Title: Disposable
Author: Terri
E-mail: xgrrl26@yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own them.  Rats!
Archive: WRFA, Mutual Admiration, Peep Hut - all others, please ask :)
Feedback: Please? With whipped cream on top?  Good, bad, and ugly welcome.........
Summary: Sequel/companion piece to Sleep Tonight and Khaki's excellent Casualties of War.  Logan and Rogue leave the mansion and Rogue thinks through a few things.
Comments: Thanks to Karen for covering beta duties in Keli's absence :) Thanks also to Khaki for suggesting more fic in this storyline and a Rogue POV.  I'd love to have you pick up where I left off or fill in Scott's POV (hint, hint......)  I got to thinking in this one that Rogue must be pretty darn depressed by this point, so I'll warn you - it's not all sunshine and happiness in there.....


Disposable.  I've thought a lot about it, and that's the word that best applies.  Disposable.  If and when I am convenient, then I am used as appropriate or ignored.  When I have served my purpose or am no longer convenient, then I am disposed of without much concern over it.  Disposable.

I've been that way to almost everyone in my life.  My parents took that view - they certainly didn't hesitate to let me go when I was no longer the high school princess they wanted - and I suppose that I shouldn't expect any better from strangers, friends, or even my guardians. 

There's another word - guardian.  It's supposed to mean the person who watches over you, the person who literally guards your safety, well-being, money, and whatever you have.  Legally, Professor Xavier is my guardian.  He stood (well, sat) next to me in a courtroom, dressed in a suit and swore with his right hand up to God that he would act in my best interests.  Not in the world's best interests, not in his own best interests, not in the best interest of the X-men - mine.  He swore it, with his hand up to God.  But when push came to shove, when it wasn't convenient, he didn't keep that promise. 

I'm not talking about when I was strapped into the machine.  I almost don't even take that personally.  If I were in Scott's shoes - well, he never made any promises to God or the State of New York regarding me and it was his mission to protect the public.  I might've done exactly what he did myself.  No, it was before that, when I was living at the mansion, just minding my own business, and got swiped right off the grounds.  The Professor didn't take any precautions to prevent that, didn't think that just because they'd failed the first time, it didn't mean that they might not try the same thing again.  Still, I guess those are just small failures of omission, not quite neglect.  Maybe.  Not noticing until I was long gone - that was neglect, and that I blame him for.  When I was supposed to be something that was at least within his field of notice, I wasn't.  He didn't take his responsibilities to me at all seriously.  I was beneath notice, disposable.

And I wonder to this day whether they'd have bothered to try to find me if I hadn't turned up in Magneto's grasp.  I was worth noticing, worth the trouble then.  I presented a threat.  I could be used to do something that *was* deserving of notice to the Professor.   If I'd just run away or had been kidnapped by some random person, I don't think I'd have merited the bells and whistles.  Instead of suiting up and running for the Blackbird, they'd have gotten a cup of coffee, read the morning paper, and strolled around town at their leisure to see if they could turn up something, shaking their heads in pity and irritation at the stupidity of little Rogue the whole time. 

There's one exception to this whole operating principle, though, and that's Logan.  By rights, I should be worse than disposable to him - he should actively be avoiding me.  Every single time he's tried to do me a favor, I've hurt or killed him.  Every time.  I thank God he loves me, but I sure as hell don't understand why that is.  I don't know - I honestly don't know if I'd feel the same way if I were in his shoes. 

"We're gonna stop up here, get some stuff at that hardware store."  We've been driving for days.  I asked where we were going, but all Logan would say was that we were going to ground and that we'd be in hiding for a while.  I could've guessed we were headed for Canada even before we crossed the border, but I have no idea where in Canada we are.  We've been driving for four days after crossing the border.  "If you see somethin' you think you need, get it."

"OK."  We haven't really talked much.  I've mostly been just crying still.  I know he's mad at Magneto.  I know he's furious with Scott and the Professor.  He wears it like a neon sign, and I'd know it even if I didn't have his senses now.  I asked if we were going to ground to hide from the Brotherhood or to hide from the X-men and he wouldn't answer. 

"Stay close to me."  There's no danger that I'll go missing on Logan's watch.

"I will.  Logan - can I say something?"  Because I don't think I've really said it this whole time and before we go into hiding or whatever we're going to do, he should know.  "Whatever happens, I want - I want to be with you, OK?  I just - I love you and I really appreciate everything you've done for me and are still doing for me and I want you to be sure that I - "

"Shhh."  He's so gentle with me sometimes.  So gentle.  "I know.  Just let me take care of things, Marie.  It's gonna be just fine.  You're safe with me and I'm gonna take care of everythin'."

