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Genesis 1/? PG

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  • Pandora's Box
    Title: Genesis Author: Pandora Email: moirae19@hotmail.com Rating: PG Summary: Continuation of the X-Men s story, starting where the movie left off.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2001
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      Title: Genesis
      Author: Pandora
      Email: moirae19@...
      Rating: PG
      Summary: Continuation of the X-Men's story, starting where the movie left
      off.
      Disclaimer: If Marvel would share their toys, I wouldn't have to steal them
      from time to time.
      Notes: I'm taking a few liberties with Carol Danvers' history and
      personality. Using my limited knowledge of Carol, I will be making up
      details to fit the story. I'm trying my damnedest to keep Carol from being
      evil (even though it WOULD make the story so much easier to write), but you
      can bet she won't be all sunshine and light either.


      Chapter 1
      "A Crime of Passion"


      Her name was Carol Danvers, and Rogue could already tell that she wouldn't
      like her.
      When Kitty phased into Rogue's room to tell her that Logan was back, Rogue
      shot out of bed and sprinted for the door, ignoring Kitty as she yelled
      "Rogue, wait, there's something I have to tell you about."
      That something was the woman currently standing beside Logan. <i>Her</i>
      Logan.
      As Rogue ran down the stairs, she heard Logan's deep voice talking with
      Scott and Dr. Grey. She stopped in her tracks when she heard an unfamiliar
      female voice begin to speak. 'What in the...' Silently tiptoeing to the door
      frame, Rogue peered into the parlor. The four adults were standing just by
      the front door, only 20 feet away. The voice Rogue had heard belonged to a
      tall blonde woman who was currently laughing at something Logan had said.
      Logan sniffed the air, catching hold of Rogue's scent. "Come out, kid," he
      said, "I can smell ya all the way over here." Still clad in her flannel
      pajamas, Rogue ran from her hiding spot and threw her arms around Logan.
      Squeezing her small frame too him, Logan made a happy little grunt. "That's
      my girl. I've missed ya, kid."
      "Ah ain't a kid!" Rogue protested. "Ah'll be eighteen in a few months."
      "Is this your little sister, Logan?" Rogue turned towards Carol. The woman
      was smiling at her with a genuinely friendly smile. Rogue was tempted to
      punch her right in the mouth.
      "Carol, this is Rogue. Rogue, this is Carol Danvers."
      "Right," Rogue said, looking the woman up and down slowly. "So what's she
      doin' here?" The adults exchanged glances, surprised at the normally sweet
      Rogue's hostile attitude. "Sorry if ah seem rude," she said quickly, "Didn't
      sleep too well last night."
      "Still having nightmares?" Scott placed his hand on Rogue's shoulder and
      gave her what would probably have been a sympathetic glance if the visor
      didn't block his eyes.
      "What nightmares?" Logan immediately took a protective stance, moving
      closer to Rogue, "Something happen while I was gone, darlin'?"
      "Nothin' like that, sugar," Rogue said, "Ah just get nightmares sometimes.
      Leftovers from you and Magneto. Don't worry about it, ah'm fine."
      "Magneto? Why would you get his nightmares?" Carol gave them a confused
      glance. Rogue looked at the woman, annoyed that she was butting in on her
      Logan time.
      "It's mah power," Rogue said, rubbing her hands absent-mindedly. "When ah
      touch someone, ah steal their powers and thoughts. The powers don't stay
      long, but the thoughts and memories don't really go away."
      "Oh," Carol said. Rogue watched the woman discreetly move back, an action
      which only antagonized Rogue's dislike for her further. She thought about
      commenting, but Carol cut her off. "Not that I don't want to get to know all
      of you, but I really do need to talk to Professor Xavier. It was nice
      meeting you, Rogue." Rogue didn't respond.
      "Oh, of course." Logan put a hand on Carol's back. Rogue pretended she
      didn't notice. "Hey kid, how about having lunch with me later? I have
      dogtags to collect." Logan winked at her conspiratorially.
      "Sure thing, sugar." Rogue watched the group of adults as they made their
      way to the Professor's office, her eyes narrowing when she saw Carol gently
      put her hand on Logan's shoulder. Just before she turned the corner, Carol
      glanced back and caught Rogue's glare. Pointedly, Rogue spun on her heel and
      stormed back to the girls' dorms, leaving Carol and her curious gaze behind.

