**Please read the Author's notes – thank you! :)

Title: Hazard To Herself
Author: Jewel
Email: jewel_kaufman@hotmail.com
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be... Now there's a depressing thought. Oh, also, as this fic was written about a year ago, any title similarities between it and one of Autumn's fics was purely coincidental. *nods* And the lyrics at the beginning are from Pink's song "Don't Let Me Get Me", which also makes them not mine. *sigh* I can't win...
Feedback: Pretty please?
Summary: "They don't know what to think of me anymore."
Archive Rights: DDFH. WRFA. Everyone else, ask and ye shall have.
Notes: Okay, there's a small story going along with this fic. This is actually the first fic I ever wrote (fanfic, I mean, not actual fiction – I've been writing that for years), and I've had it and it's sequel sitting on my harddrive for just about a year now while I worked on other things, because I wanted to finish the companion piece to it before I posted it (companion piece, not sequel – which is already done and waiting as well). However, seeing as how my Loganmuse is basically non-existent, and X2 is opening in about two weeks - inevitably rendering this miniseries (yes, miniseries *g*) null and void, I decided to start posting it before the opening date regardless of it being finished or not. I'm still gonna try to finish the companion piece before posting the sequel though, so fair warning there.
Each story can be read individually though, no real cliffhangers or anything like that. I'm planning for there to be five stories in total, two Rogue POVs, two Logan companion POVs, and one final fic afterwards. There may be some changes to the line-up by the time I've finished, but so far, that's my game-plan.
Again, please keep in mind that this was the first fic I'd ever written – in fact, I hadn't even intended to write a fic at all. I was playing Rogue in an X-Men RPG and was writing a bio/history for her, when I got all these thoughts about how I saw the character, and starting writing them all out in her voice. *blush* Then, of course, came the series idea – something that Heather nurtured until I was convinced #1) to undertake the challenge, and #2) ...that I was quite insane for doing so. ;)
I really enjoyed it though, and I hope you guys do too. :) I've got a buncha stories lined up as soon as school stops kicking my ass, so hopefully they'll soon be appearing in an inbox near you. Stay tuned...
Dedication: Thanks to Heather and Taryn for all their wonderful feedback way back when... Hope it's still as good as you remember it! ;)



~So doctor, doctor, won't you please prescribe me something? A day in the life of someone else? Cuz I'm a hazard to myself...~


They don't know what to think of me anymore.

I don't blame them, not really. I don't quite know what to think of me either sometimes.

I don't think they ever really knew, come to think of it. And it only got worse after the statue of liberty... incident. It was a few days after that that things really went downhill. Up until then, I'd had some hope that I'd be able to fit in, be more than just a freak, even with my 'power' being what it is. But no. That was before that day in Ororo's classroom.

I know better now.

It was only a day or two after... after Logan left. I was in class. English class. Ororo was teaching, though not in the same room she taught history in. We were all in rows, and I was at a desk in the middle. I forget the lesson now, though I suppose it doesn't really matter either way. Whatever it was, she was lecturing on it, and I was sitting quietly, not really paying attention - the way normal teenagers do, or so I'm told.

Anyways, like I was saying, I wasn't really paying attention to what was happening in class. I wasn't really paying attention to much of anything actually. I had my moments of clarity, sure, but in the two weeks or so following the statue of liberty, I had large doses of both Magneto and Logan in my head to deal with, and I wasn't really acting like myself most of the time. Both men are pretty quiet and solitary though, and Jean had witnessed the worst of Magneto's rants and Logan's flirtations while I'd been examined directly after the event, so it was easier for my new friends to accept since I was usually able to keep the strangeness down to the minimum around them.

Until that afternoon.

It wasn't my fault, really. I wasn't paying attention, and it had been a couple days since the attack. I'd spent the first day while Logan was unconscious in deep meditation with the professor, learning tricks to incorporate each new personality into my mind. I could still smell, see and hear things really well, and I bet if I'd injured myself in those days it would've healed right up, but we figured Logan's powers would fade in time.

We conveniently forgot about the other possibilities.

I was a regular student by then, I had my school supplies for each class. Math; calculator, pencil, eraser. Phys ed; sweats and stopwatch. Art; paintbrushes, charcoal. English; paper, pen... paperclips... Paperclips that had been spread haphazardly on my desk for easy access that afternoon.

