"Angels and Demons"
By:
Luna Mae
Updated On: 4 April 2008
Chapter Nine
"Sing a Little Song"

X

Rogue didn't know what woke her late that night. Perhaps it was the sudden charge of electricity in the air that she felt that led her to drag her feet out of bed.

Or maybe Remy was hogging all of the covers and one of Warren's wings would occasionally jostle or tickle her, (the feathers were not susceptible to her powers). It was distracting, but not at all entirely unpleasant.

Either way, it led her to carefully manoeuvre herself out of the covers and silently make her way to the other side of the room. Halfway in the doorway she spared a glance at the clock on her nightstand that read two fourty-seven before she, quietly as possible, shut the door.

The halls were empty, there wasn't another sound other than here breathing, and the moon cast an eerie glow through the windows at the other end of the corridor. She suddenly aware of how alive she felt.

Tip-toeing barefoot on the wooden floor she was silent as death, afraid of waking someone. For now, the mansion was hers. But what was there to do in the middle of the night when one could not sleep?

Watch the television without having to go through WWIII to get the remote? Get some work done for school?

Go to the kitchen and enjoy the moment with a tub of leftover ice cream…?

Yes, Rogue decided, that would be a perfect idea.

With every intention in mind to do so, Rogue went down a side staircase to would take her to the main level, passing an open window as she did so. She knew what the window overlooked—the memorial markers for the three former leaders of the X-Men—and she usually found it hard to stomach the image of those large grey stones in the beautiful courtyard.

It was by chance that when she was chose to pull her hair over her shoulder that her attention was briefly pulled towards the view outside the window.

The stones were the same as they were everyday, imposing, solid, and cold. But what was different that time was the something that stood before them.

Her heart dropped to her feet, but that didn't stop her from moving. If anything, they only moved faster.

Something twisting in her chest and something in her brain, a distant emotion of longing, hatred, detachment, and anxiousness pulled her towards the memorial. With every step she took, a heavy weight seemed to settle in her chest.

Soon, her feet were barely touching wood floors, then soundlessly tapping on the outdoor brick paths and finally being tickled by the blades of grass. She slowed only when she was twenty feet away from him.

"Magneto," she acknowledged bravely. Maybe she had left her fear back in her room. Or maybe she hadn't really woken up yet and thus was unable to think about consequences.

He didn't appear to be startled, only turning slightly to see what disturbed him. He didn't wear his helmet because Rogue supposed that he thought it would not be needed after the Professor's death.

"Why are you here?" Rogue asked him, emotions carefully avoiding the surface of her face. She let the wind play with her hair and made notice of the fact that her hands were still bare and therefore she, too, was dangerous.

"To pay my respects to an old friend,"

It was only then did she notice which memorial marker that that Erik Lensherr was standing in front of—Professor Xavier's. The idea that he had come all this way just to stand at the marker seemed almost ludicrous.

Rogue looked at him incredulously and her voice shook angrily, "That's why you've been travelling across the country and overturning military tanks so you could put flowers on the grave of someone you help kill?" It didn't seem very plausible.

"I am old, Rogue," he said quietly. She was taken aback by the tired man's tone. The man who now resembled her grandfather that she had left in Mississippi not a mutant overlord. "Very old…" he trailed off. She knew that he had been fifteen during World War II…Erik Lensherr had to be at least in his seventies. "And I am afraid that I am too tired to battle you this evening so if you wish to kill me I will not be able to stop you from doing so,"

It disturbed Rogue greatly that she was tempted to do so.

The man had purposely tried to mutate the prime members of the United Nations at her own expense, could have saved Dr. Jean Grey if he hadn't stolen the helicopter, and the man took away John, one of her friends. So why couldn't Rogue bring herself to attack him? To hate him? Make him suffer like she had? Even things so they were square? Eye for an eye?

Was it because it suddenly seemed possible that the master of magnetism was…dying?

Her eyes suddenly hardened, "Mystique," she glared at the man.

The supposed impostor looked mildly startled at the accusation, "I assure you, Rogue, that I am Erik," he waved his hand lightly in the direction of a metal chair set aside and spun it around the garden once before letting it rest back against the stone wall.

Satisfied that it wasn't Mystique trying to pull a fast one on her, she decided to give a fair warning, "You've put the flowers down," she said frostily, "You can leave now,"

"Patience is a virtue," he said lightly.

"Not one of mine," she answered, "Or Mystique's," Seeing how she had Erik's undivided attention, she continued, "She's here. She's staying in the Institute as a teacher under the assumption that she'll be the one that gets to kill you when you meet again," The promised battle against Magneto was the only thing keeping Raven Darkholme tame and docile at the school. If she and Jamie left…once again the school would be in jeopardy along with the X-Men.

