Author's Note: [tumbleweed] Enjoy the update while I clean the dust off this.


And Other Things

Doctor's Orders

Rogue has crap defense.

Between her long stint of invulnerability and years of piggybacking off Logan's healing factor, dodging and blocking just have never become priorities to her. For a long while, if she took a hit, Rogue couldn't feel it; and if it did manage to leave a mark, well, a high-five from the Wolverine would fix that up in no time. It's gotten her into the incredibly poor habit of not getting out of the way of things. With that invulnerability gone and Logan's soul searching journeys taking him farther away, it's only a matter of time before her lack of self-preservation catches up with her in a bad way.

Today is that day.

A lively, spirited and uncooperative young mutant calling herself Surge zapps Rogue with a bust of electricity dead on—literally. Rogue hits the ground with a stopped heart, and it's only Colossus' immediate and vigorous attempts (he cracks two ribs) that gets it going again.

Now in the medbay, Rogue sits with an arm wrapped around her chest as she works on shallow breathes, waiting for heavy duty pain medication to kick in.

"Good news." She turns towards the announcement from her doorway, where there's a fuzzy blue face hidden behind a clipboard. "The damage is very typical."

"Hooray." It's a dry response, and Dr McCoy looks at her over his charts. "So Ah'm free?"

He snorts, taking a seat. "An optimistic conclusion, but no. Must I remind you, you suffered an—albeit brief—cardiac arrest."

There's a guilty pause from the bed.

"Ah got better."

"Indeed you did," and Hank sets the metal clipboard down, before giving her a pointed look. "And we will be sure to thank Piotr for that, won't we." She nods. Rogue is always grateful when helped. It just isn't verbalized often. "Outstanding! Now then, about your recovery—"

"Where's Gambit?"

He blinks at her interruption. "Not here."

"What." Rogue lets out an frustrated sigh. It sounds especially bad, as the deep breath aggravates her cracked ribs. "That jerk," she heaves. Gritting her teeth, she looks around for her communicator near her uniform. "Ah'm all laid up, an' he ain't even around—"

An admonishing, "No, no," follows the clipboard now blocking her view of her things. She looks up at the now standing, and very amused, Hank McCoy. "I banished him from the infirmary."

She gapes at him.

"Why on Sam Hil—"

"Because," and he seems happy it's his turn to interrupt her. "You currently suffer from a weakened heart, Rogue." That apparently explains nothing to her. He sighs good naturedly, holding out the chart for her to see.

"Your heart rate spikes whenever Remy is around. Whether you're elated to see him, or trying to kill him with your eyes—"

"One time!" she insists loudly. She knows what he's talking about. That glare could have melted glass. More quietly, "One time."

"—and any rapid palpitations is exceedingly dangerous," he goes on, like there wasn't an outburst. "Your heart has already dipped into dysrhythmia, and when it finally restored rhythm, bradycardia is the pace." Rogue mutely stares. He isn't aware of her lost expression, flipping through the pages. "And seeing as how a very crude cardioversion is what got us here in the first place, I am incredibly disagreeable to the idea of attempting it as a restoration method." Finally noticing her look, "I don't want to overload your conduction system."

Stare.

"It could inspire myocardial infarction."

Stare.

"A heart-attack, Rogue."

"Oh." Her nose scrunches. Hank was a boy genius that became a man genius, with something ridiculous like nine degrees. She wonders if he ever feels like that goes to waste on some of them. Still, if anyone knows how to roll with the punches, it's Hank McCoy. Blue and furry wasn't even his initial mutation; in trying to find an anti-mutagen for the X-gene, he had decided to look to the source material. Like with many afflictions, the cure is often found in the poison. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and it accelerated his mutation's growth.

You reap what you sow, and the big, blue man in the lab coat before her reaped the hell out of it. The king of lemons to lemonade but never annoyingly optimistic, Rogue has never not been inspired by his story. She learned the moral, though, too; there is no 'cure'. Screwing with one's double helix is a double edged sword, and sometimes one just needs to let things be what they are.

In fact, it's Hank's disastrous results that has kept her from Muir Island, and from ever touching the inhibitor collar. Both offer nullification, but at painful costs. That's okay. She'll just deal with no touching, thanks.

She'd rather not end up hairy and blue.

"There's no way to make sure Ah don't run int'a him, though," she points out, kneading at her sore side. The co-proxamol's effects are really starting to hit her.

"Correct!" When he agrees, her suspicions grow. "Which is why he is banished from here, and here is where you'll stay."

"What! No!" she protests, and he stuffs his big paws into his deep pockets.

"Yes."

That's not a good enough answer for her. "Ah don't wanna," she whines, slowly lowering herself back onto the bed.

His cheery, "Doctor's orders," is of no help. Laying down feels better than sitting, and the arm not massaging her sore ribs covers her eyes.

"The hell am Ah 'sposed to do here?"

"Rest, Rogue," he tells her. She groans as he walks to the wall. He twists a dial, lowering the lights. "Take all the energy you spend on maintaining the health and welfare of others, and disburse it upon your self."

"Ah never do that." It's almost lost in her yawn.

"Hence, why we are here."

She lifts her arm to deliver a half-hearted glare, and he chuckles softly. "Your heart rate also increases when you activate your mutation, so don't bother asking Logan down here. I've already warned him away." She 'tch's at him, as he draws the curtain near the desk along and around to hide the light from the monitors. "So for now, observed bed rest."

"Ya'll don't even know if that'll work."

"Thus the apt title: practicing medicine."

"You're a hack, Dr McCoy."

The low rumble of his laughter follows her to sleep.

-…-

In the morning, her heart was right as rain, and so were her ribs. Logan 'accidentally' touched her while reaching for a wrench in the garage. Rogue made a real effort to keep out of the medbay after that, and while she made an impressive run out of it, good things find their ends; the next time she's wheeled in is for something so much worse, with just as little to be done about it.

And Hank would gladly take a spike in her heart rate then, as he digs the claws on his toes into the tile to keep from sliding in all the blood. At least then, it would mean her heart was beating within her crushed chest.

But more on that later.


Author's Note: Man, I haven't fic'd in 5ever. I'm sorry, guys. I can't promise a return, but I'll clean up the ol' profile page. See if that doesn't spark anything. Also, now that I can edit a chapter again without taking the old one down first, I'm going to fix up the previous installments. Those things are lousy with typos. So is this, probably. At least now I can always go back to fix it.