Hello dear readers- this is the beginning of a partnership between some fabulous ROMY writers. You might recognize the players which include: aiRo25, Tamarai, Pennylane87, Gammy91, Merr2, Shadowfax999, Chellerbelle, Fostersb, NewMoonNight and Star-of-Chaos. Each one of us will be bringing you a chapter, though the story will be connected to Fostersb's account. This first chapter is brought to you by Shadowfax999. ENJOY!
I am not sure where my story starts, was it when my mutation first manifested and all hell broke loose? Was it when I met Logan, the X-Men and Magneto and all hell broke loose? Or maybe it was when I took the cure and… are you noticing a pattern here?
But sometimes I guess, it really isn't where the story starts, but rather where the journey takes you, and once again in this little tale, all hell did break loose, but for once I am very glad it did. If not, then I would have missed out on what would be, perhaps, the greatest adventure yet.
"Who is she, a teacher or a student like us?" Ah yes, the end of a school year, and the influx of new students…
"Neither actually, I heard she's doing community service!" New students, and quite reasonably…
"No way! I heard that the government passed a law that all mutant institutions must have at least one human employed… She's probably our token human." New rumors… She was a little disappointed though, not much creativity in this bunch.
"Freak! What a weird career choice."
It's amazing how some sentiments never change, but merely modify over time and circumstance. The hushed whispers that had stalked her presence from the time her mutation had manifested seemed to be one of the many things that she carried forth in her 'new' life.
"Maybe she's doing community service?" How odd.
"She's probably a spy for the government. We should tell that Mr. Logan person." Snort.
"Are you kidding? He's probably boinking her. Since we've been here, ever notice how much he stares at her?" Ok, now that was just gross, and besides, we've been down that well beaten path already.
"Ew! Isn't that some sort of cross breeding? It's probably gonna be illegal if the government passes legislation." Now that was just darn well rude, didn't her mamma teach her any manners?
"Gross, imagine having to mate with one of the guys here…" You're telling me…
Finally getting the last of the posters up on the notice board, the young woman turned around to acknowledge the group of new mutants. "Welcome to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. On behalf of the staff and students, I would like to welcome you all to the Mansion. My name is Rogue, and I am in charge of your orientation. If there are no questions, I would like you all to walk this way please, as I give you a tour of the school."
"Excuse me, Miss Rogue?" A pretty, little girl with innocent, chocolate eyes at the front of the class put up her hand. Huh, she reminds me of a younger Kitty…
"Why are you here? Everyone says you're human, and since this is a Mutant School, what do you do here exactly?" Just like Kitty, right down to her abundance of tact; funny enough though, I've been asking myself the same thing for the entire year.
"Well, I am the Events Coordinator at the mansion. I oversee every orientation for new students, and I make sure everyone settles in comfortably. I organize social events for you guys to get to know one another better and become familiar with the staff and other students. During the term, I'm responsible for ensuring no one has clashes in their timetables, and all correspondence for the school is kept up-to-date," Rogue's voice droned on in an unconvincing monotone.
"So, basically you're a glorified Secretary." A little boy with a starched collar and a little clip on tie sneered. Oh lord, look-y here, a mean version of Scott Summers.
Too far gone to have the desire to reiterate her importance, she merely settled for, "Probably," and then proceeded to show the group of 20 prepubescent teens around their new home.
Of course, the little girl's quest for answers was relentless, and the 'glorified secretary' idly wondered whether or not it could be classified as a secondary manifestation of her power. I wonder, if anyone would notice if I taser her…
"Hello Rogue, how is the orientation going?" Storm asked as the group entered the main hall. Darn it, I swear when that woman inherited the Professor's office, she inherited his powers too.
"You're just in time actually. This, class, is your Headmistress,"—some of the older boys snickered at that—"Ms. Munroe."
"And this concludes our tour of the mansion. Your classes won't start for two months since its summer, so you are all free to mingle as you wish. Remember though, that the lower levels are strictly off limits, and boys are not to wander into the Girls' Wing, nor should girls in the Boy's wing, and lights out at 9 for you guys. Bye." She rattled off her parting words and scurried off to the library for some peace and quiet.
Since it was summer, no one ever came into the library, and it gave her a much-needed break from all the whispers and knowing looks. Walking in and heading straight for the single chair by the window, Rogue took a seat. She picked up a copy of the Bronte novel she was currently reading from the side table and promptly put it back down as the whispers from her tour resurfaced. It was not the first, or the most creative or even the last of the callous words she had come to expect from the mutant company she currently kept.
