Title: X-Book 2: Shadows and Steel - Chapter 26: Touch and Sight
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See Chpt 1
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Through the sky over Westchester, New York, Rogue skillfully guided
the small aircraft towards the mansion. It was not as large as the
X-Jet, but held herself and her two unconscious passengers
comfortably. Her gloved hands held the controls firmly and she
reached for a switch above her head to activate the communication
Peter's voice responded back, acknowledging her impending arrival
back to the school. Dr. McCoy was waiting to take the patients
directly to the medical bay, which he and the students helping him
would have to do the long way since Kurt was not returning with
Her hands felt hot and nervous in her gloves, but not because of any
anxiety about landing the craft safely, only out of concern for her
passengers. After Alkalai Lake, the importance of training all the
X-Men in piloting their various aircrafts was clear, and Rogue had
been quick to learn the many subtleties of professional flying. Her
first flight had been out of necessity as the dam of Stryker's base
was breaking, and she felt no less urgency during this flight.
Rogue glanced back at the others and her eyes found Bobby's sleeping
form. He was leaning back in one passenger seat, strapped securely
so his head would not be jerked around in flight. The expression on
his face was not one of peaceful slumber, but troubled and
frightened in relation to the last thing he saw before loosing
The hard, focused look on her face softened slightly as she noticed
the bruises beginning to appear on his neck. Water from melting ice
dripped from his hair and hands and she hoped his own cold touch
would be soothing to those wounds. She wanted so much to be able to
comfort him when he awoke. Hold his hand as Henry treated him in
the medical lab, touch his forehead to check for fever, place more
than light kisses on the abrasions and bruises...
Rogue's hands formed into tight fists around the aircraft's controls
as her expression changed again. The warm light in her eyes turned
cold and bitter, and she turned back away from Bobby quickly before
that bitterness could focus on his face.
She did love him, for his kindness, his honesty, his silly humor,
and most of all for his dedication, to her and to the X-Men. Even
when everyone else in the school was afraid of her, Bobby had been
the one who had taken her hand, drawn her out of the pit she had
been buried in since running away from home.
Her mistrust of everyone (except Logan) had kept her from being
close to her classmates right away, but Bobby just kept hanging
around, inviting her to dinner every night for weeks, so properly
like he was asking her on a date...until he finally did ask her on a
date, off campus, to the movies. They had not been able to kiss
that night, but he had not let go of her hand for the entire film.
Then, at Alkalai Lake, Bobby had been the one there the whole time.
He had been the one to go back with her and help Logan during the
attack on the mansion. He had been the one who stayed with her on
the jet. He had been the one, again holding her hand, as they lay
in pain during the attacks.
Bobby had been the one to walk up to Logan, take the hand of the man
she thought of almost as a father, and say proudly without
hesitation that he was her boyfriend, no matter what anyone else in
the school thought.
Rogue gritted her teeth, and tried to force all of her hostile
thoughts away with those memories. The other students knew about
her power as much as she knew about their powers. They knew her
limitations with physical contact, and the whispers about how she
and Bobby would ever do certain things did not fall deafly on her
Though, Bobby never mentioned the gossip, never seemed to care what
anyone else thought. Whenever she was just with him, that was
enough. But, Rogue could not deny the lingering doubt that
someday...it would not be.
She then thought of the flirting Remy LeBeau with an amused, but
slightly angry grin. He was annoying, but entertaining to say the
least, especially since meeting her Wolverine 'bodyguard.' She
wondered if he would still pay her such attentions, if he ever knew
that those attentions could never be fulfilled.
Mary stood next to Henry McCoy and watched the small jet lower
slowly into the landing bay. She shivered and folded her arms as
the cold night wind blew down through the large entrance in the
ceiling. As the jet settled, Henry nodded to her and Peter and they
rushed over to the craft.
