Timelined right after Best Wedding Ever.
<Rogue> Rogue watched the car drive away before heading back inside. She had promised Bobby not to ruin the wedding. So she didn't. She played nice and now they were gone. She turned to what was left of the reception and watched as people were gathering their things to leave. Shaw was far enough away where she could try to ignore him for a little bit as she headed to the bar for a new drink.
<Shaw> Nursing his own drink, Sebastian instructed the caterers to box up the top tier of the wedding cake, per the bride's instructions. He smirked at the room in general and tracked the movements of the maid of honor. Their interactions had been brief and perfectly civil all day. He expected that was about to change.
<Rogue> Rogue had a brief conversation with a guest who was so excited for Bobby and Paige and thought the ceremony was just beautiful. Rogue smiled politely and agreed, then directed her towards the favors on her way out. This was going to be a long night. She caught Shaw looking in her direction and looked directly at him, her pleasant smile disappearing. She still couldn't believe Paige liked him. He was bad news.
<Shaw> Sebastian caught her eyes and raised his brow, taking a slow sip of his scotch. Then, he smirked.
<Rogue> Rogue sneered in disgust and turned away to pick up a plate of cake left on a table. Was the wedding technically still going if the bride and groom were gone? She threw the plate in the trash and smiled as more guests passed her on the way out.
<Shaw> He chuckled to himself and scooped up a handful of nuts, popping a few into his mouth and sauntering toward the bar. With Drake and his bride gone, the terms of the agreement for good behavior were fulfilled. He bid a small group of guests a good evening, pitching his voice to carry across the hall.
<Rogue> Shaw's voice made Rogue's spine crawl and the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. She rolled her shoulders and took a breath as she turned to glare at him. Bobby didn't want trouble. Sam wouldn't want her to do it. She clenched her fists and turned to grab another plate off of a table.
<Shaw> Well, she was playing at clean-up. How appropriately subservient of her. Sebastian smirked to himself and flipped a wad of cash from his breast pocket, generously tipping the bartender for his services during the reception. Taking the two drinks, he turned for the door, pausing just long enough to get the skunk-striped woman's attention.
<Rogue> Rogue felt his eyes on her like Scott's beams and turned to glare at him, almost daring him to say something. Where the hell did he think he was going? Stuck up son of a bitch that he is, he probably thinks he's too good to help out with making sure the place gets picked up.
<Shaw> Now that he had her attention again, he went outside, headed for the gazebo near the picturesque lake outside the venue. It was, he had to admit, quite pretty. And peaceful. Sebastian set the drinks on the rail and closed his eyes, sending Jessica a brush of affection before he carefully blocked her from sensing his emotions and state.
<Rogue> That does it. Rogue slammed the plate into the waiting trash can and followed him out. She stopped just outside the doors and glared at him, standing there so serene, like nothing in the world mattered. She bet he wouldn't think that if he were in her shoes. She took a deep breath and stalked over to the gazebo. Rogue hadn't thought this moment through beyond knowing how good it would feel to break his nose, so she just stood there, jaw and fists clenched tight.
<Shaw> "Would you care for a drink?" He slid one of the tumblers toward her and lifted his own to his lips, watching her from the corner of his eye.
<Rogue> Would you care for a drink?! Seriously?! She fought the growl that wanted to tumble from her lips. Rogue stayed immobile for a few more moments before forcing herself to step up into the gazebo. "Ah should kill ya where you stand. Done it b'fore."
<Shaw> Sebastian didn't turn to face her, but looked over his shoulder. "But you won't. You wouldn't break your word to Drake, just as I would not break mine to Paige."
<Rogue> "You ruined mah life. Ah think Bobby'd understand if Ah broke this one promise."
<Shaw> At that, he did turn, setting down his drink. "My dear, I know I am guilty of a great many things, most of which I truly do regret now, but I'm uncertain how I ruined your life." Sebastian kept his tone even and crossed his arms, leaning against the rail.
