FIC: Seasons of Growth Chapter 3
- Title: Seasons of Growth
Chapter 3: In a Room Without a Light
Author: November Tuesday
Rating: NC-17 for sexual stuff and naughty words, violence and rape
Summary: Rogue's first mission
Continuity: Series begins 3 years after X1.
Disclaimer: Marvel, Fox, Brian Singer yadda yadda yadda
Archive: Sure, and if it's someplace other than list archives, please
let me know.
Feedback: is my lifeblood. Please please please!
Author's Notes: Thanks to N. E. Star for beta.
"My body is cut and broken
It's shattered and sore
My body is cut wide open
I can't stand anymore..."
It was September. Rogue looked at her class notes and tried to
distract herself from the fact that she was a few thousand feet in
the air, moving at nearly a thousand miles an hour, on her way to her
She was able to forget it for stretches of about three minutes or so,
then Blackbird One would lunge through some turbulence and she would
feel like vomiting again.
It was her first mission, and even though she was going in as B-team
backup, a medic, it was no less real.
This was a combined A and B team mission, which meant there was a
chance of combat. The other B team members were veterans: Bobby had
gone on his first mission two months earlier, and Darla the nurse
probably wasn't even getting off the plane so she was really the only
one suffering through the unique anxiety of being on their first
To make it worse, neither Jubilee nor Kitty was on this mission.
Having her girls around would have lessened her anxiety, but it was
Scott, Jean, Hank, Storm, Darla, Bobby and Rogue.
The plane started to descend through the clouds. It was raining.
Rogue cast a glance at Storm who was meditating quietly. Rogue envied
her centeredness. She clutched the armrests on her chair and made a
mental note to ask Hank for Dramamine next time.
It was the standard pick-up-a-scared-teen-mutant run, with a twist.
There were two mutants. A brother and sister. They had manifested the
same day. The hitch was that they were supposedly in Klan custody. In
particular, two well-armed Klansmen with very long criminal records.
When they landed in an old alfalfa field and scoped out the old barn,
there were no white-hooded thugs in sight.
Scott sent in Jean and Storm to make sure the place was secure.
The place smelled of fear and earth and horses. There was nothing but
a hysterically sobbing teenage boy with his hands tied back around a
post, and the body of a girl left half-naked and face down on the
"Are you Carter?" Jean said to the boy, kneeling to look for a pulse
on the girl`s neck. There was none. She was cold.
The boy nodded without really looking up. He was shirtless, skin pale
and white with violet muddy bruises. Storm saw fresh blood on his
face. He was shaking. The rainy September morning hadn't yet lost its
chill, and the rain wasn't helping. His lips had a bluish tinge.
"Where are they?"
The boy took a breath, as if he were trying to steel himself to talk.
To be strong. "They're gone. My stepdad left in his pickup truck a
half hour ago."
"Are they coming back?"
"No. She- they freaked out and bolted. They won't be back."
Jean tapped her comm device. "Rogue, come out."
"What happened, Carter?" Storm asked gently. She knelt and blocked
his view while Jean gently rolled the dead girl over. It hadn't been
long, long enough for the body to cool on the drafty barn floor, but
no rigor had set in and the girl was lithe and supple as she had been
in life, with the exception of her left arm, which was twisted at a
"I didn't mean to." Carter said and began rocking back and forth.
Rogue walked in to the barn. Saw the half naked girl. ~She's dead.
He's freaked out. I've got him, you get her body into the Bird.~
Rogue was familiar with the inside of barns and she could smell
horses. She searched for, and found, an old horse blanket.
She had only seen a dead person once before. Her grandmother had been
in a coffin, arranged just so, makeup causing her to look slightly
more vivid than she ever had in life, one step removed from the
grandmother of her memories, lending the funeral a surreal quality.
This was nothing like that. The girl looked a bit like her friend
Hannah from home. Her eyes were gray, pale and open, reflecting the
light from the doorway. Rogue reached and with a finger shut one eye,
then the other. The skin was cool, but not so very different from her
own. The girl was impossibly, painfully real.
The horse blanket had seen better days, dirty straw matted to it,
parts frayed away to expose the lining. But it was all she had, so
she covered the body with it and went back to the plane for a
"One casualty, one dead." She reported to Hank, marveling that her
voice sounded steady. "He has bruises to the torso, a bleeding lac on
his eyebrow, and nothing else that's apparent yet. Can someone help
me bring in the body?"
