And now we step into a new adventure. This one will be worth it, I promise you! This will introduce a few new characters, and one that is always mentioned, but never shown most of the time. I hope you love it!
Chapter One: The X-Mansion
It had been three months since the explosion that had almost completely destroyed the Mansion. But three months later, it looked just the same as it had before the explosion. As she walked in the front door, Rogue was taken off-guard, remembering the smoldering ruins from that one night…that one fateful night. The one she wished she could forget, but was unfortunately unable to do.
Rogue sighed as she stepped into the foyer. She saw the many students, all either children, teenagers, and young adults. She herself was a young adult, being 18-years-old. Looking around, she saw none of those she knew just yet, all of whom were either her age or older (the latter only with the teachers). And all of them were Mutants.
She saw in the main hall a bald man sitting in a wheelchair, two beautiful women, one with red hair and green eyes, the other with blond hair and blue eyes. She recognized them all: Professor Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost, all powerful telepaths. When they saw Rogue, each one of them smiled. Rogue forced a smile back. There was a memory that kept returning, and she wanted it to leave. She forced it back as she walked up to them. "Hello, Rogue," greeted Xavier. "It is good to see you once more." Emma shuffled through a stack of papers and handed it to him. "Here is a list of your classes. If you look down at the bottom, you will see a special ninth class."
Rogue was surprised. "Why is that?" she asked.
"You're still a member of the X-Men," Jean explained. "So you'll still be with us. I hope everything is to your liking while you're here again." She placed a hand on Rogue's right shoulder. "Nothing will happen this year, I promise you that, Rogue."
Rogue nodded, smiling a little.
"Oh, and just so you know," Emma said, "you'll be in room 24B. B is the girls' side now. I don't know who's rooming with you at the moment, however. If you wish to know how to get there, go up the stairs, move to the right hallway, and go down. It should be on the right side of that hallway, twelfth door down."
Rogue nodded. She forced a smile again. "Do you know where Logan is?" she asked.
"Last I saw him, he was talking to Bobby," Jean answered.
Rogue nodded, then began walking away. She remembered Bobby Drake, her boyfriend, who could control ice at will. She couldn't wait to see him again. But for the moment, she needed to get the heavy pack off her back. She sighed and closed her eyes as she saw the flight of stairs, and she did what she could to get up there with ease. When she finally made it to the hallway, she saw one of the other professors, Storm, walking toward her. She waved at her, and Storm smiled and waved back. "Hello, Rogue," she greeted. "It has been a small while since I last saw you. How was your break?"
"Fine," Rogue replied. "I wish it could have been a little longer, but it was good nonetheless."
"Well, I've got to go," Storm said. "Need to get the classroom ready. After all, classes start next week. I'll see you at dinner, Rogue." She left, and Rogue continued down the hallway.
She found the room number that had been mentioned to her as being the room in which she would be living in and sleeping for the next long while. She just wondered who she would be rooming with. But as soon as she opened the door, she got her answer.
Sitting there in an armchair by the large window reading a book was a girl around her age with long brown hair and striking blue eyes. As soon as Rogue walked into the room, she looked up, and she said, "Rogue! It's been so long!"
Kitty Pryde reached over to her right, and Rogue suddenly felt a pang of guilt in her stomach as she saw the crutches. Kitty got up, held one leg up, and made her way over to her. Kitty hugged her friend/sister hard, and Rogue hugged her back, though not as lovingly.
She still remembered all that had happened that caused her to be apprehensive about being near Kitty: While on a mission to save the children that attended the institute after they were kidnapped in a raid performed by William Stryker's men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, they'd been separated from the rest of the X-Men. They fought the blue-skinned Mutant known as Mystique, leading to Rogue's kidnapping and brainwashing. She found Kitty later on while under the effects and beat her, going so far as to break her leg, leading to her use of crutches. She felt horrible about that night, and even now, she was still haunted by it all. But Kitty didn't seem to blame her, much to her surprise. She wondered exactly why that was, but she decided to attempt to put it behind her and continue on with reuniting with the girl she'd counted as her sister during the last time they'd seen each other. The memory would probably continue to burn in her mind, but that did not mean she could not push it back as well as she possibly could and move on from it all.
"How was your break?" asked Kitty. "I really missed you during all that time we spent away from the Mansion. You, Alison, Logan, Piotr, Bobby…everyone. It's been hard since we parted ways."