<Rogue> "You cain't be serious." She forced her hands to unclench so her fingers would be loose and ready to fight, then balled them up again. "Sam Guthrie. Name ring a bell? No? 'Course not. How 'bout legacy?"
<Shaw> "Legacy?" His brows shot up in surprise. "How can you possibly blame that on me?"
<Rogue> "Because you're tha reason Essex was able ta get into tha school in tha first place. Without y'all's help, he never would have been able ta make it. Without y'all, he never would've killed as many people as he did. Sam would still be alive. And beyond that, Bobby an' Ah both wouldn't have tha issues we have. Tha experiments he did! He killed mutants. Because. Of. You."
<Shaw> He frowned. "I've said many times I regret my actions at your school, and I regret that I ever heard the name Nathaniel Essex. I realize I've never apologized directly to you, and so I shall do so now." Sebastian paused for breath, looking her over. "I am sorry. It was a short-sighted action, and it caused much pain. Since, I've tried to repair what damage I could."
<Rogue> Rogue blinked and stared at him for a long moment before shaking her head, "Do ya really think it's just that simple? Throw money at tha school an' say a few nice words an' all's forgiven? You are scum, Sebastian Shaw. Complete slime who doesn't deserve ta have tha lovin' family he does."
<Shaw> "Well, no, I didn't truly think it was that simple," he said, sneering slightly. "But it's considered polite to play the lip service, yes?"
<Rogue> Rogue punched him in the nose, not caring if anyone saw. "Play that, asshole."
<Shaw> Sebastian's head snapped back and he staggered, feeling the rush of his abilities charging as much as the pain. The railing stopped his movement and he raised a hand to wipe the blood away, looking down at it with a chuckle. "You don't want to do this."
<Rogue> "Oh, Ah dunno. That felt pretty damned good ta me. You deserve pain, Shaw. Pain an' loss. What would you do if Jess was murdered 'cause o' some stupid mistake someone else made? Huh? Let 'em go 'bout their lives like nothin' happened? Hell no ya wouldn't. Just like Ah'm not. Ah killed one already. Ah ain't afraid o' you."
<Shaw> Eyes narrowing, his hand tightened into a fist and he stepped toward her. "Do not threaten my wife. Anything I have done is between me and you," he snarled. "You will leave her out of this!"
<Rogue> "Ah ain't threatenin' her. Ah like Jess. But what y'all don't get," she took a step towards him, "is what it feels like where Ah'm standin'. Y'all wouldn't last a day."
<Shaw> "And taking payment from my hide will miraculously heal your pain?" He scoffed, sniffed loudly and turned his head to spit blood. "If so, what you did to Essex should have sufficed."
<Rogue> "When Ah killed Essex, Ah didn't know y'all were b'hind any o' it. Ah didn't even remember it until Bobby said ya name." She crossed her arms and stood her ground, "Nothin's gonna bring Sam back, but it sure does make me feel better ta punch tha shit outta tha asshole behind it."
<Shaw> "And Essex' memories should have supplied the years he spent running from me," he pointed out. "I should thank you for finally ending his miserable existence." With a sharp tug that set his nose, Sebastian showed her his bloodstained teeth.
<Rogue> Rogue turned her back on him with a frown, "Don't thank me f' that. Ah didn't do it." She looked out at the lake and set her jaw. "He didn't run from ya 'cause he was scared. Essex never got scared."
<Shaw> "Then he was even more insane than I thought," he snorted. Then Sebastian caught her phrasing and tilted his head, taking a step toward her. "What do you mean, you didn't do it?"
<Rogue> "Exactly what Ah just said. Ah. Didn't. Do. It. He became me. Or... Ah became him..." She brought a hand up to her forehead, rubbing her browline where the headache was forming. "Ah didn't 'end his existence'. Ah kept it goin'. Besides that, gettin' that far was a damned accident in tha first place."
<Shaw> "You... became him." Sebastian's tone was deadpan and he came up alongside her, watching her profile.
