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Rites of Passage [1/1], X2

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  • emilymeredith658
    TITLE: Rites of Passage AUTHOR: Em Meredith (emily@healthyinterest.net) SPOILERS: X2 SUMMARY: Rogue and Bobby get their uniforms. A missing scene from X2.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2003
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      TITLE: Rites of Passage
      AUTHOR: Em Meredith (emily@...)
      SPOILERS: X2
      SUMMARY: Rogue and Bobby get their uniforms. A missing
      scene from X2.
      DISTRIBUTION: WRFA. My site:
      DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Bryan Singer, Marvel,
      Fox, and not me. I'm just borrowing them because it bothered me
      that we didn't see this onscreen.

      Rites of Passage
      By Em Meredith

      When Marie was ten, she went with her Momma and Daddy to her
      cousin's high school graduation. She watched, fascinated, as Leila
      walked across the stage to get her diploma, her tassel swinging
      back and forth. At the family party afterward, Marie sat next to
      Leila on the swing in the back yard, swatting at mosquitoes and
      memorizing everything the older girl said. Leila explained how
      many bobby pins she'd gone through trying to get her hair to look
      right for the ceremony and she complained about how hot the blue
      polyester was in the early summer heat. She told Marie that she'd
      been about to die while the valedictorian droned on about moving
      forward and embracing the future. Leila laughed when Marie asked
      to try on the mortarboard. "Careful," she'd said, "It will give you
      hat hair like you wouldn't believe."

      Marie took it inside and stood in the foyer of her aunt's house,
      gazing into the large round mirror. She placed the mortarboard
      carefully on her head, trying unsuccessfully to find a position
      where the cap looked like it fit correctly. She stood there, moving
      the tassel from one side to the other, thinking about all the power
      in the little piece of string. One moment her cousin had been a kid-
      - a high school student-- and then she'd moved the tassel to the
      other side and she was a graduate. She was an adult and no one
      could tell her what to do. She had freedom.

      Marie's momma's voice carried into the house, calling her to come
      get a burger, and Marie ran down the hall and back outside. When
      she handed the mortarboard back to Leila, Marie decided that
      when *she* graduated, she'd never complain about the polyester or
      the hat hair.

      Of course, for Rogue there was no graduation ceremony with
      polyester robes and relatives crammed into bleachers. The
      Professor wanted them all to have normal lives -- or as close to
      normal as possible when you couldn't be touched or you set things
      on fire -- but their graduation had been a bit more low-key than
      what she remembered from Leila's. No hollering and cheering
      while they walked across the stage and certainly no smoky
      barbecue afterward with cousins playing freeze tag on the front

      Instead, the entire school gathered together, and Scott handed out
      diplomas to the eldest students. Marie wore not a blue polyester
      gown, but a simple black dress. And gloves. Always gloves.

      She'd stifled a laugh as she and Jubilee exchanged an eye roll when
      the professor made his speech. It wasn't as if he needed a special
      occasion to speak at length on the Role of Mutants in Society. But
      she smiled warmly when he congratulated her and carefully shook
      her hand. Marie giggled with Jubilee and John at the party
      afterward when Bobby froze the punch and she promised Jean
      they'd help chaperone the next day's field trip to the museum,
      ignoring John and Bobby's desperate attempts to get her to say no.
      Jean laughed and told them that waving their arms frantically
      behind her back would be more effective if she weren't a telepath.

      But later that evening Rogue took off her gloves and sat in front of
      the mirror, looking for something different. She wondered if she'd
      feel any different if she'd had the mortarboard and tassel. She
      didn't really know what being an adult is supposed to feel like,
      but she suspected this wasn't it. But then, she sure didn't
      herself a kid anymore-- she hadn't in years. She wondered when
      things would change.


      The flight back from Alkali Lake was eerily silent, the steady
      murmur of Kurt's prayers the only sound. For once the younger
      kids didn't utter a word-- not even Jubilee, which might have been
      amusing under any other circumstance.

      They all seemed to be trying to look anywhere but at Scott, as if by
      ignoring his grief they could pretend that he was still just a
      teacher and a leader. They didn't want to see him human and weak, but
      Rogue stole a glance anyway. He was cradling his head in his
      hands and the defeated slump of his shoulders made her ache for

      Logan had taken the seat next to Storm and occasionally Rogue
      heard them speaking softly, voices pitched too low to carry to the
      back of the plane. The professor looked as if he were too wrapped
      up in his own thoughts to be paying attention, but then Rogue
      heard him tell Logan that it was time-- whatever that meant.

