Remnant of the Past: Epilogue
Marvel owns everyone but Remnant, so this qualifies as textual poaching.
"Hey, kiddo," he put down the newspaper he was reading in the kitchen. Just because he was willing to hang around the Xavier school for a while didn't mean that he was going to hang out in the common dining room with everyone else. Few dared approach him, but Rogue had no fears.
"I kinda got a question about Mali," Rogue began haltingly. In the time since they had returned, Rogue had been mostly able to 'pack away' her absorbed memories of both Erik and Amalie (when they rattle around in your head, it's hard to be on anything but a first name basis), but every once in a while, something would come up.
Occasionally, it would be mortally embarrassing -- she was just too young to have the memories of both Amalie and two of her lovers -- and occasionally it would prove useful (Amalie's medical training had been key in Rogue passing her physiology exam). But once in a while, it would reduce her to tears and a deep depression so burdensome that Jubilation had offered to let Rogue absorb a little of her so that she'd finally have somebody relatively happy bouncing around.
Professor Xavier, now that he was recovered, would help her where he could. He had turned off the telepathy she had inherited from Amalie and after a very embarrassing moment at Blockbuster Video, she had gotten a quick lesson in how to control the residue of magnetic energy she still possessed.
To answer her questions, Xavier directed her to the library. She had read enough about the Holocaust to write a book, for instance, and she knew more than the average Westchester resident did about the Bloc Quebecois, but books couldn't solve some of the mysteries.
Logan raised an eyebrow. "I don't know that much about her, darlin', and I'm not sure you should be knowing too much of what I do know."
"This is rated PG, Logan," Rogue blushed. He shrugged, so she continued. "I keep getting this dream where you're walking along in a snowy forest..."
"Didn't Xavier get all of my crap outta your head by now?" Logan frowned. That was the start of his most frequent nightmare.
"But it's not your memory. It's Amalie's."
"How can you tell?"
"Because every time I have the dream, I'm not the one walking along, like I was after..."
"After our little accident," Logan snorted. How else do you refer to that incident?
"Now, I'm watching you. And I keep getting this urge to put a woolen hat on you..." Rogue trailed off, her confusion apparent.
Logan thought for a moment, then sighed. "I know what it is."
One of the strange things she had realized once she knew she was empathetic was that different emotions had different colors. Some were predictable -- red for anger, blue for envy, green for illness, black for hatred -- and some were less intuitive. Purple was pain, for example. After the attempt on her life, when her eyes changed, she couldn't help but laugh. Black on violet they were now, instead of their former brown. Black on violet -- a spot of hatred in a sea of pain. How appropriate.
Her world had been purple for so long now, she was used to it. It was almost a comfort. The shades varied -- on good days, it would be as pale as the dawn sky, on bad ones, it would match her dark eyes.
It took a while, then, for her to notice the flashes of purple that began to appear on the edges of her consciousness. A surge and then it would recede. She knew that the surges were each the same, but her awareness of them grew greater, so they seemed louder.
Finally, though, she could not only see the flashes of purple, but she could begin to come into contact with her surroundings. She felt her heart beating, for instance, and could smell the antiseptic smell of a hospital. And then she heard the noise accompanying those purple flashes.
Logan, stop, she begged mentally. Her mental voice was so weak, she didn't know if he could hear her.
"It's for your own good, Mali," he said simply. "Jean figured out that me extending the claws was the only way you were gonna start leeching my healing factor."
But she doesn't know they hurt. And I do. All I see is that pain.
"But it beats you lying here missing out on the world. Come on, it's almost hockey season already. Dontcha wanna see your precious Habs?"
Please stop. I'm better. I'm getting better.
"Then how come you don't wake up?"
Why are you doing this, Logan?
"I already told you. It's the fastest way for you to get better. You were doing a crappy job on your own."
Last I remember, you were about to kill me.
"You saved Rogue. You got her into that mess in the first place, and I'm not ready to sweep that under the rug. But you knew what would have happened had I tried to save her and you risked your own life for mine and the kid's."
She's all right?
"Most of the time she is. Of course, you've got her completely freaked about child birth."
Eighteen hours of labor wasn't fun for me, either. But why are you doing this now? I've been floating for a while...
"Rogue asked me about why you remembered me walking through the forest wearing a woolen toque. I hadn't figured out that it was a sign you were messing with my dreams until she asked. I hate hats, you know."
I know. You kept taking them off in your dream. But it was the only way I could think of to signify that it wasn't going to turn into a nightmare.
"Why'd you bother in the first place?"
The first time, it was to get some sleep. Your nightmares... I couldn't sleep with all the emotion you were radiating. After that, it was just nice to see your aura pink.
