Disclaimers, etc. in part 1
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Parking Garage - 4:07 AM
<I'm going to lock her in her room for three days for this> Scott mused
furiously to himself as he half-dragged Rogue's intoxicated form towards his
car. She had tripped over her own feet exiting the elevator and had thrown an
arm around his shoulders, looking at him with pleading eyes that made him
remember the woman she'd been before nineteen months ago and the girl she'd been
when he met her. So he'd put an arm around her waist to partially support her
weight and aid her balance.
Five staggering strides later, it occurred to Scott that she was probably acting
more drunk than she was. The continual stumbling that brought her breast
brushing against the side of his chest felt too calculated to be completely
incidental. <I don't care if she's old enough to be drunk off her ass. One of
these days, she's going to get herself into trouble that Xavier's money can't
fix. Something has to stop this.>
"So... how'd ya find out this time?" From her apathetic tone, Scott gathered
that the question was asked out of habit rather than real curiosity.
"You tripped one of the motion sensors sneaking out of the Mansion. Bobby
didn't say anything until he heard a familiar description on the police scanner.
Then he consulted the Professor."
"And the Prof called you into collect-Rogue duty per standard operating
procedure... Damn. I didn't think that guy at the gas station had the balls to
call the cops on me. At least not after..." she stopped and stared down at the
toe of her boot with disappointed suspicion that had Scott biting back a laugh.
He dropped his arm from around Rogue, took a few steps, and turned to face her.
"Well, you were wrong. Lucky for you, he was more reasonable with a fist-full
of twenties in his pocket. He called into the fifth precinct with a sudden case
of amnesia. The APB was voided when he dropped the complaint." Rogue was still
staring fixedly at the toe of her high-heeled boot with more concentration than
it truly deserved. "You want to tell me why you felt inspired to raise his
voice an octave?"
Rogue looked up and blew a strand of errant hair away from her face. "The moron
asked me if a twenty would get him a blow job."
Scott slowly raised and lowered his head in a single knowing nod. "Why do I get
the feeling that you didn't take issue with the proposition but with the amount?
Hurt your pride, did he?"
Rogue huffed indignantly. "That's not the point. He questioned my morality
based on the way I'm dressed."
Scott shrugged, gave a muted laugh, and shook his head. "If the spike-heeled
boot fits..." he muttered acerbically while turning and taking a few steps
closer to the car.
"Hey!" Scott turned to see Rogue shooting an unfocused glare at him, her hands
planted defiantly on her hips. "What the hell was that little comment supposed
"Rogue, you know the saying about dressing for the job you want rather than the
job you have?" At her nod, he meaningfully scanned a glance up and down her
outfit -- sheer black bodysuit, knee-high black boots, leather miniskirt that
was barely adequate to cover her, leather bustier with a zipper down the front,
black silk opera gloves. "I had no idea that the X-Men were in danger of losing
you to a strip club."
Rogue gave out a choked gasp of righteous anger. Her arms flung out with the
fluid jerkiness that one only sees in the very drunk and in those spring-jointed
hula dolls that grace the dashboards of most road-worthy El Caminos. "See?
That's just the attitude I was trying to kick out of Mr. Gas Pump back at the
station. I'm surprised, Cyke. I thought Jeannie had you better trained than
that. I thought you were 'enlightened'." The last was bitten out with sarcasm
and a making of air quotes with her fingers.
"I'm just trying to point out the obvious, Rogue. If you dress like that, you
should expect the majority of the men you meet to behave less than chivalrously.
Besides, I was under the impression that you dress this way to instigate the
exact reaction you got from Mr. Stankowski."
"Mr. Stankowski, your friend at the gas station. I'm guessing you were never
formally introduced before the frenzy of kickboxing started."
Rogue gave a stuttering series of chuckles. "Nope. It was just Mr. Boot
becoming firmly acquainted with Mr. Crotch."
Scott pensively ran a finger along the underside of his chin. "It's all about
getting a reaction, isn't it? No matter how hard you play-act at it, you really
aren't doing this because you want to, are you?"
Rogue's dismissive sneer was followed by an expression of irritation with a
trace of pleading. "Please, let's not do this right now. I'm too drunk to deal
with Fearless Leader psychobabble tonight."
