Eventually, Rogue had to let it go, whatever it was that she couldn't quite place her finger on. If it was important, she would remember. It was always at the most convenient time too. When she did remember it was the middle of the night. She sat up in bed.
While drifting off to sleep her mind had been drifting as well. She heard Jubilee's music blasting from her side of the room, despite the earbuds wedged in the girl's head. Rogue had been thinking about the past few days and thoughts trailed one to another. Just when she was thinking of throwing a pillow at Jubes to turn if off or down, the idea hit her.
Why couldn't Rogue learn to turn her power off? Or at least down. She had learned to redirect her power, using herself as a conduit when she took Logan's healing factor. There was also the time that she had Gambit's energy in her veins. She had had to reverse that.
So if she could learn to change the flow of the energies and powers within her, surely she could stop the ability to even absorb on contact. Choose, focus, and not absorb. Her mind was reeling and spinning, back and forth at possibilities.
Rogue didn't notice the light outside. All night her brain had been contemplating the thought. She went through the motions trying to figure it out. She showered, brushed her teeth, got dressed, all the time her mind in another place.
I really need to talk to someone, she decided. But who? Apprehension caught her in the throat as she thought about telling someone. She supposed she was a pessimist by the fact she thought the response would be negative. 'No, Rogue, that's not possible."
Jean. She didn't think she could talk with Jean. Besides having no connection with the other woman, Jean was conservative. She had her wild days, Rogue knew, but that was past. It didn't seem realistic that Jean Grey would be interested in this type of project. Too bad, the very idea smacked of psychology and the brain.
Perhaps Dr. McCoy. He was so intelligent that he would be able to help her solve the conundrum. Oh, she thought, would she be able to understand him once he got going. Perhaps he was too smart.
Why hadn't she thought of him first? Professor Xavier! He had helped her all along and knew what she had been through and what she still struggled with. Unfortunately, it seemed everyone did. But Prof X would be the most realistic to help her, or to tell her if it were not possible.
She had to see him.
"Rogue!" a voice stopped her. She ignored and kept walking, her mind on one thing. "Rogue! Stop."
The person reached her and grabbed her.
Rogue spun around, shocked at the hand, "you're lucky you didn't get decked there, handsome. You wouldn't have been so handsome anymore."
John laughed. "Who's the one on fire now?"
"I'm on a mission, Pyro." She turned to leave again, but his hand still held her. "What?"
"Hey, easy, I need your help with something."
"Not now, but yes. Ok?" She nodded without knowing what she agreed to. "I'll help you later."
He grinned and let her go.
Finally, she thought, taking bigger strides to make up for the time lost. She knew if she hurried, she could catch the professor before his classes or meetings. But only if she saw him first thing. The morning usually spiraled out of control the more the day progressed.
"Rogue!" Kitty came running up beside her.
Trying a different tactic, Rogue stop short. "yes, whatisit?"
Kitty babbled and Rogue ran her sentences together to get the girl to hurry. Why couldn't Kitty be rushed? She spoke at Mach 7 every other day, why not now
"Ok. uhhuh." Rogue nodded, not listening. "Yeah ,you'reright. goforit."
Rogue walked off. It was a safe bet that it had something to with a boy. Piotr, or Bobby, or who knows who. Rogue didn't have the time.
So close, Rogue was closing in on the professor's door. She was in the same hall! And it was only 7:56. She breathed and walked tall.
"Not now." She simply said. She knew he followed. But she walked to the door.
She could see the double doors to the office. The handle was polished and the morning sun glinted off. She could see the braile next to the door. So close she could see the bumps.
"Rogue," Remy tried again. "Why chere ignore Remy?"
"Cajun," she turned. "I got something I need to take care of. And I'd love to hear what you have to say. Shit, I'd love to hear what everyone has to say. But. Not. Right. Now."
He opened his mouth again, and she slapped her hand over his mouth. "Not. Right. Now." She nodded.
Finally, she reached the door and glanced at her watch as she reached for the handle. 7:58. Her thoughts and hopes surged in her, the night and every contemplation and revelation over her powers swirling around in her, her hand shaking as she turned the knob.
But it didn't turn. "$%^&*!"
Her forehead leaned against the door with a thump. It was Wednesday. The 29th. She had forgotten his blasted appointment at the…..whatever, she didn't give a flip. He wasn't there.
How long until he would return? She searched her brain.
"It really be dat bad?"
She sighed and look to the side. She had forgotten Gambit and reddened at her cursing. "I jus' had something really important to discuss with the Professor."
She held her tears in check, but couldn't keep her face from flushing. Oh, her innards squished around in her. Why did it have to be Gambit here, about to see her cry? Anyone else.
He didn't say anything but came closer. "What?"
She knew that Gambit was kind a person, despite his cocky demeanor. He put his hand on the wall behind her and leaned in. his concern made it worse as all her emotions bubbled up. "I, well, see, I was thinking, I mean, I, before I feel asleep. And then I woke up."
