Bitter Disappointments by Ally
Summary: Rogue finds out the cure is the cover for a mutant-experimentation plot. Will she escape in time?
Categories: X2, X3, AU Characters: None
Genres: Action, Angst, Shipper
Tags: None
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 11321 Read: 23164 Published: 06/14/2010 Updated: 06/25/2010
Story Notes:
A/N #1: All right, everyone. I have debated on posting this. It's not that it isn't well-written. Having written almost six chapters of it in the time pre-X3, it was almost like reading someone else's writing, so I can acknowledge with very little conceit (I swear!) that what is written so far is good. However, like many post-X3-trailer and pre/post-X3 fanfic authors, I went with the "cure" as the main thing this whole plotline spun around. Then, when it got to the point that I was ignoring the fic, I noticed that a LOT of people were doing similar things. I don't like "done to death." Still, if you don't mind that it's been done (and done, and DONE), you might enjoy this. It is very much a WIP, and I am hoping that the same magic which infected me once I actually got around to posting "Something That We Do" will infect me with this, too, and push me into finishing it. In my own, very humble (uh-huh, just nod) opinion, the descriptions are scrumptious.

A/N #2: It's not that Logan's not in this one. It's just that I get really tired of the damsel in distress story line sometimes. I'm just saying. You'll have to read it to understand. Now, before my A/N's get any longer than the story...

Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. Please don't make me say it again. It hurts. (It hurts even more what was done by those who do own 'em, but we won't go there.)

1. Chapter 1 by Ally

2. Chapter 2 by Ally

3. Chapter 3 by Ally

4. Chapter 4 by Ally

5. Chapter 5 by Ally

6. Chapter 6 by Ally

7. Chapter 7 by Ally

Chapter 1 by Ally
Author's Notes:
So here's a little voyeuristic shower scene. Yeah, I know, I must have issues after "Eavesdrop," right? Only this came way before that one... :-)
It had been a long day, Rogue reflected as she entered her room. She quickly stripped off her sweat-soaked workout clothes, grimacing a little at the smell. At least practicing all of her newly-won skills in what was left of the Danger Room made her favorite pastime all the more necessary. Reveling a little in her own bare skin, she opened the other door in her room and stepped into her bathroom.

Humming a little, Rogue turned the shower on full blast. She hurried to step into the torrent of water, relishing the silken feel. She quickly shampooed her hair, rinsed it, and applied conditioner. Soaping up and rinsing hair and body were accomplished with a minimum of fuss. After all of the necessary items were finished, she could simply relax.

Scalding hot water pulsed around her, shrouding her in steam and heat. Rogue reveled in the feel of every drop, knowing that this time would come to an end soon enough. The humid air had become her haven, the perfect retreat where she could hide away once or twice a day. After all, no one was likely to bother her here. She was sure that everyone else viewed this sanctuary of hers as a death trap.

Of course, the ironic part was that the small bathroom attached to the room she now shared with no one was as free of danger as any other bathroom. No, she was the sure death that everyone tried so hard to avoid. In this one place, she was able to expose every inch of her lethal skin without worrying what anyone might say.

As the water streamed over her upturned face, Rogue wondered if, just sometimes, everyone wished that she would wear a mask as well as layer upon layer of suffocating clothing. After all, her face was just as dangerous as the rest of her. She knew that there were times when she did wish for a mask; as if that might solve everything, make everyone comfortable around her.

Not likely, sugar, she thought to herself with a deep sigh.

Rogue turned around and let the water cascade down her back as she stared blankly at the white tile across from her. It was so painful, even after all this time, to find those who were supposed to know her, know that she wouldn’t hurt them, moving away an inch or two when she would come over to sit or stand next to them. There was only one person that she knew felt truly comfortable in her presence, and he was too busy mourning, as they all were, to be very good company these days.

She didn’t know why life had to be such a struggle for mutants. It seemed like before, when she hadn’t known she was a mutant, her life had gone by so easily, one pleasant day usually followed by another. Once her abilities had manifested, each day was more difficult to survive than the last. It only got worse as the years went by.

Finally, the water began to cool. Rogue had, as always, spent a little too long thinking during her shower. She turned the faucet to the right, reveling in the feel of the warm metal against her skin. There were so few times that she was actually able to let anything touch her skin. These days, she even slept with gloves on, fearful of another emergency in the middle of the night. She learned her lessons well.

The bathroom was enveloped in steam as she opened the shower door and stepped out onto the soft red rug that was one of the only splashes of color in the room. She turned her head to the right, contemplating the woman in the mirror for a long minute. White flesh that obviously never saw the light of day glistening, dark hair slicked back so that the streak of white was mixed in with the rest, she didn’t look like a young girl anymore. Rogue had grown up so much since coming to the Professor’s school. She just wasn’t sure that she liked what she had become.

The dark eyes of the woman in the mirror stared back sadly at her for a moment longer, and Rogue was the only one who would ever know that the wetness on her cheeks wasn’t just from her shower.
End Notes:
And on to the actual story... ;-)
Chapter 2 by Ally
Author's Notes:
The news is on...
A small smile curved Rogue’s lips as she approached the small group huddled in the back of the den. That was a lot from any of them these days, but they all felt that they should try to show a united front for the still-traumatized children and teenagers who had been through so much over the past month. Adults and students alike, they all still started at shadows, especially as night was settling in and darkness filling the hallways, where it was too expensive to keep lights burning at all hours.

Rogue’s smile didn’t slip as they made room for her, guaranteeing a few more inches stood between them and her well-covered skin. She was used to this, even though she didn’t like it. They knew that the black silk shirt covering her arms and the well-fitting jeans concealing her legs were enough to keep them safe from her, but it never seemed to make much of a difference.

“Has the news started yet?” she asked softly, glancing around at those she wouldn’t have considered her peers before the events of the previous months.

“No, you made it with just seconds to spare,” her former boyfriend, Bobby, said with his own weak attempt at a smile. It still hurt, how he seemed to have let the ice he could control so easily encase his very soul since his best friend had joined the Brotherhood. He had shut her out just as much as everyone else, until they had mutually acknowledged a week ago that it just wasn’t working anymore.

Rogue turned to look at the large TV dominating one of the walls briefly before letting her gaze travel over the kids sitting or standing around the room. They were all tense, some moving restlessly back and forth, others fidgeting in less obvious ways. Most of their eyes were wide with wariness or fear, depending on the individual. Every person in the room knew that something important was about to happen. There had been vague references to mutants on the news for the past week. Then yesterday the local station had declared that the government would be issuing an announcement the next day, an announcement that would bring new hope to the “mutant situation.”