<Rogue> Rogue arched an eyebrow as she looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "Yeah. Don't y'all know how mah powers work?"
<Shaw> "No." He bared teeth. "You were not on the list for acquisition."
<Rogue> Rogue's body tensed again and she tried to fight it, but she couldn't. She elbowed him in the gut with all the strength of a normal person.
<Shaw> Sebastian oofed and doubled over slightly, then straightened with a smirk and tilted his head to crack his neck. "Deserved," he admitted. "So, do tell me how your abilities work. From what I understood you absorb others' abilities, their memories, and a portion of their personality. Granted, there must be those easier to deal with than his."
<Rogue> Rogue took a few deep breaths before she was able to unclench her jaw to speak. "Skin ta skin contact with me is what does that, yeah. In a sense. Ah pull their energy essentially. Metaphysical an' actual energy. Ah gain their powers, psyche, sometimes physical traits. However long we touch, multiply that by about eight, give'r take, an' that's how long Ah get it. 'Cept when Ah kill a person with it. Then Ah keep it. 'Cept with him."
<Shaw> "Why not with him?" He couldn't help but be fascinated, turning toward her to listen.
<Rogue> "'Cause he left," she mumbled. Why was she telling this to him? She needed to tell Bobby. Not this asshat.
<Shaw> "How did he leave?" he prompted, not sure he bought into this metaphysical nonsense.
<Rogue> "He's a fuckin' evil scientist. How do ya think he left? On tha wings of an angel?" She growled under her breath. "He made a clone o' his old body. Kinda. Then kinda... jumped inta it."
<Shaw> At that, he couldn't stop himself anymore and whirled in front of her, his hands on her shoulders. "He cloned himself?" he practically shouted.
<Rogue> Rogue reached up and quickly knocked his hands off of her. "Don't touch me. Yeah. That's what Ah said. But not really all him."
<Shaw> He raised his hands, allowing her the anger. "Not all him? So a portion of him remains in your mind? Do you know where the clone is?" They'd need to take care of this problem sooner rather than later.
<Rogue> "Yes, yes, an' no." She took a deep breath and turned away from him again. "But what Ah mean by it ain't all him is that it ain't a him at all. He liked bein' a woman. So he's a woman now."
<Shaw> Sebastian just stared at her.
<Rogue> Rogue spread her hands out and just stared back. "What?"
<Shaw> "So," he started, drawing out the word. "You are telling me that when you killed Nathaniel Essex, he, for lack of a better word, leaped into your mind, where he stayed, until he leaped into a clone of himself. And that clone is a woman." Sebastian kept staring, meeting her eyes without blinking and observing her reactions.
<Rogue> Rogue's right eyebrow went up as he described what happened, "Pretty much."
<Shaw> "And... you simply let this clone amble away?" He rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, then his face.
<Rogue> "No. Ah didn't 'simply let it'. Tha experiment he did ta pull himself out knocked me flat f'r a while. An' then Ah had short-term amnesia."
<Shaw> "How short was this term of amnesia? To whom have you reported that Essex apparently lives again?"
<Rogue> "'Bout a month 'r so. Then I found mah way back to tha school. As far as memories from Essex goes, those didn't resurface 'till after Bobby triggered tha memory o' y'all's traitorous ways."
<Shaw> "And has Drake reported this to his superiors?" How did he not know this already? If Essex was alive, that cast his entire family in peril. Sebastian's fingers itched for his phone.
<Rogue> "Bobby..." Rogue took a deep breath and turned away to look out at the lake. "Bobby doesn't know."
<Shaw> "....doesn't know." Meaning likely no one did. Sebastian snatched his phone from his breast pocket and started texting.
<Rogue> "Stop it," she growled. She moved to slap his phone out of his hand; a completely involuntary reaction. "There's no way to find her."
<Shaw> Sebastian caught her wrist, lightning quick, and squeezed. "There most certainly is," he hissed, jerking her closer. "You are far too much of a loose end - he must still need you for something. Otherwise why leave you alive?"
