FIC: Past Forward (9/15) PG-13
- Past Forward - Jamie (madjm@...)
Disclaimer, etc., with prologue
Jean had lost track of how many days they'd been traveling, but in the few
moments of sleep on the cold, hard ground she managed to catch each time
they stopped, she dreamed of being stretched out on a big feather bed. With
a bowl of chocolate beside her and a young Harrison Ford lookalike massaging
They'd stopped days ago at a village, but Logan had been in such a hurry to
press on that he'd only let them have a few hours of sleep at the inn. Since
then, he'd barely allowed 10 minutes here and there for them to rest. She
knew he was worried about Rogue, and since she was worried as well, Jean
Not out loud, anyway.
From time to time, Scott would shoot her a little grin, and she knew he was
picking up vibes from her, at the very least. Possibly entire words or
phrases she was using to curse Logan as she plodded along. It kept her
They'd finally made it to a place in the forest that Logan knew, and the
knowledge of the place seemed to relax him. He allowed them at least four or
five hours of sleep that night. The strange thing was, there were houses
nearby, and Jean could feel people around them, but they saw no one. When
she mentioned it to Logan, he wasn't concerned.
"You won't see 'em unless they want you to," he said, his step not slowing.
Jean looked at Scott, who shrugged. On impulse, she sent him a thought:
*Great. A whole forest of Logans.*
Scott grinned at her, and for a moment it was like nothing had changed. And
she wanted so badly to go back to the way things used to be, but she told
herself again that it was for the best. She was just doing what was best for
Scott. With a sigh, she continued behind Logan.
At first, she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her when she spotted
Rogue. The younger woman looked terrific, with her hair cut to a chin-length
bob and more color in her face than Jean had ever seen. She wore a dark
green tunic and pants, and she was holding a bow and arrow. Another woman,
tall and slim with short brown hair, stood beside Rogue, speaking too
quietly for Jean to hear and waving her hand at a scarecrow across from the
girls. The straw man was obviously being used as a target, since three
arrows were already sticking out of its chest.
Rogue nodded and drew the bow. Logan had stopped dead, watching, and Jean
and Scott came up on either side.
Rogue stared at the scarecrow, then muttered something and let the arrow
fly. Straight into the trees to the far left of the target.
"Shit," Rogue muttered, then laughed. "I'll maim someone this way. Probably
someone on our side."
The other girl laughed. "I think you are right, Your Highness."
"Knock it off, Risa," Rogue said, shoving the bow back at her. "I told you
not to call me that. Rogue. That's not too hard to remember, is it?"
"Ro ... Ro ... what was that again?" The brunette laughed again and threw an
arm around Rogue. "Well, Your Rogueness, I believe we may conclude after
three days that you will never learn the bow quickly enough."
"Sad but true."
"Jubilee, however ..."
Rogue sighed. "I know, I know."
"She is excellent. She has a true gift." Risa let go of Rogue and went to
pull the arrows out of the scarecrow, and Rogue followed her.
Logan stood still. Jean couldn't believe that neither girl had noticed their
presence. Especially Rogue. She usually had a Logan Radar that was better
than anything the Pentagon could cook up.
Rogue groaned. "Don't remind me."
Risa laughed again. "I am sure she reminds you often enough."
"You have no idea."
"You know," Risa said slowly. "You could ask Celeste to teach you to fight
with the knife. I have a feeling you would do well with one. After all, you
and your cousin are much alike."
"Oh, now you're asking for a fight," Rogue said, jokingly. Then she froze,
pausing only a moment before turning to face the three onlookers. She placed
her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow at them. "It took y'all long
enough to get here."
Jean waited for Logan to answer, but when he didn't say a word, she spoke
up. "We were taking the scenic route," she said lightly. "How are you? And
"We're great," Rogue answered. If she was surprised to see them, she didn't
show it. "We'd better get to the inn. Sidre's waiting."
Rogue's eyes lingered on Logan for a moment. "You remember Sidre, Logan?"
"How could I forget?" he replied, his voice low.
Rogue glanced back at Risa, who was watching them, her expression neutral.
"Well, you're late, and she's mad."
Logan sighed. "Shit."
A bath and a short nap put Jean in a much better frame of mind. The idea
that they were going to get answers soon also helped. In the brief moments
she'd had to meet Sidre, she sensed that she was going to like the woman.
