Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

From Our Dissension

From Our Dissension

by Mara

Summary: Often both sides of an argument seem clear-cut to the participants.

CONTINUITY/SPOILERS: X3 spoilers ahoy! Be aware, however, that in my
version of X3, the Phoenix storyline *didn’t* happen.

NOTES: This story is MsCongeniality’s fault, for giving me the idea
while we were discussing the multitude of scenes missing from X3.
Thanks to Minisinoo and Xandri for betareading.

* * * * *

It was fortunate, Warren thought, that he was no stranger to boarding
school living. Otherwise, he’d be at a total loss as to how to take
care of himself in the chaos of the Xavier School for Gifted
Youngsters.

Visions of frying pans and fires danced in his head as he meandered
around, watching and listening to the students who gathered in hallways
and bedrooms and common spaces to discuss the weird goings-on. One
teacher had apparently died recently, another was so depressed that he
was never around, and the headmaster seemed to *know* this Magneto who
was threatening everyone.

Warren rather liked the hullabaloo because it kept his mind off his
*own* woes, and right now, that could only be a good thing. And the
anonymity of just being ‘Warren,’ not the scion of the Worthington
fortune, was refreshing.

He’d managed to scrape up something to eat, and found other necessities
of life, and now was looking in wonder at the variety of mutations
around him.

Due to his ‘position’ once his wings had appeared, he’d been pretty
isolated. He’d had a few agemates with little mutations they’d
successfully hidden from their parents: Dylan, who could project a
small beam of light no bigger than a flashlight, and Sonia, who could
lift things like feathers or paper with her mind.

But here a young boy casually sped down the hallway an inch off the
ground while a girl in a bright yellow jacket chased after him,
projecting sparklers from her fingers. One of the teachers apparently
controlled the weather and there was the guy who was blue and furry. It
was hard to take in.

Glancing at his watch, he turned down another hallway, looking for
Rogue’s room. He’d managed pretty well on his own, but he had a few
questions and Ms. Munroe had promised that Rogue would help him.

Approaching the door, he noted how most of the woodwork glowed with age
to match the exterior of the mansion. But there were so many patches
and repairs, something most people who hadn’t grown up in a similar
environment would notice. Why were–

Oh.

Warren felt stupid. A school for mutants probably *did* need more
repairs than the average pile of stones.

He knocked on Rogue’s door, noting a section of floor that had been
replaced. There was no answer and he was about to turn away, when he
was certain he heard a sound. With a slight frown, he knocked again.
“Rogue, are you there?”

Another silence and then, “Uh, Warren?”

“Yeah. Are you busy?” He used his most plaintive tone, the one that
always made his governesses give him another cookie.

It apparently worked just as well on mutant teenage girls, as a moment
later the door opened a bit. Rogue looked like she wanted to slip out
into the hallway, but Warren stood his ground, smiling at her.

The look she gave him said she wasn’t fooled, but she stepped back,
opening the door to let him step in and shutting it quickly behind him.

His eyebrows shot up when he realized her room was almost as bare as
his, because most things were packed into a box in the corner or the
suitcase on the bed. “Going somewhere?”

She turned away and continued stuffing a pile of scarves into the
suitcase. “Looks like it.”

Warren swallowed, fighting unexpected panic at being abandoned by
practically the only person he’d yet spoken to at length. But he was a
Worthington, no matter what that name meant right now, and he wouldn’t
show his fear here. Bad enough he’d– “Is this the best time to take
off?”

Her chin went up at his tone and she faced him. “I’ve got someplace I
need to be.”

Warren’s heart felt like it stopped. She couldn’t mean what he thought
she meant. “I hope you’re not thinking of getting the cure.”

“And what if I am?” She crossed her arms over her chest.

What he’d gone through to get here and she– “You’re going to run out
and let them neuter you? How could you?” He was nearly shouting.

Her eyes widened in surprise, but she lashed back. “What do you care?
Pretty boy, you don’t *kill* people just by touching them. It’s easy
for you.” She ripped off a glove and stepped toward him, hand bare.

Warren stood his ground. “You think it’s easy for me?” He shrugged off
the heavy shirt that was his constant companion, let his wings touch
the walls to either side. For an instant he felt claustrophobic, unable
to stretch any further. “How am I supposed to pass like this? But I
can’t give them up, they’re a part of me.”

“Well, if killing anyone I touch is part of me, I’m ready to rip it
out.” Rogue glared, shaking her head. “Nobody’s being forced to do
this.”

“Yes, they are! My father was going to force me!”

“But–”

“My name is Warren *Worthington*. As in Worthington Industries. You may
have heard of my father’s company.” Warren pulled his wings in,
wrapping them around his body for comfort.

She stared at him, eyes wide.

Warren’s knees were weak and he sat down on the bed. “He…when he told
me about it, he said he did it all for me. They strapped me to this
thing, and the doctor had the needle…I changed my mind, but they
weren’t going to let me go.”

“Warren, I–”

“I jumped through the window and flew away,” he said.

“I’m sorry,” she said, sitting down at the other end of the bed. He
noticed how she simultaneously tried to get close to comfort him, while
staying as far away as possible.

“It’s not your fault my father’s a jerk,” he said, looking down at the
tips of his wings.

“No, I mean I’m sorry for saying it was easy for you. I ought to know
better. It ain’t easy for any of us.” She slipped her glove back on and
twisted her hands in her lap.

