Stuck In My Mind
by TaleWeaver

All the men who've ever loved Marie - and some who haven't - live on inside her head.

They have all left their legacy.

David was in a coma for 3 weeks after wakening her curse (gift, the Professor says it's a gift), and now she knows enough about baseball and Little League politics to coach her own team, too.

Her father touched her, trying to reassure her, when the doctor diagnosed her mutantcy - she knocked him out for three hours, and found out that her parents' love wasn't quite as all-encompassing as she'd always thought (but she still wishes she'd touched her mother instead. Then she'd finally be able to play the piano properly, like Momma always wanted). It made it easier to leave Meridian, when David's parents were talking about suing her for hospital costs and a need for someone to pay. Marie knew they wouldn't bother without her walking around, reminding them and David of what happened because he kissed the wrong girl.

There was one truck driver who took her partway to Niagara Falls, who she knocked out with her skin when he started acting in ways that set all her road-wise instincts shrieking. Once she got a good look at his mind, she was tempted to kill for the first time in her life. The only reason she didn't was the prospect of having him with her permanently. (The doctor could be wrong about that, but the risk wasn't worth taking.) And when the next driver picked her up, she saw the mutant rights sticker, and he waited for her to use a payphone at a truck stop, so she could call the police and tell them where to find Shelly and Karin and Gemma, all dead in the last two years. (At least those three would get to go home, even if she couldn't.)

Then came Logan. He was the first mutant she ever touched, and his powers were a revelation. His senses opened the world to her in all it's sensual immediacy, it's colors and scents. (the joys of an icy-cold Molson Canadian) No one had ever, or will ever, love her quite the way Logan does. The animal fierceness, the wild protectiveness. The absolute commitment. The nightmares that make her wake screaming until they finally assign her a single room, are a small trade for the security of knowing there is one special person in the world who will literally do anything for her.

Magneto teaches her a great deal about what he laughingly calls 'human nature' and the depths to which it can sink. Logan's half-formed nightmares ground her enough to face the horrors of Auschwitz (does even Xavier or Mystique know that he was in the mutant division of Mengele's laboratory?). When they do WW2 in history, she writes an essay on the Nazis which earns her an automatic A - and a pass to study hall - for the rest of the module.

Xavier encourages the good bits of Eric - he plays Grand Master level chess with her, and speaks German to her while he trains her how to cope with and partition off the personalities that aren't her. The Professor smiles when she tells him that John spent an entire afternoon playing Blind Man's Bluff with her and the little kids, 'cause no matter how many times he spun her around, she still came out pointing to magnetic north. She never lets slip even one of the pet-names Eric had for him when they were lovers. And no matter how much she hates Magneto, just like the Professor she will never refer to him as 'evil'.

Logan and Eric don't fade very much, because they're mutants or because they touched her willingly, she doesn't know. But Eric stays in his corner except to snark occasionally, and Logan lies in wait until she needs him. But then comes someone who won't let himself fade at all.

Bobby made friends with her on her first day at the Academy, Jubilee and Kitty are the friends she made because it was the only way to share living space and survive, but John is the friend she made for herself. His wild streak matches her own; like Logan, he appreciates the Rogue in her as well as Marie. John is the one who casually brushes her hair away from her cheek or behind her ear, pulling away just before she imprints. (Every time Bobby comes near her, it's planned in advance) When she and John 'borrow' Piotr's car for a 1AM junk food run, she longs for him to kiss her the same way she longed for the warmth of a fire in a Canadian winter.

But Scott tells her how disappointed he is in her for sneaking away like that (though he's the one who buys and hides Molson's for her especially Logan-ish days, as long as she stays in her room when she drinks it), and Marie is afraid of losing a place where she belongs. So she hides away the girl who stowed away with a knives-in-his-hands cage fighter/bar brawler, and she becomes Bobby's girl.

When she finally touches John, he remains standing at the point when the Wolverine dropped (his gift brings with it low-level invulnerability in his skin, so he doesn't burn himself alive), and he comes into her mind eagerly. The John-inside helps her call back the fires that he shaped just seconds before.

Considering what happened later, Rogue finds it bitterly funny that the John in her head doesn't like Magneto - he sends up a firewall in her mindscape whenever Eric tries to influence her. Between John and Logan, Rogue hasn't heard Eric's voice much lately. John-inside gets along with Logan-inside just fine, but that doesn't surprise her. (Scott thinks that John is too much like a teenage Logan; she heard him tell Jean) The brief shadow of Bobby melts from the flames of John's full imprint.

Bobby feels betrayed by John's switching sides, but Rogue understands all too well why. Bobby hasn't had a hard time being a mutant; the way things went down with his family was the first time he'd really been hurt because he was different. John has been hurt all his life for being different, and she knows that what happened in the Drake's home and on the Drake's porch and then the two shoot-to-kill pilots were the last straw, one after another.

John wasn't at the Institute because he believed in Xavier's dream; he was there because he had nowhere else to go. Xavier was the wrong teacher for him; sorting through his memories helped her realize that before the plane touched down. It's ironic that Magneto understood how to handle John better in just a few hours than Xavier did in three years.

John is now like Magneto in two important ways; they both believe that humankind will never accept mutants, and thus a full-blown war is coming. They are also both without hope. John learned the hard way to put himself first. To survive at all costs. He hasn't joined Magneto because he wants to kill people, or because he wants to rule the world. He wants to live, and he thinks that joining Magneto is his best chance of coming out the other end of the coming war still standing. He wants to make sure that mutants never end up in a place like Auschwitz.

But John likes being inside her head. He wants to stay a part of her forever. John-inside knows he has a thing for her, that's why he's so happy in there. He figures that outside, he'll get over her sooner or later (especially since she chose Bobby), but here he'll never have to give up the dream he calls 'Rogue and me'. Rogue knew that there was something between her and John, but she didn't guess how strongly John felt about her. But then, neither did he. Logan-inside thought from the start that it was more serious than either of them did, but Eric is the one who makes her realize that John 'Pyro' Allerdyce was in love with her that morning he stood on the Drake's porch. In the last-for-years-no-matter-how-much-you-hate-it kind of way; the way Eric still loves the Professor.

By the time that Jean's memorial service ends, Rogue can no longer stand the air of grief, so thick in the school that she can smell it, Logan-inside or not. She somehow manages to persuade Logan to take Scott's bike again (although Logan tells her without really saying anything that it's not really fun anymore) and they head into Salem Center. She's wandering through a second hand shop when a yellow glint catches her eye, and when she looks at the little golden dragon properly, John-inside starts jumping up and down and begging like a little kid.

From that day forward, the antique cigarette lighter rides in her pocket the way Logan's tag used to ride around her wrist. Even in her brand-new (though she's still not allowed on active missions until after graduation) X-men uniform, there's a little hidden pocket, part of the protective padding so it doesn't make a lump. She never ignites it in the pulse-steady fwoosh-click John always used on his Zippo shark, (she just brushes her thumb over the hidden catch that will make the dragon's breath come hot and burning) she only holds it.

She and John aren't finished with each other yet; she's sure of that. When they meet during the war that she too knows is coming, she'll toss it to him and tell him, "Happy Birthday," and won't let on that she bought it six months after his last birthday at the mansion. Maybe she can even give him back some of the hope he lost. Maybe he'll kiss her, "Thank you". She hopes so. So does John-inside. Eric thinks it's funny, and Logan doesn't have much to say about it at all.


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