Note: Just a short little piece I wrote on a whim. If y'all respond and like it I'll try and post some more of the stuff I've been working on. Reviews are greatly appreciated, as always. This takes place sometime after the mansion has been re-built but before the whole Dark Horizons thing.

Oh yeah, and nothing belongs to me. I guess I'm supposed to say that or something.

My Sunshine

Rogue raised her head off of her pillow and forced her eyes open. Normally a very heavy sleeper, she had awoken to the feeling that there was somebody in her room. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around with blurry vision at the red numbers on her radio clock. Nine twenty two. On a Saturday morning with no Danger Room practice Rogue figured she could get away with at least one more hour of sleep. She flopped back down onto her face and stretched out on her queen size bed. With the mansion re-built she finally had a room of her own. She grinned into her pillow. Suddenly, she tensed. She had that feeling again. She slowly twisted onto her back and pushed herself up into a sitting position. Jean was lurking near her doorway.

"What do yah want?" Rogue groaned and rubbed her palms into her eyes. God, Rogue thought to herself, please don't let it be a surprise training session. They had been having a lot of those lately. But Jean wasn't dressed in her uniform, which was a good thing. Rogue stopped rubbing her eyes and looked up at Jean again. She was dressed in khaki shorts and a wrinkled looking white button up shirt. She was barefoot and her long red hair was pulled back from her face with two small clips. Rogue rolled her eyes, "Yah look like ya should be swing dancing in a Gap commercial or something," Rogue mumbled with a smirk as she tipped her head back and rested it against the headboard of her bed.

Jean frowned a bit and blushed, "Good morning to you too."

"So," Rogue said, "Ah will repeat. What do ya want?"

Jean glanced around the room quickly. From the piles of clothes strewn in the vicinity of the closet to the CD collection piled precariously on the cluttered desk, "Nothing," she answered as she rubbed her left foot against the carpet.

"Then leave. Ah need mah beauty sleep," Rogue grumbled as she closed her eyes and pulled up her covers once more.

Jean scowled at her, "I just wanted to say happy birthday," she said quietly as she turned to leave.

Rogue's eyes popped open, "Wait! What did ya just say?"

Jean stopped and turned, leaning against the half closed door, "I said happy birthday."

"How did ya know it was my birthday?" Rogue asked. She hadn't told anyone, not even the professor. Jean couldn't possibly know unless.Rogue frowned at her. "Ya shouldn't read other people's minds without their permission, Jean," Rogue spat at her.

Jean's eyes narrowed as she stepped back into the room and pushed the door closed behind her. "I didn't read your mind," Jean replied tersely.

"Fine then, whatever," Rogue said in an uninterested voice. "So how did yah know?"

Jean hesitated before answering, "Risty told me."

Rogue remained silent for a moment. "Yah mean Mystique," Rogue growled, angry at being reminded of her one and only friend. Since finding out that Mystique had been Risty all along, that she had been using Rogue the whole time, Rogue decided it was better to not have any friends at all. *Like ah need friends* Rogue thought with disgust.

Jean flinched at hearing the sad thought. But Rogue didn't notice. "It was before we knew she was Mystique," Jean answered.

"Well you and Risty weren't exactly the best of friends, so when did she tell you?" Rogue asked.

Jean shrugged and walked closer. She took a seat on the edge of Rogue's bed atop the dark green comforter. "I don't know. We were just talking by the lockers one day and we started talking about birthdays. I realized that I didn't even know when yours was so I asked her if she knew. She told me it was today, April twenty second."

"I never told Risty that," Rogue said quietly. But it was Mystique who knew, Mystique, her adopted mother, Rogue thought with a frown. "Did ya tell anybody else?"

Jean shook her head, "I wasn't sure if you'd want me to."

"Good," Rogue answered, "Ah don't need any of that birthday crap."

"Well can I at least give you your birthday present?" Jean asked with a soft smile.

"Yah got me a birthday present?" Rogue asked cautiously.

Jean nodded.

Rogue was speechless. "Why?" she finally managed to ask.

"Because it's your birthday," Jean answered with a shrug.

