Title: The Potter's Clay
Author: M.
E-mail: aenohe@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: I am in no way the owner of Rogue or any other x-men.
Summary: Can flesh...and genetics...be reshaped the way a potter shapes clay?
Rating/Pairing: PG-13 Rogue/Loganish From Rogue's POV. Angsty!
Challenge response: For Khaki's third image challenge.
Archives: Wolverineandrogue.com (though, you may wanna wait for a beta'd version.)
"The Potter's Clay"
by M. Edison
------------
Regaining consciousness yet again, Rogue stared listlessly at the ceiling above her. She'd long since ceased
any attempts to fight, her captors had made it perfectly clear just how futile such an idea was. So, now, she lay
quietly and listened to nothing as the doctors and scientists moved about her, talking quietly.

Within herself, she felt the remnant of Logan rage and clench her fists, non-existent claws intent on emerging and
doing damage. She might have given up but the part of Wolverine left behind in her soul had other intentions. He
raged and fought and burned with anger. He would never give up, would never give into the bastards, and he demanded
she fight back with the same ferocity.

Though his anger was a great deal more focused, Magneto's reaction was no less determined. Though he was but an echo,
she felt his rage, his frustration, his refusal to suffer through these indignities. No one would ever make him feel
vulnerable again and he would not allow a slip of a girl to put him that situation yet again. He refused to be silenced
and he refused to let her give up without a fight. In his eyes, she was letting this happen to them and he hated them
and her for it.

Memories stirred within her, nebulous, horrifying images and she couldn't discern to whom they belonged. Were they hers,
memories from the experiments and the doctors, or did were they from the men who had left a piece of themselves lodged
in her soul.

There was no way to tell, they ebbed and flowed, fused, merged and bled together until they were indiscernible. They all
belonged to her. They all were hers.

A doctor advanced, looking down at her as one would observe a rat in a cage, checking her vital signs with professional
immunity, making sounds of approval when what he found met his expected levels. He prepared a syringe, injecting her with
its contents and receiving no acknowledgment of his actions.

In the beginning, she had scratched and fought, and screamed and raged with all the fury Wolverine was capable of
producing but, they had persevered, punishing, sedating, and wearing her down until they'd won.

They owned her.

She was theirs to do with as they pleased and they had done so. Taken her apart, examined each piece, each component and
then put her back together, reassembling her in their image, according to their wish.

She wondered, if she had a mirror, would she look the same? Would her face be as it once was or would she look different?
Did she still look like herself? Like Rogue? Or did she look like Storm, or Jean, or maybe Jubilee? Had they changed her
face to match the new Rogue they had created?

She didn't know. She didn't think she wanted to know.

Within herself, she felt Wolverine rise up in anger yet again. They didn't have the right to lay a hand on her. He'd
promised to protect her and he would protect her. He was determined. He would keep his promise no matter the cost and
the part of herself that was still herself, that still dared call itself Marie, loved him for it.

There was less devotion from Magneto. But she was unsurprised by that. Eric Lensharr did not see people, only a cause.
She was useful to that cause. Even with the failure of his device, there were ways she could be useful. So much knowledge
so easily accessible. The touch of a single finger. There was much she could do for the cause of the Brotherhood. Thus,
she should be safe. At least for now.

Rogue did not listen to either of them. What was the point? She had fought and tried to run, had very nearly escaped she'd
thought...

Until she'd realized it had been nothing more than the illusion created by another 'subject'. Someone they owned just as
they owned her. Someone they'd changed just as they'd changed her.

She couldn't hate the telepath any more than she could hate herself. They could break anyone. Change anyone. They were
clay for their potters. They existed for the sole purpose of being molded and shaped by their masters. To be remade into
whatever image they had decided on that week.

Wolverine seized on this. His strident voice arguing from the depths of her subconscious. She was supposed to be one of
the X-Men. They protected people from this. They fought people like this. Mutants were supposed to be safe from things
like this. She had to protect the others if not herself. She couldn't lie there and give up, not while there were others
in danger. Cyclops and Storm had, those years ago, risked their lives to save them. Had faced down Sabertooth despite the
mutant's rage...they - along with Logan and Jean - had come to save her from Magneto. Saved her and the world. They'd
risked their lives time and time again...