Scott nodded and followed her out.
"I didn't mean to," the boy said again.
"Didn't mean to what?" Storm asked quietly.
Rogue lifted the girl's feet while Scott lifted her by the shoulders.
Her weight as they placed her on the board was a sensation more
intimate than touch and Rogue thought she now fully understood the
significance of the word "pallbearer."
"They were raping her. I tried and I tried but it didn't work- I
think they were hopped up on meth. They would close their eyes but
they would just keep going. She was screaming, she was in a lot of
pain from her arm. So I used it on her." He seemed to crumple in on
himself. "I only meant to put her to sleep for a little while, until
it was safe. I didn't want her to have any pain." He buried his face
between his knees and sobbed more.
Storm remained, muttering soothing things, and once Scott and Rogue
had taken away the body Jean knelt and sawed at the bailing twine
that held his hands and ankles with her knife. The twine was
unbearably itchy and painful against her skin and she couldn't
imagine how it must feel to Carter, who had been tied like this for
almost two days.
Rogue and Cyclops took the body back to the Blackbird. When Carter
looked up for the first time, he saw Scott's visor, Storm's white
hair, and their leather uniforms. "Who are you?"
His gaze landed on Rogue, who didn't look a day older than he was, at
Rogue stepped forward, discreetly motioning the others back. Jean
finished with his hands and he gingerly brought them around to his
body. His muscles spasmed and cramped. He turned his hands over,
front and back, shook them a little. He wrapped his arms around
"You ever heard of Charles Xavier?" Rogue asked, kneeling down to
"We work for him. You're safe now. My guess is that you don't wanna
stay around here."
"We'll take you back to our school, for now, get you some medical
treatment, and after that if you don't want to stay we'll take you
wherever you like."
"Whatever. Just get me the fuck out of here." He was scared,
traumatized, and exhausted and he'd heard the South in her voice,
slight from years in Westchester, but there nonetheless. Like called
to like, ever so softly.
"Carter, I'm Jean, I'm a doctor. Before you get up, can you tell me
what all of your injuries were?"
"They beat me up, kicked me." He didn't mention the other, the way
his ass was smarting. It was too painful.
"I need to make sure you don't have any broken bones. I'm gonna have
to touch you, okay?"
He nodded. Jean quickly ran her hands over his ribs, over both arms.
He winced several times. His wrists were bloody and raw where the
baling twine had been. She did the same to his legs, which she had
"Okay, Carter, I think you have a few broken ribs and we can fix
that. Look here." She shone a pen light in his eye, then the other.
"Did they hurt your head?"
"Yeah." They hurt everything.
"Did you pass out at all?"
"I slept for a little bit last night."
"Good. Pupils equal round and reactive, no LOC." she said to Rogue,
"All right. Think you can stand up?"
He nodded. He was a bit dizzy. "When was the last time you ate and
drank?" Jean asked as she and Rogue helped him to his feet.
"Night before last."
"Okay. We'll get some fluids into you, help you feel a little
"She's coming with us."
He started sobbing again. "Can you cover her up - I just- she needs
to be covered up. I know it's stupid and she can't tell the
"Carter." Rogue said.
It was the first time Jean had heard her use that calm, authoritative
Carter stopped talking and looked at her.
"It's not stupid. I covered her up with an old horse blanket, ok? I
wanted to cover her too. When we get back we'll change it for a sheet
or something better."
He nodded and followed them out of the barn. Rogue unzipped her
leather jacket and put it over the boy's thin shoulders.
He saw the Blackbird and blinked. They walked across the furrowed
field, Jean at one side and Rogue at another. They climbed the stairs
and he looked at the gleaming console of the cockpit. Scott smiled at
On the way back Rogue stole glimpses at Carter. He was not a boy at
all, but a young man, not a year younger than she was. With a shirt
over his broad shoulders and the blood wiped from his face and some
color in his cheeks he didn't look so bad. He had a quality that
Rogue found appealing.
He glanced up and saw her looking. His eyes were almost black,
swimming full of light among darkening bruises. She gave him a tiny
smile. He didn't smile back.
Chapter 4 is up at novemberotica.com.