever be. We do not share a bed, or lovers' caresses, so perhaps
      being in love would be an exaggeration. Either way, he meant more to me than
      anything. I took comfort in that too.

      Halfway through the sixth hour, the X-Jet returned, and I ran down to the lower
      levels to make sure everyone, especially Logan, was okay.

      Leather-clad body after leather-clad body filed out down the gang-way, and I
      gently shoved them aside, eyes searching always. I barely heard Jean's voice
      behind me as I limped up inside, seeing the dark steely belly of the metal bird
      completely empty. I span about, my eyes stopping on each person in the hanger.

      Brown hair, steely visor... Scott. Blue fur, kind face... Hank. Red eyes,
      chiselled features... Gambit. Red hair, pragmatic ruddy hazel eyes... Jean.
      Black hair, impish face... Morph.

      My hands shook violently as I glanced from face to face.

      "Where is he?"

      The words were sharp, demanding. Jean glanced to Cyclops, eyes red-rimmed and

      My body stormed forward, the most part of my spirit curled in a ball, too scared
      to hear what she had to say. Perhaps it was my Inner Logan wanting to know his
      Outer self's fate that moved me, I don't know, but hands grabbed Jean's
      shoulders and I glared at her colder than Bobby's sweaty palm.

      "Where. Is. He?!"

      "Rogue - he-"

      "He's missing," Cyclops said shortly, his face a mask behind the visor,
      "Sentinels came in all around. There were too many of them."

      I grit my teeth, hands still at Jean's shoulders. I glared at her, and she
      nodded in affirmative.

      "D'you think he's dead?"

      Again, that silence. A woeful, dank, terrible silence. I glare at them all.


      "There is a good chance he is alive," Hank said, "We were surrounded by too many
      of them, we were in peril. To stay would have been suicide."

      I didn't understand. It didn't make sense. When people were hurt, or in
      trouble - you helped them right? Right?!

      "You didn't try to save him?" I breathed, looking at them like they were
      heartless bastards - in that moment that's all I saw them as.

      "It wasn't an acceptable situation, Rogue," Cyclops said, "He threw himself into
      that mass of Sentinels, despite orders, and we had to get out of there. No
      point wiping out the core team members because of one person's inability to

      "You coward!" I hissed, "You yellow-bellied shit-eating coward! You let him

      Jean sighed, "We don't know if he's dead. In fact the last time we saw him he
      was battling away without a care in the world. It's just we don't know where he
      is now, and we couldn't stick around to find out. Like Scott said, we can't
      risk the greater good for Wolverine's personal vendettas."

      I blinked with incomprehension, "Personal WHAT?!"

      Gambit turned away for a moment, and then looking back to me he shrugged.

      "Petite, de Wolverine be findin' out de spineless worm dat be makin' dese big
      robot guys is Monsieur Trask."

      My throat tightened instantly. "They.... Trask?!"

      It had been both devastating and relieving to Logan, discovering that one of the
      men that developed his adamantium skeletal implants was not only one of the
      foremost scientists in NASA, not only constructed the huge Sentinels - robot
      gargantuans set to patrol the streets and rid them of miscreant mutants out to
      disrupt society - but was also very much alive and well at the Sentinel's Home

      Apparently he decided to go seek out the master of cybernetics himself.

      I could only stand there in dull shock, rage and impatience shuddering my
      limbs. I blinked slowly, barely registering Scott squeezing my shoulder,
      speaking softly.

      "I'm sorry Rogue," he said, "It was out of our control."

      I narrowed my eyes at him. He was soft. Tender. Responsible.

      All the things Logan wasn't, and I hated him for it.

      Without a word I strode past him, to the lift, to the above-ground levels, up
      the wooden stairway, to my bedroom. These things all flashed by as I moved
      without thinking, moved without feeling. I felt as an automaton, as lost and as
      blind. I couldn't say Logan was dead - I would not believe that. So my body
      and soul couldn't mourn.

      But he wasn't here in my arms - so I couldn't feel safe.