Paperclips that, unbeknownst to me – consciously, at least – were slowly floating, uncurling, and dancing into a chain of some sort as I sat there daydreaming.

I'd had a song stuck in my head, and my gloved fingertips were tapping the melody absently on the edges of my desk as the paperclips danced in tempo with the silent tune. I'd only had two or three out there, and they didn't rise very high at first, so I didn't notice anything wrong until a sudden hush fell over the room.

I'd been staring at the chalkboard, trying to keep up the appearance of paying attention, so it was only when I saw Ororo gawking at me that I realized that everyone else in the room was doing the same thing. Every single person.

Let me tell you right now, to have the weather goddess gawk at you is a sight rarely seen, and enough to knock me right out of my thoughts. My fingers froze of the edge of the desk as the song stopped in my mind, and I looked down with wide-eyes to see the paperclips halted in midair.

My heart seized, and as I stared intently, one paperclip slowly unraveled itself and spun in a tentative circle. I looked up and around at the others, noticing the paperclip still turning slowly out of the corner of my eye. They knew what that power was from, what it meant, and I could smell their fear, their... hatred, disgust. As if I was Magneto, and not his unwilling victim! My hands gripped the desk and I looked up to Ororo for support...

But she was still staring at my desk, a shocked and nervous expression gracing her usually serene features.

I looked down and let out an involuntary gasp. My paperclip, which had been turning so slowly before, was now spinning rapidly. As my fear and panic grew, the speed increased and I couldn't take my eyes off of it.

I felt, rather than saw, the pencil sharpeners from my neighbours' desks rise into the air, probably by their metallic blades, and my other classmates immediately clamped their hands down over their merchandise before fixing me with a suspicious, fearful glare.

All of them.

The paperclip was out of control by now, and my insides felt the same way. I felt the horror rise into my throat, and everyone jumped as all of a sudden it flew straight up and impaled itself in the ceiling.

I was up and out of my chair before the rest of my classmates landed back in their seats. Mumbling something to a shaken Ororo, I jerked the door open and pulled it shut behind me, immediately leaning back against it and sliding down to crouch on the floor as I was overcome by tears.

My shoulders shook with silent sobs for a moment, before I realized that if I didn't want to be overheard, I had better get out of there. I crawled a few feet, so that they wouldn't see me stand up in the doorway, and then stood, stumbling blindly down the hall and right into the nearest open door and empty room.

The art studio. I dimly remembered that art class had been cancelled that day, but the easels were standing there, blank. Inviting. Mocking.

I grabbed the nearest paint bottle and untwisted the cap, swinging the tube so that red paint splattered onto the nearest white canvas. The black was next, then orange. Streaks of bright, angry colours soon decorated the page, but it wasn't enough. Mindless of my gloves, I stalked forward and slammed my hands directly into the mess, and was soon manipulating the coloured streaks into something resembling a shape.

Bitter, angry tears streamed down my face, but I paid them no mind. I reached out, took a handful of the green paint and threw it onto the canvas. Smearing it around a little, I started manipulating it into a clearer form, stopping only when a gentle cough interrupted my inner turmoil.

Whirling around, I bit my trembling lip and glared at the professor, anger, pain and exhaustion leaking from my eyes as we locked and held gazes. I was the first to break the stare, bringing my hands up to futilely wipe at my tears, only succeeding in adding a bit of colour to my cheeks.

The professor had smiled gently at that, and wheeled over to me, silently handing me his handkerchief. I took it quietly, roughly wiping the green from my face while refusing to meet his eyes. "Sorry." I muttered hoarsely, and he just nodded, looking over my shoulder at the painting behind me.

"I like your work." He said simply, nodding towards it and I turned to look.

The red, black and yellow were smeared in every direction, while the green blob in the centre had been reshaped into something resembling a paperclip. The other colours seemed to attack the green, and a handprint made up of a combination of all of them was placed flat over the object of doom, right in the centre of the piece.

"I-I was angry." I said then, not able to tear my eyes away from what I'd done. I could see the anger in the strokes of orange, the streaks of red and black. Looking at it, I felt... tired, but better, a little. Seeing the proof of my feelings mirrored back at me had a kind of humbling affect.

"I can see that." Was all he said in response, before quietly suggesting that I take a few supplies up to the empty bedroom between mine and the one Logan abandoned. "I think it might help," was all he said when I asked him why he was giving me this.

