Summary: Rogue deals with the events at Alkali Lake.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, except for this story. The characters belong to Marvel and Fox, and the song
belongs to Sarah McLachlan.
Notes: This shows a Rogue we don't usually go for, because we don't usually like her portrayed like this.
She's weak. She's paranoid. She feels sorry for herself. You're warned. Thanks to Devil Doll, for taking the
time and trouble (broken rib and all) to save me from many embarrassing mistakes.
I couldn't take my eyes off of him. It wasn't my intention to stare, not really. And I didn't consider it staring; I
just worried so much about him, so I watched him, even if it was from afar, behind his back.
I was standing in front of the window in the rec room. I'd been a while like that. And he was just sitting on a
bench on the back porch, eyes fixed on the ground, sometimes at his feet that were extended in front of
him, and every once in a while at some kid who was running or playing in the courts.
What made me worry more was the fact that he didn't seem to feel my stare. I know in any other
circumstances he would feel it just two seconds after it was placed on him.
But he didn't. He was in his own world for now. He was mourning, just like everyone else in the mansion.
But he was mourning alone.
And more than anything, that hurt me.
At least he hadn't run away again.
"Don't worry about him so much, Rogue. Everyone has their way of mourning."
I turned my head, finally losing my fixed gaze on the muscular, crestfallen figure outside, to look at
"I know. I just... I do worry." I was suddenly staring at the floor, not wanting the Professor to see me staring
so much at Logan, and not wanting to face the eyes that could see everything inside me.
"Well, I'm worried about you, Rogue. I haven't seen much of you either in this last week. I fear you are
doing the same he is, Rogue, hiding, not wanting to face it yet. And I fear you are hiding behind *his* grief."
So maybe I was. In a way I couldn't deal with it yet, so I tried to focus my worry on Logan instead of my own
pain. But I wasn't ready to, yet. Not now, not anytime soon.
Avoiding the Professor's eyes didn't help much. He still could see through me, even if he didn't go into my
mind. He wheeled himself closer to me, and took my hand.
"Rogue, tell me what you are feeling," he told me in a voice so understanding and caring, like one I hadn't
heard in so many years, a voice that represent an important part of my childhood.
"I... well... I miss her," was all I could say before my voice cracked. I wanted to say so much more, but I
didn't want to break down, and even less in front of him, who was grieving the loss of whom he considered
his own daughter.
He didn't say anything for a moment. Neither did I, and he didn't push me. But he kept looking at my face,
searching for my eyes.
When I suddenly raised them up to face his, he knew. He didn't even have to read my mind. It was right
there, in my eyes.
Afraid he would find out more, I dropped my gaze again.
"I understand you, too, Rogue," he told me in the most caring voice I'd heard.
Startled, I brought my eyes back up to him. I couldn't decide whether to feel ashamed for feeling the way I
was or sorry for being so transparent.
"You are not alone, Rogue. You never will be, so don't feel like you are."
I understood what he meant. He could see why I had bonded so well with Jean. He knew I felt only she
understood me, and why I felt I was all alone now. I couldn't utter a word, so I just hoped my gratitude
showed in my teary eyes. I think he saw.
"I know you don't feel ready yet to express everything that is upsetting you in such a way, but please do
not hesitate to come to me when you do."
And with that, he let go of my hand, and left.
I stood there watching him leave, considering going to him and pouring it all out to him.
I needed that, and I wished with all my heart it would help.
It was late in the afternoon and, being a Sunday, there was nothing much to do but just hang around.
So there we were, hanging around. Bobby, Jubilee, Kitty, and me. Not so different from all the other
Sundays when we had nothing to do, the difference being that now the atmosphere was inevitably somber.
Bobby and I had grown apart a little since that day. Which was somewhat unexpected, since we had been
through some pretty rough stuff before that had only brought us closer. It was probably just me, pushing
him away as I had unconsciously distanced myself from mostly everybody; yet at times my wary mind would
think he was avoiding me as I was afraid everyone else was. Sure, we still talked, but there was this weird
distance between us, an awkwardness that seemed to fill the air.