In the few weeks she had stayed at the institute, who knew how much she had learned about their home?

"Is she here now?" he asked, glancing at the mansion. The surprise in his voice was evident but he looked more amused if anything.

Rogue inclined her head as a nod.

The old man nodded, more so to himself, "Then I suppose I should be leaving," he murmured, facing the marker once more, "I have yet to return to my full power,"

Suddenly attentive, Rogue frowned at this.

"You're…you haven't gotten back all your powers?" she asked warily.

He slowly turned to look at her again, "Of course not. DNA needs months and months to fully repair after undergoing such a strain as that,"

Did that mean…her powers weren't even done redeveloping? To what extent could they grow? How destructive could they become to her? To everyone else?

She must've have been locked in her private conversation for a long time because when she looked up again Magneto had gone.

X

"Miss D'Ancanto," said that annoying boy who sat in the third row, second column.

She locked baggy eyes on the eleventh-grader and he seemed to falter if only for a moment.

The night before after forcing herself back to her room and discovering that her bed had been completely taken over was a little more than aggravating, especially at the hour. Remy had ditched the covers in favour of spreading his legs across over half the bed with his arm stretching out and quite possibly smothering Warren. The quilt and sheets were half draped over Warren and his wings in a part-cocoon, part-pitched tent formation and looked creatively abstract.

Rogue would have had more patience if it had been anybody but Magneto she had come from, but unfortunately, her frustration and confusion lead her to waking up her comrades rather forcefully.

"Ouch, chere," yawn "no need t' shove…"

"Nnngh mmphrr…"

"Go back to your own room!" she hissed, untwisting the sheets from around one of Warren's wings, "You're taking up my whole bed!"

"Chere, it's three in th' mornin'…can't Remy jus'—?"

"No," snapped quietly.

"Mmmphr nnnerrgh…" Warren muttered in his sleep.

"Chere," he whined, rolling over on his side and curling into the pillow. It looked as though Rogue wasn't the only person irritable at an early hour.

"No," she said again more forcefully, "Now git up, you lump." Using the sheets as a physical barrier between her bare hands and his exposed skin, she pushed Remy halfway off the bed and started dragging a disoriented Warren unsteadily to his feet. He stood quietly and without argument, but looked a little confused.

Remy grumbled, eyes nearly shut, and staggered to his feet unhappily before going to the door.

"Take Warren with you!" Rogue hissed, already fixing up her bedspread.

Warren was, if possible, sleeping as he stood next to her nightstand.

Rolling his eyes that seemed a little more alert now; Remy backtracked and pulled Warren along towards the door.

Rogue didn't see them leave as she climbed under the covers. Though she was almost instantly asleep just after the door closed quietly behind them, it did not stop her from inhaling and registering the sweet foreign scents in her pillow.

"Miss D'Ancanto," the boy said again a little more impatiently. He often found it difficult to respect someone who was barely a year old than him as a teacher.

Rogue sighed testily, pulling herself out of her thoughts, "Yes, Geoffrey?"

"How could MacBeth go from being totally normal and sane to a psychopath or whatever in just a couple of days?"

Her eleventh grade class had just (barely) finished reading MacBeth.

Rogue closed her eyelids and breathed deeply, "Delicately put," she said in a serious tone but her sarcasm was plain and clear, "But to answer what I'm assuming you mean; MacBeth was under a lot of pressure from everybody. His wife, Banquo, the threat of Fleance, and Duncan's sons," she peered around the class only to find them bored, but attentive to their notes, "Anyone who was being pushed into murder, royalty, dealing with the scrutiny of their peers, and were influenced by dark magic would be near the brink of their sanity,"

She hoped to move on but Geoffrey hurried to continue, "But the witches said that no one born of a woman could kill him, so how did MacDuff do it?"

Rogue sighed, "Did you read act five, Geoffrey?"

"Yes…"

She rolled her eyes, "Then you should know that he wasn't technically 'born of woman,'"

"He was…born from a man?" he tried, but failed, to keep a straight face.

The class giggled.

Rogue counted to ten in attempt to reign in her temper, "A C-section," she explained in aggravation. God, had she been this annoying last year? "His mother died in labour so they had to—"

"Rogue,"

Rogue stopped in the middle of her sentence. Had someone addressed her? She peered across the room, searching for a raised hand and locked eyes with each and everyone of her students. They looked at her, confused as to why she had stopped. If they hadn't called to her, had they at least heard it? That voice…it had sounded like it was in the very room with her. What was that tickling sensation in the back of her mind? It almost felt like all the times Professor Xavier had spoken to her psychically. But there weren't any telepaths living in the Institute, she reasoned.

"Miss D'Ancanto?"

