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FIC: Jus Ad Bellum Part I: 4/6: MA: Rogue, all

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  • Jenn
    4/6 It was God-given luck that St. John was called away right before we got to the cemetery, because otherwise, everything would have been given up right then
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28 1:30 PM
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      4/6

      It was God-given luck that St. John was called away right before we got to
      the cemetery, because otherwise, everything would have been given up right
      then and there. I walked in alone.

      The cemetery itself was a new addition, at least to me--though I remembered
      Xavier once mentioning that his will stated he was to be buried on the
      grounds, and I could vaguely recall Scott and Jean looking over the layout
      of the school with grim expressions. Our line of business, after all, did
      not cater to a long life. Scott, of all the things he was and wasn't, was
      a Boy Scout through and through--always be prepared. To the far left of
      the soccer field--that was right, that's what Scott had chosen, surrounded
      by lush forest and the slight elevation made it a perfect place for a good
      view of the grounds. As I slowly passed the wrought-iron gate and onto the
      freshly manicured grass, I braced myself for what I'd see.

      There were a number of graves scattered hither and yon, beautifully
      well-tended on finely manicured grass, surrounded by expensive shrubbery
      neatly trimmed, but one held my absolute attention from the first. I came
      to a slow stop before the hideously overdone tomb, staring in blank,
      unbelieving shock at the statue that had my face. *My* face.

      Okay, so I was dead. Abstract, had seen it on a computer, had seen the
      people who lived here that had never know Rogue. Got that. Saw Erik in
      Xavier's office. Saw--things. Saw razor wire and heard rumors. Yeah.

      --Darlin'? You okay?--

      None of it had prepared me to see this.

      --Marie?--

      I couldn't even answer. Slowly, I reached out to touch the girl that I
      hadn't been in seven years. No, cut that. The girl I had never been at
      all. She'd died, I hadn't. She'd received a monument--a fucking
      *monument*--and there seemed to be an inscription that I was damn sure I
      shouldn't read.

      --Marie, walk away.--

      My feet wouldn't move. I felt Logan strengthen in my mind and--how
      odd--Carol was helping.

      --Marie, move. Get away from that.--

      They buried me here. There was a statue. And things. Flowers. Cut
      flowers were rotting all around my feet, the smell sickly sweet, more fresh
      flowers piled up everywhere. People came here to leave flowers.

      --Marie--

      --Are you seeing this?--

      A pause.

      --It's not you.--

      --Sure as fuck looks like me.-- Long hair carved back from my face, and I
      looked serene. Is this what they thought I'd looked like up there? I
      remembered screaming and crying and praying and wishing and screaming again
      when I'd felt as if my organs were being sucked out through my skin--but I
      didn't remember being serene.

      --Darlin', get away. Come on.--

      --No, I wanna see this. This is how you build a mystery, sugar. How you
      build a cult. How you build a lie. See it? See? Read that inscription.
      Look at it.--

      My knees hit the dirt and I braced both hands over the little marble slab
      at the base of the statue, staring at it.

      "Rogue. Savior of mutantkind." I felt my throat close over. "It's
      easy--all you have to do is die before you can tell your side. Look at
      what they did."

      --I see it, darlin'.-- His voice was gentle.

      "Look what they did!" I punched down at the unyielding marble, but my aim
      was off and I sank wrist deep through healthy green grass into dry dirt.
      Panic bubbled up under my skin like boils, ready to break at the slightest
      touch--and Logan and Carol couldn't help me now. Bracing a gloved hand on
      the marble, I leaned back to pull my hand free, trying to catch my breath.
      They took away my death. Not only was I dead, they made it into this.

      Dear God. This was *wrong*.

      --It's not you, darlin'.--

      --Check out the statue, sugar. It's so me. Even got my lips right. I
      never looked that good in real life.-- I never looked that calm in real
      life, either, that was for certain. Never looked so peaceful. Never
      looked--

      --Come on, Marie. Let's go. There's no reason for you to see this.--

      Really? I snorted softly, unable to draw my eyes away from the face
      looking down at me.