It was so odd, how I couldn't bring myself to trust the one person I knew understood me and would be there
for me no matter what.
We just sat there, talking, playing cards, trying to get our minds off the sad situation. But after a while, we
couldn't keep away from that certain subject we had been trying to avoid.
"I can't help but feel so sorry for Scott," Bobby said.
"I know, and the Professor. She was like a daughter to him," Jubilee added.
"It's just so hard to realize, that even the X-Men couldn't find a better solution than to sacrifice one of their
own in order to save the rest."
I was sure Kitty's comment was completely inoffensive, but like so many times in this last week, I couldn't
help but feel there was a hidden meaning to what could probably be an innocent remark. I knew it was all
probably in my distrustful, guilt-stricken mind, but I couldn't help the feeling that everybody looked at me in
a certain way, since that terrible day last week.
It was probably just paranoia, survivor's guilt, they'd say.
Now they were all looking at me, as if expecting me to add my two cents. I had no idea what to say. I don't
think I wanted to say anything at all, for fear I'd unconsciously express what I was really feeling, but mostly
for fear I would see in their eyes that they agreed.
"It's just so admirable of her," Bobby finally spoke again, "to be able to make that kind of decision."
"And to think if only that damn jet hadn't broken down after --"
I guess I wasn't hiding well my sentiments now because the second Jubilee turned to look at me, she
interrupted herself. "I'm sorry, Rogue, I didn't mean it that way..."
I just kept my gaze on the table, avoiding the three pairs of eyes on me. I wanted to say "Maybe you do,"
but settled with an embarrassingly weak, "But I do."
I breathed deeply, instantly sorry I had said that, stood up, and strode out of the room.
I was ready to go to my room and call it a night, but when I passed the Professor's office and saw the light
on, I decided to take him up on his offer.
I lightly knocked twice, and after the Professor's "Come in, Rogue," I opened the door, and stood there for
a moment, hesitating, just looking at him, deciding how to tell him how sorry I was.
Instead, I couldn't utter a word and, taking a step forward, the tears I had held inside for so many days,
started pouring out against my will.
The way the Professor was looking at me told me everything. He didn't expect me to say anything, if I
wasn't ready. If I had only come to him to cry myself out, then so be it. So I did.
I walked the rest of the distance between the Professor and myself and kneeled in front of him, and placing
my head and arms on his lap, I wept away.
He understood why I was missing Jean so much. She had been like a sister to me, a mother, a role model.
She had been there for me when I was having trouble separating the voices in my head, their personalities
away from my own. She had shared her own experience at controlling the voices in *her* head, developing
a bond I felt I couldn't share with anyone else.
But this was the Professor, the telepathic Charles Xavier. If anyone could understand me now, it was him.
And he did, right that moment. I know not because he told me with words or he went inside my mind, but
just by him being there for me, just by feeling for me.
But still, I wouldn't let myself tell him just why this was even harder on me. I was sure he'd understand, but I
wasn't ready to take the risk.
After releasing some sadness, frustration and some of my sense of guilt through so many tears, I left the
Professor's office and went to my room.
I still wished I could let it all out, let him know how I wished I could've done something different, that I
thought maybe if I hadn't flown that damn jet, or maybe if I'd let Bobby do it, or maybe if I had just...
At least to be able to tell him how sorry I was.
But even though I didn't, I did feel better, and I was hopeful maybe now I could get to have at least a few
hours of good sleep.
How wrong I was.
The dream haunted me once again. The dream where I took the controls of the jet and crashed it at the
landing, the dream where Jean got off the plane and stopped the water from consuming all of us, the
dream where it all went even more wrong and Jean's efforts weren't enough to keep us safe from drowning.
At least it wasn't the dream where Jean appeared to me and blamed me for everything.
But I had managed to not let those dreams affect me so much. I knew how much Jean had cared for me,
and that she would never blame me. I wasn't sure about the others, though.
