Here's the full interview. My editor has a few changes to make, but I wanted your approval before it's sent to the presses. You can call me at the office—917-555-8585.
It was a pleasure meeting you both. Good luck with finals.
Legacy Epidemic - A background
Reporting from Glasgow, Scotland
In the five years that I've worked at for The Washington Post, I've covered stories on everything from street level mutant attacks to Brotherhood confrontations to the events of Black Thursday. If I'm going to be honest here, the so-called superior species hasn't done much to endear itself to me-especially after my friend and colleague Cooper "Doc" Saunderson was killed by a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants last October in the infamous Rapid City standoff with US Marshals. I wasn't shedding tears over the news that there was a virus targeting only mutants, and I hardly seemed alone in this sentiment: the American public had grown more than resentful over increasing reports of mutant conflicts. With two wars brewing in allied nations, an economy on the downturn, and Congress in disarray over the Masterson scandal, we had a lot on our minds.
When Supreme Court Justice Thompson was hospitalized for exhaustion in late December, I, along with every other Democrat in Washington, wondered if there was a chance of getting another liberal on the bench. A week later, Senator Kelly, notorious for his unexpected about-face on the issue of mutant registration, dropped out of the public eye. Around the same time, the President's chief of staff announced his sudden retirement
Outside of Washington, seemingly unrelated events took place. Miranda St. Denis, star of the popular pseudo-reality show "What Happens In Vegas" entered rehab for a rumoured sex addiction, while Harlan Sheffield, winner of the CMA for Performer of the Year, cancelled his North American tour. And John Church, one of the most respected comedians of our time, announced he could no longer host the Oscars due to "family problems".
Suddenly the rumours were flying. Something other than addictions or affairs were behind these disappearances These people were mutants, and they'd contracted the Legacy virus. Across the country, panic spread. If people under as much scrutiny as our celebrities could conceal their mutant status, could friends and neighbors as well? And was there a cure for this so-called "Legacy"?
Within a week, the WHO had raised the epidemic spread estimate to Phase 5. In the Oval Office, President McKenna met with the CDC to discuss declaring a State of Emergency.
Like any similar crisis in the 21st century, people questioned the seriousness of the situation. After all, the virus was isolated only to mutants—did that really necessitate declaring a State of Emergency, a move that would surely pass more costs onto the taxpayers? Civil liberties activists took issue with these statements. Donald Francisco, head of the Los Angeles ACLU, harkened the rumours circulating about Legacy to misinformation and paranoia that was rampant at the start of the AIDS epidemic. "Let's learn from our mistakes," Francisco urged during a press conference in early February. He encouraged Americans to take the regular precautions advised during a flu epidemic, and to remember that mutants were citizens as much as anyone else. More radical groups claimed that the virus was being re-engineered to infect humans, a rare example of propaganda that was chillingly correct.
Before the panic had reached an all time peak, however, infected mutants made a miraculous recovery. Word spread that an antidote had been created, one that needed only one living source to neutralize the virus. As more reports trickled in, the country was gripped with the realization of just how close we had come what the WHO called "the worst bio-chemical threat since the 1918 Spanish Influenza". The public demanded answers. How had such a catastrophe been prevented, and who was responsible?
The answers were slow in coming. We eventually learned that the virus had been created by the Friends of Humanity (FOH) an anti-mutant group dedicated to preserving the human race. As for the recovery, two mutants had been responsible-not only for hosting the antidote, but also for destroying the only sample of the cross-engineered virus (suspected to have been created by the Brotherhood of Mutants). Even more astounding was the fact that not only were these mutants barely adults, neither had perished as a result.
For safety reasons, the names of the individuals responsible were not released. Of course, it didn't take the media long to identify the two as Marie D'Ancanto, 18, and John Allardyce, 19, and even less time figure out that the pair were being cared for at Glasgow's University Hospital. While I conducted the interview featured on A6, journalists from almost every news outlet in the developed world gathered outside, hoping for a glimpse of the teenagers that the Daily News has dubbed, rather melodramatically, "The Children of the (R)evolution".
Scientists are continuing to study the development of Legacy and the possibility of mutated strains. Visit for a day-by-day timeline of the virus and extended interview coverage.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LEGACY HEROES
Jeremy Reese interviews the two teenagers responsible for the Legacy cure
It's time for a confession: If I were still eighteen, I would have fallen completely head over heels for Marie D'Ancanto. Something tells me, however, that I'd have more than my fair share of competition.
Take for example, her partner in crime, John Allardyce. The two insist fervently that they are indeed just friends, but the way he grins at her corny jokes, and the way she teases him about his messy hair, say otherwise. The two are comfortable with each other in way that most married couples would envy.
To paint a picture: Marie is the image of a perfect Southern belle, were it not for the goth-style streaks that frame her face- and the fact that this debutante is extensively trained in Krav Maga, Aikido, and marksmanship. Her eyes are simultaneously shy, wary, and playful. I tell her that she has the kind of smile men would walk to the ends of the earth for.
"Stop it," she blushes. "You're just trying to get some juicy gossip for your readers."
"Don't put yourself down," quips John. "I'd walk to the ends of the earth to get away from your singing."
I mention that he clearly had no problem following her all the way to Scotland. He falls silent, tossing a battered Zippo between his hands. John has a lanky build, with a slouch and smirk that could give James Dean a run for his money.
The two are cagey, though they do their best to answer my questions about their experience as mutants. Marie ran away from home at 16, after what can only be described as an attempted lynching in her Mississippi hometown. John was abandoned by his parents a few months after his power – an ability to manipulate fire—manifested. It's not easy to listen to their histories—neither seem to fit the "teenage runaway" archetype, but both admit to squatting, stealing and fighting in order to survive.
I ask them why they chose me to conduct their first and only interview with the press. They explain that they wanted someone without a pro-mutant bias. "We wanted to reach a wider audience, and there are certain reporters that some of the conservative population just won't listen to." Marie explains.
Out of curiosity, I name a few. John nods, and pokes Marie when I mention Geoffrey Perry. "Marie wanted him because he's cute." I pretend to be insulted, and she quickly rushes to assure me that I am equally attractive. Her already flushed face reaches near fever levels.
I ask what I know most readers will want to know. Why did they choose to risk their lives for total strangers?
Before answering, the two conduct an entire conversation in a glance, as though confirming which details to reveal or conceal. Eventually Marie tucks a piece of hair behind her ear. "John was sick, with the Legacy Virus, and my...one of my very good friends was as well. We didn't know what else to do."
I tell them that many people had sick loved ones. Why did they decide it was worth sacrificing their lives, instead of leaving it in the hands of someone older, more experienced?
Another look. They reveal that originally John was to be the one injecting the antidote. His logic? "Well, I was already a goner, as far as I was concerned. Figured I might as well help a few people along the way." He makes sure I know that it was Marie that insisted on going back to destroy the re-engineered sample.
"I don't have, like a hero complex, or a death wish," she explains, when I press for more details. "We weren't trying to be martyrs, we were just trying to do the right thing." She pauses. "I think that most people in our position would have done the same."
I ask John what happened to make him change his mind about taking the antidote. At this, he grins, and turns to his friend. "Nothing. [Marie] just felt like stealing the spotlight."
"I did not!" she protests, but as she explains, she smiles. "My particular mutation works in a way that it was able to process the antidote without killing me. I only realized it in the nick of time. Sorry I didn't send you a memo," she adds, tetchily.
I ask her for specifics about her mutation, but she politely refuses to elaborate. Instead, she asks me how I like working for the Post. I get the hint, and turn my questioning back to their backgrounds.
Much has been made over that fact that the two attend a school for mutants.
While not the only institution of its kind, it is the only one that also trains its students in combat, espionage, and warcraft, in the hopes that when they graduate, they'll join in the fight for mutant equality. I ask whether such training is really necessary-surely the fight for mutant equality could be fought in courtrooms and classrooms, much like other movements of its type?
They both rush to assure me that they aren't being taught to use violence as a means to an end. "It's more like a...byproduct," John says, thoughtfully. "The lessons are more to protect us than anything else. But also to protect others," he turns to his companion. "Right?"
