Bobby is dead.
The thought plays in a loop through Rogue's brain. Bobby is dead, and this scum in her hands killed him. Bobby is dead, and he's the only guy who has ever been nice to her, even after she used Jean's powers to break into his brain, grab one of his worst memories, and lock him away in it back at Weapon X.
Even though Kitty said he wasn't dead, Rogue can't be sure. She knows what it's like to face someone a little crazy, someone in power, you tell them whatever they want to hear just so they won't hit you again, and she has the gun, so for once she has the power, power she doesn't have to use up close.
Her back throbs, her skin feels torn where the borrowed wings burst out of her bones, and Sinister is almost too heavy to hold. Her fingers are starting to cramp, but she hasn't carried him high enough, she has to hang on a little bit longer before she can let go.
The air is cold all around her, and it reminds her of Bobby, the way he gives off a chill even when he hasn't turned to ice, the way she can feel it through her clothes when he puts his arm across her shoulders.
Sinister twists and his shirt slips a little. She could hang on better if she wasn't wearing the gloves, but she really can't let go long enough to pull them off.
"Give me one reason," she says. She's not trying to sound tough, and in her own ears, her voice is weak, but she can hear her anger, she hopes he can hear it, too. "Give me one reason ah shouldn't drop you so far your bones burst outta your skin when you hit the ground."
For a man dangling about half a second away from a nasty death, he stays pretty cocky. She shakes him a little, to cover the quiver in her arms, and pushes her leg against his elbow to knock his hand away from her wings.
"I bet I can survive the fall...can you? Go ahead, crash."
The thing between his eyes, right where she wanted to put the bullet, glows red, pulses like a silent heartbeat, and Rogue's whole body goes weak, her wings droop, her back curves. She's ready to melt through the sky, ready to turn her head down and aim at the ground.
It's like he's in her head, but not quite, he's not speaking to her, it's just her thoughts have all turned to mush and what he says is the most important thing in her world, the only thing in her world, each syllable drops into her thoughts and encompasses her entire life.
"Don't listen to him, Rogue. The only voice that matters is mine."
Lightning crashes and booms, and the electric tension in the air pushes Sinister out of her head. Rogue blinks, half blinded by the burst of light, and then blinks again. A minute ago, she was all alone with him, and now Storm hovers in front of her, lighting in her eyes and in the jagged strands of her hair.
"Storm?" Rogue's voice is slurred, slow, and her thoughts are languid as she gathers them up, brings them back. She's in control again, and her hands fist tighter in his shirt. It's a little hard not to focus on Storm in the same obsessive way Sinister filled her head.
"It's over, honey. Put him down now. Gently. Those feathers you borrowed from Warren will disappear as soon as your powers--"
What the hell does Storm know about her powers? What does Storm know about anything? Rogue snaps back to herself, the hot anger twisting in her stomach enough to clear her mind.
"Why are you acting all soft? This piece of trash is no better than the animals that killed your Hank! He deserves to die!"
Storm flinches like Rogue actually hit her, and the wind twists her hair across her face, hides almost everything except one eye, narrowed and filled with pain.
The wind whips around and blasts Rogue; it shakes her, rocks her in the air, and she has to spread her wings to catch the updraft. Sinister dangles, his shirt stretching dangerously, until it looks like he could slip out of it at any second.
"Rogue, Hank always said that if mutants are the future, they've got to stop thinking like the--"
"This man murdered people!" Why doesn't she get it? Why doesn't Storm of all people understand? "Eye for an eye, Storm!" She shakes Sinister, and the wind gets wilder still, circles her, pulls at her feathers like a cat, toying with a downed bird.
"What has that ever solved, Rogue? Ever? In the history of mankind? We're supposed to be what's next. Let's...let's try something new."
Storm holds up her hand, not out to Rogue, not reaching for her with a dangerous touch, but just up, in surrender. Her eyes aren't pure white anymore, they've faded to their normal color, and even though she's flying, she doesn't look so much like a powerful mutant, one of the X-Men, just a sad young woman who should have given up but didn't.
Rogue's arms relax. She's about to nod, about to give in and try it Storm's way, anything to maybe make her smile a little, when Sinister opens his damn mouth.
"She's ruh-ruh-right. Let me go and we can all--"
"Oh, shut it."