How could she do anything less?

She just could.

Rogue knew better then they, how powerless she was, there was nothing she could do to fight. No way. She had no energy,
no strength, she had laid strapped to a bed for weeks, perhaps months, and had no stamina from which to draw on. She was
empty.

'Use ours' the voices whispered. The remnants of those she'd touched, imprinted, they whispered in her mind. Knowing that,
despite herself, she was listening. Surely, with their help, she could fight back. She could be strong again. She could
protect the others.

She wasn't little Marie, lying in her room, dreaming of seeing the north without a clue as to what lay ahead of her. She
was Rogue, a member of the X-Men, a powerful mutant in her own right and nobody's fool. She had faced down bigger and
meaner mutants. Absorbed the knowledge and strength of even more. Had seen and done things that these doctors could never
even imagine. How dare they turn her into some sort of experiment?

Flying against her judgement, against her hopelessness, a tiny spark of hope began to burn at the very center of her heart.
They believed they'd broken her, they believed they'd won. For a time she had believed it too. Now that belief was
crumbling away, torn to shreds by phantom claws of adamantium and magnetic forces.

She wanted to fight, to rise from the bed and tear them to shreds, to free the others and run but she couldn't.

'Patience,' This was Magneto, a tempering influence. He had been the most dangerous of adversaries for Charles Xavier
because, just like the Professor, he had a measure of patience. He understood the use of it and the weapon it could be.
Wait for the right moment, for just the right second and then strike as swiftly and with as much venom as any serpent. It
was all a matter of timing.

The echoes of these men, her protector and her enemy, whispered to her to rest, soothed her into sleep. She was too weak
yet. Had let things go too long. She needed to regain her strength. Bide her time and rest. It was the only way.

All she needed was the strength to fight against their control, to keep hold of herself and not give in. The Professor and
the others...they would find her eventually.

The part of her that was Logan rebelled against this. She could wait, she could hang on, and she would do so, but she had
no way of knowing what else they had in mind for her. Just what they would do to her before the X-Men arrived. She needed
to run if only for that. The others needed her too, she knew that, some of them were weaker than even she and would not
last long. If she could do nothing else, she needed to get free of her confinement, find a way to contact the school...get
help here faster.

She would be patient.

But only to a point.

--------

'It is time.'

Within her, Rogue felt Magneto's quiet strength and cold anger seep into her awareness - supplemented, and even tempered,
by Logan's rage and passion. Time to fight.

The same doctor had returned, checking the monitors above her head with the same arrogant disinterest. Not even sparing a
glance to see whether she was awake or not.

Perfect.

It was so easy to slip her hand free of the restraints, so very easy. Every action had been planned and thought out. Now,
tey were being carried out with the most patient and measured of movements. Palming his security card, Rogue withdrew her
hand, sliding it back into place, and waiting.

To be sure of no telepathic trickery this time, Rogue concentrated on filling her mind with the most irritating of poems
and rhymes from her childhood. Jean had once confided that as irritating as it was to the person, it was a thousand times
more so for any telepath trying to read or influence them. She kept it up, a constant chatter in her mind, and waited for
the doctor to leave.

She knew she had but moments before the doctor reached the guard station and the cameras would be reactivated. She had to
move quickly but quietly.

Freeing herself, she slipped from the bed, her bare feet impacting silently with the cold linoleum. She hurriedly arranged
the pillows and pulled the privacy curtain just enough so that the head of the bed was obscured. With a glance down at the
security card in her hand, she crept across the room.

In the beginning, they had been careful about the door. A card had been required to get in and to get out. Now, it was not
so. They believed they owned her, that she would make no further attempts, they believed her broken. Rogue smiled grimly,
ferally, a mixture of the two ghosts urging her on. They had broken her, they had not broken Magneto...they could never
break Logan.