Scott sighed and rubbed his forehead. "Fine. You need to get home and sleep
this off, and I just need to sleep. Let's go."
Rogue smiled and caught up to him with a few dangerously unsteady skipping
strides. She threw her arm around Scott, and he took a quick sideways step to
compensate for her unchecked momentum. As they started toward the car again,
Rogue leaned her head on his shoulder. "You're always watchin' my back, aren't
"Looks that way," he replied with no small amount of irritation. Scott grunted
as Rogue tripped and nearly sent them both sprawling on the concrete. Maybe she
really *was* that drunk, or...
Scott's jaw set and his lips formed a firm line as he stopped dead in his
tracks. He pulled away and turned Rogue to face him, pulling the fabric of her
left glove down to her wrist. The flickering fluorescent lighting in the garage
made it difficult to tell if what he was seeing through the filmy black material
of her body suit was old scarring or fresh needle tracks. He'd put on his
driving gloves in the elevator, so he dropped her arm and reached over to turn
Rogue's chin so he could look into her eyes. "Tell me I don't have to suspend
you from the team again."
Rogue defiantly jerked her face out of his grasp. "Alcohol only, I swear.
Scout's honor." She made a clumsy cross over her heart with a gloved finger.
At Scott's disbelieving tilt of the head and raised brow, she grumbled, "Oh for
Christ's sake, I'll piss in a fuckin' cup when we get home if it'll make you
Scott nodded and resumed walking toward the car with her in tow. "I wouldn't
say happy, but it'll put my mind at ease that you're not using that crap again."
"Well if agreeing to submit to a drug test doesn't make ya happy, then what can
I do instead? We need a less stressy leader, Cyke. I aim to please, and you're
too young and gorgeous to be formin' worry lines."
Scott felt her gloved fingers tracing across his brow and pulled them away.
"You aren't charming your way out of a lecture, Rogue. Drop the sweet talk."
She used a wheedling tone. "Aww, come on, Cyke. Those tirades of yours give me
"Yeah? Well, getting a call to pull your ass out of a fire at three o'clock in
the morning gives me a headache, so we're even."
They finally reached the car. Scott unlocked the doors with the key-fob he held
in the hand he wasn't using to support Rogue. The black Ferrari Spyder chirped
in response and the lights flashed. Scott opened the passenger door and slid
Rogue into her seat. She snuggled down into the butter-soft leather like a cat
anticipating a sunbath. Scott slammed the door with more force than necessary
and crossed behind the car to get in the driver's seat.
Scott turned his eyes to Rogue. She had shifted to sit sideways in the seat so
she was facing him, her bent elbow propped against the seatback with her palm
supporting her head. Her left leg was curled on the seat under her, and the
right swayed slightly in the air. "Can we take the hard top off?"
Scott let the pleading little girl look and tone of voice bounce off him. She'd
overused that tactic to the point that it was useless on him... well, mostly
useless. Scott took a deep breath and let it out slowly, wishing his bone-deep
weariness hadn't echoed through the sound. "What the hell am I going to do with
She arched a brow and smiled. "I thought I cleared that up back in the bar,
sugah." She leaned over and ran fingers down the side of Scott's face. "I'll
play the little wifey..." The gloved fingers dropped to the buttons of his shirt
and started undoing them, her eyes staring intently at his lips the entire time.
"If that's what you want..."
Scott didn't react verbally at all. He knew that she was playing him. It was a
matter of him figuring out the appropriate counter defense before...
She'd finished with the buttons on his shirt, and her hands were now tugging his
tee shirt out of the waistband of his slacks. Scott felt the slick friction of
her gloved hands sliding up his chest underneath the loosened shirts, her long
fingernails digging in enough to be felt through the fabric covering them. "On
the other hand, I could be someone else entirely..." One hand continued tracing
light patterns on the muscles of his chest while the other slipped slowly
downward. "I can be an angel..." her fingers made quick work of the button on
his slacks. "Or I can be a whore..." the zipper went down. She pulled her hand
away from his fly and pressed it against the seat beside his shoulder to support
her weight as she swung fluidly over the gearshift to straddle him in the
driver's seat. She shifted her hips slowly and leaned forward to purr in his
ear. "I got the memories to match any fantasy, sugah. Just tell me what you
Scott hesitated as he struggled with himself, paused when he never would have
believed himself capable of considering the temptation. A man's body could make
him act against his own character, given the right incentive.
