Summary: Recent events have thrown lives into chaos and formed unlikely alliances.
Rogue wrapped her arms around Bobby's neck, her lips pressing urgently against his as they tumbled onto the bed. His kisses were awkward and sloppy but she was trying hard not to care. She didn't need to wear gloves, to hide behind layers of clothing and she could kiss him without fearing that her power would start. She should be feeling ecstatic and for the first few days she was, pleased that she was able to touch others. Her drawer of gloves had been dumped in a box and left in the hallway for anyone who wanted them.
Bobby's hands were moving down her sides, toying with the hem of her skirt. She pressed her body into his, wanting him to be rougher, to take control. To be what he isn't. Her eyes opened at that thought, starring at his closed eyes, not liking the implications of her thoughts. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched the veins of his flesh stand out against his skin.
No! She clenched her eyes shut, convincing herself that it was a trick of her mind. She wrapped her bare legs around his, sliding them along his, relishing in the feel of his flesh. His thoughts slowly began seeping into her and she tightened her grip on him, pushing them away, not wanting to believe what was happening. She heard Bobby make a gargled sound of protest as he struggled to get away from her.
Rogue wouldn't let go. I'm cured, she protested, seeking the softness of his flesh, eyes widening as she realized he didn't feel soft anymore. She pushed him away, crying out as she watched him fall to one side of the bed, shaking uncontrollably.
"I'm so sorry, Bobby," she told him, her breathing ragged as she looked at her hands, shaking her head as they became icy, his voice in her head loud and telling her to get help.
Rogue jumped off the bed and ran out of the room, screaming for help. The other students came out of their rooms, looking bewilderedly at her. "What's wrong, Marie?" Colossus asked, placing a hand on her bare shoulder.
She shrieked jumping away from him as her body turned to steel. He collapsed to the ground and she cried out, pushing past the other students, hugging herself tightly as she brushed against their skin. No, no, no. She ran down the stairs, their thoughts and powers flowing into her as tears streamed down her face.
"Marie!" Storm called but Rogue didn't answer, heading towards the school's entrance. She needed to leave, to get away from here.
Wolverine grabbed her arm and she screamed as he rushed into her before letting go. "It … you're not…" he gasped and she backed away from him. I am. I am! she yelled in her head, shaking as she looked at him.
"Marie, calm down," Storm said, walking towards her.
"I'm not Marie," Rogue yelled, yanking open the door. It didn't work. "I can never be Marie."
"Marie!" Wolverine hollered as she ran down the steps, focusing her attention on Nightcrawler as he walked towards the mansion. "Don't do this!"
"Marie, what is wrong?" the blue mutant asked, looking at her with concern.
I have to, she reasoned, grabbing his hands. His power flowed into her and she shut her eyes, not wanting to watch her skin change color. She needed to get away, to leave. I'm too dangerous. She let go of his hands, scanning through his memories to see how to use his powers. With a familiar 'bamf' she disappeared, ignoring the others' calls for her as the world vanished around her.
When she opened them, she was standing outside of the mansion's gate. She closed them again, thought of the bus station and used Nightcrawler's power to send herself there. Biting her lip, she brushed away the tears forming in her eyes, wondering what she was going to do. She had no money and only the clothes on her back.
Sighing, she left the bus station, not sure where she was headed.
After her first night away from the mansion, she remembered how much she had hated being on the run, remembering her eight month trek on the road after her powers first developed. At least then, I had a bag of clothes and the few hundred dollars my dad threw at me before kicking me out. She sat on the park bench, looking morosely down at her bare hands before clenching them into tight fists. Unshed tears stung her eyes and she wanted to scream, to shout, to punch someone. Instead she was in Central Park, watching the sun rise over one of the swing sets, trying to figure out where she should go.
The steel bench was cold and she shivered, wishing she had thought to grab a coat or at least a pair of gloves. Rogue looked down at the sidewalk, shaking her head. She had seen the footage on the news of mutants coming forth who had taken the cure, telling the world that it was no longer working. Her fingers dug into her knees as she bit her lip, remembering the cautious looks the other students had given her once they'd seen the news. But I was too stubborn to see that it was wearing off.
Looking back on the last couple of days, she should have known the cure didn't work. Every so often she would feel a spark when touching someone, but no memories or powers had flowed into her, so she had foolishly chalked it up to static electricity.
Her hand brushed over her knees and she leaned her head back, cursing herself for not being careful with Bobby and the others. For being so goddamned optimistic, she growled at herself, fists slamming against the bench. Did you honestly think it would work?
"What are ya doing, sweetheart?" a man asked as he walked towards her.
She could smell the alcohol on him as he approached and stood up, instinctively hunching into a defensive position. "Leave me alone," she warned him, not wanting to have his thoughts in her head.
"A girl shouldn't be out here alone if she doesn't want some attention," the man said, leering at her.
Rogue glowered at him, fists curled at her sides, ready to fight. He reached out towards her and she kicked him in the gut, satisfied when he dropped to the ground. "Bitch," he groaned.
