Disclaimer: yeah...I still don't own it

Chapter 16- Sacrifice

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…"

Irene stood closest to the gravestone on the left side. Tears appeared on her face from underneath her glasses. Next to her stood Ororo Monroe, eyes closed, cool wind blowing through her hair. Rain threatened, but didn't fall. Kurt Wagner and Kitty Pryde were next, clutching each other for support and comfort. Both faces included continuously running tears. Jean Grey and Scott Summers were not weeping. However they were far from unaffected. They stood hand in hand, heads bowed in sadness, occasionally glancing at each other as if they needed a reminder that they weren't alone. The opposite side of the coffin did not hold the same outward emotion. Opposite Jean and Scott were Wanda Maximoff and Lance Alvers. They stood staring at the black case, deep frowns apparent. Then it was Professor Xavier. His head was on his hands and eyebrows deeply curved. Following that was Logan. He stood completely emotionless. Arms folded in front of him, it was clear that crying was the farthest thing from his mind. In fact most of his attention tended to be directed at the girl next to him. Like storm, her platinum hair blew in the breeze. The rest of her auburn hair had managed to be put back in a loose ponytail.

She read the gravestone, "Raven Darkholme, Best Friend, Loving Mother." Rogue didn't look any closer to crying than Logan. Oddly enough the 'loving mother' bit had been her idea. Mystique's body had been ready for the funeral while Rogue was still unconscious, but Kurt had personally made sure that nothing happened until his dear 'sister' woke up. Rogue had essentially killed his birth mother. If acting like they had bonded somewhat eased even a little of that pain, she was willing to lie. Irene of course was responsible for 'best friend.' Whatever made her happy.

A soft thump signified the casket hitting the dirt below. The somber group headed back down the aging sidewalk. Rogue walked beside Irene. The guilt she had from Kurt couldn't hold a candle to what she felt on behalf of Irene. Irene had insisted that it wasn't her fault. Mystique had lied to Irene actually. When she had her vision, Irene asked Raven to promise to go to the X-men for help and Mystique had agreed. Raven had known where Rogue was because of her work with Magneto in the past. The old base had been used a while back. Irene had described the inside and Mystique matched it up instantly but never went to the X-men. "Too much pride," Irene had explained. It seemed that Mystique had taken Sabertooth's offences quite personally. She had essentially screwed herself other. "Her pride lead her to a fatal mistake as I feared it would someday," is how Irene had put it. The blind woman always had the gift for diplomacy that Rogue lacked.

Rogue stumbled on a weed that peaked through a crack on the sidewalk. She regained balance quickly however with aid from her cane. Rogue would rather not have had to use it but Dr. McCoy had insisted. Actually he had insisted that she stay in a wheelchair. That didn't go down well. The walking aide was the compromise ending a heated debate. Stubborn as she was, Rogue realized that she probably should have taken the chair. She was quickly becoming winded by the walking. Even Wolverine's powers couldn't heal her completely that quickly, especially considering the size of the small dose she took. Sensing her weakness, Wolverine quickly held back to get next to her. He quickly wrapped an arm around her, putting hers around his neck, forcing some of her weight onto him. They made a slow pace, but it was better than Rogue dropping in the middle of the path.

Logan wasn't crazy about letting Rogue out of his sight now. Rogue couldn't blame him completely. Her fall wasn't pretty. Kitty, Jean, Scott, and Kurt thought it was completely morbid and unhealthy for her to want to watch the videos of her little show. For Rogue it was different. The memories weren't great, but she deserved to see the first hand account of how she cheated death. The others just didn't understand. The cameras focused on her couldn't get a close shot of her on top of the building as she fought with Sabertooth and eventually went over the side. They did get great shots of the aftermath though. Because of the chains and the way they fell, Rogue ended up landing on Sabertooth. Apparently he ended up breaking her fall, though not by much. Barely two minutes later the black jet appeared overhead. Wolverine quickly jumped from it, completely ignoring the large fall to the ground. He raced over to Rogue and put his hand to her face. Nothing happened. Jean was the one who saw the collar. She and Storm were the second ones out due to their flying ability. Wolverine ripped it off as gently as he could and touched Rogue again. Again nothing happened. Jean, who had been taking her pulse, shook her head. By now the others had gathered around.

The News camera was unable to capture the sound of the situation, but it was simple enough to grasp. Jean started CPR until Storm pushed her aside to jump-start Rogue's heart with her powers. It wasn't until the third shock that Logan suddenly looked slightly pained. He never passed out. Hank had explained to her that due to her immense injuries, she only pulled a small amount of Logan's powers. However it was enough to begin her slow healing. She was unconscious for a week.

That was a week added to the three that she had spent in Sabertooth's lair. Plus however long she had spent at her old home. It was snowing when Rogue awoke.

Sabertooth had survived, as miraculously as Rogue. When Wolverine found this out, it took all of Jean's powers to not let him completely rip him to shreds. The professor explained that combating violence with more violence was a vicious cycle. Eventually the Professor arranged for Sabertooth's body to be given to a remote lab for experimentation. Rogue almost smiled at that one. Torture could be considered all right if served science. Almost smiled. She still would have rather watched Wolverine tear him into little bits.

Two days after she woke up, Irene approached her asking what she wanted on the grave marker for her departed mother.

Four days after she woke up, they had the funeral. Now Rogue walked with Wolverine's support back to the black X-van waiting for them. Honestly being this close to Wolverine was very nerve racking little flashes of memories taunting her. However it was the only way to make it to the car.

Sometimes sacrifices just have to be made.


And here is the mighty conclusion.

I managed to keep Rogue living, go me.

I'll admit that there are a lot of loose ends. I left myself quite open for a sequel. I am actually thinking of doing one. That all depends if I get enough reviews/requests to do one.

If I do a sequel it would be along the lines of Rogue having to deal with a few new students and adjusting back to a normal life. (There could be romance…)

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Orange Goat