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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: I don't own the characters that all of you know and love ... or hate, either way. I wish I did, then I would be rich. I made up this story. A few characters are mine ... I'm not sure which ones though, cause I'm writing this before the story. As stupid as it may seem, I like to get it out of the way. Nobody can sue me. Did I cover everything? I hope so. Oh yah, and if I add any song lyrics in here, they aren't mine. They belong to the record companies. And I'm not making money off this story. But however, I will accept donations if anyone wishes to compliment me on the awesome job I did on the paper I turned in last week to my English teacher. That has nothing to do with this story, so therefore, it is completely legal to send me money for that reason.
Authors Note: Before you go off on a rant that this story doesn't follow continuity, please read the next sentence. This story was not MEANT to follow continuity. It takes place in my own little version of the Marvel Universe, and if it doesn't meet up to your standards, sorry. I wrote this to have fun. And personally, I think the Marvel Universe is so screwed up with as it is, I don't even want to try and sort through it all just to get a decent story. Oh yah, and this story is assuming the Joseph and Magneto are one and the same. See more disclaimer thingys at the bottom.

//means telepathic communication.//
*means thoughts*

Innocent Heart,
Guilty Memories

August 15, 2003

Dear Diary, It's been five years. Holly says I should tell you about what happened. I feel kinda silly talking to a book. I mean, well, I guess a diary isn't exactly a book. You know what I mean. Oh, there I go already, treating you as if you were real. Amazing what just comes out of the dang pen when you let it wander. Well, I guess I should tell you who Holly is. She's my therapist. Never thought I would need one of those. Some crazy doctor, telling me how to think and feel. But Holly's different. I don't know. I can't explain it. Oh well, I got enough to deal with. She says I'm depressed. Blaming myself for what happened. Well, of course I blame myself! Ain't no one else to blame, and it was my fault. I guess I should start from the beginning. That's what Holly said. She said I need to get it out in the open. Tell myself there was nothing I could have done. But I know there was.

Well, you see. I never should have gone on that shopping trip with Jubilee. She was on leave from the Massachusetts Academy. There was a huge sale down at the mall. I found a really pretty sweater there. I remember, it was green. A dark forest green. Jubilee said it went great with my eyes. I had planned to wear it that night. That night I was going to tell him. . . that I loved him.

One lonely tear escaped her eye as she wrote. It landed on her last words, smearing the fresh ink. Placing the pen on the desk, she got up and walked slowly to the window.

Staring absently at the warm summer day outside her private room, Rogue almost missed the screams and shouts coming from the neighborhood playground, right next door. One shrill cry finally caught her attention and she thrust the window open, ready to jump out and perform whatever rescue was needed. Her heart stopped for that brief second where the mind is taking in all surrounding aspects of the situation, determining the best course of action.

As she quickly surveyed the scene before her, Rogue resolved that the best course of action was to get off the window sill before she fell and was forced to use her mutant abilities in front of the whole world. Not that that was a problem, with the Mutant Peace Treaty signed and all, but to rescue a child from the torment of mad tickling by her friends might seem quite unusual. Rogue laughed quietly as she got down from the window, but kept her eyes on the playground.

A young child of about 4 years old, hair pulled up in pigtails, and wearing a cute denim jumper ran circles around the swing set, trying to escape the assaults of two other kids. She laughed and screamed in a loud voice, telling them they were never going to catch her. Rogue watched in amusement as the two older children gasped for breath, pretending to be out of energy and allowing their littler playmate to gain more ground, before putting on a sudden burst of steam and sprinting to grab the girl and tickle her once more.

//Why don't you come down and join us?// Rogue looked down to the park bench where a slim, brunette woman in her mid-thirties sat. //You know how much the children love for you to give them "flying lessons."//

//Ah don't think so, Kali. Not today. Ah have some stuff Ah need out.//

//Ok, I was just wondering if you needed a little break. You seemed a little stressed lately.//

//Thanks fo' the concern, but it ain't nothin' Ah can't handle m'self.//

//If you're sure. . .//

//Ah'm sure, thanks fer askin' though.// Rogue closed the window and moved back over to the desk where her diary lay, open and waiting for her next words. As she sat down, her mind drifted back to Kali and the kids. Kali....that was such a pretty name. Rogue had loved it since the first moment she heard it. Kali was the neighborhood sweetheart and resident telepath. Everyday, she took all the kids out to the park. Most parents were too busy with work to take their own kids, so at 11:00am Kali gathered them up and took them to the park for an hour or two.