Rogue felt bitter amusement that they were a “situation.” While she knew that many mutants, herself included, had abilities that frightened normal humans, it was so hard to understand why they had yet to see that many mutations could be used for the benefit of all mankind, homo sapiens or homo superior, as the mutant population was starting to call itself. Perhaps it was the fault of those few who envied the mutants in addition to fearing them. Goodness knew that the X-Men had gone up against plenty of those in the past few years alone.

Thoughts of the X-Men caused her to glance around once more, this time taking in her new teammates specifically. Rogue had been counted among the students only a few short weeks ago. Being seen as one of the adults, one of the “team,” was still an odd feeling. She wasn’t sure how her mutation could help in anything but an all-out fight, but she was more than willing, more than angry enough, to join in.

What right did anyone else have to destroy what Professor Xavier had worked so hard to build? Mutant or non-mutant, it didn’t seem to matter. There were so many forces working against the possibility of peace that it enraged her. Didn’t they see that mutants were just people, too? Wouldn’t it be better to have their cooperation towards bettering all of mankind than to try to use them to dominate the world or try to destroy them altogether? Apparently, there were many who didn’t think so.

The other adults gathered seemed to have the same opinions as she did, although each was expressing those opinions in their own, unique ways. Scott was glowering at the floor. He’d been so angry since they returned from what was being termed as “The Disaster.” Rogue wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to help him deal with Jean’s death; hopefully, he would regain some measure of peace, someday.

Ororo stared out the nearest window, her face showing very little of what she was feeling. Rogue knew from the look she’d seen so often in her eyes, though, that she was in deep pain from the loss of one of her closest friends. She wanted to help Storm, but as with Scott, she didn’t really know how.

Piotr, also known as Colossus now, and Kitty Pryde stood a little to one side, looking as uncomfortable as Rogue felt to be in this group instead of the younger crowd. They were two of the others deemed old enough to contribute to the team. All four of the newest members had been rushed through final exams and issued diplomas, courtesy of Professor X.

Bobby was the only recently promoted “adult” who didn’t look uncomfortable. Instead, he had a pissed off, closed down look that greatly resembled Scott’s. Rogue was glad that they had broken things off; she had her own issues to deal with, and Bobby just didn’t care about anything but destroying St. John anymore. If he thought that was more important than a relationship with her that was fine because she was focusing on other things, too.

Rogue’s glace around the team brought her to one of her problems to focus on. Logan. Wolverine. Once, she thought she knew what was going on in his head. Her glimpses of his personality weren’t exactly the most complicated she’d seen. He’d surprised her, though. She just couldn’t figure out how he was reacting to Jean’s death, to Scott’s apparent lack of interest in leading the X-Men, or to this current potential threat. The Wolverine had become an enigma to her, and that she didn’t like. He was supposed to be the easy one to figure out.

The flicker of the television screen as a commercial ended and the familiar news logo flashed across it drew all eyes to the front of the room. Rogue crossed her arms as the main newscaster, Hannah Dowling, started with a story about a local fire. She began to fidget as the woman’s partner, Dwight Langford, delivered a report on the latest shoot-out in a deep monotone. Finally, the newscasters introduced the story that they were waiting to hear. Everyone in the room tensed at the less-than-positive start.

“And now to our feature story for the night. As you all know, the mutant situation has been showing up in the headlines frequently. The government has been doing all that it can, in conjunction with other nations around the world, to help solve this dilemma,” Hannah Dowling began. Her large, dark eyes and tone of voice conveyed that this was a very serious situation, perhaps even threatening.

“What a bunch of bullshit,” Logan muttered from where he stood beside Rogue. She jumped a little; she hadn’t been aware that he had moved so close, but it seemed that they had all huddled together a little more as those words were being uttered.

“While some individual mutants might be considered peaceful and non-violent, there are far too many who have a violent turn of mind, and their mutations allow them to harm people and damage property that would not have suffered otherwise.” Pictures of mutant-caused mayhem flashed across the screen as Dwight Langford spoke, prompting sounds of disgust from many in the room, especially when some of those pictures were of the X-Men saving people.

“The world governments, desiring to show that they take the potential threat of mutants very seriously, have announced that they are ready to unveil a cure for the mutant gene. All mutants throughout the world are being encouraged to make their way to the clinics that will be providing this cure. The cure itself has not been discussed at length, but the government has issued statements assuring the public that all tests performed on willing subjects have been successful at this point,” Langford continued. In contrast to his fellow newscaster, his expression was open and hopeful.

“They really have this shit worked out, right down to a T. Make ‘em anxious, then give ‘em the ‘good’ news,” Logan growled. Rogue shushed him, wanting to hear if there was any other information on this “cure.”

“If there are any mutants out there interested in the cure, the government has set up clinics in every major city to accommodate you. You can call your local governments to locate the nearest clinic,” Dowling said in what was supposed to be a helpful manner.

The weather forecast came on next, and at that point, someone turned off the TV. It didn’t matter what the weather was supposed to be when you lived in a house with a mutant who could control it, after all.

The whole crowd was subdued. The kids had that scared look in their eyes, the look that asked if their world was going to be turned upside down during the night as it had been once before. The X-Men were quick to rush them all off to bed, assuring them that the “cure” was completely voluntary right now, and there was no use worrying about anything yet. That was your life when you were a mutant. You learned to take the good days whenever they came because the bad days could be terrifying.
End Notes:
Hmmm...sounding familiar? I know, I know, it's been done, but it really hadn't been when I started this all those years ago...
Chapter 3 by Ally
Author's Notes:
Rogue makes up her mind and faces a couple of confrontations.
Once all of the kids were tucked in with reassurances and glasses of milk or water to tide them through the night, the X-Men gathered in Professor Xavier’s study. They were all serious and quiet. Even Scott and Bobby seemed to have realized that this was slightly more important than their self-absorptions.

“So, you have all heard,” Charles said softly, his eyes focused on his desk. A single sheet of paper lay on the gleaming wood.

The X-Men looked at each other, not sure how to approach this subject. There were so many possibilities, good and bad, that could come of the announcement. Only one or two of them were sure how to take it.

“Like you, I am skeptical about this ‘cure.’ To be honest, I worry that it is a trap to gain test subjects, a more sophisticated plan than Mr. Stryker’s was,” Charles stated calmly, his eyes finally lifting from the paper to survey his team.

At once, almost everyone in the room began to give their opinions, each one trying to get their point of view across. Only Rogue was silent as the arguments raged as to whether this “cure” might really work or if it was a very elaborate hoax.