      --Savior of mutantkind. Did you read that? Did you READ that piece of
      crap? I wasn't asked to die for anything up there--I was *strapped* into
      that machine. My mind was *raped*. I don't remember being willing--I just
      remember being scared. And not wanting to die. I was a thousand feet
      alone above the earth with an egomaniac who wanted to change the world and
      wanted me to die for something I could never believe in. I didn't want to
      die, Logan. I didn't.--

      --Marie, baby, this isn't you. We don't know what happened here.--

      What was worse--that I'd died here and they'd lied, or that I'd died here
      and this was the truth? What kind of person had I *been*? My breath was
      coming too fast, my eyesight tunneling close and black--nothing but
      statue's face visible, nothing but that chilly serenity of the martyrdom
      I'd never wanted. I gasped, trying to get a clean breath.

      --You're hyperventilating.-- Sharp, in my head. --SIT UP MARIE.--

      Two people in my life were allowed to use that tone with me, Scott and
      Logan. And only one of them could get instant obedience. I automatically
      snapped straight, hands resting on my thighs, seven years of conditioning
      asserting itself in that moment. He'd trained me well.

      --Close your eyes.--

      I stared into my eyelids as Logan pushed his way fully into my
      consciousness, ripping away my control. For a second, I fought him--then
      Carol's presence was supporting him, and there was something vaguely
      startling about these two inner personalities working together. As if from
      a distance, I heard my breathing begin to even out, and Logan eased me back
      into my body, cushioning the shift. Gently, so gently, he withdrew back in
      and I opened my eyes, once again in control.

      I wasn't in front of the monument anymore, but facing the school, just
      visible through the iron gate. Wow. I hadn't even known they could *do*
      that.

      --Logan?--

      --You don't go back there. You don't need to see that.-- Adamant, but
      something else beneath too. A trace of--pain? Oh God--yes, I understood.
      He'd just seen his own failure: what could have happened that long ago
      night. Instantly, the images rushed through my mind--a view of me on the
      Statue of Liberty, slumped against the metal posts, and the flash of his
      claws cutting me free, cradling me and praying for my skin to work.

      All fear and anger and a terrible sinking helplessness that was worse than
      anything else.

      --I won't. I-I'm sorry, sugar.--

      --No reason to be.-- Crisp, business-like. --Okay, find someone who won't
      be missed and get it done. Find someone, touch them. We can't afford to
      wait.--

      Logan--pragmatic as all hell. I paused as I emerged from the cemetery,
      looking at the milling students in the distance, pushing back everything
      else into a corner of my mind. Hank could tell me that I needed to deal
      with my emotions--screw that. I had to be repression-girl.

      --Logan, I can't just grab one of them. Someone'll notice. Shit,
      *they'll* notice.--

      Inside me, Carol and Logan both paused, thinking.

      --Kid, you're not here. They probably don't have any energy absorbers
      anymore. Find someone, knock 'em out, take what you need. They wake up
      thinkin' they hit their head. Easy as pie.--

      Ooh--I hadn't thought of that.

      --So I find anyone...--

      --No.-- Carol now, voice sharp. --Not anyone. Someone who was in the war,
      in the camps, and is here. It'll have to be a mutant.--

      --Johnny.--

      Carol paused inside me and I felt a strange mishmash of conflict, her
      memories abruptly flooding my mind, and through it all, thirteen year old
      Johnny Allerdyce looked back at me from shadowed blue eyes. I drew in a
      breath and snapped my discipline into place, stemming the flow. I needed
      to explore her memories soon.

      --Don't hurt him.--

      --I won't.--

      *****

      "Hey. Johnny said you'd be here" It was Bobby--showered and looking
      pretty damn good. And despite everything else, I *was* a woman and that
      was *definitely* a man. He paused as I came out of the cemetery gate, eyes
      alighting me, concern wiping away his welcoming smile. "You okay?"

      I blinked a little, readjusting to outer-world convos.

      "Yeah. Just--just tired." I tried to smile, lips twitching. He shook his
      head, reaching for my arm, too close to my skin. Instantly, I jerked away
      and the blue eyes widened.

      --Oh fuck.--

      "Sorry," I said softly. I needed an explanation. Think, think... "I don't
      like to be touched." I tried to think of a reason, but the blue eyes
      instantly turned sympathetic and I blinked.

