Chapter One

"Why do we let Bobby pick the movies?" Kitty groaned. She glared at the images on the television and threw a few kernels of popcorn at it.

"Because if we let you pick, I'll be forced to watch one of those sappy love stories," he retorted, grinning as another explosion occurred on the screen.

"I should be able to pick!" Jubilee interrupted and plopped herself down on the couch.

"No!" Kitty and Bobby interjected at the same time.

Rogue rolled her eyes at the lot of them and placed another bowl of popcorn in the middle of the table, sitting back in her spot on the floor by Bobby's feet. "I never get to pick," Jubilee pouted and snatched some popcorn from the bowl.

"Last time we let you pick we were forced to watch the Carebears movie," Rogue replied and winced as she watched the carnage unfold. She rested her head on Bobby's knee and grinned as she heard Jubilee make an affronted sound.

"I still don't think that outfit is conducive to battle situations," Kitty said seriously, pointing at the heroine's leather getup. "I mean, really, who goes into a battle with that little on?"

"Mystique," Rogue replied.

"Yeah, well, I'm not all that sure that the Brotherhood members are playing with a full deck of cards," Kitty commented, shaking her head again at the television.

Rogue opened her mouth to reply, but Bobby's fingers on her hair calmed her. She focused her attention back on the action movie. "Hey, Rogue?" Jubilee asked, interrupting her thoughts. "When's Wolverine coming back?"

Bobby's fingers froze and Rogue rolled her eyes. "I'm not sure," she said with a shrug. "The Professor gave him some new information about his past."

"So, we won't have to worry about training for a little while," her roommate replied with delight.

"Well, Mr. Summers is going to do the class," Rogue informed her.

"Yeah, but he isn't anywhere as hard as Wolverine," Kitty retorted. She rubbed her right shoulder and muttered, "I think my bruises have bruises."

Rogue grinned. Combat training classes had been added after the events of Alkali Lake. At first Mr. Summers had been in charge of them but after returning from his latest quest for his past Logan had taken over. No one was certain why the change had occurred. Rumors floated around the mansion that it was so Wolverine would have a reason to stay, but she suspected it had more to do with Mr. Summers' bouts of grief that would unexpectedly occur and throw their training sessions off. The use of ones powers was forbidden in the class since they were expected to learn the basics of combat without them. She relished the class, excelling in the hand to hand combat; partially she believed because Logan's own memories would seep out and help her but also because she practiced on her own time, alone and with Logan to hone her skills. Unlike the others her power was not conducive to training situations. She couldn't freeze the opponent or his gun, or fire off pyrotechnics at him, or slip away through the wall.

'Well, you could,' she reminded herself and looked at her glove encased hands. An all too familiar voice in her mind laughed soflty at that. She ignored it and returned her attention to the movie, concentrating on Bobby's hand as it moved cautiously on her hair.

"We're not going to be able to have any training class tomorrow unless Mr. Summers and the Professor get back from the conference in time," Kitty pointed out, grinning happily.

"Hey!" Jubilee exclaimed and pointed excitedly to the screen. "That's the move we were learning last class."

"Rogue was the only one who was able to get anywhere close to doing it," Bobby said with admiration and tugged gently on a strand of her hair.

Rogue smiled up at him. "Must be nice to get one-on-one training from Logan," Kitty interjected, and Rogue's smile fell from her face.

Bobby's jaw went stiff and he diverted his gaze to the television set. Rogue bit back a sigh and shifted back into her previous position, forcing herself not to glare daggers at the other girl.

"Ow!" Kitty swore and Rogue looked up to see her glaring at Jubilee who was facing the screen with a smug look on her face.

Rogue shook her head as her roommate gave her a quick wink as she grabbed a handful of popcorn. "That outfit is worse than the last one!" Kitty groaned and threw more popcorn, causing the others to laugh and the tension that had built up to dissipate.

"There's nothing like watching a good movie with your friends," Jubilee said and pulled the bowl to her lap.

"I wouldn't call this good," Kitty replied.

"Okay, so a bad movie," Jubilee amended. "Though, the boy did pick it."

"Hey!" Bobby exclaimed and glared at the two.

Rogue grinned and reached for some popcorn. 'Jubes is right,' she thought as she ate. 'Nothing like watching a bad movie with your friends.'

xxx

"—never again. I'm going to have nightmares now about some big alien thing," Jubilee urged, flinging their bedroom door open and giggling as she toppled on top of her bed. "And it had claws!"

Rogue rolled her eyes and made her way into the bathroom. "You're insane, Jubes," she called through the open doorway as the girl continued to giggle. 'Lord help me, she's on a sugar high,' she thought and shuddered, closing the bathroom door behind her.

"What the hell is that?" Jubilee's muffled voice asked.

"What are you talking about?" Rogue asked and removed her gloves in order to wash her face.

"Rogue," the other girl called. "I think something is out there."

Rogue sighed exasperatedly. "Jubilee," she said, stopping herself to make sure she didn't sound chastising.

"Outside on the ground," her roommate continued. "It's like creeping through the--"

Rogue froze as there was a loud popping sound and then a strangled gurgle from behind the door. "Jubilee?" she called and opened the door. Her eyes widened in horror and she fell to her roommate's side. The teenager was holding her hand to her throat, blood seeping from it, a strange gurgling sound coming from her mouth.

Her terror filled eyes locked on Rogue's, whose bare hands hovered over her. "Help!" Rogue screamed, grabbing for something, anything to stop the bleeding.