"For girls and boys?"
For everyone... A question, Logan.
Does anyone really want me to wake up?
"You think I'd be sitting here with the paper flexing my claws if the answer was no?"
You do what you want, you always have. But Xavier, the others...
"They're all fuzzy-wuzzy around here, Mali. They'll take in anyone. You'll be on a real short leash for a while, but..."
Then go tell them I'm awake, more or less. And stop with the claws for a while. I want to sleep.
"You've been sleeping all summer, sweetheart." He rose. "But I'll take the hint and leave ya alone for a while."
"Cookies. You brought cookies."
"I'm sorry, Erik, but if I thought they'd let me in with the Ginsu knives, I'd have gone with those instead."
He smiled ruefully. "I'm an unappreciative bastard, aren't I?"
Amalie looked around. "Under the circumstances, I understand."
"Rudeness is never acceptable," he frowned. "I'm glad they let you in."
"As am I. Xavier's got pull." And for whatever reason, he's keeping my part in our plan a secret, she added telepathically.
"He's an optimist," Erik shrugged. "So will you be a regular visitor, like Charles?"
"Do you want me to be?" It had taken all of her courage to come today -- how do you face the man you loved and then betrayed? Even if he had betrayed you as well?
"I don't blame you, Amalie," he smiled benevolently. You didn't betray me. You held out as long as you could, which is all that I could reasonably ask of you. You weren't there on principle -- you were there to get your child. So it seems foolish to have expected you to stand around and get caught on principles that you do not hold. Even if I had wished you had. "Disappointed, maybe, but only selfishly."
She nodded, unconvinced.
"You're staying with Xavier?"
"It seems only fair after he saved my life. I'm the school nurse when I'm not teaching human biology." She smiled ruefully. "And I did need to get a job and a place to live."
"Is Logan still there?"
"For the time being. Xavier's digging up some information on his origins." No, Erik, we are not sleeping together.
"I didn't mean to imply anything untoward," he smiled. I have nothing to do all day but be jealous, my love.
"All the same. Would you like me to send you some books, then? Magazines? Playboy? Penthouse? Metalworking Today?"
"Don't be cruel."
"I'm sorry," she said sincerely, then smiled. "Has Raven been to see you?"
Erik's eyes grew wide. "No, she has not. I didn't realize she was around."
"In Washington DC last I saw of her. Something to do with Senator Kelly, I think. As you can imagine, we don't talk much anymore."
"Dare I ask about Victor and Mortimer?"
"There somewhere, I suppose, but I've been too busy to look them up. Xavier's got the most amazingly complete directory of contacts, so I suppose I have no excuse." He's let me try out Cerebro a few times.
"You wouldn't be interested in planning a reunion, would you?"
"No, not really. They were a group of companions for a stage of my life that is no longer current, so to speak." I'm sorry, love, but you're on your own for this.
"But would you be upset if there was a gathering without you?" If push came to shove, Amalie, whose side would you take?
"I suspect my feathers would be a little ruffled." If you plan to murder wantonly, then yes, I'll fight with Xavier against you. I am no lover of humans, but I will not let you massacre them for your own personal self-aggandizement.
Erik nodded. They talked about less dangerous matter, both out loud and telepathically, until the guard arrived on the bubble-walkway.
"Goodbye, Erik," Amalie kissed his cheek. "May the next time we meet be on civil ground."
It was bitter cold at dawn. Logan pondered making a cup of coffee before he left, but that would wake the house and that would mean having to say goodbye to everyone.
Don't leave without saying goodbye to Rogue, he heard a familiar voice in his head. Sleepy, as if she had woken up just for this.
I'm not goin' anywhere, he replied. He hadn't explicitly told Mali that he was leaving, although he knew she knew he was planning to do so.
Have you not sufficient experience in the futility of lying to telepaths?
He pictured a rather rude gesture in his mind's eye and heard her chuckle.
Just make sure you say something to Rogue. She's going to be very upset if you don't.
I don't want to wait around until everyone's up.
You don't have to...
"You runnin' again?"
Logan turned and saw Rogue standing there in her nightgown and robe.
"Got some things to do."
She nodded, understanding and at the same time not.
"What are you doing up at this hour anyway?"
"Nightmares," she shrugged. Excluding the three resident telepaths, Logan probably knew more about her nightly battles than anyone. "Will I ever see you again?"
He nodded. And then he thought of something.
"I gotta come back for these," he said, taking off his dog tags and handing them to her.
Rogue smiled shyly.
He didn't stop until well after nightfall -- gotta build up a sufficient head start in case One-Eye wants his bike back -- and it was only then that he realized that there was one item in his bag that he hadn't put there.
One brand-new woolen toque.