She knew she should walk away and leave him wallowing in pain. Her gaze focused on the outline of a wallet in his back pocket. I could use some money and who knows what he was planning on doing to me, she reasoned with herself, reaching over him and quickly removed the wallet. "What do you think you're doing?" he seethed, grabbing her ankle.
Rogue gasped as he rushed into her, his thoughts filling her. She kicked him again, thankful when he released her and slumped unconscious to the ground. Shaking her head in order to clear it, she removed his wallet and credit cards, smiling when she realized she knew his pin number thanks to having his thoughts in her mind. She stuffed the cards into her back pocket and dropped the wallet on his body.
Her eyes widened in horror as she realized what he had planned on doing to her. She kicked him one more time, smiling as he moaned. Time to leave town, she thought and headed towards the bus station, never noticing the person across the park watching her every move.
The man had provided her a couple hundred dollars, enough to get her some food and out of town on the next Greyhound bus. Withdrawing the money from her pocket she quickly counted it before folding it back up and stuffing it back in her shorts. When she arrived at the next stop she wanted to get some new clothes and a bag to carry them. She twisted on the bus seat, wearily watching the other passengers. Her body was exhausted and she wanted to sleep but her instincts were telling her not to. That she needed to stay alert and watchful.
She sipped her coke again, leaning her head against the window. It was already beginning to get hot, the morning sun beating down on the bus. The bus's air conditioning was on, helping to alleviate the humidity she knew was building up outside. She needed to buy new clothes and gloves, no matter how uncomfortable they would make her in the heat, they would keep her safe.
Me? Safe? she wondered, frowning as she took another drink. She shook her head, pulling her knees to her chest as more people boarded the bus, giving her best Logan face to the man who tried to sit down beside her. If someone touches your skin everyone will know what you are, she reminded herself, pursing her lips in frustration.
The man sat in the seat across from her, watching her with an amused expression. She glared at him, not liking the way he was looking at her. It reminded her of the man in the park and his lecherous thoughts. She shuddered at his idea of a fun time. Looking back at the man across from her, she glowered, eyes widening in recognition as his eyes flashed yellow. Mystique. Oh no, no, no.
Rogue looked around the rest of the bus, trying to find another member of the Brotherhood. "What does he want?" she whispered angrily when she saw no one else.
"He?" Mystique asked, her persona's features darkening. "I take it you mean Magneto."
Rogue rolled her eyes in response. "Who else would I mean?"
Mystique did not answer, eyes narrowing slightly before she shook her head, smiling sweetly. "You took that man's money."
Rogue's eyes narrowed and she glowered. "So? He was going to attack me."
"You made it so he wouldn't, Rogue," Mystique answered, eyes flashing again. "There was no need to take his money. You could have left."
Rogue's fingers brushed over the pocket holding the cash, trying desperately to ignore what the other mutant was saying. "But you are a survivor," Mystique continued, her smile widening. "Like me."
"I'm not like you," Rogue snapped, pulling her knees closer to her chest. Then why did you take his money?
"Where are you going?"
Rogue shrugged in response. "There is nothing in Hattiesburg, so I know that isn't your destination," Mystique informed her, pursing her lips in thought. "You either are getting on another bus or have no plan. From the petrified look on your face I have a feeling it is the latter."
Rogue glared at her, not liking that the other woman was able to figure her out so quickly. "What will you do?" Mystique asked.
"I ain't joining up with you and him," Rogue replied angrily, her accent thicker.
"I am not with Magneto," Mystique answered, her teeth barring as said his name.
"Yeah, right," Rogue said, rolling her eyes. If she thinks I'm falling for that she's crazy.
She didn't have time to react as Mystique's hand snapped around her ankle, memories rushing into her, before the other woman let go. Rogue saw what had happened on the convoy, and looked back at Mystique, the other woman's face was indifferent, but her eyes were yellow with barely contained rage.
"What do you want?" Rogue asked, scooting further back in the seat until her back hit the bus's wall.
"You've left the X-Men?" Mystique asked, ignoring her question.
Rogue looked away. "I don't belong there," she replied.
"Then where do you belong?"
Rogue looked back at her and shook her head. "I don't know."
Mystique smiled and leaned back in the seat. Rogue watched her and rested her head on her knees. I don't need anyone. "Of course you don't," Mystique said and Rogue's eyes widened, surprised she had said that out loud. "What are you going to do when your money runs out?"
"Get more," Rogue replied obstinately.
"Oh yes, living life on the run," Mystique said with a sad smile. "That is not living."
"Maybe it's all I can do," Rogue answered, looking back down.
"Without help, maybe it is," Mystique replied and Rogue looked at her.
"What do you mean?" she asked wearily, not sure she'd like the answer.
Mystique merely smiled and turned away as the bus stopped. "We appear to be here. If you are ready to stop running come with me."
"So you can bring me to Magneto? No thanks," Rogue replied.
Mystique looked at her, her expression murderous. "Say his name again, girl, and see what happens," she told her, her voice cold as she stood up, walking down the bus aisle.
Rogue watched her disembark before hurrying after her. What other choice do I have?