Since the park was next door, Rogue would sometimes go out and talk with Kali, or play with the kids. Every once in a while she even made cookies or some other special treat for the children. Not today though. . . not today. Today she had to sort through her life. It sounded like such a big task., but really, Rogue knew that it was really quite small. There was only one aspect of her life that she had trouble facing. The death of the X-Men.

Rogue picked up the pen and turned back to her diary.

We stopped off at that little ice cream shop. The special that day was the triple fudge sundae. We both got one. While we were eating I got a call. It was Jean. She cried out into my head. I couldn't make out what she was saying. . . but I knew, I knew she was in pain.

I remember falling to the floor. It was horrible. . . like nothing I've ever felt. And then, it was gone. I don't know how I knew, but Jean was dead. . . I knew it in my heart. The sudden burst of pain, then the even more sudden cut off. Jubilee had felt it too. She looked at me with such hurt in her eyes. . .

I don't know how I managed to get off the floor and out of the shop, but I did. I wasn't thinking. Looking back, I realize it probably wasn't the best idea to leave Jubilee in the city by herself at that time, but it would have been worse for her to see what I would see. It only took me about ten minutes to get back to the mansion ... what was left of it.

More tears fell, and Rogue was forced to reach over and pull out some tissue from the box sitting on her night stand, letting a short laugh slip out in spite of herself. It was funny when you thought about it. Not funny ha-ha, but funny ironic. Over the years that Rogue had been with the X-Men, the mansions had been destroyed numerous times. It had almost become a joke. Bobby had once convinced everyone to take bets on when the next time it would be destroyed and by whom. But this hadn't been a joke. No one had ever thought about being *in* the mansion when it was destroyed. Those that died quickly were the lucky ones. Rogue wiped her eyes again, and swore to herself that no matter what, she wouldn't cry until she had told everything else that had happened.

I'm glad Jubilee was back in town. She wouldn't have been able to face what I saw. Of course. . . looking back, I don't know how I faced what I saw. I must have been in shock. Not wanting to believe what had happened. Everything ... was completely destroyed. The final battle must have been outside the mansion, but at the time, I didn't know who they had been fighting. Warren was the first person I saw. I flew to his side, staring in horror at the dark crimson blood staining his once beautiful white wings. He was alive, but barely at that. I lifted his head and he smiled at me.

"I'm glad to see you, Rogue ... I'm glad he didn't get you, too..." I don't think I'll ever forget what he said to me next..."I know ... the X-Men aren't supposed to get revenge ... but, Rogue ... go after the bastard. If anyone can get him ... you can."

I remember I started crying. I never cried. Not openly to any of my teammates. I didn't want them to think I was scared, or hurting. I didn't want them to think that I was nothing more than a little girl inside. But I guess that was what I was. Warren and I had never been the best of friends. But to see him lying there, unable to move, except his lips, which he spoke to me his last request ... I couldn't handle it. I broke down. I remember asking him who had done this. I wanted to promise him before he died, that I would take revenge for him.

As he looked in my eyes, I could tell it was hard for him. But whether it was hard to tell me who it was, or hard for him to speak at all, I don't know. It must have been both..."I'm sorry, Rogue," he whispered, "it was Magneto."

Rogue stopped writing once again. She picked up a framed photo sitting on her desk and ran her fingers lightly across it. It was taken only two weeks before the X-Men died. Right after the ordeal with Onslaught, X-Force and Gen-X had joined the X-Men at the mansion for a day of rest and relaxation. They had taken the picture right as the sun was setting, creating a perfect background for the group photo. And there, at the top, in the middle of the flyers, was Joseph.

Joseph, Rogue told herself. He was Joseph then, not Magneto. He was one of us, an X-Man. She smiled as she looked fondly over all the people she had known and loved. There was Beast, right in the front, with a handsome grin on his face. And Jean standing next to him, beautiful in all her radiant glory. Cyclops, proud leader of the X-Men, next to her. Storm, goddess of the elements, majestic as the name implies. Bishop, never relaxing, always on guard, yet this one time ... this one time he has the hint of a smile on his lips. Bobby, in the air next to Storm. He had a joke for every occasion. Come rain or shine, he never failed to provide the comic relief that helped ease the stress of their lives.

A soft knock interrupted Rogues reverie and she put the picture back on the desk.

"Come in." She called softly.

The door opened slowly and a slightly confused looking man stepped inside. "Rogue?" he asked, "Have you seen Jean today? She left me a note saying that she was going to the store. Has she gotten back yet?"

Rogue sighed The poor man ... he had lost everything..."Ah'm sorry, Scott, Ah don't think she's comin' back for awhile."