"…Marie…" it whispered again. It almost even sounded like Professor Xavier.

She froze for the second time. God, her heart was trying to leap out of her chest…

"Um…Miss D'Ancanto?"

"…Anna…"

She blinked, and suddenly she wasn't in her second period English class anymore.

Lights. White hot lights snaking their ways around her in strange symbols she had never seen before. They were circling her. No, she was spinning. They blurred into one giant wall of white before disappearing completely into nearly solid darkness.

And then she was just—

Falling.

"Miss D'Ancanto!" cried her students.

X

When she first saw the bright lights in front of her eyes, she panicked, and blinked quickly.

The Med Bay's lights. That's all they were. Not strange symbols surrounding her.

Rogue turned over on the cushiony material and nearly landed on the floor. The Med Bay. She repeated in her head.She closed her eyes and sighed; and so she had returned.

She suddenly needed someone with her. To hear a voice to break the silence. Someone real. Unfortunately, all she got were shadows:

"GET OUT!" cried Carol so loudly that Rogue could've sworn it echoed through the room.

Instinctively, Rogue grabbed her head and tried to remember how to block her out. She could hardly find the mental strength to force up her barrier but luckily Carol said no more.

The doors of the Med Bay swished open.

"Rogue?" said a feminine voice that she identified as Ororo's, "I just saw you get up, are you all right?"

Trying to appear sounder than she really was, Rogue said, "Yeah, yeah. I was just… dehydrated,"

"Dehydrated," Ororo repeated flatly, crossing her arms and stopped walking. Rogue could tell that she wasn't buying it.

"And a small headache?" she tried.

"What kind of headache?" she asked immediately, "The Carol kind?"

Rogue automatically cringed, "No," she said slowly, "This time I…I heard a…different kind of voice," she admitted this with great reluctance. Rogue had no idea how mentally stable she would appear, even for someone who heard ghosts of whispers daily. Just never like this.

Ororo looked alarmed and her folded arms dropped to her side, "A voice?"

Rogue nodded grimly, "It said my name. Three times," she swallowed, "Rogue, Marie, and Anna,"

"Anna?" she said slowly.

Rogue nodded uncomfortably, "It's my first name. Marie's actually only my middle name. I used to call myself Anna until I moved in with my second foster family when I was thirteen,"

"I never knew that," Ororo commented quietly.

Marie shrugged, "It's not that important,"

"Unless your subconscious is trying to tell you something. Is there anything you want to talk about?" she implored.

"No," she answered, perhaps too quickly for Ororo's liking.

Her teacher sighed in resignation as she looked at Rogue, "Then I guess I can't say suggest anything other than do not," she said with her mouth drawn into a straight line, "under any circumstances absorb anyone for any reason,"

Marie eyed her mentor, slightly annoyed by the near-accusation, "You know I don't like to use my powers," she said.

Ororo nodded, "I know, but accidents happen," she took a seat on the examination table next to her student and pondered on her choice of words for what she wanted to say, "And now more than ever I need you to be extra careful since I can't tell exactly what sort of damage this could do to your mind. If the Professor…if the Professor has succeeded in teaching me something it's that the mind is a very complex thing. And judging by Carol, your headaches, and the incident yesterday…yours is bursting at its seams, even if it doesn't always feel like it."

"Mm,"

Ororo hesitated, "Remy and Warren tried to come and stop by about ten minutes ago," she commented lightly, "But Hank and I figured it'd be better for you to get some rest…you, not too surprisingly, seem to think otherwise,"

Rogue nodded, "I'm fine," she insisted, "Never better. Invulnerable, remember?"

Ororo clearly didn't agree, "Perhaps, but you seem to be suffering from a near-narcoleptic disorder and it isn't safe for you to over-doing yourself. Which is why," she said in a quick distracted, I-just-want-to-get-this-out sort of voice, "I think it's best for you to stay in the mansion for a couple of weeks,"

Marie stared, "I'm under house arrest?"

"Strict medical observation, I believe is the term Hank uses," she said with an apologetic smile, "And that means no Danger Room sessions,"

There were worse fates than that, Rogue concluded. Though she had not been subjected to any real strenuous activities or battle situations since Carol, a break from the Danger Room couldn't be too bad.

Ororo seized the moment of silence to pat her lightly on the shoulder and leave the room, "Get some water," she said as she left, "Maybe you really are just dehydrated," Ororo didn't buy it, and neither did Rogue.

X

Rogue left the kitchen after a tall glass of water as per Ororo's orders and walked with an eerie sense of detachment towards the staff room. She would put her fifth period's class work on the school's website so they wouldn't have an excuse not to do homework.

She could already hear them groaning now. Since when did she become so evil?

