I can't say she instilled much sense into me. I'm fairly sure I'm a hopeless case when it comes to that. What she did give me was a nice heaping helping of guilt. Stomach churning, headache-causing guilt. So much so that she hadn't even closed the door behind her before I was halfway to my spot on the floor again.
She had told me that she was going to talk and I was going to listen. That would have been unpleasant but bearable. What's worse than a lecture? A discussion. A discussion where you have to give a good reason for your actions. A discussion where you have to atone for all your massive screw ups. Can't tune someone out when you have to answer friggin' questions!
Maybe I could sue her for false advertising.
Hopefully from the floor…
"Why choose Mystique and Magneto over your friends and family?"
"Why are you making someone who already worries about you more than anyone else, worry more by sneaking out and getting into trouble?"
"Why are you starting trouble at school when our reputation of peace is so important right now?"
Can I go back to the gala? The mutant haters were nicer….
It wasn't that I didn't want to answer her questions (well, I rather didn't but that's not the point) it's that I really couldn't, not to any sort of satisfaction. Oddly enough, my half shrugs and grunts didn't seem to appease the formable woman staring me down.
I really didn't know why I was doing half the shit I was doing. I shouldn't have gone with Mystique and Magneto. Every conscious thought I had told me not to, but yet there I was Saturday night allowing them to suppress my powers and shuffle me around like a prize pony. I skipped school, lied to the mansion, and betrayed my friends (though not all of them saw it that way for whatever reason). Was it really all to show up Jean and Scott? Am I really that petty and shallow? I see a pretty, happy couple and have to knock them down a peg? Or was it something different? Maybe I needed to show myself in a different light? Maybe I needed to prove I wasn't the good little girl who saved the world. Maybe I needed to remind those around me that I was still Rogue and could turn on them any minute. Storm had a point- what the hell was wrong with me?
And Logan. I felt even worse as I pictured the look on his face when he watched me leave the limo with Magneto and Mystique. How many times had he fought along side me against them? How many times had he tried to heal the damage Mystique did against my mind?
"He took all the hits you put out to save you from your mutation" Storm had reminded me, "He stayed by your bed until you woke up and he was absolutely sure you were okay. He's followed you wherever you've gone while in danger, whether the top of a mountain or to the French Quarter. And you've repaid him by lashing out, lying, fighting him on everything, betraying his trust, and all together acting like he's done something to make your life difficult, when he's done everything in his power to do just the opposite."
I wanted to ask her how dragging me out of a bar kicking and screaming had made my life easier, but I found I didn't have the heart to do so. It was so trivial compared to everything else. For once I had the sense to keep my smartass comments to myself. Perhaps it wasn't even sense; it was more like complete lack of desire. Guilt had sucked the life out of me faster than I do my victims. Wow I'm morbid.
"We've worked so hard to uphold peace at Bayville high. We've fought such an uphill battle to make it okay for you to go school there. Do you not remember the school board hearing? Do you not remember what you and your teammates had to risk to both keep the school safe and prove our point? All that thrown to the wind because you felt like being a petulant child. It's not just your fate you are affecting Rogue, it's your team mates, it's the younger students that will be enrolling and dealing with the aftermath of your thoughtless actions. The people who feel the brunt of your mistakes and misdeeds will not be you. Have you considered that?"
I hadn't. Not at all. But I couldn't stand to admit it. I stared silently at her instead.
"I didn't think so," She continued in a stern tone, "in fact, you never seem to think these days, do you?"
I was hoping that was rhetorical.
"Act first, think "never" seems to be your life motto currently," she stated. "Well that needs to change, or you need to seriously consider your place here."
Was she going to kick me out?
"Are you kicking me out?"
It wasn't a question I felt like leaving up to the voices inside my head to answer
She had held her gaze upon me for a few seconds before replying. "No, I neither have that power nor have the desire to do so. Staying here is your choice ultimately. However being part of the X-men means far more than just sleeping in our dorms at night and I know you know that."