"Thanks," Rogue said with a shy smile. "Um, ah'm sorry ah was so um.rude before," Rogue apologized in a quiet voice.

"Yeah, well I should know better than to wake you before noon on the weekends," Jean answered with a small laugh.

Rogue chuckled, grateful to Jean for making the difficult apology easy.

"Okay, I hope you like it," Jean said with a smile.

Rogue glanced around, looking for a wrapped present but not seeing one anywhere. "Uh."

Jean moved further up on the bed, to within a foot of where Rogue sat. "Close your eyes and relax," Jean said as she reached out her hands toward the sides of Rogue's head.

Rogue flinched and jerked her head backwards, "What are yah doing?" Rogue screeched.

Jean looked hurt, "I've been practicing with the professor."

"Oh, so mah birthday present is to be yoah guinea pig?" Rogue sneered.

"No," Jean looked away. This wasn't going at all how she had envisioned it. She knew that Rogue would probably be uncomfortable with it, but she hadn't expected such hostility.

"Can't ya just give me a present that's not from inside mah own head?"

Jean almost laughed out loud at how funny that sentence had sounded. She noticed that even the irate Rogue was fighting back a grin.

Jean reached for Rogue's hands, then quickly stopped when she realized that Rogue wasn't yet wearing her gloves. "The present I want to give you, it's a surprise. Do you trust me?" Jean asked, her eyes sparkling with hope.

Rogue sighed, "Look, Jean, no offence but, no, ah don't."

"Oh," Jean said quietly as she looked down. An empty feeling began to gnaw at the pit of her stomach.

"It's not you I don't trust," Rogue amended hastily, "It's yoah power." Rogue shivered, remembering the chaos Jean had caused during her power surge.

"I understand," Jean said softly. Being careful not to make eye contact with Rogue, she stood and moved toward the door.

"What were ya goin' to give me?" Rogue asked.

"A memory," Jean turned and answered.

"What kind of memory?"

Jean shrugged, "One that you have blocked, hidden just below the surface. Something you need help getting to."

Rogue frowned, uncomfortable with the idea of somebody messing with her head. The professor was already doing all that in his therapy sessions.not that they were getting anywhere, "The professah's already tried all that," Rogue grumbled. "If he can't get to them, what makes you think you can?" It wasn't meant as an insult, but it came off as one nonetheless.

Jean hesitated before responding, "Well, the professor thinks that maybe because you touched me, because you have a little of me inside of you, maybe I'd be able to." Jean paused, trying to find the right words,".to, um, be less invasive in your mind." That was mostly the truth. The other reason that she might succeed where the professor would fail was because Jean's telepathy was infinitely more sensitive than Xavier's. She hadn't believed the professor when he had told her that.

"So, I'm the most powerful telepath on the planet?" She had asked him in a skeptical voice.

He chuckled and shook his head, "Not yet, Jean. But maybe someday," he answered with a hint of pride in his voice. He went on to explain what he meant about sensitivity. While shielding came naturally to Xavier, Jean was only able to accomplish it through extreme concentration. Xavier had to work to get into people's minds but Jean had to work to keep others out of her mind.

"It's a bit like fishing, Jean," Xavier had explained. "I fish with a rod and reel- directed efforts. I must know what I am looking for. It's what comes naturally to me. But you fish with a net. You cast out a big net and pick up everything in the area, sorting out what you want and throwing the rest back. I can fish with a net to but it's just.harder for me," he obviously didn't wish to elaborate on what "harder" meant. Jean was a bit hurt by this. She had always believed that Xavier's mind was an open book to her just as hers was to him, but apparently she was mistaken.

But she didn't want to share any of this with Rogue. She didn't want to share it with anybody. Frankly she was a little frightened about the possibility of one day becoming the world's premiere telepath.

"Less invasive? What exactly does that mean?" Rogue asked with a frown.

"I won't hurt you, Rogue, I promise," said Jean as she took a few steps back toward Rogue's bed.

"You can't promise that," Rogue said quietly as she brought up her knees, still covered by her comforter, and hugged them to her chest. All she could think about was all of the voices running around in her head.

Jean sighed and looked down at the floor, sensing what Rogue was thinking. "I know how you feel," she said quietly.