Finally, Charles calmed the group down as much as he could. It was late, and so everyone began to file out of the room, heading towards what would probably be restless sleep for most. It was at this point that Rogue looked up from her survey of the rich red and gold rug adorning the hardwood floor. She hadn’t moved from her seat near one of the large windows over looking the lawn.

“I’m going to try it,” Rogue announced quietly.

Charles looked at her closely. Her chin was set with that stubborn look he had come to know so well. Dark eyes stared at him, hard and determined. She was no longer the child who had come to them a little less than two years ago, and they both knew it.

“You could be hurt. There is the very real chance that this is a trap,” he told her with no little concern.

“I know. One of us needs to check this out, though, and…what better candidate than me?” Rogue asked him. “You know me, Professor. You know how much I’ve wanted to shed my own skin sometimes, how all of the little avoidances of touch have affected me. If there is anyone more suited to do this, I’d like to know who it is. I would give anything, anything, to be able to touch someone skin to skin again.”

Charles nodded slowly. “You’re right. We do need to send someone in there, preferably someone who would be able to fight his or her way out if necessary. Do you think that you’re up to that, Rogue? I want you to consider this very carefully. There are a few other candidates, but I admit that your abilities have proven to be uncontrollable. If this is a real cure, while I do not truly approve of it, I can certainly see why it would appeal to you.”

Rogue looked at him for a few moments, clearly considering what he had said. Then she shook her head and sighed. “I can promise that I will do my best to get out of there if it’s a bad situation, but I need to be the one to do this. If there’s a chance…” she couldn’t finish, scared that if she said it aloud, it really would turn out to be some horrible mistake for her to go.

Charles stared into her eyes for a minute more, obviously trying to come to terms with the woman he was now facing instead of the child he knew. Rogue let him see her pain, her fierce need to be normal again, and her frustration at her mutation’s stubborn refusal to bow to her will and allow her the touch she craved. It wasn’t right for anyone to be so isolated, perhaps forever. She was surer of that than anything else in her life.

Finally, he nodded, more to himself than in acknowledgment of the feelings she was trying to make it plain for him to see. He’d known how she felt for some time, and the fact that she was willing to jump at this opportunity so quickly had not come as a shock to him in the least.

“Go, then, Rogue. May you find what you are searching for,” Charles told her, aware, as she was, that he had uttered similar words during the first parting of ways from his good friend Eric.

“I hope that I will, Professor,” Rogue said, moving forward to lay her gloved hand against his cheek for a moment. “Thank you.”

Rogue left quickly, not sure that she could hold in the tears that were welling up inside of her if she stayed any longer. She did have some doubts, after all. This cure was just as likely to be a trap as it was to be real. She’d been wary of “too good to be true” for a longer time than she’d lived at Professor Xavier’s school. Also, if it did work, where would that leave her? There were few chances for work for a young woman who had only a high school diploma and some interesting, not to mention newly acquired, fighting skills.

The halls of the School had never seemed so long and quiet as Rogue made her way to her room. The decision had been hers to make, and she had grabbed at the opportunity presented eagerly. She squared her shoulders as she walked and resolved to ignore all of those doubts as best she could. She couldn’t and wouldn’t turn back now.

A long shadow separated itself from the shadows near Rogue’s door as she neared. Logan’s frown warned her that he had some idea of what she was about to do.

“Hey, Logan,” she said softly, reaching out to grasp the doorknob in a probably useless attempt to escape the conversation she was sure was coming.

“Marie.” Logan reached out and laid a hand over hers where it was clutching the smooth wooden doorknob. “Running again, kid?” he asked just as quietly.

Rogue shook her head. Only Logan called her “Marie” now, although he’d started to use her nickname almost as often lately, especially when others were around.

“I’m not running, Logan. I’m just gonna give this cure thing a try, okay? If it doesn’t work, I’ll be back,” she tried to reassure him. She really wasn’t running away this time.

“‘If it doesn’t work’-- so you know it might not, and you’re gonna go anyway?” Logan asked gruffly.

Rogue took a deep breath. This was the man who had saved her life more than once; obviously, he felt he had a vested interest in keeping her alive. She’d have to approach this one even more carefully than she had with Charles.

“Logan, I have to. The Professor agrees with me on this one. If it is a trap, I’m pretty much the only X-Man able to convincingly show up at one of these clinics wanting a cure. I’m also one of the ones who are best able to get out if I have to. I--I don’t like absorbing others, but I can if I have to, if it will help me get out and tell the whole world that it’s phony. If it works, though…Logan, if there is a cure for my skin, I really want it. I don’t see how my mutation is a benefit to anything. I’m one of the few people whose mutation is more of a threat to humanity than a help if I pass it on, and I don’t want to risk that. I’d like children someday, children who can touch me and who have no chance of passing on this death sentence to humanity. So I have to try. Even if it doesn’t work, I still have to try,” Rogue told the large man in front of her. Her dark eyes pleaded with him to understand, even as they had when she’d been a young hitchhiker trying desperately to run away from her problems.

Logan looked away, his frustration obvious. “I don’t want to see you hurt, kid. I know you’ve been going through some stuff since we got back, and I was worried you’d be running soon anyway. You’re right, though. You need to try this cure. Just know--we’ll be ready to help if you need it. I promise,” he said, squeezing her hand. He’d always been pretty good at keeping his promises to her, Rogue reflected, so she knew he was serious about this one.

“I’ll be going in the morning, before anyone else is awake, I hope. I think I can get to New York City pretty fast and find out where the nearest clinic is. If you want to keep an eye on it until I’m out--well, I guess I’d appreciate that,” Rogue told him with a small smile.

“I’ll do that,” Logan said in the same gruff voice, dropping his hand to his side and turning to go.

“Logan.” Rogue’s voice stopped him, and he turned. “I’m not a kid anymore, you know. I haven’t been one for a very long time,” she said. Then she opened her door quickly and stepped in, missing the raised eyebrow of the man who stared at her closed door for a long minute before heading to his own room.

Rogue leaned against her door and took a deep breath. Two of the confrontations she’d been dreading ever since the newscast earlier had gone over relatively easily. Now she just had to pack, fall into bed and wait for the morning to come.
End Notes:
So far, so good!
Chapter 4 by Ally
Author's Notes:
This particular part was inspired by the Rogue-at-the-window scene in the trailer to X3. That much I do remember!
Rogue’s eyes were open the moment the alarm clock rang shrilly in her ear. She reached over to turn it off even as she sat up. She turned on the bedside lamp and looked around for a moment, as if to memorize the room. Then she threw back the covers quickly, reaching for the clothes she’d laid out the night before even as she climbed out of the comfortable bed. She’d debated on what to wear for at least half an hour. Showing too much skin really wasn’t an option, not yet, but she wanted to wear something that would remind her of the purpose of her trip.