      I was in limbo, an aching painful clutch of existence next to the precipice of
      grief, and the relative safety of relief. It was pure hell on earth, where
      time crawled, where a moment's relief in agony was met with swaths of guilt,
      where true lasting relief was something one would dream of, thirsting for it,
      needing it.

      The five hours I spent this night were nothing compared to the waiting that


      The first day I spent being busy. Never a moment to rest, rush rush rush.
      Despite feeling incredibly ill with worry, despite never taking a moment to eat,
      I puttered about in the glass-house. I played the piano in the music room. I
      took time to read the novel I started the day before. I went shopping with
      Kitty and Jubilee and spent far too much, but nobody minded because they were
      sad for me. I did things for as long as I could, till the thrill of the newness
      was gone. And then it would all rush back, and without hesitation or patience I
      ran on to the next thing to do.

      I tried to outrun the tight heavy knot inside of me that said Logan was gone.

      Every now and again I made a trip of the grounds, checking all the places Logan
      liked. I spent half an hour in the security office, gazing at black and white
      screens and trying to ignore the date on them, saying that it was a day since
      Logan had been gone. I just wished the white black-rimmed numbers didn't look
      so unforgiving. How they looked couldn't change what was the truth, however.

      As I stared at those numbers, there was a light knock at the door of the
      security office.


      It was a high, almost comedic voice, but laced with worry. I glanced to the
      door, body cringing at the sight of the blue-eyed imp who was with them when
      they abandoned Logan.

      "Whaddaya want?"

      He sighed, wringing a hand against his neck, stepping into the room.

      "I just wanted to see how you're doing."

      "How do you think I'm going?" I bit. Morph practically recoiled at this.

      Morph, or Ronald, was not the kind of fellow that took kindly to shitty moods.
      He stuck with Bobby and the boys, his talents at wise-cracking and joke-telling
      rather popular with them. To be honest, he annoyed the fuck out of me
      sometimes, because his laugh was like that of a child in the back of the
      classroom that found the crudest of jokes amazingly hilarious, and his habit of
      morphing into other people at the slightest provocation was not only
      disorientating but highly disturbing. He was a kind soul though, who only
      aimed to please, and usually tried a little hard to do so. As irritating as I
      found him, my heart softened at his sweet face and his even sweeter soul, that
      lived only to make others laugh. Had he not been a metamorphosing mutant in a
      world full of mutant-hating people, he'd have made a fine comedian.

      It was a mutant-hating world though, and he abandoned my closest friend. I was
      in no mood for forgiveness.

      "Look, Rogue I- I'm sorry that we left him behind, but he just threw himself
      into the fight, ya know?"

      I let out a seething snort, "Well why didn't the REST of ya?"

      "The battle was lost," he said, sadness in his tone, "Logan went mad!"

      I felt the burning of tears at my eyes. "I don't blame him."

      "Neither do I," Morph replied, voice too soft, too soothing. I didn't want to
      hear it, didn't want to find him likeable.

      I rubbed my eyes wearily, holding my face in my hands.

      "Look, Morph, is there a reason why you're here?"

      "Yeah," he nodded. "I was worried about ya, and I wanted to make sure you're
      okay. And - and I wanted to say sorry, that we left him behind."

      Those tears were burning spikes in my eyes, blurring the world behind me. I
      stole a glance to him. His large blue eyes were to the brim with regret.

      "I... I wish I had a better power than morphing. I wish I was strong and
      indestructible like you, cause maybe I could have saved him then. I can't
      though... I did the best I could, and it wasn't enough. I hope, sooner or
      later, that you can forgive me, cause I consider you a friend Rogue. A very dear
      one. It dogs me to know I let ya down. And Logan."

      I didn't answer him. I couldn't answer him. If I opened my mouth, looked at
      him, I would have burst into tears, the anguish inside me at breaking point. I
      kept my stare fixed on the screens in front of me, gripping my gloved hands
      together tightly, trying to stop them from shaking. It only served to make the
      rest of me tremble.

      I felt a hand pat my shoulder, and squeeze briefly.

      "I'll see ya round Rogue."

      After that encounter, I couldn't stay in the security room for a moment longer,
      the room now bathed in the emotion of the moment, every sight and smell in there
      waking panic and aching within me.