He was right though, in the days, weeks, months afterwards, that spare bedroom became my daytime sanctuary, full of finished and half-finished paintings. I bought a few sketchbooks with a little money and received a set of charcoal and watercolours for the holidays. I became known as Rogue, the artist. Which is better than Rogue, the freak, I guess. But I knew...

I knew then. I knew that very day in that classroom. The way those kids – my friends, had looked at me... Sure they got over it, sure they realized that it hadn't been me doing those things, saying those things, any of it. They were nice to me, and the fear and suspicion almost completely disappeared.

Almost. Almost.

It takes talent to be a freak among freaks. A nineteen year old girl with the mind of a diabolical grandfather... and an ageless cage-fighter... and a teenage boy. An artist who knows what fear smells like, what dirt tastes like, what little boys wish for. Scott lectures me on the harshness of war, but I've worked in the concentration camps, I've suffered and hungered and died inside. Jean tells me not to be afraid of needles, but I've had dozens stuck in me as foreign substances were being pumped through my entire body, my screams of anguish only egging my captors on. The professor assures me that my power is a gift, but I have the memories of three men in agony, each feeling as if his soul were being torn out.

It takes talent to be alone in a house full of loners.

Like I said before, I have friends. My classmates got over my mishaps, thanks to a very embarrassing impromptu educational lesson on how my mutation works and why I cannot be to blame for it. Why I'm just as scared as they are by it. It helped.

The young ones, Kitty, Jubilee, Bobby, St. John, we all get along fine. We are conditional friends, in that we are friends with the understanding that I am the Rogue, and have no friends. There is a distance between us, even when we laugh and joke around together. But we do have fun, especially when I allow myself to indulge in my lost youth. Some days, some moments, the distance seems nearly non-existent. I do, after all, have an eternal seventeen year old in my mind. I become just 'one of the girls', and the five of us have done some pretty wild things.

But... when you get down to it, there's no way around it. I have lived several lifetimes, and I am too old for them.

Too old for them, but too young for the others. The X-Men. The adults. Despite everything, despite knowing and understanding what I've been through and what it's done to me, they still cannot quite grasp that I am not a simple nineteen year old girl. I don't really blame them, or I try not to, at least. I will always be Rogue to them, the slip of a girl they helped rescue that time. I know I'm over simplifying it, but it's the only conclusion I can reach. They see me as more than the average teenager, but I think it's fair to say that there's a distance between me and them as well. I am not an adult to them, but then, I am not a student either. Or, not a child really, since I've finished school in my months here and have not been a student for a while now.

I get along well the most with the professor, if that can be believed. Professor, Charles, Chuck... he'll answer to any of them, though the last one will come with a small grimace. He understands my mind more than anyone else can, since he's the one who helped me start to organize it, and once I'd worked through most of my anger with him for allowing Magneto to leave the train station with me, I was able to talk to him.

It started with that afternoon in the art studio, and continued two days later when I knocked on his office door and told him I wished to learn chess, and I wanted for him to teach me. It didn't take us long to realize that I already knew how to play, and soon we were entangled in a civil debate – though I can't say for sure which one of me was doing the talking.

I liked the distance though, I enjoyed the mystery around my persona much better than the suspicion, so I kept it in my relationship with Charles as well. I fast became the enigma of Mutant High. Quiet, detached, only allowing few people close enough, always seen with a sketchbook in hand... It wasn't a hard role to play, my skin ensured no one ever touched me, and as time went by it became less of a role and more of a way of life.

I realize I'm sounding fatalistic... Realistic... Pessimistic... Something-istic. But it's true. It didn't take away from who I was, it just became another personality, someone else to become sometimes. The Rogue, the girl who is both teen and adult... and senior citizen.

But back on track, this wasn't what I wanted to talk about. Not at all.

You see... We talked about many things, Charles and I, but one subject we never talked about was Logan. Nobody ever talks to me about Logan, though they do talk to each other about the both of us.

They like to think I wait for him. They see the tags around my neck and the way my eyes get this faraway look in them sometimes, and they think, "Poor Rogue, waiting for the man who'll never love her, isn't that so very sad."

And I think to myself; Yes, it would be.

If it were true.

