* * *
Two months later, they had settled into a comfortable routine - they
would meet once or twice a week, in a bar in the more unpleasant
parts of town. Then they would either go drinking, or head straight
to a motel, depending on their mood.
This suited Rogue just fine. Great sex, revenge and an opportunity to
get away from the mansion - the perfect cure for a broken heart.
There was only one thing she occasionally missed - touch. At first,
she'd missed love, too, but Logan's departure had showed her that
love would one lead to pain. She'd loved Logan, loved everything
about him. The fact that he'd chosen Jean...it hurt. It hurt, and
she'd felt more than enough pain as it was.
That old saying about 'better to have loved and lost, than never to
have loved at all' - bullshit. Rogue had quickly decided that whoever
thought up that saying had obviously never been betrayed by the one
With love out of the picture, there was only one thing she longed
for - touch. To touch someone skin-to-skin, without fear and pain.
After her mutation had manifested, only Logan had dared to touch her.
With him gone, things didn't look too good.
All that changed, however, one night when Rogue waited for Creed to
show up. For once, she'd decided to stay outside the bar - the
tension inside left no doubt that it was only a matter of time before
a serious fight broke out. And while Rogue might like to live life
dangerously, she wasn't stupid.
She was leaning comfortable against a wall when she heard the
familiar sound of Creed's bike. She walked toward the entrance of the
bar, but hadn't gotten more than a few feet before Creed sped past
her and brought the bike to a sudden halt in a nearby alley.
Rogue frowned and headed towards him.
Even before she reached him, she knew that something was wrong. His
body was tense as a wire, and he acted more like an animal than a
She slowly approached him and was greeted with a low growl. Rogue's
"Yer hands..." she whispered.
Creed got off the bike, his hands leaving blood-red marks on the
Rogue took a small step back.
"Who...who was it?" Rogue asked, her gaze never leaving the blood-
"A human," was the growled reply as Creed stepped closer.
"Why?" Rogue demanded.
"Was a member of the FOH. Tried to kill a mutie. I broke his neck."
Rogue took another step back. Every instinct told her to run, run
like hell, but she couldn't. She watched with morbid fascination as
Creed stepped closer.
"Yer curious, aren't ya?" he said. It wasn't a question, but more
like a statement.
"No!" she denied.
Creed took a step closer and trapped her between himself and the wall.
"Liar," he growled and leaned closer. "I can smell it on ya. Ya
wonder what it feels like...to kill someone. Ya wonder how it feels
to see 'em take their last breath. To feel their blood on yer hands"
He reached out and caressed her chin with a claw, leaving a red
streak behind. Rogue didn't dare to move. This wasn't the man she was
used to. This was the ruthless beast that had nearly killed Logan on
the Statue of Liberty. She closed her eyes and fought to stay calm.
"I can show ya, girl," he growled.
Rogue didn't answer. She wasn't sure she could have formed a coherent
reply, even if she'd tried. Creed leaned even closer, and Rogue could
feel his hot breath on her neck.
"Let me show ya," he muttered.
He didn't wait for her reply, just bit down in her neck. Rogue gasped
and opened her eyes. The bite wasn't serious, but deep enough to draw
blood. She had only fractions of a second to comprehend what had just
happened, before a river of memories flooded her mind.
Instinctively, she tried to push him away, but he was too strong.
She gasped again, this time not from pain, but from surprise. She
could feel Creed pour into her, until she knew his every thought,
every desire, until she *became* him. She saw his memories of the
murder he'd just committed, and suddenly *she* was the one who lashed
out at the man, buried her claws in his warm flash and broke his neck
as easily as had it been a straw. She felt, felt it in every cell in
her body, as the last drop of life left her victim, felt the rush of
adrenaline as the man fell lifeless to the ground.
Creed pulled away, hardly more than a little weakened from the
Rogue looked at him, and in that moment she felt more alive than she
ever had before. When she absorbed Logan, she had been near death
both times, so the enhanced senses had been pushed in the background
while the healing factor did its work. Now, she found herself
assaulted by a myriad of smells and sounds. Even the sudden feeling
of invincibility, of immortality - it was nothing compared to her
newly enhanced senses. She heard her own heartbeat, heard his, like
the sounds of a deep drum. The stench from the alley tore in her
nostrils - it reeked of garbage and urine, combined with a disgusting
smell of vomit and alcohol.
She tried to ignore it, and found that she could even smell the blood
on Creed's hands - a metallic, strangely sweet smell. As she looked
around her, she saw every little fragment of dust, every crack in the
wall, every rat in the impenetrable darkness where the alley ended.