"I've been good," Rogue replied as calmly as she could, putting the memory back. "But I think we should wait to continue this conversation for later. I just feel like laying down. I didn't sleep very well last night, or any of the past few nights before."
"I understand," said Kitty. "I slept well, but I still have nightmares sometimes. It comes as a result of what we went through. I keep seeing Mystique and her yellow eyes, as well as Stryker holding a gun at me. That's it, fortunately. But it doesn't help with peaceful nights."
Rogue nodded. She wondered if the beating was also in Kitty's memory, which she wouldn't have been surprised by. As badly as she wished to forget that night, nothing helped her to put it behind her. She sighed, and then decided to sit down on the bed. She wondered who was going to be joining them in their room. As if on cue, she heard a knock at the door, and Kitty used her crutches to move over to the door and open it. When she did so, Alison Blair stepped into the room. "Kitty, Rogue!" she exclaimed. "It's so good to see you two again!"
She threw her arms around Kitty's neck, though, after noticing the crutches, she became more careful, and the hug was a soft yet firm one. Then it became time for Rogue's hug. Alison threw her arms around Rogue and gave her a crushing hug that left Rogue almost gasping for breath. The unexpected strength put behind the hug surprised Rogue. But she hugged her back, remembering the friendship with Alison, remembering how the blond had helped her to get through the troubles she'd gone through after her injuring of Kitty.
"How are you guys?" Alison asked. "I talked to you on the phone, Kitty, but I never got the chance to say anything to you, Rogue. How were the both of your 'summers?'" She laughed a little, as the summer hadn't really been a summer at all. It was actually January at the moment. The whole incident had taken place in October before Halloween.
"Mine was good," Kitty replied. "I got to go up to Vancouver during Christmas, and it was beautiful. I wanted my leg to heal during the time, but unfortunately, it didn't. Oh well. I guess we can't always get what we want. But during that time, I really missed you two." She looked over to Rogue. "How was your 'summer,' Rogue?"
"I didn't do much," Rogue replied solemnly. The mention of Kitty's broken leg made her feel very uncomfortable. Kitty realized this as soon as she heard the tone in her voice, and she suddenly felt bad, though she knew none of it had been Rogue's fault. It had all been done by William Stryker, who was now behind bars for a long time. "I pretty much stayed in Mississippi for a while, over at my farmhouse. It was boring, but I needed some alone-time, if you know what I mean." She became very silent.
Kitty and Alison looked at one another, feeling bad for Rogue. She obviously still blamed herself for everything. Neither wanted that to happen, but they didn't know what more they could do besides comforting her, which they were already doing.
There was suddenly another knock on the door, and when Alison opened it, she found herself staring at a young girl with platinum-blond hair and silver eyes. The eyes caught Alison off-guard, and she wondered who the little girl was. Then her answer came when she saw Piotr Rasputin appear behind the girl. He smiled at Alison, and then craned his neck to get a good look into the bedroom. Alison knew why: Piotr and Kitty were in a relationship. And she realized the girl must be his sister.
"Hello," he greeted them. "It's good to see you again, Alison."
"Piotr?" came Kitty's voice. She hurried over to him and hugged him, propping herself up on the crutches. Piotr hugged her tightly, yet very softly, as he was much stronger than a normal human being, as his Mutant ability was to turn into a metal-man. At least, that was how Alison described it, as she had no idea how else to do so. "Oh, it's been too long!" She kissed her boyfriend on the lips. At this, Alison smiled, but Piotr's sister looked very confused.
"It is good to see you as well, Katya," Piotr replied. "This is my little sister, Illyana. She was assigned this room with you three, and I want you all to take good care of her." He smiled. "How's your leg, Kitty?"
"Could be better," she said. "I'm still waiting for it to heal completely, but other than that, I'm just fine. I just hope I'll be able to walk normally by the end of this year."
Rogue felt even worse, though she knew once more Kitty had not meant her words to affect her. But no matter what was said, she did not believe the relationship she had once shared with Kitty and Alison could ever be ameliorated after what she had done with her own two hands. It was too hard.
"So, this is the girl you were speaking of," Illyana said, retaining the Russian accent possessed by her older brother. "It is good to finally meet you, Kitty. Piotr said much of you during the break. In fact, I think I even heard him speak your name in his sleep."
Piotr's face became red, and he scratched his head. He shrugged, and then said, "Well, who better to dream of then the girl of your dreams?" He chuckled at this, and Kitty joined him.
