Title: Seasons of Growth
Chapter 10: Ways of Fighting
Author: November Tuesday
Rating: NC17 for naughty words
Summary: Rogue makes a life-changing decision
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: would make me so happy.
Author's Notes: Thanks to N. E. Star for beta.
They found Maggie's grandmother. She was in a nursing home. When Dean
asked her if she knew of any relatives who might take Maggie she
called him by the name of her late husband. Then she told him to pick
up some milk at the store.
College was much like the first day, with a few exceptions. Once in
the library Rogue heard two guys talking across the room. "See that
chick with the white streaks? She's a mutie."
"Oh yeah. I saw her with those MSO freaks."
"No way in hell, bro. She's too hot to be a mutie."
"I'm telling you, she is."
Rogue finally snapped her book shut and walked over to them. "He's
right, I am. And I can hear you all the way over there. So could you
please stop pondering about me, because I'm trying to study and it's
distracting." She said this with a polite but disarming smile and
they shut up.
"Okay. Sorry." Said the guy who had been so sure she was a mutant.
"Thanks. Oh, and thanks for saying I'm hot," she gave the other guy a
small smile. He blushed. They both watched her hips sway as she
walked back to her table.
She learned quickly that she was lucky. Mutants like Sherry had a
very different experience than she did. People were narrow minded and
could easily forgive her for being a mutant because she was a pretty
girl. She watched Art and Sherry trying to navigate the campus social
structure and never again took her luck for granted. She told anyone
that she was as much a mutant as they were.
She got to know Leah better. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they
sat together in philosophy class. She hung out in Leah's dorm room,
sometimes with Kitty, and even brought her to the mansion.
Rakim didn't fare quite so well. The guys on his floor nailed his
door to the frame, locking him in his room. He had a triple cross to
bear: being black, gay, and a mutant. However, he handled the
situation with aplomb. He managed to take photos of the perpetrators
with his digital camera through the peep hole, and later, after
campus police had pried the door open, he confronted him with the
photographic evidence. He told them that they would leave him the
fuck alone and if they did not, copies of the pictures would be sent
to campus police. They complied.
Rogue found that her classes were challenging, but not too
challenging. She studied hard and managed to have somewhat of a
social life, even with Maggie. Her friends seemed to pity her when
she couldn't get coffee after class or go out at night, but Marie was
secretly glad that she was returning home to her little girl Instead.
And on Saturday, when she took Maggie to a home football game,
cheered and booed with Rakim and Kitty, and held her on her lap and
explained the rules that she got from Logan, she was perfectly happy.
One evening after class she brought Rakim to see the professor. Rakim
was nervous and she told him to calm down. "He doesn't bite."
"Hey, I've never met another telepath before."
"He's a teddy bear." She knocked on Xavier's door.
"Come in," he said. They walked into his suite. She felt Rakim let
his breath out in a low whistle. Xavier's suite was even more
impressive than the rest of the mansion, but it was warm and cozy
with a fire burning in the fireplace and fresh flowers on the end
"Hi Charles. This is Rakim Sanders. Rakim, Charles Xavier."
Charles wheeled over to Rakim and warmly shook his hand. "Hello
Rakim, good to finally meet you. Rogue has told me a lot about you."
"Good, I hope."
"Absolutely good. Please, have a seat. Can I get you a drink, perhaps
"No thank you," Rakim said. He looked at the molded ceilings and
Louis XIV furniture. He wasn't used to this kind of opulence and it
intimidated the hell out of him. "This is some place you got here."
"Thank you. So Rogue tells me that you've learned to control your
telepathy without any training? That's impressive."
"Thanks." Rakim looked at the books lining one wall, at the chess set
on the coffee table.
"So where are you from, Rakim?"
"I've been there before. It's a nice area."
"Yeah it is. I miss my family."
"Are you going home for the holidays?"
"Yeah. Hey, can I ask you a question?"
He glanced at Xavier's chess set. "When you play someone else at
chess, isn't it cheating?"
Charles laughed at the unexpected question. "Well there is such a
thing as telepathic etiquette. I won't enter another person's mind
"That's comforting," Rakim said honestly. He felt a bit like Dorothy
visiting the wizard.