      -----

      The girl was strange, there was no question about that. Carol was used to
      people mistrusting her. Her job, which involved studying mutant groups for
      the government had brought her in contact with people who weren't too happy
      with her curiosity. Mutants didn't trust her because she worked for the
      government, and humans didn't trust her because her job involved mutants. It
      was a no-win situation, but Carol had grown adjusted.
      The government employed hundreds of people in the mutant division. Most of
      the division's duties involved tracking violent mutant groups such as the
      Brotherhood. Carol was one of the few in the department who was employed as
      a field agent. Coming into contact with mutant groups was a dangerous job
      that risked the lives of many agents. Carol served as the most valuable
      agent in the program, largely thanks to her own powers.
      Carol was not a natural mutant herself. On hundred percent homo sapien,
      Carol lived a normal life, completing college with a degree in biochemistry.
      After graduation, Carol took a job in research with the government. It was
      at this job that she gained her powers.
      Unknown to the public, the government had made contact with alien beings
      known as the Kree, an advanced humanoid race from a distant galaxy. While
      Carol was examining the physiology of a Kree warrior who had volunteered for
      the tests, some of her lab equipment malfunctioned and exploded. Radioactive
      material which was stored near the explosion was suddenly released, which
      resulted in the Kree powers being transferred to Carol. When she came to,
      the warrior was nearly dead and Carol had his powers.
      Her newly acquired traits not only included the ability to fly (which Carol
      had grown to greatly appreciate), but super-strength and invulnerability.
      The Kree people were furious about the incident, but the American government
      was elated about the possibilities this transfer entailed. They tried
      replicating the transfer on animals with samples of Carol's tissue, but all
      experiments failed. Carol Danvers was the only Kree hybrid ever created.
      After that, the government transferred her to the new mutant task force.
      Her invulnerability almost completely guaranteed her safety against any
      mutant attack, so the government sent her repeatedly into dangerous
      situations. Her recent mission had involved gathering information about a
      dangerous mutant named Victor Creed, better known as Sabretooth, who was
      reportedly leading a violent gang of mutants known as the Marauders after
      leaving the Brotherhood. Little was known about his origins, except that he
      may have been a product of an experiment by the Canadian government known as
      Weapon X. Carol's research into the project had unexpectedly brought her in
      contact with another one of Weapon X's experiments, known as Wolverine.
      Wolverine, known as Logan to anyone not his enemy, had not initially
      trusted Carol. As a general rule, Logan distrusted anyone who worked for the
      government, especially if their job involved mutants. His desire to track
      down his origins, however, prompted him to strike an unlikely alliance with
      the woman. In exchange for any information Carol gathered on Weapon X or
      what happened there, Logan would bring her in contact with the one group of
      people who stood the best chance of tracking down Sabretooth and the
      Marauders - the X-Men. The alliance also included the provision that Carol
      would not divulge any information about the X-Men or their location to the
      government. If she broke this pact, Logan would "find a way through that
      invulnerability." Carol believed him, and was thus not inclined to break the
      pact. Over the month they spent together gathering information about Weapon
      X, the two had grown at ease with each other, settling into a comfortable
      relationship that had begun to resemble trust and respect. Logan no longer
      seemed concerned that Carol would betray him and Carol appreciated the
      company. Missions were a typically lonely affair, and the presence of an
      extremely attractive partner made the experience far more enjoyable.
      Scott Summers had not been pleased when he found out about Logan's
      decision, although Dr. Jean Grey seemed oddly at ease, giving Carol the
      impression that Dr. Grey was a telepath in addition to possessing
      telekinetic powers. Carol was unsure whether to be reassured that she had
      the trust of a possible telepath, or unsettled that the woman may have
      searched through every one of her thoughts and memories.
      Overall, the school had given her a positive impression. The inhabitants
      seemed peaceful, not desiring any more attention on them than needed. This
      made Carol's job easier, as she wouldn't have another violent gang to track.
      The mutants here seemed well-adjusted and friendly. Her only possible
      concern was the mutant known as Rogue.
      The girl seemed innocent enough. Soft-spoken and attentive, the girl exuded
      no malice except a possible jealousy about Carol's budding friendship with
      Logan. The only thing that concerned her about the girl was the lack of
      information available about her. Curious about this powerful young mutant,
      Carol had pushed the X-Men and some of the other students about information
      on the girl. The curious thing was, that although these people had taken her
      in and accepted her as one of their own, they knew virtually nothing about
      her, except that she was a runaway who might be from Mississippi. No one
      seemed to know her real name, except possibly Logan, who would probably
      never tell anyone, much less a government agent. On general principle, Carol
      didn't trust enigmas, and the fact that Rogue had taken such pains to
      protect her past unsettled her. While she might simply be trying to start
      her life over, there was also the distinct possibility that this Rogue was
      hiding something. The fact that she could literally take a person's soul
      didn't allay Carol's fears. Few people made the invulnerable woman nervous,
      and this girl was one of them.
      While Carol's immediate mission did not involve gathering information about
      a seventeen year old girl who might in fact be perfectly harmless, there was
      something about this new mission that screamed importance to her. After all,
      mutants who wielded amazing powers often found themselves with the
      temptation to use them in violent ways. Magneto was living proof of this. It
      certainly couldn't hurt to know everything she could about the girl in case
      she one day needed it.
      Carol's best chance at gathering this information lay in a telepath. The
      good news was that Carol was currently surrounded by people who could help
      her. The problem was that none of them would go in Rogue's head just because
      Carol had a suspicion. The mutants at the school operated on a system of
      respect, only using their powers to benefit others, childish pranks aside.
      There was not enough doubt about Rogue to warrant a trip into her head. Not
      unless she found a way to create it, there wasn't.
      Carol had put some thought into the plan, working it out as she relaxed in
      the room Xavier had given to her during her stay. The adults were mildly
      concerned about the nightmares Rogue had been having over the past two
      months. The nightmares did not belong to Rogue herself, but were rather the
      remnants of various people Rogue had encountered. One of these people was
      Magneto.
      Magneto had a stronger presence in her mind than other people, simply
      because Rogue had absorbed so much of him. It was widely known that he still
      talked to Rogue sometimes, which accounted for the faraway glance in her
      eyes sometimes. If Rogue seemed distracted, you could almost bank that she
      was arguing with one of the voices that haunted her, especially Erik who had
      an opinion about everything.
      While they were not concerned about the mostly harmless people who
      inhabited Rogue's thoughts, Magneto was a cause of some concern. A
      persuasive and tortured man, it was not inconceivable that Erik Lensherr had
      passed on some of his ideologies and anger to Rogue. After all, if she had
      displayed some of Logan's "more charming traits," as Jean had laughed to
      Carol while filling her in on anecdotes about the mutants, it was entirely
      possible that Rogue could begin to display some of Magneto's traits.
      With the proper persuasion, Rogue's strange displays of animosity towards
      Carol could easily be attributed to Magneto's presence in her mind instead
      of just adolescent jealousies. If the X-Men had any suspicions that Rogue
      was being influenced in any negative manner, they would feel it was in
      Rogue's best interest to investigate by sending a telepath in. And if the
      X-Men knew a little more about Rogue, Carol was almost positive that she
      would be able to wheedle some information out of one of the more talkative
      members of the group. If she could just get a name, Carol would have no
      problems getting the rest of the information on her own.
      The major problem lay in convincing the X-Men that Rogue needed their
      "help." Xavier was a telepath, and would see through Carol in a minute.
      Scott trusted her as far as he could throw her. Jean was a potential
      telepath, thus out of the question. The other teachers who were training to
      be X-Men didn't wield enough say in the group.
      There was, however, one person who had enough concern about Rogue to take
      any potential problems extremely seriously.
      Logan had a strange attachment to the girl for someone who was so fiercely
      independent. Even before she had met Rogue, she knew about her from Logan's
      stories. If Rogue sneezed, Logan tried to send her off to bed, convinced she
      was going to die. If she was hungry, Logan would make her a five course
      meal. Whether this interest in her was purely paternal or indicative of some
      attractive Logan had for the girl, Carol didn't know. But if the idea got in
      Logan's head that Magneto's voice was hurting Rogue in any way, he would
      raise enough hell with the X-Men until they at least consented to check into
      it.
      It all seemed ridiculously easy.