Fresh underwear and bra came first, the white silk sliding smoothly against her skin. Lingerie was one of her weaknesses. If no one could touch her, at least she would wear soft silk and satin as much as possible, feel the sensuousness of it as she moved and gain some small comfort there.

Next, Rogue slid her legs into jeans that would be considered inappropriate if they were any tighter. She had first bought them to wear around Bobby, to tease him a little. Knowing that she looked damn good in them, she had decided to wear them as a morale booster. The dark denim would also look perfect with the rest of her outfit.

Rogue picked up the long-sleeved black silk shirt she had chosen to wear. Her fingers ran over the sleek material thoughtfully before she abruptly pulled it over her head, settling it around her torso as she tugged it down. She turned to the mirror behind her and stared for a moment. Her shoulders were bare, gleaming white in the soft light of the lamp. Two black straps were all that held up the silk that ran off her shoulders and down her chest and back, and it was the most daring piece of clothing in her wardrobe.

Rogue hadn’t dared wear it until now. She had bought it on impulse a few months before during a shopping spree with a few friends, all of whom were buying tank tops and shorts in preparation for summer. The shirt had immediately gone into the back of her closet. Occasionally, when she was feeling particularly sorry for herself, she’d pull it out and hold it for a few minutes, but that was all.

A deep breath helped to settle the sudden butterflies fluttering around in her stomach. Rogue quickly picked up the brush on her vanity and brushed out her long hair, contemplating pulling it back for a minute before deciding against that. She also thought briefly about make-up, but the small bag lying on the dark polished wood of the vanity stayed where it was.

Another quick glance in the mirror, another deep breath, and Rogue was ready to slip on black leather gloves, a green silk scarf, socks and black leather boots to complete her outfit. She spent a few minutes straightening the bed and picking up odd bits of clutter.

Rogue picked up the backpack she had packed the night before and slipped into her black leather jacket. She was on her way out when the large window in her room caught her eye. She stepped over to it, looking out over the School grounds.

The horizon was starting to glow with a soft light, allowing just a hint that dawn would arrive soon. Well-manicured lawns, gardens, and a small wood were still mostly in shadow. Rogue’s eyes drank in the sight. This had been her home, her shelter, and now she was leaving it to chase a possible cure for her mutation, going into a possibly life-threatening situation. She was ready for it, but it was still a little frightening.

Rogue turned slightly to her left and switched off the lamp. Then she headed out the door, perhaps for the last time, closing it as softly as she was able. The walk down the hall and to the stairs had never seemed so long. She passed the spot in the wall where a secret passage opened; the children of the School had used that passage to escape from Stryker and his murdering soldiers. A little further down the hall was the spot where Bobby had first asked her out, leaning against the wall and trying to act cool while he was nervous as all hell. There were so many memories to relive as she headed quietly for the first flight of stairs.

The trip down to the garage was uneventful. Rogue was thankful to see that Scott’s motorcycle had a full tank of gas. Poor man, he was going to have to do without this thing yet again. Rogue grabbed a helmet and put it on, and then she hopped onto the bike. Glad that the garage door opener was a top-of-the-line, very quiet model, she hit the button to open it. As soon as the door was all the way up, Rogue turned the key, left there yet again by Scott, in the ignition and headed out. She hoped that no one would notice the sound of the bike as it started. Maybe if they did, they would think it was caused by something else.

The gate to the property was open as Rogue approached. Someone had either anticipated her this morning or left on their own errand. Rogue caught the faintest hint of cigar smoke as she drove through the gate, and she smiled. Logan was telling her that he accepted her decision in his own way. That was fine. As long as she had the Professor and Logan on her side, she was sure that she’d make it through this just fine.
End Notes:
Now to the clinic...
Chapter 5 by Ally
Author's Notes:
Rogue meets a woman named Carol Danvers (I think that I have issues involving trying to get Rogue back in the air while making it not her fault...) at the clinic.
There were actually three “mutant cure” clinics located in NYC. As advertised, all stated that they were government-funded. Mutants stood in a line three blocks long at the one that Rogue chose. Some had mutations that were very apparent; Rogue could understand why the man with wings was in line. Others, like Rogue herself, appeared normal on the surface. She knew, though, that looks could always be deceiving when it came to mutations.

As the line slowly advanced forward, Rogue let her mind settle into the watchful, calm state that she had learned during her training as an X-Man. She observed the mutants in front of her, young and old, some obviously infirm with others helping them to stand and walk. Another aspect of the wait that Rogue found intriguing was the reaction of those who walked by the long line.

It was almost possible to tell who was a normal human and who was a mutant by their facial expressions alone. The normals glared or stared warily, trying to walk as far to the other side of the line as possible. Those who were mutants and not part of the line gave off more interesting and definitely mixed signals. Rogue saw hope, fear, longing, loathing, compassion, and contempt, sometimes all in the same person. They would walk close to the line, almost as if they wanted to join it. She was sure that some did. Others, she wanted to yell at them that there were some things that were too much to live with, some things that they would do anything to escape if they had the chance. Rogue stayed silent, though. All of the mutants in line managed to bite their tongues, sometimes literally, even when passersby would mutter snide comments or give them openly dirty looks.

Rogue had joined the line around noon. It was almost dark when she finally made it through the front door of the clinic. She was given a clipboard with a medical form on it and told to sit in one of the available chairs to fill it out. The chairs were not the most comfortable in the world, but waiting rooms are rarely known for their comfort anyway.

Rogue settled in to fill out the small boxes with as little information as she could get away with. For the box marked “Residence,” she wrote “none.” Other personal information was also off limits, as far as she was concerned. These people didn’t need to know any more than that she was a mutant, she wanted that mutation gone, and then she would quietly fade back into the general human population.

Finally, she finished filling out the form and rose from her chair to hand it to the woman sitting at the front desk. Sharp grey eyes glanced down at the information and then turned to glare at her.

“You have not filled out these forms completely,” the woman said in one of the starchiest voices Rogue had ever heard.

“Well, lady, sometimes you can’t help not having a place t’ live and stuff,” Rogue pointed out with an indifferent shrug and raised eyebrow that she knew was a small bit of leftover Logan.

The woman humphed and then told her to take a seat. She was sure the doctors would call her in shortly. Rogue obliged like a good girl, her tense shoulders and tight lips the only sign that she was incredibly uncomfortable in that place already.