"Right," she confirms, seemingly more convinced of the schools objective than he is. "The world is a hostile place for a mutant, with groups like the Coalition for the Protection of Man, or the Friends of Humanity," she spits the name like a sour taste in her mouth. "Trying to wipe us off the planet. And for humans, with the Brotherhood of Mutants or what have you. Our teachers want us to work for the good of everyone, not just mutants."
I ask them if that's why they felt they had to embark on their mission to destroy the Legacy Virus. "I think..." John says slowly. "That we've been taught to see our powers as tools, instead of curses. And...we've been taught that we can make a difference." He looks at Marie, who is regarding him with a mixture of pride and surprise on her face. "So...I guess my answer is...probably? [Our teachers] definitely weren't happy with us for doing it, so I don't think they'd ever actively encourage their students to do something as stupid as we did, but I think the core values are there, yeah."
Have their lives changed now that the whole world views them as heroes?
"Oh yeah," John says, stretching his arms up and cracking his neck. "Before, we couldn't leave the hospital without [our guardian's] written permission. Now, we need to consult Scotland Yard and be accompanied by MI-5, and that's before Scott even considers laughing and telling us to forget about it."
Marie says that all of the cards and letters from supporters have been overwhelming. "Just to know we made such a difference to so many people..." she bites her lip. "It brings home the fact that we made the right choice."
People have sent money and gifts as well. Marie confirms that everything has been donated to charity. One particularly generous donor sent two tickets for an Alaskan cruise, after friends of the pair told the press how "like, totally obsessed" Marie was with the state. Those, Marie admits, they kept.
"Since I'm done school this year, it's going to be a bit of a graduation trip."
When asked if he's going as well, John shakes his head. "I hate the snow. And those friggen polar bears... No thank you."
Marie laughs at him. "Polar bears? Really?"
I have to ask: If not John, who would be accompanying her?
"Oh, one of my friends, I'm sure." She has to wait until after her broken arm heals, which gives her plenty of time to finish her studies and find a travel partner.
Before I wrap up the interview, I ask two more questions: With all the obstacles they faced on the journey, what was it that kept them going?
She considers the question. "I don't think I realized I had any other options. I just did what I thought was right, and everything worked out from there."
John nods in agreement.
Surely, I ask, others have an opinion on the qualities they possessed that allowed them to succeed?
"Scott said we had a shitload of luck and the recklessness of youth on our side." John answers.
Marie smiles and adds: "Whatever that means."
For those interested, donations can be made to the Jean Grey Memorial Fund for Mutants in Need by calling 1-888-555-9876. If you know a mutant child in need of protection, contact Hank McCoy at the Mutant Affairs office, or send an e-mail to HankMcoy
Subject: Thing 1 and Thing 2
Subjects will be moved from hospital to GLA tomorrow morning at 06:00. Security has been put in place to prevent media interference.
Flight from GLA to EWR at 11:00. Officers will be on board, as will a Federal Air Marshall.
I'm bored. This movie really sucks. And I'm pretty sure I've seen our flight attendant in "Big Busty Babes 2: Babes Take Los Angeles"
You would know something like that, wouldn't you?
You okay? You're looking a little green.
Yeah, you know I just hate flying. I'll be fine.
Bit ironic that you're scared of flying, considering the experience we've just been through.
Whatever. You're scared of polar bears. Did those Coca-cola commercials give you nightmares when you were a kid or something?
THEY ARE THE BIGGEST BEARS! And they're really vicious. Don't judge me.
Why are we writing notes, anyway?
I dunno. I guess I just got used to it. Besides, I don't want anyone to hear what we're saying.
Yeah, I can see how bears and babes makes for some high clearance intel.
You know what? I'm sick and tired of your attitude. Go to your room.
Speaking of rooms, where are you going to stay when we get back to the mansion? I can't imagine you'll want to bunk up with Bobby again.
John, I know you're awake. If you're not careful I'm going to have a pretzel free throw contest into your mouth. That's really attractive, the way your tongue is hanging out like that.
God, you're annoying.
You're not coming back are you?
That's great, John. What are you going to do? Live on the streets? Crash on Magneto's couch? I can't friggen believe this.
Would you calm down? I never said I was going back. You just assumed.
I thought I had a good reason to.
Aw, don't look at me like that. Are you going to let me tell you the whole story, or do you want to continue jumping down my throat? Because in all honesty, if you're going to jump down anything, I'd rather it be my-
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT FINISHING THAT SENTENCE. Fine. Tell me the whole story.
Scott and I had a long talk the other day while you and Logan were duking it out. He said that as much as he wanted me to come back to the mansion, he understood if I didn't want to jump back in like nothing had happened. He told me no one was going to force me to come back.
That was awfully reasonable of him. I'll have to smack him when he gets back from the washroom.
ANYWAY. He said if I'm interested, Xavier needs someone working abroad. Someone able to travel, to get in and out of places and not cause too much trouble.
And you said yes?
Not at first. I didn't think I fit the bill. But after I thought about it for a couple of days, I realized it doesn't matter. I want to try. Maybe I'll be really good at it. And who knows? Maybe after I've proved myself, I'll come back and become an X-Man.
I don't think you need to prove yourself.
Maybe not to you. Or to Scott. But to everyone else I do. And…I need to prove it to myself, as cheesy as that sounds. Does that make sense?
Yes. That doesn't mean I have to like it.
I didn't think you would. That actually means a lot to me.
What? That I understand or that I don't like it?
You're a weirdo.
And you're squeezing my hand hard enough to make my bones crack. It's just turbulence. We're going to be landing soon.
Oh God, landing's the part I hate the most!
Is it just me, or has Scott been in the bathroom a long time?
Do you think he's okay?
I don't know, I'll…Oh.
What? What did you see?
He's flirting with the Busty Babe.
He is not. Let me see.
Okay, but don't be too obvious about it.
OH MY GOD!
This is insane! This is crazy! This is…
A grasshopper walks in a bar. The bartender says: "Way to be a pimp, you old rascal you."
Ro.D and J-Dawg
FOR ROGUE! WHEN SHE GETS HOME!
We missed you SO much. We are so happy that you're safe and sound.
THAT BEING SAID, WE NEED TO TALK.
There are a lot of rumours flying around, Rogue.
YEAH, NOT ALL THEM ARE VERY NICE, EITHER.
We mean, they're more then the standard "Mutant teen saves the world" rumours.
WHICH, SPEAKING FOR MYSELF, I'M A LITTLE TIRED OF. SAVE SOME GLORY FOR THE REST OF US, WOULD YA?
So about these rumours…
DID YOU ACTUALLY HAVE SEX WITH JOHN ON A REMOTE SCOTTISH ISLAND BEFORE YOU INJECTED THAT STUFF INTO YOUR BODY?
Did you really take down Mystique and some of her cronies all by yourself?
DID SCOTT ACTUALLY WALK IN ON YOU MAKING OUT WITH AN INTERPOL AGENT?
Did you guys really blow up the whole lab?
ARE YOU ACTUALLY HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH THAT (MARRIED) CORRESPONDENT FROM THE WASHINGTON POST?
Are you actually asking these questions, Jubilee?
ARE YOU ACTUALLY SURPRISED, KITTY?
Actually…I would like to know what's going with John. Is it true he's coming back?
OH MAN, I CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON THAT GUY.
Bobby's going to freak.
EVERYBODY'S GOING TO FREAK.
I guess he did sort of help save the world.
OH COME ON. WE BOTH KNOW IT WAS ALL ROGUE.
We're sure you're going to be tired when you get back
YEAH, SO WE WONT COME BUG YOU TO TELL US EVERYTHING UNLESS YOU REALLY, REALLY, WANT TO.
Yeah. Just to be clear, though. WE really, really want you to.
We're so glad you're back.
Kitty and JUBES
I'm glad to be back too. I am really tired, and my arm is killing me, so I think I'm just going to go to sleep…
Oh, forget it. Come on over.
I was going to write you a letter telling you how mad I was at you. What were you thinking, running off and practically killing yourself like that? You had me scared half to death when I got your e-mail.
But honestly, now I'm just so glad you're okay that I'm prepared to forgive you. On one condition…
Attached to this letter are 3 tickets to my play. Well, not MY play, specifically, but the play I've been working on since the beginning of time. I can't believe it's in two weeks! Anyway, I would love it if you came to see it. I included the extra tickets in case you wanted to bring friends, but I can send more your way if you want.