Kitty turned around and looked at Alison and Rogue. "I'm going to go out and hang with Piotr. I'll see you guys later. And if I see Logan or Bobby, I'll be sure to let you guys know. I would also really like to see Kurt. It's been too long since we last met."
She used her crutches to carry herself out of the room, and she and Piotr disappeared down the corridor. Illyana walked in and said, "Hello, Alison, it is very nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too, Illyana," Alison replied brightly. "I'm sure we're going to become really great friends." She led her over to Rogue. "This here is Rogue. She's one of Kitty and I's greatest friends."
Illyana held out her hand, but when Rogue looked down at the small hand, she suddenly received a flash of memory, of when she'd used one of her bare hands to take some of Kitty's lifeforce away from her. She remembered how she'd used both her hands to break Kitty's leg…
Rogue walked off, and Alison and Illyana watched her back as she did so. "Did I do something wrong?" Rogue heard Illyana ask.
"No, it's just…something happened a while back, and it seems she just remembered it. It's nothing you've done," Alison explained softly. But it didn't matter; Rogue could hear the words, and she felt ashamed of all that had transpired that one fateful night. If only it could all be taken back…but the truth was, it could not. She could not deal with that.
She hurried down the corridor, and turned the corner. She saw the stairway, and as she made her way to it, she ran right into a big, burly man who seemed to be in his early forties. His hair was crazy, and he wore a leather jacket with a blue flannel shirt underneath and blue jeans, with black boots to finish the look. Rogue looked up and smiled as she recognized him as Logan, AKA Wolverine, one of her fellow X-Men. "Welcome back," he greeted as he hugged her. "How have you been? It's been a while."
Rogue sighed. "I've been all right," she said. Seeing his raised eyebrow, she continued, "But I still can't get my mind off that one night, is all. It's such a horrible memory, and I can't get it out of my mind. I hate that memory so much, but it won't go away!"
"I understand," he said. "I actually just ran into Kitty and Piotr, and Kitty seemed to not be bothered by it at all. Why is that she was able to move on so easily, and for you so hard?"
"Likely because she wasn't the one attacking," Rogue muttered. "Look, can we get off this subject? I just want to talk about something else for the time-being, and this isn't something I can stand to speak about. How about we speak about your trip during the break?"
"I didn't do any trips," he said. "I actually stayed here and helped to rebuild the mansion for you guys. I wanted to take a trip, but I felt it was better to stay here and make sure you guys had a home of some sort. You know what I'm talking about?"
Rogue nodded. "I really didn't do much," she said. "I stayed at the farm mostly, helped Mom and Pa around with the animals and all that. You know, rural Mississippi life."
"Well, normally, I would have thought that to be a Kansas sort of life, but to each his own," Logan said. He looked behind her and smiled. "Well, looks like we're having a small reunion here."
Hearing this, Rogue turned around and saw her boyfriend Bobby Drake, known as Iceman. Standing next to him was Kurt Wagner, known in the X-Men as Nightcrawler. While at the moment, he was wearing his civilian disguise, with raven hair, tan white skin, and brown eyes, his true form was a blue being with a demonic resemblance, possessing yellow eyes and a tail with a pointed tail. Rogue wasn't affected by the form, but she liked his human form much more.
"There you are," Bobby said, smiling. She ran to him and hugged him. She felt like that was the only contact she needed with anyone, other than the contact between she and Logan. "It's really good to see you again, Rogue. I'm so happy to be here with you right now. I had to wait a while to see you again, and the wait was worth it, if you ask me."
"It's nice to see you again," Kurt said. His accent was no longer quite as thick.
"It's good to see you, Bobby," Rogue said. "And it's really good to see you, too, Kurt."
"Hey guys, dinner'll be starting soon, if you'd like to start heading down," Logan said. "We'll likely meet Kitty and Piotr down there. Last I saw, Piotr was carrying Kitty down the stairs, holding her with one hand and…" He stopped, shook his head, and then said quickly, "Yeah, let's just head on down there, shall we?"
Rogue knew how hard Logan was trying not to bring up the event, and she was grateful to him for that. She did not want to to deal with such a horrible memory. If she was supposed to deal with it, she hoped that would not come until much, much later.
They walked down the stairs, and behind them, they soon heard the voices of Alison and Illyana. Both were talking about their Mutant abilities with one another, and Rogue thought she heard Illyana mention she could teleport, and that there was another ability somewhere deep down inside her that she felt, but could not identify just yet. Those words caused Rogue to wonder.
