Stories by Alara Rogers
"And After the Battle"
As the X-Men celebrate their victory over the Phalanx, Joseph stands in the background, observing the woman who at one time helped him find acceptance with the X-Men.
"The Damned Have No Right to Weep"
A companion piece to Melodist's "Innocent
Hearts, Guilty Memories" series, told from the point of view of the man
who killed the X-Men.
"A Death in New Orleans"
Annoyed by the inconsistencies in Rogue's backstory, Alara constructs a tale with her own version of how Rogue came to be with Mystique and Destiny.
Sometime betwen UXM #196 & 199. Kitty Pryde and Magneto discuss old habits and rye bread.
"The Mother of All Retcons"
When Polaris and Havok have a baby, the Summers family tree gets a whole lot more complicated.
Websites: Shifting-Sands, Alara's Now Rather Spiffy Magneto Page, Alara's Mystique Page, Chuck Amuck!, Cyphered Text, Crossroads X and Alara's Happy Happy Text-Only Site
I should have been writing Twin Poles,
but I wrote this instead. Go fig.
This takes place during the issue of UXM where the Shi'ar
are celebrating their survival against the Phalanx. Marvel
owns all these characters.
The images rise with nightmare intensity, burning their way
into my brain, and however much I drink of the alien liquor
I cannot blur them in my mind's eye. Genocide, the broken,
bloody bodies of the friends and lovers, the parents and children
and siblings of the people that dance in front of me, as if
they are spitting on the dead. We celebrate, for we are
alive and you are not. Genocide, the bodies of my parents--
his parents? no, mine as well, for all that I can remember
no more of them than their deaths-- clutching at me, dragging
me down into the pit with them. Tossing an endless parade
of broken, dead bodies into a furnace to burn.
And before me, the aliens dance. We live. They don't.
Rogue says, this is unfair of me to think. I make out her
form, dancing wildly with a feather-crested man whose name
she probably doesn't know, because I will not dance tonight.
She says, they honor their dead this way. They remember the
lives, not the deaths, and they go on, as the lost ones would
wish of them. Perhaps she's right, but I don't understand
it. I don't think I can.
I don't remember the lives. All I see is death.
One by one I identify my friends. Hank and Trish are dancing;
Hank, at least, has been here before, and knows Shi'ar custom,
respects it as I cannot. Bishop is standing in a corner, his
usual glowering aspect gone, as he looks out at the gathering
with eyes haunted as mine. I almost go to him -- there, I
think, is a man who understands loss, who can perhaps help
me go on past the memories that have started to burn in my
brain. But then he turns aside and leaves, going elsewhere.
I don't see Remy anywhere. Just as well. Tonight I am not
interested in platitudes about the value of feeling nothing.
Another drink. The glass is all rounded, fluting curves.
The drink tastes strange, with odd spices I don't recognize
and the bouquet of an alien world, but it's alcohol and it
feels comfortable in my hand. I've been here before, I'm sure
of it. Staring into a night filled with the past and the screams
of those long dead, with a glass in my hand to try, at least,
to anesthetize the pain. Not that it will. I know that too.
Nothing ends the pain but violence.
I remember the rage that erupted from me before, the violence
that was all I could see. I drew the energies of this alien
world into myself and drugged myself with them, turned my
vision berserker white until all I could see were the killers
to fall beneath my strength. That drove out the memories,
for a time. Or no. The memories were not driven out, but the
pain was made bearable, transmuted to rage by the alchemy
of power. Righteous rage had me in its thrall, and I became
an archangel of war with a sword of lightning, bright and
terrible in my fury. Unthinking, feeling nothing but bloodlust
toward the genocidal killers.
We were lucky. I almost destroyed the entire plan, almost
got myself and the rest of the X-Men killed, and if we had
fallen so would have this world. Perhaps there might be a
time when righteous bloodlust was of use, but that wasn't
it. It didn't matter. It owned me, and even seeing my friends
fall before me wouldn't have deterred me from my course until
I myself fell. Only Hank's actions in destroying the Phalanx
while my fury distracted them saved me, and us, and the Shi'ar.
I did nothing, nothing of value.
I have never felt so utterly useless in my life.
Rogue is dancing with yet another Shi'ar, this one a woman.
Apparently the dance, among the Shi'ar, isn't necessarily
about sex -- or else their sexual mores are more flexible
than ours. Or maybe just moreso than mine. Who knows what
sort of baggage I'm dragging around from a past life?
Blood red against snow and frozen ground. Fires consuming
the bodies of the unfairly dead. The stench of urine and feces
and fear, and death, always death.
So much for a fresh start on a new life.
She's so beautiful. I'm drunk enough that if I look at her,
if I watch her dancing, I don't have to see it happening again
in my mind's eye, don't have to see the blood-soaked alien
bodies and the superimposition of bodies far less alien, familiar,
my own kind. My own family. Oh god ... no, look at Rogue instead.