      When the Blackbird landed, Scott was the first one off. He
      carefully carried the professor down the ramp while the others
      followed at a distance. Rogue was relieved to see some of the
      purpose return to Scott's stride and she thought that he must want
      something to do that would take his mind off Jean, if only for a

      They stood in the hangar, waiting for someone to take charge.
      Storm and Logan exchanged a long glance, but before Rogue could
      figure out its meaning, Storm announced that it was time to start
      cleaning up and to find Kurt a room. With that, she turned and
      walked out of the hanger, Kurt and the children trailing dutifully
      after her. Bobby grabbed Rogue's gloved fingers and they started
      to follow along, stopping when Logan touched Rogue's shoulder.

      "You two," he growled. "Come with me."

      Rogue glanced at Bobby, who gazed wistfully after Storm's group.
      Logan stalked out of the hanger and down the hall, not sparing
      them a glance as they scurried to catch up.

      Logan turned the corner and headed down yet another gleaming
      corridor. The recessed lighting gave the shiny metal walls and
      eerie look, and hell if they didn't all look the same. Rogue
      wondered if Logan's sense of direction was as finely honed as his
      other senses. If Logan wasn't going to explain where they were
      going or how to get back, maybe she'd need to leave a trail of
      bread crumbs, since her experience with the lower levels was
      limited to waiting in the med bay while Logan was comatose.

      Bobby tugged on her sleeve, his eyebrows raised in question.
      Rogue just shrugged and hurried along, trying to keep up with
      Logan. He may have taken up residence in her head, but that didn't
      mean she had any idea what he was planning.

      Logan veered to the left and into the large room at the end of the
      hallway. It had the stark look the rest of the lower levels, but the
      walls were lined with closet doors and display cases. Logan
      crossed to the closets and Rogue saw his jaw clench as he passed
      the glass case where Jean's uniform was usually displayed. The
      empty glass served as a sharp reminder that putting on the leather
      wasn't an opportunity to dress-up and play superhero -- it was real.

      Logan jerked the closet door open with a force that would have
      pulled any normal door off its hinges. Rogue figured that the
      professor had reinforced the doors to withstand any number of
      powerful mutations. Logan ignored the pile of sweatpants and t-
      shirts, reaching for the top shelf and the stack of three neatly
      folded black leather uniforms. He took the top two down, handing
      one to Rogue and the other to Bobby.

      "Get suited up," he ordered, ignoring their bewildered expressions.
      "We leave for the White House in half an hour." With that he
      slammed the closet door shut and disappeared down the hall.

      Rogue looked over at Bobby and almost laughed at how wide his
      eyes were.

      "So, what does this mean?" he asked. "Are we X-Men now?"

      "Well, I doubt they're bringing us along on this mission so that
      I can fly the plane again. I guess we're X-Men," she said,
      wondering if her voice sounded as uncertain as she felt. "Or maybe
      this is a one-time thing."

      "You don't know?"

      "Bobby, why would I know? You were standing right here too. We
      both got the same uninformative initiation speech from Logan."

      "Yeah, but..." Bobby paused, choosing his words carefully.
      "You've got him in there--" he gestured vaguely toward her head.
      "Can't he tell you what's going on?"

      Rogue rolled her eyes and wondered if Bobby thought that
      absorbing someone's personality meant that she had a permanent
      telepathic link with them. "It's not like that. I can't see
      what's in his head *now.*"

      "Why don't you ask him?"


      "Yeah." He nodded. "Logan barely knows me. Plus I've seen what
      he can do when he's pissed off, and I don't really want to
      take any chances. He's not going to gut *you,* Rogue." As soon as
      words left his mouth, she could tell he'd remembered the night
      Logan had stabbed her. His mouth opened soundlessly, and she
      knew he was going to fumble around, trying to apologize. She'd
      rather face Logan on a rampage than have a conversation with
      Bobby about her first night at the Mansion, so she cut him off
      before he could start down that path.

      "Maybe not. I'll go see." And with that she turned and headed out
      the way Logan had gone, hoping that she could find the elevator
      and get out of the lower levels. She took several wrong turns and
      kept having to double back, cursing Logan for leaving them alone
      in the maze of passages.

      Rogue tracked him down to a bench in the garden, smoking a cigar
      and staring at a large oak tree in the distance. He didn't even
      look her way when she sat down next to him. She set the heavy uniform
      next to her on the bench and followed his gaze to the tree, trying to
      figure out what made it so fascinating for him.