      -----

      She convinced herself that it was more than just jealousy. After all, Rogue
      wasn't a jealous person.
      Admittedly, she hadn't exactly celebrated when she found out about Logan's
      attraction to Jean. She'd first picked up on it when she caught the Logan in
      her head staring at Jean's ass during a school picnic. Annoyed, Rogue had
      drowned her feelings in fried chicken and the knowledge that Jean would
      never break it off with Scott. Jean was a stable person and, despite
      whatever attraction she might have had towards Logan, she had settled into a
      comfortable relationship with Scott years ago. Jean was not the kind of
      woman who would have tolerated Logan's wandering tendencies, and she would
      not have wanted to go with him.
      Rogue ignored it when Jubilee and Kitty went on about what a babe Logan
      was. She'd even participated in the conversation when they giggled and
      wondered if his healing factor equated to a libido that could never be
      completely satisfied. She'd even patiently put up with their inquiries of
      whether or not her stolen memories of Logan included any fantasy-worthy
      scenes.
      But Carol? Rogue just could not tolerate Carol.
      It was more than just the blonde hair and big breasts that riled Rogue so.
      It was the woman's constant probing into matters that were not her business.
      Carol had a few too many questions for Rogue's liking. If some of the
      students gossiped in a group, Carol hovered nearby, obviously wishing she
      could push them for details. She kept herself near Scott, the one person who
      seemed to know everything that went on in the school. It gave Rogue some
      satisfaction to see that Carol's presence annoyed Scott almost as much as it
      annoyed her. Her respect for the man tripled when he told an inquisitive
      Carol point blank to mind her own business and let him get back to his job.
      Rogue tolerated Carol when the woman wasn't getting in everyone's business.
      She even half-liked her when Carol dropped her questions long enough to
      participate in a game of touch football with some of the students. That
      didn't mean that Rogue didn't secretly cheer when Jubilee, who disliked
      Carol almost as much as Rogue did, "accidently" tripped the blonde vixen.
      It wasn't jealousy, no matter what Kitty said, Rogue told herself
      forcefully. She just didn't want to see Logan get hurt. She told herself
      that as she ripped at the hair of a Barbie doll, a therapy Jubilee had
      recommended to her.
      Bobby didn't buy Rogue's declarations when he confronted her after class
      one day. "You're in love with him," he said, more as a question than a
      statement.
      "Ah am not," she said, flustered. "He's like mah brother."
      "Maybe you're not in love with him, but you sure don't want him to love
      anyone but you." Bobby's words struck something inside of Rogue, and she had
      no response but to shake her head and flush a bright shade of crimson.
      "You don't have to pretend," Bobby said, almost sadly. "I've known about
      your feelings for him for quite some time. I'm not really mad. I just want
      you to be honest with me. You need to trust me with the truth."
      Rogue continued shaking her head. "You're wrong, ah'm not."
      Her continued denial wore on Bobby's nerves. "Rogue, what's your name?" he
      asked her suddenly. Rogue stopped shaking her head and all the color left
      her cheeks. "What's your name?" he repeated.
      "Ah'm sorry, Bobby," she said. "Ah can't tell ya."
      "Does Logan know?" The look on her face told him that he did. Bobby nodded
      sadly. "I thought he might. Tell me, Rogue, why is it that you trust a man
      that you really barely know with something as trivial as your name, but you
      can't tell me?" She didn't respond. "It's just a name," Bobby said. "It's
      just a word your parents gave you so they'd have something to call you."
      "Mah name isn't important," Rogue said, finding her voice. "Ah'm not that
      girl anymore. Mah name doesn't matter."
      "If it didn't matter, <i>Rogue</i>," Bobby said, coldness creeping into his
      voice. "Then it wouldn't be such a big deal."
      Rogue found a way to blame Carol for what happened with Bobby. If the woman
      hadn't shown up, she justified, then she wouldn't be reacting so badly. And
      if she wasn't reacting like this, Bobby wouldn't think she was jealous and
      things could have stayed normal. She could still have a stable relationship
      with Bobby and she wouldn't have to explain why she was so concerned about
      Logan's interest.
      Deep down, Rogue knew that her reasons for disliking Carol didn't have
      anything to do with the woman's inquisitiveness or any worry that she might
      hurt Logan. It had everything to do with that fact that since she'd arrived,
      Logan had seemed more interested in talking with Carol about whatever they
      talked about than spending time with Rogue. Slowly but surely, Rogue had
      begun to realize that every day Carol was finding subtle ways to take
      Rogue's place by Logan's side. While Rogue maintained that she wasn't a
      jealous person, that didn't mean she was all too eager to share, either.