"I just - I want to thank you for - "

"I know."  He's started doing that more and more, just holding me to him when I tear up a little.  He must realize how much that comforts me.  I hate to ask him for it, I hate to ask him for anything, but - "I gotcha now, Marie.  You're gonna be OK now.  Shhh, don't cry, darlin'."

"S-sorry."  I really don't know why I can't stop crying so much.  Sure, being killed by your friends, dying, being brought back from the dead and almost killing the person you'd never want to hurt at all, the one you love the most - that's traumatic.  But it's been ten days, more - almost eleven now.  And I still just can't stop. 

"'S all right.  Take your time." 

"Scott?"  Why is he - he just keeps turning and walking away every time I try to talk to him.  "Scott?"

"Stop it, Rogue.  Can't you see that you're just bothering him?"  Jean - grabbing my arm and whirling me around by it.  "You should just leave him alone.  You should just leave everyone alone.  Don't you understand what God's trying to tell you, Rogue?"


"Don't you know why God gave you this mutation?  You're supposed to stay away from people, Rogue.  You're poison.  Why can't you understand that?"

"But Scott - "

"Shut up."  She's mad now, very mad.  "Do you want me to tell the Professor what you've done?"

"What - what did I do?  I don't understand."

"Liar."  Wait - no - don't walk away, just explain to me.  I don't understand. 

"Rogue."  Storm.  Whew.  Storm will explain it to me.  "You're in the way." 

"Why?  I - I don't understand what I'm doing wrong, Storm, please tell me."

"Child, you are not supposed to be here."

"At the mansion?"

"Nature has cast you out.  Your skin is an omen.  You are unclean."

"But I didn't do anything." 

"You are an aberration."  Her eyes - her eyes are going white.  Is she going to attack me?  "You must be dealt with."  She is going to attack me.  But why?  I don't understand, I don't know what I did wrong. 

"It's not an action, Rogue, it is your existence."  The Professor?  Where did he come from?  And he's - he's standing, he's not in the wheelchair.  "Your very existence is the offense.  As long as you are alive, we will all be in danger.  Surely, you grasp this."

No.  No.  I have to run, I have to hide.  They're - they're going to kill me.  They're going to -

"Stop!"  Scott.  Oh, God, Scott, and he's raising his hand to his visor.  "Stop, Rogue."

"No, Scott, don't!  I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!  Don't!!"  But he is - he's -


"Marie - wake up, Marie."

"Logan?"  Oh, God, it was a dream.  It was just a dream. 

"Right here.  Come back to me, darlin'.  Come on back to me."  Strong arms, smells like Logan. I'm safe.  I'm safe.  It was a dream.  It wasn't real this time.

"L-Logan......"  I can't help it.  All I can do is cry and shake and wail. 

"I gotcha, Marie.  It was just a nightmare.  You're with me and everythin's OK now."  He'll hold me. He'll hold me and rock me and take care of me until I can stop.  Logan will protect me.  I'm safe, I'm safe.

"This is it?"  I knew we weren't going to be living in a four-star hotel, but I didn't expect an actual bunker. 

"Yeah.  Help me get the stuff in and then I'll hide the car."  We've switched cars three times and now we're moving into a concrete bunker that looks like it's partly built into the ground.  Whatever Logan set in motion on the way up here, he's expecting some serious consequences from it. 

"I'm not worth it."

"Huh?"  He looks actually cute just now, lifting out our bags and raising that eyebrow in confusion.

"I'm not worth it.  I should've - I'm sorry, I was just so out of it but I should've said that before.  Whatever revenge you're - you're doing on Magneto and, you know, anyone else, I'm not worth risking consequences that would make us have to move into a bunker."

"Hmph."  He's putting the bags down now.  "Look, Marie, I'm just gonna hafta ask you to trust me on a coupla things.  One of 'em is that I'm gonna look out for you.  If I did somethin' that made Chuck or Scooter or Mags come after us with a vengeance, that wouldn't be good for you in the long run.  As much as I might wanna do it."  He's got a point there.  And he's smart.  He's very smart.  "They ain't gettin' off scot free, but they ain't gonna come after us.  Well, maybe Magneto, if he ever gets outta jail, but he woulda anyhow.  This place - well, let's just say better safe than sorry.  Let's just say I ain't takin' any chances.  You're gonna hafta trust me on that one, Marie."

"I do trust you.  Always.  I just don't want - I don't want you to suffer any more than you already have because of me."

