Author: NatalieJ
Title: Five Stages
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been and never will be.
Summary: Marie mourns the loss of her powers more strongly than even she'd expected. Hints of Bobby/Rogue and Kitty/Bobby but essentially a character piece.
Written for: Alliaspiral for the XMMFication 2006.
Pairing/scenario requested: Rogue; X3. Marie became Rogue. Then Marie. Now what? Is she still the same person?
Warnings (if any): Adult-y themes. But nothing warranting a rating higher than PG-13.

1. Denial

"This isn't what I wanted."

"No, it's what I wanted."

It wasn't a total lie. I hated my powers; they weren't the gift people – other mutants – seem to insist they were. It's alright for them. They have mutations that can help people, or that they can at least do a bit of good with. But me? What could I do? Let them get over their insomnia? I don't think a COMA is the way to do that.

The only person my mutation could have helped was myself, and I am not the kind of person who would go around stealing other mutants' powers or other people's knowledge for my own ends.

As for learning some control… The Professor told me a while ago that it was unlikely. For a long time I tried – Bobby helped in the beginning. But he was always that bit too scared that I'd take more than he was willing to give when the inevitable pull began.

The Cure was a dream come true. Perhaps if my attempts at control had made any sort of progress I wouldn't have taken it. And perhaps deep down I disagree with the principles of it.

(It was my only hope of a normal life.

And I certainly don't miss my toxicity!)

I just resent that I'm expected to my Little Miss Socialite all of a sudden. I wasn't like that before my mutation manifested – why would I be like that now? Jubilee and Kitty have asked me to go out with them tonight to some club in town. I don't really want to, but I suppose I should have a little fun. I was always afraid to go clubbing because of the crowds – skin to skin contact was too easy – and I didn't have any clothes that would be suitable.

But Jubilee insisted. I think it was her idea in the first place – Kitty seems very quiet lately, and especially around me. I know why, I just wish I didn't.

(Things with Bobby and I aren't going the way I thought they would…)

So here I am, in a borrowed sparkly top-like thing with almost no back to it, and a pair of tight jeans with some heels. I hardly recognise my own reflection. I don't think I've ever felt so naked with out actually being, you know, naked.

(Not that I've been naked around anyone lately.)

There's a knock on the door, and I shout at whoever it is that the door is open as I touch up my mascara.

It's Jubilee and suddenly she's gushing about how gorgeous I look, and how every guy in the club will be falling over themselves to get to dance with me. I'm flattered – I don't think I look that good. In fact, I think I look a little slutty. Then Kitty (who appeared behind Jubes) decides to let loose her inner kitten.

"Yeah, well, Bobby won't be too impressed," she snarks.

I just glare.

(After all, she doesn't know that Bobby seems to be more wary of touching me than ever. How could she – I haven't told a soul. It almost makes me wish I hadn't-)

And after a whirlwind journey down the hall, down the stairs, out the front door with a shout from one of the older students to be back by two AM, on the bus and then off again in the centre of town, we're here. The guy on the door is too busy looking at Jubilee's cleavage to notice that we're obviously underage and waves us in with a leer.

And Jubilee seems to have been right about the effect of this sparkly top thing because I hardly leave the dance floor all night.

But this one guy doesn't seem to want to let me go when I start to get desperate for something to drink – alcoholic or not – and keeps pulling me back to him. To tell the truth he's coming on just that bit too strong.

And then he's trying to wiggle his hand down the inside of the back of my jeans and I desperately try to push him away –

(If only I hadn't taken-)

(He'd be sucked dry in-)

- then I decide 'to hell with it' and force my keep up between his legs as hard as I can and while he's rolling on the floor in pain I stalk off to Jubilee and the random college graduate she's dancing with, tell her I'm leaving, and leave.

I've never felt so helpless before – even though it was only for a second.

I don't need my powers. And by the same token, I don't want them either. They were a curse, and my life is much better without them.

2. Anger

Bobby found out about the guy in the club. I have my suspicions about who told him, and I'd confront her but it's not worth the energy.

(The little boyfriend-stealing back-stabbing whore.)

But instead of being concerned that this guy in the club was heavy with the serious grope-age and trying to feel me up, he's shouting at me because I shouldn't have been going to a club looking like a slut anyway.

(So what if I agreed with him about the outfit. He's not going to get the pleasure of knowing it.)

"You did it on purpose didn't you? Just because I want to go slow after you lost your powers-"

"I didn't lose them, Bobby," I practically scream at him, "I made a choice to get rid of them."