      -----

      Jean Grey was not having a good day. While eating breakfast this morning,
      she'd had the distinct pleasure of having her coffee turned to solid ice by
      a perturbed Bobby Drake, who'd accidentally triggered his powers this
      morning during an argument with Jubilee over whether or not he had
      deliberately peeked on her while she was changing. Bobby maintained that he
      had walked in because he thought Rogue was there, while Jubilee was busy
      telling anyone who'd listen that Bobby was a closet voyeur.
      Aside from this, she had a splitting headache from when Logan had burst
      into her and Scott's room this morning screaming that Rogue was in trouble
      because Magneto was still in her head. Add a few expletives, and that was
      pretty much what Logan had said, verbatim.
      Scott had ever-so-politely told Logan to sod off and let him get his sleep.
      Logan had continued his rant until Scott, desperately fighting the urge to
      blast Logan in the groin with a well-placed blast, had decided to forgo an
      A.M. battle by retreating to the bathroom to take a shower.
      "Jeannie," Logan said, taking a seat at the foot of the bed, "I really need
      your help. I'm worried about her. Kid's been through too much already, and
      she won't even talk to anyone about it. Plus, with these nightmares she's
      been having..."
      "She seems fine to me," Jean said, smoothing down her hair. "She's stronger
      than most people I've met, and seems to be gaining some measure of control
      over her dreams."
      "You and I both know she'd never let anyone know if she needed them," Logan
      said, meeting Jean's eyes. "She probably got that from me." Jean snorted.
      "Plus, she's been hostile with Carol every time she sees her, and Carol's
      been nothing but polite to her."
      'That's because she's jealous,' Jean thought. "Alright, I'll talk with her,
      maybe see if she wants some help sorting out her thoughts. But I'm not going
      to force my way into her head just yet. Not unless I think something's
      really wrong."
      "I appreciate this Jeannie. If there's anything I can ever do for you..."
      Logan moved closer to Jean. The sensation of his hands lightly brushing her
      cheek sent an involuntary shudder down her spine. Her pulse slowly
      accelerated, and Jean half-wondered if he had picked up on her arousal. The
      smirk on his face let her know he had. Damn man, he was lucky Scott wasn't
      currently in the room. Although, Jean had to admit that Scott and Logan's
      non-stop pissing contest had made life around the mansion more interesting.
      Some of the kids were beginning to take bets on which of them would take the
      first swing at the other.
      "I doubt you have anything that could possibly interest me," Jean said,
      smiling at Logan. 'Scott would kill you - if he were here,' Jean told
      herself.
      Logan smiled knowingly. "That a rejection or a challenge, Red?"
      That was about the point that St. John had burst in to tell Jean that
      Jubilee was threatening Bobby with castration and seemed to mean it this
      time. Giving Logan an apologetic smile, Jean headed to the kitchen for
      breakfast. There was no way she was dealing with adolescent traumas before
      she had her morning coffee.
      Now, Jean was waiting in her office for Rogue to arrive. She had sent Kitty
      to retrieve the girl twenty minutes ago, but Jean was fairly sure that the
      girl had been distracted by one cute male mutant or another. She was getting
      as bad as Jubilee these days.
      Before long, there was a soft, uncertain knock on the door, followed by the
      appearance of Rogue's face in the doorframe. "Ya sent for me, Dr. Grey?"
      "Have a seat, Rogue," Jean gestured to the plush blue seat in front of her
      desk, which Rogue took. Taking off her glasses, Jean stood from her seat and
      began to walk. She had a habit of pacing the floor when she was talking with
      people, which often made some people nervous. Rogue had originally been
      unsettled by this little quirk, but over time she grew accustomed to it. She
      now mostly ignored it. At the moment, she was picking at a loose string on
      her sweater, completely ignoring Jean's pacing.
      "How are you and Bobby doing?" Jean asked Rogue as an icebreaker question.
      'Best not start right in,' she thought.
      Rogue looked up when Jean spoke, momentarily forgetting the string. "We're
      alright," she said, "We get along really well when he ain't givin' me stupid
      nicknames. Have ya heard the latest one? 'Mississippi Marauder.' He's lucky
      ah don't hit boys."
      Jean laughed. "You should have heard some of the ones Scott gave me when we
      first started dating in our teens. I finally had to warn him that if he
      called me 'Jeannie in a Bottle' one more time, I'd tell all the other
      students that he listened to Menudo."
      "Who's Menudo?"
      "Never mind," Jean said, shaking her head, "I sometimes forget that I'm
      getting older." Rogue gave her a funny look.
      "Ya didn't call me in here to talk about Bobby, did ya, Dr. Grey?" She gave
      the older woman a searching look. Dr. Grey opened her mouth as if to say
      something before closing it again, apparently deciding against it. "Ah
      didn't think so. What is it, Dr. Grey?"
      "Rogue, some of the adults are concerned about you." Rogue gave Jean a
      surprised look, but Jean ignored it, continuing. "You've been having these
      nightmares for some time now, which isn't a good sign. It means that the
      people in your head aren't going away."
      "They're just voices and memories." Rogue shifted uncomfortably. "They
      can't hurt me or anythin'."
      "It's more than that Rogue." Jean paused. "There's no easy way to say this.