Scott shook his head. "Oh, ok. Sorry for bothering you. If you see her before I do, tell her I just wanted to talk to her for a little bit. With all the missions and work we've had lately, Jean and I haven't had a lot of time to ourselves."

"Ah'll be sure and tell her for ya, Scott." Rogue blinked back a tear as Scott moved back toward the door.

"Thanks, Rogue." He closed the door quietly behind him, and Rogue slowly turned back to her desk. Picking up the picture, she looked once again at Scott's handsome features. He and Jean had been perfect together. Neither could live without the other ... and at times, she wondered if it would have been better, had he died along side of Jean.

While she didn't know exactly what had happened to Scott's mind, Rogue knew it had to have had something to do with the link he and Jean had between them. They were so strong together. They shared a unique psi-bond that over time had evolved into something even Professor Xavier himself had been unable to explain. And when Jean had been taken so suddenly from this world, part of Scott's mind had gone with her. He didn't remember what had happened. Or maybe he did, but he couldn't comprehend it.

Rogue found him, bleeding and dying in the Med Lab. He had been whispering Jean's name over and over, oblivious to the pain and death that surrounded him. And for the last 5 years, he had been oblivious to the world around him. In his mind, Jean and the X-Men were still alive. He would go off into a daze sometime, just wandering around, not seeing where he was going. The option had come up that it might be best if he should be sent to a hospital, but Rogue knew that would never have worked. It wouldn't have been right to leave him there like that. He needed someone that knew him, someone that cared for him. Logan had taken that responsibility. He had moved up to Canada with Scott and cared for him up there. They were down for a visit this month, staying in one of the vacant apartments next to Rogue's.

She sighed and put the picture back down. Who knew that it would turn out that Logan had such a big heart after all? Rogue picked up her pen, and began writing again.

When Warren whispered Magneto's name, I guess I was kinda shocked. Magneto didn't exist anymore. He was Joseph now. Not Magneto. But I knew, I knew it had to be the truth. I held Warren's hand, and I caressed his face as he took his final breaths. I could tell by the look he gave me, he was so glad that I was there for him. He didn't want to die alone...

After Warren .. died, I kissed his forehead lightly, and I whispered to him, "Rest in peace." I can't really explain what happened. I know that my abilities transferred the power from living beings to myself, but as my lips touched Warren, I felt something. Almost like a Spirit come into my body. A lasting reminder of the friendship and trust of my teammate.

I found Bobby and Bishop next, laying side by side. They were already dead ... and as I touched them, I felt the same Spirit leave them, and imprint a mark on my soul. As if I was giving them their final peace in life ... and after. Storm ... she was on the ground beneath one of the large oak trees at the edge of the forest. As I landed next her, she looked at me, and smiled. Just as Warren had. She was holding her hand over a large gash in her side, and I knew by the way she winced at every breath, she had to have at least a couple broken ribs.

"It is good to see you." She raised her other hand and grasped me by the forearm. "You must help the others, Rogue ... they are still inside ... You have to find them."

I remember everything as if it happened ten minutes ago. I looked away and whispered to her. "Jean is dead, Ororo ... and the others are probably dead too ... what can I do..."

Her grip tightened on my arm and she told me to look up at her. "Rogue, listen to me ... we are X-Men. I know Jean is dead ... and I know the others ... may very well be, too ... but if they are alive ... we must do everything to help them. I tried once ... to lift the rubble ... but I could not manage ... Rogue you must help them." I could tell it was hard for her to speak. She flinched with pain at every word. I held her gaze for only a minute longer before rushing up to start lifting the debris away.

I found Betsy first. She must have been in the main hall when it collapsed. I touched her pale skin, and felt the same essence flow into me. I laid her body next to Warren, and continued to search the rubble.

Rogue found that as the memories flooded back, they were much easier to deal with as she wrote them down on paper. The sadness she always felt in her heart was replaced with a longing to get all she could out in the open. That she might finally be free of the nightmares she had, of the pain and guilt that tore at her soul, every night as she lay in bed. There were no tears, only the desperate urge to write more in her diary.

I don't know how long I was looking through the rubble. I tossed all the debris to one side, not caring about where it landed, just feeling the urgency to dig farther down. I found Logan next. He was breathing, and I pulled him out and carried him to the yard. I left him there, I knew he would be ok. His healing factor would take care of him. Until that moment, I didn't stop to think how many people were in the mansion. I still hadn't found Scott ... and I knew that even if I found Jean ... she would be dead. Sam and Hank, I wasn't sure where they were, and only one other person was left after that. Remy. I had just bought that beautiful green sweater. He was going to take me out to dinner tonight. He had promised me a week ago. I was going to tell him that I loved him. The thought hit me that I might never have that chance, and I started digging through the rubble faster and faster. I think I must have been almost hysterical at this point to find Remy. I think Logan got up after a little while, and he must have started digging through the piles with me, but I don't remember much of anything, except that I was desperate to find Remy.