I did know that. Hell, it probably wasn't even just fighting on the same side either. There was something else, something that made us a team. It was at that moment that I realized that I sounded like Scott and suddenly wished to gag. If there was a truer sign that I had lost all my marbles, agreeing with "Team Leader Logic" I sure as hell didn't know what it was.
I let my strong desire to sink into the floorboards merge with my exhaustion to form a restless nap. I was awoken by soft knocking on my door. I didn't move, or even open my eyes. I was hoping my visitor was a dream. And if it wasn't I had every intention on pretending it was.
The knocking came again, this time with a quite, "Chère?"
That was no dream…that was a nightmare. I needed another person yelling at me like I needed another hold in my head. Actually, I'll let you figure out which want I would rather at this point.
"I'm coming in chère," I heard from the doorway as the knob started to turn.
In a panic (albeit a sleepy, lazy didn't want to get up in any way, shap,e or form panic) I tried to push myself under my bed to hide. Remy walked into to see (as far as I could tell) my legs sticking out from my bed as I rubbed my head from sliding it into a storage bin. I would state that it wasn't one of my finer moments, but considering my last few months, running around mooing with my hair on fire could possibly be classified as a "finer" moment.
"What are you doing under your bed," he asked as I slid back out.
"Just getting something out of a bin," I replied vaguely as I wiped a copious amount of dust off of my front. He nodded not looking like he believed me at all. This was a shame by the way because it really was one of the more believable scenarios I had come up with lately as far as lies went.
"Can we talk?" he continued, sitting down on my bed and looking up at me, "Please?"
I was rather taken aback. It didn't sound like he was going to yell at me. He didn't seem even angry with me. That wasn't right. I had gone into his room, jumped him and then treated him like he had done something wrong. He shouldn't even be speaking to me at this point. I nodded, not really daring to speak in case he remembered that he was mad at me.
"About last night," he started, "I can't tell you how sorry I am for dat mon chère"
Were we at the same "last night" because I was officially confused at this point.
"Non, let me finish s'il vous plait."
Miracles of miracles, I shut up.
"What I did last night was completely wrong. I never should have gotten angry with you. Never should have pushed you. What you are ready for you decide and you alone. I-"
"But I did decide," I interjected, "I came into your room and kissed you, you said that yourself!"
He paled. "And dat was terrible of me. Just because you started something never ever takes away de right for you t' stop it."
"No." he said sternly putting a gloved finger to my lips, "Der are no 'buts". You always have de right to say no and stop if you don't feel comfortable. I've taken a lot of t'ings that aren't mine, but dat has never, and will never be one of dem."
There was no exact definition of what "that" was, but I got the general idea. He pulled his hand back and pushed himself off of my bed and headed towards the door. I almost called out to him to stay but thought better of it. It would probably be best if I were alone a while longer, just to get my head straight. Remy lately had made thinking clearly far more difficult when he was around. That probably meant something but I really didn't want to come to terms with that fact just yet.
I looked across my room to see my school books decorating my work desk. For a few moments I tried to telekinetically force my math book to my side but finally gave up, feeling once again gypped in the power department. I drudged my way over to it grabbing my backpack on the way back and collapsed on the bed with the whole mess. Resigned to the worst I opened it and grabbed my notebook and a pencil. There was nothing like useless sentences of letters and numbers to clear my head…
School was school. Alright, so there were a few more stares this time around, and extra helping of hushed whispers as I walked by, furtive glances towards me during classes. I wasn't overly concerned though. As long as no one was stupid enough to approach me, it would be all daisies and sunflowers until 3 o'clock.
"Well I have to say I'm quite shocked, I never would have thought the Rogue could be dressed up and taught to behave herself," I heard a voice say near my solitary spot at lunch.
I'm not much of a flower person anyway.
"Don't get your hopes up, Fury" I said turning my head slightly to catch his eyes, "Definitely a one-time thing."
His mouth slid up into a half smirk, "That supposed to surprise me? Besides, what would I do with myself if you weren't making my life hell?"
"Get a girlfriend?" I asked. I know I had just gotten a lecture on my attitude, but hey, he deserved it.
