|Well, after over a year of reading fanfic and 6 months of
archiving it (Down-Home Charm, a Rogue fansite), I've finally decided
to try my hand at writing it. This story, "Through a Mirror Clear,"
is my first effort, although it's far from being done.
This story takes place almost immediately after X-Men #70 and just a week after Gambit's "Trial" in Uncanny X-Men #350. Anything happening in the books after those issues will pretty much be rewritten over the course of this story.
This story is about Rogue, post UXM 350. Be prepared for angst and lots of it -- but the good kind of angst, I hope, not the MST3K-worthy stuff.
Also, please don't crucify me for errors in characterization -- there's a reason for it. All will be explained in due time.
I'd also like to say thanks to my beta readers: Tilman Stieve, Vicki Lew and Ruby Lis. Tilman did nit-picks on my early drafts and helped me flesh out my ideas. Vicki did some massive edits, especially on the early chapters. And Lis was kind enough to give everything a final proof and offer her own suggestions.
Feedback is welcomed, worshipped, and begged for.
So without further ado...on with the show!
All characters belong to Marvel. Feedback and archival offers will be properly worshipped.
Through a Mirror Clear
And moving through a mirror clear
It was too perfect. It couldn t be real.
But it was.
The barrier was gone, no longer isolating her in her prison of pain. She would never again have to be so guarded, forced to hold those she loved at arm s length.
She was free.
It had to be true. What else could explain the soft caress of his hand on her cheek, his fingers lingering to trace the light curves of her face?
His touch was so loving and gentle, so different from any kind of touch she had ever known.
For how long had she dreamed of this moment?
Her heart began to ache with a strange, bittersweet sensation. Looking down, she struggled to keep her tears of joy from brimming over.
With that all-too-familiar smile of his, he put his hand under her chin and lifted her face to his. He leaned over, carefully kissing her tears away. She couldn't help but shudder at his sweetness.
She craved more.
He kissed her lips, chaste but filled with promise, and held her in his warm embrace. It made her, for the first time in her life, feel truly warm and loved inside.
He felt the warmth of her kiss on his lips, and he treasured the moment. She said she loved him -- unconditionally. She gave him hope that maybe he could escape his past. Maybe her love was the gods way of telling him that his penance was over, that he had finally redeemed himself for those shadowy events in the past.
He was a different person now.
He felt alive, vital and ready to conquer the world with her at his side.
Don't ever let this end.
His dream quickly shattered as the embrace turned cold.
It began as a small chill inside her, a flash of uneasiness in her heart. From there the frost spread, coursing through her veins to the outside of her body. It spread to him, covering him with a rapidly thickening layer of slushy ice.
Instead of filling him with warmth, the kiss began to drain him of it. Or was she simply returning the darkness of his heart that he thought he had purged forever?
She stepped back as the metamorphosis began.
He felt the cold begin to envelop him, beginning as a burden on his shoulders and then covering his body. Then it began to penetrate, freezing him to the very marrow of his bones.
He opened his mouth to scream, but there was only a deafening silence. He felt as if he was entering a cocoon -- but in reverse. He feared what he would emerge as.
Would he emerge at all?
Redemption could only be an illusion for someone like him.
His look said it all.
Fear. Shock. Regret.
She stared at him with a look that could only be described as one of betrayal. 'How could you do this?' her eyes seemed to demand.
And then he was gone, buried beneath his burden of snow and ice.
He was trapped, alone.
But she was safe.
She was alive, but every beat of her frozen heart stabbed her with shocks of pain and guilt.
He was gone.
Rogue awoke with a start, shivering.
A cold winter breeze whipped through her open window, chilling her to her bones. But the cold she felt came more from her insides than from the temperature outside. She rubbed her arms feverishly, trying to warm herself as she raced to close the window.
Disoriented by a wave of nausea and queasy uneasiness that washed over her, she tripped over the cardboard box that served as her makeshift dresser and fell to the ground.
Rogue lay there for a long while, feeling faint and helpless. Was this how Remy had felt, watching her abandon him in the wastelands of Antarctica? Weak, cold and alone, with the heart-sinking realization that love didn t -- couldn t -- conquer all.
This was the fifth night in a row. Five nights since the trial.
How much longer was this pain going to last?
The guilt. The pain.
Her pain, his pain. It didn t matter anymore.
It all blended together these days anyway. She didn t care to make the distinction anymore.
After everything she d done, she deserved it.
She wanted to die.
Her mouth twisted at the irony. Her power had caused her so much pain, yet at the same time, her invulnerability -- absorbed through the use of that power -- kept her from physical harm.
'B'sides,' she mused. 'Even if ah could do it, ah wouldn't have the guts t' go through with it. For someone who s never been all that religious, the idea o judgement day and the fiery pits o' hell right now, after all Ah ve done, scares me a little too much ta wish for dyin just yet.'
She closed her eyes, her head feeling light, dizzy. Her weariness overtook her, and she lay on the hard wood of the floor, too weak even to move over to her bed.
Soon, darkness claimed her, and she blacked out.
Wolverine found her early the next morning when he came to fetch her for a morning sparring exercise.
Opening the door, he saw her limp form curled up on the floor. Careful not to touch her bare skin, Logan put his hand on her shoulder, protected by the cloth of her nightshirt, and tried to wake her.
She didn't stir.
Something was wrong.
Logan quickly pulled a blanket off of Rogue's bed and covered her with it. Carefully, he lifted her up and carried her out of the room. In the hallway of the women's dormitory, he sniffed, trying to find Cecilia. She wasn't in her room. Not surprising, given that she was an early riser. As he gingerly carried Rogue downstairs, Logan tried to sniff out Beast and Cecilia again.
The team's two resident doctors were debating issues of medical ethics when Wolverine burst into the MedLab, Rogue limp in his arms.
"Oh my stars and garters!" exclaimed Beast. "Logan, what happened?"
"Don't know. That's why we're here," Logan answered. "Found the kid lying on the floor o' her room, passed out."
"Let's get a look at her," Cecilia said.
Hank reached out and carefully took Rogue s body into his arms. He and Cecilia proceeded to one of the makeshift examining rooms, partitioned from the main room by a plastic green shower curtain.
Logan lingered for a moment, then decided to find Storm.
"Physically, our Southern belle here has a clean bill of health." Beast stood next to Cecilia, in front of Storm and Wolverine. "She does show some signs of emotional distress, but it seems only normal after recent events. Instead..."
"It s almost like she s withdrawn into herself," Cecilia said. "She s not responding to anything."
"Can we see her?" Ororo asked.
"In a moment. There s one more thing...," Cecilia answered. She looked over at Hank, who coughed nervously before speaking up.
"Rogue is pregnant."