'I'm not happy,' she thought to herself. It may have been a bit strange to anyone else, but for a girl who had multiple voices in her head for half a decade, internal dialogue was the most soothing way for her to get her thoughts organized and maintain some sort of serenity.
Should I leave? Should I stay? Did I really have a choice? These questions circled continuously in her only way she could leave this room with any sort of peace of mind was if she really got down to it and answered some of the most basic questions. It was no longer satisfying to her to merely survive the day mentally or emotionally. She was fed up with feeling like an outcast in her own home, which begged the point, was this really her home anymore?
She could perhaps pinpoint the beginning of the end to the day Logan failed to stop her from taking the cure. But she had decided long ago that blaming others for what was ultimately her decision solved nothing and only drove a wedge between her and her friends.
Prior to her getting the Cure she didn't count herself as having many friends. It was a small circle that shrunk even more when John left. After taking the cure things became increasingly strained on her remaining ones. Logan didn't treat her any differently. His words on that faithful day had echoed in her mind over the years, but at the heart of it, he truly accepted her position and the choice she made. It had made no difference to him.
But Logan alone, whilst sufficient on the battlefield, was not adequate for a smooth life at the mansion. Since the deaths of the Professor, Scott and Jean (again), the staff at the school had dwindled considerably while the student population had almost doubled. Storm had been left in charge of the School, as dictated by the Professor's Will, with his assets all going towards keeping the School functioning. Logan had also been named in conjunction with the school, but no one really knew the details about that.
This led to the weather witch's outsourcing for eligible teachers, as well as, seeking the older students to assume various roles of authority until qualified teachers could fill the necessary posts. Both Piotr and Bobby had been 'promoted' to substitute teacher status, and whilst Storm had expressed desire for Rogue to take over the 'Ethics' Course for the senior students, the girl politely declined.
Why on God's green earth did she expect me to willingly endure more of the teenage drama that went on in Mutant High is beyond me.
To say losing, or rather choosing, to let go of her mutant abilities was a humbling experience if nothing else. Even if no one else believed that she did it for herself and not to save a crumbling relationship, she knew the truth, and frankly some days, it was the only thing that kept her going.
The removal of her powers and subsequent dissolution of her relationship with Iceman, took a toll on her emotionally and she found herself, ironically, going through the stages of grief.
There was the Shock and Denial; it actually took her a few months to really believe that she could actually touch another person and many of the mansion's inhabitants didn't really understand what she was going through. The younger girls tried to encourage her to change her wardrobe and have Girls' Night doing each other's make up and nails, but it was difficult for the southerner. Something as simple as holding Bobby's hand without a glove was borderline painful, and she often suffered from something similar to Sensory overload whenever too many people began crowding around her, determined to show her how wonderful it was not to be a slave to gloves anymore.
It was then, that Logan showed the first real interest in her personal well being since she took the Cure. He began seeking her out for early morning meditation sessions, which in the long run were really responsible for her getting a grip on the overwhelming sense of freedom she gained. Then in the night, to fight her fear of relapse of a sensory overload, she began burning one article of clothing a night from her wardrobe. Logan called it a 'cleansing' experience until she began replacing her clothes with cut-offs and tank tops. She suspected this was the reason for him sheathing his claws repeatedly at certain male students whenever she was around.
Of course then there was the subsequent Pain and Guilt that followed, and the beloved Ice-fool didn't help. Now, not to say he wasn't a supportive boyfriend, but for her to deal with her own guilt and his was exhausting at the very least. Too bad the rest of the mansion didn't see it that way. It was difficult for anyone else to really understand; imagine having all your pain and guilt reflected in the eyes of the one person you love more than anything. He couldn't allow himself to enjoy any part of their relationship without the guilt shining brightly in his eyes. Bobby, it seemed, did not believe that she did it for herself and so every moment they shared became bittersweet. If she didn't break it off, it would have consumed them. Whilst she had gotten accustomed to the cruel ways of the world, she had hoped beyond everything that Bobby at least, would get to keep a bit of that innocence that he always appeared to have.
Which, naturally brought her to Anger and for a long time she became a nice steaming pot of scorching Southern Sass. Fresh from her break up and annoyed by the rumors surrounding the circumstances for it, she lashed out at everyone, especially at those assuming that she wanted no restrictions brought about by a boyfriend now that she had the privilege of touch. She mostly snarled and turned a bitter blind eye to the rumors, but when a certain Miss Pryde took it upon herself to egg her on in all her self-righteousness, her pot reached a boiling point and a certain Windy City native failed to hear the warning whistle.
