Disclaimer: As much as I may wish it, I do not own any part of X-Men in any way, shape, or form.
Author's Note: While I can understand why Rogue took the cure at the end of The Last Stand, I still wasn't happy with it. But after the end scene with Magneto, I think her powers will almost definitely come back. This piece is my idea of what that might look like. (And yes, I know there probably isn't a gazebo at the X Mansion, but I think they could use one.) Enjoy!
**Special thanks to my big sis, who told me this was her favorite of my stories yet. :) Thanks for making my day.**
Let It Rain
It had been six months. Six months since the cure was developed. Six months since Magneto had been defeated. Six months since Jean, Scott, and the Professor had died. Six months since the humans of the world had finally begun trying to make peace with the mutants. Six months since Rogue had returned to the Mansion, once again able to touch people without fear. Six months that had been undone in about six seconds.
Rogue had been kissing Bobby again. They had been doing a lot of that since her return, kissing and holding hands. It wasn't new. What was new (or maybe a better word was old) had been the sudden draining of Bobby's power into Rogue. It had taken them both a moment to realize what was happening. One moment too long. Bobby was currently lying unconscious in the medical ward. He would live, but he would be unconscious for a while. In the ensuing chaos, no one had seen where Rogue had disappeared to.
Storm knew she should be busy getting the word out, informing mutants and news stations that the cure was fallible and anyone who had taken it should be watching for signs of returning powers. She knew she should be on the phone right now with the people watching Magneto, telling them to get him away from anything metal and put him under guard. She knew she should be gathering her students to tell them what had happened before they panicked and the rumors grew beyond proportion. But at that particular moment, the only thing she could think of was Rogue.
She should probably be sending Logan. He and Rogue had a strong connection, and he would know what to say better than she did. But Logan wasn't there at the moment. After the battle he had agreed to stay and help Storm with the school, but every few weeks he would get restless and decide to take himself camping for two or three days. He would probably be back the next evening, but Storm knew that by then Rogue would have come out of her shock enough to pack her things and bolt. And if that happened, they might never see her again. Jimmy was now the only person in the school who could safely touch her, but sending him would just add insult to injury. Kitty would try her best to comfort her friend, but in the end she wouldn't have a clue what to say. (Not that Storm did either.) And even if Bobby weren't currently unconscious, Storm had a feeling he was probably the last person in the world Rogue wanted to see right then. So, after telling Colossus that he was in charge until she came back, Storm grabbed a hooded jacket and stepped outside to look for Rogue.
It was raining outside. Wherever Rogue was, she was probably soaked. Storm looked around, wondering where she would go if she were running. Knowing Rogue, she would probably have gone as far as possible from the Mansion. But she had left without a jacket, so the rain would probably have forced her to take shelter before she got too far. The first place that came to mind was the old white gazebo. It was far enough from the Mansion to feel secluded, but close enough that Rogue could have reached it quickly. It seemed as good a place as any to start.
Storm pulled up her hood and started walking. The rain was coming down hard, and it was fairly chilly outside. She walked quickly, eager to find Rogue before she vanished. It took her a little more than five minutes to catch sight of the white gazebo. Sure enough, there, sitting on the top-most step just out of the rain, was a figure with dark hair contrasted against white bangs. Rogue. As Storm got closer, she could see that Rogue was completely soaked: shoes, hair, jeans, thin white shirt, and now-dangerous skin all sopping wet. The drying rain on her face helped hide the tearstains that were almost surely there, but the pain was written all over her eyes. Her face was hard, and she didn't look up as Storm approached.
"It's too chilly to be sitting out here in the rain," Storm said, stepping onto the bottom step to get out of the downpour. Rogue looked up at her, and then looked away.
"Why don't you come back in and get warmed up?" Storm suggested, trying again. Rogue gave no sign that she had even heard. Storm hesitated a moment before giving up and slowly sitting down beside Rogue. Upon closer inspection, she could see that the girl was shaking from cold. Having a piece of Bobby's ice powers trapped inside of her probably didn't help. Seeing as she really wasn't cold, Storm pulled off her jacket and carefully wrapped it around Rogue's shoulders. The girl jerked violently at her touch.
"Hey, it's okay," Storm said quickly, rubbing her hand up and down Rogue's covered arm in what she hoped was a calming gesture. She had never been very good at this.
"No, it's not," Rogue said, slipping her arms into the sleeves of the jacket and looking at Storm. "Nothing is okay. Everything's ruined. I wasn't supposed to hurt him-"
"I know," Storm interrupted gently. "And so does Bobby. It was an accident."
"This wasn't supposed to happen! I took the cure. They said it was gone."
"Well, I guess it isn't permanent."
