calleigh_j: (Default)
[personal profile] calleigh_j
Title: A Place For Me And You
Author: [livejournal.com profile] calleigh_j
Artist: [livejournal.com profile] enmuse
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Pairing: Rogue/Kitty
Summary: It isn't being in love that's the problem, Rogue thinks, but being in love with Kitty Pryde.
Notes: thousands of thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dis_inclined for her awesome beta work and [livejournal.com profile] enmuse for her gorgeous art


Chapter Four:

Whatever she may want, there are some things Rogue can't change. That's why it's a little over a year after the final battle with Apocalypse before she's finally leaving Bayville. She was supposed to be going without ceremony, without anything more than a few quiet goodbyes, but instead she's crammed into the X-Van with the Professor, Storm, Kurt, Kitty, Tabitha, and Amara. Scott and Jean are following behind in Scott's car with most of Rogue's belongings, and Logan's supposed to be meeting them there.

Her little college town is a few hours from Bayville and by the time they're halfway there, Rogue's starting to regret her decision. She could easily have done what Jean and Scott and everyone else are doing and picked a college close enough to Bayville that she could still live at the mansion. Instead, she chose the distance she'd been craving since Apocalypse and for the first time, she wishes she hadn't.

"Are you okay?" Kurt asks, leaning over Rogue's shoulder.

"I'm fine," she replies, "Just thinking."

From the day she started filling in applications, people have been questioning her decision to leave Bayville. Everyone except Storm has asked her over and over if she's sure she wants to be so far away. Storm's been her staunchest ally throughout the whole process. Rogue suspects that were it not for Storm, she would've had a much harder time getting the Professor to sign off on her applications. Even just this morning, as she was loading her bags into the back of Scott's car, Kurt had teleported into the garage to tell her that it wasn't too late, that she could still stay if she wanted. She's sort of touched that people care about her so much, but mostly she just wants to be out of Bayville. And whatever nerves she may be suffering from right this moment, that basic fact hasn't changed. She needs to live somewhere outside the mansion, somewhere outside the too-small town, somewhere where she gets to start again.

After that little internal pep talk, the rest of the journey passes quickly. Soon enough, the signs to Blackwood are giving distances in single figures, and then all around them are signs directing them towards the college. Rogue can't quite hold back her excitement and finds herself pressed up against the window, looking for the first glimpse of the main college building. It's on the front of the prospectus that Rogue's looked at so often and when she finally catches sight of the real thing, she feels like she knows the place already. Despite the best efforts of the harried-looking parking supervisors, there's a queue that stretches all the way down the driveway to the road.

"I think I'm going to get out and walk," Rogue says, "I'll see you guys down there."

She's opened the door and jumped out before anyone can stop her. She only makes it a few feet though before Kurt and Kitty are beside her, both talking a mile a minute as they point out the cars and the people and the buildings and anything that catches their interest. It's both comforting and upsetting to have them with her: knowing they care is still a feeling she relishes, but it's making her more and more nervous about the fact that in a few hours, they'll all be gone and it'll just be her.

Walking is far faster than driving and Rogue, still with Kurt and Kitty chatting by her side, makes it down to the registration table in a few minutes. She joins a short queue behind a tall guy with blue and red streaks in his hair. She's not even certain what Kitty and Kurt are talking about now - she's not good with new people and the closer they get to the front of the queue, the faster her heart beats. She's so used to people thinking they know her before they've even spoken to her and all she wants right now is to make a good impression. This is her chance for reinvention.

"Hi, welcome to Blackwood College," says the smiling middle-aged woman sitting at the desk. Her name tag proclaims her to be Jennifer.

"Hi," Rogue echoes, "I'm Anna Marie Raven."

It sounds so odd saying her given name out loud. She gets surprised looks from both Kurt and Kitty - neither of them has ever heard her name before. She's been Rogue for so long that she's not even sure who Anna Marie is. It's the name on her birth certificate though, the name on her driver's license, and the name she wrote on all her college application forms.

"Here you are dear," Jennifer says, "This is your room assignment and key, these are your course details, this is for the meal plan..."

By the time Jennifer's given her everything she needs, Rogue thinks her brain might explode. She smiles as politely as she can though as Jennifer points her towards Randall Hall and promises that she'll get settled in soon. Turning around, Rogue sees that the van is still at the far end of the driveway with Scott's car behind.

"Come on," Kitty urges, "I wanna find your room."

She grabs the stack of papers from Rogue's hand and flips through them until she finds the one with Rogue's room number and key. She finds a map too of the campus and various buildings on it.

"Right, you're in room 210," she reads, "which is on the second floor, right here," she adds, pointing at a little square numbered '210' on the floor plan of Randall Hall. Kitty heads off in the direction Jennifer had pointed and Rogue just follows, shaking her head. Although Kitty apparently has no desire to leave Bayville, Rogue can't help but think that she would fit in better here and more easily than Rogue will.

It's just a short walk from the registration table in front of the main building to Randall Hall. Rogue's new home is an old building, similar in style to the other buildings on campus, with huge double wooden doors propped open to allow people in and out. Kitty flits in between the people coming out of the building and heads straight towards the main staircase, eyes glued to the map in her hands. Kurt follows, bounding along behind her. Rogue steps to the side, waiting for a gap before she goes through the doorway. There are so many people, so many new people, and she can feel her skin start to tingle. She tugs her sleeves down as far as she can and slips through the doors and up the stairs. It's been a long time since she was around so many people - she's studiously avoided crowds since that...incident with Mystique in the club - and it's more difficult than she remembers. She takes a couple of deep breaths though and hurries on up the stairs. Kitty and Kurt are waiting at the top and Kitty's practically bouncing in anticipation.

"Hurry up," she urges. Rogue rolls her eyes but quickens her steps anyway.

"Down here," Kitty announces, heading down the left-hand corridor. The doors along the right are numbered evenly and 210 is the fifth door down, the last room on the corridor.

"Here you are," Kitty says with a grin, "Your new home."

Rogue stares at the wooden door with its stencilled white numbers: it doesn't look like home. Still, she takes the key Kitty's offering and fits it into the lock. The door opens with a low creak onto a bright room with two further doors on the back wall. There's another door on the right wall and a large window opposite it. Cautiously, Rogue steps into the room. The furniture - a couch, a table, a mismatched selection of chairs, a bookcase, and a TV on a low cabinet - certainly isn't new but it all fits the feel of the room.

"Hey, cool TV," Kurt says brightly, stepping past Rogue and into the room on a search for the remote.

