by Te
July 2002

Disclaimers: No one here is mine. Dammit.

Spoilers: Some vague ones for the movie, a lot more (and even
vaguer) for various X-Men comics.

Summary: Marie doesn't need to do it.

Ratings Note/Warnings: R. Content some readers may find

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.

Acknowledgments: Jenn is an excellent enabler, as is Becc. Becc
also gave me the title.

Feedback: Always.


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.

Mostly 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

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

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

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

"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.

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

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

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.

"Marie --"

"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
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.

Oh, Bobby...

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

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:

Dear Hank:

Sometimes vampires are just hungry.