"I hate it," Rogue said softly. "I hate this stupid gene. It ruins everything. I hate it, and I hate me!" She began to tear furiously at her hand, as if she could somehow rip off the bad skin. Storm grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her roughly.
"Look at me, Rogue!" she said sharply. There were tears running down Rogue's face. She dropped her hands, but refused to look up. "Look at me!" Slowly Rogue pulled her gaze off of the ground and met Storm's eyes. "Don't you ever say that, you hear me? You want to hate the gene, that's fine. That's your choice. But don't you dare hate yourself. You are a beautiful, brilliant young woman, and you have no reason to hate yourself, you hear me?"
Rogue nodded, but the tears were running faster down her cheeks. A small sob escaped her lips. Storm softened and wrapped her arms around the girl. Rogue flinched a bit, but let herself be drawn into Storm's arms, resting her head against her teacher. Storm carefully pulled her long sleeves down over her hands to protect them. She kept one arm wrapped securely around Rogue, and with the other she cradled the girl's head against her, gently stroking her hair and letting her sleeve brush against the girl's tear-stained face. Rogue cried and cried, her shoulders shaking with the force of her quiet sobs. Storm stayed silent, knowing there was absolutely nothing she could say to make it better.
After a while, Rogue's tear began to slow. When they finally stopped, she made no move to leave Storm's arms, savoring the embrace for as long she could. The older mutant continued to hold her quietly until she finally took a deep breath and pulled away, wiping at her eyes. Even then Storm kept one arm wrapped around Rogue's shoulders, just in case.
"I'm sorry," Rogue said finally, staring at the steps.
"For what?" Storm asked. "There's nothing to be sorry for."
"For making you come find me. And for crying all over you."
"You know," Storm said, looking around the gazebo, "I used to come down here a lot when I was younger. It was always easier to think out here.
"When I was a little younger than you, we got word that my parents had died. I hadn't seen them in a long time, and I had missed them a lot. But I didn't cry when the Professor told me. I tried to act like I didn't care. He didn't believe me, but he acted like he did. Of course, keeping the skies clear that day was a whole nother story." She smiled sadly.
"I came out here a few days later, trying to be alone. I had the sky pretty clouded up, but I wasn't about to let it rain. I was still trying to act like I didn't care. After a while Jean came and found me. You know what she told me? She said, 'Ro, sometimes you just have to let it rain. And that's okay.'" She squeezed Rogue's shoulder. "It's okay to let it rain."
Rogue nodded in understanding, and then looked away. The rain outside was letting up, and was now just a gentle downpour. Storm watched it for a moment before continuing.
"You know, when I was your age, I couldn't always control my powers," she said finally. "The weather up here got pretty crazy sometimes." The corner of her mouth turned up in a small smile. Rogue tilted her head, imagining. "But I learned. And now it's almost as easy as breathing. Who knows? Maybe with time you'll be able to control yours too."
"The Professor didn't think I'd ever be able to touch people," Rogue said softly, looking down again.
"The Professor didn't know everything," Storm said with a small rebellious smile. Rogue stared at her. Storm shrugged. "I'm not making any promises. But it's always possible. Don't give up." Rogue's eyes were full of doubt, but there was also the tiniest spark of hope.
"There you are."
Storm and Rogue looked up to see Logan standing before the gazebo. He was wearing a jacket, but his hair was soaking wet.
"I didn't think you'd be back until tomorrow," Storm said.
"I came back early." He looked at Rogue. "I went by the medical ward. Bobby's gonna be okay. They think he'll regain consciousness soon." Rogue looked down, pulling on the sleeves of Storm's jacket so they covered her hands. Storm gently rubbed her shoulders.
"Rain's letting up a bit," she said. "Let's go inside and get you warm."
Rogue nodded and got to her feet, still looking at the ground. She walked down the steps and into the light rain. She stopped in front of Logan and hesitated a moment before looking up at him.
"Come here," Logan said, drawing her into his arms. Rogue pressed her face against his coat. Logan held her for a moment, then gently pulled away and looked down at her.
"You gonna be okay, kid?" he asked.
"Maybe," Rogue said. She looked back at Storm, and then nodded. "I… I think so."
Logan nodded. He slipped his arm around her shoulders and the two of them started walking back toward the Mansion, Rogue's head resting on his shoulder.
Storm lingered a moment, giving the two of them a bit of space. She stepped out of the shelter of the gazebo and looked up at the sky, feeling the rain drops gently hitting her face. It would have been easy to clear the clouds away and walk to the Mansion in the dry, warm sunshine, but she didn't do it. There was a small part of her that liked rain, liked the smell and the cool air and the feel of gentle raindrops against her skin.
The corners of her mouth turned up in a small smile. Jean had been right. Sometimes it was okay to just let it rain.
So what did you think? Please leave a review and let me know! I love to get feedback. :)