Rogue could only wonder as she turned the doorknob to the staffroom. Not too surprisingly, a busy Cajun who seemed to be spending most of his spare time near the fax machine and tying up the mansion's phone lines already occupied it.

The wired phone was pressed against his shoulders as he used both hands to hold up two different sets of papers and nodding along to whatever the person on the other line was saying even though they couldn't see him do so.

"Mmhm…oui, chere…oui…non. Mon dieu, non! Euh…non, ah…" sigh "bien sur, chere…" He sighed, sounding resigned as he reached for another file. "Non, s'all right, Bella. Remy can go over it again…" the words died in his mouth when he say Rogue standing in the doorway, looking like she was having second thoughts about disturbing him.

"Remy?" Bella said over the phone.

Rogue looked no worse for wear, as if it she hadn't just been carried to the Med Bay by Logan a small set of hours ago.

"You're up?" he mouthed, tilting the phone away from his mouth.

She nodded, the corner of her mouth quirking. Her being unconscious seemed to hardly merit any worry from her friends, "Girlfriend?" she mouthed back.

Remy thought about lying to her for a moment but he found himself nodding mutely.

Rogue looked at him understandingly, opened the mini-fridge by the door and picked up a coke before she waved lightly and made an attempt at an exit. She could find another computer somewhere.

"Y' don' have t' leave," he said quickly, momentarily forgetting that he was on the phone with an assassin.

"Who don' have t' leave?" Bella asked suspiciously.

"I don't think you need me here right now, Remy," she laughed and left the room without giving Remy the time to respond.

He struggled with words for a moment as he looked at the closed door. "Bella?" he said into the phone after a short minute, "Y' still there, chere?"

"Mm,"she didn't appear to be very happy hearing another woman's voice in his room.

He sighed; knowing there'd be no easy way around this and rubbed his eyes with a thumb and forefinger, "Bella, Remy don't think that…even though things be coolin' down in N'Awlins…that he be coming back for a while,"

He didn't have to see her to know that she was stunned by his answer.

"W-what?"

"Chere," he said, "Remy's got responsibilities here—"

She scoffed, "Y' have them here, too!"

"Bella—"

"This is your home! Your family! Me!"

"Chere," he said steadily, "M' stayin' up north,"

Bella was silent for a moment and Remy didn't know what to make of it until she whispered in a dazed voice, "Y' don' love me, do y'?"

Remy closed his eyes and leant back, burying his face in his palms, "Non," he said, "M' sorry," he meant it, too.

X

"Rogue! You're up!" Warren approached her, looking relieved, "We were worried—"

"Shh!" she flapped her hand at him and crouched down, motioning to the closed door, "It's Remy! Listen!"

Warren stood there quietly for a few seconds, simply staring at Rogue who was once again so full of life as if she had never seen the inside of a hospital or Med Bay. It took him a moment to blink and collect his bearings as he realised that she was eavesdropping.

"I really don't think we should be listening to his personal conversation—"

"Shh!" Rogue hissed and leaned her ear closer to the crack in the floor, "It's not personal if we all know about it," she hissed.

Warren stood behind Rogue and uneasily watched as she bit her lip tightly and creased her brow intensely at the murmurs she was able to decipher. He wished that he had chosen to go get his books just five minutes earlier so he wouldn't be stopped by Rogue frantically waving at him and motioning him to listen.

"But—"

"Shh!"

X

"But…I…we…" Bella trailed off uncertainly.

"Bella," he said convincingly, "Y' don' wanna marry me,"

She scoffed, "I beg t' differ—"

"Bella," he said again patiently, "Y' don' love Remy," maybe one day he could make her believe it.

"Yes I do," she insisted gruffly, "An' I must say that y've picked an awful time t' get cold feet," she didn't wait for him to ask what she meant, "Mon père wants us t' get married again an' y' t' use your powers for our Guild,"

A cold sense of dread seemed to solidify in his stomach; he had feared something like this would happen. Her guild.

"M' not a bargainin' piece, Bella," he said a little quickly.

"You're my fiancé!" she cried, voice cracking.

Remy cringed.

"Bella…"

"Non!" she exclaimed furiously, "I wan' t' know what's gotten in t' you! Why are you actin' like this?"

"M' not actin' like anythin', Bella," he said defensively, glaring at the phone though it was pointless.

The assassin scoffed yet again, "Then what've we been doin' these past couple o' weeks, Remy, hm? Playin' a game o' 'house' through th' phone? You said I can't visit, y' refuse t' come down for a weekend an' now y' sayin' that y' don' even wanna get married!" she sounded close to hysterics.

