Rogue, only the tiniest bit awake, heard a door close, followed by the sound of a motorcycle taking off. Logan must be running again, she thought to herself. As she settled back into the queen size bed, she felt only empty space next to her, and she realized that it wasn't Logan who had just taken off. It was Scott.
"Yes, Rogue, come in." Charles Xavier mentally shook himself, clearing his head of thoughts of Jean.
Rogue entered, slowly, closing the door behind her. She sat in one of the chairs facing the professor's desk.
"I've been meaning to talk to you, Rogue," he began, wheeling from behind his desk to a position next to her, "about working on controlling your mutation."
"Controlling it? Is that possible?"
"I'm not quite sure yet. I'd like to spend some time working with you and have Dr. McCoy run some tests. Then we'll have a better idea how your power works."
Rogue just stared at Xavier.
"It's something I really should have done right after you got here, but with everything that happened, I just kept putting it off. But now, we need every X-Man we have to be at his or her best."
"If it's alright with you, I'd like to begin immediately."
Rogue nodded again. Charles wheeled out of his office and Rogue walked by his side all the way down to the medlab.
Hank instructed Rogue to lie down and hooked her up to a variety of machines while the Professor stationed himself at her head and leaned slightly forward with his hands a few inches away from her temples. "This may get a bit personal, Rogue," he said.
"It's ok, Professor. I want to control this if I can, even if it means you poking around in my head." She closed her eyes and tried to relax. It was difficult, considering she was in a stark white room that smelled like medicine and disinfectant and that she was excited by the possibility of controlling her power.
"Rogue," the Professor's voice interrupted, "please, stop thinking so much. This will be much easier for both of us if you just let me work."
"I'll try," she replied.
A few days later, she met with Hank and the professor again. Hank had many papers with numbers and graphs and charts on them. Rogue tried to listen to his explanations, but she didn't understand most of what he was saying. Sensing this, the Professor broke in. "What Hank is saying, Rogue, is that your power is underdeveloped. After its first manifestation, your subconscious mind tried to block it up, but all it really managed to do was make your power more dangerous. With time and effort, we think that your power will finish developing properly and that you will be able to control it."
"We need to contain all these personalities in your head, Rogue. Either I can do it, or you can choose to absorb my power and learn to contain them yourself."
"So you're saying either I rely on you or on myself."
The Professor nodded.
"Well," said Rogue, talking it out, "if I let you do it, what happens the next time I touch someone? I'd have to wait for you. If I take your power, I'll be able to do it myself and then whenever I touch someone I can put them in their box right away. I think the choice is obvious, Professor." She stretched her hand out. The Professor's hand met hers halfway.
"Rogue, concentrate, focus all your efforts on taking only the telepathy," the Professor said in a low voice.
Rogue closed her eyes and scrunched up her face in concentration. She kept repeating to herself 'only the mutation, take only the mutation.' She felt the power flowing from Charles into her. Soon, but not as soon as she expected, she caught flashes of memories that weren't hers and she pulled her hand away.
"You did well, Rogue," the Professor said. "You were able to isolate what you took, even though it was only for a short time. With more practice, it should become second nature to take only what you need, only when you want to."
"Thanks," Rogue said weakly. She was exhausted from concentrating so hard.
The Professor waited a moment for Rogue to put her gloves back on and then took her hand. "I want you to know that I admire you, Rogue. You are a remarkable young woman. Not many people could cope with all those voices in their head clamoring for control."
Rogue gave him a shy smile. "Thank you, Professor." As Rogue left his office, she reflected on his words. Rogue had always felt like an outcast at best and useless at worst. Especially at Alkali Lake. She's barely managed to land the jet and though by doing so she had brought the X-Men the means of escape, she'd also caused the jet to malfunction, ultimately leading to Jean's death. Rogue felt incredibly guilty and was always reminded of the fact by seeing both Logan and Scott moping around the mansion. It felt good to hear the professor say he valued her.
Rogue was just heading into the kitchen to grab a snack before hitting the Danger Room. She heard a heavy tread coming down the stairs and knew exactly who it was and what it meant. She shook her head. She was tired of this. But she turned around and went out to the vestibule. She met Logan at the foot of the stairs. "You running again?" she asked.
"I can't be here," was his reply.
Rogue felt a tumult of emotions coursing through her, anger, resentment, sadness, neglect. She pushed them aside for the moment, composing herself. "Stay safe," she said.
"Thanks, kid," said Logan, a faint smile briefly lighting up his features. It quickly faded as he shouldered his bag and strode out the door.
Her snack forgotten, Rogue headed straight down to the Danger Room. Storm had each student working individually today, for which Rogue was grateful. She was able to forget everything else but her opponent. As she warmed up, she began seeing Logan in place of the automated sparring bot. She channeled her frustration and hurt and disappointment. The bot went down with a crash. Storm came over and studied the young girl. "That was…impressive, Rogue," she said.
Rogue glanced around the room. "I guess I must have been borrowing some of Logan's moves." She gave a humorless chuckle. Borrowing Logan's skills while she was imagining beating the crap out of Logan. Nice.