Title: Sense

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: None of this is mine.

Notes: Confusion is all in the mind. So is he.

"Some things don't make sense," she said, standing on the beach. The waves lapped at her feet, shifting sand so she sank a little with every wash of salty water. Her hair was caught by the wind, and whipped at her cheeks.

"Some things don't have to," he offered. He stood behind her, arms folded, watching her almost idly.

"But I think they should."

"You cannot order your existence with thoughts. Some things are, and some things are not. Sense is an illusion."

She looked over her shoulder at him for a moment, then returned her gaze to the ocean. "Some people would argue that our existence is only made so by conscious thought," she reminded him.

"That isn't you talking."

"No, you're right," she conceded. "But that doesn't mean to say they're not right."

"Do you think they are?" he asked her gently.

"No." The answer tripped out of her mouth. "No, I think everything is. That we can think doesn't change that. It would all still be there if we couldn't think. I mean," and a slow smile spread across her face, "what about coma patients and stuff?"

"And stuff," he repeated disdainfully. "Indeed."

"But that doesn't mean things make sense," she said, returning to her original point. "And I don't understand it."

"You wouldn't, would you," he pointed out. "If they don't make sense."

"You're confusing me," she whispered. "You always do that. You confuse me."

"Confusion is all in the mind," he said sagely.

She laughed, an easy laugh that was heard far too rarely. "You should know. You cause enough of it in mine."

"Your mind is a dangerous place," he said quietly. "I would not dream of deliberately causing you more confusion."

"You don't dream. You have nightmares. You wake screaming in the night, and no one comes because you make sure you only sleep in soundproofed rooms. Tattooed numbers on your arm, yellow stars sewn onto all your clothing, your mother being taken screaming to the gas chambers."

"Stop it," he said harshly. "Those aren't your memories, Marie, stop it."

"But I can't," she whispered. "Don't you see? The screams in the death camps ring in my ears."

"You never heard them, Marie."

"But I will." She turned now, facing him, her back to the vast expanse of ocean and horizon. "You've taught me that. It's coming, Erik. Hordes of mutant-haters, wanting to brand us like cattle and lock us in camps and deny us every basic human right. Little food and water, because we're little more than animals, and we aren't useful like cattle or dogs, so why bother feed us? Why bother with medical treatment? They don't care if we die, and if we live we're dangerous. Numbers on our arms or on our foreheads so everyone can see what we are. Degraded. Not human, not worth anything." She stopped to catch her breath, and looked surprised at her outburst. "That's you talking," she whispered finally.

"No, Marie, that's you," he said gently. "You believe it."

"But what I believe may not be real," she whispered. "So much of life is confusing, Erik."

"That is true."

"Truth is in the eye of the beholder," she murmured, her Southern drawl returning slowly to her voice. "Or is that beauty?"

"Perhaps," Erik offered, "it is both."


She looked up, startled, to see Cyclops coming towards her.

"Rogue, we've been looking for you," he said, sounding more than a little pissed off. "We're leaving soon. Don't you have a watch?"

"Every time I put on a watch, my body's magnetic field makes it go crazy," Marie drawled. He stopped a few meters away from her, and she thought he frowned. It was hard to tell, with his sunglasses. "Sorry. Didn't know it was getting so late."

"What are you doing all the way over here?" Cyclops wanted to know. She held out her hands, showing him bare skin. She indicated her feet as well. "Ah."

"Couldn't risk it around the kids," she said. "They're scared of me." Cyclops began to make a token protest, but she shook her head with a faint smile. "It's alright. They should be." She turned and washed her hands in the surf, then took her gloves from her pocket and put them on. Long opera gloves that reached up to her upper arm. She picked up her flip-flops and glanced around to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything.

"I'm not scared of you, Marie," Erik told her sadly.

She didn't answer the phantom of her mind as she followed her teacher back to the school bus, and the crowds of excited children there.

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