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Falling In Love For The First Time 1/1 [Movieverse]

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    Disclaimer: Not mine, no money, you all know the drill. This is a prequel to Falling In Love Again (which can be found at
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2001
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      Disclaimer: Not mine, no money, you all know the
      drill. This is a prequel to 'Falling In Love Again'
      (which can be found at
      http://communities.msn.com/DycesCorner/_whatsnew.msnw).
      As before, it has large mush-components, and this
      time there's a bit of Science Talk as well. *g* I am
      Approaching Rogue's Powers With Logic, or trying to.
      I apologize if I get anything largely wrong - I'm not
      a scientist myself, I just hang out with them.


      Falling In Love For The First Time
      By Dyce


      She was laid out as carefully as a corpse, her head on
      a small, flat pillow, her arms by her sides, dozens of
      electrodes stuck to her skin. She'd been like this
      for hours, helpless, immobile, being poked and prodded
      like a lab-rat.

      Rogue sighed quietly.

      "I am sorry, Marie," Hank said, giving her socked foot
      a little pat without looking up from his computer
      monitor. Like Logan, he always used her real name
      except in battle situations. "I know you must be
      terribly bored."

      "Can't you rig up a tv-screen on the ceiling or
      something?" she asked hopefully. "I mean, if I have
      to keep doing this..."

      "I'll try." He poked a button on his keyboard and
      made a dissatisfied noise. "However, I believe we have
      gone as far as is possible as regards testing your
      body's natural electrical field under laboratory
      conditions. Tomorrow we will try something else."

      Rogue sighed again, careful not to move. "Like what?"

      "Crystals," Hank said solemnly. "I plan to hang a
      rose quartz around your neck, insert amethysts into
      both your ears, and chant over you until you are
      spiritually healed."

      Rogue giggled. "Aww, Hank..."

      He grinned, and patted her foot again, then started
      carefully unsticking the little sensors from her arms
      and legs. "Well, technically I HAVE spent the last two
      days studying your aura," he pointed out. "But no,
      actually, tomorrow you're going to be back to your
      favourite, the treadmill."

      "Aww, not again!" she complained. "Why?"

      "So the nice sensors can examine your aura while
      you're exerting yourself," Hank explained, carefully
      peeling the little white things off her palms. He was
      wearing gloves, but even so, his hands were warm, and
      he didn't flinch when he touched her. Still, the idea
      of going back to the treadmill made her wrinkle her
      nose, and he gave her another big, humourous, fangy
      grin. "Now, now, I know it's dull. But you know why
      we're doing this." He paused, and when she didn't
      speak he fixed her with a patient look.
      "Becauuuse..."

      "Because if I want to get my powers under control,
      it's no good sitting around waiting for it to happen
      by magic,"she said in a patient sing-song. "Almost
      all mutant powers can be scientifically measured, and
      in defining the nature of my powers we might find out
      how to control them."

      He pulled off the last sensor. "There. I know you're
      tired of hearing this, Marie, but I know you want
      control of your powers. Sometimes the best approach
      is the methodical one. We've already established that
      you have higher than usual levels of serotonin and
      norepinephrine in your brain. Serotonin and
      norepinephrine-" He paused, and she could almost hear
      him editing all the long words out of the immanent
      explanation. "Those are chemicals that help
      information of various kinds to be transmitted in your
      brain. That's probably an important part of *how* you
      absorb people's thoughts and memories. With more
      study, I hope that we will learn why, as well."

      "I know." She smiled lopsidedly at him and stretched,
      enjoying the feel of air instead of fabric on her
      skin. "I just get tired and bored, you know?"

      "I know." He perched on the examination bed beside
      her, patting her back gently. "As I know that three
      years without real human contact is a long time. You
      have born up well, Marie, and I'm glad that you have
      not given up hope."

      "I did for a while," she reminded him, looking down at
      her hands.