"That's another thing you're gonna hafta trust me on.  You're nothin' but a good thing in my life.  You're the most important thing.  Believe that."

That's a much, much harder request. But for Logan, I can try.  "OK."

"OK.  There's one more thing.  You tell me when somethin's wrong, you talk to me.  Don't - you've been tryin' to hide stuff and keep stuff in and I don't wanna have it that way.  If I know what's wrong, I can fix it.  You gotta talk it out, Marie.  You've been cryin' for almost two weeks solid now. It's gotta come out."

"I don't know if I can."  That's the truth.  I feel like if I open up, even a little bit, the dam will just break and I'll be overwhelmed.  I'm not very brave, never have been, and I'm not at all sure I'm brave enough to risk that. 

"I'm gonna help ya.  Now, come on, help me get the stuff in.  Let's get settled."

"You're completely safe here.  Nothin's gonna get to ya, and if anybody tried they hafta go through me.  Got it?"

"Uh-huh."  This is Logan's way to get me to talk it out.  He doesn't know anything about psychiatry, and he's probably never watched a talk show or listened to a radio shrink in his life.  This is his way of getting me to do what he thinks I need to, to take care of me - sitting me down across from him and trying to make it OK for things to come out.

"So start talkin'."

"I don't know where to begin."  I'm not trying to be difficult, and I hope he knows that.  I can't - I literally can't get my thoughts on any of it organized.  When I try to think about it, it's almost like I get audio feedback - there's just unpleasantness and chaos, and I can't get past that.

"Scooter tried to kill ya."


"You gotta deal with that.  I know you - you got close with him.  He turned around and tried to kill ya.  Don't you got nothin' to say 'bout that?"

"He didn't try to kill me."  But even as those words come out, I can see it - I can remember how the red beam coming toward me looked, I can feel the heat and the whole machine begin to shake as it hit.  I can remember thinking - I'm going to die.  "He was trying to save a lot of other people."

"Just not you."

"He had to do it.  If the machine had worked - "

"Ain't you mad at him?"

"I don't have a right to be."

"That's not the question."  Like I said, Logan's smart. 

"I'm mad at him, I guess.  But I know what - "

"Don't stop.  Say it."

"I know what I'm worth.  I'm not worth thousands or millions of lives.  They couldn't - it was one life versus all those other lives.  They had to choose between me and everyone else.  It was just a bad situation."  That's what I tell myself when I do get mad, really mad, mad enough to hit something, mad enough to want revenge.  Sometimes it calms me down.

"A situation they put ya in.  They weren't watchin' ya."

"No, they weren't.  And I guess I am mad about that.  You would've watched me."  I guess that's what it all boils down to.  I didn't want to be disposable.  Maybe that's the truth of things, but I didn't want it to be that way.  And maybe if it wasn't for Logan, I never would've known that it was possible for it to be any other way.  I could've accepted it.  Maybe.

"I woulda and they shoulda."

"Yes, they should've.  And I mean, I understand - I really do understand that Scott had to blast the machine by that point but they never noticed I was gone again and they didn't come to even see if I was alive for a really long time after the blast.  I don't get that.  Even if they don't want me around..........."

"You should be pissed 'bout that."

"I guess I am.  I am."  Feels good in a weird way to admit that.  I am mad.

"Me too."

"And I don't think I'm - even if I did bring a lot of trouble to them, I didn't mean to.  It's not like I made everything happen.  It's not like I put everything into motion.  It's not like the big evil plans were my idea."

"You just got caught in the middle."

"I did.  I really did.  I mean, sometimes it feels like the universe is just collapsing on me, you know?  I'm just going along living my life and then, boom - mutation that ensures that I'll never have a normal life, that no one will ever touch me, that everyone will always be scared of me.  OK, dealing with that, then, boom - parents start hinting that they want to put me in a home, so I have to run away and live on my own.  OK, dealing with *that* and then what?  Attacked by Sabretooth, you get hurt, Magneto forces himself into my mind, and it was like rape - worse, even, and I almost die.  OK, still got through that alive, thanks to you, but had to wait to see if you'd live or if I'd killed the only person who ever seemed to give a crap about me at all.  You live, but then you go, and I know why you had to, but I was all alone again and the people who were supposed to watch out for me, they - they - just let a whole repeat version of the Magneto thing happen again, only worse because this time I know the rape's coming and I know *exactly* how bad it'll be - worse because this time, I know you're not there to save me and I know they won't.  Worse, because this time you *do* end up saving me somehow and I - I killed you.  I killed you.  I'm  - I'm - oh! "

"Shhh.  It's OK.  Come on, come over here."  I don't think I can - I can't even move, I - that just   snuck up on me and I'm crying so hard.  "It's OK, Marie, it's OK."  He's coming over here.  He's coming.  Logan's coming.

