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Fic: Falling Into the Sky 6/8

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  • Shaz
    And we re back. Still dark, still NC-17 for the content (sexual content, drug use and language. sorry, I hate ratings too.) and still going. :) [part 6]
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2002
      And we're back. Still dark, still NC-17 for the content (sexual content,
      drug use and language. sorry, I hate ratings too.) and still going. :)

      [part 6]
      ~*~*~*~


      A week post my last hit, I was really having problems. Seven days to the
      mark, trapped in that hotel room for fear of going out into the world with a
      head full of disembodied people and a craving for heroin so strong I'd sell
      a vital organ to get it, I knew I was sinking.

      It was the moment when I realised, on my bed in the dark, still wearing the
      clothes from a week ago, that I would have been better off dead than sitting
      in the middle of my new Hell, that cinched Carol's next move.

      Apparently, the bitch credited rehab for saving her life, and now, being
      trapped in my mind, considered it the one and only option for me. She had
      already knocked me cold turkey off China White, but the cravings agitated
      her. I wanted, needed, desired more than life itself to have a needle
      sinking into my vein and bringing me my spoon-cooked chemical bliss.

      She really hated that. It was a weakness, she screamed at me, a crutch I
      leaned on, the teddy bear whose arm I sucked on in the middle of the night;
      and I was a selfish cunt for trying to get it back, to release myself from
      my obligations to the clean and sober world.

      So, I went to rehab.

      It wasn't just any rehab, where anyone could join, it was the place Carol
      had gone for her own addictions. Through me she found a way back in,
      feeding the perfect lines to the person on the other side of the phone to
      get a room and bed ready for me.

      It was the second place that I had ever been-- the first being Xavier's
      school-- where being a mutant was a requirement to get past the gates. No
      humans, or Norms, as I heard someone say there, were allowed. They had
      their own places of recovery, and as long as they couldn't keep their
      prejudiced eyes off what made us mutants, they had no place with us as we
      tried to re-discover life.

      Well, at least I could wear my gloves and actually explain why I was so
      phobic of contact. For once, the truth was on my side.


      ~*~*~


      Three months. Three months I had to be there, dedicating myself to "making
      myself whole again," talking about my life, what brought me to heroin, what
      got me off it, and what I needed to do after I finally kicked it.

      When the craving for it died, my last bastion of being Marie died along with
      it.

      Carol's rationale was that it was a simple, purifying process. It hurt like
      shit, but it had to be done, even if it meant caterwauling with a group of
      fellow addicts who left their spouses and children to better indulge
      destructive behaviours. Every time I sat in on a group session, I always
      felt strange because they talked about the people that mattered to them,
      about the ones close to them, and all I could think of was the people, the
      friends, I ran away from, and the voices in my head that knew me better than
      I knew myself.

      It wasn't until the session when we each explained our mutant powers-- it
      was an exercise in openness, the therapist said-- that my fellow patients
      stopped looking at me strangely. Being an absorber, I explained, was the
      fastest way to go from a normal life to the ultimate in reclusive and
      schizophrenic. I told them about Cody, about Logan-- omitted Erik for the
      sake of his association with domestic terrorism-- about Melissa and the
      nightmares I inherited, and finally about Carol, and how it was her fault
      that I was amongst them.

      I also omitted New York and the X-Men. Surrounded by mutants, many of whom
      would fail Xavier's rather severe testing regime because they weren't
      anywhere near as powerful as any of the current team members, I knew the
      family I was forsaking was an urban legend to my listening audience. Like
      the Avengers-- I got the impression Carol omitted them in her life story the
      first time she had been here-- they were celebrities to these people, the
      only ones strong enough to stand out in a sea of human faces.

      The guilt for being one of those so-called celebrities stabbed at me. I had
      fallen off the pedestal they would have elevated me to if they knew who I
      truly was, and that would have shattered their image of true heroes like
      Scott. It would have brought home in painful clarity-- the same clarity I
      killed so happily with my habit-- how fragile and easily destroyed the world
      could be, and how closely we all drifted to the brink of all out war between
      mutants and humans.

      Just for having one extra gene.

      So I let them have their delusions. When a man with thin, white hair and
      luminescent eyes started talking about his life and the day after "the lone
      mutant terrorist calling himself Magneto" (the newspaper's exact words) had
      damaged the Statue of Liberty, he went on to say that he had been beaten so
      badly that he was in a hospital for a week. It was a hate crime, he said,
      and he actually resented "the troublemaker Lehnsherr" for it.

      In the back of my mind where he sat and observed quietly, Erik shook his
      head in amazement.

      We weren't always the saviours or protectors of our kind. In fact, as I
      lowered my head and suppressed the urge to retell a story Xavier had once
      told us, we were often the ones that caused all those laws to be drawn up
      against mutants.

      And then I suppressed the second urge to call home. I wasn't ready to go
      back yet-- if ever-- so it made no sense to open that wound.


      ~*~*~


      Week seven-- I was keeping count on the dogtags, shortening the chain every
      Saturday as it hung from my nightstand lamp-- I was sent out into the woods
      blindfolded with two other people and told to find my way back.

      That's when I realised I had more than Carol's mind. I had her powers, too.

      The guy with me had been given a compass and a landscape only map-- but
      didn't know how to read either. The girl, younger than me, was assigned to
      carry our core supplies on a weak back.

      I was assigned to protect our traveling camp and make the fire every night.
      The leader, one might argue.

