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Chapter 4: Center

Rogue woke the next morning to the obnoxious sound of Kitty's alarm clock. Groaning and rolling over she promptly fell back asleep, only to be brought out of her slumber by Kitty shaking her awake. "Fuck off" she growled.

Kitty ignored her remark, she was far to used to it by now, Rogue said the same thing everyday. "Its 7:30, you're, like, going to be late."

'Crap' she thought angrily, jumping out of bed and flying into the bathroom. 5 minutes later she emerged, running a brush through her damp hair. She pulled on her usual clothes and glanced at the clock, 7:38. 'God dam it' she grabbed her bag and ran out the door.

She skidded into the kitchen a minute later and hurriedly poured herself a cup of coffee.

"Running a little late?" a deep voice sounded behind her. Not even bothering to turn around she flicked him off. He chuckled.

"Rogue!" came an angry voice behind her, this time she did turn around. Scott stood behind Remy looking disapproving. Ignoring him she drained the rest of her coffee and raced out the door. A minute later she was speeding out the front gates on her motorcycle.

She ignored the dirty looks she always got as she pulled into the school parking lot. Parking her bike besides Kurt's van, she dismounted and walked towards the building. Per usual a group blocked her path. She sighed, 'You'd think they'd get bored of this after a while' she thought half-amused, half-exasperated.

"Hey mutie, we don't want you at our school" the biggest growled at her.

"Ah'll keep that in mind" she said brushing past them. She walked quickly, she was lucky today, she was late enough that the group didn't have time for their usual round of insults and threats. Not that she was bothered by it, she found it increasingly entertaining what them try to come up with more ways to say 'Freak go home!' 'Ah wonder if they get together and come up with new comebacks after school everyday' she thought idly. Grinning to herself she walked to her first class, math.

The first half of Rogue's day past normally, sitting in the back, not talking to anyone. She wished she had classes with someone from the institute, anyone, she would even welcome Kitty. But, no, she was the oldest of the student still in high school, and all the classes she was taking this semester were strictly seniors only. Lunch rolled around and she walked to her usual spot behind the bleachers. Pulling a pack of cigarettes from her pocket, she brought one to her mouth, flicking the top of her lighter off she tried to light it. It sparked but produced no flame, she growled and tried again, nothing. Letting out a frustrated sigh she threw the lighter angrily to the ground.

"Need a light?"

She spun to face Remy leaning causally against a pole. Without waiting for an answer he reached over and lightly touched the end of her cigarette, it lit. She took it from her mouth and said, "Thanks"

"Never took 'ou for de smokin' type"

"Ah'm not," she said simply. He raised his eyebrows at her. "Gotta keep up appearances"

"ce qui?" (what?)

"People expect a loner Goth to smoke, its part of the package."

He frowned at her, "You really shouldn't"

She snorted, "Like you're one ta talk." she pointing to his face. He reached up and pulled the cigarette out of his mouth. He shrugged and took a drag.

"I'm older," he said simply

She snorted again, "By two years."

"Two years can make a huge difference."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. What are ya doing here?"

"Just had to get out of de house. Wolvie is driving me insane."

Rogue blinked at him, "Wolvie?" he grinned, she laughed. "Logan is gunna kill ya if he hears ya call him that."

He shrugged. "Also I came to tell 'ou dat you're first training session will be today after school." he held up a hand to silence her excited babble. "If and only if, you finish all of your travail" (homework).

She scowled, and opened her mouth obviouslyto complain. He cut her off, "If your grades slip den de Professor will want to know what 'ou been up to." Her scowl deepened but she nodded nonetheless. "Everyday after you get home from school we will train, after you have finished your homework."

"Fahn." she muttered darkly inwardly cursing him. The bell sounded. "Thanks Remy" she said putting out her cigarette and grabbing her bag.

"See 'ou after school, cheri" he said walking towards the parking lot.

When Rogue arrived in her first class after lunch she immediately pulled out her books. Ignoring the teacher's lecture about Don Quixote she did her math homework. Once done with that she started her psychology homework. She hadn't gotten to question 3 Define the Barnum Effect. when the bell rang. Growling she left Spanish and headed off to English. Once again ignoring the teacher's lecture about the book they were supposed to have read, this time Hamlet, she pulled out her homework again and rushed to jot down answers to her psych homework. Then pulled her Economics book from her bag and skimmed the chapter they were supposed to read. She thanked the gods that she had finished her Chemistry lab in class and grabbed Don Quixote from her bag. She quickly wrote out a chapter 3 summary. Shoving in hastily in her bag she looked at the clock, 10 minutes left. Just enough time to copy the notes from the board, she thought with a happy sigh.

When the bell rang, Rogue was the first one out the door, she practically ran to her bike and jumped on. Swerving around cars she reached the main road and sped home. She skidded to a stop outside the mansion and saw that Remy was waiting for her.