Rogue's head snapped up, anger flashed in her grey eyes. The sentence "how could you possibly know how I feel," ready at her lips. But she locked onto the sad, faraway look in Jean's blue-green eyes and knew that Jean did understand how she felt. "Do they ever go away for you?" Rogue asked quietly. She had never had any interest in Jean's mutation, or how difficult it might be for her to bear, at least not until she had experienced her own invasion of voices. Selfish, selfish, Rogue chastised herself.

Jean bit her bottom lip, a habit of hers, and shook her head, "No."

"How do ya live with that?"

Jean shrugged and sat back down on the corner of Rogue's bed, "How do you live with not being able to touch anyone?"

Rogue blinked, surprised that Jean addressed the subject aloud. Not angry, just surprised.

"I don't feel sorry for you, Rogue. Do you feel sorry for me?"

Rogue shook her head.

They sat in silence for a few moments, neither girl making eye contact. Finally, Rogue spoke. "But ah gained control of the voices, maybe you can too," she suggested.

Jean smiled weakly at her, "I've been working to do that for about six years. And just when I thought I finally had it." Jean trailed off, turning her face away.

Rogue just nodded, remembering the day Jean's powers surged out of control.

"If you think that was bad you should have seen me when my telekinetic powers first manifested," Jean said, a smirk playing about her lips. "One time I threw Logan across the dining room and through the wall into the kitchen."

Rogue chuckled and shook her head.

"If you look closely in the wall right next to the fridge you can see that the paint color is just a little bit different," Jean said with a small laugh.

"And ya expect me to trust the safety of mah mind to a girl lahke you?" Rogue asked with a grin. It was meant as a joke, but she felt guilty as soon as it had been said aloud. She thought it would be ok, being that it was along the same lines as the self-deprecating humor that Jean so often used.

Jean flinched, then smiled.

"Ya do that too much," Rogue said, thrusting out her chin so as to point toward Jean.

"Do what?"

"Smile to cover up yoah pain," Rogue answered.

Jean said nothing. She shifted her position on the bed and shrugged her shoulders.

"Ya know what, shugah," Rogue said in a sassy voice as she let down her legs and crossed her arms over her chest, "everybody's always on me about hidin' the way I really feel, 'bout not talkin' to people, but you're the one who's good at hidin.'"

"I don't know what you mean," Jean said, avoiding Rogue's fierce gaze.

"Yes ya do," Rogue confirmed. "Yoah doin' it right now. What is it yoah so afraid of, Jean? Do ya think if we knew the real you we wouldn't like it?"

"What real me? This is the real me," Jean protested.

"Right," Rogue replied in a skeptical voice.

"Look, I don't want you to psychoanalyze me," Jean said in a loud voice. As she spoke, her fists tightened and the tower of CDs lifted up and crashed into the wall.

Both girls turned to watch them clatter all over the floor.

Jean leapt from her position on the bed, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," she practically pleaded.

Rogue flipped the covers off of herself, ready to pursue Jean if she fled. "No, Jean ah'm sorry. Ah didn't mean it like that. Ah didn't want to hurt you."

Jean nodded and looked around the room nervously, making sure that nothing else had been disturbed during her little fit.

"Ah didn't mean to imply that ya are a big phony or anything, Jean," Rogue continued. "Ah know that most of the time ya are completely honest. You're a good person, Jean, ah know that," Rogue said as she lifted her left hand to her temple and touched it lightly. "But sometimes ya hide yoahself to keep from being vulnerable. Ah do the same thing," Rogue admitted in a quiet voice. "Ya'll hide it with a smile, but ah use my anger."

Jean sat back down on the bed, impressed and a little amazed at Rogue's candidness.

Rouge looked at Jean's surprised face and smiled to herself. "Ah've been working with Ororo on meditating n'stuff. Helps me cut through all the crap to get to what really matters."

"Sometimes I can't control my telekinesis while I sleep," Jean said suddenly. Her cheeks reddened with embarrassment at the spontaneous admission.

But Rogue just nodded her head and listened, waiting for Jean to continue.