"We're too young, Bella," Remy said soothingly, wondering if his empathetic powers could possibly work through the telephone lines, "You an' me…we've still got so much t' do befo' we start thinkin' 'bout marryin' an' settlin' down…we still can meet people, do things, an' travel—"

"Don' gimme that royal bullshit, Lebeau," she said as scathingly as possible.

Remy cringed, "M' sorry, Belle," he said again earnestly.

His answer was the dial tone.

Sitting back numb in his seat, Remy stared out the window for nearly a minute. He then leapt up and threw back the door, not bothering to care when he nearly tripped over a sheepish Rogue, or ran into an embarrassed Warren.

He only cared about getting out.

X

She wasn't the only one that had nightmares, Warren had come to realise in the weeks he had known her. And by 'her', Warren meant the only real 'her' in his life. She feared what subjecting herself to Carol would bring, losing her friends and family at the Institute, just as much as she was afraid of losing the battle against her powers.

They were forces of nature in their own right that could never be beaten, but with Rogue, he wouldn't consider it an option. And if he wanted to help Rogue with her fears, he needed to battle his own first.

The opportunity to confront his nightmares and face his fears presented themselves, rather unexpectedly, when the three of them were overseeing the security cameras.

"Never have I ever…" Rogue trailed off, "eaten a bug," she looked at Warren and Remy respectively.

"Once," Remy admitted, "On a dare when I was ten. What 'bout you, pigeon feathers? Eat any worms?"

Warren nettled at the name, "I swallowed a bee once," he confessed.

"A bee?" said Rogue, nonplussed.

He sighed a bit at the unpleasant memory, "It was a couple of years ago when I was on the balcony and drinking a soda. I hadn't realised there was anything in it until it stung my tonsils and the swelled so much that I had to get them removed,"

"Ouch,"

Remy was quick to resume the game, "Never have I ever…" he briefly wondered if there actually was anything he hadn't done before, "Mimed,"

"Mimed?" Warren replayed, making a face.

Rogue had dissolved into laughter the second her mind conjured a picture of Remy dressed in black and white stripes acting as though he were stuck in a glass box. Her laughter only increased at the look on Warren's face, "N-never," she gasped out.

"Never," Warren agreed. Rogue had begun to recompose herself and it was his turn, "Never have I ever…been in love," he finished without looking at either of them.

Rogue's remaining laughter died on the spot. After a split-second of silence in the room, she hesitated before speaking first, "Mm, I guess I haven't either."

The room was silent, and Remy could feel their eyes on him, silently begging for him to tell, to give more information on his ex-girlfriend and what problems she'd brought into his life that he'd been refusing to talk about.

Because, in the end, wasn't it always about a girl?

Remy did not want to answer. He wouldn't answer. Lucky for him, something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.

"Hey," he said, motioning to the main foyer's camera, "Someone just walked it,"

"Didn't we have the gates locked?" Warren asked, leaning back to look at a set of controls.

"Oops," said Rogue, a little embarrassed. No one was supposed to enter the grounds unless they were buzzed in…they must've left the doors open after they let out a group of kids and their chaperone to go the mall. That had been at least an hour ago.

"He looks familiar," Rogue commented, studying the footage closely and trying to decipher what he was arguing about with Dr. McCoy. She saw Warren go still out of the corner of her eye.

"Probably because he's my father," Warren said in such a dark tone that Marie nearly fell out of her seat. When she turned look at him surprised, she saw that his face had gone ghost white and his fist clutched the soda can so tightly that Rogue could hear it crack under the pressure.

"Want us to zoom in?" Remy asked him, motioning to the controls.

Wordlessly, Warren reached over and did it himself while Rogue did a bit of clicking to turn on the volume.

"—my son and I hold every right to see him!"

Dr. McCoy's face was stoic, "Mr. Worthington, you sound confident that your son is here,"

"Where else could he be?" he asked in exasperation.

"You tell me,"

Even at the slightly blurry details, Rogue could tell that he was growing steadily angrier, "If you don't bring my son to me, I swear I will sue this institution—"

"Mr. Worthington," Mr. McCoy cut across, "I have studied at Harvard Law School and I can honestly say that you have no grounds to do so. Your son is no longer a minor and is therefore his own guardian. If he choses not to be in contact with you, it is not either of our decisions to say otherwise,"

"I should go out there," murmured Warren guiltily as he eyed Dr. McCoy unsurely.

Remy said nothing; he wouldn't know what to do if his father who had driven him out of his home had turned up on the doorstep and demanded to see him.

"You don't have to talk to him, Warren," said Marie loyally, putting a gloved hand on his shoulder, "He doesn't have any right to be here,"

"He'll sue," Warren said darkly.

"He ain't got nothin' to sue us for,"

"Then he'll de-credit and bring unwanted attention to the Institute or—or something devastating to pull me out of here," his very near to raising his voice.