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they walked toward the great hall, which was already thickly populated with many of the students. There was no one at the main table just yet, which was where the teachers, including Professor Xavier, sat.
"I'll be seeing you guys soon," Logan said. "I've got to sit up there, unfortunately. But it shouldn't take too long, I'm sure." He smiled at them all, especially Rogue and Alison. He broke away from their group, and as he made his way to the main table, he touched the shoulder of a girl, who Rogue and Alison recognized as Kitty, and a boy who was recognized as Piotr.
The group sat down near and around the two of them. They were both talking excitedly, and they stopped speaking when everyone began sitting down around them. "What are you guys talking about?" Alison asked them with a hint of playfulness in her voice.
"Just what we'll be doing later on during the school year," Kitty replied. "I'm sure we'll be able to have a normal school year this time. At least, that's my main hope. But I'm sure nothing bad will happen. I'm praying it won't, and hopefully I'll be listened to." She sighed, and then looked over to see Bobby and Kurt. She smiled and waved at them. "It's good to see the two of you. How were your breaks?"
But before they could answer her, there was the sound of a wheelchair moving, and they looked up at the main table, where Professor X had just arrived, accompanied by Emma Frost, Ororo Munroe (Storm), Jean Grey, and Scott Summers. They all smiled at the students. Xavier looked around and clicked a glass with his fork. The students fell silent around them, and he began speaking:
"Welcome, students, to another year!" This brought many cheers. "This year, we have much planned for you all! We cannot wait to give you what we have to offer, and I promise nothing ill shall befall any of you. This year will bring some changes. We have a new teacher joining us. I would like you to join me in welcoming Emma Frost, an old friend and colleague of mine!" Even louder cheers and shouts. Everyone was clapping, with the exception of Rogue, who smiled on the outside. But on the inside, she wasn't so sure what her true feelings were anymore. "And now, for some reminding of the rules…" As he gave out a list of the rules, Rogue thought of that one fateful night, wondering what she could have done to change it all. She thought this through for a long time until she heard Xavier change the subject. She refocused her attention on him. "And now, let us begin this great feast!"
He blinked once, and suddenly great piles of food appeared around them, and Rogue realized what had happened: using his telepathy, and possibly with help from Emma Frost and Jean Grey, Xavier had made the students think there was no food in the room with them. It was a great trick, but it did not brighten Rogue's dampened spirits.
The feast lasted for a long time, and though she ate heavily and drowned it down with as much Coke as she could get her hands on, her mind was on many other things. Flashes of memories came to her mind, no matter how much she attempted to put them behind her. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and she looked over to her right to see Kitty. She quickly jerked her shoulder back.
"Rogue, are you okay?" Kitty asked. "You're sweating a lot."
"Um, yeah, I'm fine," she lied. "It's just hot in here, is all. I'll be fine soon, though."
Kitty knew she was lying, but she didn't press the subject. She knew what Rogue was thinking, and she understood the great pain her sister was going through. She would do whatever it took to possibly help her.
When dessert arrived, none of the group could possibly take more than a few bites. They were too full.
"I can't eat much more. If I do, then I won't be able to fit into that cute leather costume," Kitty joked. The group laughed, including Illyana, and Rogue let out a small giggle, but then returned to being silent. Kitty frowned as she saw this.
Soon enough, the feast ended, and Professor X said to the students, "Thank you for everything! You have made this day very special! Now go to your rooms! Classes will start tomorrow at eight thirty sharp! Do not be late! If you have questions, please see Ms. Grey!" As the students bustled around, ready to get back to their rooms, Xavier added, "Robert Drake, Alison Blair, Kurt Wagner, Piotr and Illyana Rasputin, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde, please report to Logan."
All seven of them blinked as he spoke their names. Six of them were a little surprised, but then guessed they shouldn't be. Illyana, meanwhile, was very surprised.
They went to Logan, who said, "Trust me, I don't know what exactly he wants. Just trust him for the time-being. Hopefully this won't take too long, however, because I want to go to bed, and you guys should get to bed early, as well. Just in case."
Emma came over to him and whispered something in his ear. She smiled at the group, then walked away. Logan began walking, and the group followed him. Alison and Piotr stayed a little farther behind to help Kitty along, who wasn't the best with her crutches "Oh how I wish I could walk on air," Kitty muttered. "Or at least float."