After all, anyone who could get Logan to call her "ma'am" was just too
interesting not to like.
Jean thought about changing into her only decently clean pair of jeans but
opted for the deep brown cotton dress that someone had laid out beside her
bed. The dress was simple in design and showed off her figure. Not that she
was dressing up for anyone, even though Scott had promised to save her a
seat at dinner.
She sighed, wondering when she'd developed multiple personalities. She
really wasn't trying to play games with Scott, but it was easier to talk
herself into doing the right thing when she wasn't with him 24 hours a day.
Plus, the little voice in the back of her mind telling her that she was
handling this wrong just kept getting louder.
She quickly french-braided her hair to keep it out of her face and pulled on
the pair of soft leather boots that had also been left for her. They fit
perfectly, just like the dress. Someone had a good eye, and she was betting
it was Sidre.
Scott had, indeed, saved her a seat, and she took in his appearance with a
grin. "I thought you'd be wearing tights or something," she teased.
"Hey, I'd look great in tights," he protested. "But this is all they had in
my size." He waved at the neat brown pants and white long-sleeved shirt.
He looked great in whatever he wore, but Jean didn't say so.
As she ate, Jean watched their group, which took up an entire table in the
dining room. The tall girl, Risa, was laughing and poking at a young man
next to her, obviously a relative. He, in turn, was smiling down at Jubilee
on his other side. Jubes, as usual, was talking nonstop. She, like Rogue,
looked somehow ... healthier ... for their time spent in this world. Maybe
it was the exercise.
Jean watched Jubilee lean closer to the young man and held back a grin.
Maybe it wasn't only the exercise.
Rogue sat next to a blond girl whose hair was done up in dozens of small
braids. Rogue had explained that this girl, Celeste, was a cousin, and Jean
could easily see the resemblance there. The blonde was sullenly staring at
the tabletop as she ate, and Rogue couldn't seem to keep her eyes off Logan,
who was talking with the owner of the inn, Sara.
The woman was certainly beautiful, but Jean knew Logan's true interest in
her was that Sara was his cousin, the last of his family left in this place.
Rogue had been talking with Sidre when Jean and Scott witnessed their
Jean was tempted to tell Rogue but decided that interference on her part
wouldn't be welcomed, by Rogue or by Logan. They were obviously in love, but
since Jean had had a slight psychotic episode and kissed Logan that day,
Rogue had avoided her and Logan had been nagging her to make things right
Jean snuck a glance at Scott, remembering Jubilee's in-class summary of a
Shakespeare play. "All Shakespeare is saying," the girl had declared, "is
that love makes asses of us all. Or, you know, something like that."
Jean couldn't have said it better herself.
It was late, at least after midnight, by the time the group gathered again
in the dining room. The tables were all cleared, and the other patrons were
gone. The fire still burned bright, and Jean snagged a seat near its heat.
Sidre was back from wherever she'd disappeared to earlier, and she spoke
with Sara before the inn's owner vanished upstairs. Another short conference
between Sidre and Rogue, and they were ready to begin.
"OK," Rogue said briskly. "I'll start this. If anyone has questions, go
ahead and interrupt me. We've got the dining room to ourselves for hours, if
that's what it takes."
Rogue scanned the group, and ran a hand through her now-shortened hair. "So.
My name ... my *real* name, is Emmarie Rosa Danis Maron. But I still prefer
Rogue. My parents were the king and queen of Sandoriel, and they were
murdered when I was a month old. The one who's responsible for their deaths
is my uncle, Deven. He's now the king."
"Bastard," Logan muttered.
Rogue ignored him. "The night my parents and my brother were killed, Sidre
and Logan took me out of the palace and hid me from Deven. Sidre ... Sidre
sees things in her dreams, and she saw the mirror-portal thingie in the
cave. They took me to our world."
Jean was concerned about Rogue. She was telling of bad things, horrible
things, that happened to her and her family, but her voice was completely
even, her face expressionless. Even if she couldn't remember her real
parents, the thought of them being murdered should elicit some kind of
emotion. Anger, sadness, fear. Instead, there was nothing.
Sidre spoke up. "We came out of the portal into a big room filled with
furniture and other things I did not recognize."