"You're an adult, Warren," Rogue told him firmly, "He can't do anything to you or the Institute,"

There wasn't much they could say as neither Rogue nor Remy had experienced Warren in anything other than his normally pleasant moods.

Remy watched the sleek BMW leave the mansion grounds on a separate camera and he began to wonder…would Bella do the same thing?

With that thought, he remained silent for the rest of their shift and even the hour that followed.

X

"We're going out today,"

"Pardon?" Warren looked up from his book in the kitchen to stare at Rogue who towered over him.

"You, me, and Remy," she said, "We've had a rough week so we're going out for the day,"

The day before had been rather uneventful after his father had left. Remy had been mysteriously quiet for the remaining afternoon, and Marie had gone off to take a nap after having complained about a headache. Warren attended his evening classes dutifully and by the time he had returned to the Institute, nearly everyone was asleep.

Warren gave a wry smile as chuckled slightly, "May I ask where and why?"

"I dunno," Rogue admitted, she had simply awoken that morning with a sudden itch to leave the Institute.

"Did you ask Ms. Monroe?"

She shrugged, "She won't mind,"

Warren sighed, "I'm beginning to think that you've been hanging around Remy for too long,"

"If y're referrin' t' his dashing looks an' charm, then Remy'd have t' agree," Warren and Rogue turned to see the Cajun standing in the room's entrance and throwing a careless wink in Rogue's direction.

Warren eyed him uneasily, but Rogue rolled her eyes, "Let's get going," she said.

"Right now?" asked Warren unsurely.

"No better time than the present, right?" she said in an oddly upbeat tone that seemed to make even Remy raise his eyebrows a bit.

"I'll get m' shoes," he said at last, leaving them alone in the room once again.

Rogue looked at him imploringly, "Are you coming?"

"Of course," he answered quickly, "I just don't know if you should be…" he trailed off unsurely as he eyed her.

"We'll take the jeep," she said, glaring icicles at her feathered friend.

"Okay," he agreed quickly.

Not ten minutes later, they were in the garage with Rogue behind the wheel, Remy in the passenger seat, and Warren stretched out in the back. No one knew how she had acquired the keys to a senior X-Men vehicle. No one asked.

"I was thinking about heading into the city," she said as she carefully backed out of the garage and driveway, "I haven't been shopping for a while,"

Remy and Warren let out barely stifled groans.

"Oh hush up, you two," she rolled her eyes and flipped on her favourite radio station.

X

They arrived in centre city in twenty minutes and stole a ridiculously convenient parking place right on the side of a smaller street. Rogue locked the car doors after they had climbed out and carefully helped Warren into his coat in the safety of an alley's shadows.

Together, they walked on to the bustling street.

"Where to, chere?" asked Remy, pulling out a lone cigarette from a pocket.

"I dunno," she shrugged, "Let's go this way," she turned them onto a road as if she had planned on it earlier.

"We could go to the movies," Warren suggested, walking on Rogue's left.

"Nightclub," This came from Remy on her right.

Warren frowned, "At half-past three?"

"Why not?" he wanted to know.

Warren sighed like only an expert sigher could, "What about bowling?"

Remy snorted and opened his mouth to make a mocking comment, but Rogue spoke up.

"What about some drinks?" she pointed a small mobile booth on the corner. Then she added, "And I happen to like bowling,"

Remy closed his mouth rather quickly at that and followed her to the small concession stand. Warren and Rogue ordered two cokes, and Remy his usual beer.

"You're gonna get a beer belly," Rogue told him, poking his stomach a little bit for emphasis.

"Remy's been drinkin' beer since he was fourteen," he remarked dryly, "An' wit' no beer belly in sight,"

"Drinking won't solve everything, you know," Warren said in a sort of subdued voice.

"Non," He agreed casually, "But it helps,"

"Hey, ho, to the bottle I go, to heal my heart and drown my woe," Rogue quoted in a tuneful tone as she quirked a smile.

Remy only grunted before popping off the cap.

But Warren caught on quickly and recited more, "Rain may fall and wind may blow, but there still be many miles to go," he was fighting to keep his face neutral

Remy looked up, surprised to see that Warren was in on it too, and then glanced back to Rogue, incredulous and confused.

"Sweet is the sound of the pouring rain, and stream that falls from hill to plain," Rogue carried on in an aloof voice before Warren joined in with her for the last line, "Better than rain or rippling brook, is a mug of beer inside this Took!"

"What th' hell are y' two quoting?" Remy demanded to know as he fingered the bottle, wondering if there was a secret message behind the words of that silly poem.

Warren coughed into his sleeve, "It's from Lord of the Rings," he explained, thoroughly amused by Rogue's knowledge of the rhyme and of Remy's expression.

