Memories. They can be oddest of things, they have the power to release you from any prison with the blink of an eye just the same as they have power to hold you captive in your own head. Simply close your eyes, picture a life that used to be and live in the moment. You can feel the past between your fingers, smell its’ scents and hear its’ sounds. They say freedom is the breath of life, they say no one can keep you from the world in your head, they say you can live, you can laugh and you can love and nothing can stop you. No outside force may invade your memories, no dictation can change their form and no harm can ever befall them.
Like any freedom though, it comes at a cost. There is a danger within memories, for such an injustice lies in the inability to forget the unpleasant ones, that it may often leave you wondering if it’s worth the trade. Is the ability to retain the good ones really worth having to live alongside the worst ones?
The Canadian gold-medalist known as Northstar however, couldn’t help but want to take the risk. So much of the man’s life had been lost amongst the snow covered mountains of his homeland. He knew the memories of his youth lived within him, he had always known, he could feel them there, waiting for someone to release them.
It would be Rogue, it would have to be. A simple touch from the sweet-smiling southern girl and the memories that have been dormant so long would come to life within her. Some may say Jean-Grey was the girl for the job, and though she may be able to unlock his memories also there lied a danger in her. If Jean-Paul were to approach the Phoenix and ask for this favor she would no doubt grant it, at least he hoped she would. Letting her unlock them however, would send them rushing back into his mind like ocean across the desert, images, voices and feelings the man’s youth had locked away would come pouring over him and he wasn’t sure he was ready.
With Rogue it would be different, his memories would remain locked away, hidden from him, but visible to the girl, at least that’s the way he imagined it working. She then, could tell share selections and answer the questions gestating in his head. If the answers were too harsh or the images to cruel, she could keep them from him. That however, might be the worst punishment of all, not for Jean-Paul, but for an innocent friend who was only trying to help. But how could do this, how could ask someone to allow their own minds to be compromised while still protecting his own? Was the favor too much, and once the girl knew his secrets, would be able to forget?
The weather had yet to settle into a season, the air still chilly from the winter but the breeze warm and inviting, just like summer. The well-dressed Canadian walked the halls of the ancient temple he now called home, heading directly to his friends room. He would be eloquent, he would tell her how sorry he was for even asking such a thing of her. Northstar knew better than to just say “I’m ready”, that would be beneath him. He knew full-well how to maintain his composure, to keep his cool under pressure and to charm anyone he came into contact with. Yes, he would be eloquent.
“If you’re still up for it, I think I’d like you to remove your glove...” Jean-Paul said to the girl, never raising his head to meet her gaze.
There wasn't much about her abilities that Rogue would think of as a blessing. Her body, the way her skin lit up and fed off any person that it came into contact with, prohibited her from having any sort of normal life. When she did touch another living person, it did horrible things to them. It took what they were, their essence, and pulled it into her. It weaken them. If she held on long enough, it could kill them, keep who they were trapped inside of her forever.
And that was the second edge of her powers double edged sword. Not only did it do horrible damage to the person she touched, it also gave her a bit of a setback too. What she absorbed, the memories, the voice, the persona, it stayed with her, lived inside of her. Sure, they faded into the background from time to time. Some were quieter than others, but they were all there, floating inside of her, reminding her she could never really be alone.
That's why, when Jean Paul approached her, asking her to dig around in his head and pull out some of his foggiest moments, she was less than excited. Did she really want another person in her head, another voice giving their comments, existing within her?
But Jean Paul needed this. That much was clear as a whistle in the way he moved, in the hilt of his voice. For all her reservations, she knew there was no way she could refuse him, not for something like this.
"Okay sugah." She removed her gloves and placed a hand on his temples. "Just don't say Ah didn't warn ya."
Jointpost Rogue and Northstar
Jean-Paul barely had time to register the warmth of Rogue’s hand before the pain began, well, perhaps pain was the wrong word. No, this wasn’t pain, the man had felt that before, he had felt it falling out of a tree and hearing his arm snap when he was six, he had felt it getting punched in the eye and mugged as he rounded Main St. when he was fourteen, and he had felt it slamming into a tree at eighty miles per hour on the frozen mountains of his homeland.
