A New Face
The sun rose over Bayville, signaling the beginning of a new day. In a large mansion in the suburbs, several alarm clocks went off, accompanied by many annoyed grunts, and people started to get ready for the day.
But not her. Not Rogue. She had already spent the whole night awake, trying to keep the nightmares at bay, and now she was way too tired to get out of bed. She groaned as the alarm went off and reaches over, hitting the snooze button. Sighing in relief at the silence, she pulled the covers over her head.
Bamf. "Come on, sis! You're gonna be late!" Kurt attempted to pull the covers off Rogue, but she held onto them tightly. However, he eventually won.
With her emerald eyes flaring, Rogue locked a glare on her brother. "What is ya problem, Kurt? Ah was gonna get up anyways!"
"But-" He was cut off by a flying pillow in the face, which knocked him backwards.
"Get out. Now. If ya like ya fur on ya body." With a noise that sounded somewhat like a yelp, Kurt teleported away and Rogue smirked. Getting off the bed, she went into the bathroom to take a shower.
As the cold water hit her head, the southern girl gasped a little and turned the hot water dial up. The water warmed up and she stayed there for a while, letting the water cascade over her whole body. The constant lack of sleep was taking its toll on her. Mebbe Ah'll talk to the Professor 'bout it, Rogue thought. She switched the shower off and stepped out, taking a towel to dry herself.
After a moment, Rogue got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast. As she went into the kitchen, she bumped into a person and was about to make a remark when she noticed who it was.
"Oh... Mawning, Scott," she mumbled, keeping the blush from showing on her face.
"Morning, Rogue. Sorry about bumping into you."
"It's okay. Ah'll see ya round." She scooted away quickly from Scott, leaving him standing there looking a little confused. Grabbing a spoon, Rogue poured some cereal and milk into a bowl and dug in.
Logan walked in with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other and sat down opposite her. "Morning, Stripes." Rogue mumbled her response and continued munching. "Not sleeping again, are you?"
"Of course not! Whaddya expect!" She snapped at him. Logan looked at her with surprise. "Sorry," she sighed. "Stress."
"Look, why don't you stay here for today? I'll get Chuck to see what he can do."
"Ah'll be fine, Logan, and besides, Ah need ta hand in an assignment today. Ah'll talk ta the Professor after school, 'kay?"
Logan opened his mouth as if he was about to object, but closed it again. "Okay. But if you don't feel good, tell Slim to drive you home, right?"
"Raight." That would be a problem in itself, but she didn't want to mention her crush to anyone, let alone Logan. Finishing up, she rinsed off the bowl and placed it on the drying rack, and grabbed a ride in the X-Van to school.
As Rogue walked to her classroom, she ignored the glances everyone was shooting her and the occasional call of "go home". She was joined by Kitty, who was smiling from ear to ear. "Hey, Rogue, I heard there's like a totally hot guy starting in our class today!"
"Ah'm nawt interested, Kitty," Rogue replied. Ah wouldn't be able to do anything if Ah was, she thought gloomily to herself.
"Still, like, totally hung up on Scott, huh?" Kitty made a sympathetic face. "You've gotta get over that."
"Ah was never pinin' ovah Scott!" Rogue said indignantly. Her friend rolled her eyes as they entered the classroom, where the teacher was already doing a register.
"You're late, you two," said the teacher. "Find a seat quickly and then we'll start." Kitty put on an immediate burst of speed and bagged the one next to Lance, leaving Rogue a choice of the two desks of the empty back row. Muttering darkly to herself, she sat down and got out her books and a pen.
"Right, class, today we have a new student coming in from Burbank, California. I hope you'll make him very comfortable here." The teacher beckoned at the door and it swung open, allowing a boy to step in. At that precise moment, all the girls drew in a sharp breath. This new boy was tall and very well-built, considering his age, with a head of wavy brown hair and stunningly blue eyes.
"Hi," he greeted. Several girls swooned at his rich British accent. "I'm Matthew Quincy. Pleased to meet you." Kitty smiled dreamily, causing Lance to scowl at the new boy, and even Rogue found herself drawn to him. Shaking her head, she diverted her gaze to her textbooks, suddenly finding them very interesting.
