Author's note: I am taking the films as canon, with bits of the comic for flavouring; only I am changing the order of some events, the "cure" for the mutant condition is already out there, but Logan's still off searching for his past… My laptop is my Tardis! (The way I figure it, in real life all the action happens at once, then dies down to leave you twiddling your thumbs…)
I apologise for "Real Life" taking over from this fic, but, rest assured, I have been thinking about the fic, writing some more, and just today (well yesterday now) I found a beta! So, I would like to say a very big thank you and offer many huge hugs to the very spiffy Hannah for her prompt, helpful and thorough service.
I am reposting the original chapters to take account of beta-ing and a few plot developments that I had not foreseen when I originally began to write but which now demand attention. Posts of subsequent chapters will depend on reviews, the fic has been written and beta read up to chapter 10, and the rest is currently "in progress", but I won't post unless there's someone out there (other than me and Hannah) who wants to read it.
As always, the disclaimer – I don't own 'em, I'm just giving them a light-hearted, teenybopper outing with a topping of fluff… All credit must go to Marvel, and those people who bought the film rights off them!
For those of you who do read, I hope you enjoy it!
Rogue sat on her bed cross-legged, her sketchbook resting on knees clad in dirty jeans. She was working on one of the scenes from her other memories. She thought it was one of Magneto's, she was getting quite good at sifting through the chaos which often invaded her brain; drawing helped. She had, over the years, managed to purge most of the memories from that fatal first kiss, on the day her mutation manifested itself. Under her bed there was a full folder of sketches and journal entries of Cody's memories, neatly tied up with string. She had, so to speak, closed that particular book soon after she came to the mansion, with the Professor's help. The other, less dusty, files under the bed had been more recent, and rather more problematic; the memories they contained had impacted so strongly on Rogue that they still affected her, even though not all of them entered her dreams.
The Professor's partial mind block had helped, and it was only the two older men who had any sort of serious presence in her mind now. It wasn't like they were sharing her mind, unlike the blocked off personality that had briefly inhabited her body, more like they had poured personality, memories and experience into her mind, without an accompanying identity. It gave her a new perspective. The Erik-ness inside her made her sceptical and cautious, fortunately balancing some of the recklessness Logan had given her, along with a penchant for cigar smoke. They had also left some vestiges of their powers, being pushed to the verge of death seemed to do that, as well as pushing someone else over it. She couldn't manipulate metal, but she could sometimes sense it, and Logan had given her better eyesight, hearing and smell. Probably a result of multiple contacts, he saved her life so much with his healing ability. She was glad about the eyesight; at one point she had thought that she might need glasses, but not anymore. The smell wasn't so great. It drove her to be slightly obsessive about bathing at times. Another side effect of the Logan inside her was that it served as an aching reminder that her crush on Logan had developed into something more; maybe not true love, exactly, but she understood him more, and she knew that he understood her better than anyone else at the Institute. She reached up from her sketch quickly to adjust the dog tags around her neck.
The charcoal drawing grew as she worked on it, files of dirty people, and mud. The perspective was off, and she wasn't good at drawing close-ups of ankles and shoes. She threw the pad of paper across the room in frustration, and wiped her smeared fingers on her jeans. The memory, like so many in her mind, was profoundly troubling. She closed her eyes and focused inwards, trying to find meditative clam. She breathed in for the count of five, and out for seven, as Ororo had taught her as a way to reduce stress.
She didn't notice that Kitty was in the process of phasing through the wall between her room and the one Kitty shared with Jubilee until Kitty knocked on the wall. Rogue looked up, to see the bizarre image of a hand rapping back on the wall it had come through. "Y'all can come in, Kitty," she said. She had, this time, at least had the decency to knock. There was always a possibility that Kitty would walk in on something embarrassing, or end up in contact with Rogue's skin when she wasn't concentrating. Kitty emerged and sat down on the windowsill, picking up Rogue's sketchbook on the way, and flicking through it. "This one's new," she said, holding up the picture of mud, "Doesn't look too nice, the subject that is, not the art!" she added hurriedly.
Rogue looked up at her and nodded "I hate it, but then so did Erik, whatever it is." Rogue stared into space, and then smiled wryly at Kitty. "It's getting me down, yah know? Ah'm not just walkin' a mile in his shoes, ah'm dreamin' all of his memories. It makes it tricky ta keep him as Magneto when ah think about him, he's just this wounded orphan."
Kitty flipped back through the sketchpad. "You've got a point. This stuff is just so depressing."