The wait to be called back was remarkably short by comparison to the wait to get into the building. After ten minutes, a nurse with a rosy round face and honest looking blue eyes called her name. Rogue followed her through a white door into a very routinely hospital looking hallway.

“Now, Ms. Rogue, we will make you comfortable here for the night, as the doctors who administer the cure are already gone for the day. You will be fed and have access to adequate facilities to meet your needs, although you’ll probably have a roommate or two. Try to relax as much as possible tonight. The doctors say that it’s a good idea for the patients to be in a positive frame of mind throughout the procedure. I think they’re right, although their reasons seem a little odd to me. I’ve never been one to consider auras and all that to be very real,” the nurse babbled as she showed Rogue the way to her room.

Rogue simply listened to the chatter, wondering what the night would bring. The place looked clean and as comfortable as any hospital wing might be. The beds in rooms with open doors were crisply made, as if they were just waiting for the occupants the government knew would be flooding in.

Rogue’s room was on the first floor. The nurse explained that she was very lucky; the room’s former occupant, a mutant who had shown up much earlier in the day, had already been taken in to receive the cure. Rogue hoped that was a good sign; mutants receiving the cure didn’t need to stay over night to recover from the effects of whatever it was they did.

As the nurse left, Rogue took off her jacket and dumped it and her backpack by the bed closest to the door. She felt there was no reason to be cornered by the back wall, just in case. Rogue settled down on her bed and picked up the TV remote on the small nightstand next to it. There was a decent-sized TV suspended from the ceiling, and there was really nothing else to do but watch a few shows until she got tired. The lights in the room were low, probably meant to be restive, but there was no way she was getting to sleep yet. She was going to avoid the news, however; she didn’t need to get upset over any mutant-related stories that night.

Around nine o’clock, Rogue heard a knock at the door, and the same friendly nurse entered. She ushered in another mutant, a tall blond woman who looked around with much more self-confidence than most of those who had been standing in line. The woman looked at Rogue and smiled a little, but there was also something vaguely disturbing in her brown eyes.

“Ms. Rogue, this is Ms…um, Ms. Marvel. She will be staying in here tonight. We’re trying to keep everyone as close together as possible, for their own comfort, except those who express wishes in the opposite direction. Since you didn’t say that you would object to a roommate, I brought Ms. Marvel here,” the nurse babbled for a minute. She, too, had a strange look in her eyes, slightly different from the way she had looked before. Rogue wondered about that, but she was quickly gone.

Rogue watched the other woman put her things down by the bed next to hers. She wasn’t an incredibly good-looking woman, but she had a nice face and a kind set to her eyes, Rogue thought. Something was still niggling at the back her mind, something to do with those eyes, but she turned back to the TV, not wanting to be caught staring.

“So your name’s Rogue?” Ms. Marvel’s voice broke into the steady drone coming from the sitcom currently airing. She had a faintly British accent.

“Yeah. At least, that’s what I go by,” Rogue said, glancing over at her temporary roommate.

“My real name is Carol,” the woman said as she folded herself gracefully onto the bed, turned so that she faced Rogue.

“Marie,” Rogue replied softly.

“So you don’t trust them, either?” Carol asked in an equally quiet voice.

“Not a chance. I mean, I do hope that the cure’s real, but I can’t say that I believe it is. There’s just…a very small chance. It’s one I’d willingly take, though,” Rogue said. She knew she sounded a little bitter, and she just didn’t care.

“Why--I mean, I don’t want to be rude, but what kind of mutation do you have that makes you want to get rid of it that badly?” Carol’s question didn’t really catch Rogue off-guard. It would have to be brought up soon anyway, if only to warn Carol off.

“My skin. Trust me, you really don’t want to touch my skin. It’s a very bad idea for anyone who does,” Rogue said shortly. Seeing the inquiring look in Carol’s eyes and the tilt of her head, she sighed. “I drain people. Anyone who touches me is drained of energy, life force, whatever you want to call it. When a mutant is involved, I can drain their powers as well. If the touch lasts too long…the person touching me doesn’t survive.”

The room was quiet after Rogue announced that final bit. She was sure it had been a mistake, as necessary as it was to let Carol know. Now she would be just as scared of her as everyone else was.

A firm hand on her arm startled Rogue so much that she nearly jumped off the bed. She looked over into Carol’s eyes, which were a little shiny with unshed tears.

“I’m so sorry for you, Marie. I can definitely understand why you would want to do this, and I hope for your sake that it’s real.”

Rogue nodded in acknowledgment, still a little taken by surprise. Carol was touching her arm, a contact very few had dared since her mutation manifested. It felt good to connect in a human way with someone, even if that person was someone she had barely met.

In an attempt to steer the conversation away from her self-pity, Rogue asked, “What about you, Carol? Is your mutation so horrible that you would sacrifice so much to get rid of it?” Just looking at her, Rogue would have said no, but she knew very well that looks could be completely deceiving.

Carol shook her head. She glanced around, as if wondering how much she could say here.

“There aren’t any bugs,” Rogue reassured her. “I would have smelled ‘em or heard ‘em by now.”

Carol raised her eyebrows a little at that, and Rogue clarified, “I’ve had some pretty thorough training, and a few of the abilities that I’ve picked up from other mutants have stayed with me, including very sensitive senses. So don’t worry. We can say what we like here. I don’t know if that’s good or not. They’re not worried about what we say, what information we convey to each other.”

Carol nodded. “Well, I was sent by an organization I work with from time to time to check out one of these clinics, and it just happens that I was in the area when the announcement was made and my orders were handed down. We’re not very sure what to make of this place or of the ‘cure,’” Carol admitted.

Rogue grinned a little at that. “Well, it looks like the Brits, or whoever it is you work for, and the Americans have had the same great idea on this one. Granted, I might be a little more suited for it in terms of motivation, although you still haven’t answered my question about your abilities. I told you about mine, after all.”

Carol laughed a little at that. “Very true,” she said, relaxing a little. “My mutations are pretty straightforward. If I had wanted to, I could have crushed your arm with very little effort just now. I’m invulnerable, which means I'm very hard to kill, although I think that skin of yours could give that particular aspect of my mutation a run for its money! I can also fly.” She confessed the last proudly. It was obviously her favorite part of her mutations.

Rogue sighed. “Now, wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice normal mutation like being able to fly!” she exclaimed in mock sadness, trying to cover up her envy.

Carol laughed even more. “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There are some things that shouldn’t be mixed, and super-strength and adolescence are two of them.”

Rogue winced. “I guess you’re right,” she said.