"We're pretty easy to get along with here," he said with a smile, and
Rogue watched Rakim relax. Xavier always knew what to say to put
people at ease.
"So how many of us are there? I mean what percent of the population?
I've only met a few mutants before coming here."
"It's a good question. A tough question, because mutants aren't
exactly forthcoming. One of our faculty, Jean Grey, is doing research
on that. The best anyone has been able to estimate is that about ten
to fifteen percent of the population has the X gene in one variant or
another. What we do know, that is even more interesting, is that the
number of mutants born every year seems to be increasing at a steady
rate. The other interesting finding, one that is already changing
society, is that mutants are manifesting earlier. It was once thought
that mutants came into their powers or mutant traits mostly in
adolescence, but every year they seem to get younger."
"Maggie was only three." Rogue added.
"So if the rate is increasing steadily, there will be a point where
everyone is a mutant."
"If the trend continues."
"Twenty five to twenty eight hundred."
"That's huge. You're saying that the entire face of society is gonna
"Wow. It's hard to wrap my brain around that."
"It's hard for me too," Xavier admitted.
"So what you do here, with the school, it's more about social change
Xavier smiled. He clearly liked Rakim's inquisitive nature. "You
could say that. It's about a lot of things. The most simple is that I
want to give kids a safe haven in which to learn to control their
powers. I try to instill a sense of responsibility. If I can send
responsible adults into the world they can educate people who are
bigoted. So it is about social change."
"You know, it's funny. Eighty years ago I couldn't ride a public bus
because I'm black.
Twenty years ago I would risk being beaten up because I'm gay. Now no
one seems to care about those things. It's the fact that I'm a mutant
that freaks them. It's just so... arbitrary what excuses people will
use to hate each other."
"People are always gonna find a reason to hate each other. It's human
nature," Rogue said.
"I don't believe that, Rogue. I think that all these things, racism,
homophobia, geneticism, are rooted in fear, and that with education,
people can overcome them." Xavier said. Rakim looked from him to her
as if watching a tennis game. He had gone from being a nervous wreck
to being completely comfortable. Intellectual discussion was his
"I thought it's us young people who are supposed to be the
idealists," Rogue said with a smile.
"Me too." Xavier laughed. "So Rakim, Rogue tells me that you're
majoring in computer science."
"We're looking for a CS teacher here. Maybe you'd be interested?"
"I'm not the teacher type." In reality, Rakim was becoming quite
disenchanted with his major.
"Oh, I have a hard time believing that. If you change your mind, let
me know and we'll talk."
An hour later, when they left, Xavier said ~He's a wonderful young
man, Rogue, thank you for bringing him to me.~
The day before Thanksgiving Rogue approached Xavier and asked if she
could speak to him. "I've been doing a lot of thinking," she said.
"I'm all ears."
"I'm thinking about all of these kids who are turning up, abandoned."
"Me too." The local news was running a story about a mutant baby left
in a garbage can. Just last week the B team had been dispatched to
pick up a child who was left on the doorstep of a monastery. The
child had died from complications of hypothermia before they could
"Are you planning to keep taking in these kids?"
"Within my means, absolutely. I'm not sure how we'll manage it, but I
want to do something."
"I think if we keep taking them in, we need to have some sort of
formal child care program in place for them. I mean, with Maggie
we're lucky that Essie is around, but I think she needs counseling.
She needs more."
"I was thinking that as well. And while we're on the subject, I've
neglected to tell you how much I appreciate your efforts, especially
"Thank you. She - ah, we're very close."
"You're very much her surrogate mother."
"That's the main reason I've come to see you."
"Yeah. Maggie and I- we have so much in common and I understand her
on this level- she and I have both been thrown away by our families
for our mutation."
"I'm not gonna beat around the bush, Professor. I'm only twenty but I
have two grown adults in my head. I know I'm young but the things
Well, I'm gonna get right to the point. I wanna adopt
The professor was silent for a minute, just as she knew he would be.
Rogue crossed her legs and shifted uncomfortably in the chair. After
all these years, the professor made her slightly uncomfortable,
though he had never been anything but compassionate. He reminded her
of her father, not in looks or voice, but in terms of his intense
seriousness. She harbored a deep fear that he would kick her out.