He put his hand up. "Slow down, cherie, Gambit non follow."
She breathed for a bit, sinking down to the ground to sit. She knew she was supposed to be in the danger room for a session, but her mind and heart were somewhere else at the moment. She breathed, her emotions settling somewhat. Gambit sat next to her, his knee bumping hers after awhile. He tapped his knee against hers/
After a while. She was composed. "I had some great idea that I wanted to talk about with the professor."
"I really think," she paused, losing faith in herself, "thought I had an idea about my powers."
"Tell Remy instead den."
"Eh," he waved a hand. "So? You can test 't out moi, den tell him when he back."
" I don't know…" Rogue felt uninspired. "I need to get to the dangerroom."
"To hell wit' dem," Gambit grinned, his red pupils flashed. "Come on."
He stood up and offered her his hand. When she took it, hesitant, he yanked her on to her feet. He pulled her along, and soon she was following of her own freewill, curious as to where they were going.
He took them up to the roof. It was quite, except for the occasional generator noises, or voices carrying across the yard and up to the roof. They sat again the wall. Gambit just staring at her.
"I guess…" She started. "I thought…kinda…"
She felt so stupid now that the words were on her lips instead of her brain. He would think she was crazy. Perhaps it was a good thing that Professor X hadn't been available. She didn't need to feel like an idiot in front of him, once again.
"I thought maybe," she tried one more time. "I could shutmypowersoff."
The words ran together and she lowered her voice. But it made her feel even stupider to try to hide what she wanted or play it down. She took a deep breath. "I thought of a way I could perhaps turn my touch ability off."
Her insides quaked at saying it aloud. She didn't look at him for a second, part of her waiting, wincing at the laugh he was about to break out. But when he didn't say or so anything she looked over at him. He was watching her, an eyebrow cocked, his head tilted, saying, yes? Go on.
"I-you don't think that sounds silly?"
He shrugged. "Gambit don' know da Rogue's idea yet."
Encouraged she explained to him. "I was thinking that since I was able to control my abilities a bit more, change the flow of energy, that maybe I could stop it all together. Remember that time we were on the roof—" she looked around, "Up here. And I, you, I had your energy in my hand and you talked me into discharging it?
"And with Drake, I was able to transfer Wolverine's power to help him.
Rogue was talking aloud as the thoughts flowed through her. "If I could take the way I focused on the reversing, and be able to almost smother it, so no power were triggered if I touched someone else. Maybe my touch could eventually become something I turn off rather than to turn on."
She talked on, the idea becoming clearer. She had never been able to stop herself and her power before because she was just trying to stop it without understanding the full ability or herself. With the step of learning to absorb and to send out the power, she gained a facet of control. The next step was to control the absorbing.
After she was done, she waited but he didn't say anything. She turned to look at him, realizing she hadn't been watching him at all while she explained. Part of her felt nervous at his possible reaction, the other part of her realized that what she said made sense to her and was valid.
"Makes sense," he finally said.
"You think so?" she asked, he shrugged but nodded.
"That is why I wanted to talk with the professor, so he could help me figure out how and what to do next. I'm not sure…" she drifted off.
"Touch Remy." He smiled.
She balked. He wanted her to flat out touch him? Did he really know what was at risk? Not only the fact that she could absorb all of him, there would be no cocky swamprat, but she would take his powers and likely blow up the building.
"You do have a deathwish don'tcha?" she laughed it off, unable to deal with her shock.
"I trust you."
His words stopped her cold. She hadn't ever felt the twisting sensation in her chest before. She had felt fear, anger, but this twinge was new. She had trusted teammates, and viceverse, but Gambit was talking about something else.
"I'm not sure I trust myself."
Without needing words, Gambit moved closer. He slowly, as before, moved his hand next to hers on the wall. He gave her nod, as if to say concentrate. She would focus while he touched her, so she would only focus on the one thing, he would worry about the rest.
She closed her eyes and focused her mind. When it wouldn't focus, she focused on her breathing, then her mind. It felt like forever, but she didn't feel anything. She thought of the last time they had touched, what she saw. In fear of it happening again, her eyes snapped open. She saw that he wasn't that close to her hand yet, taking his time.
"I don't know, last time…" she stumbled over the words.
"Last time we touched jus' fine."
It was true, she only lost control, not even knowing she had it, and then saw Gambit's life and thoughts. It didn't matter she told herself as she closed her eyes. Gambit's life was his. Rogue knew they had touched before. She could control this, she reminded herself. She could do this.
She thought of a wall, but that seemed isolating. She thought of ice, but it then made her think of Drake. Finally, she just thought of nothing, silencing all the voices in her head. She needed to soother herself, calm all the voices, thoughts, and feelings.
She almost jumped when she felt the slightest sensation on the back of her hand. But she forced out the anxiety and thoughts and breathed in tranquility. She could feel the ring on her finger moving about, flesh occasionally grazing flesh. Sometimes she just felt the pressure of part of his hand, but knew they were gloved.
