From: "Te" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [glass_onion] XMM: Because (1/1) Date: Monday, July 08, 2002 12:00 AM
Disclaimers: No one here is mine. Dammit.
Summary: Marie doesn't need to do it.
Spoilers: Some vague ones for the movie, a lot more (and even vaguer) for various X-Men comics.
Ratings Note/Warnings: R. Content some readers may find disturbing.
Author's Note: In a stunning act of self-buggery, I inspired myself to write this. Well, I had help. People have been chatting all over blogland about Rogue's history as a not-so-nice-guy, and you know? I'm all over that. This could be considered an AU, I suppose.
The story (with the picture in question) is archived here: http://strangeplaces.net/te/xmbecause.html
Acknowledgments: Jenn is an excellent enabler, as is Becc. Becc also gave me the title.
No one ever had to teach her how to take.
That's something ol' Rave never understood. Raven, Mystique, the Honorable Gentleman with the bluest, scaliest dick ever to swing on the Senate floor...
Marie sniggers to herself, an ugly little sound with too many accents narrowing out to nothing and steps over the trash in the alley. Adjusts her too-expensive-for-this-neighborhood cloak and licks her fingertip for the...
Charge. Frisson. Dregs. Zap.
Every voice has a different word for that extra-special-good thing on top of the simple human sweat and dirt, the taste of her own skin. Had a different word.
They fade; she remembers or doesn't.
"The mind," Rave had said, in that pedant's voice she used back when Marie was still young enough not to snarl at her for it, "is the most flexible muscle you have, child. Use it."
She could do that.
Marie grins to herself in the shadows of her cowl and walks on, edging around some puddles, splashing through others as the mood strikes her. This feed was human, or maybe a gamma. Hard to tell with fashions these days. Those facial markings could have been natural.
She's not too high, doesn't feel any particularly new powers s lamming through her system. Just... normal. Not even sated, not in the way the word has always meant to her. And it's not like she needs these little killings to survive...
Her smile is a little brittle around the edges this time. Some things she hasn't forgotten very easily, like the look in Hank's eyes, old Beastie-boy's eyes when she demanded he come up with a reason for her fucking vampirism and all he could do was shuffle five years of notes and back away a step.
Apologize, so very soulfully, and so very obviously not look out the window where all the other little mutie boys and girls were learning how to live with their powers without... without...
Logan had been back at the mansion then, and that had been... he hadn't asked any questions, and Marie had been old enough to do him the same favor. They'd found a bar, a number of bottles, and a bed.
It wasn't her first time, but it was only her third, because -- and Marie's more than old enough to admit this now -- she'd been afraid. Of hurting them. No, not them. Bobby. Sweet, sweet Bobby who'd throw himself at a brick wall a thousand times if you just asked, and was stupid enough to trust to all the precautions they took, just because they worked.
Bobby was her first in a number of ways, and fuck Rave anyway for her bullshit about emotion dragging you down.
Marie knows just where to stroke that scaly hip to feel the edges of a David-star, sunk shallow beneath changeable skin.
Logan, now, Logan had seemed safe.
That morning in their motel room she'd watched him sleeping off whatever passed for a hangover for an alpha with a healing factor, it'd all come back. Everything waiting for her back at the mansion, back with the X-Men. Her special suit, her special clothes, her special fucking life.
That rage sitting low in her belly. A knot in the middle of all the cheap liquor, waiting for her to vomit or cope. Another cheap-ass metaphor for her life, seemed like, and it'd been so easy to just pad on over to the bed, silent as she remembered from too many wars, as she'd been taught...
The gloves were still tucked in the belt of her body suit, and the feel...
Marie ducks into another dank little alley, ignoring the oily raindrops falling on her cowl. The rush of memory is body-warm, mind-bright. If anyone comes near her right now, they won't survive.
She remembers coming to herself with burning fingers crammed into her mouth. Taste of Logan's sweat and their sex nothing to the electric slam of betrayal and fear and resignation and her hips had been bucking harder than they were when he'd fucked her.
She'd never taken anyone like that before. When she'd been whole, healthy. Or when she had; when it was for a mission, it was only enough to demobilize.
Just a taste.
That's all they'll ever give you, Marie. Remember that. If you want more... well, you know what you have to do.
And the fact that the advice was in Logan's voice just made her laugh. And laugh.