When I woke up, and stirred in bed for a while, I decided to give sleep another try.
And in a more restless sleep, I had an even more disturbing dream, but it was the sensation I woke up to
that upset and scared me the most.
I saw myself falling out of the plane, only now Kurt didn't save me. I was falling, for what felt like an eternity,
and when I expected to hit the ground, I was suddenly in the mansion with the X-Men. Only I wasn't one of
them, I was more of a spectator who wasn't there physically. It was after the mission, maybe days or weeks
after. And there was Jean, and everyone else, and they were all safe and well. I somehow understood that
Bobby had flown the jet and he hadn't damaged it, and Jean hadn't had a reason to sacrifice herself.
Whatever had happened, they were all there except for me.
I woke up with such a startle that made me wonder if I was old enough to have a heart attack.
It was one of those times where I remembered every detail of the dream, but what frightened me wasn't the
dream per se. It was the sensation I felt afterwards. The sensation that they would have been better off if
only that dream were true.
I don't think I really ever slept more than two hours straight after that night. I was so used to having
nightmares, my own or someone else's, but rarely had one affected me this way.
So one night, I went to the kitchen in search of that stock of alcoholic drinks I knew Logan had bought
since we came back from Alkali Lake.
Just before I gave up thinking maybe he wisely kept it in his bedroom, I found it stashed away on a deep
dark corner of the pantry.
Among a small variety of scotch and beer, I went for a six-pack and headed for the roof. I had grown a
liking for that place since a little more than three years ago; the lightly cool wind that blew at those heights
gave me peace and a sense of freedom I seldom felt.
I sat down and drowned myself in the beer. It didn't taste as horrible as I had expected, since what I was
used to was only light beer, but it was easy to drink it straight up, not even allowing the alcohol to kick in
before I was already drinking the third one.
Before grabbing the sixth and last one, I was feeling very lightheaded I wondered if the building was
actually moving. In a mental lapse, I walked to the edge of the roof to make sure.
It felt as if the height had multiplied by three. Watching the ground as it seemed to get closer and farther,
my relatively new fear of heights suddenly renewed itself. I realized how dangerously bent I was, and as I
tried to straighten myself back, I heard an angry voice behind me calling my name. Worrying that Logan
had busted me, I turned around to face him, and I stumbled as I felt the building moving under my feet. I
barely realized how slowly Logan was disappearing and all I could see then was the sky.
Logan instantly appeared again at the edge of the roof, but he seemed to be so far of my reach already.
I remember looking into his frightful eyes while he yelled after me, and thinking how cruel I was for
distressing him in such a way, as if he didn't have enough to deal with already.
The fall seemed to take forever, and though I waited for the inevitable encounter with the hard ground, this
It took me several seconds to realize I was already standing on the ground, with Kurt's arm carefully placed
around me and over my light nightgown.
I couldn't believe it. The blood immediately went to my head as I felt my body stiffen in what could be
named as rage. For a moment I just looked at Kurt, swallowing acid, and looked up at Logan's relieved
The scare helped for the alcohol's effects to fade, but all I could feel now was absolute rage and appall.
And what I did next I instantly regretted afterwards.
"STOP SAVING ME!" I screamed at a dumbfounded Kurt as I jerked myself away from him.
Utterly frustrated now, I closed my mouth tightly and momentarily averted my eyes, fixing them on the
ground. I looked up again just to see confounded expressions on the two faces. From the looks on them, I
figured I'd be about to hear a thousand questions as to what had just happened, so I just turned away and
I could feel the gush of cool air hitting my face as I ran. Yet I felt winded. It was as if the air was too thick to
be breathed. Maybe it was a different air than the one up on the roof. One that wouldn't let me breathe,
wouldn't let me think, wouldn't let me stop crying.
Can't breathe, it's too much air...
My bare feet started to yield to the painfully stony ground, but I couldn't stop running. I knew they'd be
waiting for me in the mansion, waiting for me to come back and ask me questions I didn't want to answer.