"Your forms say 210C," Kitty points out, drawing Rogue's attention back to the giant stack of papers Kitty's still carrying, "What does the 'C' stand for?"

"It's a four-person room," Rogue says, "I assume C is my bed."

The piece of paper taped to the right-hand door on the back wall confirms it: 210C - Anna-Marie Raven. 210D is apparently to be the new home of Lisa Barclay. The second of the two keys on the single ring given to Rogue opens this door. The bedroom she'll be sharing with Lisa Barclay is around half the size of the main living area with a desk on each side of the doorway and a single bed on either side of the window on the opposite wall. A pair of wardrobes, one standing at the foot of each bed, round out the room. It's far smaller than her room back at the mansion but she doesn't mind that.

Her phone rings then, buzzing in her pocket. It's Scott - they've finally made it down the driveway. Rogue gives them directions and they promise to be up in a few minutes with her things. She offers to come down and help them carry things up but Scott assures her they have more than enough hands to bring up the sum of her worldly possessions. She hangs up and relays the information to Kitty. The sound of whatever Kurt's watching on TV carries through into the bedroom and...

"I slept with Lance," Kitty announces, apropos of nothing. She's sitting on the left of the two beds, staring at Rogue.

"Um, what?" Rogue replies, stalling. She knows exactly what Kitty said but has no idea how to respond. This isn't the sort of friendship they have, where they sit around and discuss who likes who and who asked who out, and Rogue's always been glad of that. It's bad enough that Kitty's convinced that Rogue has some sort of tragic crush on Scott without them actually talking about it.

"I had sex with Lance Alvarez," Kitty says, her voice clear but quiet - it's obviously not something she wants Kurt to hear.

Really, right now, Rogue would like the power to go back in time so she could never have to hear that Kitty slept with Lance. She's never really understood the relationship between Kitty and Lance anyway and was quite happy with that, quite happy to go along ignoring it. It's easier that way to ignore her own feelings. This...doesn't help with the ignoring of the feelings.

"Okay," Rogue drawls, waiting for Kitty to say something more.

"I just wanted to tell someone," Kitty says, "It...I just wanted to tell you. You're my best friend and you're leaving and I wanted to tell you."

Rogue sits down on the bed beside Kitty, feeling infinitely more willing to listen having just heard herself described as Kitty's best friend.

"Are you okay?" she asks with concern.

"I'm fine," Kitty replies with a shrug, "He didn't, you know, pressure me into it or anything."

They share a grin: they've had the talk at school, from Storm, and from Jean, who apparently thinks that being a year older qualifies her to give embarrassing talks about sex. They've had the 'don't do anything you're not ready for', the 'your first time should be special', the 'dear god, if you're going to do it, please be safe' talks. Rogue's spent every minute of every one wanting to ask someone what the hell she's supposed to do when it's not her science partner or that guy on the football team that she has a crush on, but her roommate. In all the awkward moments, no-one's ever mentioned anything about what you're supposed to do when you realise you're gay and that does nothing to make her feel better about herself.

Saving Rogue from having to ask for any more details she really doesn't want to know is Kurt bounding in through the door with a suitcase in hand.

"Clothes," he announces loudly, dropping the case in front of the wardrobe.

Thus begins the procession of her belongings, each new box or case or bag carried by one of her friends. Rogue had never realised until she started packing for college just how much stuff she had, and compared to Kitty or Jean, who have clothes enough to fill multiple wardrobes, it's not even that bad. With all them stuffed into the living room and bedroom, all talking over one another, Rogue is completely unaware that anyone else has arrived until she looks up to see a girl standing in the doorway between the living room and bedroom.

"Hi," she says brightly, "You must be Anna-Marie: I'm Lisa."

Lisa Barclay is about the same height as Rogue with rich blonde hair and a deep, even tan. Something about her reminds Rogue instantly of Kitty.

"Lisa, honey, where are you?" a woman's voice calls.

"I'm here, Mom," Lisa replies, turning to wave over the heads of all the X-Men at two people in the hallway.

"Sorry," Rogue says quickly, realising just how crowded her friends are making the place, "My friends are taking up a lot of room."

"It's fine," Lisa says, apparently unconcerned, "It's cool you have so many people to help you move in."

Her parents manage to make their way through the crush and into the bedroom.

"Where do you want this?" the man Rogue assumes is Lisa's dad asks.

"By the wardrobe," Lisa replies with a wave of her arm, adding, "Mom, Dad, this is Anna-Marie."

"It's nice to meet you," Lisa's mom says just as Logan comes through the door, box in hand.

"This is the last of it, kid," he says, sounding not entirely like his usual self.

"I'm David Barclay," Lisa's dad says, holding out his hand to Logan.

"Logan," Logan replies, shaking the offered hand and then turning back to Rogue to ask, "Do you need a hand with anything else?"

"I'm okay," Rogue replies, lying through her teeth, "You guys should probably get going otherwise you'll never make it back tonight."

She wants to ask him, to ask someone to stay, but her pride and her desire for real independence keep the words from her lips. Instead, she gets hugged by everyone, Kitty and Logan last, and wishes them all a good journey back. This is it: the start of her new life.

***

Chapter Five:

College is nothing and everything like Rogue expected. Unlike most of the people she meets, she doesn't find it so hard living in such close quarters with people she barely knows. Other people think it's cool as well that she went to boarding school: she wonders what they'd think if they knew the real purpose of the Xavier Institute. It's not even that difficult to explain away her gloves and dislike of physical contact when she uses Kurt's skin condition excuse. The social aspects are almost easier to deal with than the academic side and that's not a situation Rogue had ever imagined she would find herself in. She likes her roommates, she likes the other people on their floor (for the most part), and she has yet to meet anyone she really dislikes.

It isn't until after mid-terms that she finally plucks up the courage to go to a meeting of the LGBT group on campus. She's seen the posters around the buildings and links to the page online but never gone to any of the events. But coming out of her last mid-term, she sees a huge poster hung on the door of the lecture theatre across the corridor. There's no-one else around so she goes across to read it. It announces a casual end of exams celebration that night in one of the smaller classrooms in the main building. Drinks and food are promised, along with scintillating conversation and great music.

"I'm going to a party downstairs," Lisa says as she comes back into the flat later that evening, "Anyone else wanna come?"

Rogue's sitting in the living area with Allie and Jenn, their other flatmates.

"Sure thing," Allie replies as Jenn says, "I'm going out with Dan, but thanks."

