Past Forward - Jamie (madjm@...
Disclaimer, etc., with prologue
Sidre had a larger room than Jubilee had, but it still felt tiny with six
grown women crowded into it. Rogue hadn't said much since she got a public
scolding from Sidre, and she leaned by the door with her arms crossed in
front of her.
Jubilee knew what was on the agenda for this evening, and she wondered if it
would work. It would be so cool for her friend to actually be able to
control her power, and Jubes was praying that Sidre wasn't getting her hopes
up for nothing.
After everyone was seated somewhere, Sidre explained why they were there.
All mutants, it seemed, had some sort of psychic power beyond a normal
human. Sidre herself had a secondary mutation that allowed her to link
mutants' power together. It seemed to be related to Rogue's type of
mutation. Sidre proposed that the women combine their power to help Rogue
find the control switch for her Gift. Jean seemed intrigued by the idea and
confident that it had a good chance of working.
Strangely, Rogue didn't seem bothered by the fact that Jean was around, and
Jubilee was glad about that. One of the reasons only the girls were invited
was that they would all be linked quite closely during the procedure, and
Sidre felt it would be more comfortable without the men involved.
Sidre had them shove the bed to the side and sit in a circle. Rogue had
Celeste on her left and Sidre on her right. Jubilee was between Sidre and
Jean, and Risa took the remaining spot next to Celeste. They grasped hands,
and Sidre asked them to close their eyes and clear their minds.
Jubilee closed her eyes, but clearing her mind was a lot harder than it
sounded. Every time she tried to not think about something, she couldn't
stop herself. She was suddenly reminded of a seance she and some friends
tried to have in second grade. Alas, no spirits wanted to talk to half a
dozen second-graders in the middle of the night. Jubilee chuckled, but a
sharp squeeze on her left hand reminded her of why they were there. She
tried again to clear her mind, settling for just focusing on the darkness
behind her eyes.
What seemed like hours later, something began to happen. Something like a
current began to flow through her body, not painful, but strange. She had to
fight the urge to let go of the other women's hands. Though her eyes were
closed, she started to see images. She heard Sidre murmuring on one side and
Jean on the other, but she couldn't concentrate on what they were saying.
In her mind, Jubilee saw Rogue standing in front of her. They were in a
long, dark paneled hallway lined with hundreds of doors in different colors
"Uh, chica?" Jubilee asked, but somehow it wasn't out loud but inside her
head. Or Rogue's head. Or wherever the heck they were.
"Jubes!" Rogue said, then laughed. "What are you doing here?"
"I don't know. I was concentrating, and then, like, I'm here."
"This is my dream," Rogue said. "I have it a lot. I always know I'm looking
for something important, but I can never find it."
"What is it?"
"I don't know." Rogue shrugged. "Wanna help me look?"
"I will," Risa said, popping out of nowhere next to Jubilee.
"Holy cow!" Jubes jumped and tripped, landing at Rogue's feet. Her friend
helped her up, just as Celeste and Jean materialized.
"So, I guess it's a field trip," Jean said. "What are we looking for,
Rogue looked confused. "I don't know. I'd know it if I saw it."
"It must be a door," Sidre said as she appeared behind them all. "It is
better if we find it quickly, before Jean and I tire."
The group set off through the hallway, sometimes randomly trying a door.
Brown doors, blue doors, gilded red doors, purple and green striped doors.
Some of them were locked, but most of them opened onto a scene from Rogue's
life through the girl's eyes. It was strange to see someone else's life, but
they only got brief flashes before Rogue would shake her head and move on.
One strange thing was that Jubilee found, if she concentrated, she could
almost be inside one of the other women's heads as well. She felt how tired
Risa was and that Celeste was frightened of something. Jean ... Jean missed
Scott so much it was like losing a limb. She wondered what they could see
about her. It was a disturbing feeling, and she forced herself to
concentrate only on the hallway and not on her companions, which made it
easier to focus.
Rogue, for her part, seemed intent on finding what she was looking for. She
marched down the hallway, only occasionally pausing at one of the doors.
Finally, they came to a set of slim off-white double-doors, and she stopped.
"I think ..." Rogue said softly. "I think that's the one."
Jubilee reached for the handle, but Sidre stopped her. "Rogue must do this
Rogue's hand hovered over a doorknob for a moment before she twisted it and
pushed one door open, stepping just inside.
They all saw it then.
**"Sweet 16 and never been kissed."
This is what her friend Liz always says, teasing that edges into meanness
that's only forgiven because they've been friends practically since birth.
Liz knows about kissing, having had her first real kiss at 13. Now she dates
a college boy -- community college, but it still counts the same, Liz says.
"Counts for what?" Marie asks, but she never gets an answer.
But Marie is still just sweet and 16 and unkissed, and she wonders if that
makes her a freak. It's not that she doesn't want to be kissed. She dreams
of it and craves it without really knowing why. But apparently there are no
boys who dream of kissing her.