      Certain people are - concerned - that you might be influenced by some of the
      voices, especially Magneto."
      Rogue stared at Jean, aghast. Was she serious? "So what ya mean is ya don't
      trust me." Rogue's tone was dangerous. "Ah haven't even done anythin' and ya
      don't trust me."
      "It has nothing to do with trusting <i>you</i> Rogue. We just don't want to
      see you get hurt."
      "Then ya shoulda done something to stop him from taking me!" Tears began to
      stream down Rogue's cheeks. The girl stood up and pointed in Jean's face.
      "Remember that night after Logan accidentally stabbed me, and ya all kept
      checking to see if Logan was hurt or if he was feelin' any side effects? Did
      any of ya bother to check on me? Did any of ya bother to come find out if ah
      was having any side effects? He was in mah head, Jean. Ah could feel how
      scared he was of me - of what ah could do. Ah don't really blame him; Ah'd
      have been scared too. But did any of ya come to see if ah needed to talk?
      No, not a one of ya came. Not you, not Miss Munroe, not even Jubes or Kitty.
      Ah'd already had one family reject me, Dr. Grey, ah wasn't ready for that
      again. So ah left before you guys could turn me out too."
      "No one's going to turn you out, Rogue..."
      "Not until ya have a good enough reason, no. Ya just keep me here 'cause
      Logan wants ya to. None of ya trust me, 'cept maybe Logan and St. John.
      Bobby's tryin' to, but he doesn't either, not really." Rogue glared at her.
      "Rogue, I do trust you," Jean said patiently. "I just want to look inside
      your head and make sure things are healing properly. Maybe I can help you
      shut out some of the voices."
      Rogue was silent for a moment. "Ah don't need your help, Dr. Grey," she
      said softly. "Ah'm fine. Ah don't need you pokin' around mah head, makin'
      sure ah'm not a threat." She looked in Jean's eyes. "That Carol woman put ya
      up to this, didn't she? She don't trust me, and now she's gotten you to not
      trust me either. Ah knew ah didn't like her."
      "Logan asked me, Rogue." Rogue's eyes widened in shock, and she began
      shaking her head in an emphatic 'no.' "It's true," Jean continued. "He came
      to me this morning and asked me to talk with you."
      "Why didn't he come to me, himself?" Rogue's voice barely registered above
      a whisper.
      "I don't really know, Rogue," Jean said, "Maybe he thought I'd be more
      reasonable."
      "Maybe he doesn't trust me either." Rogue looked at Jean sadly. "He told me
      he'd take care of me, that he wouldn't let anyone hurt me, but here he is
      sending me off to a <i>telepath</i>," Rogue spat out the word as if it were
      an expletive, "Because he don't trust me either. Ah bet that Danvers woman
      is behind it all. Ah just know it."
      "Rogue, will you stop?" Jean was getting exasperated. "Carol hasn't said
      one bad thing about you to me or anyone else. She doesn't even know you, so
      how can she be out to get you? And even if she did say something to Logan,
      it's probably out of concern. She seems to be sincere enough."
      Rogue kept shaking her head. "Ya don't understand, Dr. Grey. Ah don't know
      why ah know, but ah do. It's all her doin'. She's after me and ah don't know
      why." Jean gave Rogue a sympathetic look, which only antagonized her
      further. "Ah ain't crazy!" she screamed. "None of ya understand what it's
      like! None of ya can ever trust me, can ya?"
      "Rogue..." Jean started to reason with her again, but Rogue stormed out of
      the office, nearly knocking Scott over. "She's impossible," Jean said. "I
      tried to talk with her and she flipped out. Maybe Logan's right. Maybe
      something is going on with her."
      "With Rogue?" Scott gave her a confused glance. "She hasn't said anything
      to me. I thought she was doing fine."
      Jean shook her head. "She's irrational right now. I'm going to give her
      some time to calm down. But I'm going to talk with the Professor. She
      honestly thinks no one trusts her and that there's some plot against her. I
      hate to say it, but Magneto was a paranoid man too..."
      "Whoa, Jean. Stop." Scott put his hands up. "She's been through a lot, but
      she's strong. You aren't really comparing her to a terrorist." Jean
      shrugged. "She's a sweet girl, she wouldn't hurt anyone, no matter what any
      voices or nightmares might try to make her do."
      "I still want to talk with the Professor. If he thinks it's important, he
      might want to try going in her head, just to see what's going on. I'm
      beginning to think it might be for the best, but I'm not doing anything
      without the Professor's consent."
      "I think you're wrong, Jeannie, but if you want to talk to Xavier, go
      ahead." Scott rubbed his temple. "I just know that right now Rogue probably
      doesn't trust you, and if you try to force her to do something she doesn't
      want, she might not forgive you for that. And I for one would rather have
      her as my friend than as an enemy. She's scared, Jean. She has amazing
      powers that she may never be able to control. You don't know what kind of
      stress that can put on a person. I understand what she's going through. I've
      only just started to accept the fact that I'm going to be wearing visors for
      the rest of my life. But she'll never be able to touch <i>anyone</i>. She
      can't have children, she can't have a lover... That would be a harsh reality
      for an adult, never mind a teenage girl."
      "All the more reason we should make sure she's adjusting properly." Jean
      looked defiantly into her fianc´┐Ż's eyes. "I'm not going to do anything that
      isn't going to be for her benefit, Scott. You know that."
      Scott nodded slowly. "Yeah. I do. But I'm not sure she does."