As Remy looked at Rogue, silently asking how she knew the poem, she merely shrugged, looking slightly red and sheepish, "I was on baby-sitting duty and we had already watched Harry Potter twice,"

Remy was about to make an interesting remark, but Rogue had already lost interest in the topic. She seemed particularly distracted that day.

"Oh, hey look!" she said, pointing to a corner where a small crowd had gathered, "A street magic show,"

"Did you want to stop and watch?" Warren asked.

Rogue shrugged indifferently but wandered over anyway.

The magician had a painted striped green face that Remy thought looked more like tattoos rather than a temporary fix. His clothing, from what he could see, was only a long dark brown robe under an even darker cloak that he had thrown over his shoulders. His head was void of any hair, even eyebrows, and his eye colour was dark and indiscernible. The man made him uneasy.

He acted innocently enough, Remy assured himself, as he hypnotised a spectator with a small pendulum.

Warren easily noticed how Remy and Rogue suddenly went quiet as they watched the mesmerising street show, "Ice-cream anyone?" he offered them a little loudly so they would hear him over the murmuring crowd.

Rogue turned her head slightly, "Vanilla, please," she answered without even looking.

"Y' can get me another beer," Remy said as he pulled out a five dollar bill while still watching the performer.

Warren sighed, "Then you're going to have to come too because I won't have an ID if I get carded."

Remy stood next to Marie for a moment before he grunted and tore his eyes away and retracted the bill.

"We'll be right back," he said to Rogue who slowly nodded as she watched the performance.

Rogue wasn't sure how long she stared at the man with the coloured face, watching as he moved his arms in arcs and swoops with strange jewels hanging on his arms as he cried out in another language. He pointed to a girl who looked like she might be in middle school and motioned for her to sit on the small three-legged stool. He pocketed all his colourful ornaments save for one that he held out at arms length and began to swing slowly back and forth. Rogue found this very daring as many people feared telepathic mind control and felt genuine fear for the man who so brazenly performed suspicious-looking magic tricks. She was, nonetheless, completely and utterly enchanted as she watched, wondering distantly if everyone else in the crowd felt the same as her.

"You're ice-cream," said Warren, coming up on her left and offering her the small cone, "Ready to go?"

"Yeah…"

"Hey!" said someone in the crowd, but they could hardly hear it over the cheering of the crowd near the magician.

Rogue accepted the cone but made no move to eat it.

"Everythin', all right, chere?" Remy asked.

She nodded slowly, "I just got this…bad feeling a couple seconds ago. Let's—let's get back to the Institute," she suddenly felt as though she had made a grave mistake.

"Hey!" the person said again more insistently.

This time, Remy, Rogue, and Warren turned, their eyes locking on a skinny looking boy about fifteen or sixteen and running towards them. He crossed the street in a fast jog and approached them without hesitation.

"H-hey," they boy panted, "You're Marie D'Ancanto aren't you?"

"Uh," said Rogue, staring at him peculiarly, "Yeah, I am,"

The kid looked over his shoulder and shouted to his friends on the other side of the street and waved them over, "Guys! It is her!" he looked at Rogue again, "Wow, this is so cool. When I overheard Magneto talking about you—"

"Magneto?" Remy cut it sharply, glancing quickly at Rogue.

"You've been in contact with him?" she asked in a dangerously hushed voice. Rogue could see more friends of his coming over to join him.

"Not since the camp back in California with everyone else," he continued on carelessly, "but we heard he was moving east so we gonna try to meet up with him again. You go by Rogue, right?" She said nothing in response, so he continued, "I overheard him talking to Mystique about your attempt at mutating the world leaders—"

She sputtered, "My attempt?"

"—And then we all recognised you on the news—" as he said this, much to Rogue's discomfort, he reached up and lifted a lock of silver-white hair to offer as proof, "—after your powers started to comeback when they" he said this with great distaste, "turned you normal,"

It was all Rogue could take. "I didn't try to mutate the world leaders!" she snapped, glowering at the boy so intensely that he shrank back a bit, "I was kidnapped by Magnetoand nearly killed!" Rogue didn't notice how wary and apprehensive Remy and Warren had become as they noticed more than half a dozen cohorts of the kid's come over to their side of the street.

The boy's face fell slightly when she told him this and another taller friend of his asked, "But…weren't you there on Alcatraz with the rest of the Morlocks when you were shot with The Cure?"

"I was leaving California by the time that happened!" she snapped again, "And I haven't seen Magneto—" she faltered "—in over a year,"

"You mean," The taller one asked slowly, "you weren't part of the rebellion?"

Rogue blinked and then ruefully said, "No,"

Which was, evidently, the wrong answer according to them.