At this point Jubilee walked in through the door, which was ajar. "Well, Kitty and I have some thing that might cheer you up, don't we?" She looked across to Kitty. "And I don't know why you can't just use the door Chica, it's hardly far to walk, only next door!"
Kitty stuck her tongue out at the brightly clad Asian girl; her long yellow jumper reached almost to her knees over her black cycle shorts revealing tanned legs. Jubilee parked herself on the chest at the foot of Rogue's bed, aware that their friend was not covered up - she was only wearing a camisole top, and also that she was uncomfortable with too much proximity anyway. She snatched one of the window seat cushions away from Kitty who made a soft sound of protest as she re-settled herself.
"What's up?" asked Rogue, her voice still strongly laced with a slow southern drawl, as she flicked her white locks back out of her face.
Kitty squeaked as Jubilee started to speak in lecturing tones, her face alight with suppressed laughter. "Well, as you are no doubt aware, the kitten's birthday is on Saturday…"
"Ah didn't know that!" lied Rogue, picking up some of Jubilee's good humour, looking at Kitty who threw a cushion at her in a fit of pique.
"You SO did!" she shrieked, and glared at Rogue, who blew her a kiss.
"'Course ah did, ya baby!" Rogue threw the cushion back, and Kitty phased out to let it bounce off the wall behind her to fall on the carpet.
"Ahem!" coughed Jubilee, her jade-green eyes flashing "As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, Kitty will, on Saturday, be completely and utterly legal, and we thought it would be cool to go out to that club in town that Bobby and the others like."
"And we need to ask you first 'cos you're our bestest friend, and you wouldn't want me to cry, and we'll have such fun and, well please, I've never been there before and it's my birthday and if you come with I'll count that as my present from you and love you forever even though I already do!" Kitty pleaded, her soft voice growing squeaky with excitement and shortness of breath by the end.
Rogue stared at her. "Ah'm amazed that you managed to say all of that without passin' out," she mused softly, hugging her knees. "You know ah don't like crowded places, and ah hate coverin' up all that much when it's gonna be so warm."
"Come ON!" pleaded Kitty "I'll buy you a new body stocking! And you've got control now anyway! We have to go out for my birthday, it's not like you've not been there before!"
That's why ah don't wanna go, Rogue thought miserably.
The last time she has gone out she had been revelling in her new-found control, recklessness outweighing caution and was less covered up than usual, wearing only a short sleeved top, and a skirt. That was where the problem lay. She had been with Bobby and John a few of the older students. The music at this place was great, they had been a few times; classic rock and heavy metal, spiced up with the pick of the rest, just as Remy had said "Dat DJ be deservin' a medal, no?"
There had been a crowd of single guys there, celebrating something. She had been to the bar to get a drink, when one of the strange guys had forced his way to the bar and leered at her. "Hey hun, wasshup?" he had slurred at her, the offensive odours of his sweat, alcohol and stale breath almost made her gag. As his arm flopped close to her own she edged to her left, away from him, and took her black lacy gloves from her pocket sliding them on as fast as she could.
The guy had stared at her hands. "Thoshe are sho sexy," he murmured, reaching for her hand. As she stared at him he put his arm proprietarily around her shoulders "Do you have shome matching shtockings?" he hiccupped and grinned at her, as if he had made the funniest joke in the world. She felt trapped by the smells, his arm and the darkness, as the lights had dropped and the black light came on. She could see Bobby in the distance, it was as if he was standing in his own personal dry ice machine, as he played with his powers, unconcerned by the public nature of the club, after all, most people here were at least ambivalent towards mutants, if not actively pro-mutant.
She wriggled under the confining arm, as she almost bit her tongue from the effort it took to control her poison skin. She envied Bobby his control and how comfortable he was with his powers, comfortable in his skin she thought sadly with a tiny part of her mind that wasn't screaming with claustrophobia.
Rogue turned her attention back to Mr. Drunk-and-Disorderly; even if she had wanted to hurt him, she would have controlled her skin, there was no way she wanted any of that mentality in her skull. "Beat it," she growled at him, using some of Logan's experience in order to appear threatening as she flung his arm from her neck, her thumbnail digging into one of the pressure points of his wrist. He backed away from her, hands raised "Shorry Miss Moody!" He muttered as he went to rejoin his friends. Finally, her coke had arrived, and she made her way as quickly as she could to her friends.
Bobby turned as she approached, her arrival was evident from the way her white locks of hair were lit up by the UV light, and said something under the roar of the noise. She leaned in closer to hear him. "I said, 'Are you all right?'" he yelled into her ear "You've put your gloves on."