"Fine, but-"

"And can you blame me for wanting to go have a bit of fun after living with the risk of killing someone if they got too close? What am I supposed to do when this time last year you were desperate to find a way for us to touch, and now I can you want nothing to do with me?"

Maybe I'm getting a bit irrational here, but he's being too possessive for my liking anyway. I'm not here for his convenience. And then he crosses a line.

"Fine. All I'm saying is you didn't have to make my jealous or whatever by going out and letting some scumbag feel you up!"

If he'd stopped there, I could have handled myself with a bit of dignity. But he didn't.

"Kitty was right about you."

We haven't really talked about his… dalliances with Kitty. And he's made a BIG mistake bringing her up this way. "Excuse me?"

"I said," he goes on, as though I didn't hear him the first time though he knows full well that I did, "Kitty was right about you. You get your freedom back – you take the Cure - and you can wait to let anyone down your pants."

"So if my excuse for being a slut is the Cure, what's Kitty's?"
Then I have to leave. If I don't, I'm likely to find some non-mutant way to kill him and that won't go down well with Storm.

And thinking of Storm doesn't do anything to quell this rage inside me because she's been just as judgmental of me lately. She just doesn't seem to understand why I did what I did. It's alright for her, with a useful, cool power that she can control. She seems just as willing to tar the Cure-takers with the same brush they way Magneto tars all humans with the same brush, without seeing that it makes her just as bad as he is.

Kitty has just rounded the corner in front of me.

I stop dead, thinking of what I could possibly say to her and amassing all the fitting words to call her. But before I have a chance to open my mouth, she stares over my shoulder and then turns to the nearest wall – phasing through it. I turn on the spot to see Bobby walking away.

Well if that's the way they want to play it then fine.

I stalk off to my room and idly wish I could go back to last year when John was here, and Bobby and I were happy, and Kitty was my friend.

3. Bargaining

I woke up this morning with a mission.

I may have lost Bobby, and John may have deserted me long ago, and Kitty will never be my friend again. But there's one thing I can try and get back.

Life was better with them. I realise that now.

So I showered, I dressed and then went for breakfast this morning without saying a word to Bobby, Kitty or even Jubilee – she was sitting with the pair after all, so it's obvious where her loyalties lie.

I eat a couple of slices of toast and down a glass of orange juice. Dr. McCoy left his breakfast place not long after I came in, so I know where to go to find him.

He doesn't seem surprised to see me when I enter the infirmary on the X floor in the basement.

He does seem surprised at what I have to say.

"Doctor," I say respectfully, "I want you to find an antidote for the cure."

The big, blue giant seems to fluster for a moment, before nodding. "Since I have only one sample of it left from the Alcatraz incident, I would have to have a sample of your blood to analyse."

I immediately begin to roll up my right sleeve. I've yet to buy a wardrobe of tops without full-length sleeves. Though I have shoved all my gloves to the bottom of my travel bag.

Maybe it's time to move them somewhere more accessible. I hope to be needing them soon after all.

After some idle chat as the doctor takes a pint or so – a bit much, I think, but he's the doctor – he orders me to get a few biscuits and a sugary drink from the kitchen and come back if I get faint or anything worse.

It's probably not the best idea, but I ignore him and head straight to Storm's office. She decided not to move into the Professor's office – perhaps out of respect, perhaps she just hasn't had the time yet – so it's a bit of a further walk.

A few times my vision tunnels, but I want to get all of this life-changing stuff out of the way before I spend the day doing the homework that has piled up over the last week while all of this chaos has been arising.

Storm seems a little harassed, sitting behind her desk talking on the phone, but she waves me in with a tight smile and beckons me to sit as she winds up her call.

"I know you've done all you can… I'll see you in a few days, Logan. Bye."

So Logan is on his way back then. He's been gone for three weeks or so; he disappeared off with a few stilted apologies but no explanation other than 'business'. I personally thought that he'd taken some time out to go grieve for Jean properly, because whatever really happened on Alcatraz Island hit him hard. By the sound of it, it was school business as opposed to personal business. I know better than to pry.

Though as soon as Storm puts the phone down, I don't need to know better because she tells me.

"He hasn't found any trace of Scott at all." I wonder why she's telling me, but perhaps she's just telling whoever she can. She hasn't taken to this Headmistress thing as well as she would have liked. "We didn't have time to look properly, but he went back to Alkali Lake and had a good look around. Whatever Jean did to him, she covered her tracks." Tears start to well in her eyes. "Scott's gone. Logan is coming back empty handed."