And I was thinking maybe afterwards you could come to the after-party? You might think it's totally lame, what with the fact that you've just saved the world and everything, but it's usually pretty fun (by Westchester standards). I can guarantee some under-age drinking and at least some kind of make-out drama (usually involving Mariella and Hot Thomas, but since Hot Thomas graduated this year, who knows?). Either way, I'll be there, and that's all you really need, right?
And OH MY GOD I can't believe I'm talking about my stupid play when you've just saved the world. You must think I'm such a spaz. Maybe you're beyond this whole "high school drama" thing? I'm not sure. Hmm. Now I'm re-thinking this entire letter, from the content to the syntax.
WHATEVER, I don't care. This letter was really just to say I'm glad you're alive and welcome back, and for heaven's sakes CALL ME when you get it, because I need to hear what REALLY happened, not this garbage they keep spouting on the news.
Love and ice cream sundaes,
P.S. I can't believe I'm saying this, but if you want to send one of those tickets John's way, I can't say I'd be totally opposed to him being there. DON'T LAUGH.
Are you serious? I'd love to come to your play! John's leaving tomorrow for San Diego, and I'm not sure when he'll be back, but I'll ask him. I have so much to tell you. Do you want to meet up for coffee tomorrow and I can finally tell you everything?
(oh, and FYI, you've been thoroughly vetted by just about every intelligence organization in the Western world, and have apparently been found to be no threat)
Let me know!
I'd love to, but I am so insanely busy with the play that I can't! As soon as it's done?
I kind of have some stuff to tell you too, but I don't know if you would even be interested?
Are you insane? Of course I'm interested! Tell me tell me tell me tell me!
How's the arm doing? I'll bring the car around front at 3, so we can make it into the City for your appointment.
I read online that eating a balanced diet will heal bones faster. Stop eating so many of those chocolate peanut butter cups and have an apple.
Okay, okay. I'm sitting back stage right now, drinking a Fresca and writing this. I'm supposed to be taking notes on how everyone is blocking, so that our director can yell at everyone about it later. Obviously writing to you is way preferable, so here I am!
The play is in one week! Ahhh!
Okay, so a LOT happened while you were off saving the world. First of all, Ben and Leah had a massive fight, and basically broke up.
Don't worry though, they are probably going to get back together.
So what happened (as far as I can tell) is this:
After Ben and I had that talk, and he admitted that he had been a moron, he decided to go and talk to Leah about it. Only, because he's a boy, instead of saying something like "Hey, we never hang out with Keltie anymore. What do you say we cut out some of the excessive PDA and include her in some of the stuff we do?" he went up to her in the hallway (before her math midterm, no less!) and said "Why are you being such a bitch to Keltie lately?"
Boys, huh? You can't live with 'em, you can't kick them through a brick wall. (Well, you could, probably.)
I was sitting in the library, unawares, while all this was happening. I had just gotten your email and was freaking out, trying to decide what I should do. Francine Brenning found me in there. Apparently she hadn't gotten the memo that I was a social pariah, and no longer on speaking terms with Leah, because she told me that Leah was crying in the ladies room and that I had to come, quick.
Honestly, I was still reeling from your message and in no mood to help Leah at all, but since worrying about you in the ladies room was no worse of an option than worrying about you in calculus, I followed Francine back to the third floor.
Leah was indeed crying. On the floor. Against the wall. When she saw me, she narrowed her eyes and said "What, are you here to ask me why I've been such a bitch lately, too?"
My eyebrows rose involuntarily, because at this point I didn't know Ben had talked to her ("talked" to her). "No," I said. Francine chose that moment to back out of the ladies room awkwardly.
Leah started crying harder. I didn't know what to do, so I leaned against the counter and stared at the fascinating pattern on the tile floor. I wondered where you were and if you were even still alive, and I hated Leah a lot for being such a drama queen when so many more important things were happening outside of the brick walls of this prison/school.
When she started to breathe a little more normally, I glanced at her. "Why have you been such a bitch lately?" I didn't say it in an accusing tone. I really wanted to know. I knew that Ben hadn't cut me out on purpose, and that a good deal of my social pariah-hood had been of my own doing, but I hadn't imagined the coldness I'd been feeling on her end.
She didn't answer, just stared stonily at the wall. I rolled my eyes. "Fine," I said, pushing myself off the counter. I was heading for the door when she said my name.
"What?" I turned.
The look on her face now was one of guilt. "I was jealous."
I crossed my arms. "Jealous. Of what?"
"Of you. I wanted Ben all to myself and I didn't want to share him. Even with you."
"That's really dumb, Leah."
She looked down at her hands. "I know."
We were silent for a moment. "I don't get why that meant you had to be so mean to me." I said finally.
Slowly, her eyes met mine. "It wasn't just that. I felt…I felt guilty. I pushed you away."
"Guilty because you didn't want to share him?"
"Guilty because I knew how you felt about him."
I felt my stomach drop into my chest. "W-what? You mean 'cause he was my best friend?"
Her eyes softened, into a look that was so close to pity it made me want to punch a wall. "It was more than that. You had…feelings for him."
I shook my head. "No, I didn't."
She looked unsure, and at first I thought I had almost covered convincingly, until she said "I found the letter you wrote to him." She glanced away, almost like she knew how red my face was getting and didn't want to embarrass me more. "It fell out of your binder that time you came over to do that project on the UN. I know I shouldn't have read it, but once I did…well, I couldn't unread it. I didn't know what to say."
I remembered the letter, and the project. I had always assumed I'd thrown the letter out. The idea that Leah had read those lame, sappy words made me want to throw up, or die, or both. I considered turning around and walking out, but I didn't. I don't know why.
"I've been a terrible friend," she said softly. "I just…I liked him so much and I knew that you're not supposed to go after the guys your friends like. But I did anyways. And because I felt so guilty I tried to convince myself that it was okay. You were acting so weird anyways that it wasn't that hard to just…keep pushing you away."
"You should have told me," I said, my voice almost choked up. "I would have understood." Lie. "I would have been okay with it." Another lie. "It would have been better than the last three months of solitude." Well, that at least was true.
She started crying again. "I've missed you so much."
I didn't say anything, because even though I'd missed her too, I was still bitter and resentful. She'd basically stopped being my friend over a boy. Everyone knows that you just don't do that.
"Is there any way," she sniffed. "We could start over?"
I picked at a loose piece of the linoleum countertop. "I don't know. Maybe. I have a lot on my mind right now." At that moment it occurred to me that it was time to contact your Professor. I hadn't wanted to, at first, because I didn't want you to get into trouble, but then I realized how stupid that was. "I have to go."
After that it was a lot of running around and scrambling while I found someone with a car willing to take me to your school (Jack) and a lot of confusion while I tried to get in and talk to someone (Professor Xavier) and a lot of yelling while everyone freaked out about how stupid you were (mostly Scott). But you already know all that by now.
When I got to school the next day, exhausted and tense because I had heard no news about whether you were alright, everyone was talking about Leah and Ben breaking up. At first, I was startled. And then I was surprised, but not by the fact that they broke up. It was because
a) It didn't make me feel anything. Seriously. I didn't feel a pang of longing or hope or anything.
b) I dimly realized that Leah had probably broken up with Ben as a way to prove that our friendship meant something to her. I knew it was probably my responsibility to tell her that she was being ridiculous, but…
c) There were so many bigger problems in the world, and this one didn't even make this list of things I was concerned about.
I went to class and I worried about you. At lunch, I was at my locker getting my books, when Leah approached me. Before she could open her mouth, though, my cell phone rang. It was Kitty, telling me that you had been found and you were alive. I put my hand over my eyes and started crying.
"Keltie?" Kitty said.
"Yeah," I said shakily. "I'm here."
"Are you okay?" asked Leah. She put her hand on my shoulder.
Kitty was saying something. "…in the hospital in Glasgow, but they're alive. I'm not supposed to tell you anything else, but…"
"Did it work?" I asked.
"Turn on the news," Kitty said, but she sounded like she was smiling so I knew the answer was yes. I hung up the phone, and turned to Leah, who still looked concerned.