The rest of them roll their eyes - Dan is Jenn's boyfriend and sometimes there are days on end where they don't see one without the other.

"Rogue, you wanna come?" Lisa asks as she tosses her bag through the open door onto her bed.

"Uh, I've got something to go to," Rogue replies, cursing inwardly as she does when everyone looks at her curiously.

"Something?" Allie echoes with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, something," Rogue repeats, "I'll tell you about it tomorrow."

She knows she's not actually answering Allie's question but equally she's not ready to yet. She knows as well that her friends won't really press her - they know her well enough to know that if she doesn't want to talk about something, she won't, and there isn't anything they can do to make her.

She leaves a little before the others. There's loud music coming from all around the building as people celebrate the end of exams. She bumps into a couple of the other people who live on her floor as she's going down the stairs and has to turn down an invitation to another party. It's incredibly tempting to just go along with them or go back and meet Lisa and Allie but she steels herself and carries on down the stairs. Within a few minutes, she's turning into the main building. She knows the room where the meeting's happening - she has a Monday morning lecture there - and when she gets there, there's a fairly large group of people inside.

"Hey, it's Anna, right?"

Rogue spins around and finds herself looking into a familiar face she can't quite put a name to.

"Dara," the girl says, holding out her hand, "We have a English 101 seminar together."

As soon as Dara mentions English, Rogue remembers her and says so.

"It is Anna, isn't it?" Dara checks, leaning on the wall by the door.

"Anna-Marie, technically," Rogue says with a shrug, "But everyone calls me Rogue."

"Rogue?" Dara echoes with a bemused look on her face.

"It's a really long story," Rogue replies.

Happily, Dara seems to be fine with that response. She steps away from the wall to peer through the glass in the top of the door, apparently assessing the people already inside.

"Are you waiting for someone?" she asks.

"Uh, no," Rogue replies sheepishly, "I was just waiting to go in. I don't know anyone and it's the first time I've been to one of these things..."

She trails off, not knowing what else to say that doesn't sound stupid but Dara smiles.

"Hey, don't worry - I know how difficult it is the first time around. But now you know someone, and I know everyone - I'll introduce you."

With that, Rogue finds herself being propelled through the doorway by Dara's hand on her arm. She fights the urge to pull away. It's difficult, but her her arms are covered and she doesn't want to scare off a potential new friend.

The room is brightly decorated with streamers and a couple of huge rainbow flags pinned up over the board and there's loud music coming from a small portable speaker set. The desk usually used by the lecturer is covered with bottles of soda, packets of chips, and various types of candy. There are maybe fifty people in total, standing around in small groups. Even with Dara by her side, Rogue is feeling beyond awkward. The hardest part of being at college has been getting used to being around large groups of people on a regular basis. Every day, she has lectures with hundreds of other students in the same room. She walks busy corridors between periods and eats in a dining room used by the entirety of her dorm. This is far scarier though. These people, just by virtue of her presence here, know something about her that she's never spoken about to anyone. Here, at college, Rogue has two big secrets. One of them, she guesses, is no longer so secret.

The mix of people in the room is heartening to Rogue. She knows it's a horrible stereotype, but she's still a little glad that the room isn't full of butch lesbians and flamboyant gay men. Instead, it just looks like any random room full of people. People are talking and laughing and Rogue hopes she can fit in here.

"Hey Marc," Dara says to a tall guy with close cut blonde hair, "This is Rogue: she's new."

"Rogue?" Marc repeats with a curious tone in his voice.

"Old nickname," Rogue explains, "It stuck and it's been so long I'm just not used to hearing anything else."

"In that case, Rogue, welcome to the group."

The next few hours pass in a blur. Rogue finds herself being introduced to every person in the room and everyone who comes in later. Marc and Dara turn out to be excellent hosts as between them they genuinely do know every single person there and usually have some sort of interesting fact to go along with the introduction. Rogue ends up explaining her name so many times she loses count but she doesn't mind: everyone's so friendly and welcoming and there are none of the odd looks and snide remarks she usually gets. She forgets the names of most of the people but no-one seems to mind telling her again. By the time the janitor arrives at eleven to tell them it's time for them to leave, Rogue realises she completely lost track of time. She didn't feel nervous, she didn't feel out of place. She feels like she belongs.

***

Lisa wakes her a little after nine by poking her in the side repeatedly.

"Hey, we're going to breakfast - you coming?"

Rogue's first thought is that she has to study for something. Then she remembers that it's Saturday and her final exam was yesterday and gets to experience the excitement of being finished briefly once more.

"Yeah, I'm coming," she replies, "Just give me a few minutes to find some clothes."

Lisa bounces out of the room and Rogue's reminded once again just how alike she and Kitty are. They're both perky and popular and often far too happy for Rogue's liking. Then Rogue feels guilty: Kitty had called the weekend before. In the middle of writing an English paper, Rogue had promised to call back once she was finished and then promptly forgotten, in the panic of studying, to do so. As she rifles through her wardrobe for something clean and at least vaguely presentable to wear, she writes a quick text.

Hey Kitty, sorry I didn't call back - everything just got a bit crazy here with mid-terms and everything. They're over now (thank god!) - I'll give you a call this evening.

She finds a long-sleeved top and pair of jeans and pulls them on before slipping her cellphone into her pocket and heading into the living area. The bathroom door's open and she can see Allie inside, straightening her hair.

"You ready to go?" Lisa asks. Rogue nods and Lisa calls out for Jenn, who emerges from her room with Dan in tow.

The five of them troop down to the dining hall. For a Saturday morning, it's surprisingly full. Usually on a Saturday morning, there are barely enough people to fill any one of the long tables that stretch the length of the room. People are mostly asleep or working or, in the case of the jocks, out training. But this morning, with people celebrating mid-terms being over, most of the hall is at breakfast. Rogue gets in the queue between Dan and Allie and gathers up as much food as she can, suddenly starving. They find a group of empty seats in the middle of the far left table and sit down, spreading plates and glasses and cups over the table. The next fifteen minutes are spent in comfortable silence as they eat. Lisa's the first to finish, as she always is. Rogue sometimes wonders where all the food her friend eats goes - she eats twice as much twice as fast as everyone else and yet never seems to put on any weight.

"So," Lisa begins, pushing her plate to the side, "what were you up to yesterday?"

They all look up from their plates but Rogue knows the question's directed at her. Apparently everyone else does too because they turn their attention away from their food and towards Rogue. Rogue, in turn, looks down at her food.