Oh, make no mistake. I love Logan, I do. Impossible as it may seem. After all, we spent less than a week together. Barely five days – one and a half of which he spent unconscious. But in those days he touched me twice, and I saw everything... And I knew everything... And I loved everything.

But I'm not waiting. Because waiting, you see, means that there is something to wait for. And there's no great romance waiting for me when Logan returns from wherever he's been. It'd be different if I was a little taller, my hair was red and my name started with a Jean and ended with a Grey, but it's not and I accepted that a while ago.

Not that I don't dream. I have to, you know. I mean, what else can an untouchable girl do? In that department, at least.

Of course I dream that he sees me as more than just a little girl. As more than - god forbid - a little sister. I dream that he was so intent on saving me for some reason other than he'd promised to take care of me. I dream that he gave me his tags and promise that he'd be back for them because he couldn't say he'd be back for me. I dream there was something, some deeper meaning, behind his eyes as he said those words.

I dream that he loves me.

My friends don't exactly help in the matter. Kitty is convinced that he is off pining away for me somewhere, staying away to give me time to adjust to my new life before he sweeps in to become a part of it – her words, not mine. Jubilee says he wanted to give me time to grow up before he jumped my bones. Again; her words, not mine.

First off, I can't imagine Logan 'pining' for anything, least of all me. Secondly the image of him sweeping anywhere is definitely absurd, and thirdly... Well, let's just say there will be no bones-jumping for me anytime soon. Or anytime ever, actually. Not by anyone, and especially not by him.

Not that I can't dream of it, because I do.

I dream of kissing him. Of tangled limbs and sweaty gasps. But I know those are only dreams. Because the hard, inescapable truth of it is... those limbs would be clothed, and those gasps would be muted, sensations dulled... and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. No one should have to settle, he shouldn't have to settle. He shouldn't have to be deprived. Not for anyone, but especially not for me.

It isn't that sex is impossible for me. Even the untouchable girl is a hormonal teenager, and I've thought up some pretty creative ways around my condition. But let me make this clear, I've thought of them, but I'd never use them. Not even with him, even if he wanted too – which he doesn't and never will. It's the hitch in that scenario everyone has cooked up in their heads. That if Logan ever does return my feelings – which he won't, I'll fall into his arms, defects and all. I know that's what's expected, but it won't happen. I'm certain of it, though they'll probably have to see it to believe it... but that'll never happen because he's never gonna see me as more than a friend.

When he comes back, that is. And I don't know when that will be.

It's not just him that I'd refuse if given the chance. Bobby liked me for a while, but I said no to him when I first come to the mansion for that same reason.

Well... no. Not for the same reason. Not entirely, although it had been a part of it.

It's the fear. The fear that appears in all their eyes the moment they get a little too close for comfort. It's the most awful feeling, when the people you care about are afraid of you. Afraid of something about you, something you can't control.

I could never be with someone who was afraid of me. Not that they wouldn't have reason to be, but... but I just wouldn't be able to stand it.

About a week after I regained semi-control over my new personalities, Bobby asked me to dinner. I looked up into his hopefully expectant eyes, and all I could see in that moment was the expression on his face as I ran out of Logan's room that night. The horror, the betrayal, the... fear. That look on his face, the way he practically jumped out of my way as I ran out of there in tears... and now he wanted to date me?

I don't remember exactly what I said, but I turned him down as gently as I could. After all, I didn't hold his fearing me against him, it meant he was smart, I should be feared. More than feared. I can kill with a handshake, by wiping away your tears, I should be hated and feared as the abomination I am, nothing less would make sense to me.

And yet, for some reason, I'm surrounded by people who do care. By Bobby and, eventually, a few other boys who seemed to more than care. I just can't let them. Not when I can see the apprehension on their faces, the hesitance in their movements as they steel themselves to reach for my hand without shaking. Pretty soon, I just stopped letting them try. Why would anyone want to watch someone force themselves to touch you?

It wasn't too long before I got the reputation for being untouchable in more ways than one. There wasn't any malice in the words, however, and I took them at face value for the simple truths they were. Of course, that was when most of the talk of me waiting for Logan began to waft around the mansion, but I tried to ignore that. It was easier to let them believe what they wanted, and I think it added to my mysterious persona since I failed to react in any way the few times someone attempted to broach the subject. Let them think what they want, that's my philosophy. They'll see for themselves what'll happen when he finally comes home.

I miss him.