"Come on," I said, and grabbed her hand. I walked into the student lounge, where a group of seniors were gathered around the tv. I sank into one of the couches. Leah sat down next to me, still looking concerned.
"Keltie," she started.
"Shh," I said. "Watch."
As we watched the news come in, the lounge started to fill up. We watched as news helicopters flew over the smoking lab in Scotland, as reporters tried to yell questions at Scott as he left the hospital, and as government officials in Washington tried to make sense of everything. Mostly, we watched person after person talk about their loved ones with the Virus, and how your actions had saved their lives.
Rogue, honestly, I don't think I realized what a big deal this all was until that moment. I can't even tell you how proud I am.
I cried again after the third straight interview with a mother whose child had just been cured of the virus. Leah hesitated, then put her arm around me.
Anyway, that was two weeks ago, and I wouldn't say things are back to normal—Ben is shooting hurt puppy dog looks at Leah on stage as I speak—but maybe I don't want them to go back to normal. I feel like I've aged years since New Years Eve, but in a good way. I've missed Leah's friendship, but I've realized that I don't have to rely on it anymore. I've also (mostly) figured out a passion that I have. I think if I don't become a paramedic, maybe I'd like to be one of those people who find people after avalanches, or something. It would definitely be a good reason to get a very big dog!
I've decided to actually get my lifeguard certification this summer, so I can practice saving people as quickly as possible.
So that's what happened while you were off saving the world! It's certainly not as exciting as what you were doing (which I can't wait to hear all about) but it's what happened.
Uh-oh. Our director is coming back here to see my notes. Gotta go make some up now.
Love and mocha lattes,
P.S: What's going on with Logan? Has he declared his undying love for you yet?
Wow! I can't believe that Leah apologized.
I'm really happy that you're getting your friends back. I know how hard the last couple of months have been for you. And if "back to normal" isn't what you want, I completely understand!
Everything here is good. My arm is starting to heal and the doctor says the cast can come off in a couple of weeks. It was pretty chaotic the first day back—everyone wanted to know what happened, and some people (Bobby) were freaking out over John being back, and some people (Kitty and Ororo) wanted to yell at me for being so reckless, and some people wanted to apologize for yelling and give me a hug (Kitty and Ororo again). Jubilee wanted to know the full list of boys I wanted to kiss now that I could do so without killing them, and Peter wanted to ask for my hand in marriage (he was just kidding, but he was extremely grateful, and he had an actual ring and everything, which, thinking about it, is kind of strange).
As for Logan, he's been very…helpful. He drives me to my physio appointments in the city, and he helps me bring my books to class. But it's awkward, and we don't really talk, and I'm starting to wonder if the painkillers they gave me in the hospital made me hallucinate that I told him I loved him. Several times. Because how can you tell someone you love them without them, I don't know, RESPONDING?
Remember how you once said my life should be a movie? If my life were a movie, it would be a boring one. If my life were like a movie, it would have been Logan who found us on that cliff, and he would have taken me in his arms and told me how he thought he had lost me. I'd have tears sparkling in my eyelashes and my cheeks would be delicately flushed and I would have looked heartbreakingly heroic.
It would have been HOT, right?
But because I'm me, I have to settle for awkward silences and hastily scrawled notes instead.
Oh, because that's right. Suddenly Logan thinks he's Shakespeare. I can't even remember the last time we had a whole, normal conversation, now that he's taken to writing. All he does now is write notes. Good for him, I guess, except I'm pretty sure when he's not writing me notes about where he'll meet me after class (so he can carry my books and NOT TALK TO ME), he's writing letters to himself, trying to convince himself of all the reasons he can't have feelings for me.
Either that, or he's writing letters to me, trying to let me down gently.
I honestly don't know which I'd prefer. Either way, I get screwed. Not in the good way.
Anyway, I have tons of homework to catch up on, so I'm going to get back to that. Good luck with play rehearsals and I'll see you next week!
Love and rubber duckies,
As much fun as this whole note writing thing has been, do you think maybe we could hang out normally tonight? You know, have an actual conversation? About anything. Even hockey. You can teach me which team is better: the Montreal Canadiens or the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Let me know,
ROGUE! Look at this note! Over here on your pillow!
First things first: I'm sorry. For a multitude of things, which I would really appreciate the chance to explain in person. Would you like to go to a movie with me tonight, and then after we can talk? Just as friends, I promise.
Sure. It doesn't look like I'm doing anything else tonight.
Didn't get your note till it was too late. I'll meet you in the garage tomorrow to take you to physio.
P.S. I guess you were being sarcastic when you said I could teach you which team was better.
P.P.S. Do you really not know?
P.P.S. Maybe we should talk.
I know you're really busy with the play, and I'm going to see you this weekend anyway, but I just HAD to tell you this:
Several really weird things just happened. I was heading down the stairs to the main hall just as Kitty and Jubilee were getting back from the mall. Pete walked in just as I reached the landing, but before I could say hi, he got down on one knee in front of Kitty and pulled out a ring (the same ring, I might add, he used to fake-propose to me). Jubilee shrieked so loudly that of course, everyone in the common room and kitchen ran into the hall to see what was going on—including Andrew.
Pete started going on about how he knew how much he hurt Kitty by going back home and not writing, but that he hadn't wanted to burden her with his sorrow. Since he had been back, his love for her had only grown, and given everything that had happened with his sister and Ms. Grey, he was realizing how short life really was.
I'm pretty sure we all stood there with our mouths hanging open while he made this speech.
"Katya," he said finally. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
This was followed by the longest stretch of silence you've ever heard.
Then three things happened in quick succession:
Kitty, a look on her face I can only describe as 'horror', let out a breath and said "No."
Andrew flew out of the crowd of people and punched Pete in the face.
There was a loud crunching sound, and Andrew shrieked louder than Jubilee
It was because Pete's face had broken Andrew' hand. He wasn't even using his mutation. Apparently his face is just that hard.
Logan, who came into the hall just in time to see this last part, yelled at everyone to get the hell out. He told Jubilee to take Kitty, who was standing there in dumb shock, up to her room. He told me to take Andrew down to the MedLab. I helped Andrew get up, and we walked toward the elevators. Before the doors closed, I looked back at Pete, who was still standing in the hallway, his face frozen. Logan was saying something to him, his hand on Pete's arm, but before I could hear what it was, they turned and started walking towards the kitchen.
After I dropped Andrew off at the MedLab, I intercepted Kitty and Jubes on the stairs. The three of us walked back up to our room, silently. When we walked in the door, Jubilee asked tentatively "Kit, are you okay?"
She dropped her bag on the floor and whirled around. "Guys, Peter left. He left, okay? I know he was going through all that stuff and I don't fault him for that, but you know what? I wouldn't have ever done that to him."
She sounded so angry, and hurt, that I put my hand on her shoulder. "I know, sugar."
She glared at me, tears in her eyes. "Do you, really Rogue? Cause I seem to remember you doing the exact same thing a couple of months ago."
"Um," I said, eloquently. It wasn't like I could deny it. Or like I could say I had thought about Kitty at all while I'd run away to Boston/kept everyone in the dark about how sick I was/decided to save the world with our former arch nemesis. "I'm so sorry, Kitty." I said, finally. "I know you wouldn't have done that to anyone."
It was like she deflated, all at once. "I loved him so much." She sank down onto my bed, tears streaming down her face. She looked down, pressing her chin into her shoulder in a half shrug. "I still do. But I don't think I'd ever be able to trust him again."
Jubilee and I glanced at each other. "What about Andrew?" Jubilee said.
"Do you love him the same way?" I asked
Kitty spoke slowly. "I don't know. I think I could. He's been here. He treats me like a princess. He would never hurt me like that. I think…I think that's what matters."
After she went into the bathroom to take a shower, Jubilee and I lay down on our respective beds. She passed me some gum. "It sort of makes you wonder, doesn't it?"
"Who it's more important to be with."
"You mean, someone who is there for you and takes care of you, or someone that makes your heart shudder in every good and bad way?"
"I don't know."
"Which one do you think Logan is?"
I gave her a wry smile. "Guess."
"I'm sorry, chica."
I shrugged. "There are worse things in this world than having someone love you so much they'd do anything not to hurt you—even if it means not being with you."