Finally, he spoke. "Rogue- I understand that you're much older than
your biological age would dictate. And I'm thrilled with the way you
have developed your talents and blossomed here." She braced herself
for the "but" that was coming, but there was none.
"I'm going to ask two questions of you, and I want you to answer them
"Okay," she said quietly.
"First of all you have so many gifts. You are one of the most
powerful mutants at this school. Your grades have been excellent, and
you have surpassed everyone's expectations in terms of your physical
fitness and combat training."
"Thank you," she said, a hint of the south creeping into her voice.
"You are young, and on the threshold of a life with infinite
possibilities. My only question of you is how you are going to use
your gifts and talents. I know that Scott wants you on the A team,
and I know that you are probably excelling in college."
The vote of confidence was making her heady, and she felt her cheeks
"My question to you is whether you choose to defer any of these
pursuits in favor of parenthood, and will you be willing to do so for
the next fourteen-plus years until Maggie is an adult? Also, will you
be willing to undertake this responsibility alone?"
"I've thought about that a lot. And what I want for the future...
ties in a lot with what I was talking about earlier. WCC has a
graduate program in child development so I can just continue on to
get a graduate degree."
"You've certainly thought this through."
"I have. If I teach the class you offered I can swing it
"What I was thinking about - in terms of a long term plan, was to
develop some kind of safety net for these kids, maybe get some
grants, enlist some staff or maybe even have a foster parenting
program since many of these kids are abandoned and fall through the
cracks of the outside system. Maybe a sort of orphanage that`s an
adjunct of the school."
He nodded. He was silent for a moment.
"As far as the A team, I've thought about it a lot, and it's not what
I want. Using my mutation risks some absorption of other people and
I'll go nuts if I have anyone else in my head. I think my abilities
would be best used on the B team or in teaching. I`m not adverse to
regular combat situations and I`d like to teach the martial arts
"And what does your heart tell you?"
"That is what my heart tells me. I want that more than anything.
Especially to adopt Maggie."
He was quiet for long seconds. She cleared her throat.
"Rogue, I must say, I'm very impressed by your ideas and the amount
of thought you've put into it."
"Like I said, I've been thinking about this for a long time."
"About adopting Maggie - the traumas she has been through mirror
yours so closely and it's good in that it lends you empathy. But are
you sure you're not wanting to make her better and `cure' her traumas
in a vicarious attempt to heal your own?"
"Well, of course, that's a part of it. But I've asked myself, will it
still be worth it when it's 3 a.m. and she's having nightmares and
screaming and I have a final the next day? And it is. I've asked
myself if it will be worth it when she becomes a teenager and starts
getting all moody as hell, or when she's sick and pukes on me? It is.
Every night as it is she wets the bed and wakes up more often than
not screaming. I've never done so much laundry in my life. But I love
that child like she was my own. I want to give her a home."
"Well you've certainly asked yourself the right questions." He
coughed softly. "In terms of our house, if you want to become her
mother, and are really sure you wish to do so, you have my blessing.
But even though her parents abandoned her you will never be a legal
guardian unless you legally adopt her."
"And you want to pursue this on a legal level?"
"Yes. I don't want them to have a change of heart and take her back."
"Call Dean Tierney. You have my blessing."
She grinned. "Thank you."
Rogue stopped by the door and turned back. "Do you really think
they'd give me custody?"
"Well, if she were an ordinary child, perhaps no. But there is a
certain bias toward mutant children in these matters."
"And what about adoptive parents who are mutants?" He could see the
tightness around her mouth and feel her anger.
"Unfortunately the system doesn't seem to care as much if the child
is a mutant. And seeing as the biological parents won't contest the
adoption, it's either she be yours or become a ward of the state. I'm
afraid they may see that as one less mutant child the government has
She shook her head quietly.
"I just wanted to tell you how proud of you I am. In fact, I would be
proud to have a daughter like you."
She crossed the floor to his desk and bent to hug him. His embrace
was strong and good. She didn't know why this surprised her. She
pulled away and he could see the tears glistening thickly in her
eyes. "Thank you." she whispered, and just as quickly, she was gone.
Chapter 11 is up at novemberotica.com