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"Innocent Heart, Guilty Memories"

Stories in this series

In a fit of remembered rage, Joseph, reclaiming his memories as Magneto, destroys the mansion and kills many of the X-Men. This series takes place during the years afterwards.

"Innocent Heart, Guilty Memories"
written by Melodist
Five years in the future, Rogue reflects on the deaths and final fates of the X-Men.

"The Damned Have No Right to Weep"
written by Alara Rogers
A companion piece, from the point of view of the man who killed the X-Men.

"Imaginary Friend"
written by Melodist
Rogue's daughter Rhemada tells her about her imaginary friend, the Cat Man.

"The Ever-Changing Winds"
written by Melodist
Storm looks back on what happened to the X-Men and reflects on what has happened since.

"Nothing More"
by Melodist
The fate of Professor Charles Xavier.

Disclaimer:  Once again, these characters are owned by Marvel, not me.  I only own Rhemada.  Please do not use her without my permission, thanks. :)
Author's Notes:  This is a sequel-type story to Innocent Heart, Guilty Memories.  It would make more sense to read that story first.  :)  Thanks.
This is a sequel to my first story, Innocent Heart, Guilty Memories, which Alara posted for me.  If you already have the first story, and you wish to archive this as well, please do so.  If not, and you would like to archive them both, please contact me.  Thanks. :)

She put the last of the dinner plates in the dishwasher and turned to look at the couch in the adjoining room.  The apartment was rather small, but Rogue promised herself that someday she would buy a nice little house out in the country, where Rhemada would be able to grow up without the dangers of the city.  There had been less rioting acts against mutants, but the crime and violence were as bad as ever.  Maybe she might even move up into Canada, near Logan.  Rogue smiled as she thought of him.  Logan loved Rhemada to death.  He would bend over backwards and farther for that little girl.

And speaking of Rhemi, she was asleep on the couch, completely oblivious to the blaring television set in front of her.  Rogue laughed quietly and walked over to pick her daughter up.  Rhemada stirred and wrapped her tiny arms around her mother's neck.

"I don't wanna go to sleep, Mommy.....I'm not tired..."  Her eyes fluttered and a small yawn told Rogue otherwise.

"Ah beg ta differ, Sweetheart.  It's late, and ya need your sleep."

Rhemi blinked her eyes and looked up at her momma.  "But. . . but the Cat Man hasn't visited me yet. . . he promised he would, Momma, he promised.  I can't go to sleep 'til he comes. . ."

Rogue ran her fingers through her daughter's silvery white hair.  The Cat Man was Rhemi's imaginary friend. . . and apparently she had become very attached to him.  Rhemada told her mom that everyday he would speak to her, sing silly songs and teach her things.  Rogue knew that she really picked these things up from Kali and her other playmates, but she never wanted to hurt Rhemi's feelings by telling her the Cat Man didn't really exist.

"Ah'm sure the Cat Man will come by tomorrow, Sweetie.  Don't worry, he probably had a good reason for not showin' up today."  Rogue flicked thelight on in Rhemada's room and carried her over to the bed.  "Why dontcha tell me a little bit more 'bout the Cat Man?"  They sat down and Rhemada climbed under the covers.

"Okay.  Well, he thinks you're very pretty, Momma.  He tells me so whenever he sees you."

Rogue smiled.  "Well, next time ya talk to him, make sure ya tell him that Ah said thank you."  Her smile faltered though, as Rhemada sat up and looked out the window, then back at her mother.  Rhemi frowned, nodded as if in agreement with someone, then smiled.

"He's here, Momma!  He didn't break his promise!"  She giggled and clapped her hands.  "And he says you're welcome."

Rogue laughed to herself.  Her daughter would do or say anything to move her bedtime up by a few minutes.  And this was as creative a way as any other. Wait until bedtime, then have her "imaginary friend" show and want to chat. Oh well, it was a weekend, she might as well play along.

"And what else does he have to say?"

Rhemi frowned in concentration again.  "He says he's sorry he missed talking to me on the playground today."  She paused, apparently listening to the Cat Man again.  "And he can't stay too long because he knows I have to go to bed. . . I told him I don't want to go to bed, but he says little girls need their beauty sleep.

"He's right.  Cat Man must be very smart."

"Oh, he is, Momma.  He taught me how to talk to him in my head.  I couldn't do it before.  He says I have a gift for...tele...telepa..."  She paused, listening to the Cat Man again.  "Telepathy.  That's it."  Rogue's smile quickly faded.  But before she said anything, Rhemada rattled on.  "He says he has to go now, he only wanted to say hi to me.  And he says not to worry, because he isn't a stranger."

But Rogue was not so easily convinced.  "Rhemi, ask his name, ask it now. Ah want ta know who this person is."  She tried not to show panic, but this was not something that could be taken lightly.  Someone, a REAL person was talking to her daughter, and lord knows what he knew about them.

Rhemi blinked and stuck out her lower lip.  "I can't, Momma, he left.  He said he's a friend."

"Then tell me everything ya know 'bout him.  This is important, Rhemi."

Rhemada frowned.  "But he said not to tell you because you would be mad."

"Rhemada Celine, you will tell me now.  Ah'm your mother, and it's important that Ah know who this person is."

The little girl let out an exaggerated sigh and hung her head.  "Okay. . . he lives in the city somewhere. . . and he's really smart.  He came to see you. . . but he saw me instead, and he wanted to get to know me.  He really likes me, Momma, he thinks I'm cute."

"Why did he want ta see me?"

"Because he thought you were pretty, I guess. . . but he saw you playing with me, and he didn't want you to see him, so he talks to me from across the street."

Rogue froze.  Oh god, that meant that he was watching them. . . maybe even stalking her daughter.  A feeling of dread crept through her stomach, disguising itself as nausea.  Rhemi kept on talking, oblivious to her mother's fear.

"He is sad when he sees you though, but he won't tell me why.  And whenever Uncle Logan comes to visit, he stays away.  Don't worry, Momma, he won't hurt me.  And he talks in a funny voice.  I asked him 'bout it, an' he said that it's part of his charm."

A sudden understanding shot through Rogue's head, and her hands shook as she asked the last thing she needed to know.  "Why do ya call him the Cat Man. . . ?"

Rhemada smiled.  "Because his eyes are black and red, and it makes him look like a cat!  You should see him, Momma, I think you'd like him."

Rhemada slept soundly that night with a smile on her face, satisfied that the Cat Man had kept his promise.

Rogue didn't sleep at all...


The End?

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