      It had taken less than a year for Xavier to be sure
      that there was no telepathic way to force her powers
      under control. By the one and a half year mark, Jean
      had used her own basic training in psychology and the
      expertise of a psychologist friend of hers to
      determine that there was no underlying trauma or
      childhood fear behind the fact that her powers
      couldn't be turned off. And then...

      Then it seemed that everyone had just given up. She'd
      finished high-school, become a full-fledged X-Man, and
      no more had been said about her powers. She'd gotten
      used to wearing gloves, and most of her teammates got
      used to being careful around her. She'd shrouded
      herself in an isolated sort of normality, where she
      couldn't touch anyone, but she wasn't especially
      freakish because of it.

      And then Hank had turned up, six months ago.
      Apparently he'd once been an X-Man, but had left to
      work in the private sector researching the nature and
      effects of mutation. He was the one who'd given Jean
      most of the soothing facts she used in her lectures to
      counteract the sensationalist fictions of the
      anti-mutant factions.

      After three days, he'd given her a puzzled look and
      asked her why she always wore gloves. She'd told him.
      He'd asked her who was in charge of studying her
      mutation. She'd said no-one.

      Ten minutes after that, she'd been in the medlab, in
      her underwear, being enthusiastically poked and
      prodded by a giant blue teddybear. Ever since then,
      except when out on missions, she'd spent a couple of
      hours every day being carefully and exhaustively
      studied.

      Careful not to touch anything but fur, she turned and
      gave him a quick, fierce hug. "Thanks."

      He returned the hug, looping one big arm around her
      and engulfing her in soft fur. "You are welcome," he
      said gravely. "I only hope that we find the answer to
      your difficulty soon."

      "We might not find it anytime soon," Rogue said
      softly, letting her head rest on his shoulder for a
      minute. "But we will find it. You will. I know you
      will."

      "I am touched," he said softly, giving her another
      little squeeze. "Your faith in me is humbling, my
      dear. I hope I am worthy of it."

      "You are." Rogue snuggled into the hug with a little
      sigh. Hank was the only person besides Logan who ever
      really hugged her, and they both did it often because
      they knew that she liked the tactile reassurance of
      it. Skin to skin wasn't the part of touch that really
      mattered, it was feeling someone's arms around you,
      the pressure of their flesh against yours, even
      through clothes or fur. As long as she had that, she
      thought she could be fairly happy even without control
      of her powers.

      Being held by Hank was subtly different to being
      hugged by Logan, though. Logan's feelings for her
      were paternal, and she liked it that way. Liked the
      fond, awkward way he fussed over her, as if she was
      still a little girl. He was her family, and even
      though he headed off into the wild blue yonder now and
      then, it didn't matter too much. He'd always come
      back.

      Hank... well, he was a good friend. And she liked him.
      A lot. A really lot. He was kind and funny and
      patient and devoted hours of his time to her every
      single day just because he knew she was unhappy. Men
      like that were rare creatures.

      And there was nothing really passionate or crush-like
      about it, which somehow made it worse. He was sweet,
      and gentle, and she loved just being with him, even if
      all he did was pat her socks. She kept finding
      herself wandering around the mansion when they weren't
      together, feeling lost and lonely and hoping to
      'accidentally' run into him.

      Because no, her life just wasn't complicated enough.

      * * *

      Two days later, they were in the Danger Room. For
      once, she only had a couple of sensors on her - one
      under each shoulderblade, one just above each breast.
      Hank was up in the control booth, peering down at her
      with a reassuring smile. "Remember, Marie, we can stop
      at any time," he told her through the intercom. "I
      don't want you to feel pressured on our first day, all
      right?"

      "I know." She waved at him. He'd told her yesterday
      that her body's electrical field hadn't done anything
      strange at all while she was on the treadmill or the
      rowing machine... right up until a spider had dropped
      onto her arm and skittered up into her hair. It had
      moved fast enough that she hadn't drained its
      life-force, and it didn't have enough mind for her to
      take thoughts from it, but while Hank calmed her down
      and carefully picked the bug out of her hair he'd told
      her that in the moment of panic when those nasty legs
      had been running over her, the sensors had all gone
      bananas.

