Rogue fidgeted on the biobed as Jean looked over the X-rays of her ankle. Logan had left at least ten minutes ago to meet with the Professor, and she could just imagine what they were talking about. Well, what the Professor was probably talking about. “Sorry, Logan, but you know Rogue’s friend Jubilee, the one you were treating like a kid sister last time you were here? Rogue killed her. Have some tea? No? Brandy?”
Ugh. She wished that Jean would just hurry up already so that she could get upstairs and do damage control. Glaring at her white-clad back didn’t make her move any faster, so Rogue let out her breath in a huff and settled back on her elbow, transferring her glare to the offending ankle stretched out in front of her.
“Good news,” Jean finally turned around and smiled at her. “It looks like it was just a bad sprain. I don’t see any sign of a break or even hairline fractures. We’ll just get you bandaged up, and I’ll pull out one of the crutches for you to use for a few days.”
Rogue breathed out a sigh of relief and tried to smile back, although she knew hers was more strained than happy. Her thoughts were still mainly concerned with the conversation being held without her. She watched as Jean pulled out a roll of ace bandage, unzipped Rogue’s leather pants leg up to the knee, and began to wrap her ankle expertly.
“I’m so glad I suggested these modifications to the uniform,” Jean rambled as she worked. Rogue knew that was unusual for the doctor, who preferred to work in silence, and thought gratefully that maybe she was trying to distract her patient from obviously unsettling thoughts.
“It’s been a help after more than a few battles,” Rogue tried to keep up her side of the distraction, purposefully thinking of the hidden zippers along the arms and legs of her uniform. They didn’t add much bulk, but they made triage infinitely easier than it was when she first joined the X-Men.
Jean finished wrapping Rogue’s ankle with quick, expert hands, securing the end with two little metal butterfly clips. Rogue followed her instructions to try and roll her ankle around, which was almost impossible. That seemed to satisfy the doctor who then went to one of the hidden cabinets along the back wall of the medlab and pulled out a set of metal crutches. Rogue hopped off the bed onto her good foot and reached for them. They immediately realized that the crutches were too tall for her petite height, and Jean adjusted them while Rogue leaned against the biobed. Jean made her practice with the crutches by circuiting the room twice, and finally she admitted that Rogue was proficient enough to leave.
“Just watch out for the furniture, and try not to move too much for a couple days even with the crutches. Your body needs time to heal itself. I’ll bring you an icepack if you text me that you need one, okay?”
Rogue rolled her eyes and then smiled. “Yes, Mother,” she teased.
Jean lightly slapped her shoulder. “I’m serious, Rogue. You don’t want to damage yourself any more than you already are, right? After all, I think that you have a reunion to get to,” she taunted the younger woman.
Rogue felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “Bye, Jean. See you later!” she called, limping out as fast as her foot and crutches would take her. The doctor’s soft laughter followed her out but was thankfully cut off when the large metal doors closed behind her.
Maneuvering down the hallway was less challenging than the medlab had been, and Rogue made it to the elevator in what might have been record time for someone on crutches. She was both eager to see Logan again and anxious to see his reaction to what had happened with Jubilee. Would he hate her for their friend’s death? Would the Professor even tell him, or did he expect Rogue to? She wasn’t sure she could, but eventually he would ask someone where Jubilee was. Instinctively she knew that he would be horribly angry if he found out from someone other than her.
The elevator seemed to take forever to descend to the lower level. Finally the door slid open to allow her to slip inside. She let herself lean against the smooth wall for the short ride to the first floor. The hallway she stepped out into was empty, an amazing thing for late afternoon that she could only be thankful for as she made her way towards the Professor’s study. The crutches clumped loudly on the wooden floor, and she wished that there was a quieter way to do this. They made it impossible to move unobtrusively, although if she’d been thinking she would have realized how ridiculous it was to think that she would be able to sneak up on a telepath and a man with super hearing.
The door to the study opened as she approached, and Scott stuck his head out. He gestured for her to come in. Rogue approached the room slowly, apprehension growing with each step. She tried to slip past Scott, but the crutches made her unwieldy and she almost tripped instead as one caught on his foot. A large hand closed over her upper arm, and Rogue looked up to meet Logan’s concerned hazel eyes.
“It’s just a sprain,” she muttered, suddenly irritated by the pitying looks she was receiving from everyone in the room. She could feel them, a heavy weight on her mind that caused her eyes to return to the floor as she pulled away from Logan and limped over to one of the sofas where she lowered herself carefully, balancing on her good foot and a crutch. Ororo helpfully moved to help her set the crutches aside, but even that kind act wasn’t enough to force her eyes to meet those of the other X-Men.
She knew from that one glance at Logan what they had been talking about prior to her arrival. It was so obvious, the pain and anguish in his eyes where there had been mostly relief just a short time ago. Rogue should have known that he would react that way. Of course he felt sorry for her. Of course he pitied her. They all did, didn’t they? Poor Rogue, who killed her best friend.
Professor Xavier cleared his throat. “As I was saying, it may take some time for you to get settled back here, Logan. Please let us know if there’s any way that we can make the transition easier.”
So they were going to pretend that they hadn’t been talking about her? Fine. Rogue kept her lips pressed together as she traced the patterns of the pastel-colored rug under her feet, first with her eyes and then with the tip of her black boot.
“I’ll do that, Chuck. Right now, I guess the important question would be if I have a room here still?”
Rogue’s gaze flashed up to meet the Professor’s, but she didn’t speak up as he smiled at Logan and replied, “Of course. You’ll find that none of your possessions have been disturbed except for some light dusting since we were not sure when you intended to return. Rogue wouldn’t let us pack anything away into storage.” She blushed and would have welcomed it if the sofa had swallowed her whole right then and there, but when she peeked at Logan he just smirked at her. She met the challenge in his eyes with one of her own, her chin tipping up defiantly.
“Wanna remind me how to get there, darlin’?” he asked, walking over and holding out a hand.
Rogue slipped her fingers over his palm, swallowing at the heat that flashed through her when their skin met. He gripped her hand gently and pulled her to her feet—well, foot—and helped her balance as Ororo handed her the crutches again. They walked out with a murmured good-bye to the others, Rogue clunking along just ahead of him on the crutches.