      -----

      Judging from the way Rogue was storming from Jean's office, Carol concluded
      that Rogue had just had an extremely interesting meeting with the doctor.
      When Carol planted the idea that Rogue was in danger in Logan's head, he'd
      been livid, screaming that he would make sure nothing happened to her. The
      next morning, Carol had seen Logan storming towards the room that Scott and
      Jean shared. Now, later in that same day, Rogue was storming angrily from
      Jean's office. Carol guessed that Jean had asked to go in the girl's head.
      Rogue was obviously none too happy about this.
      "Rogue, what's wrong?" Carol asked as the girl was storming by her. Rogue
      spun on her heels to glare at Carol, who'd quickly plastered a sweet,
      innocent smile on her face. At the moment, Rogue's anger at Jean outweighed
      her dislike of Carol, so she didn't even think twice before launching into
      her rant.
      "She doesn't trust me," Rogue hissed, storming the ground in front of
      Carol. "She thinks ah'm turnin' into someone ah'm not and she wants to go in
      mah head." She slammed her fist against the wall, knocking some paint chips
      off. "She never did trust me and this just proves it."
      "What did she say?" Carol asked, ever so softly prodding Rogue for details.
      The girl was oblivious to the calculated look in Carol's eyes, too consumed
      with her own anger.
      "She thinks the voices in mah head are influencin' me. She thinks ah'm
      actin' out. She has the nerve to assume that she understands what ah'm going
      through and the arrogance to think that she's somehow gonna solve all mah
      problems."
      "What kind of problems does she think you have?" Carol pushed. Rogue
      stopped to look at her, pausing for a moment as if in thought.
      "What does it matter to ya?" Rogue asked, less suspiciously than curiously.
      "Ya don't know me."
      "Well, I just thought that since Logan was concerned enough to go to Jean,
      then it must be important," Carol said in the most innocent voice she could
      muster.
      She knew it was a mistake the moment she said it. Rogue's eyes narrowed
      suspiciously. "Ah didn't tell ya Logan sent Jean." Her eyes flashed
      dangerously. "Ya knew. Ah knew ya had somethin' to do with it, but ah didn't
      have any real proof."
      "Rogue..." Carol quickly began inventing reasons in her mind about why she
      knew, but the look in Rogue's eyes terrified Carol to the point that no
      words could come out of her throat.
      "Ah didn't trust ya from the moment ah saw ya," Rogue said, slowly stalking
      towards Carol. The blonde woman backed up until she was against the wall.
      "Ah was beginnin' to think ah was just being a silly witch, but now ah know
      ah was right all along. For some reason, ya think ah'm a threat, and now ya
      have everyone else thinkin' the same."
      Rogue's face was only inches away from Carol's, a distance which only
      served to make Carol more nervous. Briefly, she considered the possibility
      of flying away or even trying to shove Rogue away with her strength before
      the girl had time to react. Busy running the various escape routes through
      her mind, Carol didn't notice as Rogue very deliberately peeled off her
      gloves. By the time she noticed was Rogue was saying, the girl's hands were
      closing around Carol's face. "Let's find out what ya really know."
      No one could ever figure out if it was Rogue's fury or Carol's unnatural
      mutation that made the absorption so vastly different and devastating. The
      second Rogue's had her hands on Carol's face, she knew something was going
      horribly wrong. Typically, it took a couple seconds for her power to kick
      in, but this time it was immediate. Instead of a steady sucking sensation,
      the absorption felt more like a violent ripping of psyche and mutant power.
      The only sound Rogue heard was an earsplitting shriek that made her blood
      run cold. She was unsure whether the scream was Carol's, her own, or no
      one's. <i>NO!</i> She tried to pry her fingers away, but they remained
      paralyzed as Carol's memories and powers tore into her with a searing pain
      not unlike being burned alive. The heat she felt all over her body seemed to
      melt both herself as well as the personality she was stealing from Carol.
      Two strong hands grabbed her waist, pulling her away, and suddenly the pain
      was gone.
      She neither saw or felt anything in those moments after she was pulled
      away. Slowly, she became more aware of faces looming above her. The faces
      were little more than blurs shifting above her in a pool of color. The only
      things she could discern were the many eyes that looked down on her in a
      mixture of concern and absolute horror.
      It was Scott who had pulled her away. Leaving Jean's office, he had been on
      his way to seek out Rogue, hoping to lend the girl a sympathetic ear. He
      knew how angry and upset she must have been at the thought that no one
      trusted her. Scott remembered his own feelings of anger and isolation when
      he had first come to the mansion. It had taken him several years and amazing