      From the security room, I strolled down the main corridor that lead to Cerebro,
      listening to my steps echo off the smooth tiled walls. Not really thinking
      about where I was going, I wandered past the briefing room... And stopped.

      Voices... three of them. Leaning against the wall, I grew still and listened.

      "If he had have just listened to us, we wouldn't be in this mess."

      As Scott spoke, my eyes roamed over the muted blue reflection of myself in the
      tile across from me, and the way the light made the large blue slab glow
      somehow. Where the hell would you find somewhere that sold huge assed tiles
      like that anyway? The voice of the Professor replied.

      "I know, Scott. I think you also know that there isn't much point in wallowing
      in events that cannot be changed."

      "Rogue found out straight away, Professor. You know how shaken up she was...
      It's been getting to him," said Jean, her voice echoed in the room.

      Well, gee, poor old Scott.

      "Back to the plan," said the Professor. "From what we could gather from the
      memory bank we acquired from the fallen Sentinel, Logan was a target because he
      wasn't registered with the agency and considered a threat. The point in which
      the orders changed from destruction to capture aren't clear..."

      Oh what did it matter? WHAT did it matter? Why weren't they gathering people
      up, getting ready to go get Logan back? I reined in my whirling thoughts,
      trying to concentrate on what was being said in the briefing room.

      "It's gonna take time to prepare the junior X-Men," Scott said, "Familiarize
      them with the schematics of the building, formulate a strategy-"

      "How long?"

      I could hear an edge of anxiousness in the Professor's voice. Did he know
      something? Feel something?

      "Three days," Jean replied.

      Xavier sighed then, but blood was rushing in my ears, my fists shook wildly, and
      I couldn't stand there another minute. My steps slipped to strides, and I found
      myself running. I wasn't sure where to, I just had to think, feel a breeze on
      my face, move. If I moved, I'd feel sensations, change of scenery, change of
      smell and sound. It was enough to keep my mind occupied, to slow the growing
      panic and desperation within me.

      Three days? Three Goddamned days?!

      He could be dead by then, I thought, they could be hurting him - have to go
      there now... now...

      I walked the long main corridor of the dormitory wing, my heels striking
      polished wood. What could I do? What could I do?

      As I stalked the wood-panelled hall, the soft padding gallop of 'my' cat Ginseng
      caught up to me, furred body twisting around my feet. As the cat purred and
      meowed at me, I felt a blinding grief inside me that drowned me.

      Despite the cat having the name of healing herbal tea, and despite the cat being
      a gift to me, it was known throughout the mansion that the cat chose Logan, and
      Logan called it "Shit-head". Everyone else called it "Ginny".

      "Hey Gin-Gin," I muttered mindlessly, pulling the cat up to my chest, burying my
      lips in the fur on top of his head. The grey fur was soft, warm, and I revelled
      in the silky sensation of my lips against it.

      For one brief moment I was distracted by the cat in my arms, in the cuddle it
      gave me, stretchy limber fur covered limbs reaching for my shoulders. It
      almost made me forget that Ginseng loved Logan best, and slept on the foot of
      his bed. Almost.

      Behind all that a wild panic raged, and I couldn't keep still. Pacing in the
      corridor swiftly, I hugged Ginseng, not being able to cry, but feeling the ache
      in my throat, the cruel unstoppable hope in my heart, and the rush of knowing
      that they weren't going to help him. Not in time, not like that. The cat grew
      tired of our embrace, and leapt from my arms. Galloping down the hall, the
      cat's tail writhed airily. After a few yards the cat stopped, turned around,
      and blinked at me.


      Yes, meow. I followed her, like I felt she wanted me to, and after a few steps
      I realised where she wanted to go. It was the one place she was bound to not
      have had access to for a good twenty-four hours. Seeing as she practically
      lived in that room, that must have disrupted her terribly.

      With a wiggle of her back end and a loving purring meow to me, she stopped at
      Logan's door.


      My throat grew tight, pain seizing it, tears rimming my eyes.

      "Ah'm-" I choked, pulling back a sob, "I'm sorry baby... Daddy ain't home."