Logically, there was no way anyone could have expected her not to pounce on the little Yank for calling her a Harlot, and like all little girls, Kitty had screamed and thrashed until she belatedly remembered her mutant abilities and ran like the coward she was. Huh… skank.
She went and hid in Storm's office, who gave all the students, including Ms. Cry-baby Pryde, a danger room session. Without powers though, which everyone had blamed Rogue for. To this day, Rogue still didn't get their logic, but whatever. Her Southern Pride was still intact.
As time passed, the Spunky Southerner continued to feel segregated as the danger room was now off limits to her. Plus, with the arrival of new students, the questions came. Most predominantly, 'Why was she here if she wasn't a mutant?'
She turned down the teaching position Storm had offered her, and instead opted for as little interaction with the new student body as possible by becoming what mini-Scott called her, the mansion's secretary. She hid in her little office during the school terms and communicated with all students and teachers electronically. During the summer, save for the orientation of new students that Storm had demanded she do, she hid in the library with her favorite book. Some called it depression and some said she was a social misfit. The truth was she probably fell in both categories, but she was determined to ride it out. She had no desire to continue to be this sad excuse of a person that she had recently become, especially not when she had been given this precious gift of freedom once more.
As summer turned into fall, a sense of uneasiness engulfed her. It was like she was on the brink of something, she just could not figure out what. And as another day found her in her little office, sorting through mail, an inconspicuous brown manila envelope with a neat little tie and the return address of a lawyer's office in New Orleans was curiously addressed to her.
Waiting till the end of the day and in the privacy of her room, she took a letter opener to her envelope and neatly slit it open.
'Dear Ms. D'Ancanto'
'Come again?' She frowned as she re-read the letter. If this was a prank she was going to hurt somebody… badly… maybe even sic Logan on them.
She spotted the phone number of the Office and dialed without a second thought.
"Hello. Is this Turner & Turner, New Orleans? Yes, my name is Marie D'Ancanto."
"Ok. Hello —No, I did not."
"Should I -"
"Oh, that makes sense. Thank you then, I guess."
'Huh,' she thought to herself. 'Poor Aunt Irene.'
Checking to make sure Storm was not in an important meeting, she stormed into the office. No pun intended.
"I got mail," were the brilliant words she relayed to her mentor.
"Marie, darlin', can't you see I'm in a meeting here?" Logan's gruff rebuff had no effect on the wide-eyed Mississippi native.
"Shut your pie hole, Logan; this is serious. It's from a Lawyer, Storm," she said, focusing on the headmistress and ignoring Logan's complaints, "and apparently I've just inherited a house."
"Marie—" Logan tried to cut in, but to no avail.
"Storm, with your blessings I'd like to go visit the place and maybe if things go well set up shop there." Rogue bit her lip and she mentally willed the Weather Goddess to agree with her readily.
"If that is what you want, then it is quite understandable Rogue. Shall I get Piotr to prepare the Blackbird?"
"Actually 'Ro…" She gnawed on her bottom lip, knowing that this would be the hard part of the conversation. "I was hoping to go there alone." She handed Ororo the document in her hand, a resignation letter.
"You mean to leave us, Rogue?" The hurt in her voice was palpable, and Rogue felt every bit the Judas in that moment.
"Storm, you guys are family; I can never really leave you, but right now I need a change of scenery or something, because I'm about to go stir crazy in here. The X-Men will always have a place in my heart and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for everything, because I found a home here when I had nothing and no one, and you made sure that the dream didn't die with the Professor. I don't know if anyone has told you yet, but you're doing a great job here. But things are different for me now, and I don't want you to feel I'm selling out or anything, but for now I really need to leave." Trying to pour every ounce of gratitude in that impromptu speech made her feel like a bit of weight was lifted off of her shoulders.
Logan evidently needed no explanation. "So when are you leaving, Stripes?"
With a leveled look, she replied, "Soon."
As the clock struck midnight the gates opened and a rider with a lone backpack raced out of the garage like a bat out of hell. The few that were waking assumed that Logan had gone on another beer run, but after the morning assembly, the senior students recognized the rite of passage for the Southerner: Logan borrowed Scott's bike and she in turn borrowed Logan's.