"I went to a meeting of the LGBT group," she says before taking a bite of her hash brown.

She says it as nonchalantly as she can, like she's telling them what she watched on TV last night. Her hope is that if she can make it sound unimportant, it will be unimportant. She has no great desire to have an in depth discussion of her feelings, especially not at breakfast on a Saturday morning with a bunch of other people around.

It works too. After a couple of moments of bug-eyed staring, someone across the room drops a tray and all eyes flash in that direction. By the time the amusement is over, Allie's announcing she has to go and meet someone for coffee and their little group breaks up. Soon it's just Rogue and Lisa left. They pick up all the empty plates, stack them on trays, and pile them onto the conveyor belt. As they head back up the stairs, Lisa hooks her arm through Rogue's.

"Are you okay?" Lisa asks quietly.

"I'm good," Rogue replies honestly.

"I mean, you've never said anything about the LGBT stuff before and then..."

"I know," Rogue interrupts, "I'm sorry, I probably should've said something at the beginning."

"Hey," Lisa interjects, stopping halfway up the stairs and putting her hands on Rogue's shoulder, "I'm not asking because I think you should apologise to me for something. I'm fine. I'm asking how you are."

Rogue looks and there's nothing but sincerity in Lisa's eyes. She takes Lisa's hands from her shoulders, links their arms again, and they continue up the stairs.

"I'm sorry I didn't say anything," Rogue says again, "But this is the first time I've been to anything like that and, honestly, the first time I've even talked about it with anyone."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Lisa asks with a mixture of concern and anxiety as they arrive back at their flat, "because you know you can talk to me about anything."

"Not really," Rogue replies with a shrug, adding quickly, "I mean, thanks for offering but talking about it really isn't high on my list of fun things to do. I've spent so much time thinking about it but I don't think I have the words to say anything useful or insightful."

"That's cool," Lisa says, dropping down onto the couch, "I'm glad you felt like you could tell us though, especially if you haven't really talked about it before."

Rogue can't help but raise an eyebrow and say, "You're very...therapist-y."

Lisa grins as she replies, "You're not the first gay friend I've had. Plus, I'm a psych major - you know I live for dealing with people's 'issues'."

The air quotes around 'issues' make Rogue laugh, but it's a very accurate summary of Lisa. Rogue's pretty sure that if any of her friends had a problem, she would help them deal with it as best she could. She's not sure however that, if she were someone else, she would pick herself as the first choice for someone to help her. Lisa, on the other hand, would definitely be her first choice. Since arriving at Blackwood, Rogue hasn't had any major problems of her own. Plenty of people in their hall have though - family problems, problems with boyfriends and girlfriends and friends in general, problems with courses and professors and roommates - and Lisa seems to be in the thick of every one. She listens and offers advice and, unlike Rogue, doesn't get irritated when people don't listen or follow her suggestions.

"Oh, crap," Lisa snaps suddenly, looking down at her watch, "I have to get a book back to the library and if I don't do it now, I know I'm going to forget."

Rogue takes Lisa's place on the couch as Lisa disappears into their shared room, emerging a few minutes later with her book bag and hurrying out of the door. With an unexpectedly empty flat, Rogue pulls her cellphone from her pocket, scrolls through the contact list, and dials a number.

"Hey, Kitty...yeah, it's me...sorry I didn't call, things have been kind of crazy here."

***

Chapter Six:

Seeing Wanda is a surprise. One minute, she's drinking her coffee with Allie and Lisa and when she looks out of the window of the little coffee shop, Wanda Maximoff is looking back in. They stare open-mouthed at one another for a few moments, and then Wanda's saying something to the people she's walking with and coming in through the door.

"Rogue!" she exclaims loudly and Rogue gets up from her chair to be pulled into a tight hug.

"Wanda, what are you doing here?"

The town of Blackwood is small and very closely linked to the college, and Rogue's sure that, if Wanda had always been here, Rogue would've known about it.

"I'm just visiting a few people," Wanda explains, "I forgot you go here."

It's not as if she and Wanda were ever the greatest of friends, but it's unexpectedly nice to have someone from home here, someone who really understands some of the things she's been through. Suddenly, she feels homesick. It's a new feeling for her. She's been at college more than three months and hasn't been back to the Institute once. She's missed her friends and, oddly, even missed the training and the fights and the constantly bizarre experience of being involved in an epic battle between good and evil. She hasn't really felt what she'd class as homesickness though, not before this moment. But right now, all she wants to do is go back to Bayville.

"Do you want to join us?" Lisa asks, gesturing to the empty chairs at the next table.

"Sure, if you don't mind," Wanda agrees.

She pulls one of the chairs over and sits down between Allie and Rogue. The waitress comes over and takes her order straight away - it's a Wednesday morning and the place is almost empty.

"How are you doing?" Wanda asks once the waitress has left.

"I'm good," Rogue replies simply, "I love it here, I really do. And god, it's so nice to be somewhere that's not Bayville."

It sounds completely contradictory to her sudden bout of homesickness, but Rogue knows logically that however much she might miss Bayville, going back now wouldn't be a good move. She's settled here in Blackwood and missing the things she left behind is a natural part of leaving somewhere.

"Yeah, I'm jealous," Wanda says with a smirk, "Things there just...never change."

"How is everything there anyway?"

"The same," Wanda replies, "Toad's a jerk, Pietro is...infuriating. Jean and Scott are disgustingly in love, and Lance and Kitty break up every other week and then are blissfully happy again two days later."

It really doesn't sound like anything's changed at all. Rogue's glad too she's not the only one who thinks Kitty and Lance make an absurd couple, even if her reasons are probably more selfish than Wanda's.

"Have I missed anything...big?" Rogue knows the question sounds bizarre, but when she's talked to Kitty or Kurt or whoever, they've been busy telling her about the minutiae of life at the mansion, the things they think she must be missing. Everyone's been reluctant to talk about training and the inevitable conflicts they must've come across and had to deal with. Sometimes it feels like she that was all a dream, all the insanity of life as an X-Man. She certainly doesn't miss getting woken up at stupid o'clock to go fight evil, or flunking a test because she was out late the night before fighting some bad guy and didn't have time to study. She does miss the adrenaline rush though, the knowledge that she's actually doing some good in the world, the satisfaction that comes with averting another crisis.

"Not really," Wanda replies and Rogue knows she's understood the slightly cryptic question, "Just the usual."

"So you guys know each from back home then?" Lisa asks and Rogue realises suddenly that she hasn't even introduced Wanda to anyone.