He shook his head and gave a low chuckle. He let the smile fall from his face and said very plainly, "Good job at the Gala," and walked away.
I didn't even try to analyze his comment. I hadn't even dealt with the confusion of how the institute was reacting to me yet. I hadn't even seen Logan yet. He had been mysteriously missing the last two days. With any luck that would last at least two more days.
And let me tell you how friggin' lucky I am.
"Stripes," he nodded at me as I pulled into the garage.
"Logan" I replied in a similar way.
"You know kid," he said as I started to walk away, "You should considering dressing up more often, you don't look half bad."
I paused, mid-step, wondering if I had heard right. "What?"
"You look okay in a dress, Stripes, ain't that complicated."
I apparently heard right. Instead I was growing concerned with our water source and considered avoiding the tap for a while. I took another step but stopped again. I couldn't take it. I had to know what was going on.
"Why aren't you yelling at me?" I demanded.
Logan turned away from the car he was fixing and looked at me with eyebrows raised, "you want to be yelled at?"
"Yeah. Well…no, of course I don't, but I…what the hell is going on here…why aren't giving me danger room sessions? You've never bothered to hold back on any other time you were pissed at me. My god you picked me up and dragged me out of a bar!"
"I was mad at you then. I ain't mad at you now," he said as if this was the most obvious thing ever and turned towards his toolbox to reach for something.
"Bu….but….you should be! It makes no sense. I went to the Gala with Mystique and magneto, I lied to everyone, I betrayed my team and all that!
"Do you want me mad at you?" He asked, seeming confused.
"No! But I don't understand why you aren't."
"I don't think you did anything that awful. You went to a dance. Did you give them secret files or tell them how to get back security?"
"Of course not! But I went with them, and not the Prof. Doesn't that alone warrant punishment or at least some sort of lecture?"
"You were there with them to do the same thing Professor Xavier was doing, so why should it?"
I probably looked like a goldfish right then, opening and closing my mouth trying to find the words.
"So…no lecture?" I finished lamely.
"Not very quick on the uptake today are ya Stripes," he said catching my eye again.
"I just don't get it," I muttered, "Why is Storm the only one who's angry with me?"
"What gave you the idea that Storm is angry with you?" He asked, giving me his full attention for the first time.
"She gave me a huge lecture yesterday on my "behavior" I replied surprised he didn't already know this. Then I remembered- "The professor told Logan and I not to talk to you".
"Ooo, she wasn't supposed to do that," Logan said with an amused chuckle. "Don't worry about it too much kid. She's just a bit hurt. She thought that you were going to choose Xavier for the Gala. She didn't like that you chose them. She also didn't like that you hid the fact that you choose to go with them. She figured you would come straight to us when they approached you. I don't really blame you though. It would have been a fiasco here if everyone knew you had chosen them over our own people. Don't like that you hid it though kid, shoulda told Chuck at least."
"Yeah…" I replied vaguely.
I of course didn't mention that a good portion of the lecture had nothing with the Gala being that a good part of that portion had to do with him. It surprised me that it had upset her that much, I didn't think I was one of the students that concerned he all that-
Wait a sec. Something about what Logan had just said bugged me suddenly. His word choice, it was off, weird. What had he said? "Hid the fact that you chose to go with them", "come to us after they approached you". That wasn't right. Why? It was too much information. How did he know that they had "approached" me as he put it? I hadn't told anyone how it all came about yet. In fact, no one had even asked about how that whole situation came to pass. Storm had yelled at me about going with them, but had not asked how it ended up that way. Something was really fishy here.
I took a breath and casually asked, "What do you mean she was angry about me not saying anything about them approaching me?"
"She thought it was deceptive that you told Xavier flat out that you didn't want to go and then turned around and agreed to go with them right afterwards."
"How do you know that?"
"I don't know for sure, but that's the logical reason she's"
"No," I interrupted, "How do you know when they asked me? I never told you,"
"I-"he started but faltered, "I just figured that-"
But it was too late.
"OH MY GOD!" I said, probably a bit louder than I needed to, "Tell me that you didn't know about this thing the whole time"
"I could say that kid, but I would be lying to you," he admitted with a shrug.