Jubilee sent me her own twisted grin. "You really believe that?"
"I want to."
Anyway, that's what's happening. I suppose I could wait until tomorrow and just tell you in person, but I wanted to write it down. Something about writing to you helps me clear my mind a bit.
Tomorrow is your play! You must be so excited. I know I am. Kitty and Jubilee are coming with me to see it, and possibly Sean and Andrew, and I'm sure it will be fabulous.
The play is tonight.
Oh my God, it's TONIGHT.
I know that this whole time I've been acting like it's not important, but it actually means a lot to me. It seems like everything revolved around it this year—everything with Ben and Leah and Jack and a million other little things that never made it into my letters but were sometimes the only things to keep me going in the last few months (besides you, of course) and now the school year is coming to an end and the play will be done by the end of the week, and everything feels like it's just…ending.
It's weird, because even though I know I will be back here next year, it feels as though an era has ended, and a new one is beginning. I don't know what it will bring, but I have to believe it's going to be good.
My Dad is coming and so is Emma and so are a bunch of my family members. Which is stupid because I'm not even in the play, but it still makes me happy in a weird sort of way.
Okay, so I will meet you after the play is done in the atrium and you can meet everyone, and then we will head over to Gillian's for the after-party, does that sound good? It's usually a lot of fun and hopefully you wont find it lame and immature after all of your adventures!
It's going to be so much fun, I can't wait to see you again!
Your play was AMAZING! Seriously. I can't believe you had a part in all of that. The blocking was quite possibility the best and most professional blocking I have ever seen in my entire life.
My only complaint was that there didn't seem to be very much chemistry between the two leads. I'm just saying…
I also can't believe that after-party. As if you were worried it was going to be lame! It was amazing. I've never been to a party that big before. I don't think I've ever been to a party at all, at least not one as crazy and awesome as that one.
You were right on all counts. There was underage drinking, and dancing, and some kind of making-out drama. Imagine everybody's surprise when it turned out that it was NOT Mariella and Hot Thomas who locked themselves into the coat closet, but you and Sean! Don't worry, I think the two of you looked adorable together, messy hair and all. I don't think Jack and Ben were very happy about the turn of events, however…
And as for the other event—well, I won't say too much as I don't want to accidentally incriminate you. But it was epic, just like you said it was. I don't even want to KNOW how you got all of those horses up the stairwell. I'm sure no one will forget that prank for a long time!
I hate to turn the focus back on myself (goodness knows I do it enough) but I thought I would give you an update on the situation here.
Kitty and Andrew are still together. She seems content, if not overly happy, and I think that's a good thing. Even though in my heart what I want for her is to find true, passionate love, I'm not sure that's what she really needs right now. We've all been through so much upheaval in the last year. And who knows? Maybe Andrew is the perfect guy for her after all.
Peter is still sulking, but he seems to be doing a bit better. I found him working on one of Scott's cars in the garage today, and when I asked him how he was doing, he smiled and shrugged. I was about to leave, when I asked him, on impulse: "Would you do it over?"
I turned back to him. "If you could go back in time, would you do it over?"
He titled his head quizzically at me. "I did what I thought was right. My sister was sick, and I thought…I thought it was too much to ask of Katya, to…"
He nodded. "I did what I thought I had to. I did not mean for anyone to get hurt." He paused, sighed. "I lost her." He said it almost like a question, and I nodded. "It is not an easy answer, would I do it over. Every choice is a lesson. But this…I still do not know the lesson. Maybe some people are just…" he waved his hand.
"Not meant to be?"
He shrugged. "Maybe there is no lesson."
As for Logan…he is still acting the same. Barely speaking. I feel as though all of the peace I felt in the hospital has evaporated. I really felt as though I had come to terms with our relationship, or lack thereof, and that everything would happen as it should.
Back here, though, I just feel antsy and impatient.
I tried to run a simulation in the Danger Room, just to burn some energy. Before I had even warmed up, Logan had disabled the controls. We had an all out screaming match, where he told me I was pushing myself too hard and I needed to wait for my arm to heal before I could use the room. I screamed right back at him. I all but called him a controlling jackass and it didn't even seem to faze him.
Part of me wondered why he didn't just offer to heal me. (Does that make me sound horrible? I hope not)
I think it's because he doesn't want me to know what he's thinking.
Back in the hospital, even with my zen-like attitude, I was so sure that if I just gave him enough time, he would come around.
But he hasn't. We've been back for over a month, and he's said a total of maybe sixteen words to me (minus the screaming fight). He's leaving the mansion for longer and longer periods of time, and I can't help but think it's only a matter of time before he leaves again. Probably to get away from the looks I keep trying to give him, and which he keeps avoiding.
I have to keep reminding myself that it has nothing to do with me. Reminding myself that I know I am worth it, that I have nothing more to prove. I know that.
Theoretically, I know that.
Anyway, I am sure you are relieved to be done with the play, and I am glad because it means we can grab coffee, and catch up for real!
I think we should still keep writing letters though. I think I would feel weird if I couldn't check my email or mailbox and see a new letter from you in there. What do you think? Coffee Thursday?
Did you know that Starbucks over-roasts their coffee? Yeah, apparently because they get beans from so many places, it would be impossible to perfectly roast all of them. So basically, when you drink Starbucks, you are drinking burnt coffee.
That being said, I am seriously craving a caramel macchiato, so how about the Starbucks on Elk Road at 5?
I'm so glad you enjoyed the play! We got a lot of good feedback, and who knows? Next year I might even try out for a part.
P.S. Sorry this letter is so short. Out teachers are already piling on the homework in preparation for exams, even though they are like, WEEKS away.
P.P.S. You may notice that I have not mentioned Sean, Jack, or Ben in this letter. It is because I have decided to take a break from boys, for a while.
P.P.P.S. Because I feel as though, of all of the amazing, wonderful things that have happened this year (meeting you, rocking the assistant directing, saving Johns life, hanging out with Emma), not a single one had to do with boys. But a lot of the really sucky parts did.
P.P.P.P.S. Not to say that I am avoiding boys because I am avoiding opening up and getting hurt (which is what Leah started to say when I first told her this, budding psychoanalyst that she is)(not). I have just decided that it would be to my benefit to maximize the awesome in my life and minimize the sucky. And right now, the awesome includes taking a summer course to become a lifeguard, acing my finals (hypothetically), dying my hair a crazy colour (maybe pink or turquoise?), and planning an amazing prank to pull next year.
We see your dilemma, but we don't think that we can help.
To tell you the truth, we can't figure it out, and we don't think you're going to figure it out either.
It is perfectly possible that Logan is in love with you and is bidding his time, waiting for the right moment to sweep you off your feet.
It is also possible that he is just watching the hockey game.
You can sit there across the room and turn toward the couch as many times as you want on the pretext that you are checking the score. You can do that, Rogue. You can run through all of the evidence backward and forward and and inside out if you want to. You can stare very hard at the back of his head and watch as he notices nothing but the fact that the Canadians are about to get kicked out of the playoffs.
But you're not going to figure it out.
The Society of Amateur Detectives.
So, a couple of things have been getting to me today:
Studying: Is it so ridiculous that I should find it completely unnecessary to write exams? I'm pretty sure that I have already proved I am capable of living outside the four walls of a high school classroom. For example:
Algebra: If Plane A leaves Dulles Airport at 23:00 travelling west and Plane B leaves Heathrow at 08:00 traveling north, what time will you be able to infiltrate the Muir Island Research Facility? Answer: Whenever the guard starts reading his comic book and doesn't see the tranq gun pointed his way.
Chemistry: What two chemicals, combined, will create an explosion large enough to distract the other guards of said facility? Answer: No chemicals needed, just a lighter and a pyrokinetic partner in crime
Law and Politics: How many international laws were violated by infiltrating said facility? 17, depending on whether you recognize the authority of the International Criminal court. For the purposes of my own future, I chose not to.
See? I don't need to study.
Unfortunately, none of my teachers seem to agree.
I went for a walk after dinner tonight, hoping I could clear my head enough to sit down and study for my math final. As soon as it's done, Logan is supposed to drive me into the city so I can have my cast taken off. I can't wait. It's starting to get dirty and kind of smelly. Plus, I'm getting really tired of showering with one hand.