I found the elevator to the lower levels of the mansion, and it was then that I realized the underground lab, and the war room, and everything was still intact. The elevator was at the bottom, so I flew down to it, pulled the top off, and dropped inside. I must have ripped the door open to get into the hall. The power was still on, but I couldn't see anyone. I went straight to the War Room, but didn't find anyone in there. My next instinct was to go to the Med Lab. That's where I found Jean and Cyclops. Jean was dead. Even though I knew that she was dead, from the moment I left the ice cream shop ... the realization didn't sink in until I saw her laying there. I didn't know it at the time, but Magneto had used the iron in her own bloodstream against her. She looked beautiful laying there. As if she was only asleep.

Cyclops was next to her, but I don't think Magneto meant to kill him. Maybe he knew what he was doing when he killed Jean, and leaving Cyclops. He took away everything in the world that Scott loved, and that in itself was worse than death for the leader of the X-Men.

I grabbed Cyclops, and flew him quickly back up to where Logan was digging through the mansion's rubble. I put him on the ground, and Logan came up to me. He put his hand on my shoulder, and he said that I didn't need to go back in the mansion. "I know Jean's dead," he said, "and I'm going after the son of a bitch. But there isn't anything left in there for you." His words were so gentle.

"I have to find Remy," I told him, "I have to make sure he's alive. He ... he's taking me out to dinner..." I realize now how foolish that must have sounded, but Logan didn't seem to notice it. I was in shock. I knew what had happened, but I didn't believe it yet. He gripped my shoulder tighter, and told me to look at his face.

"Rogue, darlin', you don't need to worry about Gambit. He's alive. He wasn't here when Magneto attacked. We gotta find Cannonball and Beast. They ain't up here, so they must still be down below. I can't smell them. Come on, Rogue ... pull it together."

I remember feeling as if the world had been taken off my shoulders. Remy was alive! I knew I should have been thinking about my fallen teammates. Especially Sam and Hank, whom we hadn't found yet. But my mind was on Remy. I had to find him ... but I didn't know where to look.

"Logan..." I remember asking, "Where is Remy? I have to find him..."

"Darlin, he ain't here right now. Trust me. Now help me find Sam. I don't want to jump all the way down that elevator shaft, but I will if you don't give me a hand."

I guess he must have knocked some sense in me, cause I grabbed him by the arms and quickly flew him down the shaft. Once we got inside, he smelled Sam and Hank right away. I followed Logan to the Danger Room. The door was obstructed by lots of stuff. Magneto must have put it there as a blockade, so Sam and Hank couldn't get it. I guess they must have been working out when Magneto attacked.

I still don't know how Magneto came back. All of the mind scans done on Joseph had showed no trace of his former life and memories, and I was really confused, besides being in shock.

We got the door cleared and found Beast and Cannonball inside. They were both unconscious, but I don't think it was caused by Magneto. It must have been Jean. When she died, she projected the feelings to all the X-Men. Hank and Sam had been nearest to her, so they must have been affected the worst. I was in town, with Jubilee, and we weren't hit as bad with the psychic backlash. Logan and I got Sam and Beast up and out of the lower levels and next to Storm, then I went back down for Jean. I touched her, like I had the others, and received the same Spirit. Only it was stronger from Jean. I could feel part of her ... I don't know how to explain it, part of her Mind, I guess. Not her thoughts exactly, but her feelings. And to this day ... they are still with me.

Rogue once again lifted her pen, looking at the clock as she got up and stretched her sore muscles. One o' clock already? Ah must have been working harder than Ah thought! She quickly went over to the window to see Kali swinging on one of the sets of swings in the playground. In her arms she held the little girl with pigtails and the cute blue denim jumper. *Kali must have taken all the other kids home already.* Rogue opened the window and jumped out. She needed to get some air. Lazily letting herself float down to the ground, Rogue took a deep breath and smiled. For the first time in a long while she felt as if a great burden had been lifted from her shoulders.

She landed softly on the ground next to the slide and waved to little Rhemada.

"Mommy!!" The little girl practically flew off Kali's lap and into her mother's arms. "I went swinging today, an I got tickled, and Uncle Logan came by and he tickled me too, and Kali let me have a cookie an--"

"Whoa, hold on there, Shugah. You're goin' a mile a minute. Slow down." Rogue smiled down at her daughter, brushing back the stray wisps of her silvery white hair. "Let me talk tah Kali for a minute then you can tell me all about it." Rogue picked up Rhemada in her arms and moved over to sit by on the swing next to Kali. "How was she today? I hope not too much trouble."

