Well, this is new. Thanks to watching numerous X-Men music videos on YouTube, I'm finally out of my writer's block. I've never attempted an X-Men story before, so you'll have to tell me how I'm doing. I value your opinions! Apologies for my Power Rangers readers. I've had the longest summer holiday of my life (eleven weeks to be precise) and not written a single word of 'Hear Me'. Sorry. Bad, bad author.

Must clear some things up before the story begins…

This takes place approximately three weeks after X-Men: The Last Stand. All events happened, except Scott Summers survived his encounter with Jean, and Professor Xavier was saved by Magneto. Jean Grey was still killed by Logan. Rogue still received the Cure.

I think that's about it. Now, sit back, relax and hopefully (fingers crossed) enjoy my story…

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'The Demon in Me'

By Sergeant Scarlett

Chapter One: No Second Chances

Cold. Never in his life had he felt it like this. The burning sensation of a thousand knives brutally piercing the body, ripping off every piece of flesh, leaving nothing but bare bones. It was pain; torture; death. All feeling then numbed; biting the lip so hard that blood blossomed, and yet it didn't hurt. He couldn't feel anything except the loneliness that clothed him now.

As John Allerdyce finally came around, he found he couldn't see. Perhaps one of the explosions had blinded him. His hearing quickly intensified, listening to the sound of the wind whistling, fires still crackling, emergency services crawling over the scene searching for survivors.

How many had he killed with his flames of fury? How many innocent people had lost their lives, just so he could prove his worth? John choked back his vomit, suddenly realising the cause of the lack of pain.

A hefty iron bar lay across his legs, pinning him to the ground. It had cut deep into his skin, exposing dripping crimson blood. And then he felt it. He reared back his head and tried to scream, but no sound emerged.

"We haven't checked over here yet, Jim, come on."

Voices. Close by too.

"It's hopeless, Mick. All those we've found so far have either been dead or blown to smithereens by that crazy Phoenix chick. We ain't gonna find no-one else."

They came closer. "That may be so, but our orders were to search everywhere… Hey, I found someone! Over here!"

John listened as the two voices sprinted to his side. He could see the looks of disgust on their faces, even without sight. On of them felt the pulse on his neck.

"Unconscious by the look of things. And look at there; that's a nasty cut across his face! I'm surprised he survived that, Jim. We need to get a team over here to lift the bar."

"Wait, Mick. We don't have to tell anyone about this. Don't you know who this is? Magneto's right-hand man. He was all over the news. He used to belong to those X-Men, but he betrayed them. See that thing on his arm? That's what he uses to ignite fire, and then scorches whatever's in his way. He dangerous, and he doesn't deserve to live. He doesn't deserve a second chance."

Anger boiled from within John's wounded chest. This guy didn't know the meaning of dangerous. But instead of sending him up in smoke, John didn't move. He knew his only chance of surviving was if the other guy, Mick, decided to save him.

"I'm not saying he's going to get one. It's our duty to make sure he stays alive. After that, we can hand him over to the police, or the FBI, whoever. They can deal with him then. Give me a hand, and we'll get this thing off him."

The other guy gave a reluctant sigh. "After the count of three, then. One, two, three…"

John felt an immense relief as the weight was lifted off his legs. It felt a lot like freedom, but he knew that was a far away dream. It'd take a lot more than having the bar taken away to finally have his old life back, the life at Xavier's Institute that he traded in for power as Magneto's second.

And look where it got me, John though in disgust. Chances are I'll never be able to walk again. Or see at this rate. All for a chance to use my gift for someone who appreciates it…

He was carefully lifted by four men and placed onto a stretcher, hopefully bound for the nearest hospital. Still unable to see, John heard a set of doors close; he presumed he was now in an ambulance. Paramedics began bandaging his wounds, mainly his legs, but one placed heavy duty plasters on parts of his face. John tasted blood on his lips; bitter, the taste of defeat.

A gentle prick in his arm told John he was being put under sedation for the pain. He felt his whole body become heavy before he went to sleep again.

Why didn't you save me Bobby…?

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Flames engulfed the entire area, lighting it. It was too bright; she shielded her eyes from the terror below, from her fellow X-Men battling as hard as they could to eyes that produced the fire, the eyes that burned with it.