I was thinking a lot about lessons and doing the right thing and what you said, about maximizing the Awesome and minimizing the Sucky. And while I can't deny that some Sucky has resulted from Logan (angst-wise), most of the truly awesome things that have happened to me in the last year and a half have been a result of him. He brought me to Xaviers, he saved my life, he kicked my butt until I got strong. And he was my friend.
And I think I was a huge source of Awesome for him too. After all, if I weren't, why would he keep coming back?
Until I smelled the cigar smoke, I wouldn't admit that I'd been looking for him.
He was leaning against the boathouse, the blue smoke lingering in the cool evening air. I breathed in the familiar scent as I approached. The sun was setting behind the trees, casting a golden light onto the water.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey, yourself." He looked deep in thought, and the tone of his voice made it clear I wasn't welcome, though he'd never come right out and say it.
My better sense told me to walk away, leave him be. He'd make up for it somehow, I knew from experience, even though I didn't expect him to. But another part pulled me to stay, to push him. To see what would happen if I invaded his thoughts the way he invaded mine. That part won, and so my feet stayed planted on the ground, waiting and wondering how he would react.
"I…" I started, and my voice shook. The sound of it sickened me, and all I wanted was to be as confident and sure of myself as I was in the hospital. I wasn't though, and it must have been a combination of my frustration and my pride that defeated my best intentions. "I came out here because I wanted to tell you that…that you don't owe me anything."
WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. My brain screamed at me. That had not been what I was thinking at ALL, and somehow, that's what came out.
"I just mean," I babbled, when he didn't respond. "If that's what you've been thinking, that you owe me, and so you should just give me what I want, I'm here to tell you that…that that's not what I want."
Panic alarms were screaming in my head by that point. The force that had been holding me there snapped and just like that physics law I can never remember the name off, I felt compelled to turn and run back towards the mansion.
"Forget it," I said. Tears burned in my eyes, and I was about to turn and leave, when Logan finally spoke.
"The thought hadn't occurred to me." He said.
His upper lipped twitched. "That I might owe you. Hadn't crossed my mind."
"Oh," I said, looking down at the ground, then back at him. "Good. I..it was a stupid thing to say. I—"
"Maybe it should have."
"Logan—" I went to him, and grabbed the hand that wasn't holding the cigar. "You shouldn't. Of course you shouldn't. That wasn't what I meant."
"What did you mean?"
"I don't know. I just…" I took a step back, and tucked my hair behind my ear. I'd already gone this far…
"Logan, I told you I loved you. Twice, essentially. And I might have thrown up the first time, but I meant it. And you…you didn't even say anything."
"What am I supposed to say?"
I almost laughed and rolled my eyes. "You're not supposed to say anything. I just…I just had to come out here because it seems like you've been thinking a lot, and you've been writing a lot, and I just had to make sure…I had to know if you're even thinking about the possibility of you and I being together, or if this is it." I paused, and I thought about what Pete had said earlier. "Are…are you even worried about losing me, at all?"
He swore, and shook his head. I backed up as he started to pace. "What do you want, kid? You want the guy who promised to take care of you, who would do anything to make sure you were never hurt, or do you want the guy who would throw that all away?"
"I just want you, Logan." My voice cracked, along with my composure. I pressed the heels of my palms against my eyes, praying he would see it as a sign of frustration, rather than weakness.
"You don't even know who you're talking about, kid."
Just like that, my mood changed. I lowered my hands and glared at him. "No, I know who you are. Maybe you don't, or maybe you don't know who I am. Either way, you've answered my question. Neither of those are problems I can fix for you." I backed away again. "Consider this my white flag. I can't keep fighting for this. It hurts too much."
I turned and walked away, and then I went to my room and cried. And cried and cried and cried. I didn't actually know there were so many tears in my body. After about the fifth or sixth hour, I sort of thought I would have run out, but they kept coming. Kitty and Jubilee took turns trying to comfort me, but I really just wanted to be left alone. I kind of drifted in an out of sleep a couple of times, but as soon as I woke up, I remembered everything and fell apart again.
It hurts so much, Keltie. It's somewhere below my chest, this pulsing pain that won't go away and I'm not sure it ever will. I wish…I wish I could just pretend it away. I wish I could put on a brave face and suck it up and pretend I don't care. I used to be so good at that.
But I'm just so, so tired. It's taken everything I have just to write this letter. I don't even know how I'll get up tomorrow and get dressed. I'm supposed to go into the city and get my cast taken off, but all I want is to never leave my bed again.
That's not all I want. I want Logan to love me. But he doesn't, or he won't, and there is nothing I can do about it.
To answer your question, no we can't reschedule. I had to get Ro to cover my math class. I'll have the car ready at 3 to drive into the city.
I couldn't care less whether you stayed in your pajamas or not, but you might want to think about the example you're setting for the younger kids.
I am teaching them that there are more important things in life than physical appearance.
Besides, Jubilee says flannel is the new black.
ROGUE! LOOK AT THIS NOTE! PINNED TO YOUR BACKPACK!
HAPPY CAST-OFF DAY!
TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR SHRIVELED ARM FOR ME, OKAY?
SEE YOU WHEN YOU GET BACK!
Oh Rogue…Roguey…I wish I could say something to make you feel better. Anything.
He's an idiot. Really, Rogue, he is. If he can't see what he has in you…
But I know you know that. And I know nothing I say is going to make you feel better.
Why don't you come over tonight and we can have a sleepover and you can just cry if you want, and I'll sit with you and give you klennex and tell you cheesy puns, and even if you don't laugh maybe it will make you feel better?
You can stay for the whole weekend if you want, and maybe when you go back, you'll feel a bit better about the whole thing?
You are amazing and I promise you that everything is going to be okay.
Jubilee, Kitty! Look at this note! Taped to the door!
I am going over to Keltie's for the weekend. Don't worry, I'll be back.
Jubilee: Yes, my arm looks weird and shriveled. No, I don't have a picture
Kitty: Yes, I'm fine.
Everyone else: Mind your own damned business.
I'll see you guys on Sunday and we'll study for Algebra.
You had a good weekend at Keltie's—you watched cheesy movies, consumed way too much coffee, and even found yourself laughing a few times. Keltie got you drunk on wine coolers and the two of you made up some truly terrible choreography to a Taylor Swift song.
Shockingly, as you walk up the steps to the mansion, you realize that in fact, you are feeling a bit better. That in spite of your insistence otherwise, you are still a teenager, and allowed to feel like one.
Now, you are going to go inside and talk to your best friends, and probably end up talking and laughing and not studying at all.
And it will be okay.
Best of luck,
The In All Likelihood Everything Will Turn Out For The Best Club
First of all, thank you so much for that weekend. It was exactly what I needed.
I probably shouldn't even be writing this letter. I'm in study hall, and if Scott catches Kitty and I talking again, I swear to God he is going to take off his glasses and literally stare us to death.
Have I mentioned that I hate exams? I am seriously considering some kind of revolt against the institution. What are they going to do to me? If my previous shenanigans haven't gotten me kicked out, I'm not sure anything will.
In other, non-rebellion news, I got a phone call from Jeremy Reese—he's a super hot reporter for The Washington Post. He wrote a thing a while back about John and I. It was so not a big deal—I didn't even read it, but I guess they want to do a follow up piece in a couple of months, and he wanted to know if he could come to the mansion. Of course I said no, immediately, but he kept calling and managed to get a hold of the Professor, who agreed. I know, I was surprised too, but I think there's been some negative backlash from the first article. I found an article in the newspaper (okay, it was a post on Tumblr) that was outraged that children were being trained as so-called "mutant assassins".
It's total BS, but I guess the Professor thinks it couldn't hurt to show him around and take a few pictures of the facility.
ANYWAY, Reese wants to take some pictures of John and I too (since everyone knows what we look like now, thanks SO much US Weekly.) And basically since my arm has been broken I've been slacking on my training and watching way too many reruns of Alias when I'm supposed to be studying. Which means, for the first time in my life, I'm actually starting to get a bit fat.
Put the phone down, Keltie. Yes, I will shut my stupid face.
