FIC: Stained (1/1) Rogue
- Title: Stained
Author: Jamie (madjm@...)
Rating: G, I guess. Nothing objectionable, just some happiness of the un
kind. In other words, angst.
Category: Rogue A/U
Disclaimer: They belong to Marvel and Fox. No infringement intended,
etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Distribution: XMMFA, WRFA and anyone else who has my stuff. Otherwise,
Feedback: Makes me happy.
Note: Big thanks to Victoria, Laura and Jennifer H. for beta reading this.
If this sucks, it's despite their best efforts. I'm going back to Happy
Story World now. I like it much better there. :-)
There is a small, round, stained-glass window at Xavier's mansion, at the
top of a long set of stairs leading nowhere. Rogue kneels before it, waiting
A lifetime ago, she would have been curious about the landing, pondering the
possibilities of secret passages in the dark paneled walls, or an
embarrassing mistake by the mansion's architect. But now, she simply accepts
it and is grateful for someplace to be alone.
At exactly 10 a.m., she arranges herself carefully on the floor below the
window and waits as the sun pushes the window's colored image up her body,
onto her face. The wooden floor is hard against her back, but it feels
solid, comforting somehow. It's warm on the landing, the sun's heat shining
through the window, defying the winter temperatures outdoors. For a girl who
wears so many layers, she can't seem to stay warm anywhere but here. Still,
it's the colors she loves most, deep jewel tones reflecting the shades of
Before everything changed.
The green is the color of her mother's favorite bathrobe. When one wore out,
she always bought the exact same color and style. A perfect shade of
emerald, soft chenille texture. She remembers Saturday mornings as a child,
sprawled on the couch, head leaning on her mother's thighs, watching
cartoons together. She can clearly feel the green material caressing her
face and her mother's fingers sliding through her hair. "Marie," she would
say every week in her soft drawl. "This is silly. How can you watch this?"
But she never moved, and Rogue knew she loved those moments every bit as
much as her daughter did.
The blue matches the color of their family minivan, Stan. As she got older,
she would roll her eyes and think how uncool it was to ride in a *minivan,*
for God's sake. But before the teen years struck with a vengeance, the
vehicle was one of her favorite places to be. She always loved going
somewhere, anywhere, and her family would take day trips every weekend
during the summer. Museums, picnic areas, historical sites ... all were
treated as adventures by the Gordon family. Marie and her dad shared the job
of loading the van. Food, drinks, swimsuits, change of clothes just in case,
oldies compilations for the ancient tape deck. Marie's best friend, April,
often came along. The year they were eight, they named the minivan Stan, and
the name stuck. Two weeks before her mutation showed up, her parents bought
Stan III, a shiny brown vehicle that was a pale imitation of the original.
There's yellow, too. Mustard colored, really, and it was the exact color of
the Star Trek uniform that was her Halloween costume when she was six years
old. She'd seen it at Walmart at the end of September and begged, pleaded
and nagged until her parents bought it for her. It was a scratchy cotton
that itched her skin, but she wore it constantly for a month. She would've
worn it to school if her mom had let her; instead, she started sleeping in
it. By the time Halloween came around, the color had faded into a
yellow-brown and the seam of one leg had a hole in it. But she remembers a
photo that once hung in the living room of little Marie in her costume,
beaming with pride at finally being able to show off her battle-scarred
uniform to the neighborhood.
Rogue closes her eyes as the colors creep up her face. The yellow, blue and
green are just the edges, a kaleidoscope of shards forming a circle around
the centerpiece. In the middle of the pattern shines a sunburst of reds.
More shades than she can identify, and if she looks at them too closely they
appear to move.
That bright shade is her first bike. She learned to ride without the
training wheels on the first day, practicing from sunup to pitch black,
getting back on after countless falls, until her father nearly begged her to
stop. She still can feel the way her breath caught and her heart seemed to
stop the first time she sailed down the street, hair flying behind her,
hearing her father's laughter echoing across the neighborhood in time with
The crimson is her first kiss. It's more of an impression than a memory, and
it's red because it's also the first time she hurt someone with her
mutation. In an instant, her heart-pounding anticipation had turned to
horror -- David's fear and her own mixing into a nightmarish panic that
stayed with her for months.
There ... the faded red of the picnic table at the park down the street from
her house. Much of her childhood was spent there, talking with April about
favorite TV shows, boys, the future. It was there she'd said good-bye to
April, the only one she'd told before leaving town. She'd seen the fear in
her best friend's eyes and known she could never live in Meridian again, no
matter what her parents said.
The strongest color is a dark, blood red. It's the color of her first murder
and the stains that only she can see marking her hands. Like a junior Lady
MacBeth, she aches to remove the consequences of her own selfish desires.
She feels the sun's heat marking her face, branding the window's pattern
into her skin. Another thing only she can see.
As she waits for the heat to finish with her, she plays the If Only game. If
only she'd stayed in Meridian. Or headed west instead of north. If only
she'd hitched a ride with someone else. If only she'd been smart enough to
stay at Xavier's. If only she had gone along quietly. Not called for help.
Not been afraid to die. If only she'd died faster, been beyond Logan's
reach. If only she could reverse her mutation, give back the life she stole
from him. If only his blood wasn't on her hands, her face, her soul.
Time passes, along with the light. She feels the cold creep back into her
bones as she stands, returns downstairs. No one will ask where she's been.
They never do.
And she'll be back tomorrow.
The Nightowl: http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000