She'd ridden west with all the skill she'd stolen and all the comfort, too, some part of her trying to decide whether it was making her nuttier or not. The Brotherhood had caught up with her in Chicago.
Marie hadn't pulled any punches, which left her too fucked up with other peoples' childhood trauma to slam the door when Mystique -- not Rave then, not for a while -- came calling at the rattrap she'd holed up in.
She'd known her right away, of course. Logan's memories, or maybe Sabretooth's. A flicker of Erik. Affection and rage and animal lust before she'd even shifted completely out of the inoccuously mousy brunette she'd affected to walk the streets unaccosted.
Marie had slammed her down to the floor, one knee between creamy thighs. Growled at the rip of cheap fabric and dug her gloved hand into electric orange hair.
"You've been busy," Mystique had said with a sharp-toothed smile.
"Why aren't I killing you, lady?" And Marie's throat had ached from the abuse of a baritone not her own. Her knuckles had itched.
Quick cat-flicker of a tongue, shockingly normal pink against blue-black lips and Marie holds herself rigid against the wall, against the urge to raise her head to the air to catch the ghost of the scent of Mystique's fear. It'd roused her then.
Made her more brutal than she had to be, but oh, she'd learned to love the heat of Mystique, good ol' Mama Rave against the cap of her knee.
"There's a mutant. A woman who calls herself Destiny."
Dyke, Sabretooth supplied. "And?"
"She's a precognitive. I've known her for a number -- well, you don't strike me as being in the mood for nostalgia." Slow smile, half-accidental shift that brought to mind every rut -- the only word for it -- she'd shared with Sabretooth. "She's the one who told me where I could find you, Rogue. She's seen us. Together."
Everybody's got a fuckin' sales pitch, said Logan, solid and comfortable. "You're still looking like a dead woman to me."
Finally a flicker in the lizard-yellow eyes, and her lips twisted like she'd bitten something sour. "She said to tell you -- no. She said I'd have to tell you: 'We're not here to offer you false assurances. Your powers are your own, like mine are, like Mystique's are. We're here to ask -- ask -- if you're ready to use them like they're meant to be used. To be as powerful as you can be.'"
She hadn't been able to hold in a hiss. The quiet in her head was... absolute. "As opposed to?"
And Mystique had clearly found her stride again. She gave Marie another slow smile. "As opposed to being... special."
Marie shakes off the years-old shiver and the years-old debate between some of her... acquisitions on the nature of memory as it applied to a uniquely parasitic mutant such as herself. Steps back out into the street proper and squints up at the sky for any sign of the sun.
Detroit is an ugly, depressing city, and it seems like today the weather is determined to help prove the point, pissing lukewarm rain on buildings burned out years ago. If the Brotherhood doesn't pick a better class of city for clandestine gatherings she's defecting to the Hellfire people.
Rave had brought her here one Mischief Night, made herself brown and scarred and magnificent to 'match the decor,' as she put it.
A little piece of Hell, it seemed to Marie.
Logan still hadn't faded by then, and the fires in the streets had been an oddly touching little counterpoint to the flare of his Zippo inside her head. This is supposed to be some kind of lesson, he'd said. Some kind of scare you crooked tactic. She thinks you'll leave her and Destiny, he'd added, fading into the ghosts.
And Marie had snuggled up beside her and strolled the riot like a girl with her beau.
Most of Rave's other lessons were less obscure. Destiny usually knew how to keep them from getting caught.
And when that failed...
The X-Men caught up with them outside of Alexandria. Stupid to stay that close to the prison after the breakout, even with Marie amped full of every stray mutant's powers she could comfortably control.
Every voice with sense had been telling her to run, move, get out -- now. With or without Rave, Destiny, and Erik. But Erik had taken a bullet, and been ailing besides, and neither Rave nor Destiny would leave him.
And Marie had been... reluctant to strike out on her own.
That'll cost ya, Logan had said.
"The princess' heart is ice," Destiny had said, and had just enough time to curse irascibly about the uselessness of some of her predictions when the front door to their safe house blew off its hinges in a flood of red light, sending her flying.
Marie responded with a few blasts of what she was almost sure was solar radiation, siphoned off a pretty blond boy with a familiar face and a nasty attitude the day before. By the time the fight was on the lawn proper, she knew Rave had stashed Erik somewhere safe.
And Rave herself was getting the shit kicked out of her by Storm.