My point is, I need to get back into shape before said article. Ugh. It was so much easier when Logan was training me, because I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted and be guaranteed to work it off in the Danger Room. But now Ororo's taking over my training, and she's a lot less, shall we say…demanding? She wants me to ease back into training, because my arm is still healing. Her idea of easing into it involves a lot of deep breathing, which is great and all but it's not going to get me into a bikini anytime soon. And hey—for the first time in my life I'll be able to wear one without worrying about accidentally killing anyone, so you better believe I'll be taking advantage of that.
Fortunately, we've had such a warm spring that the groundskeepers have opened the outdoor pool early. There is an indoor pool I was using all weekend, but it's usually full of kids and I'm convinced they spend most of their time either doing cannonballs or peeing.
As soon as study hall is done, I'm heading straight there. I'm hoping the exercise will help calm my head enough to study for my history final. It's my last exam—the last exam I'll ever take as a high school student.
It's kind of a strange feeling. I still don't know what I'll be doing next year. While everyone here was focusing on college and study-abroad applications, I was in the hospital, wondering if I'd even live long enough to see September. Now I don't know what I want to do.
Jubilee will be staying on and becoming an X-Man. Bobby and Pete are technically already X-Men, and so they're staying too, although Bobby is going to be taking online courses, and Scott is trying to convince Jubes and Peter to do the same.
Kitty will be heading to MIT for a degree in some really complicated computer-sounding thing, although I think she may be having second thoughts. She's talking about doing at least the first semester here in New York. She won't admit that her decision has anything to do with wanting to be near Andrew or a reluctance to leave home.
Technically, I guess I'm an X-Man too, although I always figured it was more of an honourary position. Now that I can control my mutation (and have some, ahem, actual hero experience) I feel way more confident that I can be a contributing member of the team. But the idea of university appeals to me too. Those weeks I spent trying to learn everything there was about mutations, and the complications it poses, legally—I loved that. I think I would enjoy studying those kinds of things (at least more than I would enjoy studying for my history final).
I don't know, Keltie…today I was walking through the halls, and the sun was shining through the windows, and suddenly I started laughing, I felt so overwhelmed by possibilities—it was such an amazing, and new feeling. Like I can be anything, and go anywhere I want.
Oops, study hall is over! I'm going to go swimming but I'll drop this in the mailbox on the way. I hope your exams are going well and that you have had a chance to relax now that the play is over.
Love and suntan lotion,
That was very smooth of you. How you didn't mention Logan at all in that letter to Keltie. We see what you're doing, and we applaud your effort. We see you doing everything in your power to pretend that you're not heartbroken.
Let's tally up all the things you didn't say, shall we?
You didn't tell Keltie that there is a physical ache inside of you that has nothing to do with broken bones and everything to do with a broken heart.
You didn't tell Keltie that while you had one lovely moment in the day that was filled with optimism, most of your days are filled with an indescribable sense of deep disappointment.
You didn't tell Keltie that you're probably going to fail your history final, and if that's the case, you probably won't graduate at all.
You didn't tell Keltie that while you now feel as though you could go anywhere, you also know that you'd rather stay here. That you've always wanted to stay here, because this was where Logan was. And you'd always sort of suspected that he felt the same way.
You didn't tell Keltie that Logan left, as you were worried he would. You didn't tell her that you only happened to glance out your window to see him taking off on his bike, a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. You didn't tell her that he didn't bother to say goodbye. You didn't tell her how much it hurt.
Most of all, you didn't tell her how mad you were, not at him but yourself, for being so affected. You didn't tell her that for the briefest of moments, you considered touching someone, anyone, just so you could have thoughts in your head that weren't your own.
The Association of Lying Liars Who Lie
P.S. This information provided for your own purposes. Any judgmental tone is purely accidental.
P.P.S. But really, Rogue? Get it together.
Aren't you tired of all the up-and-down, back-and-forth, will-they-or-won't-they, he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not, happy-then-sad, absolute rollercoaster of emotion that has been the last 6 months?
We know we are.
The Young Romance Association
This heat is horrible! I'm dying. Like, literally dying.
Hold on…is Katherine Pryde actually using the word "literally" figuratively?
No…I literally am dying from this heat. It's freaking MAY. My hair is frizzing up like crazy!
I love it.
Only because you get to bare your midriff and no one can say boo about it to you.
I can't even apologize.
How is the studying going?
Horrible. Really, really, terrible.
You know, I'm pretty caught up on my reading…maybe if I concentrate on it, and you touch me…
Okay, it's just a suggestion.
Honestly, I'd consider it. I AM considering it…
Holy crap, how did Scott do that?
I have no idea. We didn't even DO anything, and he was right there, like he knew what we were thinking about.
Do you think Scott has some latent telepathy abilities we just don't know about yet?
I think the Professor probably told him.
What a snitch.
It feels very weird to be writing those words, almost like I am trying to let you down gently, or something. Like you are a travelling soldier, and I am a lonely war-bride left to sit at home and weep over my needlepoint.
Unfortunately, your absence from this country will no longer be tolerated by this institution (AKA, our marriage) and as such, you will cease being a partner in said institution, effective immediately. Should you need to contact me, I will most likely be fornicating with your best friend.
Okay, that was weird. Apparently studying for history made me go a little bananas.
How are you? Are you having a good time…wherever you are now? Where was it this time? Malaysia? Thailand? I can't keep track anymore. Wherever it is, I hope the food is good, the ladies are loose and the souvenirs are cheap…'cause I totally expect a present when you get back.
I'm sorry I've been so crap at keeping in touch. To be fair, though, it has been FOREVER since you last called. (I know, you're probably going to say "Rogue, it was five minutes ago," or something ridiculous like that, but I know it's been at least a couple of weeks, and it feels like a lot longer)
You asked me to keep you updated on the Logan situation (P.S. You're a girl) and while I was going to send you a huge long letter with all of the ups and downs (mostly downs), I just didn't have it in me.
So instead I will tell you about my swim yesterday.
First of all, it is absolutely beautiful here. It's the beginning of May, and it already feels like July. Its hot—humid hot, which is fine because I grew up with humidity and it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers Kitty and Jubilee (who are being total babies about it, BTW). It's so hot that I can swim outside, which is wonderful.
Yesterday, I was freaking out mildly because I hadn't studied nearly enough for my history final. When we came back, Scott gave me a PILE of reading to do and told me if I spaced it out, I would be ready to take the exam with the rest of the class.
Soo…Obviously that worked out. As of yesterday morning, I had read exactly none of it. Every time I sat down with it, I panicked at the thought of how much I had to do. So instead I'd make the super responsible choice of doing anything else at all. It was pathetic.
After dinner last night, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to go swimming, in an attempt to clear my head. I have also been thinking about Logan way more than is probably healthy, which isn't helping matters. I got into the water and started doing laps. As I swam, I started thinking about the questions on the review sheet Scott handed out a few weeks ago (and which I had helpfully only looked at earlier that afternoon. At first, it made me want to cry because I didn't know any of the answers (What was the biggest impact of the Antiquities Act on Teddy Roosevelt's presidency?) but as I swam, I started thinking through them. And I realized that I knew a lot more than I thought I did. To be fair, most of the knowledge was probably not my own. But hey, the Professor might be able to stop me from stealing knowledge during exam time, but he can't do anything about the knowledge that was already there.
I started feeling better, and I swam harder, and even though I'm a lot slower than I used to be, thanks to my arm, I felt so much stronger than I have in a while.
And then I looked up, and Logan was standing there.
I swallowed some pool water, I was so surprised. I opened my mouth to say…
To say a million things, I suppose. But I closed my mouth, and instead I waited.
The sun had gone down by that time, and the turquoise light from the pool reflected off his face, making him look, if possible, more uncertain than he already did. I was treading water, wondering if I was seeing things or if he really was standing in front of me. Finally, I couldn't take the silence any longer, and I said "I thought you left."
He took a step closer to the pool. "I did."
I cocked my head, waiting him for elaborate, but he didn't. I recognized the significance of the moment, that he had come to me, rather than the other way around, but I refused to think about what it meant. I refused to get my hopes up again. I swam over the side of the pool and rested my arms on the concrete, looking up at him. "Logan?"
"Did you come here for a reason?"
He raised an eyebrow. "You want me to go?"