      amounts of control before he was finally able to release his anger and
      accept that he would always be different from most other people on earth.
      He'd heard her voice raised in anger and, turning, he saw her standing
      before Carol who was backed up against the far wall. Almost in slow motion,
      Scott saw Rogue's hands grasp Carol's face and he heard himself scream "NO!"
      He hesitated for only a moment before taking off in a sprint to pull the two
      of them apart. It had taken all of his bodily strength to separate them.
      Rogue seemed fastened onto Carol, as if they were slowly melting into each
      other. If he hadn't pulled them apart in time, Scott was pretty convinced
      that they would have melded into one being.
      Now, Rogue lay on the floor, barely conscious, as her fellow students,
      drawn by the screams, hovered nervously over her, careful to keep their
      distance. Kitty was the only one touching the girl, sobs escaping her throat
      as she shook Rogue in an attempt to pull her friend to consciousness.
      "Rogue? Rogue, what did you do?"
      Rogue sat up and the students threw themselves against the walls to get
      away, lest she grab one of them too. Rogue, not oblivious to their terror,
      looked around silently, her eyes wide with terror and the recognition of
      what had just happened. Scott pitied the girl, wanting to take her in his
      arms and reassure her that it would all be alright. But he too had thrown
      himself back when she sat up.
      It was then that Rogue seemed to notice Carol's body slumped against the
      wall. Twisted in a grotesque and unnatural position, Carol's body seemed to
      resemble that of an old woman. Her skin was dry and cracked, as if all the
      moisture and life had been sucked from her veins. Large gashed adorned her
      limbs and blood ran freely, collecting in a pool around her torso. The only
      sign that she was alive was the soft but steady breathing and the occasional
      moan of pain.
      While Carol resembled a withered crone, Rogue's features seemed somehow
      fuller and more vibrant. Her normally pale cheeks seemed flushed with a soft
      coral-tinted glow. Her body, so small and slender suddenly seemed stronger
      and more voluptuous. The white in her hair seemed to shine as if shot
      through with streaks of pure silver. Even her eyes seemed impossibly larger
      and brighter. The only thing Scott could liken the sight to was that of a
      vampire and it's victim. Indeed, Rogue seemed replete with life - hers and
      Carol's.
      Rogue's mouthed parted slightly at the sight of Carol's body. For a moment,
      there was a stiff silence which was soon broken by the screaming. There
      Rogue sat, shrieking in what sounded like a hybrid of her own drawl and
      Carol's deeper voice.
      She stopped screaming when Logan appeared in the doorway. His eyes met hers
      and the two seemed locked in a silent discussion. He needed no explanation
      of the sight before him and Rogue wasn't exactly been jumping to explain.
      Silent as it had been, the room suddenly sprung back to life as the
      students began whispering among themselves. Breaking her eyes away from
      Logan's, Rogue turned to look at her classmates, who stared at her as they
      whispered among themselves. When she turned her eyes back to Logan, seeking
      shelter, she found him hoisting Carol's motionless body in order to take her
      to the Medlab.
      Jubilee and St. John began pulling at Rogue, whispering that she should
      come with them. Bobby started to take her hand, but froze when he saw that
      she still hadn't put her gloves back on. Awkwardly, he placed his hands in
      his pockets while Rogue stared at her palms. Soft and snow-white, they gave
      no indication that they could be dangerous and potentially lethal.
      Unable to move her, Rogue's friends looked to Scott questioningly. Without
      a word, he picked her up, pressing her tightly to his chest. She buried her
      face into his shoulder, hiding her eyes from the students who still looked
      at her.
      Scott knew that the Professor, who had undoubtedly learned of the incident
      by now, would tell Scott to take her to the isolation chamber, just in case
      she suffered another outburst. Such precautions were taken to ensure the
      safety of the other students when one of the mutants found themselves unable
      to control their powers. Sobbing silently in his arms, however, the girl
      seemed no threat to him, despite the bare arms that rested dangerously close
      to his face.
      Instead, Scott carried her to his and Jean's room, followed by the small
      procession of Kitty, Bobby, St. John, and Jubilee. Jean wasn't there when
      they walked in, which Scott was grateful for. He wasn't looking forward to
      her questioning why he brought a potentially dangerous girl into their
      private living quarters. Setting her down on his bed, Scott left her to the
      care of the friends who surrounded her. Silently, he left in search of the
      other X-Men who would undoubtedly want a report on what had transpired
      between Carol and Rogue.

