|Mon, 16 Aug 1999
Through a Mirror Clear 10/?
This is a revision of the chapter that I sent out a month ago. My apologies to archivists -- I'll send you a nice new HTML copy if you like. :)
Note: This chapter includes a lot of not-nice stuff, including violence and implied sexual assault. If you're young and/or sensitive to these things, it may be best to skip this.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money off of them. I don't know that Marvel would want them back after all this, either ' they'll all be pretty damaged goods after I'm done with them. <insert prolonged Dr. Evil-like cackle> Erm...yes...Anyway...Thanks again to my betas. All feedback will be properly worshipped ' just send it all along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous chapters are archived at my own Down-Home Charm <http://www.public.asu.edu/~alykat/X-Men/Rogue/rogue.htm> and other wonderful fan-fiction sites.
Through a Mirror Clear
"Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven...was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind." -from "Good Omens"' by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Bobby stirred restlessly in bed, grasping for lucid consciousness through the haze of dulled pain and fading painkillers. He tried to raise his arms above his head to stretch, only to have the sharp pain in his chest and arms snap them quickly back to his sides.
"Hank?" he mumbled groggily through parched lips.
He heard no reply, although he thought he heard a noise nearby. "Hank...?" he tried again.
This time he heard no noise, but his hair began to prick up on the back of his neck. Fighting against the groggy fatigue that weighted down his swolen eyelids, Bobby slowly opened his eyes.
And found himself staring straight into a pair of intense green eyes that sparkled dangerously.
"Rogue?!" Startled, he tried to jump backward in bed, crying out in pain as the sudden movement ripped out some of the stitches in his abdomen. Instinctually, he simultaneously braced himself against the pain and iced up his left arm with battle-honed speed to place an icy vise grip on Rogue's neck.
Rogue blinked at him in apparent surprise. Although his grip did not hurt her, she looked mournfully at Bobby with hurt and sadness. "Ah -- Ah didn't mean for what happened ... to happen, Bobby," she stammered.
Bobby's grip only tightened, and his eyes narrowed. The adrenaline coursing through his body dulled his pain, and his focus was directed entirely at Rogue.
She placed her bare hand on Bobby's iced one at her throat and coughed uncomfortably. "Please let me go, Bobby," she said plaintively. "Ah understand that you're angry with me--"
"Angry?" Bobby said heatedly, his hoarse voice rising in volume. "Angry?! I'm more than fucking 'angry,' Rogue."
"Bobb--" Rogue's plea stopped short as she felt the air in her lungs begin to freeze. Her hand tightened around Bobby's icy one.
Bobby's anger only intensified, and he felt new energy surge through him. "I bet this is how you felt when you beat me to a bloody pulp, huh, Rogue?"
Rogue's eyes were open wide, pleading with him to let her go. They quickly clouded over as Bobby continued to freeze the air in her lungs, and Rogue's grip on Bobby's wrist laxed until her arm dropped to her side.
Bobby let go of her throat when she slumped forward onto him, her limp form draped across his recently stitched-up abdomen. He felt all energy evaporate from his body, and he leaned limply back into his pillow as he stared numbly at his now-thawing hand.
Shaking, he placed his bruised right hand on Rogue's shoulder, trying to rouse her. "Rogue? Rogue, please tell me you're all right. Please? Rogue?" His efforts only served to aggravate the pain in his abdomen and tear some of the stitches. But he continued trying to shake Rogue into consciousness. "Oh god ... Rogue? Please? I didn't mean it ... god ... I don't know what happened ... Rogue?"
Bobby jumped back when Rogue suddenly sat up. "Rogue?"
She smiled dangerously at him and reached out to cup his bandaged jaw in her right hand. Closing her grip tighter, she said menacingly, "Always the underachiever, huh, Bobby? Never one to actually *finish* a job."
Bobby screamed out as his jaw shattered in her grip.
"How about I give you a lesson in completion?" Her smile tightened at the sight of the tears of pain welling up in his brown eyes.
"Say goodnight, Robert Drake."
The team's two doctors heard Rogue's frantic screams as they stepped off the elevator down the hall. With a quick glance at each other, they broke into a sprint toward the MedLab, ignoring for the moment the scalding heat of the freshly-brewed espresso that splashed from their coffee mugs onto their hands and clothes.
"Rogue?" Hank called out as he ran.
"Hurry! Please!" Rogue cried. "It's Bobby -- I --"
"Calm yourself, child," Beast said as he rounded the corner into the room. His manner was calm, but his voice betrayed his concern. "What has happened?"
Rogue stood up from Bobby's bed, revealing the young man's bloodied body. Stunned by the sight, Hank and Cecilia momentarily froze with horror in the doorway.
Rogue promptly knocked them out with a burst of concentrated ice aimed directly at their heads. A smirk on her face, she walked with catlike grace toward the doctors' prostrate bodies. As she closed in on them, she noted with satisfaction a small pool of blood forming beneath Hank's head.
"One of the originals," she murmured. "One of Xavier's *favorites.*" She chuckled. "This will hurt him greatly."