      She paced back and forth in front of the door, and impatiently she leapt up
      against the frame, stretching her claws.

      Taking short, shaking steps forward, I reached towards the door, opening it.

      The light from the hall fell inside the room that was dark and windowless. I
      stepped inside, following little Ginseng, and I automatically flicked on the

      On my first breath inside the room, I could smell him vividly. Under the smoke,
      the light cologne, there was something else, something of flesh and body. That
      scent was pure Logan. On the isolation of that smell the tears in my eyes
      spilled over, making everything a blur.

      I remembered the day I got Ginseng, walking through the shops in the mall,
      seeing the little bundle of fur studded with large glassy blue eyes pacing back
      and forth in her glass cage, the little animal rearing on her back legs and
      leaning against the glass, meowing pitifully at Logan.

      Logan's jaw tensed, and he glared at me. It's as if he saw the look of
      understanding that flickered in my eyes, the kindred spirit I sensed in the cage
      before me. She liked Logan. I liked Logan. I could see the cat and I had a
      future together.

      "I don't think you should get that cat..."

      "Excuse me?" I said, calling over the sales lady, "I'd like this kitten,
      please. How much is it?"

      "Twenty five dollars, she's had all her shots and you get a discount on her
      first collar."

      "Rogue, are you listening to me?"

      I blinked at him. His features were firm, and I knew I was pissing him off.

      "You know we don't live in our own house."

      "Honestly, Logan, there are a bunch of big stupid horses there - what's one
      little kitty? I know a kid in the other wing has a hamster."

      "Hamster is one thing - a cat is different, and you know it."

      It was as if something greater than what I knew ordained that I should have this
      cat. Not only did she love me to bits (the first thing she did when I pulled
      her from the cage was to lay her arms around my neck and snuggle to my scarf),
      but her name just fell in my lap.

      "Don't forget we promised Ro we'd pick her up some ginseng tea-"

      "Ginseng!" I gasped, and held aloft the cat. I think Logan knew what I was

      "Oh no," he shook his head, "You're naming it after *tea*?"

      "It's a great name!" I said, "People call cats all sorts of things. Healing
      tea... healing cat."

      He looked bewildered, "What the hell is the cat healing?"

      Pulling the cat up to my face, I snuggled her a little, and realisation dawned
      on Logan, his face softening, those usually hard hazel eyes growing translucent
      (as they were oft to do in my presence). The fur had been so soft and luxurious
      against my lips, and above all, it was a part of a warm, living breathing
      animal. It was love, and the animal wasn't scared to give it to me, she never
      would be.

      He pulled out thirty dollars and slapped it on the counter. "She's getting the

      The woman at the counter had seen the disagreement with me and Logan over the
      cat. She eyed us with large brown eyes that screamed of kindness and care.

      "Not that I'm one to refuse a sale - but are you sure it's okay to have animals
      where you live?"

      "I'm sure the dude we live with will be cool with it."

      I didn't want to go into where I lived, and I was pretty sure Xavier would be
      cool with it. Mostly sure. Kind of.

      "I don't want to sell an animal to have it end up in a home or put down..."

      "Not gonna happen," Logan said firmly, then added, just as firmly, and just as
      gruff, "Ginseng would like a pink collar, thank you."

      And so entered Ginseng. Since that day, the cat shared my unequalled affection
      for Logan yet was faithfully at my side every day, every morning, without fail.
      It only took her ten minutes in Logan's room, chewing through his boot laces and
      knocking his car keys under the dresser with wide-eyed innocence to earn her
      less flattering nick-name. I glanced down to the cat once more. She paced
      about, sniffing, looking. She seemed rather dissatisfied, and leaping upon the
      bed you could almost see the little thing frowning.


      The sound was unhappy, put out. She wanted Logan, it was clear as day.

      And dear Christ above - I wanted him too.

      With a shuddering breath in, I span about, running from the room, heading for
      the one place where I'd feel okay.

      Reason's left ya Rogue, I thought to myself, You've gone off the deep end.

      Then again I knew what a damned mess these people made of things when I first
      ran away from here, I wasn't going to let them fuck up like that with Logan.