      So today they were going to try triggering an
      assortment of emotions in her, to see what happened.

      "Starting now," Hank said, voice tinny but encouraging
      through the intercom. "If it gets too much for you,
      Marie, just tell me to stop." He waved at her, then
      blanked out the windows of the booth so as not to
      interrupt the projection.

      "I will." She closed her eyes for a moment, bracing
      herself. When she opened them again, she was in a
      pretty, sunshiny meadow. "What the... you know, Hank,
      maybe fuzzy bunnies and dandelions scare YOU, but-"

      "I just thought we should start slow," Hank chuckled.
      "I want you to take a few deep breaths, enjoy the
      ambiance, and get nice and calm. You're a little
      nervous right now, and I want to start from a base
      state of nil agitation, okay?"

      "Okay." That made sense, and Rogue took a couple of
      minutes to enjoy the pretty afternoon. Hank had
      included several cartoonish pink bunnies and blue
      songbirds, and sent them to bob around her feet and
      flutter around her head, making her giggle.

      Slowly, the afternoon became overcast. The birds and
      bunnies flew or hopped away, and it started to get
      colder. There was a faint hint of ominous music in
      the air, and Rogue grinned a little. She *was*
      feeling a little apprehensive now, but it was somehow
      less scary for knowing that it was being artificially
      induced.

      As the 'afternoon' dimmed as clouds piled up in the
      air, Hank ran her through a gamut of
      apprehension-inducing events - spiders running over
      her arms, sudden cracks of thunder, Ororo appearing
      waving a report card with big red F's all over it,
      Scott telling her that she'd let the team down, and
      several other things. Eventually, she found herself
      at the end of the meadow, and standing on an
      impossibly high, rocky cliff. She gulped.

      "I know you're afraid of heights," Hank's disembodied
      voice said comfortingly. "But I'm right here,
      remember that."

      "I know." She gulped again, and started walking along
      the narrow path that ran along the top of the cliff.
      She had to keep reminding herself that it wasn't real,
      but it wasn't too bad. Cliffs she could more or less
      cope with. It was high buildings - or statues - that
      really freaked her out.

      But none of this was real. It was okay. She could
      handle it. She was in control of what was going on,
      and she could make it stop any time she wanted to.
      That felt kind of good, despite the way her heart was
      pounding and her palms were sweating. Most of her
      fear-things - like heights, or when the team had
      battles, or the nightmares borrowed from Logan and
      Magneto - involved being helpless, out of control.
      Here, even though it was scary, she wasn't helpless.
      It was a good feeling.

      Then the simulation disappeared, and she was standing
      in the Danger Room again. Rogue blinked. "That's it?
      Are we done?"

      "I don't think so. We have some unfinished business,
      child."

      It was Magneto. It was Magneto, hovering slightly
      above the floor and coming slowly towards her, that
      Mournful Martyr expression on his face. "No..." Marie
      whispered, backing away, starting to shake in earnest.
      "No, you can't be here... it's not possible..."

      "All things are possible to our kind, Rogue. You
      should know that by now." He was coming inexorably
      closer, raising those wrinkled, harmless looking hands
      towards her face. "You will know that, soon enough,
      when we are one again..."

      Marie shook her head helplessly, still trying to back
      away. "No," she whimpered. "No, please, don't, not
      again..."

      "It is for the greater good, child," Magneto said
      implacably. "You will understand, once it's all over,
      how much I regret having to do this-"

      "No," Marie wailed, backed up against a wall now. He
      was getting so close, reaching out towards her face,
      preparing to take her mind again, to rape her thoughts
      with his own... "No... no no no no no no no..." She
      was so scared, she couldn't move, he was going to hurt
      her...

      And then sudden, violent fury shot up her spine,
      grabbing her and flinging her off the wall and at
      Magneto, who looked considerably startled. "No!" she
      shrieked. "You are NOT going to do that to me again!"
      A good solid kick to the stomach doubled him over and
      then she was on him, knocking him down and pinning him
      under her. He was an old man, for all his power, and
      she had super-strength, and it wasn't hard to get his
      arms pinned under her knees, hold him down, punch his
      sanctimonious old face again and again and again until
      her knuckles split but she didn't care he would not
      control her he would not violate her nobody was going
      to do that EVER AGAIN!!