They settled down into companionable silence after that, content to watch TV and comment occasionally on the shows.

Both women fell asleep sometime around ten-thirty. The opening of the door woke Rogue, who was never a heavy sleeper. The nurse from earlier entered, seeming to be as cheerful as she had at first, although Rogue noticed that she had also closed the door behind her, something she hadn’t done before.

“Time for lights out, ladies,” the nurse said merrily as she came further into the room.

Rogue and Carol were both staring at her as her expression turned very serious. She stepped forward to stand between their beds, and the two mutants exchanged an alarmed glance.

“You’re both in grave danger,” the nurse whispered softly, almost too softly for Rogue, with her superior hearing, to catch. “All of the mutants here are in danger.”

“What do you mean?” Rogue asked, making sure to keep her own voice low and as unthreatening as possible. Something in the nurse’s eyes told her that this woman was terrified and ready to bolt at any moment.

“I overheard two of the doctors talking as they were leaving earlier, before I brought Ms. Marvel in here. It seems that the miraculous cure the government is promising you is all a lie,” the nurse muttered bitterly. Rogue was sorry to see her so disillusioned, but this was important.

“Do you know any details?” Carol asked. Rogue silently hoped that she did.

“There were some comments about how amusing it was that the ‘patients’ were mostly still unaware that they were actually captives instead. There is a guard at the end of each hallway now. They didn’t have that earlier. I think they’re going to move you all soon. Just…just don’t eat or drink anything, okay, even if I bring it. I don’t know everything that they’re planning. I heard one of the guards saying that it was going to be a long five hours, though, so I think that they will be changing out at three a.m. I’m going to leave your door unlocked when I leave. You have to try to get out of here then. I think it will be your only hope. I’ve heard that the patients who arrived here earlier today…have not been seen leaving. So something more is definitely going on, but I really don’t know what, and I need to go tell as many as I can so that I can help you all. It’s just not right, when all you want to do is be free,” the nurse said with tears in her eyes.

Carol nodded. “Yes, go. We’ll be waiting at three.”

The nurse headed for the door. “I won’t be here when you leave, so good luck,” she said on her way out, her head hanging a little before she straightened and sailed out the door.

“So they are watching us, and this is definitely not what they promised it was going to be,” Carol stated bleakly. “Honestly, I did hope it was true, for the sake of some of my friends who are like you, possessing a mutation that does them more harm than good. It looks like it’s just another trap to gather up and destroy as many mutants as these damn governments can get their hands on.”

Rogue sighed. She looked at the TV, which was still on. There was nothing she could say to that. The pit of her stomach felt heavy and cold, and her eyes were suddenly sore from unshed tears. Slowly, she reached down and stripped off her gloves.

“I guess I won’t need these until later,” she said quietly.

“Does it hurt, Marie?” Carol asked, looking at the deadly white skin.

Rogue stared at her own hands, nails neatly trimmed and shaped, skin smooth and deceptively soft. “Every time,” she said, unconsciously quoting Logan’s response to the same question. “You would think that my body would at least enjoy what it was designed to do, but it doesn’t work that way at all.”

Carol turned to look at the TV, too. There was nothing else to say. They could only wait for the change of shift and hope for the best.
End Notes:
Now, the next chapter is the one that needs finishing, and it's also where there's some kickin'-butt action. Hopefully putting most of this up here will inspire me to finish it!
Chapter 6 by Ally
Author's Notes:
Escape time. Will they be able to get out?
The clock on the wall read 2:58 a.m. Rogue stirred restlessly on her bed, staring first at the clock then out the window. Moonlight threaded through the thin white curtains, illuminating Carol in the next bed, the small table and chairs and the third bed. They no longer had the TV on. They didn’t need it on to stay awake anymore, after all. Their worries were enough to chase away sleep, although they gave up on talking around midnight. After quietly making what plans they could, they talked about their friends, their teams, anything to make the time go by quickly. It hadn’t worked, and they’d fallen into an anxious silence.

“Almost time,” Carol whispered, startling Rogue so much that she nearly jumped.

“I know,” Rogue replied, glancing at the clock that now read 2:59. “Are you ready?”

“Sure. What’s better than a little danger and a brave escape attempt right at the witching hour?” Carol asked with a low chuckled. She sobered quickly and looked at Rogue. “Promise me, if anything happens to me and you make it out, you’ll let my friends know. I don’t want them worried that I’ve been captured somewhere.”

Rogue nodded. “Sure, as long as you’ll do the same for me,” she said as they stood up together. They shook hands to seal the deal, and then they headed for the door.

Rogue had grown practiced at opening doors silently; insomnia can give you strange urges in the middle of the night. She let her bare hand caress the cool metal for a moment before slowly turning the handle and pulling open the door. The hinges had been well oiled, showing that the government’s lackeys were much too confident that no mutant would try to escape from here.

Using the door frame as a brace, Rogue slowly snaked her head out. She could see two guards at the end of the hallway, but she also saw many other heads start to pop out of other doors along the hall. Some of the mutants weren’t being as cautious as they should have been, and one of the guards noticed. He said something to the other guard and they both turned with their guns out.

“Carol, take them!” Rogue said fiercely. From what Carol had told her during the long hours, she would have no problem handling two mundane guards with guns.

Rogue watched Carol fly into the air, and her breath caught at the sight. It would be so wonderful to have such an amazing ability instead of being a liability to everyone you loved. Carol flew quickly, dodging a few bullets as she went. The guards seemed to be dividing their attention between Carol and the heads that were quickly disappearing into their own rooms.

Carol reached the two guards and quickly disarmed them, grinning as she bent their pretty guns into shapes that resembled pretzels. As they started to run, she gave them each gentle taps on their temples from her fists. That was enough to knock them out cold.

“Come on, everyone! Check for any locked doors. We have to make sure everyone gets out of here!” Rogue called as soon as she saw that Carol had the guards under control.

Mutants came rushing out of their rooms. Some did stop to check the doors of their neighbors if they weren’t already opened, but others simply ran down the hall, heading for the exit. Rogue knew that was the wrong decision.

“Don’t head outside yet!” she called frantically. Most of the mutants heard her and stopped, turning around uncertainly.

“There might be a lot more guards in the waiting area, and there are probably even more outside, surrounding the whole building. We have to plan this out very carefully. We have to check the other two floors, get the mutants who’re there freed, and take out any other guards that we find. They have guns, people, and not every one of us is going to be invulnerable to bullets like my friend there,” Rogue reasoned with them. She felt on fire, as if this was possibly the most important thing she could ever do.