      Glass, brushed steel, blue tiling. It smelled of polish and chemicals and
      technology. My hands shook as I pressed the buttons to open the case, my eyes
      glinting at the metallic red cording that ran like veins through the black sleek
      leather that awaited me. I always felt cold in here, always, and slipping into
      that tight leather binding made me feel better. It also changed me.

      Softness melted away to ferocity. Affection slid to camaraderie. Love
      dissolved to dedication. Anger dissipated to resolve.

      Marie stepped out and Rogue stepped in.

      Pulling out the leather, stripping away my clothes without care that I wasn't in
      a changing booth, the sobbing frightened pining Marie was shut off, shunned. I
      sent her running to hide. My bare hands slipped over the thick shining
      leather, heart pounding as action steeled me. In this black encasing, fear had
      no place. Grief had no place. I wasn't scared in this skin, I wasn't afraid
      or in mourning.

      Especially when I zipped the bitch up, grabbed my leather gloves and hauled my
      ass out that door.


      Deciding to steal the X-Jet (More commonly referred to as the Blackbird by Scott
      - it was his shining pride and joy, even more than his bike. That is really
      saying something) was one thing. Remembering the code for the keys was
      another. If I couldn't remember, I'd have to smash the case that they were held
      in, and it'd set off the alarm. I was seriously beginning to consider how fast
      I could run to the hanger, when a tune entered my head.

      Doo-wa-ditty? Doo-wa-ditty?! What the hell stupid time was it to think of -

      The keys had a tone.... Wracking my brain I remembered which key Scott always
      started on... 2. Yeah - that was the doo bit. The keys... damn what was
      their difference in tone? I silently thanked God for all those years of piano
      lessons my mother forced down my throat, and it clicked. Semitone - they were
      a semitone apart on each line. Each line was laced with a lifted tone
      harmonic. With shaking hands, I pressed two... yes.... then five, eight....
      five, six six .... eeeeeenggg what next?! Two... one?

      Red lights flashed in the hallway and I growled.


      I smashed the case, grabbed the keys and shot down the hall as fast as I could
      propel myself. When I arrived at the hangar doors, no amount of my pressing
      buttons would get that bitch of a door to open. Crap. I didn't *want* to
      destroy Chuck's perfectly good resources, but right at that moment, I didn't see
      much of a choice. With a growl rumbling deep in my throat, I made a running
      jump at the reinforced steel door, my brain still singing Doo-Wa-Ditty.

      It only dented. It was a fair dent, but dent enough. I made another running
      jump, this time with my arm out straight.

      Doo wa ditty, ditty dum ditty doo.

      There was a twisting wrenching noise, and I couldn't help but be amused at the
      vaguely Rogue-shaped dent in the door. Nearly there. I had images of the
      jedi Qui-Gon Jinn at work with his saber in The Phantom Menace as I sank my arm
      deep into the dent, ergo deep into the door, twisting and pushing the steel like

      With a final yank of my arms, I ripped the steel apart. For a moment, perhaps
      it was my imagination, the red lights and klaxons seemed a little more

      "Hanger door breached. Hanger door breached."

      The voice was even, cool, female. Yeah, I thought, you tell them all about
      your breached fucking door whilst I run off with a nice airplane.

      The keys granted me access to the jet itself, and thankfully Cyke had been
      oh-so-dedicated in teaching me all he knew about this little puppy. Birdy.
      Whatever. The problem was, the other hanger door - the hangar door to the
      outside world - was probably sealed in the emergency.

      Ohhhh crap.

      It was then when black leather clad figures came streaming out of the ripped
      open door. They popped out like ants from their nests. Cyke, Jean, Storm....
      aah, Beast, Gambit. All my good buddies. Jubilee would have probably been
      there too if she wasn't away on training vacation. Jamming in the strangely
      shaped keys and slamming the engines into action, the X-Men outside staggered
      back, guarding their eyes from the blasts of fire.


      The com-link in the hangar blasted to life, and looking at the monitor showing
      me the action outside, I saw Cyclops shouting into the console at the hangar

      "Open the doors, Cyke."