      "Marie. Marie!" Then Hank was there, grabbing for
      her arms, and she realized that Magneto had
      disappeared and she was punching the floor. "Marie,
      calm down-"

      She stared at him, then made a dive for him in turn.
      "How could you DO that!?" she shrieked. "How could
      you put Magneto in the simulation!?"

      Hank fended her off easily, ducking a few punches then
      just grabbing her arms in his big hands and holding
      her immobile. Which he couldn't normally do, what with
      the whole tank-juggling-strength thing she'd gotten
      from Carol Danvers, but right now she was too weak and
      shaky with reaction to hit very hard. "Marie, I didn't
      put anyone in the simulation," he gritted out while
      she yelled and struggled. "I planned to do so
      tomorrow, but there was nothing today. When I turned
      off the simulation, you said "That's it? Are we
      done?" and then you turned around and started talking
      to someone who wasn't there." Her struggles trailed
      off, and he wrapped her in his arms, holding her close
      and stroking her back soothingly. "Magneto, I
      assume."

      "Yeah," she whispered, starting to shake in reaction.
      "I... he was here, he was going to use my powers
      again, enter my mind...I was so scared, I couldn't
      move, I couldn't fight him..."

      "But you did fight him," Hank pointed out, still
      stroking her back soothingly. "At least, I assume you
      were aiming for Magneto when you started punching the
      floor."

      She rested her head on a broad, furry shoulder.
      "Yeah," she whispered slowly. "I just... I was just
      suddenly so ANGRY, he thought he could just do
      anything he wanted to me, that I was helpless, and I
      wasn't ever going to let anyone use me that way again,
      not ever. And I started hitting him, with my bare
      hands, and it didn't even occur to me that I should
      have been absorbing his powers while I was touching
      him..."

      "Not, I suspect, because he was a hallucination."
      Hank smoothed her hair gently. "If you were
      hallucinating Magneto, I assume you could have
      imagined your powers working. But you didn't...
      perhaps because you didn't want to."

      "I didn't," she said softly. "I felt... there was
      just this big angry NO-feeling inside me, and
      everything else just sorta bounced off it." She
      leaned back a bit, looking up at him inquiringly.

      "Then I suggest that a small experiment is in order,"
      he suggested, stepping back just a little, then
      leaning forward. "You should try to conjure the...
      no-feeling... within yourself again, then attempt a
      small skin-to-skin contact. If you object to taking
      the risk with me, we can find Logan, but I promise
      you, I do not mind." He smiled reassuringly at her.
      "You can pull away at once if you feel anything."

      Marie nodded. She was still fizzing with righteous
      anger, and anything was worth a try. Before she could
      change her mind and get frightened again, she reached
      out and very carefully touched his lower lip with one
      fingertip. Nothing happened right away, but it always
      took a second to work, she had a grace period of at
      least a second and a half, maybe two...

      Okay, three seconds, nothing was happening, but maybe
      it was just... just because he was furry or something,
      or he resisted it somehow, or...

      Five seconds, six, seven, nothing was happening...

      Nothing happened. She took her finger back
      eventually, and they both stood there grinning like
      loons.

      "See?" Hank said, looking rather smug. "In exploring
      the nature of your powers, methodically and
      scientifically, a solution was found." He smiled at
      her. "Your powers are triggered by fear. They are, I
      believe, a form of self-defense mechanism. I
      understand that the first time it happened was during
      your first kiss?" Marie nodded. "And I expect you
      were very, very nervous at that moment?"

      Marie nodded again. "I was," she said softly.

