Fandom: X-Men, marvel-verse Characters: Rogue, Ms Marvel/Binary/Carol Danvers Genre: angst, gen Rating: PG, length: 1,000 Notes: And, of course, the other thing you find when going through old fic files is stuff like this. Near-finished fic that just needs prodding. This story was supposed to be part of a series set in and around a hospital with women as its focus. (even back in comics-fandom, I was big on getting the female characters front and center) Sadly, I only have notes, bits of two other stories, and no idea for stringing the rest out.
This was also back when I wrote, y'know, more than shippy romantic crap.
Also. Do I have to give this a spoiler warning for things that happened more than ten years ago in the comics?
All The Clouds May Be White by ALC Punk!
All the stars may shine so bright And all the clouds may be white" -- 'Only You' Portishead
In the air above a hospital, a young woman danced on the breezes. Dark brown-red hair floated around her head and got in her eyes as she loop-de-looped, flying high. The sky was her playground and she intended to enjoy it to the fullest.
Down below in the hospital someone who might once have been a friend but would forever be an enemy was being treated. Group therapy, they called it. Sessions. Pledges. Sponsors. Rogue had read all the propoganda and she wondered if it really helped.
You have a disease, they said. It's treatable but you'll have it forever.
In the sunny sky, Rogue shivered. She wasn't sure why she was here, really. Oh, the sun and sky were nice. But the woman in the hospital wouldn't be thrilled to see her. Maybe it was an act of pennance. One last chance for her soul to feel clean.
She suddenly didn't feel like soaring anymore and headed for the roof where she settled near the door to the stairs.
"Come to laugh, have you?"
The woman had been hidden by the side of the doorway structure, unnoticeable until now. Rogue looked at her and contemplated throwing herself back into the air, avoiding this.
Carol Danvers had not been treated kindly by her addiction. Sunken eyes and lank blonde hair contrasted starkly with the sense of clean and orderly that emanated from the hospital. She was so different from Rogue's memories. She'd lost weight, her clothes hanging like rags on her emaciated body.
"I bet this makes you happy. This ruin, this wreck." Carol sucked on the cigarette once more then dropped it to the roof, stepping on it and grinding her heel down.
"No." Rogue contradicted softly. "It doesn't."
Carol turned away and stalked towards the edge of the roof. "Do you know how many times I've wanted death?"
"This must be hard for you--" Rogue began to find herself cut off.
"Hard?!" A strangled laugh echoed through the silence. Danvers placed her hands flat on top of the wall and leaned over. "Look at them. Families. People who are leaving cured and arriving in need of fixing. None of them really know, do they. Not how it really feels like to be empty. Not how being nobody hurts."
Rogue looked down at the people bustling to and fro. She tried to think of something to say. Again, she thought of leaving, forgetting this insane idea of resolution.
"D'you know, it only took me a year to half-kill myself. My so-called friends think it's worse than it looks. What do they know?" She turned and gripped Rogue's arm, staring into her eyes with an almost feverish look. "What do you think?"
"No! Of course you can't think without stealing other people's minds, can you? What was I thinking?" Carol released her arm and whirled awy.
"I can TOO think." Rogue snapped. Her accent deepened as she continued angrily, "I came to apologize to you! I can't help what's happened. There are days I wish it hadn't--days I wish you had killed me that night on the bridge!"
"It's an addiction." Carol said calmly, her back still to Rogue. "You eat one mind and then crave more. How many memories in there are yours? How many more aren't? Do you savor them like fine wine? I wonder..."
Rogue gaped at her, anger forgotten in a wash of confusion. "You're mad."
"I don't enjoy this." Anger suddenly filled the Southern woman again, "I hate it! But I can't do anything to stop it--we've tried. This is who I am. It's what I do." She paced away, then came back and took her place again at the wall.
"Yes." Carol stared down at the crowds, seemingly disinterested. "You have no control."
"I don't know why I came here anymore," Rogue turned away, disgusted with herself.
"What did you come here for, Rogue? Absolution? Forgiveness? Well, that ain't gonna happen, babe!"
Rogue spat back, tone angry, "Why not?"
"You stole my LIFE."
"And you'll never let me forget it." Rogue concluded bitterly, "I am still sorry. Sorry you're still blaming me. Sorry that you're stuck with an addiction you can't break--"
Carol's fist crashed into her jaw sending her reeling back. She touched a gloved hand to her lips and studied the red spotted yellow. "Not bad."
"Tell me again how I fucked up the life that shouldn't have been mine." Carol snarled, waiting for Rogue to hit her, to fight back. The other woman didn't. She simply stood there, looking at the blood on her glove and poking her tongue against the cut on the inside of her mouth.
A soft silence fell between them. It was a curious silence. Full of things better left unsaid, things left undone. Things, maybe, resolved. As it lasted, the breeze played with Rogue's hair again. Carol's was too full of oil and dirt to do more than ignore it with a quick wave.
"I'm sorry," Rogue said softly. "I shouldn't have come."
"Who told you?" Carol had turned away again, almost curious.
Trying to strike up some sort of conversation--something that would ease the tension in the air, Rogue offered, "She says this hospital has an interesting history." Not that she'd really paid attention to Wanda's vague mention that the place had always been a refuge for battered women. Although Carol (and maybe Rogue herself, once) certainly fit that idea.
"I don't care." Tone calm, Carol abruptly turned and strode towards the door into the stairwell. "Goodbye."
"'Bye." The word was said to the empty air, then taken away by the breeze as Rogue hopped up on the wall and stepped off into the sky. She couldn't help Carol anymore than Carol could help her.