Warren gently put a hand on her shoulder, "Let's get back to the Institute," he whispered to both of them.

"Hey wait a second," a skinny girl with almost grey skin spoke up, this time to Warren, "You're Worthington's son, aren't you?"

Everyone froze. With the name practically being verboten in the mutant community, and how unhappy the Morlocks were becoming, Rogue shot a quick look at her companions. Should the need arise…

Fight or flight?

"We're leaving," Remy announced for them, beginning to pull on Warren's and Rogue's elbows and turning their backs on their potentially great problems.

"Just like your coward father," said one of them.

Warren stiffened and Rogue's stomach dropped unpleasantly. Remy glared over his shoulder but continued to push the other two forward.

"You're all traitors!" another one shouted after them

"You're weak! Pathetic!"

The jeering they could tolerate, especially as they put a considerable distance between themselves and the violent underground mutants. It wasn't until a half block later when Warren was violently pushed from behind and forced on his knees with his coat over his head. It was a different, older, Morlock who had pushed him and whose leg turned to stone and aimed a kick to her fallen friend.

"Hey!" Rogue whirled.

Fight.

Before she could do anything, Remy's bo-staff came out of nowhere and intercepted the Morlock attempting to take another try at Warren as he struggled to set himself right again.

People were beginning to clear the streets and to Rogue it looked like the sky had gotten considerably darker after such a short amount of time. More Morlocks came charging foreword at the first sign of violence instigated on their side. Rogue braced herself as the girl with grey-skin came charging at her with a fist raised and instinctively snatched her wrists with in a bone-crushing grip.

Literally.

Rogue's mouth dropped in shock as she realised that she had crushed nearly half of the girl's arm. She screamed and writhed even after Rogue mutely let go, shaking violently.

She was invincible now. Rogue had to remind herself. She hesitantly through a punch at the closest person who was about to attack her after seeing what she did to one of their own—the taller boy—and bit her lip when the force threw him to the other side of the street.

Control. She needed to learn control.

Two of them came at her with a vengeance and Rogue's heart sounded like thunder in her chest. If only she could just fly…she would be able to get all three of them out of harm's way.

Please, Carol, she whispered into the recesses of her mind as the two Morlocks came closer and closer, Help me. She held her breath and clenched her eyes tightly shut as she felt her heels lighten and her feet roll on to their balls, and then her very tiptoes. Rogue swallowed

Help me!

There was a sound of a twig snapping that made her eyes shoot open and her heels set back down as if she had just fallen ten stories. There was a split-second before Warren let out an animal-like howl and fell to the ground, clawing desperately at his back. Her vision was drawn to a slightly soppy mess on his right wing that was hidden behind a flurry of ruffled and plucked feathers.

They had broken his wing.

Sweet, kind and patient Warren who promised to teach her how to fly.

She was hardly aware of the two Morlocks crashing into her and bouncing off as if they had just ran into a brick wall. Time seemed to slow down and she felt like she was in were an out-of-body experience, a spectator in a movie. As Warren was kicked and landed hard on the concrete she could suddenly make out every detail of absolutely everything as it all passed in front of her. Rogue couldn't remember if she screamed his name as he went down, something was gnawing at the corners of her mind and for a moment she couldn't see, couldn't hear, until someone called her name.

"Rogue!"

It was Remy, she realised as all sounds came rushing back, and the Morlocks—all of them—had just been thrown ten yards in various directions by an invisible force. She was running towards Warren while Remy was running away.

"Remy'll follow 'em!" he shouted over his shoulder as he starting sprinting after the rapidly retreating culprits, "Call f' help!"

Coming back to her senses she cried, "N-no! Wait for the others!" but it was useless as all she could see was the billowing trench coat that had left her in the middle of a street with Warren unconscious.

She knew there were no others. Nobody had known that they left the mansion.

"Wait…" she said again, this time hardly audible.

X
-:TBC:-

A/N: THERE IT IS.

(collapses)

The unofficially ugliest hiatus EVER. Sorry about the horrible delay, by the way…this chapter was going to be even longer but once I got to around twenty-five pages I figured that I'd put the rest of it in chapter ten—this way I have a nice cliffie here and more done for the next chap! It feels a bit too choppy so I'll probably go back and edit this later…I just REALLY wanted to get it out there.

I can tell you right now that Chapter Ten is going to be a pain to write because of, well, BLAH-type stuff…should be a fun. Chapter Eleven is where things start to pick up a bit and Chapter Twelve is when the real fun starts mwahahahahhahaaa…

Oh, and the song? My friends are LotR geeks and they used to sing it all the time in eighth grade. Er, they do sing it in the movies, right??

(Has never seen LotR) eheh…