<Rogue> Rogue blinked, completely surprised by what had just occurred and shook her head. "He's arrogant."
<Shaw> "True enough." He studied her.
<Rogue> Rogue yanked her hand away and crossed her arms. Her frown deepened and she moved away from him, "He likes me. He's a narcissist. He's psychotic. Tha list goes on."
<Shaw> "He likes you?" Sebastian let her keep her hand and laughed. "My dear, if that is the case, you should run. Fast and far." His head tilted. "Or, is that precisely what you did?"
<Rogue> "He thinks Ah'm a toy. Same as he thinks Bobby is a toy. He doesn't like me like that." She cleared her throat and looked at the building. "She's underground. We have time."
<Shaw> "I'm sure you're familiar with the old adage, 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend?'" Sebastian gave her a predatory smile.
<Rogue> Rogue gave him a wry smile, "So Essex is mah friend, then?"
<Shaw> "If you enjoy being a toy." He smirked.
<Rogue> "Ah do not trust you. Ah wanna make that clear right here, right now."
<Shaw> "There are few who do. I have accepted this." Sebastian inclined his head.
<Rogue> "Fine. What? What's tha plan ya got cookin' in that horrible mind?"
<Shaw> "Well, as of yet I don't know, but it would be helpful if you could give me a detailed breakdown of what you do remember, so perhaps we can locate where best to begin. Then, I of course have resources." He looked past her to the railing where the drinks still sat. "Perhaps now you'd like that drink?"
<Rogue> Rogue sighed and turned to the railing as well, "Sure. Ah sure need it." She moved over and picked up the untouched glass. "Tha problem is that Ah f'rget a lot after that allotted time period Ah mentioned earlier. So Ah don't have details. Ah know what Ah told ya."
<Shaw> "Very well." He nodded and followed her to the drinks, picking up his own and taking a sip as he watched her, thinking.
<Rogue> Rogue's eyebrows furrowed as she caught him staring at her. "Can Ah help you? Show ya ta tha exit, maybe," she gestured at the lake.
<Shaw> Sebastian chuckled and swirled his glass. "I will say, your X-Men have taught me the benefit of sharing information across organizations," he said, inclining his head just a hair.
<Rogue> Rogue clenched her jaw and felt the glass start to give in her grip, so she took a breath. "Please tell me how mah friends, mah family, an' mah fiance bein' murdered is a benefit."
<Shaw> His brow twitched at the creak of glass. "You misunderstand me. I mean, we should report this news to Lehnsherr, and Drake, to notify SHIELD of this development. Essex is a threat to us all."
<Rogue> "Ah need ta be tha one ta tell Bobby. Ah've been tryin' ta figure out tha best way ta do it. Ah cain't have him goin' Humpty Dumpty on me again."
<Shaw> That reference earned her a slow blink. "I agree. Despite my relationship with his new wife, Drake and I do not see eye to eye." Sebastian flashed her a grin.
<Rogue> "Duh. Y'all're an asshat an he's a good guy."
<Shaw> He chuckled. "Would you prefer I tell the esteemed headmaster, or would you like to do it?"
<Rogue> "Ah ain't exactly close with him, so that doesn't matter as much. But, Ah guess since he's mah boss, Ah should."
<Rogue> She sipped her drink, "'Specially 'cause y'all will more than likely paint me ta be a bad guy."
<Shaw> "You forget, I teach there as well, when the mood strikes." His lips twitched. "I think I have a rather good relationship with Erik, truth be told."
<Rogue> "Exactly. He'll listen ta y'all's manipulations 'bout me an' get me fired. No thanks."
<Shaw> "Now why would I wish to get you fired?" Sebastian grinned over his glass and took a slow drink. "We're all on the same side now, after all."
<Rogue> "Bull. And. Shit."
<Shaw> Sebastian laughed.
<Rogue> Rogue gave him a disgusted look, slammed the rest of her drink back, then set the glass on the railing again. "Ah'll have mah people call your people."
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