His voice grates, he killed Bobby, or at least hurt him a lot, he's heavier than he looks and her arms absolutely ache. There's only one thing to do--well, she could fly over, press her lips to Storm's cheek to steal her powers, and shove a lightning bolt down his throat, but she really is going to listen to Storm's suggestion, and she doesn't want Storm unconscious and falling instead of Sinister, so there's only one other thing to do--she punches him, hard enough to jerk his head back and knock him out.
Storm laughs a little, slow and awkward as if she's rusty at it, and grabs one of Sinister's hands. She takes a lot of weight away from Rogue, and it's only a little difficult to fly side by side, Rogue just has to stretch her wings up and back to stay away from the draft off of Storm.
"Not exactly the nonviolent solution I had in mind...but it'll do. Thanks." Storm's voice is really nice when she's not angry or hurting, and Rogue has to turn her head away and say something to cover the goofy grin she can feel stretch her lips.
"Whatever. Probably just absorbed some of Angel's halo along with his wings. Let's finish this before ah come to my senses..."
Cyclops and Wolverine are waiting for them outside, but before Rogue can land, Storm drops Sinister down at them, grabs Rogue's wrist, making Rogue flinch even though she knows she's wearing gloves, she's always wearing them, and pulls her higher into the air, until the others are out of sight.
"What are you doing?" Rogue asks, and twists until she can see Storm's face in the starlight.
"Flying is my favorite thing," Storm says. She tightens her grip on Rogue's wrist and rolls sideways, pulling Rogue around her in a broad circle. "I thought you should enjoy it while your wings last, before you come to your senses."
Rogue stretches out, faces the sky, her back to the ground. There are clouds building around them, but she knows Storm has it all under control, and she can just enjoy watching it be born right before her eyes.
A hand passes in front of her face, and fingers hover above her lips.
"What are you doing?" she asks, but can't turn around, because Storm is right there in front of her, bending over her head. She leans in, mouth open a little, and Rogue tries to jerk away. "Don't! Ah can't touch--"
"I know." A tiny lightning bolt leaps from Storm's fingertip to Rogue's lip. It's hot, but it doesn't hurt, it just stings a little, and makes her whole body clench.
"Shhh. Just wait."
Storm twists around and runs one hand down Rogue's body, making sure she keeps away from any bare skin. Her hand cups Rogue through her leather pants, presses down firm and steady, and Rogue's entire body twitches.
She knows about sex, she knows how to get herself off, and she's seen a lot more porn than she will ever admit, living with the Brotherhood and all, but this is different. This is a beautiful woman, this is electricity racing through her body, this is heat building just beneath her skin.
The storm builds while Storm rubs her, jerks her hand back and forth, big movements so Rogue can feel them through her uniform. Storm's free hand cups Rogue's breasts, squeezes and palms first one and then the other, until Rogue's nipples are hard, and chafe against her bra.
She wants more, wants Storm's mouth on hers, even though the only kiss she's ever felt ended up with the boy in a coma, wants to wrap her hands around Storm's arms, wants to peel away their clothes and rock their bodies together, but for once she's not caught up only in what she wishes she could do, she's in the moment, she's happy with what she can have, Storm bent over her, the wind buffeting their bodies, and the tension building inside.
It's matched by the wild weather rocking them together. Storm's hair stands out like lightning bolts, tossed around and against Rogue's body. The thin strands, the only pieces of her magnificent hair remaining, slither along Rogue's bare skin, raise goose bumps, and are almost as good as hands and mouth.
"Storm," Rogue moans, and reaches to clutch at her, because it's safe, her hands are covered, and it feels so good she can't help it. "Please, Storm, ah'm--"
She can't speak then, and Storm presses against her, pushes hard with her hands, squeezes until Rogue shakes and moans and tosses back her head so the whole world spins and she can't tell what's up and what's down. The stars are the ground and everything is filled with lights or maybe that's just lightning, either real or imagined behind her eyelids.
When it's all over, Storm kisses the top of her head through her hair, takes one of Rogue's hands in hers, and guides her back toward earth. Before they land, she can feel the wings fail, little bones in them snapping and she starts to plummet toward the ground, but not too far, because Storm grabs her, lowers her while feathers float upward on the breeze, circling them in a cloud of white.
Later, neither of them say anything about it, but Rogue can't hide a secret smile every time she sees Storm. Maybe this whole pacifist thing isn't such a bad idea after all.