"God, I'm so sorry: Lisa, Allie, this is Wanda, a friend from Bayville. Wanda, these are two of my flatmates, Lisa and Allie."

They exchange hellos, and suddenly Rogue finds herself pushed to the side while Lisa and Allie question Wanda about life in Bayville and what Rogue was like at high school. It's all Rogue can do to keep a straight face as Wanda recounts what she can of their shared encounters. There's not really much that she can say so all Lisa and Allie really get is a few vague anecdotes about gym class and the 'rivalry' between her friends and Rogue's. It sounds so ordinary and Rogue can only imagine how different things would be were she to actually tell her Blackwood friends about being a mutant and all the things involved in that.

The questions - and subtly evasive answers - continue for almost half an hour before Wanda's friends come back to the cafe.

"It was really good seeing you," Rogue says sincerely as she and Wanda say their goodbyes in the doorway.

"You too," Wanda says, "Seems like being away from...everything is working for you."

"It is," Rogue agrees, and this time it's she who initiates the hug.

"They miss you," Wanda says quietly, "You can always go back."

It's surprisingly nice to hear the sentiment articulated and Rogue finds herself, unusually, a little choked up. She waves as Wanda disappears down the street with her friends.

***

Their little flat at the end of the hall somehow manages to remain mostly drama-free, bar a few disputes about cleaning, until the beginning of the second semester. Rogue spends Christmas with Lisa and her family - she's tried to convince herself that it's just because she knows there wouldn't really be anyone around the mansion, but really she just can't face the prospect of seeing Kitty. Going to the LGBT group on a regular basis has actually made things harder. She's listened to other people talk about their crushes and relationships and she hears a little bit of herself in every story. Whatever minor doubts she might have had before about being gay have been vanquished, so now that just means that it's her cowardice and her cowardice alone which is preventing her from saying anything to Kitty. Despite the new friends she's made and the deepening friendships with her flatmates, she still hasn't actually articulated her feelings about Kitty to anyone. It's still hard enough to think about it herself.

That's not where the drama comes in though. She spends Christmas in California with Lisa and they fly back the day before classes start again. Blackwood is still covered in snow and Lisa spends the whole of the cab ride back to college complaining good-naturedly about the cold while Rogue just grins. After years in Bayville, she's quite happy with the cold now, although her heart will always belong to the warmer climes of Louisiana. They lug their heavy suitcases up the two flights of stairs, bitching as they do every time they have to climb the stairs about the fact that there's no elevator. A few minutes are spent chatting to the other people on their floor. Finally, they make it to their flat. The door's already open and Lisa calls out for their friends. Allie appears in the doorway with a frantic expression on her face.

"Thank god you're back," she says, relief clear in her voice, "I thought you were never going to get here."

"What's wrong?" Rogue asks as she gratefully drops her bag inside the door.

"Dan broke up with Jenn," Allie replies seriously, and it all makes sense.

Lisa lets her bag drop to the floor and kicks it through into her room.

"She got back this morning," Allie elaborates, "and I don't think she's stopped crying since. I couldn't get anything more out of her than the fact that they broke up and that Dan was definitely the instigator."

Jenn and Dan are the starcrossed love story of their flat, and of their floor. Together for almost four years by the end of high school, they decided to go to the same college. They were pretty much inseparable for the first semester: a fact which Rogue teased Jenn about but secretly thought was kind of adorable. To hear that they've broken up, and over Christmas no less, comes as something of a shock.

"I'll go see her," Lisa says calmly. Rogue has to stifle a laugh - she would have expected nothing less from her friend.

A few hours later, Lisa emerges from Allie and Jenn's shared room with Jenn in tow. Jenn's eyes are red and puffy and when she says a quiet 'hello', her voice is croaky.

"What happened?" Allie asks softly as Jenn slumps down onto the couch beside her.

"Apparently he feels 'tied down'," Jenn replies with a snarl, anger taking over from the misery, "He thinks we're too young to be making long-term plans and that we need to take some time apart to see if we really want to be together still."

Allie snorts disbelievingly and Lisa shakes her head in the manner of someone who's heard a story before but still feels affected by the message. Rogue huffs a snort of surprise: she'd always thought Jenn and Dan seemed incredibly happy together. It just emphasises to her how much people can still manage to confuse the hell out of her.

"Seriously?" Allie says, "When did this happen?"

"Yesterday evening," Jenn answers, "He was round mine helping me pack and just starting spewing all this stuff about how he thought we needed to take some time apart from one another. Apparently he'd been thinking about it for ages and was just waiting for the right time to talk to me about it."

"And apparently the right time was immediately before the start of the semester," Lisa retorts sarcastically.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do without him," Jenn says, back to the sadness again, "We've been together over four and a half years. He's the only guy I've ever dated and I love him so much."

Apparently the return of Jenn's tears is the signal for the rest of them to share their painful relationship ending stories. Lisa starts off, then Allie, and then back to Lisa again. By the time Lisa's finished recounting the tale of her first high school boyfriend, Jenn looks a little less sad.

"Come on then, Anna-Marie Raven," Lisa prods, poking Rogue's leg, "Let's hear the story of the first girl who broke your heart."

Rogue snorts and starts to suggest that maybe they ought to go down to dinner or something.

"Hey," Jenn pleads, "I'm suffering here. 'Fess up."

Really, there's nothing for it but to talk. Rogue knows that refusing to say anything would just blow the whole situation way out of proportion, and besides, it's not about her: it's about making Jenn feel better.

"She didn't break my heart," Rogue says finally, "She's just...out of reach."

"Who is she?" Allie asks, leaning forward curiously.

"A friend," Rogue replies, feeling far too uncomfortable with the whole situation to want to mention any more details that might enable her friends to work out exactly who it is that she's talking about.

"Guys," she adds when it looks like Lisa's going to press her for details, "That's it, nothing more than that. Nothing's ever going to happen and there isn't anything more to tell."

There's a knock on the door then, saving Rogue from having to fend off any more awkward questions. It's two of the girls from the flat next door wanting to see if Jenn's okay. Rogue takes the distraction as an excuse to escape out of the still open door, down the hallway, down the stairs, and out of the building. The air outside is biting, stinging her cheeks and chilling her arms through the thin sweater she has on. There are cars lining the driveway and parked wherever space can be found as people return to college. Rogue slips between the people coming in and out of the building and over into the woods that line one side of the campus grounds.