      -----

      It was no surprise to anyone when Rogue was reported missing the next
      morning. Most of the students had suspected she would take off, and few
      objected to her decision. They had all forgiven her for touching Logan that
      night to save her own life, but when it was discovered that she had attacked
      Carol out of anger, few were willing to forgive her immediately. Their
      resolve was only strengthened when Dr. McCoy reported on Carol's status.
      While she was not dead and would probably recover shortly, Rogue's attack
      had not been without its consequences. Carol had been stripped of her powers
      permanently, leaving some to wonder if they had been transferred to Rogue in
      the process. McCoy had not been able to verify this theory, however, for
      when he went to check on how Rogue was doing, the girl was missing.
      No, it was no surprise that Rogue had left. What was a surprise, however,
      was that St. John was gone too. Wild rumors immediately began to spread.
      Rogue had kidnapped St. John and was holding him hostage. St. John and Rogue
      had taken off to join a violent gang of mutants and would undoubtedly return
      to attack the mansion. Rogue had attacked St. John, stealing his powers and
      leaving him for dead in an alley somewhere.
      While the other students gossiped, Bobby, Kitty, and Jubilee were eerily
      silent. Bobby locked himself in the gym, refusing to acknowledge anyone when
      they asked him if he knew anything. Jubilee, who was usually behind any
      school gossip, kept her mouth shut, only opening it to ream people if she
      heard them spreading a new rumor. Kitty kept to the shadows, blending into
      the walls when she thought anyone was approaching her.
      Scott was finally able to corner Kitty in the afternoon. His attempts at
      grilling Bobby and Jubilee for information had been met with silence and
      unmoving stares. Kitty, however was not as stoic as her companions.
      Stumbling over her words, Kitty managed to reveal that Rogue had taken off
      in the middle of the night and St. John had demanded to go with her.
      "We tried to tell her that we would protect her," Kitty said, her eyes
      wide, "but she wouldn't listen. She said that she had been a fool to think
      she would be safe anywhere and that she had to leave for her and everyone
      else's sake. When she began packing, St. John said he was coming with her.
      We all tried to argue with him, even Rogue, but he wouldn't budge. All he
      would say is that Rogue wouldn't ever have to be alone again."
      Kitty was silent for a moment. "I'm surprised she finally let him," she
      continued. "If he'd been Bobby or anyone else, she'd have called him an
      idiot and left him behind. She didn't do that though. She told him to meet
      her outside in twenty minutes carrying only what he thought he would need."
      When Scott asked her if Carol was part of Rogue, Kitty's eyes took on the
      appearance of a scared little girl. "When she got quiet," she said, "You
      could almost see her fighting with someone inside her head. I think Carol
      tried to take control a few times, but Rogue always kept her down. She was
      definitely there, though. You could almost see Carol in her eyes, lurking
      just beneath the surface. There was nothing she could do, though. Rogue had
      Carol - and Carol's powers - under her control."
      That was all Kitty would tell Scott. Returning to the War Room, where the
      X-Men met to discuss problems, Scott learned from the others that Xavier had
      been locked in Cerebro all day trying to locate Rogue and St. John. Lorna
      was currently on the phone, trying to track down Ororo who was still down in
      New Orleans, involved in some mission that she refused to elaborate on. All
      she would say is that a situation had presented itself that she needed to
      help resolve before she would return.
      Xavier emerged from Cerebro an hour later, looking tired and frustrated.
      Rogue and St. John had left Salem Center, he informed the X-Men, and he was
      having trouble finding them. He suspected they were somewhere in New York
      City, but had been unable to get an exact location. Rogue's mind was split
      into two distinct personalities - hers and Carol's - making her location
      nearly impossible to find. St. John had apparently erected some mental
      shields designed to protect him from telepathic probes, a talent he'd
      learned from Betsy Braddock, girlfriend of former X-Men member Warren
      Worthington, who had spent some time at the mansion the preceding summer.
      The X-Men loudly debated their plans for a couple hours before coming to a
      decision. Since Rogue and St. John were taking such pains to protect their
      location, the X-Men would lay off the search until they had time to drop
      their guard. Once the X-Men were sure they had done so, they would use
      Cerebro to pinpoint their location. In the mean time, they would focus their
      energies on helping Carol recover.
      Only Logan seemed dissatisfied with this decision. Growling that Ororo had
      been the only sane one of them, he had stormed out, intent on locating the
      two himself. As upset as he was with what Rogue had done to his friend, his
      concern for her welfare outweighed any possible resentment. Taking the bike
      that Scott had conveniently left out, Logan, armed with information he had
      scared out of Bobby, took off in the direction of New York City.
      Life slowly returned to normal around the mansion as the students adjusted
      to what happened. Carol recovered and left the mansion to report back to her
      boss on what had happened. Jubilee was heard talking on the phone with
      someone who was suspected to be St. John, but she denied everything when
      confronted. Ororo returned from Louisiana, bringing with her a mutant who
      appeared to rival Logan in his rebellious behavior. The mysterious Marauders
      that Carol had been tracking continued spreading havoc across the United
      States, seemingly leaving a trail that would ultimately bring them to New
      York.
      Finally, a month after Rogue and St. John's disappearance, came the news
      that Mystique was definitely leading the Second Brotherhood of Mutants. At
      the moment, the Brotherhood was small and not causing any real harm. The
      X-Men concerned themselves with the Marauders, who currently represented a
      greater threat to them than the Brotherhood. What they didn't realize was
      that while their attention was turned elsewhere, the Brotherhood had been
      busy recruiting powerful new members, including some of Xavier's own.

      To Be Continued in Chapter Two

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