“Not only that, but they tricked us! The government gave us a promise they never intended to keep, and we have to pay them back! We have to get the message out so that no other mutants can come here! Their little plan will be ruined if we just work together to spread the word so that no other mutant will come to these places to be made into prisoners!” Rogue let her anger show, trying to goad the others into the same feelings of misuse and retribution.

The mutters of the mutants around her told Rogue that it had worked. Carol nodded approvingly from down the hall before nodding towards a door next to her.

“I’m going to go upstairs. If there’s anyone willing to come and help me check out the situation on the second and third floor, I’d be grateful,” Carol announced as quietly as she could.

Four mutants stepped over to join her. They carried makeshift weapons in their hands, lamps pulled out of walls, table or chair legs. Carol told them to be as quiet as possible, since they didn’t know if anyone else had been able to accomplish what they had, and then they opened the door to the stairs and headed up.

Apparently, the guards who had been relieved on the other two floors were heading down the stairs as Carol and her team headed up. Rogue heard gunfire and gestured for everyone to get down on the ground. There was no use for them to be bullet fodder if the fight came back out into the first floor.

Face pressed to cool white linoleum, Rogue stared at the door anxiously. She was sure that Carol could handle anything a couple of humans would be able to dish out, but it would be difficult to escape if they were dragging along a couple of unconscious mutants. Rogue wished that she had thought to put her wrist communicator in her backpack. Maybe that little bit of forgetfulness on her part had been wishful thinking; if she didn’t bring the communicator, there wouldn’t be any need for it. Stupid thinking. Stupid hope. No more of that now.

After several tense minutes huddled on the floor and many gunshots later, Carol came rushing back through the door to the stairs, another twenty mutants following her along with the original four. Some of them looked desperate, some angry, but all were casting terrified looks behind them.

“We need to get down to the ground floor, everyone! I need any mutants with offensive abilities partnered with those with defenses, and quick!” Carol barked out, coming over to Rogue and looking at her. Rogue just nodded. They would be the front line. It went unspoken but agreed between them as the watched the others partnering up. Just as they were about to head down the stairs, Rogue heard a crack of thunder outside, so loud that the entire building shook. Sounds from downstairs filtered up to them, remarkable sounds of fighting. Carol looked at Rogue.

“Is that...?”

“It might be the X-Men. We should get going no matter what, though,” Rogue told her. Carol nodded, and they began to descend into what shortly seemed like hell. Once they reached the door to the lobby and Carol wrenched it open, they could see guards grappling with X-Men in leather as well as several other mutants Rogue didn't recognize. Carol immediately flew into the fray while Rogue flexed her bare fingers. Damn the voices, damn the pain, she was going to touch anyone who got in between her and freedom. Rogue rushed forward, feeling the press of mutants at her back following. Then all she could think of was the press of bodies, picking targets of faces and necks, grabbing a gun once she knew how to use it and pumping bullets into any guard that moved into her sight.

At one point Logan was at her side. He looked her over for a minute before nodding and jumping on the next guards to pour in from a back door. Meanwhile, thunder kept shaking the building as mutants and humans fought for control of it, and pieces of ceiling were starting to crash to the ground. Rogue wondered if they should try harder to get to the front doors, but really there was no helping it. The room was full of the press of fighting bodies and furious faces, but it seemed like no one was able to get very far after each encounter left a human lying on the ground. Finally a path opened to the door, and Rogue started pushing the mutants who seemed least able to fight toward it, shouting for them to get out of there and spread the word.

By the time only the X-Men and Carol were left inside the building, it was swaying in strong gusts of wind and pieces of wall were actually collapsing. Scott was yelling that they had to get out of there, and they all rushed for the door. Rogue was next to the last out, in front of Carol, and when she heard the crash behind her just as she made it outside into the driving rain she whipped around. It was too late, though. Carol lay in what was once the doorway but was now a gaping hole, most of her body covered in the concrete blocks that had made up the walls of the building at one point. Rogue rushed over to her, heedless of any guards that might be left, hoping only to save the woman she had come to admire in the few short hours she had known her.

“Carol, can you get out?” she screamed over the rain and wind.

Carol raised her head, dazed, and started shoving blocks off of her body. Rogue did her best to help, but they were heavy. Then Logan was beside her again, helping to lift the gray slabs off of Carol's legs when she seemed to collapse again, obviously biting back screams when they moved her legs.

“I thought you were invulnerable, dammit!” Rogue cursed as she carefully reached over to prop the older woman's shoulders up, all too aware of her gloveless hands.

Carol shook her head. “My skin is. My bones and organs...only so much,” she said, coughing. Rogue looked down and saw blood on her chin. She wasn't sure when the tears started, but they began to mix with the rain washing into her mouth, leaving the impression of bitter salt.

Logan shook his head and picked Carol up, earning a grateful look from Rogue. They made their way to one of three black SUVs parked about a block away, running through the slowly slackening rain. Rogue opened the back door and lunged inside, gesturing for Logan to lay Carol next to her so that her head was on her lap. Rogue stroked the other woman's hair as she just lay there, moaning, her eyelids drooping. She was pretty sure she shouldn't let Carol sleep but wasn't sure what to do if that happened. Thankfully, the drive was pretty quick, with Logan glancing back at them in the rear view mirror several times but otherwise keeping quiet. The only sound was Carol's labored breathing, which made Rogue worried that the woman's internal injuries might include lung damage.

Then they arrived at Central park, and Logan pulled Carol back out. Rogue tumbled out of the car, too, and watched the other X-Men congregating. The rain that was still falling had driven away many would-be witnesses, so they were able to run through the park and to the Blackbird with relative ease. Rogue kept watching Carol's face as she ran, and she wondered if the lack of color was an indication of pain or something far worse. Once on the Blackbird, Rogue was able to sit quietly by the emergency gurney strapped to the wall as Carol labored to breathe. The other X-Men gave the two women space, only throwing curious and worried glances their way. Only Logan hovered, as much as someone sitting across the aisle could hover, watching as intently as Rogue.

“We'll be home in half an hour,” was Scott's only comment.

It seemed to Rogue that the time was dragging too slowly. Each minute seemed like an hour, especially when Carol coughed again, blood pouring from her mouth. Rogue unsnapped her harness and got up, ignoring the protests of the others. She used her own sleeve to wipe up the mess, and suddenly Carol's hand reached out and grasped her wrist. Even injured she was too strong for Rogue to pull away.

“Marie,” she whispered hoarsely. Rogue leaned down to hear her better. “I'm not going to make it.”

Rogue shook her head. “No, you're going to be fine. We'll get a doctor, get you all patched up,” she promised recklessly.

