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clamor

Clamor
by Molly
August 2000

It was almost a blessing that she refused to leave the medlab.

Rogue alternated and roamed; she couldn't seem to stay still, or to want to. As soon as Jean finished stabilizing Logan she was there, staring down at him, a haunting look of recognition etched into her wide eyes, her trembling lips, and she almost reached out to skim a palm across his (her) face before faint traces of herself rose back to the front and she remembered.

She wore no gloves here.

They couldn't let her go, anyway, not right away, not in her state. In the jet she had sat, stony cold and deathly still, and she watched Logan bleed. She could smell it; she could smell blood like she could never remember smelling before.

And then she started to scream, because he (she) was dying. She wept, and nobody lent her their shoulder to cry on.

***

Venom. She felt like a snake, coiled and ready to spring. Logan, in her head, being her, filling her; so much rage and confusion and during the flickers in which she came back to herself, understood herself, she would flinch under the weight of knowing he would never leave. She'd taken too much.

And for awhile she thought it was only him. How easily she forgot, until she huddled in the bleak, sterile corner and listened to Jean and Scott discuss the aftermath of the summit, their hopes that it would all die down. And she sneered and told them they were idealistic fools, and she got up and her back was so straight where it had been hunched for hours. She looked at Logan, still bloody and marred, and she smiled a bit, but when his dog tags snapped off his neck and plastered themselves into her hand, she screamed.

She couldn't drop them, and Jean stared, frightened, and she lurched, desperately waving her arm and trying to shake the chain loose. Jean started babbling, about control, about concentration, and there was Logan again, snarling that it wasn't so easy so would she please shut up.

And the tags made a sharp noise hitting the floor and she was Rogue again, and she fell to her knees and clutched her head and shrieked.

***

His eyes were open and they looked like shimmering death; she felt like a coward. She rested a hand -- gloved, Jean had finally admitted she didn't need any treatment, just supervision -- on his chest, felt his heartbeat through flesh and fabric, and she remembered hearing it, long ago, staccato in her ear, filtered through the watery haven of lust and sweat.

"Charles," she whispered, then turned away. Those eyes-- too empty, too accusing to regard.

***

Logan's breath moved in and out; she watched it intently from her chosen spot on the floor, against the wall. The rise and fall of his chest, the slightest shudders of his nose, the tightening of gauze and tape across expanded flesh.

Jean came in to make sure their tiny afflicted world was still in some order. She gazed down at the Professor and she fiddled with wires and machines attached to Logan, and then she came and crouched beside Rogue. "How are you?" she asked, and her voice was gentle and low.

Rogue blinked at her, and the miserable clattering of dates and images and memories that added up to too many lifetimes suddenly took a bow. "Jean," she breathed.

"Rogue?" and Jean looked so hopeful, her face was so lit by warm concern and pure devotion, and Rogue's fingers came up to gently touch her lips and she wondered what they would feel like against her own. "You're so beautiful," she sighed. "I'll never be as beautiful as you."

"Rogue," Jean said softly, and she settled down to sit by Rogue. "I can hear so much noise in you. It feels so unsettling."

"It's quiet now," Rogue disagreed. "But I should have known you wouldn't like it inside my head."

"I didn't say that, Rogue."

"I get the feeling there's a lot you don't say, sweetheart."

Jean looked startled, and she leaned back, away, and Rogue frowned at the movement. "Listen... Rogue-- "

"Go away, would you? One-eye must need... " and her eyes clouded and she leaned against the wall and moaned. "Jean, make it stop, please?"

Jean took her hand and squeezed it lightly, and she got up and left. Rogue watched the fluid grace of her retreating form, and she closed her eyes and let out a low sound that was really just a growl.

***

She turned 16 in Meridian, and her father was smirking as he handed her the keys to the car. "Don't get any tickets, hon," he said, and he ruffled her hair and kissed her cheek.

She was watching, waiting, staring at Charles in his wheelchair, and she hadn't felt so broken herself since she lay in the mud and let the rain pour down between she and her parents. And the twisted metal came back, haunting her, and she reached out and drew the chair to her, and Charles' lap was warm and safe for her cheek, his hands gentle and welcoming for idly placed kisses. "I don't understand your peace," she muttered.

She felt the blows landing with a numb detachment; they felt almost separate from the rage that boiled within. And when she lashed back, the sound of bones crunching beneath her fist was muted, lost in a blur as she tuned it all out. The surly trucker dropped, and she never wanted to see this place again.

***

She slept on the floor and refused to move anywhere else, and there were only two more accidents of magnetic fields. It was getting weaker, anyway; the last time, she'd been watching Jean prepare a syringe for Logan, and the needle had suddenly hurtled to imbed itself in her arm. And the bruise formed and took hours to fade, and she liked how it felt to have pain again without healing.

Jean was leaning against the adjacent wall, watching her, when Charles woke up. And Rogue stood, and she crept forward amidst the words -- "How'd we do?" he was asking, and she wanted to scream that he beat her, that he won, and was he happy now because they were all doomed? -- and she kept her silence and she stared until he turned his head and saw her.

And he said, softly, weakly, "Rogue. I'm glad to see you're well."

She shook her head and then he knew, and she said, "Charles."

***

He was weak but he was dressed, in his chair, and she left the medlab for the first time to go to his office with him. For long minutes he just watched her, not in her head but somehow around it, getting a sense of it all, and she remembered being 36 and arguing with him about Vietnam. How they'd batted back and forth, and then she'd kissed him and beyond his touch the world didn't matter anymore.

He gave her a gentle smile and he was always so damn calm, and he was still calling her Rogue. "Recovery simply takes time," he was saying.

She walked around his office, and she took off a glove because she wanted to touch his things. Books and heavy statuettes, and there was a globe in the corner which she spun and then found New York. Almost straight off the boat she'd met Charles, so young, so gently vibrant, and she wasn't alone with her abilities anymore.

"You always think people can get over anything, Charles," she said, and she shook her head at him. "You surprise me; you do."

"This will fade, Rogue," he pressed on. "I will get some rest, and then we'll see what we can do about finding you some peace."

"Peace," she whispered, and Rogue and Logan were both fighting to come back. "What if it doesn't exist, Charles?"

"Then I'll die looking, my friend," and his eyes were sad and tired.

***

He waited until she slept and then he did his reordering of her, and of Logan and Eric. And she woke in her own bed and things were clear, and she cried for the distance of two parts of herself.

She went to lunch and Jean came to sit by her. "It really is quiet now," she said, staring at her food. "I can't hear much of anything."

"But it's still there," Jean said, and it wasn't a question. "Managed, but there."

And Rogue nodded, then looked up. "I can't help but think you're beautiful," she confessed. "It's just so clear, inside me, how pretty you are."

Jean smoothed a hand over Rogue's hair, and leaned in for a gentle hug. "You're going to be okay, Rogue."

After she ate Rogue went upstairs, and she crept into Logan's room where the bed wasn't made because things had happened too fast, and she lay there until the sinking mercy of sleep returned.

And she stayed, long after she got hungry, after she woke and slept and woke, yet again. She got cold and Logan's jacket was strewn on the bed, abandoned messily in a haste to find *her*, and she pulled it on to sit and stare, blankly.

The scent made her feel almost herself.

**end**