"The Player on the Other Side" (WIP, CH.7) Scott [PG-13] X1 and X2
- Post 3 of 3
Any amusement Rogue felt at the first two words had disappeared by
the last. She looked sharply at the other girl. Her hair was pink
with purple streaks, but the telltale brown roots proclaimed her
coloring to be the product of Crazy Color Cream, not the X gene.
The girl shrugged. "Come on. I mean, yeah, this is New York and all,
but I don't see a whole lot of guys walking around with glow-in-the-
dark glasses, ya know?"
There seemed no point in denying the obvious, and the girl seemed
friendly. Rogue said cautiously, "Yeah, he's a mutant." She could not
quite bring herself to say, "We're both mutants." Her inner Erik
damned her. Her inner Logan assured her that she was just being
"Cool." The clerk dropped Rogue's change into her palm and grinned.
As Rogue stuffed the bills and coins into the pocket of her coat, the
girl leaned closer and said in a conspiratorial sort of whisper, "So
is it true what they say?"
"Say about what?"
"You know. Fuckin' a mutie."
Rogue stared a moment. She unwound the string of pom-poms from around
her neck and dropped it on the shop floor. Without asking for the
rest of Logan's money back, she turned and shoved her way between the
untidy racks and out the door.
"Hey," Mr. Summers said, hastily tearing his gaze away from the shop
window. "You change your mind about the uh, the, uh. . . . "
"Yeah," she said.
"Well," he said, "plenty more stores thataway." He pointed down the
"I think I'm all shopped out," she said. "Maybe we could go home?"
He looked at her sharply, but said nothing other than, "Sure. We
should walk back over to Broadway and get the train to Times Square."
"Okay," she said.
They crossed Second and Third Avenues. With Astor Place in sight, Mr.
Summers said quietly, "Did someone tell you to get out of the store?
Did the clerk refuse to take your money?"
"No," Rogue said. "She asked me what it was like to fuck a mutie."
Mr. Summers halted. He said nothing. His expression did not change.
But he turned and began striding back the way they had come.
Rogue lunged after him. "No," she said imperiously. "I won't have you
subjected to the prurient curiosity of a wretched shop girl."
Mr. Summers stopped dead. Slowly he faced around.
"I can take care of myself, Vati," he said gently. "I'm all grown up
Rogue blinked back sudden tears. Lowering her head, she whipped
around and began walking almost blindly toward Broadway. In a moment
she sensed rather than saw Mr. Summers fall into step beside her.
"I hate him," she muttered. "I hate him."
"You should hate him too."
Mr. Summers said tiredly, "I'm working on it."
They turned north onto Broadway.
"Did you really blow up La Jolla Senior High?"
"Some of it."
"Did they really send you to jail?"
"The Herman Stark Youth Correctional Facility. Yes."
"Because you're a mutant."
"No, Vati. Because I was a mutant who didn't know how to control his
power. There's a difference."
"Oh, here we go." Rogue rolled her eyes. "I betcha turned yourself in
like the good little citizen you are. Betcha begged them to beat your
ass, huh? Good goddamn thing you and Chuck ain't black, or they'd
still be sitting in the back of the bus."
"Do you mind butting out?" Mr. Summers asked. "This is a private
Rogue stopped dead in the middle of the busy sidewalk.
"I hate this!" she screamed. "I hate it! I hate having all this shit
in my head!"
This being New York City, absolutely no one paid any attention to her
outburst. The crowd flowed around them. She and Mr. Summers might as
well have been standing under a glass dome.
"Hey," Mr. Summers said. "Hey, now."
"How could people do that to Logan? How could people do that to
Erik?" She sucked in a deep breath. "How can you be such a wimp? Erik
says they were going to put your eyes out. Erik says -- "
Mr. Summers reached for her gloved hands and held them
firmly. "Listen to me. Okay? You listening?"
She managed to nod.
"Rogue, it's not right that you should have to live with what
happened to Logan and Dr. Lenscherr. Nobody should have to live with
that. Not Logan, not Dr. Lenscherr, and sure as hell not you. Don't
ever shut the Professor out. Don't ever skip any of your sessions
with him. Let him help you. Okay?"
"Okay," she whispered.
"Okay," he said. "And listen. What happened to me was bullshit
compared to what happened to Logan. And what happened to Logan was
bullshit compared to what happened to Dr. Lenscherr. Maybe you want
to tell Logan that when he's feeling sorry for himself."
She wrenched her hands away. "You son of a bitch. Who the fuck are
you to preach to me? What the fuck do you think you know about it?"
"I know you have a healing factor and six million Jews didn't. Now
Logan shut up.
"My life is a movie," Rogue said. "*Psycho.*"
Mr. Summers sighed. "Yeah, well, we better beat it before somebody
from Tisch shows up with a film crew."
So they found the subway station and took a train up to Times Square
and walked to the parking garage on Eighth Avenue. Rogue was so
amazed by the spectacle of Times Square that she made Mr. Summers
walk through it with her twice. He escaped a third go-round by
assuring her that the older students had plentiful opportunities to
visit the city.
So ended the day that had promised to be one of the most miserable of
her life. It had been. . . not horrible, she admitted to herself, as
Mr. Summers parked the Mustang in the mansion's enormous garage. It
had been a good day, even. Proof that Logan loved her. He might have
gone away for a while, but he was still looking out for her, just as
he had promised.
Mr. Summers killed the engine. He glanced at his watch and
said, "Well, dang. I think we made curfew."
"Do you think you should turn your cell phone back on?"
Sighing, he unclipped the cell phone, or whatever it was, from his
belt and ran his thumb along one side of it. Instantly it began
bouncing in his hand like a Mexican jumping bean.
"Okay, maybe you should turn it off."
"What an excellent idea." Mr. Summers thumbed the device again and it
stilled. "Oh, ow." Suddenly he pressed the heel of his hand against
his forehead. "It's no use. I'm being paged."
Rogue's smile faded. "Are you a dog, then, to be summoned with a
"Don't start, Vati."
"The girl as good as performed brain surgery on you. Without my
knowledge or consent, might I add."
"I gave *my* consent, and that's all that matters."
"Oh, indeed," Rogue said dryly. "And have you enjoyed being privy to
her fantasies of that oaf?"
Mr. Summers closed his eyes. Rogue knew he had closed his eyes,
because the red lenses of his glasses stopped glowing. They looked
just like regular sunglasses, now.
Mr. Summers let his head fall back onto the headrest of the driver's
seat and he said, "You've waited nine years. Go on. Say it. 'I told
you so.' "
Rogue hesitated. "I have never approved of her, it is true," she said
quietly, "but I would not have wished for this situation either, mein
"I appreciate that," Mr. Summers said.
"And after all -- she did not leave you."
"Because he sneaked away without telling her?" Mr. Summers laughed
unhappily. "Now she'll say she was planning all along to stay. I'll
Rogue laughed cruelly. "That's right, asshole. You never will."
An awkward silence settled upon the interior of the Mustang.
Rogue popped open the passenger's side door and paused.
"Are you gonna be all right?" she asked hesitantly.
Mr. Summers turned his head. "Who's asking?"
"Me, Mr. Summers."
He said, "I'll be all right if you'll be all right. Do we have a
"Deal," she said, and got out of the car.