My head jerked back an inch. "That's not what I said." Then I rolled my eyes. "Why does this happen to us?"
He sighed, and bent his knees so he was crouching in front of me. "Beats me, kid."
I rested my chin on my forearms. "You've never had trouble talking to me before."
He rubbed his hand over his face. "Things are different now."
I thought about this, and shrugged. "Maybe they don't have to be?" I hated how small my voice sounded, how sad and needy and desperate. I knew, even as the words were coming out of my mouth, that it was impossible. We would never go back to how things were before.
He was silent, again, and finally the silence got to me. I started getting angry, all over again, which was the last thing I wanted. A million questions flew through my head, but they all boiled down to one thing: Why didn't he want me?
I couldn't ask. I had asked, in various ways, since the night I told him I loved him, and he hadn't given me a satisfactory answer yet. Frustrated, I pushed myself up and out of the pool. Dripping, I walked past him to the lounge chair where I'd left my towel. I turned around as I wrapped it around me. "What are you scared of?"
My voice was stronger that time, and it sounded more like me. I could hear the anger and frustration in my voice, but I wasn't sure if he could. I didn't even know how he would take interpret the question.
"Your honesty?" He said, only I didn't hear him properly, so I said: "Yes, honestly."
"No…it's your honestly I'm scared of."
"You're so honest with me and with yourself, and it's sexy as hell but it's intimidating too. You're so vulnerable, Rogue, you always have been, and it's terrifyin'."
"I still don't understand." He was not describing me. He couldn't be.
"Most women just aren't like that. They hide their anger and their pain, and I get it because it's about survival and it's about pride. But you open yourself right up to me and you tell me exactly what you're feeling and I can't screw around with that. I can't pretend I don't notice because it's right there in front of me and…I don't know what to do with it."
"You don't want to be with me because you can't screw me around?" I shook my head. That was messed up in so many ways and I just didn't want to hear it anymore. Not when it was just another reason, another excuse.
"I want to be with you."
"Wha…what?" My head flew back. I had not been expecting that, at all.
He walked over and put his hand against my cheek. My body froze.
"I want you, all of you. I just don't want to hurt you."
"Is that inevitable?"
We stood there, his hand on my cheek, my breath caught in my lungs like it didn't know where to go from there anymore than I did. I looked into his eyes and tried to see past them, into his soul maybe, but probably that kind of thing only happens in movies because all I could see was myself, reflected back. Finally I let out the breath, lifting my hand to cover his. He didn't say anything, which gave me a chance to think.
Because a part of me was hesitating. A part of me was remembering the pain of the last couple of weeks, of what felt like a hundred different rejections. A part of me wondered if this—whatever this was—would stop me from doing all of the things I had realized were a possibility this week. College. Travelling. Becoming an X-Man.
As I looked in Logan's eyes, I realized that he had thought the same things. And I remembered what I told Jubilee a few weeks ago: That there were worse things in the world than having someone love you so much they would do anything not to hurt you. Logan hadn't wanted to hold me back either.
"I don't care." I squeezed my eyes shut. "I don't want to risk losing you but I don't want to live my life running from anything that might hurt. After everything that we've been through, that we've seen…we live our lives dealing with pain. Especially when I want you so badly…I have to believe it's worth it."
I opened my eyes and looked at him. His lip quirked and I found mine doing the same. I had to bite my lip to stop myself from leaning in and closing the distance between our mouths.
"When do you leave for Alaska?"
I cocked my head, surprised. "Right after exams."
"I want to go with you."
"Really. If you'll have me."
"I'm flying. I know you hate flying."
"I'll deal with it."
"Are you sure?"
"Would I say it if I wasn't?"
"Okay." His hand dropped and he stepped away. "You should probably go study."
I almost laughed. As if I would be able to concentrate! But I nodded. "You're not going to change your mind, are you?"
He looked at me, his eyes looking more green in the watery light. I realized I had hurt him, and wondered briefly how many more times that would happen. Probably dozens.
"Are you?" he asked.
I suppose you could guess what happened after that. I floated back up to my room in a daze. The room was empty, which I was relieved to see. I knew I'd never be able to sleep if I had the opportunity to surgically analyze every aspect of the night. I stared at my history textbook, even flipped through a couple of the pages, but it was hopeless. I felt a twinge of worry—was I risking my future because of this? If I failed this exam, would I hate myself later?
The next thing I knew, Kitty was shaking me awake. Somehow I managed to get dressed and down to breakfast, and then to the classroom where the exam would be held. My stomach was twisting and turning and my mind couldn't stop replaying the scene from the night before over in my head. I tried to remember the significance of the National Security Act of 1947, but all I could picture was Logan's palm against my cheek, the way he had looked at me as I climbed out of the pool.
Somehow, somehow, I managed to fill in the answers on the exam. I waited until everyone filed out of the room, and I asked Scott if he would mind grading it right there. He looked at me a beat longer, and I felt my face flush, as though he had known what thoughts had been going through my mind, but he sat down with his answer key.
And I passed. Barely, but it was all I needed. I am officially a high school graduate. And I am as surprised as anyone about how much that means to me.
And I'm going to Alaska with Logan.
Because he wants to be with me.
John, I am so scared for a million reasons, only some of which I can begin to put into words. I think, over the next couple of days, I'm going to have to find a way to put them into words, so that I can make sure that this is the right decision.
But it feels right. I don't know any other way to explain it.
It's now after lunch, and I've spent the rest of the day writing this letter to you. Kitty and Jubilee are bugging me to go out and celebrate the end of our high school experience, but I wanted to finish this first. They don't know what could be so urgent that I needed to write to you right away.
If you haven't figured it out already, that means that you're the first person to know any of this. At least, you're the first person I've told (by the time you receive it probably the entirety of the western world will know, if we can rely on the Jubilee Broadcasting System to do its job).
I told you first because…well, I'm not going to get mushy here. If someone told me a year ago that you would be my best friend again, I probably would have punched them in the face. This whole year-this crazy, intense, messed up, amazing year—wouldn't have been the same without you. I love you Johnny, and I miss you a lot.
I hope you're happy. I know I am…not because everything is perfect, or because I think it will be. I'm happy because I am filled with hope, and possibility and a freedom I never knew was possible.
I can't wait to see what comes next.
Love and half-filled glasses,
Yes, we realize that things are going rather well for you. We realize that you recently attended a fantastic party, that you saved the world in an only moderately illegal fashion, and that you have garnered the admiration of millions of adoring fans while possibly achieving some degree of self-actualization, and that you are probably going to embark on a relationship with the love of your life.
But YOU realize, we assume, that NONE of this makes you into a teenager? You realize that you still fail to meet several of our regulations? You realize that things may be going well with Logan, but you won't have a clue what to do once he kisses you. What if he wants to have SEX, Rogue? What will-
Dear Association of Teenagers,
I am writing to let you know that I chose not to finish reading your last letter. I am also writing to let you know that I am no longer especially interested in your opinions. In the last few months you have been very helpful pointing out my faults, tripping me over every time I was about to feel happy, and making me cry into my pillow each night before falling asleep.
I am very grateful for this but I would like you to remove my name from your mailing list. Before we end our correspondence, you should know this: Last week I went to a party in my honour with drinking, dancing, and all my best friends in attendance.
Next week I am leaving for Alaska with the sexiest man alive, who I'm pretty sure is about to become my boyfriend. (Okay, so I don't know what to do if he wants to have sex with me. But has it occurred to you that maybe I want to have sex with him? And maybe you're not supposed to KNOW what to do? I think you just do it. I think I can't wait to do it, actually.)
I think I have not one, but two new best friends. (Okay, so one was my best friend previously, but still.)
When I get back from Alaska, I'm accepting a medal from the President for Exceptional Acts of Bravery. Because I just so happened to have saved the freaking world, and plan to do so several more times in the future.
And guess what? If your letters are any indication of normal adolescence, I don't think I want to be a teenager. Whatever I am now is so, so much cooler.
So if you'll excuse me, I would like to go to sleep.
Write to me again? I won't even open the envelope. I'll rip it into shreds and feed it to Kitty's new pet dragon.
With very best wishes,
A/N: Thanks so much for sticking it out this long :) I can't believe I actually finished something! Please let me know what you think in the comments!