"Vous avez fini tout votre travail" (did you finish all your homework?) He said eyeing her.

"Yes" she said rolling her eyes.

He smiled at her, "Come on then" he said helping her off her bike and leading her into the trees. They went much deeper in this time, not wanting to be over heard. After about 10 minutes they broke off the beaten path and wove their way through the trees. Finally they stopped in a small clearing. "Here's fine?" she said.

He nodded sat on the ground and gestured her to join him. She did so, looking at him with barely contained excitement.

"Get into a comfortable position - preferably sitting up," Remy said. Rogue did so shooting her a highly confused look. "I'm going to teach 'ou how to reach your center. Once 'ou can fall into your center at a moments notice and stay there for several hours, we'll start on your powers."

"My center?"

"You're center is da place where your mind truly belongs. Its hard to describe, but its they place in your mind away from thought, away from pain, away from emotion."

"Well that's kinda cool," she said slowly not understanding the relevance "but what does it have to do with my power?"

"When you are in your center, everything is much clearer, 'ou are aware of every part of yourself. And in the case of mutants, your are completely aware of your powers, you can see them. Der are two ways 'ou can be in your center. The first is your true center. Many people find it's a meadow, or a lake, but it's different for each person. There 'ou see nothing but yourself, when 'ou use your power 'ou will see it. 'ou will learn control dere."

"And the second" Rogue asked, fascinated.

"The second is a little more complicated, once you learn how to reach your 'first' center properly you will learn to think and move from within your center. You will learn to fight in your 'second' center."

Rogue nodded, not really understanding.

"Finding your center will tire you out the first few times, but once 'ou get the hang of it, it will become second nature to 'ou. Are you ready?"

She nodded.

"Close your eyes. Breath in, pull your thoughts in. Breathe out." Rogue did as she was asked, breathing in and in and in until finally, "Breath out." she let her breath fall away. "Breathe in. Clear your mind" Slowly, very slowly Rogue felt her mind slipping further and further away, until suddenly she was there. She didn't know how she knew, but she did. Apparently Remy knew she was there too because he said, "Open your eyes."

She did so, she got one glance at a beautiful never ending field with grass reaching to her waist and a gentle wind blowing her hair before she passed out. When she woke she was lying in the clearing, propped against a tree. Looking around she spotted Remy sitting a few feet from her playing solitaire. He looked up and smiled when he saw she was awake.

"Was that supposed to happen?" she asked sitting up groggily.

"Yea, but just for the first few times. I wasn't expectin' 'ou to find it dat quickly. Good job, most find it very difficult to find they're center after age 5"

Rogue nodded and yawned, suddenly extremely tired. She looked at the sky it was still light, but with a slightly dark tinge to it. "What time is it?"

" 'round 5. We should be getting back to da mansion."

She nodded and pushed herself off the ground and together they walked back toward the mansion. They had just gotten to path when Rogue asked "How long will it take?"

"How long will what take?"

"All of this?"

He looked thoughtful "I expect 'ou'll be able da reach both your centers easily by the end of the week."

"That soon?"

He nodded, "They first time is the hardest, then all 'ou have to do is get used to it. That won't take you long. Tomorrow you'll find it much easier, and you'll do it more den once. After you reach you reach your center, I tink it will take 'ou 3 to 5 weeks to have full control over your powers."

"No? It can't be that easy."

"When you're in your center 'ou learn things much, much, faster."

"Then why doesn't everyone do it?"

"Its very difficult, you have to have someone to teach you. Not very many people are able to reach their center, fewer know how it could help mutants, and even fewer are willing to teach them. I wasn't kidding when I said very few people over the age of 5 can reach their center, its extremely dangerous. If I truly did not think you could do it, I wouldn't have even told you."

She nodded, "Who taught you?"

Remy frowned, "I don't really know, I called him sensei, I don't know his real name, but I know he was someone my father blackmailed into teaching me. He wasn't very happy about it."

They walked in silence back to the mansion. Rogue too tired to do anything more than walk, Remy lost in thought about his own training. As they walked up the driveway Logan came out. "Where've you been, Stripes?"

"Hmm?" she said sleepily

"Where have you been?"

She mumbled incoherently then said "Homework." she walked past him and into the mansion. She plopped down on the sofa and was asleep before she could count to 2.

What felt like 10 minutes later she was shaken awake. "Do you want dinner?" a voice asked.

She sniffed the air, "Food?"

The voice chuckled "Yeah, Stripes, food"

"M'k" she said sitting up and rubbing her eyes. She walked into the dinning room. She collapsed into her seat and began piling food onto her plate. She shoveled food into her mouth, oblivious to the stares that surrounded her. She concentrated solely on her food, suddenly starving. As she swallowed the last bit of her food sleep threatened to over come her, she barely had the energy to walked to her room and collapse on the bed before she was sound asleep.