"Thank you, Matthew. Now, if you'll sit down, we'll begin at page thirty-nine - momentum and impulse." There was a collective groan from the class as they turned to the page, and the new boy hurried to the back, turning several heads on the way. He sat down and leaned over with a cocky smile to Rogue, who decided to ignore him.
"Hi, I'm Matt."
"Ah heard." was the curt reply.
"Um, I know it would be annoying for me to ask, but can I share your textbook with you? I only got here yesterday, so I didn't really have enough time to get everything."
Rogue sighed. "Fine, ya can."
"Thanks. Oh, I forgot to ask for your name."
"It's Rogue." She turned her attention back to the teacher, who was currently writhing down several formulae on the blackboard.
"That's not actually your name, is it? Come on, you can tell me."
"Bite me," Rogue answered and directed a thin smile at him.
"Ouch, that hurt," came the sarcastic reply. Matt flicked open a notebook and started to write. "I felt that deeply, Rogue, any chance you could apologise?" He directed what appeared to be a smoulder at Rogue, who groaned and attempted to continue ignoring him.
At the end of the lesson, Rogue packed up her stuff as quickly as she could and made a beeline for the door, only to be stopped at the doorway by Matt. "Get outta mah way, Matt."
"Aww, I mean well, I do! I was just wondering whether you were doing anything tonight. Maybe we could go see a movie together?" He directed a more normal smile at Rogue.
"Thanks, but no thanks." Rogue replied. She noticed a group of girls in the corridor shooting looks of disgust at her and her expression hardened. "Why don't ya hurry over to ya fan club? They seem ta be missing ya terribly." With that, she barged past him and walked off with a huff, leaving Matt in bewilderment.
The girls ran over. "Hi," introduced one of them. "I'm Natasha." She was a typical cheerleader type, blonde, blue-eyed, average height.
"Hi," he replied, his smile back in place. Natasha looked at her posse, which nodded excitedly, and she giggled. "I'm sorry, what did you want?"
She giggled again. "Well, are you free tonight?" Matt nodded. "Would you like to see a movie with me then?"
"Um, sure," Matt answered, glancing over her shoulder to see whether Rogue was still there. "Can I ask you one thing, though?" Natasha nodded, smiling. "Who was that girl I was sitting next to during the lesson?"
Natasha frowned. "I would be careful about being near her. She's one of them - a mutant. Anyways," she put on a smile again, "I'll see you later at lunch, okay?"
"Sure." As Natasha (and her annoying giggle) and her friends walked away, Matt groaned to himself. "Great. Another bigoted school." He thought back to his encounter with Rogue. "No wonder why she's so touchy."
Entering the classroom, Rogue noticed that her usual seat was occupied by another girl, who gave her a dirty glance. "What are you looking at, mutie?"
The southern girl suppressed a rise of anger and stormed off to a different seat in the corner of the room, with a horrible sound of laughter behind her. The teacher entered and all the noise dulled down to a muttering.
"Today we will begin a paired project. You and and your partner will produce a poster on a battle in the Second World War. Deadline is in two weeks." The muttering rose in volume as the students began arranging themselves in groups, and the teacher tapped loudly on his desk with his ruler. "I've already taken the liberty of drawing up groups so that there won't be any hassle." This produced a loud groan from the class. "I'll read the groups out now: Elizabeth and James, Rebecca and Lucas, Kate and Henry, Rogue and Matthew…" A loud sigh of disappointment sounded from the table where all the "normal" girls were sat and Rogue could almost feel their gazes boring holes in her back. The teacher finished reading out the pairings and allowed the groups to begin their work.
"Great, it's ya again," muttered Rogue as Matt sat down next to her. "Let's get his over and done with so you can go sit with your "normal" friends." She flicked through her textbook.
"Look," Matt replied with annoyance evident in his voice. "Frankly, I don't really care if you're a mutant or not, and I feel a little insulted that you've made the automatic assumption that I'm just like the others."
This statement surprised Rogue, who had thoroughly expected the new guy to be the typical jock. "Oh, ah, um, Ah'm sorry," she mumbled in embarrassment and Matt relaxed. "It's just that Ah'm used ta people being so narrah-minded."
"Don't worry about it," he replied. "So, which battle do you think we should do? Stalingrad? Normandy?"
"Normandy sounds good," Rogue said.