She put his mouth to his ear "Ah'm fine, just some drunk tryin' ta get it ahn with me, ah think he took the hint." Bobby nodded, and smiled, and started dancing with her and Remy. "It's so hot in here!" she moaned, fanning at the back of her neck. Bobby grinned and held out his hand, a lump of ice formed in it. She snatched it and held it to her face with a smile. It was so nice to be friends with Bobby, a true metro, who could dance with another guy without looking stupid, and who was still her friend even if they weren't going out.
It was quite a lot later, and Rogue was starting to think about going home, when the drunk guy from earlier came over, towed by a friend or six. The guy in front came up to them, and looked at Rogue. "Hey there cutie," he said, his voice angry, blowing cigarette smoke and smell all over her. "Pete here says you blew him off. That's not very nice. I'm sure you can manage to play nice…" He grabbed her by the arm, fortunately where the skin was covered by her long gloves, and dragged her forwards against him. He ran his free hand down Rogue's front, tracing her breasts through the thin top, before sliding his hand down to her waist, and then her bottom. John spotted what was going on, and forced his way over to Rogue, Bobby and Remy in tow.
"Get off!" Rogue shrieked, tears streaming down her face, managing to break free of his grasp, backing away as he closed in on her. "Don't touch me!" She yelled, desperately trying to keep her mind unpolluted by this guy's perverted thoughts and her body free of his wandering hands.
Bobby and John stepped in front of Rogue, protectively. "Shove off," Bobby said as softly as possible to be still audible under the loud music.
"Why, mate? Is she yours?" he leered, just as Pete did from behind him. The others of their crowd just hung back, looking and smirking,
"That's none o' your gawd-damned business, asshole!" shrieked Rogue, tear stains evident on her cheeks as she lunged out aggressively from between and behind the two boys.
The asshole replaced his cigarette in his mouth, and lunged out and grabbed her by the arm again, but this time holding her upper arm, where her skin was bare. "Aagh! Let go!" she cried, "Ah can't control it any more!" True to her word she felt the…pull… of skin on skin, but she couldn't break away. Remy, who was fortunately wearing a long-sleeved shirt, snatched Rogue from behind, enveloping her in something between a bear hug and a rugby tackle. The asshole almost fell over, hunched up, coughing. "Damn mutie freak!" he yelled at her. She broke out of Remy's grasp, uncomfortable being held close by any man, or woman for that matter, and the Cajun wasn't the kind of man she wanted to be held by, even if the kind of man who was happened to be half the continent away exploring Canada to find his past.
"Pervert!" she snarled back. "Get out of mah head, Richard, ya gawd-damned misogynistic pig!"
John came up from the other side of the dance floor, and stared at Richard. "You should be more careful around here; you never know who you might insult. Or," he added looking down at the teen with as smile twisting his lips "when a smoking situation's going to ignite." John smiled as he drew the fire from the cigarette, the whole thing flaring into a ball of fire which John left hanging in the air, before chasing the gang of boys back out of their way with it.
"Chasin' em wit it in public, John? Dat be too much." Remy said, as Bobby nodded, and put out the cigarette, and the gang of guys scattered. "As, Remy is thinkin', is dat cheesy one-liner." He turned to Rogue, "Is you ok, Cherie? Remy be thinkin' it be time we get goin'." The others nodded in agreement.
"Please, Rougie?" begged Kitty, snapping her back to the present. Rogue shuddered at the memory and looked down at Kitty who had dropped to her knees on the floor, staring up at Rogue, her hands clasped together as if she was praying. Jubilee just sat there.
"Ah guess ah will come, but ah'll cover up, and ah expect y'all ta get Bobby ta provide me with ice cubes on demand," she said reluctantly.
"Wahoo!" crowed Kitty, leaping up from the floor. Jubilee looked pleased. "We'll go ask everyone else! Then we'll go shopping and get outfits! Yay!"
"Who else is comin'?" asked Rogue softly, fingering the tags. Kitty was still jumping up and down waving her arms, so Jubilee answered.
"Anyone whose here and wants to come, provided they're old enough," she turned to Kitty and grabbed her wrist. "Come on Chica, there's a whole mansion left to ask!" They went through the door, closing it behind them. Kitty stuck her head through it.
"You do remember that Saturday is also Halloween, right?" Rogue frowned slightly, not liking where this was going, "Well," she paused and took a breath, before blurting out "Its-a-fancy-dress-party" and disappearing as Rogue's shriek echoed down the corridors.