"It used to happen all the time when I was younger. I'd wake up and I'd be floating above my bed, all the clothes would be out of my closet, or the mirrors would be broken. One night I woke up and I was flying toward my bedroom window. I hit it and broke through the glass, would have kept right on going, but the wooden window frame stopped me."

"Who all knew about this?"

"The professor, of course, and all the adults."

"Did Scott know?"

"Not at first, but he found out," Jean admitted quietly.

"Does it still happen?"

Jean shook her head and quietly said, "No."

"Ah promise ah won't tell anybody, ya can tell me the truth."

But Jean just shook her head.

Rogue hesitated for a moment, "If ah tell you my own secret, will yah tell me the truth?"

Jean looked up at Rogue. Curiosity eventually won out and Jean nodded once.

Rogue looked down and took a deep breath. Then she looked up into Jean's eyes. "Sometimes ah practice kissing on mah pillow," Rogue said in a hurried voice.

Jean smiled shyly at her. Then, after a few moments she stopped smiling and looked down. Slowly she began to unbutton her white shirt. When she held it open, Rogue could see a large fist-sized maroon and purple bruise along the left side of her ribcage, just under her white bra.

Rogue winced. It looked awful.

After a moment, Jean began to re-button her shirt. "I did it a few days ago in my sleep," she said softly.

"Can't the professor help you or anything?" Rogue asked.

Jean shook her head, "He's basically done all he can. The rest is up to me." Jean looked away for a moment. It was easier for her now that she was older, she could hide it better. She had learned how to make excuses as to why she couldn't change for gym soccer or track practice with the other girls.

But it had been harder to so when she was younger. When she was in seventh and eighth grade she would show up with visible bruises at least once a week. One day she was called into the principal's office where a social worker met with her to talk about the bruises.

"I take karate classes, that's where I got the bruises," Jean lied to the man with a straight face. She was terrified that the man would come and investigate the institute, maybe even take her away from Xavier.

The social worker had not been convinced and made a call to Professor Xavier. Jean had come home from school one day to find the door to Xavier's office shut. The professor never shut his door. Convinced that she was going to be sent back to her parents, or even worse, taken into the state's custody, Jean had run away to hide at the boathouse.

Hours later Xavier had found her, hiding curled up in the bed in the loft of the boathouse. He had called her down and, after a few minutes of silence, she had complied.

"Please don't let them take me away," she pleaded in a broken voice as she wiped the tears away from her face with the back of her hand, "I promise I'll try harder. I'll learn to make it stop. I can do it, I know I can do it. I'll be perfect, I'll be perfect."

Fighting back his own tears, Xavier had reached for her and pulled her into his lap in a fierce hug, " Jean, don't have to be perfect. And I'd never let anybody take you, never."

As she remembered the professor's words, Jean blinked back tears.

"Jean, are ya ok?" Rogue asked quietly. She reached out and laid a hand on Jean's shoulder.

"Yeah, sorry," she sighed heavily and looked back at Rogue.

"Ya don't have to be sorry," Rogue said as she pulled back her hand.

Neither of them said anything for a while, they just sat there in silence, half-looking at each other.

"Well I guess maybe I should let you get back to your beauty sleep," said Jean as she rose from the bed, "I'll go to the mall today and pick you out a normal birthday present. You know, one that's not from inside yoah own head," Jean said with a smirk as she mimicked Rogue's accent.

"Ah do not sound like that," Rogue said with an indignant snort.

Jean shrugged and grinned back, moving for the door.

"Wait," Rogue said suddenly as Jean laid a hand on the doorknob.

Jean turned.

Rogue hesitated for a moment, looking down and her blanket covered legs, "Ok."

"Ok?" Jean asked, taking a step toward Rogue's bed.

"Yeah, ok, do the memory thing."

"Are you sure," Jean asked.

"Yeah, damnit, ah want my birthday present," Rogue replied in mock anger.

"But why?" Jean asked as she sat down on the bed again.

"Ah don't know," Rogue sighed and tipped her head back, staring at the ceiling. "Ah trust you Jean. Ah don't trust yoah power, but ah trust you. And that's enough for me," Rogue smiled up at the ceiling.