She heard a moan escape Hank's lips, and a wicked grin crossed Rogue's face. She stepped back for a moment. A good *kick* would feel really good about now. And with super strength, it might be especially satisfying to see how a 350-lb blue gorilla might ricochet off the walls.
Deep within her mind, another figure leaned back against the wall of the cave that served as her prison. Her eyes squeezed shut and her mouth set firm with grim determination, she concentrated.
'Get it right this time, girl,' she thought to herself.
A shard of fear threatened to break her concentration.
Without another glance toward the injured doctors or their dying patient, Rogue walked into the MedLab back office, where lab tests were conducted and medical records kept. 'Second row of cabinets, third door, behind the lab notes. And under the Twinkies.'
Hank had more than just the strangely addictive cream-filled cakes in his secret stash. He had Belgian chocolates.
And, oh, how she *craved* chocolates.
Prolonging the urgent anticipation, she daintily, carefully unwrapped the small morsel. Slowly, she drew it to her lips and placed it on her tongue.
And, oh, how she *savored* the taste.
How long had it been since she'd had truly good chocolate? Probably not in years. And her taste was too cultured, too refined to lower herself to buying a cheap fix of American factory-made chocolate.
Hank, however, had good taste, she judged.
She smirked and popped another truffle into her mouth.
The power of chocolate was simply amazing. She marveled at why she hadn't realized it before.
Too busy trying to rule the world in a man's body, she supposed. Fully appreciating the fortifying effects of chocolate took, perhaps, a more *feminine* touch.
She savored the taste of the chocolate in her mouth. So sweet, so smooth, so utterly...
She walked out of the office and surveyed the three unconscious figures in the MedLab.
And, oh, how she *tasted* power.
As she walked out the door, she paused to deliver a sharp kick to the blue-furred doctor's midsection.
Deep within her mind, another woman -- a mirror reflection of herself -- lay curled up in fetal position on the dirty floor of a cave, cringing as a dark, drunken figure hurled epithets and empty liquor bottles at her.
'Tried to steal mah likker from me, didn't you? *Didn't you?*' he screamed at her.
'Ah just--' She stopped short, wincing as he spat in her face.
'Speak when spoken to, girl,' he said, his voice suddenly dangerously calm.
Warm, wet and tinged with the sickening smell of cheap whiskey, the spittle stung her cheek. She moved to wipe it from her face, and the man delivered a sharp kick to her stomach. She bit her lip to keep herself from crying out in pain, knowing that any sound she made would be grounds for another punch or kick.
'Did Ah say you could move?' He sighed dramatically and leaned forward, his face less than a foot from hers. 'Y'know, girl, your mother cares a great deal about you -- although Ah'm quickly startin' ta wonder why yer worth all the trouble. An' since she's off slavin' away tryin' ta make enough money to feed and clothe ya, Ah guess it's mah responsibility ta discipline you in her absence.'
She squeezed her eyes shut as he unbuckled his belt and pulled it free from his portly waist. She sqeezed them tighter as he began a fevered assault, whipping the strap across her legs, back and arms. Her helpless rage overwhelmed her when the belt struck her cheek, and with hot anger she grabbed hold of the strap and yanked it from the drunken man's hands, pulling him to his knees at her feet.
They both sat in stunned silence for a moment, the woman surprised at her action and the man stupidly disoriented. When their eyes met, a slow, cruel grin spread acros the man's face.
'Looks like ya made yer decision, girl,' he said as he rose to his feet, hands moving to the button of his jeans. 'You know the rules -- should know 'em better 'n anyone else by now.'
Eyes squeezed tight, the girl curled herself into fetal position on the dirty floor. She knew what was coming, and the intense panic that washed over her pushed her into an almost catatonic trance. Awareness only dimly returned when she felt a glass whiskey bottle shatter next to her cheek, peppering cuts and slices across the smooth skin of her face.
She bit her lip and squeezed her eyes even tighter against the pain. As she felt a coarse hand fumble for her waistband, she fought to withdraw even further into herself. She didn't want to see, didn't want to hear, didn't want to _feel_ what was going to happen.
Wave after wave of fiery pain and emotion flooded through her mind and body. _Don't fight. Don't think about it. Birds ... flowers ... swimming in the river ... sunlight ..._
She flet herself begin to drift away from the body as the man's assault on it continued. _Green grass, flower patches ... don'tlookback_
She looked back.
Primal, untamed rage flowed through her at the sight of the man's body over her own, and she regained her sensibilities at once. With superhuman strength, she pushed him aside and scrambled to her feet, then pulled the man to his knees and delivered an onslaught of her own.
He only laughed at her.
The more she punched, the more she kicked, the more he laughed. She roughly pulled him to his feet and threw him against the wall.
He disappeared on impact.
The woman fell to her knees, staring in stupefied silence at the cave wall's uneven face. She looked at her hands -- and the blood that covered them -- and silently wept.
In the shadows, the darkness only smiled, soaking up her pain as it turned away. It craved more chocolate.