I'd already said too much, the rest they would figure out on their own. They'd know I accepted my part of
the blame in Jean's death and now they wouldn't be discreet at holding me responsible, at pointing fingers
and accusing me.
And it's not that I thought they had no right to, I just already had too much with just me.
It wasn't good enough, I didn't do enough...
Once again that dream that insisted in lingering in my mind amused me with stinging flashbacks of it, of the
dream itself and of the sensations that came with it. Once again I felt like that night I woke up to it. And it
made me run farther, harder, faster.
And I wasn't there...
So I kept running, ignoring the tears falling and burning my cheeks. I don't know where I was running to
anymore, or what I was running from, I just felt the need to get away from it all, to drain myself, to release
this feeling I couldn't expel with words that wouldn't come out.
Empty, I want to be empty...
The thought haunted me, and took over me and wouldn't let go.
Better off, they'd be better off...
And I'd been strong, for so long. I'd been able to take control of my emotions, or at least pretended I did,
like that day I feigned likeness for the physical reminder of the night when my mutation didn't do much for
me except almost kill me, Logan, and the entire population of New York; like that day I pretended Bobby
was something real enough that would make me forget and move on.
Lies, building lies so they wouldn't realize the truth...
I had held so much inside for so long. I'd repressed so much thinking that was the way to go. And it had
worked well enough until recently. But I felt like breaking now. I felt it all come at once, all that I'd been
holding inside. From my demons from day one, to my inescapable regret from two weeks ago.
But I didn't want to. Even if I did, I couldn't. It was as if my legs had a mind of their own, or maybe my own
mind wasn't here anymore to control them.
Stop Marie, hold on...
And now my own mind was betraying me. I hadn't been Marie in so long. I couldn't be Marie or I wouldn't
have the strength to deal with it all. But, maybe that is why I was thinking of myself as Marie... because I
wasn't coping anymore. Still, I couldn't stop, I had to let it out, exhaust myself until I didn't feel anything
anymore. Why was I thinking of stopping when I didn't want to?
Empty, let me be empty and weightless...
"Marie, wait... stop!"
I was so startled from the voice calling from behind me. I tried to turn around, but somehow my feet got
tangled with one another and, as I started falling backwards, a tree prevented my fall by slamming itself
against my back. Or maybe it was the other way around. My legs started shaking and I dropped to the
My head was spinning so fast, I don't know if it was still because of the alcohol or the sudden stop. I tried to
stand up again, but I felt my legs give way and I slumped down again.
Logan had been running right behind me, and came to a halt before me, kneeling down.
"Marie, are you alright?" He still had that hurt, confused look on his face. "What's going on? Why did you
say... tell me, what just happened back there?" He stretched his hand forward, intending to grab my arm
and maybe pull me up, but I pulled back, suddenly too aware my arms were bare and my nightgown didn't
He grabbed me anyway. "It's okay, it's okay, don't pull away."
It was until then that I noticed he was, strangely enough, wearing a long sleeve flannel shirt and gloves.
I hadn't realized how exhausted I was from all the running until I was finally still, and my legs started to hurt.
My heart was racing so fast and hard I really wondered if all that training and exercising had been actually
improving my physical condition.
"Marie, talk to me. What's going on with you?" I looked into his worried eyes but couldn't keep mine there.
Looking into his eyes always had that effect on me, of opening myself to him. That was why I had been
avoiding him these days. And now I didn't know which was harder... to keep avoiding him, or letting myself
go and trust him, taking the risk of discovering in his eyes that he also blamed me. I couldn't even tell the
Professor... how would I face *him*?
And then, I don't know how, he did it. He knew. He placed his index finger under my chin, and very gently
lifted my head. My eyes just went to his. There was nowhere else to look. And he said it.
"Don't. Don't do this to yourself." He looked behind my eyes, I could tell. I had tried so hard to keep
everything deep, deep inside. But he just had that way of looking behind the façade I put on everyday. He
"You're only hurting yourself by keeping it inside. Stop repressing it."