      "No can do Rogue."

      I took a long breath in, angling the ship up. "Then I'll just have to make a
      nice Blackbird shaped hole in the roof."

      "Rogue - this isn't the way to deal with this!"

      I laughed. It was a hollow sound.

      "And abandoning someone is? Sure. Well you deal in your way, and I'll deal in
      mine. Open. The. Fucking. Door."


      "Okaaaay." I took a decisive sniffle in. "Ah'm gonna count to five."

      "And then what Rogue? You're gonna blast your way out?"

      I grinned as I altered the direction of the jets, releasing the braking
      thrusters and getting prepared to make my escape.

      "Ya know, shoogs, that's a fine idea!"

      The whole jet shook on it's struts, but the doors remained tightly shut.

      "Ah mean it, Cyke. Don't think I'm joshin' ya."

      There was a tense silence over the com, and I thought that maybe I really
      *would* have to blast through the roof.

      "Okay." I pressed my lips together and released the last of the braking
      thrusters. "If I die, it's for Logan."

      That did it. I saw Cyclops scrambling for the keypad on the console in the
      doorframe, Jean turning around and glaring at him. The doors slid open,
      achingly slow, and the released braking thruster stopped the Blackbird's
      downward momentum, hurtling it up and onward. The door rushed toward the front
      window, and I thought there would be a Blackbird and Rogue Supreme splattered
      against the inside of the hangar. Cyclops must a' done some of his fancy
      finger dancin' cause the doors rolled open a little faster then.

      There was a painful crunch that shook the jet as one wing tipped the opening
      door, but the jet made it free.

      I wish I could have flown myself, just floated off into the night, but that was
      like running a marathon for me. My endurance was wonderful, but I wanted to
      have as much energy as possible when I got the Sentinel headquarters.

      Ohh, 'Monsieur' Trask was gonna get a visitor.


      Thankfully the flight logs in Blackbird's computers showed me where I needed to
      go. I congratulated myself on sitting in on the pre-mission meetings. Since I
      was left at home I didn't have to, but I wanted to. I wanted to know what they
      were sending my friends into.

      I hissed a breath through my teeth and clutched my leg. All that action had my
      reknitting fibia throbbing, but I ignored it, accessing that deeply rooted
      aspect of Logan's mind that lived within my own, using his strength, utilizing
      his relaxation techniques. My whole body was buzzing with adrenaline, but
      inside I was calm. Calm like small ponds, like pretty leaves catching the sun
      on a windless day. My mind just plotted carefully each step along the way,
      counting where Cyclops and the gang went wrong, where I would go right.

      I wouldn't let those Sentinel bastards live if I had anything to do with it.
      Unlike the rest of them, I actually had the strength to carry that mental threat

      ~What are you doing?~

      I giggled then. Chucky, Chucky, Chucky. He could conceivably turn me around,
      make me think something else, make me stop this. Maybe he forgot all those
      meditation lessons, those mind control sessions. I was no Xavier, but I could
      put up a good fight.

      ~Rogue, why are you doing this?~

      "Don't play dumb, Chuck baby," I drawled, working at the controls. "I think
      it's blatantly obvious."

      ~We're preparing a rescue mission, Rogue, you don't need to do this.~

      "A good part of that 'we' left him behind," I said. "Sorry - you lot had your
      chance. My turn now."

      ~Your leg...~

      "Will heal, but I can fly, remember?"

      ~I'll not force you to return.~

      "Ohhhhh," I groaned, shaking my head, "Don't you try that reverse psychology
      crap on me, sugar."

      ~No ulterior motives, Rogue. I'm deeply worried for your safety. We'll
      rescue Logan, but we musn't act irrationally. I'd hate to lose you.~

      I sighed, blowing the air through my cheeks. He was too sweet, but also too
      clever. I grit my teeth, staying on course.

      "Now now," I said, "Enough o' that irrational crap. I been thinkin' this out
      good and proper like a real X-Man!"