      I guess they accurately pegged me for a recluse. Had I stayed at home, I
      was heading for a very fast posting on the Gold team-- the team who tended
      to stay back to guard the base-- and I had no problem with it.

      The purpose of this exercise, I realised as I tried to gather pathetic
      sticks of wood for light and heat, was to take us out of our comfortable
      roles.

      The voices in my head, even Melissa, found that amusing. Carol wanted me to
      prove my ability to be a leader; she even managed to stir up that little bit
      of Logan inside me and woke up instincts that were not naturally mine.

      I spent my first hours of dark with my unwilling campmates trying to ignore
      the nauseatingly strong smell the fire was giving off. The grove we were
      dropped off in was anything but oak, that much was obvious.

      By the time I went to bed, suppressing fresh urges to tear after the deer
      padding through the forest behind us, I was tired and feeling...
      invulnerable. Like, Piotr Rasputin, man-made-of-steel-skin invulnerable.

      God damn you, Carol.


      ~*~*~


      Flying was an accident, an accident that I found myself liking. After two
      hours of filtering through the memories I had lifted from one ex-alcoholic
      Avenger and ignoring the better part of Melissa's ramblings-- the damn girl
      was spooked by the quiet of the grove-- I had managed to forget my outward
      image. My two tone hair and penchant for gloves everyone accepted, but
      sitting on the trunk of a fallen tree and unintentionally lifting into the
      air was alarming.

      Especially to me.

      I didn't push my luck, though. I did my best to settle back down to the
      ground like a good non-avian and growled about the fresh set of powers I now
      apparently had. Trapped out in a big, untamed playground, I had no Danger
      Room to hone them safely, nor could I simply lock myself in a padded room
      and experiment without accidentally hurting anyone else.

      Rehab wanted to make me a leader. I just wanted my world without Melissa
      back.

      And now I could FLY.

      I decided, making sure my campmates were completely asleep, to test this new
      ability. Going a little ways from the circle of tents, taking to a clearing
      cast in sickly blue hues from the waning moon, I closed my eyes and willed
      myself to float like I had seen Jean do.

      But what lifted me wasn't telekinesis. Whatever it was, once my feet
      dangled helplessly above the ground, I let go some of the reservations I had
      about the entire thing. I moved around in the air. I let my arms drop to
      my side-- yeah, flapping skinny little arms would get me real far-- and did
      a silly dance ten feet above the tree line. I even managed to do a little
      ballerina spin before I got dizzy.

      Oddly enough, falling to the ground hurt a lot less than it should have.

      In her time, Carol Danvers had a pretty sweet deal in the mutant powers
      department.

      Dusting off my clothes, standing up on a leg that I should have broken, I
      stood in the middle of that clearing, closed my eyes and laughed. In the
      middle of a headache that meant the vegan diet of the retreat and lack of
      heroin in my blood were forcing me back to reality for good, I realised I
      was powerful, moreso than some of them back home, like I always wanted to
      be.

      But it didn't make me feel better.

      I walked back to the camp. If nothing else, I couldn't share my revelation.

      Otherwise, they would have sewn a half dozen Girl Guide patches to my
      t-shirt and shipped me back to Westchester to compare notes with actual,
      former Boy Scout Scott Summers.

      I was not a leader. I didn't want to be.

      Carol found that funny. She also made fun of me for getting my little lost
      trio back to the retreat's main building a day before everyone else.

      Rogue was never meant to be a leader. X-Man, yes, Gold Team, yes. But not
      Leader.


      ~*~*~


      The world turned upside down when we got back. We were gone two days, two
      damn days, and it turned upside down.

      And I was trapped in a Canadian rehab clinic with no way to get back. This
      was Fate interceding... but on whose behalf I'll never know.

      Sitting back, watching the television in the main lounge of the building, we
      all sat there like prisoners-- prisoners of the images on the screen.
      Prisoners with two days worth of woods on our clothes, the scent of
      campfires in our hair, and openly shocked expressions.

      But there are only so many times you can see the decimation of two, one
      hundred and ten story tall buildings before being nauseated.

      Carol was consoling, ironically enough. She knew she was trapped behind a
      border with me, and didn't make much of it. I had a passport and ID on me,
      but paranoia is paranoia, and a girl who terminally wore gloves was not a
      freaked out border guard's ideal situation.

      Idly, I wondered whether or not, mutant related or otherwise, the terrorist
      attack would pass the Genosha Law.

      Politicians-- and newscasters with their pain-causing footage-- would always
      sit on my shit list. The Genosha Law was just another yet unpassed law
      that wanted to put people like me behind bars and interment camp walls. The
      newscasters fed on that political fervor-- ratings, you know-- and let the
      public demonise us.

      It stood to make us the next dispensable people. Come and kill us, we
      deserve it.

      Not.

      Taking to the clinic's huge deck that faced out towards the woods we had
      just come back from, I stared out past the setting sun and tried to sort out
      my emotions.

      People were dead. People were angry. People were crying and throwing
      flowers at empty graves.

      All I could do was lean on the railing of a redwood deck in Ontario, and
      wonder whether or not I'd have a tattoo like Erik's burned into my arm
      before the year was out.


      ~*~*~*~
      [cont'd in part 6]


      Shana

      -------------------------------------------
      "Life? Life's pretty much a knife fight in a dirt covered bar; and if they
      get you down, you best get back up." "Last Call at the Broken Hammer,"
      Andromeda
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