Ice and fire met with fury. The force of the fight shook the island. Onlookers watched as the fire took Bobby Drake and gasped. A wave of relief came as the Iceman took full control of his powers, turning his body into shimmering ice. His opponent, his enemy fell after a heavy blow to the head. Pyro had been defeated. John Allerdyce had been put in his place at last…

She woke with a sudden force, as though the dream didn't wish for her to stay any longer, as though she shouldn't be there. Although she wasn't there when the actual event happened, Marie knew it was Alcatraz from what Bobby had told her. It hadn't been pretty.

Marie wiped stray tears from her eyes. She wasn't even sure why she was crying. After she'd taken the cure two weeks ago, she'd begun to feel very emotional at times. Usually it was a combination of the loss of her powers, her identity as Rogue, losing three adults she trusted with her life and mainly the tearing apart of the only friendships she had ever known.

Best friends Bobby Drake and John Allerdyce had welcomed Marie D'Ancanto into their small family with open arms. Bobby, because he cared and a crush; John because…

It was something Marie had never mused about before. Why had John accepted her so easily, especially with his arrogant, smug attitude? More importantly, Marie saw her budding relationship with Bobby more important than their threesome friendship. That's why she hadn't tried to convince John to stay. She regretted as soon he'd left the jet.

Pulling her curtains apart, Marie just caught the Sun peek out from the horizon. Watching as the sky was tainted with fiery oranges and reds, she remembered the only time she'd seen John after he'd left…

After waiting for what seemed like decades, she was finally at the front of the queue. She checked herself in at reception.

"Name?" the blonde receptionist asked kindly.

"Rogue – I mean, Marie D'Ancanto."

Only minutes later, she was sitting in a chair being strapped in gently by two assistants. Her eyes widened at the sight of the needle being held by the middle-aged male doctor to her left. Another doctor, this one female, reached to pull off one of Rogue's long gloves.

"Wait! I could kill you if you touch me," she warned in a shaky voice.

The female doctor looked sympathetic. "So, you've never touched anyone?"

"Not properly for three years," Rogue replied quietly.

The doctor pressed an antiseptic onto Rogue's arm, and then injected her with the cure. "Hopefully this will be your salvation, Marie."

A fiery sensation spread throughout her body, from the furthest corners of her brain right to her toes. Rogue gave a small squeal as the needle was pulled out of her skin.

"How long will it take to work?"

The female doctor held out her hand. Rogue grasped it tightly.

Nothing happened.

A rare genuine smile appeared on her face. "Thank you," she whispered.

With Rogue finally gone, Marie ran, feeling as though everything was right with the world. She burst through the doors of the clinic into the open street. She then stopped suddenly when seeing Bobby's retreating back across the street. What was he doing here? Her jubilation was short lived. As soon as Bobby disappeared into the crowd of protestors, her eyes found another familiar face.

John had changed. It was mainly his hair, dyed to match his love of fire, but what really struck Marie was how he held himself. He'd always been cocky, but now he stood with confidence and purpose. Wait. Perhaps he'd come after her too! Maybe he'd left Magneto, and came here with Bobby to convince her not to take the cure!

Marie tried to catch his eye, but couldn't. He seemed to be staring after Bobby. She needed to get his attention.

"John! John, over here!" she called. Each time her voice grew louder. "John! John!"

He didn't hear her.

Just as she was about to try again, John raised a hand. Large jets of flames shot from his fingertips and into the clinic. The windows burst, the whole building igniting within seconds. The crowd panicked and began to disperse. When Marie looked for him, she found he'd gone already.

His actions weren't a shock. Marie was all too familiar with how John loved playing with fire, even in extreme terms.

So he hadn't come after her. He was just on another one of Magneto's anti-cure missions. This brought Marie back down to Earth with an uncomfortable bump.

A sharp knock at the door brought Marie out of her musings. "Hey Rogue, can I come in?"

"Sure Bobby."

The door flew open revealing a dishevelled Bobby Drake, still in his pinstriped pyjamas. Only his eyes looked truly awake. He opened his mouth to speak, but found he couldn't.

"Bobby, what's wrong?" Concerned, Marie took his hand in hers, something which she delighted in doing now.

Finally, Bobby found his voice.

"It's John. He's outside."