Rogue groaned as she sat up and looked around. A quick glance at the clock showed it was 6:00am. She silently crept past Kitty's sleeping form, rejoicing in the fact that she had finally, finally woken up before her roommate, and went to her dresser. She pulled a set of clothes and walked into the bathroom. She sighed as she let the hot water sooth her stiff muscles, vowing never to sleep in such a position she stayed there for a long time.

When she finally emerged from the shower Kitty was sitting up in bed.

"Like, good morning." Kitty said rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"Morning" Rogue returned, smiling slightly. She headed down stairs, and entered the kitchen. "Morning" she greeted , Professor Xavier, Storm, Logan and Hank sat around the table, each with a section of newspaper in front of them.

"Mornin'" Logan said not looking up from the main section.

The others were a little politer, The Professor put down his business section, Storm her gardening section, and Hank his Science and Technology. "You're up early" Hank commented.

"Went ta bed early" she said pouring herself a cup of coffee.

"Yes you seemed unusually tired" She nodded her agreement and sat down in an empty chair. "Any particular reason?" The Professor continued.

"Not really, just school, Ah guess."

They seemed to accept this, though Rogue thought she saw a shadow of a frown form on Logan's face as he turned a page. Deciding that he must have read something he disagreed with she shrugged and savored the taste of her coffee. 15 minutes later the first of the students began to wander sleepily into the kitchen and make themselves breakfast. She glanced down at her watch, 7:15, she was actually on time for once. She sat there, amused watching the others race around, and get ready. At 7:45 she picked up her bag and left.

She hurried into her first class, taking the long way around, not having the energy to deal with the anti-mutants today. Her Tuesday past basically the same as her Monday, with one difference; instead on staring out the window, as she normally did in class, she did her homework. Her lunch, which she normally spent smoking behind the bleachers, was spent in the library, typing an essay. She raced home and once again found Remy waiting for her.

"Vous avez fini tout votre travail" (did you finish all your homework?) he asked again.

"Yeah" they followed the path into the forest again, this time breaking off the left. Remy had told her that they would practice in a new spot everyday because it would be much more difficult to be spied on. Rogue sat on the ground and Remy joined her. He instructed her to get into the same position she was in yesterday and she did.

"Ok, today, we're goin' to try for y' center again." He got into a comfortable position and closed his eyes. "Relax, control your breathing." Rogue fell into her breathing much more easily then she had the day before. She thoughts slowed down, perhaps even stopped, she wasn't sure. Rogue seemed like a completely different person. Here, in this place, was peace. This was where she should have always been.

"Open your eyes"

She opened her eyes. The field stretched out before her, she looked around in wonder, breathing in the fresh air. She sighed, it was beautiful. She heard Remy voice from an eternity away.

"Good, now come back."

She groaned, she didn't want to leave, it was perfect here. She heard his voice more forcefully "Now" 'AH don't want to!' her mind screamed. Remy voice rang loudly through mind "Now!" Begrudgingly she broke the connection, she vision suddenly swam and Remy's face came into focus.

"'ou alright?"

"Yeah, what happened."

"Sorry, Remy forgot to warn 'ou. Sometimes, when you first learn to reach your center you don't want to leave it."

"Oh"

"It will become easier with practice. Want to try again."

She nodded and opened her eyes to see her center within 2 minutes.

"Well done, cheri" came Remy's voice from miles away. "Now come back." She sighed angrily, but did as she was told. "Good, again." Remy had her practice again and again until she didn't even feel a pang of regret when she left her center, and his voice sounded normal. He glanced at his watch, "We don't have time to start practicing staying in your center, so we'll try to reach your center once. Okay?"

She nodded eagerly, she wanted to see this 'second center' he talked about. She didn't know how she could have two centers. One was already too much for her to handle.

"Go into your center." he instructed. She immediately opened her eyes to her center. "Now remember your where you are, remember your surroundings. Concentrate on them, think only of them. You are in a forest, in a clearing."

Rogue gasped slightly as she pictured the clearing where she sat, she could see the faint outline of the Remy and the trees surrounding them. It was like, in movies, when the scene changes and they fade to something else. It was very disconcerting. Suddenly her vision changed, and she was seeing the real world. Only it wasn't the real world. This world seemed brighter, shapers, than ever before. She could hear the breeze rustle the trees, she could hear water from splashing against the rock over a mile away.

She could taste the pollution in the air, but also the rich, beautiful scent that was Remy's.

The stench of the road and the cars was overpowering, she felt light headed, as if she might faint. Quickly she broke the contact before she passed out.

"Well done, cheri. Few do so well their first time. You will learn to accept those scents with time, and they will not bother you for long." He stood and offered her a hand. She took it and stood.

"Same time tomorrow, then?"

"Demain" (tomorrow)

AN: Hey guys sorry this took so long, I've been busy with school and the like. I'll try to be better about updating, but in all honesty I wouldn't count on it. Anyways I hope you all like it! please review!

Next chapter will be about her training!