After several more lessons of Matt sitting next to her, Rogue was decidedly feeling better. Kitty bounced along her, but her energy seemed a little less abundant than usual. "School's been like, totally terrible!" she complained. "Everyone keeps staring and pointing! And Kurt's still wearing his image inducer." She stuck her tongue out.
"It's pretty much tha same for me, but it turns out the new guy is fine with us, and he's been real nice."
Kitty's ears perked up. "What? As in Matthew Quincy, the guy who's got every single girl in our year to have a crush on him?" Rogue nodded. "Totally surprised."
"Me too." Rogue glimpsed Matt running down the hall, clutching his hand, and she could have sworn she saw a spark of electricity fly from his hand. Dismissing it as a trick of light, she and her friend headed to the quad to have lunch.
Matt kicked the toilet door open and slammed it shut behind him. He ran into a cubicle and locked himself in before uncovering his hand. "Shit, shit, shit," he swore. "This cannot be happening. Not now."
His hand was bathed in a green glow with the occasional spark fizzling across the surface of his skin. Matt closed his eyes and tried to will it away, and after a moment he opened his eyes. His hand was no longer sparking, but was still a slight shade of green. Sighing with relief, he reached for the door handle.
The instant his hand made contact with the door, it lit up like a neon light again and the door shimmered, before promptly disintegrating into a puddle on the floor. Matt's eyes widened in surprise and he hastily made an exit before anybody could catch him.
Rogue sat down at a table and picked up her sandwich, and was about to take a bite when she was interrupted by Kurt, who had decided to make an appearance.
"Hey, Rogue," started Kurt. "I'm really zorry about zi-"
"Ah'm not angry at ya, Kurt. Just don't do it again, 'kay?"
"No problem, sis." He looked relieved. "Um, so how's things?"
"As good as they can be with our secret out." She noticed Kitty staring pointedly at her. "Oh, and Kurt, Kitty's decided not to talk to you until you stop hiding who you really are from the school."
"But I'm not ready to yet." Kurt looked sad. "I like being treated like normal and zat's all going to vanish if I show myself to everybody."
Kitty harrumphed and took a bite of her sandwich. "That means that you should know who your real friends are," Rogue translated. "And personally, Kurt, Ah'd have to agree with her."
Any response Kurt might have come up with was interrupted by a loud shout of "We don't want you here!" from a group of jocks walking past. Rogue ignored them and finished her lunch.
"If ya'd excuse me, Ah have to meet someone." She walked to the other side of the quad, where she found a blonde girl trying to drape herself on Matt. "Ahem."
"Mind your own business, freak," Natasha told her, turning back to Matt. "So, Matt, I'll see you tonig-" She was pulled off by an angry Rogue.
"Listen, girl, Ah am not a freak, or a monster, or any of tha things ya keep calling me," Rogue said forcefully. "Ya better back tha hell offa me, or mebbe Ah'll show ya what Ah can do." Natasha looked surprised and didn't make any kind of retort as she sidled away.
"Whoa, you put her down good!" Matt chortled once Natasha had left.
"She deserved every bit of that," Rogue answered.
"Well, looks like I'm going to have to cancel on her, then, 'cause I'd much rather go out with you." This caused Rogue to blush furiously. "I'll take that as a yes. I'll see you you at the cinema, say, around seven?"
Everything, every alarm, every warning signal in Rogue's brain was going off, telling her not to, but she found herself nodding. Matt smiled.
"Now come on, let's get some work done. This poster isn't going to make itself, you know."
After school Rogue was back in her bedroom and panicking. "What was Ah thinking? There's no way Ah can go through with this. Ah mean, what if he tries ta kiss me, or maybe if Ah accidentally touch him?" She continued stalking up and down the room whilst her roommate watched her, bemused.
"Like, Rogue, you're getting way too worried about this! You're not gonna like, touch him accidentally 'cause you're always real careful, and if he does try to kiss you, then just tell him you wanna take things slow."
"Ya don't understand! Tha whole no-touching-taking-things-slow thing's not gonna last forevah, and he's eventually going to try something, and it's not gonna be pretty." Rogue drew in a long breath. "Ah can't do this. Ah'll tell him it's off."
Rogue reached for her phone but Kitty beat her to it, snatching it away from the top of the dresser. "Rogue, like, listen to me. Matt sounds like a really nice guy, I mean, he doesn't even care that you're a mutant! If you tell him about what your powers are, I'm sure he'll understand."