It could've gone badly, she thinks, scanning the streets for a face, a meal. But then, Bobby had been there.
And Bobby had wanted to talk.
"You don't have to do this!" Yelled over exploding bits of suburbia.
And, "we just want to help you!" Even as Marie managed to aim one of her blasts well enough to knock Storm out of the air.
"Marie, please!" As a new guy came at her, lanky and fast, nothing in his eyes but the heat of combat, coming fast --
Watch his hands, kid, advised her Logan-ghost. She did, and barely managed to avoid an exploding playing card of all fucking things.
Gambit. She knows his name, now. Oh, yes. A player in his own right. His eyes make the skin between her shoulderblades itch. She's been in this strange little game long enough to develop a sincere lack of appreciation for players who don't declare their allegiances loudly enough.
Players like you? She doesn't know who the voice belongs to, just knows she doesn't like its attitude. Clutches the cowl a little tighter to herself as she walks, losing track of the faces for long, dangerous moments.
She needs a feral. You can be all kinds of careless with a feral in your blood -- they do all the work for you and she's losing track of herself and it's all because of demon eyes and pleading little boys who will always, always be little boys, because...
Because for whatever reason, the X-Men hadn't brought Jean along, and she was probably the only one who could've pulled it out for them. Or Logan. If he'd ever come back.
They'd planned for four against three, with one seriously wounded. They'd planned for the Marie they knew, a Marie who'd look at the unconscious sprawl of Storm, the battered one of Cyclops, and listen to Bobby.
Sweet, sweet Bobby with a perfect crystal tear forming. Focused entirely on her, not even watching as Mystique paced him like a cheetah, like some kind of fucking hunting cat.
"Just knock him out, Marie, we don't have time for this."
Not even a look. "Marie, I don't understand... I never did, but it's okay."
And she remembers his smile, perfection in ice, creaky as a teenager's, though Lord knows they were of an age.
"Marie..." An edge of worry in Rave's voice, and she thinks that's what did it.
Because Bobby took a step closer. Reached for her, fearlessly as ever.
And Marie took his hand.
She's ready for the memory flood this time, barely stumbling when her knees go to jelly. Maybe because of Logan earlier.
Maybe just because it was Bobby, with his normal upper middle class childhood, with his optimism and endless sweetness.
And oh, the love.
She can't say she hadn't known, but to feel it... filling her up the way nothing ever could and nothing else ever would.
She couldn't have let go if she'd wanted to.
It was snowing when Mystique's voice registered as more than just an annoying buzz on her internal radar. It was snowing and she was the world's deadliest ice sculpture. Blissed-out and laughing and laughing and if Rave didn't get it, didn't know why Marie killed him when she didn't really have to, then fuck her.
Sideways with a chainsaw, even, as St. John used to say, quoting a movie he loved way more than was healthy.
"They'll never stop hunting us now!"
She has a point, her Logan-ghost had said.
But Erik had been at the remains of the door, wrapped in a blanket, leaning heavily on a bruised-to-hell Destiny. "We'll give them something else to worry about." He'd been looking at her. In her.
And Marie knew he understood.
Sometimes she wonders why Bobby never talks to her. He's not the only one she's killed, after all. Not the only alpha, not even the only weather mutant. The memories are there, fresh as every other kill --every good kill, every alpha kill -- but, Bobby...
Sometimes she looks for him, shuffles through the ghosts, faded and lively, but she never finds him.
Sometimes she thinks about the deeper shadows, the places she usually considers placeholders for future acquisitions, and wonders.
Most of the time, though, she just remembers snow in Virginia summer, and the odd little family they made, her and Rave and Destiny and Erik, and then just her and the two other women when Erik died -- by Marie's hand, by Erik's choice.
She remembers the rush of it, and the slow, easy satisfaction. Erik's last living thought: I never thought I'd get to die in bed... thank you, liebchen.
Without Erik, the battles are smaller, the stakes less apocalyptic, the colors a little more grey. It's easier on the eyes, she thinks, though she suspects Rave misses Erik's revolutionary fervor.
Marie... Marie misses the first man who didn't try to fix her, even though he nearly killed her. Even though she'd wanted to be fixed.
Marie misses the man who'd have the words to write the letter to Hank she sometimes thinks about. It goes a little like this:
Sometimes vampires are just hungry.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Te
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