      "You'd better get suited up," he said, blowing a smoke ring into
      the air. "You'll want a chance to get used to the leather before
      you try the stairs."

      She studied his face, searching for some clue about what he was
      thinking. She saw none of the grief or anguish she'd expected,
      but his attempt at his usual impassive expression was marred by the
      set of his jaw and his haunted eyes.

      "Logan, I'm sorry about Jean."

      "Not your fault. Now go get ready."

      Rogue figured she should leave the subject of Jean alone. She'd
      talk to him about it later when he was a little less raw.

      "What's with the uniforms?" she asked instead.

      The ghost of a grin crossed his face. "I think you're supposed to
      be grateful they're not yellow spandex."

      "No," she sighed, trying not to laugh at his joke. Was he being
      difficult on purpose, or was he just being Logan? Sometimes it was
      hard to tell. "You said we had to wait a couple years."

      He sighed, letting the cigar smoke cloud the air around him. "The
      professor talked to me about it when I got back. He wanted my
      opinion before he gave them to you and the other two kids."

      "And you told him no?" she demanded, arching an eyebrow.

      "I told him I didn't think you were ready."

      Rogue stiffened, feeling all the indignation of an eighteen-year-old
      being told to sit at the kids' table. "I've been training, Logan.
      We all have. Scott runs us through--"

      "Not that," he said. "God knows what's in your head thanks to me
      and Magneto. But you didn't choose those battles and you're still
      so young, Marie. You shouldn't have to be a superhero until
      you're ready."

      "But I am ready."

      "I know. You proved that today."

      She felt the heat rising in her cheeks, inordinately pleased at the
      compliment. "So this is permanent? It's not just for today or
      until we regroup?"

      He turned sharply, looking directly at her for the first time since
      she sat down. He studied her face carefully, and she was sure he
      was looking for signs of uncertainty, so she tried hard to convey an
      air of confidence that she wasn't sure she felt yet. "It's for
      good. But if you've changed your mind, I can go tell the

      "No!" she exclaimed and she noticed his lips twitch at her
      vehemence. "I'm ready. I can do this. I *want* to do this."

      He nodded shortly and got to his feet, dropping his cigar on the
      ground and grinding it out with his boot. He reached out for
      Rogue's gloved hand and pulled her to her feet, gently shoving
      her toward the mansion. "Good. Then go get ready or you're going
      get left behind on your first mission."

      Rogue picked up her uniform from the bench and headed back into
      the mansion. Her room was quiet without Jubilee and Kitty, who
      were down the hall with Storm, but she was grateful that she'd
      have the bathroom to herself for once.

      She shut the bathroom door carefully and began peeling off her
      jacket and Bobby's mother's clothes. She splashed some water on
      her face, wishing she had time to take a shower. After smoothing
      her hair back into its ponytail, she started on the uniform, pulling
      the leather pants on and up over her legs. She eased the jacket over
      her arms, fighting the stiffness of the leather as she zipped up the
      bodice. Last of all she slid on the gloves, buttoning them at her

      Rogue crossed her room, noting that Logan wasn't kidding about
      needing to break in the leather. She stood in front of the full-
      length mirror, taking in the sight of her new uniform. It fit her
      like a second skin, but she wasn't embarrassed to be on display
      she imagined she might be. Because it wasn't the curves of a woman
      that captured Rogue's attention, it was the body of a fighter.
      Leather molded to muscles she'd earned sparring in the Danger
      Room. A shock of white hair her proudly worn battle scar. Pale,
      smooth, deadly white skin. She looked down at her gloved hands,
      flexing them to soften up the leather.

      Just then the door swung open and Rogue jumped back, narrowly
      avoiding being run over by Jubilee. Jubilee took one look at
      Rogue's uniform and she skidded to a stop, her eyes opening wide
      with realization.

      "Wow," she said, her voice awed. "An X-Man, hunh?"

      "Yeah," Rogue blushed.

      "Wow," Jubilee repeated. "Happy graduation, chica!"

      "Yeah." Images from Leila's graduation flashed through her mind--
      blue polyester robes and caps and tassels. Rogue looked down at
      the sleek black leather and grinned. "Thanks."

      Maybe this was better than being normal after all.

      THE END.
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Feedback happily received at emily@....
      AUTHOR'S NOTES: Many thanks to kate and Philateley (even
      though I didn't use your suggestion for the ending *g*). Thanks
      as always to Macha for the editing and putting up with the whining.
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