Still looking dubiously at her friend, Rogue answered, "Ah still think this is a bad ahdea."
"Like, don't be so totally pessimistic. What's the worst that could happen?"
At seven o'clock sharp, Rogue was standing outside the cinema, glancing intermittently at her watch and looking around for Matt, who was yet to show up. "Calm down, girl," she muttered to herself. "He's just late, nahthing ta worry about."
She looked down at herself and although she would never admit it openly, she thought that trusting Kitty to choose what she should wear was definitely a good idea. The valley girl had managed to persuade her to drop her usual Goth appearance for something more casual. Rogue wasn't exactly sure how Kitty had even managed to do so, although she did phase Rogue's makeup set through the floor in order to stop her from getting any ideas.
The southern girl had substantially less makeup on than usual, just a bit of brown eyeliner to "highlight the emeralds you have for eyes", as Kitty put it. She was wearing a button-up blue blouse with rolled up sleeves, with a pair of jeans which her roommate had lent her. Rogue had also chosen a pair of elbow-length light blue gloves to go with the entire ensemble.
She felt a tap on her shoulder and whirled around, and her breath caught in her throat. Matt was wearing a white polo shirt, which was very tight fitting. If she concentrated hard enough, Rogue could see his pecs and abs showing through the fabric, and this caused a rosy tinge to appear on her face.
"Hey," Matt greeted. He took in her new image and smiled appreciatively. "You look great, Rogue." His gaze lingered on her hands, and Rogue began to get a sinking feeling. But that feeling evaporated in less than a second as he took her gloved hand in his own before Rogue even had time to try and resist.
"Matt, Ah need ta-" Rogue began to talk, but Matt stopped her with a slight squeeze on her hand, almost making her shiver in excitement.
"I heard about your mutation," he told her. "One of your friends told me, what's his name, Sammy, Sean, whatever. Not important. I just wanted to let you know that I don't mind and I definitely won't try anything."
"Oh." That was the only response Rogue offered, since her brain was lagged up on the fact that Matt seemed like a dream come true. A dream come true, plus a whole load of extras. Meaning his muscles. And his charming personality.
"So, what do you want to watch?" Matt glanced at the movie posters. "Anything at all."
"Ah'm not really one for soppy chick flicks," replied Rogue. "What about this one? Equilibrium?"
"Sure! I was gunning for that one too."
After the film finished, they stepped out of the cinema. "So, do you want to get some dinner now?" Matt asked.
"That sounds good," Rogue answered.
"Let's go then." Matt took a step forward and then all of a sudden the ground started to tremble. Earthquakes didn't just happen in downtown Bayville, which meant only one thing. "Damn Brothahood," muttered Rogue, looking around to spot any of them.
"What the?" said Matt. Suddenly, something rushed past him, too quick to be seen, and knocked him over. He landed onto his back with a grunt.
"Hello, my dear Rogue," said a voice from behind her and she whirled around to see Mystique reverting back to her usual form. This caused the other movie goers to scream and scatter. Rogue threw a punch and a kick at her but Mystique simply dodged around.
"Now, now, Rogue," the woman said in a mocking voice. "That's no way to treat your mother."
"Ya're not my mother!" shouted the southern girl, lunging forward again. Mystique sighed as she pivoted around her and twisted her right arm into an armlock.
"If you insist, dearest. Pietro, will you take our guest back?"
The white-haired youth nodded and was about to take Rogue when he was felled by a vicious right hook. Matt smirked.
"Go, Rogue, I'll hold them off."
Matt shoved her unceremoniously out and turned his attention to the blue-skinned mutant in front of him.
"Feeling confident, aren't you, boy?"
Matt rubbed his palms together. "Hell yeah."
The ground shook and Rogue stumbled, twisting her ankle as she fell to the ground. She winced as she tried to stand, but toppled over. Shit. Shit. Ah'm in trouble. People all around were screaming and scattered away from the approach of Blob, who picked up a nearby car, and he grinned evilly as he aimed it at her.
"X-Man pancake!" he shouted happily. Rogue shut her eyes. Help.