"I'm s-s-sorryyyyyy."  I can't stop - it is the dam breaking and it is all going to come out now.  I can't stop.

"Shhhh. You didn't kill me, darlin', you didn't.  I decided to do it; both times I decided to touch you.  That was all me.  I know what you told Hank and Jeannie - not to let me help ya if they thought I'd get hurt.  You didn't kill me, Marie.  I made the choice.  And I'd do it all over again if I ever hadta, 'cause you're worth it.  You're more than worth it.  If I was there that second time, I woulda said the hell with everyone else.  I woulda said that you're worth the thousands of lives and then some.  You're worth it to me."

"L-Logan........"  All I can do is cry and hold him.  I need him - I need him a lot. 

"I gotcha, Marie.  I gotcha."

"So what did you do?"  Maybe I shouldn't ask.  I'm not at all sure that I really want to know.

"Called in a few favors. They probably won't even know what happened until it's too late."

"But the Professor is a telepath."  Maybe that's why we crossed the continent.  Maybe that's why we're in a bunker.  Maybe that's designed to keep the Professor from finding us.

"Got plenty of people who can get around that, darlin'."

"Are they going to get hurt?"

"Wouldya want 'em to?"  Hmm.  Good question.  I don't think so.  I mean - that wouldn't solve anything.  Maybe I'd just like for them to be shaken up a little.  On the other hand, I don't think Logan's the kind of person to just put a scare into them and I don't want him to feel bad for whatever it is that he has done.

"I don't know."

"It's done, darlin', so don't worry 'bout it.  I didn't kill 'em, but I hurt 'em.  I hurt 'em where it counts.  And they should be glad I stopped at that."  I don't think I've ever seen him look so pissed, so hard.  Not even in the ring, fighting. 

"What are we going to do now?"

"Live here for the time bein'.  For a coupla years.  You - uh, you're good with that, right?"  You know, that's the first time I've seen him even the littlest bit unsure. 

"Right.  You and me - lots of quality time alone - that sounds good."  And that's the first time I've seen him really smile.  I think - I am - I'm smiling too.

The Professor huffed and finally shut down his computer.  It had been another very long day.  Social services, the state police, and even the health department had been by again today.  He would give good money to know who had sent those exquisitely falsified documents to the authorities.  He didn't like appearing on the evening news in connection with accusations of child endangerment and he didn't like having to spend all of his time and energies on clearing his name.  All of the students had been forced to leave, and that put a serious dent into his plans to recruit new members to the team - not to mention the dark cloud that this scandal would cast over the school for years to come, even if he was successfully cleared. 

The Brotherhood, he thought, must've had a hand in this.  They're the only ones with the desire to see the school, and his dream of harmony with humans, fail so miserably.  Of course, Erik was still in prison, but that hardly meant that he lacked outside connections.  Well, Charles resolved, they would not succeed.  He would rebuild the school, the student population, and his reputation, whatever it took.  The other niggling matters - his rift with Ororo and Hank, and the whispered rumors regarding his personal life - they would work themselves out in time, given that there were no further surprises in store.  He would prevail in this, as he had in everything else, of that he was confident.  

Outside of the matters regarding the school, he was most concerned about Scott.  At first, he'd suspected that the photographs sent to Jean had been forgeries, every bit as fraudulent as the accusations about the school.  But when Scott admitted to the affair, the Professor's concern grew.  It just wasn't like Scott to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh with random women - no, girls - the Professor corrected himself, she was only seventeen.  That, too, was unlike Scott and was only adding fuel to the fire as far as the school's reputation was concerned.  The Professor suspected that the girl had lured Scott into a relationship, if what they had done could be dignified with that word, but Scott insisted on taking responsibility for his actions.  That was a hopeful sign, at least, but there was still the troubling matter of the girl's strong resemblance to Rogue.  The resemblance had not gone unnoticed by Jean either, and it made the Professor wonder if perhaps Magneto's last attempt at using the machine hadn't had a larger effect than first noted.  Scott took failure hard, after all, and now that Rogue had gone off with Logan, he lacked the chance to resolve things with her directly.  Perhaps the girl, the affair, was some way to do that, Charles reflected. 

Ah well, the Professor thought, we have been in worse spots before and have come through them.  But as he shut out the light in his office and at long last headed to bed, he had a difficult time conjuring an example of a more difficult situation.  He let that trouble him briefly, then drifted off to an uneasy sleep.

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