It hurt so much more than she was expecting just to say the words out loud: nothing's ever going to happen. Rogue's thought that to herself many times but saying it aloud makes it so real. This is the reality of the situation: she has a stupid, doomed to failure crush on her best friend. Nothing's ever going to happen, so maybe it's time she move on.

***

Chapter Seven:

"I can't believe it's the end of our first year," Lisa says for what Rogue thinks must be the twentieth time that hour and probably the hundredth time that day.

It is, indeed, the end of their first year at college and while Rogue agrees that the year's gone very quickly and that it does seem weird that the next time they're at Blackwood, they'll no longer be freshmen, she's not quite as dumbfounded by the situation as Lisa seems to be.

"Lis, I get it," Rogue says, piling clothes up on her bed and wondering how on earth she ever managed to get everything here to start with, "but please, can we talk about something else now?"

"But don't you think it's unbelievable?" Lisa asks, "Don't you think it feels like we just got here yesterday?"

"I do," Rogue agrees, "I also think that we need to get packed and we need to get packed soon. It's..." she glances at her watch, "...almost eleven. Logan's gonna be here at two, your parents are going to be here at two: we have three hours to pack up everything in this room."

Lisa looks around their room and out into the lounge area and Rogue follows her gaze. Despite their best intentions to be completely packed up and ready the night before, with all the people to see and parties to go to before the end of the year, none of it got done. Allie and Jenn, and most of the people on their floor, are in the same situation. And thus the next few hours are spent in a haze of bags and boxes, sorting out what needs to be kept and what can go in the trash, and just how everything is going to fit into a limited supply of containers.

Lisa's and Allie's parents arrive at the same time, just as Lisa's standing on her large suitcase so that Rogue can zip it up. Some of her things will be staying here at Blackwood, in storage, because shipping everything back to California would be expensive and pointless given that it would be only for a few short months. Jenn's mom turns up as they're halfway through ferrying belongings down to cars. Soon enough, Rogue's saying goodbye to her flatmates and finding herself alone in a now empty flat. It looks almost exactly the same as it did when they all moved in last year, but now instead of being strange and new, it's familiar and comfortable. Instead of being scared and wondering what her life in the flat will be like, Rogue's sad to be leaving. Next year, it'll be a different flat somewhere else on campus - Russell Hall is reserved for first year students - and while she, Lisa, Allie and Jenn have asked to be assigned rooms together again, it won't be the same.

Rogue hates contemplation, hates living inside her own head. There are times though when it can't be avoided, and now feels like one of those times.

"Hey kid," says a voice from the doorway.

Rogue spins around and her gaze lands on Logan, looking exactly the same as he did when she last saw him over spring break.

"Hey Logan," she says happily, crossing the room to hug him. That's one thing college has definitely helped with: she's much less freaked out now by physical contact than she was when she arrived. Apparently that's what comes from living with people who have no concept of personal space, and who don't know about her powers.

"Sorry I'm late," he says apologetically.

"It's okay," Rogue replies.

They lapse into a comfortable silence as they pile up the various boxes and bags and shuttle them down the stairs and out to the van. It's emptier than it was before - most people seem to have left already - and it only takes a few trips to get everything out of the flat. Rogue drops her key at the desk downstairs and then they're on the road, heading back to Bayville.

***

"Are you okay?" is what Storm asks as she steps into Rogue's room. Rogue's been lying on her bed, staring up at the ceiling for almost an hour and the unexpected sound startles her into a sitting position.

"What?" she breathes, heart still racing from the surprise.

"I asked if you were okay," Storm repeats, crossing the room and sitting down at Rogue's desk, "You've been back for two days and you've barely said a word to anyone. I'm concerned about you, Rogue; we all are."

"It's weird being back," Rogue replies after a long pause, "It feels like everything's changed, and yet nothing has. I don't know if I belong here any more."

"Things have changed," Storm says in her patented calm tone, "That's what happens when you leave a place. There are new people, new evils, new things we've learnt without you being here. But we are still here and as long as you need somewhere to come home to, we will always be here. You have changed too, being away from here. I can see it in your eyes: being in a new place has been good for you. But you can never change so much that you won't be welcome here."

Storm has this incredible knack of knowing exactly what someone needs to hear and as usual, her words to Rogue are spot-on. Somehow, instead of making her feel patronised and stupid, they make Rogue feel like she does really belong at the mansion. Rogue thinks actually that Storm and Lisa would probably get on pretty well - they're both good listeners, both far more interested in solving other peoples' problems than filling their own lives with drama, and they both give great advice.

What Rogue means to say to Storm is thank you. What she means to say is that she really is glad to be back, even if she's maybe not acting like it right now. What she actually ends up saying is, "I'm gay."

It surprises her as much as it does Storm - she's still not all that comfortable coming out to people and while she's determined not to lie about it, she hasn't exactly tried to bring it up with anyone. They sit in silence for a few minutes before Storm speaks up.

"I'm glad you felt you could tell me," Storm says evenly.

"You're not...I don't know...surprised? Upset? Anything?" Rogue asks. Despite the good reactions she's had from everyone she's told so far, Rogue still expects, every time, to get yelled at or insulted or something far worse.

"Upset?" Storm repeats with slight smile, "Definitely not. Surprised...perhaps a little, but not in a bad way. More surprised that you mentioned it than anything else."

"I didn't mean to," Rogue admits, "It just kind of...slipped out."

"I take it you haven't talked about this with anyone else here then," Storm surmises.

"Nope," Rogue replies, "I kind of feel like I should, but then I think 'why should I have to' - it's not anyone's business but mine. But then I feel almost like I'm lying about something by not mentioning it. I don't know what I'm supposed to do."

"There isn't anything you're supposed to do," Storm says softly, "It's your choice entirely whether or not you tell people. You're not lying if you don't mention it and if the subject does come up...I'm certain people have lied about far more serious things. If you don't want people to know, then they don't have to know."

Before Rogue can thank Storm for, once again, saying exactly what she needed to hear, her door bursts open and Amara and Tabitha run in.

"Come on, quick," Amara cries, "Logan's running this amazing simulation in the Danger Room. You have to see it."

Rogue looks at Storm and grins. Maybe she does still belong here.

***

Rogue's in the kitchen making coffee late one night when she hears the front doors open. She's just put the coffee machine on but flips it off as she hears footsteps and voices progressing down the hallway towards her. She recognises Kitty's voice immediately and it only takes a few more seconds before she realises that the male voice accompanying Kitty's is Lance's.