A silence stretches between us. No doubt she's thinking of how everything has seemed to go wrong lately. And if she is, the I can't agree more. Then I remember why I can here.

"Ms. Munroe?"

She's drawn back to the present again, and it's probably for the best. I don't mean to be callous, but she can grieve on her own time. "Yes, Ro-, sorry, Marie?"

I don't call her on her slip. I asked everyone to call me by my real name. It seems only natural – Rogue is a mutant with life-sucking skin. Marie is the southern girl who was kicked out of her own home with only a couple of hundred dollars and a bag of clothes and trinkets.

"I thought you should know that I've asked Dr. McCoy to look into an antidote for the Cure." Her eyebrows seem to climb her forehead rapidly, and I feel the need to clarify the situation a little more. "For me."

"Any particular reason?"

"I made a mistake in taking it." There, I've said it. And I try to ignore the silent 'I told you so' that she seems to be saying with her whole posture.

"Very well. But what are you going to do in the mean time?"

Now, this, I have given three weeks of thought to. "I'd like to train to fly the X-jet. Logan talked about it before this whole Cure thing kicked off since my powers were mainly defensive. He thought I may as well have another use. And until I can get back my powers, I want to be of any use at all."

And she nods her acceptance. Then I leave with the understanding that she will begin teaching me in the simulator once Logan has come back. The world suddenly looks like a brighter, better place.

4. Depression

I've been locked up in my room in a kind of voluntary seclusion for two full days now. More than that, perhaps two and a half.

Bobby and Kitty made their relationship official. I had hoped that my suspicions had been fabricated by my mind in a fit of paranoia. Now I see that I pushed him away long before I took the Cure.

Add to that the fact that Dr. McCoy has abandoned all of his anti-Cure research and I'm not in the best mood ever.

I don't exactly understand the science, and most of what he said was drowned out by the sound of blood rushing in my ears but there was something about the Cure sample being inactive or contaminated or something, and proteins in my blood being unobtainable.

I'm stuck this way, a regular Hannah the Human.

I can't even be a help to the X-men anymore, either. I am totally incapable of flying the jet – I've crashed it so many times in simulation that Storm politely told me that I'd never get anywhere near the real thing.

There are rumours that she's going to ask me to leave.

This is a school for mutants, they say. And I'm not one of them anymore. Never mind that my home is in deepest, darkest Friends of Humanity territory and I'd never be accepted back (Cured or not), if you're not a mutant, you can't say at Mutant High. They don't seem to know that I know though. If it's true, that is.

And hence the bedroom barricade.

No-one has tried harder than knocking on the door to see if I'm alright. Not that I'd let them in if they tried to get through. As long as I haven't died in here, they're fine with me staying here. Heaven forbid they let a corpse stay here instead of a human.

I've got a bag waiting in my wardrobe. It's got clothes and the trinkets I brought from home, plus around $500 that I've scraped away for an emergency like this.

(Though I couldn't anticipate it going quite like this.)

Maybe I'll stay in Canada like I had planned to before Storm and Cyclops had picked Logan and I up all those years ago.

Maybe I'll seek out John, or even Erik. My powers may have gone, but the many things I learned from Erik Lensherr and the others I absorbed remain. And he was cured also. Perhaps that will give us something to talk about. We're in the same boat after all.

(Though he didn't ask for the Cure and I did.)

(He has connections, perhaps he can get me an Antidote?)

Or maybe I'll just stay here, lying on my bed in the dark with the curtains drawn, contemplating the many ways to continue my life – and the many ways to end it.

5. Acceptance

Logan rammed my door off it's hinges three days ago and demanded that I get out of my "funk", as he called it, and get on with my life.

He talked some sense into me – though I don't exactly know how and it's a trick I'd very much like to learn – and I realise that the Cure is permanent so I'm just going to have to live with it.

So here I am, just leaving Bobby's room where I have let him and Kitty apologise to me and I have told them that they can get on with it because they obviously care for each other. Yes, I am upset about the way it happened but they were both my friends to begin with.

And Kitty was incredibly upset at having "betrayed" me. The tears and sobs were gut-wrenching.

I decide to head down to the rec-room and watch a bit of TV.

My new found clarity in life is shattered however, at the news displayed on the screen.

I don't know what to think, or what to feel for that matter, any more.

The Cure isn't permanent.