"Oh no. Rhemi was a perfect angel, just like always. I would have brought her up to the apartment, but you seemed to be in a concentrated mood, and I didn't want to bother you."

She smiled and pulled her daughter closer to her. "Thanks, Kali. I appreciate it."

"Anytime. But I should be heading home now." Kali stood up to leave. "I hope everything works out..."

Rogue knew she was referring to the diary, and she gave a polite smile. "Ah think everything is gonna be fine. Thanks, Kali." She watched the younger woman walk out the gate of the park, and on down the road, then turned her attention back to the chattering girl in her lap.

"Mommy, will you push me? I want to swing some more."

"Sure thing, Sweetie." Rogue picked her daughter up and sat her on the swing next to her own. She got up and moved around to the back, and began giving Rhemada little pushes. Rhemada laughed and called for her mom to push her higher.

Rogue smiled and let her thoughts stray, as she listened to the cheery voice of her little girl.

After the attack, those still alive had went their separate ways. Ororo had gone on to form a new group of X-Men. The headquarters were moved over to the Massachusetts Academy. Rogue heard from Jubilee that Storm would loose it every once in a while, and her memories would cloud over her thinking. Nothing nearly as bad as Scott's condition though.

Logan. Logan had gone after Magneto. Rogue, herself, had joined him for a little while, and they had tracked him over to Europe. She still hadn't been exactly sure how he had come back, but from what she and Storm could put together from the Med Lab records, Jean had been doing yet another mind scan on Joseph. She had somehow hit a hidden spot in his mind, where all of his old memories had lain dormant. Enraged when he came to his full senses, Magneto had taken out his fury on the X-Men. So she and Logan had followed him to Europe, while Storm looked after Scott for a little bit. After 3 months, Rogue had given up the search for personal reasons, which at the time, she hadn't shared with Logan.

Only a few weeks after that, he had come back. He had with him, Magneto's helmet. Logan had given it to her, and not said anything else. She hadn't asked any questions, but she knew that Logan must have felt that revenge had been served where due. After that, he had taken Scott with him up to Canada. Rogue had been rather surprised when he took on the responsibility. But deep inside, she thought he had done it as one last thing for Jean. One last thing to show he would do anything to make her happy.

And then there was Remy. No one had seen or heard from him since the day of the attack. Logan had told her he had gotten a call from New Orleans a few hours before hand. It must have been urgent, because he left without even saying goodbye to Rogue. No note or anything. After searching for Magneto, Rogue had tried to find him, but she was almost afraid to see him again. What would he have thought when he saw her?

Rogue had also gone her separate way. The reason she had come back from Europe was because she didn't want to risk hurting the baby...

What would Remy have thought when he found out she was pregnant, and that she loved him ... but that it wasn't his child. Two nights before the attack, she had thought she loved Joseph. And she thought she was showing him that love ... but only afterwards, as she lay in his arms, did she realize it hadn't been love. What she felt with Joseph was the longing for another person's touch. And when she realized that he could offer her that, she had taken advantage of the situation. Leaving his room in the middle of the night, Rogue realized that there was only one man who had ever loved her, and who she had loved in return. And she had made a vow to let him know, before she would lose him forever. But in the end, she had lost him anyway.

She had given birth to a little girl that possessed her mother's stubborn will, and her father's beautiful silver-white hair. Rhemada had been given a name in honor of the one true love that her mother would never forget. Her mutant ability was yet to be known, but Rogue had the vaguest suspicion that whatever it was, it would be a very powerful mutation.

While Rogue was still unable to control her powers, she did have the ability to touch her daughter. Which came as a relief and a blessing. Her daughter was the world to Rogue, and if anything even happened to Rhemada...

"Mommy! I want to go slide now!" Rhemada's voice pulled Rogue back from Memory Lane. She helped her daughter get off the swing, then sat down herself as she watched Rhemi run off to the slide. Her daughter was her pride and joy. A daily reminder of what she and the X-Men had fought so bravely for. And as the afternoon sun shone so brightly down on Rogue, she felt for the first time in five years, Peace.


The End

All characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment, except for Kali and Rhemada. If you would like to borrow these characters, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask me, because I have a different storyline planned out for them already, which, yes, means a sequel if I get enough feedback.
Please, do not archive this story without my permission. If I find you have, I will hunt you down and be forced to tie you to a chair and watch Barney reruns until you break.


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