      "And your powers kicked in along with the adrenaline."
      He peeled off his heavy rubber gloves, pontificating
      happily. "I believe that now that you understand the
      nature of your powers, you will be able to learn to
      control them at will. The reason you could not do so
      before was that you were afraid of them, and afraid of
      using them, and that fear exacerbated the problem.
      Then, of course, any form of physical contact became
      frightening to you, so your powers just kept working
      all the time. With practice and the maintenance of
      emotional self-control I believe you will in time
      mmmph!"

      Marie blushed, breaking the kiss after a long, sweet
      moment. "Sorry. I just... uh... got a little carried
      away. It won't happen again."

      Hank was gasping for breath, a rather glazed
      expression in his eyes. "Did I object?" he said
      weakly. "I didn't hear me objecting."

      Marie grinned slowly. "No, I didn't hear you
      objecting either." She peeked a little shyly at him
      from under her lashes. "Does that mean you liked it?"

      "No. Definitely not. Hated it. When my knees go all
      shaky and my heart pounds and my ears blush like that?
      That means I'm not having fun," Hank said, lips
      curling up at the corners. "Of course, it's not any
      fun spending many, many hours stretching out each test
      as long as I possibly can in order to spend more time
      with you, either. Because spending most of my time
      with charming, sweet-natured, brave, intelligent,
      attractive young women such as yourself is a terrible
      trial to me. I'm just incredibly brave about it and
      mmmph..."

      The kiss lasted longer this time, and Marie didn't
      even try to move out of the big arms that wrapped
      tightly around her. "You talk too much," she breathed
      when they finally came up for air.

      "I know. It's a terrible failing," Hank said meekly,
      gazing down at her with a wonderfully soft, loving,
      proprietary look. "I must be punished with more
      kisses."

      "Maybe," Marie purred teasingly, enjoying the smitten
      expression on his face. "If you're good."

      "If? IF?" He laughed softly, and pulled her in for a
      long, expert kiss that left her limp and whimpering
      happily. "I'll have you know, madam, that I am ALWAYS
      good."

      "That I believe." Marie snuggled some more. He
      smelled nice. And felt nice. And she was feeling very
      warm and mellow all of a sudden.

      "I just hope Logan doesn't kill me," Hank said with a
      resigned sigh. "Still, I shall simply have to point
      out to him that I am fine boyfriend material. I'm
      sober, responsible, I have a job and my own car, I
      have good personal hygeine and he knows where I live."

      "He'll say you're too old," Marie pointed out.

      Hank gave her an adorably anxious look. "You don't
      think so, do you?"

      Marie smiled. "Nope. Just right." Hank was nearly
      thirty to her twenty-one. A bit of an age-gap, but
      not too much. Besides, she liked more mature, settled
      guys. She had Logan for adolescent rampageousness.

      "Then I do not care what Logan thinks," Hank murmured
      happily, giving her a delicate little kiss on the
      nose. "I am quite on the top of the world just now."

      "Oh, me too," Marie assured him, standing on tiptoe to
      return the favour. "I liked you before, you know. I
      mean, before I got the powers under control. I just
      couldn't do anything about it."

      "Oh, and dear girl, I liked you very much too," he
      said with a rather silly grin. "Would you care to
      have dinner with me this evening, my lady?"

      "I'd love to." She grinned bashfully. "You know, the
      gym-class is gonna be in here any second..."

      "Yes. Right. Absolutely." He reluctantly broke the
      hug, but took her hand tenderly in his. "We will go
      tell the Professor that we have made a breakthrough."
      He stroked her hand gently with one broad thumb. "You
      realise, dear heart, that this is going to take time.
      You will still experience periods of loss of control,
      and there will be accidents. You *will* have perfect
      control eventually, but it's going to take time."

      "I know." And she did. She also knew that Hank would
      continue to care for her even if she never did get
      full control, and that if she ever accidentally
      absorbed him, he would forgive her. For once, the
      thought of having someone else's mind within hers
      wasn't frightening, and she understood at last why
      Scott liked being linked to Jean. "But we'll do it
      eventually, right? Together?"

      "Most assuredly together," he said softly, kissing her
      hand as he led her out of the Danger Room. "I hope
      for a long time to come."

      (end)




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