"I think we have some chips in the kitchen," Kitty says, closer still to the door.

Absolutely the last thing Rogue wants is to have to deal with at two in the morning when she's spent the past few hours working her way through an enormous psychology textbook is Lance and Kitty. She wishes she had Kitty's power so she could just disappear through the wall and escape up the stairs, but she doesn't and there's no way she can get past them without them seeing. So she does the only thing she can think of: she grabs the box of cookies off the counter and dashes across the room to get under the table. As soon as she's under there, the whole situation seems completely absurd. Surely the grown-up thing to do would have been to leave the room, smile politely at Lance and Kitty in the hallway, and go back to her room. Instead, her insane desire to avoid an awkward situation - awkward only for her - has led to her sitting under a table with a box of cookies, hiding from her friends.

"They're in the cupboard next to the fridge," Kitty's saying, and from under the long tablecloth, Rogue can see two pairs of feet walk through the doorway and disappear behind the island.

"Do you want Nacho Cheese or Original?" Lance asks and his voice is loud in the quiet room.

"Cheese," Kitty replies, "and keep it down - everyone else is asleep. I'm not even supposed to be out this late."

"I can't believe you have a curfew," Lance says mockingly. From the rustling sounds she can hear, Rogue guesses he's opening the chips.

"It's my parents' idea," Kitty explains, "and the Professor agrees that it's a good idea. Apparently I need to concentrate on my college classes and I can't do that if I'm out all hours or something. It's just until the end of the summer though."

Kitty and Kurt are going to the same college as Jean and Scott. Kitty's parents, concerned about their daughter with her mutant powers living away from the safe environment of the Xavier Institute, made a deal with her that, for the first year, she would continue to live at the mansion. At the end of her first year, assuming a good GPA, her parents would support her if she wanted to live on-campus. It's things like that that make Rogue a little glad she doesn't have people like that trying to control her life. At the same time, it's nice that Kitty's parents care so much about their daughter. It's the end of first year now though and, surprisingly, Kitty's actually decided to stay at the mansion.

"Curfew blows," Lance remarks and, under the table, Rogue rolls her eyes.

He sounds exactly the same as he did when she left and though he may have helped them out on occasion, Rogue neither trusts nor likes Lance Alvarez. He's whiny and petty and his closest friends are the Brotherhood. She also doesn't understand the attraction of someone who spends most of their time treating you like crap. Or at least that's how it seems to Rogue that he's always treated Kitty. She guesses it's like the kid in kindergarten who pulls the pigtails of the girl he likes, but it just seems so absurd to Rogue that anyone would actually fall for that. It's not as if she's claiming to be any great expert on relationships, but she honestly doesn't see why, of all the available people in the world, anyone would choose the person whose sole purpose in life seems to be to irritate them.

The rest of their conversation is equally uninspiring. After maybe ten minutes, Kitty laughs and tells Lance he really needs to go. He puts up a bit of a fight but to Rogue, it sounds as if it's mostly for show. Soon enough the two pairs of feet are leaving the kitchen and going back out into the hallway. Rogue waits until she hears footsteps going up the stairs before she comes out from under the table. Originally, she'd come downstairs for coffee because she was pretty much falling asleep in front of her textbook. Now though, she's wide awake. She takes the cookies and heads back upstairs. She's not going to get any more sleep tonight.

***

Chapter Eight:

It's still a complete adrenaline rush, fighting bad guys. Rogue was worried that, after so much time away from the frontlines of this bizarre battle taking place among mutantkind, she would no longer be able to cope with it. She can though, and she almost enjoys it. It's satisfying to be focussing on something not directly related to what she wants or needs. The thing about college life is that it's really quite selfish. Everything Rogue does is about what she wants whereas when she's working with the rest of the X-Men, they're working towards a common goal. It makes her feel good about herself.

It never gets any easier though. As they wait in the Danger Room for the Professor to arrive with a plan of action, the room is abuzz with talk of Exodus. On a scale of one to Apocalypse, he's pretty high up there. Apparently, although none of them is really sure where this piece of information came from, he and Professor X have fought before. The Professor won, but rumour has it that it was a close call. Now he's back and it's up to the X-Men to defeat him.

When the Professor arrives, he has some unfamiliar people by his side. Rogue recognises Nick Fury, but that's it. The other people, in outfits of various shapes and colours, are entirely unknown to her. The Professor gets their attention and then proceeds to introduce the strangers and explain the abilities they're bringing to the fight. Rogue forgets most of the names the moment after she's heard them, but she remembers Psylocke, Emma Frost, and Ms Marvel, with their...revealing costumes. She sees Kurt and Spyke and Scott notice them too, and stifles a laugh when Jean notices Scott noticing and kicks him in the shin. It's a bizarre mix of people and sometimes Rogue just can't get over the fact that she's standing in room full of people with superpowers, that she herself has powers, that they're actually engaged in a battle between good and evil.

The plan, such as it is, is fairly simple. They'll go down to New Mexico where, inexplicably, Exodus appears to have set up camp. They'll be split up into teams - a group of X-Men alongside a couple of the more experienced mutants - and attack him from every possible angle. Rogue finds herself assigned to a team headed by Ms Marvel and Archangel - a tall blonde man with enormous white wings - along with Kitty, Tabitha, Amara, and Spyke. They travel in groups, some by plane or helicopter, and some, those who can, under their own steam. It's another painfully slow journey that reminds Rogue all too much of flight to Egypt to fight Apocalypse. She can only hope this battle will have the same outcome.

***

She can't move, she can't speak, she can barely breathe. It's so much worse having Exodus in her head than it was having Mesmero. Exodus' powers are far stronger and far more invasive. He's not just controlling her body: he's controlling her mind and her thoughts. He knows everything she's ever thought, every word she's ever said, and he's telling her that now, she will do what he wants. He has control of Logan and Mr McCoy as well. Everyone else is in a circle around them, staring fearful and wide-eyed.

Rogue wants to say something, to make everyone leave. She knows something's going to happen and it's going to happen soon and wants everyone to leave so that no-one else gets hurt. She can't talk though and has no way of warning anyone. All she can do is stand there, ready to strike at something.

And then it happens. She's never moved so fast as she runs towards the Professor. She has no idea what she's going to do until she's doing it and it's a horrible feeling. Her body moves independent of her consciousness. Ms Marvel and Jean step in front of the Professor and Rogue just pushes them away. Suddenly she slams into an invisible wall. She tries to force her way through it but it's a psychic shield projected by Professor X and there's no way Rogue, even as supercharged as she is, will get through it. There's a pause, and then she's turning and just going for anyone within her reach. Jean keeps her away from as many people as she can manage, but there are far more people than she can protect by herself.

