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Through a Mirror Clear
Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
"Hmmm...What did you miss...?" Hank said thoughtfully. "Well, young Sam made up a scrumptious country breakfast for everyone, Bobby froze the leftovers to save for you, and...Oh, yes...Logan found you unconscious in your room and brought you here, where you have been in a near catatonic state for the past two hours and have just awakened."
Rogue appeared unfazed. "Well, Ah'm alright right now, ain't ah? Ah'd like ta leave - if that's okay with you."
"Actually, I would prefer that you stay here so we can run some tests and make sure you are indeed in good health," Beast answered.
Rogue looked at Beast uncertainly, and then at Dr. Reyes, Wolverine, Storm and Psylocke, who were all gathered around her bed. The way they hovered over her, their brows furrowed with concern and intensity, made Rogue begin to feel like a caged cat, surrounded by potential enemies and just itching to escape.
And she could not understand her reaction -- these people were her friends. Why would she feel so threatened by them? She could not suppress her uneasiness. 'Why are they starin' at me like that? It's like Ah'm being studied an' observed, like they're watchin' every move Ah make. Whatever's goin' on, Ah don't like it.' Rogue looked up at Beast cautiously, then at Wolverine and Storm. 'They're hiding something.'
"What's goin' on here, guys?"
Psylocke moved toward Rogue's bedside. "You withdrew into your mind for several hours, and Logan, Ororo and I had to come in after you. Do you remember any of this?"
"Bits an' pieces," Rogue said cautiously. But truthfully? She remembered every detail clearly. "Just felt like a real bad dream."
"Except this time the dream was real," Ororo spoke up. "You nearly died."
Betsy continued, "Had Ororo and Logan not saved you from that mob, you would have died a psychic death, which would have killed you physically or rendered you a vegetable."
Rogue worked hard to appear nonchalant at Psylocke's pronouncement, struggling to chase her feelings of fear, relief and...Disappointment? It took her an enormous amount of effort to force these emotions into the dark recesses of her mind.
She looked at her friends, and her mounting dread threatened to overwhelm her.
There was more, she knew.
The way they were surrounding her, their eyes filled with a mixture of concern, expectation and pity.
She didn't want any of it.
There had to be more.
She had to get out of there.
But she was trapped. She would have to listen to their news and then suffer through the aftermath -- the pitying glances, the patronizing tones of voice, the conversations that would abruptly end as she entered the room.
'Aww...forget it.' Rogue snapped herself out of her reverie.
"So what part a' the story are ya leavin' out?"
Worry flashed across the faces of her friends.
Beast moved to escort the others out of the room. "Perhaps if we discussed this in private...?" he suggested.
"Hold it right there -- _all_ a' you." Everyone froze in place, afraid to leave but still unwilling to look at Rogue. "Somethin's definitely goin' on here, an' since you all seem to know about it anyway..." She looked pointedly at Hank. "Spill it, Beastie. Now."
Beast himself had begun to feel cornered. He cared for Rogue and was genuinely worried for her...Her uncharacteristically cold facade was beginning to scare him. He decided it would be best just to tell her the whole truth.
"Rogue...You are pregnant, due in about nine months' time."
She took the news more calmly than anyone had expected. No crying, no laughing -- not even a grimace or a smile.
No emotion at all, actually.
Anything she felt had been quickly hidden behind a massive poker face, and not even Psylocke or Logan could read past the stoic facade she had erected.
It was as if she had just gone cold.
And then she had disappeared before anyone could say anything.
"That went well," Logan said, chewing thoughtfully on the end of his cigar.
Cecelia glared at him, then looked at Hank. "Why did you just let her go like that? After what just happened, she needs a full medical "
"Rogue can take care o' herself, Doc," Logan interrupted. "If she can walk outta here just fine, she can walk back in here just as fine later, on her own terms." He breathed a small sigh as he lowered his cigar. "Gal's doin' some serious hurtin', and it's not her body that needs healin' right now."
With that, he put the cigar back in his mouth and walked out of the room.
Hank spoke up. "After everything that has happened today and in the past week, I think it best to leave Rogue alone with her thoughts today, and then approach her tomorrow about returning here for a -- "
The blue-furred doctor -- and everyone else in the room -- froze as they heard Rogue's voice from the doorway.
Rogue looked appraisingly at the group, still standing where she had left them.
"Ah thought so..."
And then she was gone.
Logan found her later that day wandering the woods outside the mansion, barefoot and still clad in her nightshirt.
'Still got that calm look on her face, but it don't take a genius to know somethin's wrong. The hunched shoulders, the way she's fighting those branches in her way...She's upset. Maybe she just don't know it yet.'
"You gonna speak up, Logan, or ya just gonna keep followin' me...Wherever it is Ah'm goin'?" Rogue's voice startled him slightly. She still meandered through the woods, but her pace had slowed, as if in invitation for him to catch up.
Logan quickly reached her, and the two walked together in silence for a few minutes. Wolverine finally broke the ice. "How'd you know I was followin' you?"
"Remember that 'seventh sense' Carol used ta have? Well, Ah got that, too, if ya don't remember. Ah just don't use it much." She yanked more viciously than necessary on a tree branch in her path. "B'sides, Ah figured after what all went on today they wouldn't be lettin' me go as easily as all that."
The snap of the branch punctuated her statement.
"Ah knew someone was followin' me, an' you're the only one who can get that close without makin' a sound."
"Not bad, darlin," Logan returned, pausing to light his cigar. "But fer the record, no one sent me."
"Whatever you say." Rogue stopped walking and looked over at him. She opened her mouth, as if to say something to him, then evidently thought better of it, flying upwards into the air in a defensive battle stance, her voice becoming edgy. "Look. You got somethin' to say, spill it. Otherwise, leave me alone."
"Just wanted to see how you were doin', darlin'," Logan answered, his calm expression unchanged by her outburst. He leaned back against a tree to puff his cigar.
"Ah'm fine. That it?" She moved to fly away.
"Not quite." Logan reached out a gloved hand to grasp her ankle.
Rogue's face darkened. "Let go of me, Logan," she said tersely, rising a little further into the air and lifting him a few inches off the ground.
"If that's the way you want it, kid," he answered, letting go. "Just keep this in mind...There's only so far you can run from yourself -- "
She flew away before he could finish.
" -- an' who knows what's gonna be left o' yer soul by the time you come back?" he continued, muttering softly to himself as he made his way back to the mansion.