A particular loud yell from the bar made her whimper and cover her
"Ignore it. Ya'll get used to it," Creed said.
Rogue frowned and discovered that he was right. Both scents and sound
had already gotten a lot easier to handle. She waited for a few
minutes to get used to it all before she focused on Creed.
"Are ya...okay?" she asked, still dazed. "When Logan touched me,
"That's 'cause of the metal in the runt's skeleton. It slows down 'is
Rogue frowned and reached up to touch the bitemark...but found none.
The healing factor had already taken care of it, along with the
bruises from various Danger Room sessions.
She looked questioningly at Creed.
"Ya wanted touch, girl. I can give it to ya...if ya want it."
She shouldn't. Every personality in her head, every thought in her
mind - they all screamed at her to get away. This man was dangerous -
he had just killed a human in cold blood. If he grew tired of her, he
could kill her just as easily.
But this was touch. And every cell in her body yearned for that,
yearned to be touched by someone, anyone. Besides...what did she have
She kissed him.
"Thank you," she whispered.
* * *
It was two days later when Rogue discovered the first noticeably
effects of Creed's touch.
The enhanced senses were still there, although they were nowhere as
good as Creed's. She still had his memories and could feel him in her
head, stronger than Logan or Erik. But up until then, there had been
no visible changes.
The Fates wanted otherwise, though.
Rogue had taken a shower and was about to put on some nail polish
when she noticed something.
Her nails were different. They looked a lot longer than the day
She put down the nail polish and moved closer to the light.
It wasn't her imagination. The nails were longer, and where they
began, there was a thin stripe across the nail. She looked more
closely. The stripe was dark brown and seemed thicker than the rest
of the nail.
Rogue frowned. The color seemed oddly familiar.
Very dark brown, like...claws.
Oh God...she was developing claws.
* * *
Two weeks later, it was impossible to see that she once had long,
beautiful nails. The rapid growth had continued and now the nails had
turned into one-inch claws.
Like Creed's, they couldn't be retracted and for the first time,
Rogue was glad that she was forced to wear gloves. Now, though, she
opted for leather gloves instead of those made of satin and silk - it
had to be a thick material to cover her new 'assets'.
While the claws were far from beautiful, the more rational part of
Rogue's mind made her aware that they might prove useful. They were a
muddy, dark brown with a rough surface, but the tips were razor-sharp
and much harder than her nails had been.
They were strangely...graceful...in a violent way, she decided.
Whereas Wolverine's claws were meant to cause maximum destruction,
these claws were better suited for one-on-one fighting. Small, sharp -
they could cause a lot of pain if one knew how to use them.
And with Sabretooth's memories...these claws suddenly showed a whole
lot of potential.
* * *
It was near the three months anniversary of Logan and Jean's
departure when Scott finally noticed that something had changed.
It was during a Danger Room session, in the middle of a mock battle
between Scott and her, when one of her nails - claws - tore a hole in
her right glove. She tried to hide it, but it was too late.
Scott saw the claw and grabbed her before she could get away.
"Scott! Let go!" Rogue snapped. "What the fuck are ya doin'?"
"Show me your hand."
"Wha-? I just tore a hole in my glove, that's all, damnit!" she
objected and tried to get loose.
"Rogue. Now!" he ordered, this time in the voice that had earned him
the nickname 'Fearless Leader'. It was a voice she'd only heard him
use once before - in battle.
Rogue froze instantly.
"Well?" Scott asked.
Reluctantly, Rogue showed him her right hand. On the tip of the index
finger, the glove had split in the seam and revealed a dark brown
claw. In a swift move, Scott pulled the glove of her hand. He sent
her a grave look, and unable to meet his eyes, she looked away.
He shook his head.
"I think we need to talk."
* * *
Scott had barely closed the door to his office, before his 'calm
leader' mask evaporated and he allowed his feelings to show.
"Who?" he demanded.
Rogue flinched, but didn't answer.
"This has something to do with all of your mysterious trips into
town, hasn't it?"
Rogue nodded, and Scott sighed.
"Rogue, I was willing to let you keep your little secret because I
know you hurt just as much as I do and that this is just your way of
dealing with it. But now I want the truth. Who caused this?" he asked
and motioned towards her claws.
Rogue took a deep breath to calm herself before she answered.
"Sabretooth," she finally admitted.
"It was Sabretooth," Rogue repeated, this time a bit more defiantly.