I involuntarily let out a chuckle that may have sounded too scornful. "And this is coming from you," I finally
managed to say in a voice so bitter I didn't recognize as my own.
"But you're not like this. I know you're not. You need to open yourself, there's only so much one person
can handle." He kept looking, past the fallen mask, and he saw it all.
I'll never know how he does that.
And I almost couldn't believe it, what I saw back in his eyes... he didn't blame me.
"We all feel responsible, Marie. We all feel we could've done much more. Nobody blames you. If it wasn't
for you, maybe none of us would've gotten out." He tilted his head a little, seeking my eyes when they
couldn't hold his incredibly penetrating gaze. "And no, I don't think Bobby would've done a better job at
flying the jet; Ororo has told me how much he sucks at it."
He was trying to make light of it. Oh, how I thanked him for that.
And how grateful I was to him for saving me the anguish of letting the words out by myself. It had been so
long repressing my feelings; I'd forgotten how to do that.
He put his arm around me, and pulled me to him. I instinctively placed my head safely in his chest, feeling
his fast-raced heartbeat. I never thought something so rushed could be so soothing.
"Promise me you won't keep anything to yourself anymore, Marie. Even less if it's hurting you so much," he
told me, his voice low and hoarse, his breath warm in my hair.
"Okay," I replied, still not able to handle many words.
"I know it's hard to say some things. We think keeping them inside will keep it only in our imagination, and if
we say it out loud will make them real. And we put on a front; we pretend something else. But someday
we'll have to accept it as part of our lives. Accept them and deal with it. And it might be frightening, not
knowing what to expect or how to cope, but it sure is better than living some kind of lie."
I can't begin to say how much that confused me. I couldn't tell anymore if we were still talking about me or if
now Logan was opening himself up to me, expressing some repressed feelings.
And in a very silly way, I wished he was talking about his feelings for Jean, and how they could be a façade
for what he really felt for someone else he couldn't bring himself to accept.
It was until a while later, when I had calmed down some, that I realized something that should've felt
stranger than it actually did. "Logan, why'd you call me Marie?" I asked him, lifting my head a little so I
could see if the answer he'd give me matched the expression on his face.
"You'll always be Marie to me."
And that was all the answer I needed.
We held on like that for a while. We both needed the comfort and the reassurance the understanding of
another person could bring us. We both had been hiding from the world, in our own way, for our own
reasons, and we used that time to let it all out.
We went inside the mansion after that. I had expected everyone to be up waiting, to see what had
happened up in the roof. I figured Kurt had told somebody.
There wasn't anyone. I figured Logan had mentally asked the Professor for them to leave me alone. I didn't
ask him, though. I didn't really have to.
After we went up to our rooms, I slept whatever was left of the night, which wasn't much, but it still was the
best three hours I had slept in a very long time.
I had a talk with the Professor a few days later. I already knew he didn't blame me, he understood, but it
was so good to be able to share my feelings with him.
I don't keep my grief inside anymore. But still I don't tell many people much. Mostly just the Professor, and
Logan. We talk a lot, of anything and everything. He's helped me realize I'm not alone in my weird way of
coping. And I think I've helped him see he can trust people as well. Or at least me.
And sometimes, I think about what he said that night. Especially when I'm with him, either in the mansion,
just passing the time and not doing anything at all, or when we go out. I think about it when I look into his
eyes and I see that he still worries, that he cares. And I see something else that makes me wonder if I was
maybe not that off at all about what I wished it meant.
Because what I see in his eyes, even if I can't actually put a name on it, I know it's the same that shows in
my own whenever I'm with him.
~ E N D ~
Ideas and phrases were taken out of this song:
By Sarah McLachlan
Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction oh, beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty, oh, and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight
In the arms of the angel, far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you feel
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here
So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh, this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees
In the arms of the angel, far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you feel
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here