      --Don't say anything else. Camps, Rogue. What happened during the war to
      mutants in those camps.--

      Oh, I could guess. I could guess big time. Pushing away another spurt of
      nausea, I drew in a deep breath. Before humans were locked up, mutants had
      been. I didn't need to know more than that to guess.

      "I'm sorry." So kind, so like the Bobby I knew. "Norm bastards."

      I froze, but Bobby was already looking back at the school, eyes narrowing
      in thought.

      --He said...he said...--

      --Yes, he did, honey. Calm down. You have your excuse for the gloves and
      not wanting to be touched. Don't elaborate, don't talk about it. They
      don't expect you to, they think they already know. Keep it simple.--

      "...and dinner's being served in the dining room, if you're up for it."
      The warm blue eyes met mine, a smile lighting his face. Bobby had always
      been one to go for the girls with broken wings--some sort of weird seventh
      sense that drew him like a moth to a flame. I'd always known that.

      Dining room. A chill ran down my spine even as I smiled.

      --Dining room? Help me out here.--

      --Go. Do it. Just keep away from Logan.-- Carol's voice was sharp.

      --What are the chances he'd recognize my scent after seven years? I mean,
      like you said, I'm...dead.-- Ouchies. I'd need to do something about
      that.

      --Darlin', I never forget a scent. Ever. I'd know you anywhere,
      anytime.--

      --You. Not him.--

      --Why the hell do you want to test that theory?--

      Ooh. Good point. I nodded slowly and Bobby's smile widened, falling
      neatly in step beside me.

      "I'll introduce you around--maybe Kitty's back, your roommate. Did Johnny
      finish up the tour?"

      "He was called away," I answered absently as we began to walk back toward
      the Mansion. "It's--a nice place you have here." Nice. Everything was
      nice, apparently. I had to upgrade my vocabulary soon.

      "Yeah." Bobby looked around fondly. "This isn't the original house, but
      Scott built it from the original plans."

      Whoa doggies. It's *not* the original? I looked up, as if the house would
      suddenly manifest startling differences for me to identify the changes
      with, but there was nothing different that I could see. Even the ivy was
      covering the correct parts of the wall.

      "What happened to it?" Oh, obvious, dimwit. It got blown up during the
      war. Bobby's face darkened a little in memory and I averted my eyes,
      fixing them on the carpet-smooth grass in front of my feet.

      "It was the first casualty--the opening salvo of the war." No, I hadn't
      known, and that was interesting.

      --Better keep my Canadian citizenship.--

      --You have citizenship?--

      Logan's voice was amused.

      --Yeah, baby. Several, actually.--

      --Several Canadian citizenships? Why would...--

      --Several *different* citizenships, Marie, not necessarily Canadian.
      Just--in case I need to disappear.--

      Oh. Okay. Logical.

      "Were you--were you--" I took a breath. This would be a good time to
      start finding out information. But my voice choked a little--did mutants
      talk about it amongst themselves? Was this a taboo topic? Luckily, Bobby
      was Bobby, open and honest as hell.

      "Yeah. I--was turned in early on." He paused, eyes going down, and I made
      a sympathetic noise of some sort. Bobby. My Bobby in that thing. "My own
      fault."

      "None of it was your fault."

      The smile returned--a little sad, a little amused.

      "Yeah, maybe." He shrugged. "Anyway, when the war was over, Scott rebuilt
      the school using the original plans. The Professor would have wanted it
      that way. Everything's the same, inside. We wanted--wanted to make sure
      we remembered."

      They sure as hell had succeeded. Big time. I fixed my gaze on the
      Mansion, searching for a clue like I was picking at a scab. Did it look a
      little closer to those trees? Was the porch longer? I stared at it,
      trying to get a feel for the differences, so that I totally missed St.
      John's advent, almost directly in front of me.

      "Oh!" I skidded to a stop, and St. John tilted his head to study me.
      "S-s-sorry there, su-orry." Did I almost say sugar? Did I? DID I?

      --Has anyone told you that you're paranoid recently?--

      --Shut up, Carol.--

      "S'okay." The sharp eyes followed my movements before they resettled on
      Bobby, warming instantly. "You ready to eat?"

      "Sure." Bobby gave me a fond look. "Marie's gonna join us. Right?"

      "Uh-huh." I gave Johnny a weak smile. "It's--gonna be interesting."

      *****
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