"So the whole flippin' mansion already knew about this?" I asked completely outraged. They had been pretending not to know and just laughing behind my back and-
"Nah. That would cause a scene. Just 'Ro, Chuck and I knew."
I continued to hyperventilate.
"Are you really that surprised kid?"
I gave him a completely incredulous look. In what world would this not surprise me?
"Oh shit, I thought you would have figured it out yourself by now. Sorry."
"Why would I have figured it out?" Last time I checked I wasn't the psychic around here…
He smiled then (at my expense mind you), "don't you think it was a tad suspicious that no one really looked into the fact that you were going on lunch dates with Magneto? That you suddenly disappeared from classes, and got A's in the ones you "attended"?"
Come to think. I never was asked about that. Rather, I was, but from the students not from someone who should have been more curious, the Professor. Why hadn't I wondered about that before? What hadn't that seemed odd? Was I really that preoccupied with everything?
"How did he find out," I asked in a quiet, beaten voice.
Logan hesitated. It was clear this was not a part he wanted to fess up to. "It was…uhhh…planned," he finally admitted.
Being that this explained nothing, I motioned for him to continue.
"Magneto came and asked for you and Gambit to go to the Gala with him and Mystique. Xavier said it would be okay as long as you go the option to go with Jean and Scott first. If you didn't want to go with us, then Magneto could make an offer towards you two under the restriction that his contact with you remained related to the Gala only and absolutely no harm came to you."
I started breathing heavily again. "What!?" was the only word that made it through. I offered a few more random sputtering sounds before Logan interrupted me.
"Don't you start stripes, this isn't is some terrible betrayal here,"
"You deceived me!"
"You deceived us."
"Well, I didn't really 'cause you already knew so it doesn't count."
Judging by the look on Logan's face it still counted.
"You undermined my plan..." I wasn't even quite sure what I was rambling about now but I to make a point somewhere.
"Undermined what Plan Rogue?" Asked Logan as he rolled his eyes, "What were you trying to achieve by hiding all this? Did you want to show up Jean and Scott? 'Cause you made the front page of the paper, not them. Did you want to shock the mansion? Only the teacher knew about you going with them so you still put everyone in tizzy. What is it that we stopped you from achieving by already knowing about this?"
I had no idea. But I still felt betrayed. I just had to find some way to prove that I was.
"And frankly stripes, knowing about it probably made it ten times easier on you. What good reasons did you have for being out with magneto and Mystique?"
"I figured you never really found out…" I trailed off.
"You mean after angel called us and said he saw you out at lunch, Jubilee told us who signed you out at school, and Jaime told us that he saw you leaving school with Magneto? Yeah we had no idea Stripes, your skills of deception are amazing."
"You got two choices here, you can't make a big deal of this, feel all hurt betrayed and angry or you can realize that no harm was done, no one hid more from you than you hid from them and in the end all objectives were accomplished and let it go."
He had a point. And frankly I was a bit tired of fighting. It had been a long week and probably had a long one ahead of me.
"K," I said with a shrug.
"There you go kid." He said with a smile and went back to working on the car. "Ain't you late for work?" he mentioned a moment later.
I checked my watch and jumped, he was completely right. I grabbed my backpack and ran inside the mansion to get ready for work.
It totally didn't take me two years to update this time!
To my reviewers
Star- Hail from Trimaris!
Tokyo- Days, not years!
Allyg- Thank you so much! Glad to see SPaG has improved, i'm so terrible at editing my own work...
J- it bothered a great many people and I never understood why. Glad to see not everyone though!
Dogo- bit longer this time! It it makes you feel better my last chapter dissapointed me too, I just couldn't seem to make the Storm conversation come out right. As it is I had to settle on a quasi flashback thing.
Duplicitious- it's a fic that moved along by conversatiosn, silly situations, and heavy sarcasm. I hope it didn't take you 22 chapters to realize it was rediculous hun. I thought I made that perfectly clear in the first chapter with the yarn.
Hope this was to everybody's satisfaction. If not, then tell me why!