Green eyes sparkling in the light, reddish-brown hair wild
and free, floating in a cloud around her head as she moves
to the alien rhythms. Her perfect, long limbs moving with
power and grace, strength that can lift a truck or smash in
a wall channeled and focused into the power of the dance.
Summer sunlight and the scent of running water and new-mown
grass, everything bright and beautiful and relaxing about
home, taken human form in the flesh of one woman.
I remember our last day on Earth, New York City in a light
snowfall, the city alive with uncharacteristic brightness.
The Christmas season. Not my holiday, I suspect, but it was
hers and the rest of the X-Men's, and it's not as if I had
any more than the vaguest sense of what holidays I did
hold holy anyway. If any of them. There doesn't seem to have
been much Magneto held holy. And I believed I could cast aside
that life -- not ignore it, no, never deny it, but move on.
Become a new person, while still atoning for the sins of the
old. Have some measure of happiness, even in a life dedicated
I sought to give Rogue magic, then, in the belief that she
could accept such a gift from me. The sleigh ride over the
top of New York City. A foolish move, and given how our kind
are feared, a dangerous one. I wasn't paying attention. I
didn't care. And nothing bad came of it, as if just once the
universe was looking out for the safety of fools in love.
And then I gave her the gift I'd been working on-- a way to
suppress her mind-stealing powers and not the rest of it,
a way to let her touch without crippling her.
And I kissed her.
It was the first time I touched her, within my memory. It
was very likely the last.
When the Phalanx had tried to consume us all, when she was
dying, the words she thought would be her last were to choke
out that she loved Remy.
Maybe I'm not drunk enough after all.
When we return to Earth, she says. When we return, she'll
tell me everything I want -- no, need -- to know about my
past life. Not that I don't already know more than I really
want to. Pain inflicted, suffering forced on those I now would
call friends, and my own children, and Rogue herself. Madness.
A life lived in pain, pushed beyond sanity by horrors no man
could bear. And now this, a fragment of memory of those horrors.
If this is only the smallest portion of what lived behind
Magneto's eyes, no wonder he went mad.
I don't want to know anymore. I fear the return of the memories,
fear they will do to me what they did to him, and then I will
be him, and any hope I might have had to accomplish something
good in my life, any hope for the salvation of my soul, will
be extinguished forever. But I can't fight that through ignorance,
either. If I were to know what I have been, all that I have
been, perhaps I can find some way to tie that to what I am
now, and take from that a path to what I want to become.
Because I am not, yet, what I want to be. I was useless in
that battle, useless when the Phalanx took me out, useless
when we first fell into space and Rogue told me to shut up
and let the professionals handle it. I want -- I need -- to
be powerful, effective, or how can I be of use, how can I
pay back the world and my teammates for the crimes I have
committed if I cannot do anything at all? But the route to
what I want is fraught with perils, when any wrong turn and
I might find myself staring into the mirror at Magneto. I
must know how he came to that place, so I can find another
path, so I can take his power and his skill without taking
on his madness as well.
And I cannot imagine that it could be a path that allows
for bright things, that allows for the foolishness of a young
man in love. Horrors are burnt behind my eyes. If I loved
her -- if she let me love her -- one slip and those horrors
would be burnt behind those bright green orbs as well, dulling
the sunlight in them. And even if I didn't slip, even if we
found the magic solution and she never ever absorbed me, still
I could never share with her the horrors that haunt me. She
is too good, too bright for that. She should never have her
brightness dimmed by the darkness of what I know.
I thought I could have my innocence back, that I could atone
for sins without ever letting myself know what they were or
why I committed them. I thought I could bask in that bright
sunlight and never threaten it with cold winter's darkness.
The thoughts of a boy, of a fool. My quest for redemption
can't possibly lead into her arms. I cannot risk hurting her,
I cannot deserve her love.
And she loves Remy anyway.
So, it isn't much of a hardship to make the choice, is it?
Dance, my love. Dance, and forget, and celebrate with these
strange people that answer death with a celebration of life.
Dance, and afterward go to your lover, wherever he might be
in this place, and share what you can with him. He may be
a thief and a rogue, he may have been mistrusted because of
who Bishop remembered him to be in a future that will never
happen now, but whatever darkness he has behind his eyes,
it can't be the equal to mine. He won't darken your brightness,
as I inevitably would.
Tomorrow I will tell you that I understand. That I heard
you when you said you loved Remy, and I don't wish to stand
between the two of you. That I wish only to be your friend,
to stand at your side in battle and in peace. And that if
he ever breaks your heart, I'll kill him.
Tonight, I will sit alone, with a glass in my hand, and watch
In my mind I set you free, without ever having had you in
the first place. The alien music swirls around you, alien
voices a susurration all around as they dance to prove that
they are alive.
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