As Henry tried to walk faster, his posture bent forward. Mary
noticed that he used his long arms once or twice to accelerate this
pace. Not as if he was crawling, simply as if his massive form
moved more naturally in that almost animal-like stance. The motion
was not awkward or comical, but smooth and professional, the walk of
They reached the jet just as Rogue lowered the back platform and
"They're in there," she said pointed back into the craft, "Storm and
Bobby. Unconscious, but they seemed to be breathing ok..."
Henry nodded and he and Peter climbed aboard past her. Each
unbuckled and lifted one passenger easily, carrying them quickly off
the jet and towards the main hall.
"What happened to them?" Mary asked and Rogue shook her head.
"I'm not sure," she said, "When we got there...Cyclops and Logan
were the only ones on their feet. There was...God, there was a
giant robot destroying a house..."
"A robot?" Mary asked, and then her voice fell, "What did it look
"Like a person," she said, "A giant metal man who attacked them and
used some kind of tranquillizer to..."
"Not metal..." Mary said softly, her eyes becoming distant.
"What?" Rogue asked and Mary shook her head.
"Not metal...or that man...Magneto...he could have stopped it,
right?" she asked and Rogue shrugged.
"I guess so," she replied and then added angrily, "Unless it was his
"Sentinel..." Mary said quickly, "It's called a Sentinel. That was
the last part of the vision today. But it was the general's...not
"What general?" Rogue shouted, a little louder than she intended,
but her tone did not faze Mary at all. Her face was somber and dark.
"I don't know. It...didn't say his name..." she said and then met
Rogue's eyes with concern, "Where are the others?"
"Following the robo...the Sentinel," Rogue answered, "It took Gambit
and some others. Magneto was following it, too."
Mary frowned in worried thought and then shivered again.
"I have a feeling...that following that thing is a
Rogue's face once again became hard and focused, "Let's go."
She turned quickly and began to march back up the platform into the
"Wait..." Mary replied with surprise, "We can't go after them."
"If you feel they're in trouble, then they might need our help," she
"What do you mean we?" Mary asked, "What the hell good would I do
against a giant robot? Besides, it was just a feeling, not a
Rogue walked back down and put a confident hand on her friend's
"I'm learning to trust your feelings, Mary," she said, "You should,
too. And, if we are going to be attacked by a giant robot...you're
feelings would do better there than here."
Mary raised a cynical eyebrow, "The Professor would not like this..."
Rogue smirked, the expression sure and cocky, just like Logan.
"You can ask him when we get there," she replied, and pulled her
along into the jet.
Mary hesitantly strapped herself into the co-pilot's seat. This
would be her second flight ever, and she prayed Rogue was a steady
driver. Rogue began flipping switches to start up the jet again,
and it shuttered as the engines flamed to life. Mary grasped the
arms of her chair tightly.
"Don't worry," Rogue said with a grin, "Logan's the one who taught
me how to fly."
"Right, the same Logan that tears the motorcycle up and down the
road," Mary said and then took a deep breath, "There are bags
around, right...just in case..."
Rogue laughed at Mary's worried but comical expression.
"Under the right arm rest," she replied, and then changed the
subject to help the other girl relax, "Hey, did you think of a code
Mary blinked quickly and shook her head, "Um...no, I haven't really
thought about it..."
"Well, you're on a mission now," Rogue said, beginning to lift the
jet into the air, "I need to know what to call you."
The jet jerked forward and Mary closed her eyes.
"How about 'Airsick'?" she said with weak grin.
Rogue smiled back, "How about 'Alethia'? Dr. McCoy said she was a
Greek goddess of truth."
Mary tilted her head thoughtfully, "Um.that's ok, I guess, but...ah,
The jet was beginning to gain altitude and her stomach suddenly
shook hands with her esophagus again. Rogue smiled sympathetically.
"How about just Mary?" she asked.
"That works, too," Mary agreed, closing her eyes.
The moment her lids fell, the image of the Sentinel rose in her
vision again. Emotionless, cold, empty...dangerous. Its orders,
now benign, compared to what it was capable of.
Mary quickly opened her eyes, forcing herself to manage the motion
sickness and focus on her work at hand.
A world of work...ahead of all of them.
...To be continued...
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