Warren closed his eyes, thinking of the years when his father tried to
hide him, then when he tried to find clothes to hide the wings.

“Warren?”

He started. He’d almost forgotten where he was. “Huh?”

“Your dad, he oughtn’t have done that. But…I’m not sorry about the
cure.”

Warren didn’t trust himself to speak.

“My first boyfriend? He, we kissed, and I nearly killed him. I screamed
and screamed and my mama and daddy were afraid of me all the time and
the doctors too. I still feel him in my head sometimes.” Rogue’s hands
were clenched so hard, her knuckles were probably white under the
gloves. “Everybody I’ve touched since this happened to me–they’re all
in there at least a little.”

“Oh.” Warren shivered. “I didn’t know.”

“I don’t talk about it much. And you’re new.” She looked up at him
through a fall of dark hair and a white streak. “I need this, Warren. I
could kill someone and not even mean it. Someday I will if I don’t do
this.”

“Can’t they teach you how to control it? Turn it on and off?”

She shook her head. “They’ve tried. The Professor, he still thinks we
can figure it out. Maybe if…”

Warren waited, but she didn’t seem to remember he was there. “If what?”

Rogue looked at him, expression even more bleak. “If Dr. Grey weren’t
dead. She died when, well, she died saving us from being drowned.”

“I’m sorry.”

Rogue looked down at her hands again. “So am I.”

She looked up again, studying his wings. He twitched once, but the way
she looked wasn’t anything like the way his father looked at them or
the doctors. She looked a little intrigued, actually. “Can I help you?”
he asked after a moment.

Rogue blushed. “I was just wondering what it feels like.”

“To have wings?”

“To fly.”

Warren closed his eyes and remembered wind sliding off his back,
freedom, the rush, like the world’s best roller coaster he never had to
get off. “It’s amazing.”

“And that’s why you don’t want the cure.” It wasn’t a question.

“I sort of did, at first. I guess.” Warren couldn’t quite remember when
the subject of an *actual* cure had first come up, since his father had
been obsessed with the subject since his wings had appeared. “It meant
so much to him and I…” He shrugged.

Rogue nodded as if she understood and Warren realized she probably did.
Absently, he ran his fingers along the flight feathers on both wings,
making sure they were undamaged.

“Your feathers are pretty,” she said, voice soft.

“Thank you.” Warren stroked the primaries. “When I was on that table–
god, this is so stupid.”

She smiled. “I promise I won’t think you’re stupid.”

Staring at the bland institutional carpeting, Warren focused on a
frayed spot just inside the doorway. “They started to strap me down and
it suddenly occurred to me that this meant I would lose my wings. How
dumb is that? My dad’s been talking about a cure for years and I didn’t
really think about it.” Closing his eyes, he remembered the pain and
fear in his father’s eyes when he broke free of the restraints.

“And then, when you thought about it?”

“The whole night before, I tried to imagine being without them, and it
was like,” he flexed his wings, searching for the right words, “like
allowing someone to cut off your perfectly good hands or feet. I
freaked.” His heart raced at the memory.

“Hey, Warren,” Rogue said, making an abortive movement to touch him,
“it’s okay, you’re safe here.”

“Are you sure?”

She hesitated and he wondered what she was remembering. “Yes,” she said
finally and there was certainty in her eyes.

Warren nodded, choosing to believe her, although he didn’t know why.

“Do you hate your dad?” Rogue asked.

“I–” He stopped to think about it. “I’m not sure. I’m angry. I did
hate him, at the time. But now…I don’t know.”

She wrapped her arms across her stomach. “I don’t think you should.
Trying to force you was wrong, but he was trying to help.”

Wanting to argue, Warren pressed his lips together and let her finish.

“My parents, they just wanted me back the way I was,” she said. “They’d
have done anything to fix what was wrong.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me!”

“I know.” She hugged herself harder. “But your dad didn’t see that.”

Warren didn’t want to agree. But it was true. His father just didn’t
understand and he’d never tried to make him understand. He’d always
kind of figured that eventually his father would stop being so upset by
the wings.

“Warren?”

“I’m okay. I…you’re right. I’m sure he thought he was doing the right
thing.” His voice sounded oddly rusty to his own ears.

“Are you gonna be okay?” Rogue looked worried about him. “I need to
leave soon before Ms. Munroe or Bobby–he’s my boyfriend–realizes
where I’m going.”

Warren nodded. “I’ll be fine. So, I can’t change your mind?”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t want anyone
else’s memories in my head.”

“Then,” he took a deep breath and sat up straight, “I’ll wish you good
luck and I hope that the cure makes your life better.”

Her smile was lovely. “Thank you. I hope you…enjoy your wings. And
I’ll see you when I get back, ‘kay?”

“Maybe I’ll take you flying.” Warren managed a fairly creditable smile
for her and standing, he began the process of rebinding his wings.

“Warren,” she said hesitantly.

“Yes?”

“You don’t have to do that, y’hear?” She pointed at the harness. “Not
at the mansion.”

“Oh!” He froze, uncertain what to do. “I’ve never…” He held his shirt
in one hand.

“When I get back, I’ll help you alter your shirts to accommodate the
wings,” she said. “I’m a pretty good seamstress.”

Warren closed his eyes against an excess of emotion. “I’d like that,”
he said. “For now, maybe I’ll go flying.”

–end–

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