It took them a few minutes to arrive at a room in the far back of the mansion, behind the great hall. The room was almost all bare. The floors were white, the walls gray and white. It made Kitty feel somewhat tired, but she was able to keep her eyes open.
There was a table with twelve chairs. The group and Logan sat in eight of them. Soon enough they were joined by the four other teachers and Professor X. Each of them sat down, and then their "meeting," if that was what it was to be called, began.
"It is good to see you all again," Xavier said. "With the exception of you, Illyana. If I understand correctly, you first met with Emma here, am I correct?" Illyana slowly nodded. "Well, it is good to finally meet you. I do, however, know the rest of you. How were your breaks?"
Everyone, with the exception of Rogue, nodded and mentioned a few things about their breaks. She was still battling with her mind at the moment, though she attempted nonetheless to keep her mind on what was going on.
"Good, good," Xavier said. "Now, onto business. With the exception of Illyana, I am sure you all remember the Brotherhood of Mutants. As for you, Illyana, let me explain to you: The Brotherhood of Mutants is a group of Mutants with a vendetta against humanity, possessing hopes to vanquish all humans on the Earth." At this, Illyana gave a gasp. "Yes, I know this is quite a shock. Well, unfortunately, they are at it again, though I am unsure of what they might be planning. I had a source tell me Mystique was recently spotted somewhere in Canada, though I have no idea why should be there. I have called this meeting to reassemble the X-Men. Now, while one of us has a disability…" he looked to Kitty "…I am sure we can still prevail in this. I do not wish for a battle, of course. That would be the worst decision, as it would be wrong of me to do so, and it would put you all in certain danger, I am sure."
"So I get to be Dazzler again?" Alison asked excitedly. "Yes!"
"So now we get to use those nicknames," Logan said. "Wolverine, Dazzler, Iceman, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Cyclops, and Shadowcat…How very nice." Logan did not seem at all pleased.
"We also took the liberty of creating new costumes," Jean said. "These new costumes are better in the since that they will stop a knife from entering your body unless the blade is wielded by someone even stronger than Logan. They are also heat-resistant, and if you need heat, they will warm you, and if you are too warm, it will cool you."
"That's amazing," Alison breathed. "I would have never thought that was possible."
"Originally it wasn't," Emma said. "But we finally succeeded after trying a lot."
The group laughed. Then Jean got up, and she brought out from a trunk one of the costumes. It was black-and yellow. While most of it was yellow, there was a yellow V-shape that ended around where the belt would end up in a triangular form. She handed it to Kitty. "There you go," she said. "When your leg heals, you can see how that feels. Let me give you the gloves and the boots." She got out a pair of glossy black boots and yellow gloves.
"Thank you," said Kitty.
"Is that it?" Bobby asked. "Sorry, it's just…I'm really tired."
"Understandable," said Storm. "Well, you can all go to bed. But first, we must ask, Piotr, will you allow your little sister to join the X-Men? We could use her well."
"I'm not sure," he said. He scratched his chin, then looked to Illyana, and finally to Kitty, who shrugged, which he took to mean, "It's up to you." And after a little more thought, he finally said, "Yes."
"Oh thank you!" Illyana exclaimed to Piotr and the teachers. She was obviously happy to be accepted.
The teachers nodded, with the exception of Logan.
"Well, that's it," Professor X said. "We will assess your abilities later, Illyana. But for now, we are done. You may go to bed now."
And that was that. Everyone fell silent as they got up from their seats. Then Kitty asked Piotr, "Would you carry me?"
He smiled and nodded. "It would be my honor," he said.
Five minutes later, accompanied by Logan, the group returned to the girls' room, where Piotr brought Kitty inside and lay her on her bed. Logan set her crutches by her nightstand.
Logan sighed. "A whole new year," he said. "Can't wait to see what it brings." He looked around for a moment, and then said, "I hope you guys sleep well. Goodnight!"
He walked away, and the boys took their cue to leave, as well. Piotr kissed Kitty on the lips, hugged Illyana, and left. Bobby hugged Rogue, whispered something in her ear, and followed Piotr out.
"Well, goodnight!" Kurt said awkwardly. He closed the door behind him. There was the sound of a small crack outside, the sound of him teleporting away, likely to his room.
After the girls got ready for bed, they lay down and sighed. Kitty, Alison, and Illyana were ready for what new challenges the year was going to bring them. But as the lights were turned out and she closed her eyes, Rogue wondered how much longer she could take the pain of the past.