She eased the door open, looking out. The guards stationed at the end of the corridor were looking away. She had but
seconds to keep the advantage of surprise.

Dashing down the hallway, she launched herself at the bigger one first, throwing him neatly aside as Cyclops had taught
her before rounding on the other one.

Clearly, he had been warned of her mutation and was unsure of how to attack her without touching her bare skin. All Rogue
wore was a hospital gown. Her captors had never expected her to make it this far. To have to interact with guards
unprepared for her powers. Thus, he hesitated...

She didn't.

Lunging, she grasped his arm, bringing a knee up into his sternum swiftly, leaving him doubled over, gasping for air. She
followed this move swiftly with an elbow to his back, sending him sprawling for the floor.

Alarms blared and her wild eyes flew to the monitors, expecting to see guards rushing toward her floor.

What she found shocked and thrilled her.

On one screen, the telltale flashes of Cyclops' visor firing punctuated his fight with three guards and thunder cracked
overhead seconds before another screen blanked out. The camera feeding it destroyed by one of Storm's lightening bolts.
Jean was on the next one, easily holding off more guards but the fourth, the fourth made her grin widely as Wolverine
barreled through a group of guards as if they had never been there.

With the abandon of the Rogue of old, she ran to the nearest stairwell, whipping the card through the reader before
running down the stairs, seeking out her rescuers.

As she passed each floor's door, she could hear the chaos on the other side as other subjects realized their captors no
longer had the run of the facility began to fight back.

It seemed the rats were turning on their keepers.

---------

The floor the X-Men were on was the easiest to find. The sounds of bodies hitting the walls was a dead giveaway.

Emerging from the stairwell, Rogue ducked as one flew over her head and connected with the plaster with a most satisfying
thud.

She didn't spare him a glance but sprinted forward, intent on reaching her friends.

She didn't make it.

A guard grabbed her around the waist and, clutching at his hands, she screamed out in frustration, "WOLVERINE!!"

He reacted as if someone had shot him, his entire body stiffening in one moment, fist halting its forward motion as his
head turned to seek out the source of her cry.

"Rogue."

He spoke her name so softly that it could scarcely be heard amidst the fury of the fighting but she knew what he said. She
watched, struggling against her captor's iron-clad grip, as he assessed her situation and scowled angrily.

One claw was pointed at the guard, warning. "You feel like livin', bub, you let her go." This time, there was nothing soft
about his voice, this time, Wolverine sounded like death itself.

The guard began moving backward toward the door, shaking his head. "I can't do that."

"You're gonna do that." The Canadian growled. "Or I'm gonna start cuttin'..."

"You've got to go through her to get to me." The guard warned defiantly.

"Do I?" He smirked, one eyebrow flicking upward.

Rogue relaxed the second she felt telekinetic hands seize her and lift her easily from her captor's arms. She glanced back
to see the guard watching with almost comical shock as she was propelled into the air and away from him. Even when Jean
released her and she dropped neatly into Wolverine's arms, he didn't seem to comprehend the fact he'd lost his hostage.

She supposed he got the message when one of Cyclops' optical blasts hit him square in the chest.

Wolverine's arms gripped her tightly and Rogue felt the voices within her silence. She didn't need to be strong anymore,
she didn't need the echoes anymore.

She had the real thing.

"You ok, kid?" Logan questioned, grasping her shoulders and steadying her. Rogue lifted her eyes to his and her haunted
expression cut him to the core. "What'd they do to you?"

She pulled away, looking down at her hands and her body as if she'd just remembered who she was, what had happened to her.
Then she looked up, her eyes full of a knowledge that made his heart ache. He knew that look, the knowledge, the
understanding...but there was something...

Rogue turned, looking at the guard then at her hands.

Her bare hands.

"I touched him."

"What?"

"I touched him." She repeated. Meeting his gaze, she reached out to touch his cheek - flesh to flesh.

Nothing happened.

Her thoughts of earlier returned...

The potter's clay....

"Oh my god..."

Finis