It wasn’t supposed to have happened like this.
Well. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t supposed to have happened at all. Routine mission, the Professor said. Simple pick up job, he’d assured them. He hadn’t counted on the delegation from the Brotherhood arriving at the same time as the X-Men crew. Nor could he, Rogue supposed, have anticipated the truly unpredictable nature of the mutant they’d been sent to recruit, genius or not. It certainly wasn’t the Professor’s fault that the mutant had been so startled by the near-simultaneous arrival of delegations from both the X-Men and Brotherhood that his mutation had been triggered. Definitely wasn’t the Professor’s fault that she, Rogue, had been closest to the mutant when the bright blue wall of energy had exploded around her and sucked her through, the cries of shock from the lone teammate she’d brought with her, echoing in her ears.
Rogue and Gambit had come to the mutant’s house in a mid-sized sedan and street clothes, not wanting to intimidate him or his family with the leather of their uniforms. After his parents had warily invited them into the house, they’d sat in the living room making pleasant conversation, trying to put the boy at ease. She and Remy had been making slow but steady progress in learning more about him and his mutation, and had been about to broach the topic of Xavier’s school with the boy and his parents. The teenager had been nervous as he finally explained what happened when his mutation was activated, said it was triggered by his emotions. It was really too bad the mutant had panicked once Toad, Mystique, and Pyro had shown up.
And it really didn’t appear that Michael McMahon, or Rift, as they’d found he’d taken to calling himself, had intentionally done this to her. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t control his abilities yet or that fear brought about his mutation. At least, that’s what Rogue was telling herself as she hurtled through the silver-streaked blackness, stomach in her throat, blinded by the pain that seemed to come at her from every angle. And the noise. The noise. Such a sound, she’d never imagined was possible. The only thing that scared her more than the noise, more than the pain, was the possibility of what she might find once the pain stopped.
And then, as abruptly as the blast of energy had engulfed her, it expelled her with a final wrenching, pain-wracked crushing sensation. An ear shattering high-pitched noise came to a screeching crescendo and then abruptly ceased as Rogue suddenly found herself existing again. Her body, in a prone position, fell onto the rough terrain several feet below her. She had no time to process the situation or brace herself for the impact and she crashed onto the dusty ground below, her head landing on a large, sharp-edged boulder that appeared to have dislodged itself from the structure behind her. She swore loudly as pain shot through her right temple and she felt the warm wetness of blood oozing down her face. Spots danced before her eyes as she struggled to push herself up, her body reeling from the impact of the ground as well as the pain of being absorbed by Rift’s wall of energy.
Slowly, she rose to her feet and brushed off the dust from her dark tight jeans and blue silk blouse before raising one shaking hand to the throbbing in her skull, fingertips sticky with her blood. Her brown hair whipped across her face in the sudden chilly gust of wind and using the same hand, she impatiently ripped the strands away from her eyes.
Her high heels wobbled on the uneven ground and the pounding in her head intensified. She felt faint, her blood pounding in her ears as she took in her surroundings, mouth agape.
Where the hell was she?