Carol shook her head weakly. “No. I can tell. Please, I need...there's so much left to do. Please...” she said, a little more strongly. “You can do it, just...please...”

Her eyes widening in horror, Rogue realized what the older woman was asking. She wanted Rogue to touch her, skin to skin.

“Why?” Rogue choked out. “If you think you're going to do anyway, why do you want me to...” She couldn't even say it.

“You'll get my powers...you can still help, and this...won't have been a...complete waste of time. Of my life,” Carol said. It was the firmest Rogue had heard her speak since they pulled her out of the rubble.

Rogue's bare hand hovered over Carol indecisively. “But what if you're wrong?” she asked.

Logan's hand settled on Rogue's shoulder, startling her. “She's not,” he said gruffly. “There's blood in her lungs. I can hear it. I don't think there's anything we can do for her in time.”

Rogue bowed her head then looked up into Carol's desperate, pain-filled eyes. Taking a deep breath, Rogue reached out and placed her hand gently on Carol's cheek. The pull, when it started, was slower than it ever had been. Perhaps it was Rogue's reluctance to do this, the ultimate act of taking a life with her mutation. Whatever the reason, the pull did roar to life eventually. Rogue felt tears streaming down her cheeks as Carol's eyes widened and her hand came up so that both Rogue's wrists were trapped by her strength. Rogue was sobbing by the time the final light of life left Carol's eyes. Then the hands holding her wrists went slack, and different hands, strong and large and comforting, were keeping her from falling to the floor, were helping her back to her seat. The rest of the X-Men were quiet as Logan buckled Rogue back into her harness and found his own seat again. For the rest of the flight, the only sounds were those of Rogue crying.
End Notes:
Hello. My name is Ally, and I have am a recovering Cartoon!Rogue addict...

As always, feedback appreciated!
Chapter 7 by Ally
Author's Notes:
And the last bit. I decided to end it on a bittersweet note.
Rogue allowed herself to be led out of the Blackbird, but she refused to leave the hangar as Carol's body was brought out on the gurney. The Professor was waiting, and he rolled up next to Rogue and told her that he had called in his old friend, Dr. Henry McCoy, to help deal with the body. Rogue nodded and watched Storm and Scott wheel the gurney out of the echoing chamber. She followed them down the hall, feeling Logan like a shadow at her back, and watched as they passed the med lab and went to a door twenty feet past it. When Rogue looked in she saw a morgue much like the ones on TV. Scott and Ororo had opened one of the storage units and pulled out the slab. Gently they lifted Carol and laid her down. Ororo went to a drawer and pulled out a white sheet. She and Scott draped it over the prone form and pushed the slab back in, closing the door.

Rogue heard a little mewling sound when she heard the click of the door closing, and as she folded in on herself she realized that it must have been her. Logan's arms wrapped around her again, and Rogue let herself be lifted and carried away. Part of her felt as if she was the one on that cold slab, the part that had once been Carol. At the same time, Rogue felt Carol's relief that she could continue on, somehow, even after death. She supposed that might be a comforting thought to someone so dedicated to helping others.

She was almost surprised when she felt herself being lowered onto a familiar bed. There were her sheets, crisp and cool against her flushed face. She heard murmurs above her, but she didn't try to figure out what they were saying. It seemed as if this whole long day had gone horribly wrong. Feeling her comforter being tucked around her, she snuggled in and let the hot tears she'd been holding in escape as she heard her door close.

Minutes, or maybe it was hours, later, Rogue couldn't find any more tears to cry. She laid there in the dark, aware of another presence in her room. Deep breathing and the breeze from the vent near her bed told her who it was.

“Are you gonna stay here all night, Logan?”

“I'm here as long as you need me, Marie. Try to get some sleep.” His voice was gruff, close to a growl, and Rogue felt his hand smooth her hair away from her forehead. He must have been leaning on the wall next to her headboard.

Rogue made a quick decision and scooted over in her bed. “Lay with me? Please?” she begged, needing the comfort more than anything else in the world just then.

Logan didn't say anything else, but his heavy body was stretched out beside hers within seconds. He wrapped an arm around her and brought her up tight against him. Rogue tried hard to sleep, but it was if her mind just wouldn't shut off.

“Logan?”

“Sleep, Marie.”

“I just...is it bad that I'm almost as sad that the cure wasn't real as I am that Carol died? I mean, I barely knew her, but she was really nice. Shouldn't I be more sad that someone died than I am because...” Rogue didn't want to say the words out loud.

“Because you lost hope that there'd be an easy way out?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“I think it just makes you human, Marie. We all want to take the easy way out, and it's always disappointing when you realize you can't, that the easy way doesn't exist. I'll tell you something, though. It takes a really brave person to do what you did on that jet tonight. The kind of person who can get up the courage to work things through the hard way,” Logan said firmly.

Rogue thought about that. “I don't know that I can try for the hard way, though. It's...if I did that, I'd have to touch people. That's what the Professor says. I'd have to concentrate on touching someone and not pulling everything out of them. I don't know that I can do that. I might accidentally kill someone, or send someone else into a coma!” She knew that was practically a wail. Okay, it was a wail. That didn't make it any less of a valid complaint in her book.

Logan's arm tightened around her, and she felt him press a kiss into her hair. “If you want, I'll help you. We both know I can survive your touch, and it's not like you don't already have me up there in that head of yours. Maybe it'll even help you relax,” he offered quietly.

Rogue turned around so that she was facing him in the dark. All she could make out was the outline of his face, but it was enough. “You'd do that for me?” she asked hesitantly.

“Marie, I just dragged the entire X-Man team out to sit outside of a 'cure' clinic for hours on the off-chance that it might be a set-up, in case you needed help. I think a few touches aren't going to be any worse than Scooter's disapproval or Storm's indignation at having to be near one of those places. So, yeah, I think I could live with helping you try to control your mutation.” He sounded a little irritated, but Rogue didn't mind that. It was practically a good mood for Logan, after all.

Quickly yet gently she kissed his cheek. “Thanks.”

Rogue felt his hand—gloved, she now realized—firmly press her head down into the pillow. She felt him stroking her hair even as her eyes grew heavy. She felt inexplicably better. Maybe it hadn't been such a bad day after all.

“Go to sleep, Marie,” Logan whispered into the dark, hand moving to her back. Rogue fell asleep with him rubbing small circles along her shoulders, her head tucked under his chin.


~ Finis
End Notes:
So, was the ending too choppy? I'm just not sure about it, although I do think that I like it. How about you?
This story archived at http://wolverineandrogue.com/wrfa/viewstory.php?sid=3749