the pearl

memory sense

The house was silent, every student sound asleep in their beds, secure in the knowledge that, no matter who they were or what they had done, they were safe now. The sleep of the calm, the sleep of the just, little white blankets to match their little white hats.

Rogue walked through the house, as quiet as possible, a ghost in her flowing white nightgown, moonlight guiding her through the empty halls. Her fingertips, gloved, of course, slid over the wood paneling, the clean elegant lines a calming focus, stilling the thoughts in her head. Her own thoughts, yes, but there was a entire back chorus as well, dropping in comments, ideas, memories that she knew she couldn't have created or experienced.

She closed her eyes tightly, her feet still moving, following only her memory sense of direction (if it was her memory), and the cool paneling against her fingers. When the paneling stopped, she opened her eyes slowly, not knowing where she would be, but hoping she'd be in a place far away from herself.

It was the kitchen. At the sight of the gleaming stovetop, the carefully stacked drying dishes, and the large refrigerator, her sense of melodrama dissolved, surrendering to the banality of modern life. She chuckled softly, and moved to the fridge, looking for a late night snack before she went back to bed to dream the dreams of men and the lives she never lived.

"Shouldn't you be in bed?" a soft voice said behind her.

Rogue jumped up, startled, then turned around.

Professor Xavier looked up at her, expectantly. "It is after 2 in the morning...I was hoping you would be awake enough tomorrow morning for the pop quiz I was going to surprise the class with..."

Rogue blinked a few times. "I...uh...I couldn't sleep." She paused. "Pop quiz?"

Xavier smiled and gestured towards the fridge. "I believe that there is still a carton of chocolate milk in there, if any of the other students haven't touched it. Why don't you get the glasses, and I'll pour?"

Rogue nodded slowly, then got the glasses, setting them on the small table in the corner. Xavier carried the milk over, then poured it elegantly into the glasses. "Now," he said. "Why were you prowling the halls tonight?"

"I wasn't prowling," Rogue said, sitting down in a chair opposite the professor's wheelchair. "I was just..."

"Walking. Of course." He looked at her, a faint analytical look on his face. "How are you...coping with what has happened?" At her frown, he elucidated. "You not only absorb the energy and powers of the people you touch, but also their memories. That can't be easy, especially for someone your age."

She shrugged. "It's...sometimes it's really easy, like in class, when I'm trying to remember something, and even though I haven't studied, I know it. But other times..." She sighed. "Other times, I don't know if it's me feeling that way or if it's...someone else, you know? Where do my thoughts end and theirs begin?" She looked down at the table. "It'll creep up on me. Like I'll write 1936 for my birthday instead of 1989. Or I'll be watching wrestling on tv, and I never used to watch wrestling. Or I'll..." She broke off.

"You'll...?" Xavier asked, prompting her gently.

"I catch myself...looking at the other...girls." Her face was down, her voice muffled slightly. "And I don't know if I always thought this way or if it's because I've only...touched men." She looked up at Xavier, her eyes glittering slightly. "When Miss Grey leans over in class, I watch her. And I don't know if it's Logan or if it's me. And I don't know if the...feelings I have towards Kitty are my feelings or if it's just how the first boy I kissed would feel, and then Magneto, he..." She stopped suddenly, blushing furiously.

"He...?" Xavier prodded for a second before the image came from her mind. "Oh."

"I'm sorry," Rogue said softly. "I didn't...I don't..."

He dismissed her apologies with a wave. "It's quite all right, Rogue. Erik and I were together for many years. It's only natural that you would have those memories." He smiled slightly. "As long as you refrain from telling the entire school the details of my love life, of course."

She stared at him for a second, then giggled. "I don't think that will be a problem, sir."

He smiled. "As for your feelings, I'm certain that, after some time, you'll learn to differentiate between what you feel, and what other people would feel. Until then, you can see it as..." He searched for the words. "Experimenting. Every teenager does it, you simply have a better excuse."

Rogue smiled again. "Thank you," she said softly.

Xavier looked up at the kitchen clock. "Now, it is rather late, and even though it won't be a surprise for you, I do still plan to give a quiz in class tomorrow. You should get some sleep."

Rogue nodded, and stood up. "Yes, sir." She picked up her glass and took it to the sink, then walked towards the door. She stopped before she left the room. "Professor?" she said, turning back to him.


"He really did care for you. He still does."

Xavier closed his eyes for a second, then nodded. "I know," he said, his voice low.

She nodded, then left the room. Xavier sat at the kitchen table, deep in thought.

This X-Men story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at