Lately, she's been thinking of kissing David, and she thinks he's been doing
the same. Something in the way he looks at her now speeds up her heart and
makes her blush. She's known him for years, but somehow having him sprawled
on her bed is different, somehow more exciting. On her map, she traces the
path she hopes to follow someday. "...Niagara Falls, up the Canadian
Rockies, and then it's only a few hundred miles to Anchorage," she says, all
the time wondering if he's looking at her butt. And does she *want* him to
look at her butt? Is she supposed to want that?
"Won't it be kinda cold?"
"Well, that's the point, stupid. Otherwise it wouldn't be an adventure," she
"When're you gonna do this?" he asks, smirking just a little in a way that
used to annoy her but somehow now just makes her want to kiss him even more.
She stretches out beside him, close, but not too close. *Kiss me,* she
thinks. "I don't know. After high school," she says. "Before college?"
He's flipped onto his stomach, close enough to touch, and she knows this is
it. She tries to keep calm but thinks *KISS ME KISS ME KISS ME.* They
exchange a few glances, and she tries to smile, tries to show him that she
And then he leans closer, and so does she, and their lips touch. It's almost
funny, after all this time waiting, to find what it really feels like. It's
strange and exciting, and it makes her heart race, but then something
changes. *Something's wrong* she thinks, and so does David, and she knows
this because she can feel him inside her head, and she pulls away.
Then she wishes she'd closed her eyes because the boy she'd dreamed about is
convulsing, hurting because of her. She can't even form words, only a
scream, and David's in her head screaming too, and neither one of them ever
want to stop. She knows what she is. She's heard of mutants before. Even as
she tells her parents it's not her fault, she knows. She knows she's killed
him. She is evil.**
"Stop," Sidre said sharply, and Jubilee jumped. She came out of Marie ...
Rogue's memory, frightened at how she'd almost been pulled into it herself.
A glance told her that Celeste, Risa and Jean had been similarly affected.
Rogue was kneeling on the floor of the room, crying. "I just touched him,"
she sobbed. "I didn't mean to ..."
"Stop," Sidre repeated, and this time Rogue heard her. She looked back at
Sidre standing in the doorway and then back at the room. She swiped at the
tears on her face and stood up.
"Having a Gift does not make you evil," Sidre said firmly. "Only different.
You must accept who you are and use your Gift for good. And you know you did
not kill that boy. He recovered, but you did not. Do not be frightened of
your power. Embrace it."
"How?" Rogue asked shakily.
"Say farewell to this room and its events. Shut the door behind you and move
on," Sidre said simply.
Rogue wandered into the room, brushing her fingers over the bedspread,
picking up a stuffed tiger and hugging it to her chest. She spent a few
minutes in front of the map on the wall behind her bed, laughing softly
before dropping the tiger on the bed. She came to the door, switched off the
light and stepped back into the hall, shutting the door firmly behind her.
"So, that's it?" she asked.
"That is," Sidre said.
"How cheesy," Rogue laughed, and they all woke up.
Indecision was annoying as hell.
Jean stood outside Scott's door, arguing with herself. There were a number
of reasons not to knock. It was the middle of the night. She didn't even
really know what time it was, but it was still pitch black outside. She was
tired and achy. She'd had a little wine. She was probably overly emotional,
which was exactly the condition that had gotten her to this point. There was
also the possibility that she might have been right in breaking things off
with him in the first place, though not in keeping the real reason from him.
There was only one reason to knock, really.
She loved him.
Rogue's breakthrough had come an hour before. The women had all crowded
around her, congratulating and hugging her. Sidre got a bottle of wine from
downstairs for them to toast her with, and it turned into a little
celebration. Jean was so happy for Rogue, who'd been sitting on the floor
with a dazed grin on her face.
Jean remembered so clearly the feeling of freedom she had when the Professor
helped her to finally get her power under control. The wonder of walking
into a crowded room and not being overwhelmed by hundreds of minds was
something she would hold onto forever. She imagined Rogue would remember
this night forever as well. She wanted nothing more than to hug the girl,
but she was afraid it wouldn't be welcome. She concentrated on finishing her
wine instead, letting the other women's chatter and laughter flow over her.
A few minutes later, she nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard
Rogue's voice right beside her. Only the fact that she was so exhausted
could've kept her from noticing the younger woman's presence earlier. It
took a moment for her to grasp what Rogue was saying.
"I still don't get why you kissed Logan," she said. "You love Scott. I felt
how much you really love him. It's not going to go away. You need to fix
So, here she was. On the advice of a single 21-year-old girl. In the middle
of the night. Exhausted and maybe a little bit tipsy from the wine she'd
downed in Sidre's room. But Rogue was right; she needed to fix things.
If she could only make herself knock on the damn door.
At the thought, the door swung open, and Scott smiled at her. "You're
thinking too loud," he said. "You woke me up. What's up?"
"Rogue can control her mutation," Jean blurted. It wasn't what she meant to
say, wanted to say.
Scott looked surprised, then grinned. "No kidding? So, that's what this
ladies night thing was about? That's terrific!"
"It is, isn't it?" Jean laughed a little. "She ... damn it. That's not why I
came here. Scott, we need to talk. I can't take this anymore."
Scott pulled the door open further, and, if possible, his smile got bigger.
"Well, finally. Hurry up and get in here before you change your mind."
The Nightowl: http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000