"*Sabretooth*?" Scott repeated, incredulously. "God, Rogue, what are
you thinking?! He's with the Brotherhood! He's dangerous!"
"So am I, Summers. Yer point bein'?" Rogue retorted.
"Do you even know the consequences of what you're doing, Rogue? What
if Magneto escaped? What if we have to fight the Brotherhood again?
Can you honestly tell me that you would be able to fight Creed if it
came to that?"
Rogue glared at him.
"Yes. This hasn't changed anything, Scott. Victor an' me, we're still
on different sides. He wouldn't have it any other way, an' neither
"Rogue...how can I even be sure that we still have your loyalty? How
can I be sure you won't suddenly change sides in the middle of a
Rogue shook her head slowly.
"I can't give ya any proof, Scott. I can only ask ya to trust me. An'
if ya can't...then make the professor read my mind or somethin'. I
have nothing to hide."
"Trust me, Scott. This thing between Victor and me...it isn't about
loyalty, it's about revenge. Trust me. Please."
Scott didn't answer, and Rogue knew that she'd hit a sore spot. As
much as Scott hated to admit it, he wanted revenge, too. Revenge for
the heartache and the ruthless betrayal by the woman he once loved.
From the 'fearless leader' point of view, he shouldn't even be having
this conversation. Rogue was sleeping with the enemy - quite
literally. The enemy that once tried to kill all of them.
On the other hand, this was the perfect chance to get even with Logan
and Jean. Through Rogue's revenge, he would get even, too. Just the
thought of Logan returning to find 'his' Rogue involved with
Sabretooth...the idea was very attractive. And not even Cyclops could
control all of his emotions.
Finally, the need for revenge won the battle.
"Just...promise me you'll be careful, okay? I don't want to lose you
There was a flicker of surprise in Rogue's eyes, then she nodded.
"I will. I can kill 'im with a touch, remember? Weird as it
sounds...I think he actually kinda respects me for that."
"For everybody's sake...I hope you're right."
* * *
After that, things seemed to settle down. Rogue continued her affair
with Sabretooth, this time under Scott's watchful eye - like a
protective older brother, he had made her promise to tell him
whenever she met with Creed.
The other residents at the mansion eventually stopped with the
pitying looks, much to the relief of both Rogue and Scott, who had
hated every moment of the whole 'poor them - they just lost the loves
of their lives' - thing that had been going on among the others.
With Jean out of the picture, Scott slowly grew closer to Storm and
found himself spending more and more time with her. He became more
outgoing and slowly learned to open his heart again.
All in all, things looked better than they had in a long time.
And then, two months after Scott found out about Creed, the earth
Logan and Jean returned - separately.
According to Jean, they had turned out to be too different, and they
had decided to return to New York. She wholly intended to win Scott
back, and Logan...she didn't know what he planned to do.
Rogue just nodded and wished her the best of luck, and made a mental
note to warn Scott.
That night, Logan came to her room to talk.
He told her that he regretted what had happened, that he hadn't
thought about the consequences and that he had been a fool not to see
what had been right under his nose. He told her that Scott had told
him about Creed, that he hoped that the 'bastard' hadn't hurt her and
that he hoped she would ditch Creed now that he, Logan, was back. He
explained that he wanted to be with her now and that he regretted
everything his mistake that put her through.
"I'm sorry," he finally said.
Rogue knew he spoke the truth. She could smell the regret on him, the
sorrow. His body told of things he could - would - never express with
words - desperation, hope...confidence? She hid a frown. She took
another sniff, and realized that he firmly believe that they could
just get together now and everything would be as before.
She looked down at her black leather gloves, which she knew concealed
ten hard, brown, claw-like nails. She remembered the five months that
had passed. The anger, the feeling of betrayal, the pity from others.
She remembered how heartbroken Scott had been. She remembered the
need for revenge. She remembered her first night with Victor, their
first touch, their time together.
Finally she looked at Logan again and knew beyond a doubt what choice
she'd have to make.
Revenge...or forgiveness. A relationship based on sex and revenge, a
relationship that had ever so slowly developed into something that
could lead to friendship...or a relationship based on love. But it
was a loved based on mistakes and forgiveness. And she wasn't sure if
she could forgive anymore.
"I'm sorry, Marie," Logan repeated, his voice barely more than a
He looked at her and in his eyes, she saw that he took her silence as
a sign of forgiveness. In that moment, five long months came crashing
down on her and she knew her answer.
* * *
* * *
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