Taming the Beast

BY : Lady_Noir
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > General
Dragon prints: 1267
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-men, nor do I own any of the characters from it. I make no money from writing this fanfiction.

(( TW for: vague references of abuse. ))

 

The difference between a school and a sanctuary was very small, at least where Mercy was concerned. She had always found a comfort in education. There was something satisfying about wandering a library and pulling a book off of a shelf, or finally solving a difficult math problem. When things had been at their worst at home, and they were rarely on the good side of bad, she had found solace in learning.

 

She hoped she could provide the same solace here, that was, of course, if she could find the dean's office. For all it was a sanctuary, it was also a maze. Her heels clicked on the elegant floors as her eyes scanned over the art collections, generously on display.

 

It was a very long way from a tailor park in Coldecott, Mississippi.

 

“Mercy?” the voice called. “Oh it is you! C'mere, Sugar.”

 

Strong arms wrapped around her. She was hefted off the ground and swung in the air. The familiar scent of vanilla and summer flowers swarmed over her and there was comfort in that too. Her eyes were blinded by a riot of curls in shades of brown and auburn, and a singular tress of snowy white.

 

“Anna Marie!” Mercy laughed. “I need to breathe.”

 

“Sorry, Hun.” Rogue swept back towards the floor, and Mercy felt ground beneath her feet once again. “So glad you came! Gosh, lookit you. You just grew up all kinds of pretty.”

 

Mercy felt her cheeks turning rosy with the praise. If it had come from someone else she might have waved it off, but Anna Marie, or Rogue as she preferred to be called now, wasn't one for false flattery. She might have been prone to exaggeration, but never without some truth.

 

“Thank you, really, for everything.

 

“Aww, hun, all you ever had to do was ask.” Rogue shot her a brilliant grin.

 

“I didn't ask you to get me an interview. I can't thank you enough for that.”

 

Rogue waved one carefully gloved hand in the air. “Nothing to it, really. Can't think of anyone more deserving than you. Especially after everything you've been through.” Her voice dropped a couple notches in concerned conspiracy. “Are you alright? Be honest.”

 

Mercy looked up into the other woman's eyes. They were filled with the kind of worry and kindness that made Mercy want to tell her everything. She didn't. She knew once she did the whole story would come tumbling out and there wasn't time for it right now. She felt her eyes tear up at the thought of it. Rogue reached out a hand and touched the satin fingertips to her cheek.

 

“Oh, Darlin'. If I ever see him, I'm just gonna to toss him in a volcano.”

 

Mercy's smile was a timid one, and she knew it didn't reach her eyes. She reached out and touched a finger to the lock of white through Rogue's hair. “I'll cheer you on.”

 

“Atta' girl.” Rogue linked her arm through Mercy's, careful that skin didn't touch. “The professor is waitin' on ya. Want me to take you there? I can show you to your room when ya'll'r done talking.”

 

“I have a room? But I haven't even had an interview.”

 

“Lookit that face, who could say no to that?”

 

Mercy hoped she was right.

 

~

“Ms. Quinn, welcome, have a seat.”

 

Charles Xavier was handsome the way the older and the magnanimous could be. His head was bald to a perfect shine and his eyes were small, but kindly. Yet, for all that, she felt uncomfortable taking a seat in the big expensive chair across from him. It was intimidating.

 

“I've looked over your resume.” His hands opened a printed copy of her work history. It was a single page, single sided, and a single letter of recommendation.

 

“I realize it's a little...sparse.”

 

“You have a degree in history, you did a year as a substitute at the Le Croix Middle School, and your ancient history professor speaks highly of you.”

 

“I, yes. Well, Ms. Beaumonte was a really great teacher and she helped me get my education credits. She was a great help.” Mercy tugged at her blouse, sure that it wasn't sitting right.

 

“I am sensing that there is more to say.”

 

“The Middle School principal wasn't fond of finding out about my unique skills.”

 

“I'm sorry.” He sounded like he meant it. Mercy wanted to believe him.

 

“Thank you.” Mercy looked down at her lap.

 

“Ms. Quinn, am I making you uncomfortable?”

 

“I'm sorry.” Mercy surged to her feet and walked a quick line in front of the desk. “I've never been great about talking about myself.”

 

His thin lips formed into a bemused line. He nodded once and navigated a chair she hadn't seen before around the desk. “Well then, what are you great at talking about?”

 

“I can discus how Mesopotamia was never an empire in its own right, but was contested by over twenty different nations for over a millennium. Or how the Codes of Hammurabi fundamentally changed society across the world. Mostly ancient history, the cradles of civilization, and mythology mostly. I could...ramble. I am rambling. I think I'm just worried that I am only here because of Rogue's word.”

 

“Ms. Quinn, the truth is that you would be accepted here regardless of your friend's praise. You are a woman in need of help.”

 

“Did you read my mind?” Mercy felt the first jolt of anger rise up in her belly. It surprised her. She hadn't felt anger in a very long time.

 

He held up one hand. “No, I did not. I swear it. I will never enter your mind without express permission or dire emergency. But your feelings are written on you like a book. You do not have to tell me what happened, Ms. Quinn. You never have to tell anyone, but you have a home here for as long as you wish it, and a job too.”

 

~

 

The room Rogue showed her to was small, but comfortable and it had its own bathroom. She couldn't remember how long it had been since she had her very own bathroom. She sat on the corner of her bed.

 

“You wanna go get something to eat?” Rogue asked, leaning casually against the door frame. “We don't have to stay here, we can get dressed in our favorite dresses and go into town, spend a lavish amount on food we can't finish. Whadd'ya say, Hun?”

 

“That sounds...” she paused, glancing around the small room with it's simple wallpaper and nondescript comforter. “That sound's really great. Give me an hour to get ready, okay?”

 

“Sound's great. You want me to invite anyone else? We could make a whole group thing of it, get to know some of the other teachers?”

 

“I don't...I don't know.”

 

Mercy felt what little control she'd built up crumble. She'd have to met them sooner or later. There would be questions. Who she was, where she was from, how she knew Rogue, what her powers were. There were bound to be a thousand questions all about her and she hadn't a single clue how to answer any of them. Tears, hot and sudden, filled up her eyes.

 

“Oh, Hun, we don't gotta. I just thought...Oh I'm sorry I guess I didn't think before I opened up my mouth.” The bed shifted as Rogue sat down, wrapping an arm around her side, still careful not to touch skin. “I'm so sorry.”

 

Mercy shook her head. She couldn't speak. Her throat closed around all the words she wanted to say. All the memories that threatened to break her. The tears started and they wouldn't stop. She wasn't sure when or how it happened, but she collapsed against Rogue and let herself sob.

 

“I'm afraid.”

 

“Mercy, oh gosh Mercy, you don't gotta worry anymore. I'm here, heck, we are all here to keep you safe.”

 

Mercy wanted to believe her. She wanted to believe that her old friend and dozen other heroes would protect her. But a dark little voice in the back of her mind told her not to put any faith in it. She had trusted before, hadn't she, and where had that got her?

 

“I don't know what to do.”

 

“You don't have to do nothing. Not a damn thing. How about we order in? I can lock us up in one of the common rooms, and we can watch a funny movie and wear our pj's and eat too much candy.”

 

Mercy found herself nodding. “Alright, yeah. That...that sounds good.”  



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story