      ~Wouldn't you prefer to have some back-up?~

      The jet was fast as a greased eel, and I could see the huge looming Sentinel
      building in the distance. For some reason, I didn't feel that Chuck was too
      worried. In fact, if I knew any better, he was testin' the waters here.
      Either way, it wasn't important. I wasn't waiting anymore, and I wasn't gonna
      pine in darkness.

      Logan needed me, and I wasn't gonna let him down.

      A driving biting pain propelled me. If it had words, they would be 'Find him,
      find him, must find him, must know. Must know if he's dead. If he's alive. If
      he's in one piece. If he's dust. If he's mangled body. If he's fighting. If
      he's restrained.'

      A thousand scenarios battled through my mind.

      ~The others will follow you, Rogue.~

      I grit my teeth determinately. "Sure they will. You just make sure they keep
      outta mah hair."


      The Sentinel's Home Base was heavily guarded, and honestly I expected nothing
      less. Huge floodlights swung to and fro into the deeply blue night sky, and the
      odd helicopter hovered past, scanning the ground with it's own spotlight. I
      set the Blackbird down at some distance, and made the rest of the way on foot.
      Seeing as this was about a fair mile of road surrounded by National Park (how
      convenient!) and neatly barb-wired fences, it was a surreal walk.

      My second skin of black leather helped conceal me beautifully as I approached
      the building. It occurred to me that damn it all - Chuck was right. This
      would have been easier with a team behind me to distract people.

      Oh well, I'd have to make do. I thought on what I had on my side. Sheer
      brutal strength, invulnerability to damage, flight - and if worst came to worst,
      my skin.

      After killing Carol Danvers (that homicidal blonde bitch), I never used it
      again. A light breeze whipped up, fluttering my hair away from my face. I
      liked breezes, they were like touches. Almost.

      I approached a boundary wall. It was thick stone, the wide tops crowned with
      barbed wire. Floating up some, I took a close look at the wire. There was
      electrically charged fencing wound through the razor wire. Well well well.

      Thankfully, I could float right over it. I curled up, waiting for the next
      sweep of a floodlight to pass me by. I didn't want to be caught out like a
      James Bond intro. Like a shadow I slipped over the wall, sinking into the
      darkness, watching as guards paced back and forth, bristling with guns and
      armoury. There was a front entrance, and there seemed to be some fire doors.

      I hid in the shadows for some time, watching the main thoroughfare of the base.
      Government vans and personnel teemed from the main gate, vans coming and going,
      probably loaded with supplies. It was when a huge unmarked truck rolled into
      the main gate that I approached slowly, listening keenly, wishing I had Logan's

      A guard and the driver stepped aside, the guard poring over a clipboard and
      pointing to the truck. One guard climbed in, and then a large wooden crate
      edged it's way out of the truck.


      Sticking to the shadows, I floated towards the truck. I turned the corner of
      it, planning to roll up the canvas edge and slip inside, but I nearly strolled
      right into a guard. The man turned around, and his eyes flashed - mouth
      opened! He was going to shout!

      With a swift back hand that would fell an elephant, I knocked the poor bastard
      unconscious. Before he could clatter to the floor with all that weaponry I
      caught him, laying him on the floor gently like a baby.

      "Nighty night, shoogs."

      I slipped inside the van, eyeing the crates. Good one Rogue, I thought, How
      the hell are you going to get inside of those?

      It was a problem, as they were nailed shut. I tip-toed about, eyeing the
      different crates. Peeling back a tarpaulin, I kept a gleeful shout to myself.

      It was a huge trolley to the brim with small boxes. Sentinel parts, no doubt.
      Maybe their big beady eyes or sommin'. I shoved a few of the boxes out of the
      way, pulled them back, slowly sinking in the box as the men fussed at the very
      back of the truck loudly, slamming and thumping. Obviously Sentinel parts
      weren't required to be carefully handled.

      After burying myself in the boxes, I lay deathly still. Logan had taught me a
      lot over the years, and one of them was the art of hiding. What he never taught
      me was how to stop myself from needin' a pee. Damn it!! Even when I was a kid,
      I'd need to go to the little girl's room when I found the perfect hiding spot
      and was required to keep absolutely still.