"It was a warehouse," Logan added. "A place where they have auctions. It was
in Mississippi. Sidre knew exactly where to take the baby ... Rogue. There
was a couple who wanted kids but couldn't have them. Turns out, they didn't
deserve to have kids, with the way they treated Mar--"
"Logan," Rogue said sharply. Surprisingly, he shut up.
"I returned home," Sidre said. "And Captain Logan was to remain in the area
and keep watch over the princess."
"I stayed," Logan said. "But when she got a little older, I started
traveling a little. I was only gone for a few weeks, a month at a time. I
worked odd jobs, did some fighting. One day, some military types grabbed me,
and next thing I know, I'm waking up in the middle of nowhere with no
"When did you remember all this?" Rogue asked.
"When you came through the mirror," he said. "I felt it somehow. And I
remembered. Everything about my life."
"Everything?" she smiled at him, the first expression she'd shown all night.
Time seemed to slow as he smiled back at her, and Jean felt herself holding
her breath. There was the sense that everyone in the room was doing the
After a moment, Rogue cleared her throat and shrugged. "So, that's it. Deven
has to be stopped. I've got to do it, and anyone who wants to help is
welcome. Sidre says we've got to get going on this. We're already late."
"What's the big hurry?" Scott asked. "He took over years ago. Why does this
have to happen now?"
"He grows stronger every day," Sidre answered flatly. "He shares the same
Gift as Rogue, but he uses it to steal the Gifts of others. He already has
many more abilities than we can know."
"How is that possible?" Jean asked. "Rogue has absorbed power from Logan
before, but it goes away soon."
Rogue cleared her throat again. "He kills the ones he steals power from.
Sucks 'em dry, I guess. And then he gets to keep the power. Nice deal,
"He uses his Gift in other ways," Celeste added, surprising Jean. The blonde
had spent most of the evening staring at the table or into the fire. This
was the first she'd even heard the girl's voice. "He uses it to create
"The *donte*?" Rogue asked. "He made them? How?"
"What's a *donte*?" Logan interrupted. "What's that mean? 'Shadow'
something, in the old language?"
"'Shadowed ones'," Sidre answered. "Deven has the loyalty of many of the
Outsiders -- they call themselves Barenians now -- those born without Gifts.
He proposes to bestow Gifts upon them, as if he were The One himself.
Somehow he has managed turn his Gift the other way. As well as absorbing
power, he can pass it on to others."
"The *donte* are the first ones he has twisted with his power," Risa added.
"They have the power of camouflage and excellent tracking abilities. They
have been trained to kill only. But the process has made them incredibly
loyal to Deven and single-minded in their purpose. They are not quite sane
any longer. They are very dangerous."
Everyone was quiet as they thought about what they'd heard. As the silence
stretched on, Jean tried to process the information. It was a lot to think
about, but the job of the X-Men was to fight evil, and it seemed there was
someone who fit the bill right here. They would have to help Rogue, of
course. Scott met her eyes, and even without her powers she could tell he
was thinking the same thing.
"If that is all," Sidre said finally, "I must ask the ladies to meet in my
"One thing," Logan said. "Rogue's not fighting that guy. I'll kill the
"Logan, you don't know what the hell you're talking about," Rogue snapped.
"Sidre *saw* it. I can fight his way. I have to fight him. The end."
"I don't care who saw what," he said angrily, standing up. "You are not
fighting that guy. I won't allow it."
"*Allow* it?" Rogue stood up, too. "It's not your business what I do. You
have no say in it."
"The hell with that! I'll tie your ass up and take you back through the damn
mirror if that's what it takes to --"
"Enough!" Sidre hissed. "Logan, you are neither young nor stupid. Please
stop acting that way. You of all people should understand duty."
Jean bit back a laugh as Logan flushed and actually shuffled his feet like a
little kid being scolded. Scott didn't even bother holding back a chuckle.
"Emmarie Rosa Danis Maron," Sidre turned to Rogue, who crossed her arms in
front of her and glared back at Sidre. "You are a princess, not some common
girl off the street. The proper response when one shows concern for you is
Neither Rogue nor Logan answered her, and Sidre sighed. "This must be dealt
with later. We have another matter to handle this evening. Ladies, my room.
Jean looked at Scott, who shrugged, then followed Sidre up to her room. It
should be interesting to see what other matter Sidre had in mind.
The Nightowl: http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000