This was something else, this was weakness, this was your life, your energy and every inch of who you were being pulled from you in a way you didn’t know was possible. Northstars’ body shook and his knees buckled as the sound of his muscular frame hitting the floor echoed through the girls room. His vision, his hearing and his train of thought, they were all a blur, one muffled mass of images, sights and thoughts. This was not the way Jean-Paul assumed it would happen, this was quicker, faster and far more invasive than anything he pictured.
Feeling his heart threaten to pound out of his chest the Canadian reached for the chair in the rooms’ corner, pulled himself up and spoke in a breathless voice. “Give me a moment, I apologize…” his voice trailed off as his eyes once again shut.
Rogue watched as Jean-Paul fell helplessly to the floor, she knew this would happen because this always happened. Most people though were a bit more wound up by the time she got around to actually placing her skin atop theirs, times such as these were usually reserved for battle when emotions and energy were running high. That wasn’t the case today though, Northstar came to her door a broken man, ready to be invaded in what was the cruelest of ways, at least, that’s the way she saw it.
This side of Jean-Paul was one he must’ve kept hidden quite well however, before today, every time Rogue had seen the man he was confident and sure of himself without even the slightest bit of doubt about him.
“Sure thing sweetie, go on and take your time. Ah’ll just be sitting right here.” Her words were easy and slow. It had been a very long time, if at all, that the southern girl would have to walk through someone’s memories’, trying to pick a balance, trying to give them what they wanted. A few quiet minutes passed before Jean-Paul sat up in his chair, and looked Rogue in the eyes.
"Wha don't yah tell me what you wanna know sugah'"
Sitting up in his chair Northstar ran his hand across his head, wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead and tousling his dark hair. “I couldn’t really tell you what I want to know mon cheri. I’ve just felt like something was missing to me, like my mind is hiding something from me, it’s just a feeling. I know about my parents, I know they died, as did my adoptive parents, I know these things, but I don’t really remember them. Maybe that’s it, maybe it’s nothing more, but I’d like you to tell me.”
Rogue knew what the man was missing, it was obvious. They say you can’t remember your infancy, and while that may be true she now had proof, you can’t forget it either. The southern girl now felt the loneliness Jean-Paul kept hidden away, the slow dull ache he kept buried inside, the one telling him a piece of himself existed somewhere else, somewhere he couldn’t remember.
“Ah see a lot things sugah’, I see the snow, I see the face of yah momma, I can even feel the cold air seeping through the windows and fallin’ right down on yah lil’ head.” Her words were soft as she tried carefully to choose the right ones.
“That lil’ piece of yah life didn’t last long though, did it?” she said looking to Jean-Paul as his eyes dropped to the floor.
Rogue could hear the sound of his sister crying next to him, she could feel their legs touch as they lay side-by-side in their cradle laughing at the squished funny faces of their father. Perhaps it would be easier though, if the man found out himself.
“Ah see you movin’ in with family after yah parents died. Might yah remember a lady named Madame DuPont?” she asked, already knowing the answer.
Raising his eyes to meet hers Jean-Paul could hear a slight change in her voice “No,” he responded searching his mind. “My adoptive mothers name was Genevieve Martin… why, am I supposed to know the name?” He said scanning her face for a sign.
“Now listen here babe, it’s just a name ah’m getting, remember now, these memories are old, and they’ve been repressed for just the longest if time. The might not be exactly crystal clear, yah know… But it's important, ah do know that. Ah keep seeing it written down, even heard it mentioned a few times"
Narrowing her eyes, placing her gloved hand on Jean-Pauls shoulder and slowing her voice the southerner spoke again. "LaVelle, Quebec. ah think ah'd start there."
There was something in her voice now, in the way she rested her palm on his shoulder that let Northstar know the girl was serious in her words. Somethign must be waiting for him in LaVelle, something he had been repressing all these years. It was a gamble though, to say the least. If his mind had thought to repress it, was then, it something he should uncover?
"I know it's not right of me to ask you mon cheri, I don't know you as well as most, but, will you come with me? Not... not today, not tomorrow, but soon. I know me, and soon, I'll want to know. You've helped me this far, will you continue?"