the pearl

Snowfall In Westchester

Winters in Westchester sure weren't like winters in Meredian. Rogue had known this on a intellectual level — after all, the Gulf Coast and Upstate New York were in very different parts of the U.S., and her little "road trip" through Canada had introduced her to cold, but all this logic sure as hell didn't make her daily walk from the mansion to the small greenhouse in the corner of the estate any less uncomfortable.

It had seemed like such a good idea in the autumn — every student pulling his or her weight by taking on one chore, and the greenhouse, a place where Rogue could take off the layers of clothing and not worry about accidentally touching anything except plenty of dirt, seemed perfect. The flowers and small bushes grew happily under her care, obviously unaffected by her mutant powers, and during the indian summer weeks, it was idyllic inside the small glass building, like she had stepped into an obscure untranslated magical realism novel, lush humidity wrapping around her cutoffs and tank top, a treasured moment of freedom for the girl.

And she still had these moments, the large heater wooshing hot air through the small building, but the walk, through the cold sleeting rain, was horrible; patches of ice on the slippery sidewalk mocking her every step as she pulled her cloak tighter to her, wrapping it in futility around the thin clothing she wore underneath. She was used to shivering once she reached the greenhouse, already dreading the long walk back once she was finished.

And today, a viciously gray day in December, was no exception. It may not have been raining, thankfully, but the wind cut through her long green coat as if it were made of gauze, her thick gardening gloves (just a precaution from the greenhouse to the mansion, until she could wash off the dirt and put on her regular opera-length ones) keeping her hands warm while the rest of her body froze. Cursing in a low voice, hoping that no one around the general area had super-sensory hearing, she trudged slowly against the wind, her thick boots occasionally slipping against the sidewalk. When she finally reached the kitchen door, she sighed relievedly and yanked it open, smiling slightly at the blast of warm air on her face.

She wiped her muddy boots on the small doormat, then walked in, yanking off her coat and putting it on one of the small hooks, reaching for her long gloves off of the shelf before entering the kitchen, pulling off her gardening gloves as she made a beeline for the large kitchen sink.

Except this time, there was someone in front of the sink, filling a small teakettle full of water. Jubilee just glanced at the other girl for a second, then nearly dropped the teakettle in surprise. "Oh!" she said, flat out staring at Rogue. "" She turned off the faucet. "Here." She stepped back.

Rogue raised an eyebrow. "Thanks," she said flatly, grabbing the thick bar of soap off the windowsill before scrubbing off the layers of mud and plant debris on her hands. She rinsed, shut off the water, and reached for the nearest towel, drying her hands carefully before pulling on her usual long lycra gloves. She pretended not to notice Jubilee relaxing slightly when they were finally on.

Jubilee gestured towards the door. "How bad is it out there?" she asked.

"Cold." Rogue shrugged. "But I guess I'm not used to it."

Jubilee smiled. "I'm gonna make some hot chocolate. Want some?"

"Thanks..." Rogue reached up into the cupboard and grabbed two mugs while Jubilee set the kettle on the stove. They sat at the small table, in a vaguely uncomfortable silence, until the kettle began to whistle.

While Jubilee poured, Rogue looked in cupboards, frowning slightly. Jubilee chuckled slightly. "If you're looking for the marshmellows, there's a secret stash behind the cans of creamed corn." Rogue looked back at the other girl, who just shrugged. "Kitty and I figured no one else would think of it."

Rogue found the marshmellows and tossed them to the other girl. Jubilee put a few in her mug, then grabbed handful and started eating them. Rogue stared at the girl, then sipped her chocolate, sighing happily as the warmth slid down her throat.

"That cold, huh?" At Rogue's nod, Jubilee continued. "Yeah, when I first got here, I was totally amazed. You just can't go straight from L.A. to Westchester in the winter! It's unnatural! And then everyone was like 'Oh don't worry, Jubilee, you'll get used to it, we all did.' And hello...they're all from up around here! Bobby keeps on talkin' about how great snow is, and not only is he from Long Island, he can make ice! He's hardly one to talk!" She took a gulp from her chocolate before continuing. "But that first time I saw snow — and we're talkin' real snow, not like that icy stuff my parents said was snow when we'd go up into the mountains — it was amazing. This cold white stuff falling from the sky..."

Rogue shivered slightly. "I never saw snow, icy or otherwise, until I was up in Canada. When I was little, we..." She paused for a second, debating how much to reveal. "We stayed in Mississippi for the winters...never got colder than freezing, and that was only when I was a little baby..."

Jubilee nodded. "Tell me you were absolutely stunned to hear that temperatures get below 30. 'Cause I can't be the only one."

Rogue laughed. "It was unnatural! Nothing should be that cold but ice cream!"

Jubilee and Rogue laughed, then Jubilee glanced out the window. "Hey! Look!" She pointed.

Rogue turned, her eyes widening slightly in amazement. "It's snowing..." she said in a soft voice.

Jubilee cheered. "It's snowing!" She grabbed Rogue by the hand, apparently forgetting her initial fear of touch, then pulled her towards the door. "Come on! Let's go play in it!"

"But I just got back in!" Rogue protested.

"All the more reason! It's snowing!" Jubilee stopped for a second. "Have you never played in the snow?"

Rogue paused, frowning. She grinned slowly, and walked towards the door, grabbing her coat on the way out. She held the door open wide, lifting her face towards the soft flickers of snowflakes. "Well," she said, turning back to Jubilee. "Ya comin'?"

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