      Of course, I did sit still, and the urge to pee passed. I wasn't sure how long
      I sat there, listening keenly to what the guys were shouting. Mostly
      directions, like 'Over here Ted', and 'Watch your feet with this one Rodney'.
      The unloading adventures of Ted and Rodney didn't make for fascinating
      listening, and I wondered how the hell they managed to get into the army with
      names like that. One new voice proved more informative.

      "Rod - get that load of servos to second storehouse, will ya?"

      When I heard Rod shout an okay, and my hiding place shook around me. Ahhh, I
      was lying in a bed of servos. Not exactly poetic, but very useful.

      I don't know how long I was lying amongst boxes, feeling everything shudder and
      wriggle around me. As I felt my direction change, and the vibration of asphalt
      under the wheels, I heard a rumbling. It was distant, distinct. Like thunder.

      Well, the Professor was right. They would follow me, and perhaps that wasn't
      such a bad thing. Whilst all these government gooks were busy with my pals, I
      could make a clean break after snatchin' up Logan.

      A tilting followed the shuddering, and I realised they were wheeling me up a
      ramp. Perhaps I was getting in one of those side entrances. I didn't see any
      warehouses in my scouting of the area, so hopefully I was being put into the
      main complex.

      I waited again, waiting waiting, till the sounds of shifting and moving and
      speaking faded. It was just as I was going to steal free of the servo tomb that
      I heard it - what Marvin the Martian once described as an, 'An earth shattering

      I didn't wait to find out what it was, even though I knew what it meant. I
      burst from the box, and with a quick scope of my surroundings, I realised I was
      in huge white room lined with more electronic gizmos and crates and trolleys
      than I thought I'd ever see in my life. There were double doors at the end of
      the hall, and in the small circular windows in them, I could see guards running
      back and forth. I crouched, creeping to the door, and as I edged the
      spring-loaded doors open a fraction, I could smell gun oil and smoke in the air.

      There was also a distinctive whiff of kerosene. That clinched it for me...
      The X-Men had definitely arrived, and Johnny had to be with them.

      I watched the guards running around madly, and with the white inside of the
      building, my leather garb was useless. Crouching down, I waited for the vaguely
      right sized guard to run along, and with a shooting out of my arm into the
      hallway, I picked him like a prize peach, dragging him into the store room.

      He was about to shout, but I covered his mouth with a leather gloved hand.

      "Aww," I tilted my head, "You wouldn't give a girl away would ya?"

      His eyes flashed with fear, and that was my answer.

      "Yes, yes you would. Now, you can be quiet whilst I relieve you of your
      uniform, or you can threaten to scream and kick and I'll thwap your pretty mug

      He whimpered and glared at me.

      "Is that your final answer?"

      He shouted and kicked ineffectually: I had him by his torso, and his legs were
      dangling away from me harmlessly. I sighed, pulling back my hand.

      "Such a pity it's always the pretty ones."

      I let my hand swing, and with a crack it impacted on his face, his jaw probably
      breaking, and he spun in a staggered circle before collapsing on the floor.
      With swift speed I pulled off his clothes, boots, hat, and I dragged the
      tighty-whitey totin' body around some boxes, hiding him nicely there. I got
      changed, but holding my uniform, I knew I couldn't just throw it to the
      wayside. The last thing the X-Men needed was firm evidence that we'd breached
      federal security.

      I swore under my breath. I couldn't just carry it around... It was thick
      leather too, bulky. Wouldn't be practical to conceal on my body.

      It was certainly a problem. The number of guards running by was decreasing, no
      doubt the most of them going into battle with my friends. Piling my hair on
      top of my head and pulling the khaki army hat over the top of it, I grabbed the
      uniform and dared my way out into the corridor.

      It was at this point I realised I didn't know where the hell Logan was supposed
      to be. Pressing my lips together in deep thought, I stood in the hallway,

      "Hey you!"

      I turned, trying to keep calm.

      Lifelong member of PETS:
      People for the Ethical Treatment of Scott [Summers]
      "If Logan & Rogue were supposed to be sibling-like,
      then Hugh and Anna didn't get the friggin' memo..."
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