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[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: 16 Going On 160
Fandom: X-Men Movieverse
Character: Rogue
Rating: PG
Summary: After X1, Rogue muses on the process of growing up.

Most people grow up slowly. They ride the ebb and flow of responsibility and awareness from child to teen to adult, rushing forward one moment, retreating back the next. Most people have the luxury of hiding from the world sometimes, using one form of escapism or another to blur and dull the rawness of adulthood.

Even mutant kids grow up slowly. For all that Jubilee and Kitty had to grow up when lived on the streets, they’re still very much teenagers. They still see the world in black and white, put their heads together and giggle over a cute boy (or teacher) and can retreat in to the blissful ignorance of childhood self-centered-ness.

Not me. I don’t have that kind of luck. In 48 hours I went from child to adult when 150 years worth of life-experience got crammed into my psyche. I am 16 going on 160. First there was Logan, then Erik, then Logan again, just in case my brain-drain missed anything the first time around. And it’s not even the memories that forced me to grow up all at once - although those are bad enough, and will, no doubt, be the cause of many nightmares. No, the worst part is the awareness. The understanding.

A week ago, I looked at Scott Summers and saw the calm, cool, collected leader of the X-Men, and damn good math teacher. Now I see his insecurity around Jean, and I wonder if their relationship can last; I see his worry over what Magneto will do next; I see his concern for his students and friends. He has become multi-dimensional to me, all at once.

A week ago, I looked at Dr. Jean Grey and saw a beautiful (shaddup, Logan), immaculately put-together doctor who at once awed and inspired me. Now I see her frayed around the edges and I wonder how long the blocks that Charles put up will hold; I see her love for Scott and wonder what she needs to do to convince him; I see the last vestiges of the scared teenager who couldn’t stop the voices in her head. She’s still beautiful though. (Logan, shut UP!)

A week ago, I would never have seen beyond the immaculate wardrobe, sophisticated voice and wheelchair of Professor Xavier. Now, thanks to Erik, I see his flaws as well as his strengths; I see his stubbornness and his secrecy; I see his unflagging ability to only see the best in people and situations, an ability that will kill him one day. That will kill us all one day. The cynic in me got a double dose of reinforcement from Logan and Erik.

I suddenly have a deep, ingrained understanding of what it’s like to live paycheck-to-paycheck, wondering how the rent will be paid; what it’s like to make a huge decision like buying a house and all the hassle (and paperwork) that goes with that; I understand love, lust and heartbreak; I understand the frustration of not being able to follow your dreams; I understand predjudice and pain far better than my 16 year old body should.

It isn’t all bad, I suppose. I also know, deep down in the marrow of my bones know, what friendship and trust is. When Logan gave me his dogtags and promised to return, I’m sure everyone in the school saw a little girl with a huge crush on the man who had saved her life. A week earlier, they would have been right. But with my ill-gotten adulthood, “crush” or “worship” was not the appropriate description of my reaction. It was awe. And a little bit of shock. Because I knew exactly what he meant. I’ve got the man in my head, afterall. He wasn’t promising to come back to the school, or for a few pieces of insignificant metal, or even to me, little Marie. He was promising to come back to the one person he knew could understand him, who had looked into his own personal abyss and hadn’t run away. To the one person who kept him grounded in humanity. The trust he was placing in me was astounding, moreso because I understood. And he knew I did.

The day after Logan left, I went to the Professor and requested my own room. I sat there in his office and smiled and lied through my teeth. I was worried about Jubes and Kitty, I said. I knew I was going to have nightmares and at best I would disturb their sleep, at worst I could accidentally hurt them with a bit of flailing exposed skin. He gave me that grave, concerned look of his and I smiled right back, ever so sweetly. He knew I was lying, I knew he knew I was lying, and he knew I knew he knew. But I was clinging to the last bits of the childhood belief that if you don’t say something outloud, it isn’t real. He knew that too. That was okay, though. I knew neither the Professor nor Jean would let me hide in the tattered remains of my childhood for very long. They would drag everything out into the open soon enough, kicking and screaming if need be. They would both come to understand that I simply couldn’t share my space with two sweet, caring girls. They would learn that the adult in me needed space and privacy, just like they did.

So now I sit in my own, private room. It’s two doors down from Jean and Scott, so that someone is always near by when the inevitable nightmares and breakdowns come. It is also, I learned with bemusement, next door to the room that Logan will inhabit when he returns. I don’t quite know what to think of that, but neither do any of the uninvited guests in my head, so I suppose that’s okay. Being an adult doesn’t mean you have all the answers anyway. Or so I’ve learned.


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