She looked up at the window to their room, eyes registering the hole with cracks forming in a spiral around it. "Hold on, Jubes," she urged her friend and pressed the towel onto the girl's wound. "Somebody help!"

Rogue froze as the school's sirens began to wail accompanied by red lights flashing in the corner of the bedroom. She looked back down at Jubilee and shook her head, tears falling from her eyes. "No, Jubilee," she pleaded, touching the girl's covered shoulders. "Open your eyes. Please, Jubilee."

Her roommate made no movement and Rogue pulled her hands away, wrapping them around herself. She could hear the other students moving, running into the hallways, calling out to one another to try and deduce what was happening. The sound of an explosion burst through the hallway, followed by screams. Rogue pushed herself up and with one last look at her fallen friend went into the hallway.

"Rogue!" Bobby called from behind her and she whirled around to face him. He skidded to a halt in front of her, searching her tear stained face for answers.

"Jubilee's dead," she told him, hiccupping as she said the words.

There was a chorus of gunfire below and he grabbed her forearm, careful not to touch the exposed skin of her hand. "We have to go," Bobby said and began pulling her down the hallway.

'They killed her.' Rogue shook her head to clear her thoughts and started moving on her own. They moved through the hallway, following the throng of students towards the passageway a few feet away. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted one of the younger students curled up, hiding behind a statue. Pulling herself from Bobby's grasp she made her way to the boy. "Tom," she said, motioning for him. "You can't stay here."

Hesitantly, he nodded and moved towards her. She screamed as a wave of bullets tore into him, his eyes widening as they pierced his skin, an anguished cry escaping his lips as he fell. Bobby pulled her into the passageway and she turned to see who had been firing as he pushed the doorway closed.

'FoH,' she thought, repeating the letters that had been on the man's camouflaged shirt, as they ran down the concrete passage. Picking up her speed, she followed Bobby and the other students, stopping every so often to help out one or two of those who tripped, careful to avoid skin-to-skin contact.

Rogue forced herself to keep running and picked up one of the younger students, carrying the little girl as she continued on. They exited the passage and came out into the woods, meeting up with a group of bewildered youngsters, looking towards herself and Bobby for guidance.

The sound of gunfire picked up again, followed by shouts from behind them, coming from the tunnel they had just vacated. "This way," Rogue said and started to move further into the woods. It was where they had been trained to go, to get the other students away from harm. "Quietly," she warned.

The others nodded and followed her further into the woods. The sound of twigs snapping diverted all their attention to the right and they looked in horror as three militia men stood, aiming guns at their group. Bobby moved quickly, freezing each one of them as she guided the others on. Quietly they crept through the woods, anxious glances over their shoulders with each step that they took.

The minutes ticked by, distant sounds of gunfire and screams, keeping them on their toes. Rogue shifted the girl to her other hip, trudging along the terrain, pushing away branches and other vegetation. "Where's Mr. Wagner?" one of the boys asked.

"Or Ms. Monroe?" another questioned.

"They're probably all dead," one of the younger girl's responded, tears running down her face.

Jubilee and Tom's faces flashed in front of Rogue's eyes and she shook her head, forcing the images to leave. "Come on," Bobby urged. "We should keep going."

Silence fell among them again and they continued, no one quite sure where they were headed. She looked towards Bobby, raising an eyebrow questioningly. He looked at her and shrugged, acknowledging that he also was unsure. Eventually they were going to need to stop and find out what had happened.

There was the sound of movement behind them and they all readied themselves for gunfire, Bobby and a few of the others turning around to use their powers, while Rogue tried to shield the girl she was holding with her body.

"My brothers and sisters." She tensed at the voice, the one that haunted her dreams, slowly turning to see Magneto standing behind them, with two mutants she did not know at his side.

"Magneto," Bobby spat out, casting a concerned look towards her.

Magneto paid no attention to the younger mutant, sweeping his gaze over the rest of them, before coming to land on her. She held his gaze, forcing herself not to look away or show the fear she still held for him.

"I want to go home," the girl in her arms murmured, burying her head in Rogue's shoulder.

"That would be a problem, little one," Magneto answered and she was surprised by the gentleness in his voice. "It lies in ruins."

A loud chorus of scared voices rose through the air at that knowledge. "Silence," Magneto said firmly and waited for the youngsters to look back at him.

The sound of an airplane hovered above them and their attention turned upwards to see an aircraft preparing to land near them. "You may stay here and fend for yourselves or you may board and find safety with us," Magneto stated, motioning towards the craft. "We have…disposed of all we saw, but I do not know how many more are on the way."

The door to the craft lowered and Bobby tensed as he saw Pyro standing on the other side of it. 'We won't survive out here,' Rogue rationalized to herself and started towards the aircraft. "Come on," she said to the others, avoiding Bobby's gaze, afraid of the betrayal she might see.

Her gaze locked with Pyro's as she walked up the walkway, not quite able to put a name to the look in his eyes. "I see you made it out of the snow," he commented with his trademark smirk before frowning at his own words.

She glared at him in reply, remembering Dr. Grey's sacrifice. She slipped past him and placed the girl into one of the chairs. "Rogue?" she asked fearfully.

"Yeah, Paige?" Rogue answered, snapping the buckle into place.

"Are we going to be okay?"

Rogue looked up as Magneto boarded the plane and walked past them towards the cockpit, engaging the pilot in quick instructions. "I hope so," she told the child and sat down in the seat beside her, buckling her own belt. I hope so.