Jean smiled back. "Ok, Rogue, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Just focus on breathing and keep your mind clear." Jean slid closer to Rogue and closed her own eyes.

Rogue followed the instructions. Almost instantly she could feel a small tickle in the back of her head, then slowly, like slipping into a warm bath, Jean was in her mind. She didn't feel scared or invaded, actually she felt quite the opposite. She was comforted, she felt safe.

Jean worked delicately, brushing back the 'spider webs' that covered some of Rogue's less hidden memories. There were others, hidden deeper under thick scar tissue, Jean stayed away from those. Releasing those would take hard work and no small amount of pain-on both her part and Rogue's. Jean had been given a delicate gift in Rogue's trust; the last thing she wanted to do was screw it up by over stepping herself.

Then she found it. Jean stepped through into the warm filtering light. There was a soft glow, like the slow break of day. This is going to be a beautiful memory, Jean thought to herself with a huge grin as she cleared the last of the spider webs so that Rogue could see.

***"You are mah sunshine, mah only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey. You'll never know, dear, how much ah love you. Please don't take mah sunshine away," A beautiful, golden voice with a soft Southern accent filtered through the light. Rogue opened up her eyes. She was in a bed, a small bed. Stuffed animals surrounded her. She looked up and a huge grin lit up her face. There was a woman standing above her. But all Rogue could see was her silhouette against the open window, where the sunlight was streaming through. The woman knelt and reached out for Rouge. Rogue pushed her small body out of bed and leapt into the woman's arms. Soft chestnut locks brushed against Rogue's cheeks. After a long hug, the woman released her and moved back. Rogue gazed into the woman's big green eyes as she felt a soft finger brush against her cheek. "Mah, beautiful little Marie," The woman said in a whisper, "Mah little southern belle," she said and leaned in to give her daughter a kiss on the forehead. "Happy birthday darlin,'"***

Tears were already streaming down her face when Rogue opened her eyes, "Momma," she said softly. She closed her eyes once more and began to sob.

Jean watched her, conscious of the tears streaming down her own face. Slowly, she moved further up the bed until she was right beside Rogue. She reached out and enveloped the girl in her arms.

Rogue accepted the hug, circling Jean with her own arms. She cried for a while, huge choking sobs that racked her whole body. She had been somebody's sunshine.

Jean held her, letting her cry, not saying anything, just holding her.

After a while, the crying began to slow down. Rogue sniffed a little and pulled back. "Thank you," she said in a hoarse voice.

Jean just nodded.

She smiled through her tears and reached out to Jean for another hug. "Jean, that was amazing."

"Your welcome," Jean answered as they broke the hug, "Happy birthday.Marie."

Rogue smiled, "Marie," she repeated.

Jean sat quietly, waiting for Rogue to say something else.

After a few moments, Rogue spoke again, "Don't say anything to anybody, not yet. Ah'm not ready quite yet."

Jean nodded, smiling at her. "I'll leave you alone for a while," Jean said as she gave Rogue's arm a soft squeeze and rose from the bed. "It's Ororo's turn to make brunch today, so you might not want to stay up here for too long. Kurt'll eat all the blueberry pancake's unless somebody's there to stop him," Jean warned as she opened the door.

Rogue nodded, "Unless ah'm mistaken, you can put away yoah fair share too, Ms. Grey."

Jean blushed slightly and rolled her eyes, not even bothering to refute the statement. Kurt and Jean's powers both used up a lot of energy and, as a result, the two of them were notorious for taking third and fourth helpings.

"Hey, Jean," Rogue said as Jean was stepping through the door.

Jean looked back over her shoulder.

"Mah next therapy session with the professor is Sunday night. Ah was wondering if you'd, um, be there."

"If you'd like me there, sure, I'd love to," Jean answered. "But why?"

"Ah told you, Jean. Ah trust you."

Jean smiled and nodded. She left quietly, closing the door behind herself.

Rogue stared at the closed door for a few moments. She pushed the covers off of herself and swung her legs out of bed. She walked toward the window and pulled open the curtains, letting the sunshine stream through, filling the entire room. Rogue smiled and hugged herself as she remembered the feeling of her mother's finger softly brushing her bare cheek.

End.