She didn't open her eyes, but was stunned at Gambit's patience. Her mind drifted to other things he might be patient with, and she blushed. She felt heat in her fingers, and realized that she had absorbed some of his energy when she thought that. Without overreacting, she mentally doused her hand in water to cool the energy. She couldn't smother it or it would shoot out, she knew she wasn't that savvy her ability to control his power.
He wasn't touching her anymore, having pulled back when he knew she had absorbed some of his power. But once she returned to her quasi-meditation, she opened her eyes.
"Thank you," she said. "I didn't think I could do it on my own."
Perhaps she didn't need to run to the professor all the time. She could figure it out on her own.
"Tomorrow?" he asked
She bit her lip, smiling still. "yeah.—if you don't mind."
He stood up and flipped a card around. He flipped the card at her, uncharged, and walked to the door. The card landed in her lap. The queen of hearts.
Rogue went downstairs and found the rest parked in the lounge.
"Where have you been?" they asked.
"Sorry about missing practice. Something came up." She suppressed her smile.
"What practice? It was canceled today because Scott and Jean and the rest had to go check out some new kid." Drake explained, his eyebrow raised but was quickly under control.
"Ah." Rogue nodded. She felt the experience she had still swilling around in her gut, almost aching to be told. But she wasn't quite ready to tell them yet. She smiled instead.
It also explained why gambit was able to say 'blow it off' to the dangerroom.
"So, about this morning…" John said.
Oh….Rogue didn't know what she had agreed to. "Yeah?"
"Are you ready?"
"Ready for what?" she didn't know.
"You don't remember?" Pyro depressed somewhat.
"Uh. No, sorry." She grinned sheepishly.
"You agreed to be my date because my mom thinks I have a girlfriend."
What? She had agreed to that. That didn't sound like anything he had said this morning. "Ha-ha. Yeah you got me. What did I really agree to do?"
Drake's eyebrow was up again and he was looking off to the side. Rogue withered.
"You're kidding?" She asked. "Right?"
Everyone in the room was silent.
Kitty smiled and pulled Rogue to the side. "No. uh, you agreed. Remember we talked about it this morning too."
Rogue groaned inside. When she heard Kitty talking of relationships he naturally thought Kitty was talking about Kitty. "Why can't you do it?"
Kitty leveled a gaze on her friend. "Yes, that is really what I need. To make my love triangle a love square."
"They fight like brother and sister."
"Why did he even tell his mother he had a girlfriend. Just say we broke up, or find some girl for the weekend. He can." Rogue looked around and out the window. "Her, she's cute."
"Rogue," Kitty sighed. "He's your friend. You agreed. Just do it."
"Ok." She shrugged it shouldn't be that hard.
"Great, thanks Rogue," he kissed her on the cheek. "We leave tonight."
"What?" He was already gone.
She looked around at the rest. "What? What is going on?"
"I think we should ask you the same thing? How could agree to something like that then forget?" Jubes asked. "You know it's important."
"Ok, I have something I'm dealing with, and I can't quite talk about it right now."
"You always have something you're dealing with, Rogue." Betsy dropped that bomb.
"Ok. Yes. I am so self absorbed and have huge mental and emotional issues." She might have been passive aggressive slightly, or more. But she needed to know how she was supposed to help John. "But, please tell me what I am supposed to do as a good friend, since I was so bad a friend and forgot.
The kid it turned out that Cyclops and the others had gone to see had been John's brother. At some point they had called him and needed him to come tell his family and show them how he was doing. That Xavier's school had helped him. It could help his brother. Jared could have a normal life. In doing so, John's mother asked about his friends, life, and pried for details. Under duress, John had lied and said life was so normal that he had a girlfriend. That is when he saw Rogue walk by that morning. He told his mom that she was coming too.
John and quickly hung up and chased Rogue down. It wasn't that he wanted to lie to his parents, it was just that life was not normal. They wanted that for Jared and it simply wasn't going to happen. But Xavier's was the best place for him. So if John had to make his parents feel better about some superficial details, he would to help his brother.
Rogue went to her room to pack. She had been so excited to start her progress toward touching, and here it was put off by a day. Or two. Geez, see hoped it wasn't longer than that. A week? With John? Pretending to be in love? They could flirt, but their relationship wasn't like that. At least she didn't have to worry about having to pretend to kiss him and touch him.
"Ugh, he picks the most unnormal girl to be his cover," Rogue sighed.
It wasn't until she was on the train that Rogue realized she hadn't told Remy she would be gone. Dammit. She texted Kitty to pass along a message. She spent the whole trip figuring out what to say. If only Remy had a freakin' phone himself.
To: Kitty (555-324-2575)
Plz tell Gambit I had 2 help John. Don't tell him y. Just that I had to help. bbl. :)
From: Kitty (555-324-2575)
Will do. & ill tell u how he reacts 2!