As she spins again, she catches sight of Logan battling with Archangel. It's a horrible thing to see but Rogue has no chance to really focus on it before it's out of sight and she's hurtling towards Ms Marvel. Rogue can only watch in horror from inside her own body as she takes off her gloves and reaches for Ms Marvel's bare arm.

The minute they touch, it's like hundred electric shocks at once. Rogue feels powerful and strong and invincible and she knows none of that is good. She wants to pull her hands away but she can't. She knows the longer she stays in contact with Ms Marvel's skin, the worse this is all going to be. Through all of it, she can feel Exodus' enjoyment, his satisfaction with the situation he's created. He's like an entirely separate presence inside her mind, and now with Ms Marvel gradually taking up more and more space, it's starting to feel a little claustrophobic. Because it's not just powers she's getting from Ms Marvel: it's memories too. Within a few minutes, she knows everything there is to know about Ms Marvel, or Carol Danvers as she's known to her friends and family. She's never touched anyone for this long before and it's terrifying.

Around, she can hear people screaming and shouting and the sounds of the fight continuing. Rogue can't see any of it though: her gaze is fixed firmly on Ms Marvel, who looks as if she's dying right in front of Rogue's eyes. Finally, and it seems as if years have passed, someone pulls her away. The second she loses contact with Ms Marvel, Exodus' voice inside her head vanishes. As she lies on the ground, Rogue realises she has control of her body again. Experimentally, she moves her fingers and toes, then her arms and legs, and eventually she forces herself into a sitting position. The euphoria she had felt over Exodus no longer being inside her head disappears when she sees Ms Marvel lying motionless on the ground. Storm is crouched over her, trying to wake her up.

"It won't work," Rogue croaks out, surprised by how hoarse her voice, "I think I touched her for too long. I can...I can feel her in my head."

Apparently Exodus has disappeared to some other place and now Rogue and Ms Marvel are the centre of attention. Logan and Mr McCoy have been released from Exodus' control as well and are crowding around with everyone else.

"How do you feel?" Professor X asks.

"Confused," Rogue admits, pulling her knees up and wrapping her arms around them, "I can feel her inside me. I can feel her power and I can feel her."

"We need to get her out of here," Storm says urgently, gesturing to Ms Marvel as she places the back of her hand against Rogue's forehead as if checking for fever, "We have to get them both out of here."

"I'm sorry," says a deep voice from...somewhere. Everyone looks around and at first no can see who it is that's talking until someone yells and points up at the sky. Exodus is descending from the clouds inside a bubble reminiscent of one of Magneto's forcefields.

"That won't be possible," Exodus continues, "Our business here is not yet finished."

No-one moves to attack him - no-one's quite sure how to attack him any more and no-one wants to be taken over like Rogue, Logan, and Beast were.

"We will defeat you, Exodus," the Professor calls and he sounds so completely certain of the truth of his words that Rogue finds herself believing them too.

"You cannot defeat me," Exodus says, his voice shaking the earth, "I know everything about you."

"Knowledge isn't everything," Professor X counters, "We are a team, we have strength together that you cannot comprehend."

"I can break your team," Exodus insists and Rogue understands in that moment what he's going to do.

She feels it, she thinks everyone can as she looks around, as he reaches into her brain and pulls out whatever he wants.

"Sometimes the things people most want to keep secret are the things are their minds shout the loudest," Exodus says as he finally lands on the ground.

"What's he doing?" Kitty mutters from beside Rogue.

"Secrets," Storm says from Kitty's other side, "Everyone has secrets and he wants to use them to break us."

He doesn't even say the secrets out loud. There's no need for him to do so. It's far more insidious anyway, the way the words just appear inside Rogue's head. She can pinpoint the moments when other people hear the secrets as well by the way they look around for whoever it is the secret's about, although she thinks it probably isn't that everyone is hearing everything. Exodus' power is immense - he holds them all paralysed as he fills their heads with things they aren't supposed to know. Stupidly, as she hears things about Logan and Kurt and Jean, she wonders what it is that Exodus is going to tell people about her. Exodus turns his head then and smiles at her: a horrible, evil smile and she knows exactly what he's going to say and who he's going to say it to.

Rogue turns her head and catches Kitty's eye just as Exodus tells her the one thing Rogue was hoping she would never have to find out.

"She loves you," the voice inside Rogue's head and she knows it's in Kitty's too, "She's been in love with you for years. And she really hates that you're dating Lance Alvarez."

Rogue doesn't even hear the other secrets, and completely misses the moment when the Professor, Jean, Psylocke, and everyone else with psychic powers combine their strength and knock Exodus out of the sky. Kitty's just standing there, staring straight ahead. Rogue wonders who else Exodus told: since there's no-one looking specifically in her direction, she hopes maybe he just told Kitty. Because that's bad enough - she really doesn't want to have to deal with a whole bunch of other people knowing as well. She misses the whole of the rest of the battle - short and brutal as it is - watching Kitty look at anything but her.

When it's all over, maybe the team isn't broken as Exodus had promised it would be, but they're definitely shaken. No-one quite wants to look anyone else directly in the eyes, either out of embarrassment over what they already know, or fear that somehow they'll find out something else. Rogue's so preoccupied with trying to keep an eye on Kitty that she forgets all about what happened with Ms Marvel until she goes to pull open the door of one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. choppers and pulls it off completely. Immediately, Storm and the Professor are pulling her away and she finds herself on the X-Jet along with the still-comatose Ms Marvel. Storm flies the jet back while the Professor probes Rogue's mind psychically.

By the time they make it back to Bayville, Ms Marvel is still unconscious. The Professor has determined that Rogue probably absorbed so much of Ms Marvel's psyche that waking her up will be a difficult, if not impossible process. Along with years of memories, Rogue now also finds herself the possessor of immense strength, near invincibility, and flight. These are useful powers, the kind of powers she's always dreamed of having. But now she has them and it's seemingly in exchange for the life of another person, and she wishes she could just give them back.

"Get some rest," Storm says as Rogue climbs wearily from the chopper, trying not to break anything else as she walks towards the mansion, "In the morning, the Professor and I will start teaching you how to control your new powers."

"Great," Rogue mutters as she walks away, "Just great."


Part One
Part Three
Art and soundtrack
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calleigh_j

December 2010

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