"Put the Honda down, Tubby!" shouted a familiar voice. Opening her eyes slowly, she saw Matt standing in front of her in a fighting stance. He looked a little worse for wear and was sporting forming bruises on his arms.
"What tha hell are ya doing? Get outta here!" The southern girl shouted.
"No can do, Rogue."
Blob, enraged by Matt's insult, roared angrily and threw the car, and at that moment, time seemed to slow down. The car flew forward, almost lazily, and Matt span, crouchung down as he did so, and ran his index and middle fingers across the surface of the ground. Rogue swore that she could see sparks pass from his hand to the concrete.
Suddenly, the ground behind him seemed to wobble a little, like jelly, and Matt thrust his hands forwards at the car. The concrete, now more like a liquid, reared up and shot forward, striking the car and sending it flying back at Blob. It bowled him over and he flew backwards into a wall.
Matt rushed back to Rogue's side and helped her up. "We have to get out of here. Now."
Rogue's jaw hung. "Wha... wha... you're a mutant!"
"You're kidding!" he replied sarcastically. "I'll bring you home. Let's go!"
"Why didn't ya didn't tell me?"
Matt helped Rogue into the passenger seat of his car. "News tends to spread." He hopped into the driver seat and turned on the ignition.
"Wait, are ya even old enough to drive?"
"I think being arrested for underage driving is the last on my very long list of problems."
Logan rushed out as a jet black Grand Torino rolled up and a teenager got out with Rogue. "Who is this, Stripes?"
"Logan, this is Matt, Matt, Logan. Now can we see the Professor? It's urgent!" She pushed past Logan, who gave Matt a dirty look.
"What's with your dad?" asked Matt. "He doesn't look so friendly."
"It's a long story. And he's not my dad," sighed Rogue. "Now help me up these stairs."
Bamf. Grab. Bamf.
"Kurt! No teleporting strangers!" Rogue said, clearly annoyed. Her brother shrugged and offered her an apologetic look.
"I'm gonna be sick," muttered Matt as he rushed to the nearest open window and heaved his stomach contents out, which landed on an unfortunate Logan. Seeing what he had done, Matt tried not to laugh. And failed.
"I'm gonna kill that kid," growled Logan and he walked back into the mansion, unsheathing his claws. Bobby, who had also seen what had happened, wisely chose to head in the opposite direction. There was no need to get in the line of fire.
Rogue turned to Professor Xavier. "Professor, I was attacked by Mystique and the Brotherhood and th-"
"I know what happened Rogue, don't worry about it. I managed to modify the memories of the other people who were there, and they will not remember anything." He switched his gaze over to Matt, who was still looking a little ill. "Mr. Quincy, I presume?"
"Matt, please. My grandfather is Mr. Quincy." Rogue couldn't help but notice that he had said grandfather, and not father.
"Matt. You are a mutant, aren't you?" I am a mutant as well.
"You just- you just said that in my head!"
"Yes, I did. I am a telepath, as are several other students at this Institute."
"You're kidding me. This place is a mutant school?"
Xavier nodded. "Here, there is no prejudice against you for your abilities, and you will be treated as you should be."
"Sounds like a dream come true." Matt's voice adopted a bitter tone when he continued. "I was ran out of my last school for being a mutant. Called me a freak."
The Professor smiled sadly. "Such is the way of humanity, unfortunately. Fear always gets the better of us." He paused. "Matt, would you mind demonstrating your powers?"
The guy shook his head and plucked a small rock from a flower pot. Green sparks flew from his fingertips and the rock's outline wavered, before turning into a liquid. Matt waved his hand around and the blob of rock followed his movements.
"That's fascinating!" noted Xavier. "And you have total control?"
"Not completely. My father taught me how to keep my powers in check but ever since he… you know," Matt's voice trailed away and he looked pointedly at the Professor, who nodded in understanding.
"I'm very sorry for your loss, Matt."
"Thanks." There was an awkward silence. "So, do you have a free room here? I'm just crashing at a friend's house at the moment, and this place sounds really good."
"No problem, Matt, but are you sure your grandfather would be okay with this?"
"Of course! He would jump through hoops to get me into a place like this!"
Xavier smiled and offered him a handshake. "Well then, let's get you sorted. Rogue, take Matt here to see Storm and get some accommodation arranged. Oh, and one last thing. Welcome to the Xavier Institute."