Scott's hands reached out to Rogue, ran slowly up her sides. A soft groan-laugh
escaped her. He clasped her shoulders in his hands and gently pushed her back
so she met his eyes. "So what'll it be, sugah? Heaven or hell?"
"It isn't going to play out this way, Rogue."
She didn't admit defeat easily. She ground down against his body's reaction to
her and raised a knowing brow at him. "Really? Feels like *someone* is ready
to play. So why not?"
"Because I'm not going to take up that part of Logan's role in your life." He
could see that he'd scored a direct hit with that comment. Pain flared in her
eyes, but Scott couldn't allow himself to regret the callousness of the remark.
She needed a reality check, and it was past time that someone talked to her
about the-topic-that-you-dare-not-discuss-with-Rogue. She'd gone beyond
And Scott needed to get her off his lap before he forgot all about what was
After a moment of stunned silence, she raised up on her knees and clambered back
into the passenger seat, ungraceful in her disconcertion. She curled her legs
up underneath her defensively and gave a brittle laugh that Scott was certain
she'd meant to come out as a disgruntled huff. "Damn, Cyke. That was cold."
"If things had turned out differently nineteen months ago, would it have made a
Her head snapped around, and she leveled a shocked stare at him. For a minute,
Scott thought that she was going to refuse to talk about it. He was certain
that the stare was about to turn ugly and that she would tell him to go to hell.
Maybe she was as sick of this as much as the rest of them, or maybe she just
needed to get it off her chest. Either way, she spoke. "Turned out
differently... you mean if Logan hadn't fucked me? Or if he didn't leave
"You tell me, Rogue. Right now, I'm flying blind."
She laughed loudly. "Well that would explain your landings." Scott didn't
laugh along with her, though he usually would have. This was too important for
him to let her get off the subject.
Her smile faded slowly. "I know you blame Logan. You really shouldn't. It was
my fault that he left."
"I don't follow you." It was true, not just a way to keep her talking.
She pulled her legs out from underneath her and turned sideways in the seat
again. She scooted back to lean against the door and pulled her feet up in
front of her, wrapping her arms around her bent knees as she considered him
across the short span of the front seat. "Logan couldn't deal with the fact
that I fucked him and then told him that Marie was dead and buried. He slept
with Rogue thinking she was Marie, and I corrected him on it."
"Why did you lie to him?"
Her eyes flew wide with surprise. She just as quickly shrugged it off. "It was
half true at the time. She was just buried, not dead yet."
She started laughing again, but this time the sound was harsh with pain and
mocking disbelief. "You really think this is all about Logan, don't you, sugah?
You think I've been living a cliché *this* long? Acting out in the hopes that
Logan will come and save me from myself? Damn, Scott, I'm not *that* pathetic!"
Scott had no idea what she was trying to say. "All of this started right after
Logan left. Don't ask me to believe that was a coincidence."
"I'm not. It started with Logan, I'll admit to that. But he's not the reason
now. Don't you remember what else changed in my life shortly after Logan hit
the road? Think hard, Fearless Leader."
The snide tone did it. An ugly realization dawned on Scott. <Oh, God...>
Her lips titled in a humorless smile. "You made me an active member of the
field mission team seventeen months ago."
Scott had to turn his eyes away from hers. He couldn't look at her while coming
to terms with what she was saying.
"I started using my 'gift' as a weapon. I used it to disarm, used it to kill
when necessary. And I got a whole boatload of extra memories from some really
pissed off people in my head as a bonus every single time. Haven't you ever
noticed the impeccable timing of my little ... escapades?"
No, he hadn't noticed, and that was unacceptable. Thinking back, Scott now
realized that Rogue's most outrageous behavior came on the nights after missions
where she'd touched someone during a fight.
Scott never dealt well with failure of any kind, and his massively huge
misjudgment in Rogue's case was enough to weigh him down with smothering amounts
of guilt. He forced himself to look back over at her. "I didn't realize... I
should have. Damn it! I thought that being on the field team would help you,
not make things worse."
He could see something indescribable chasing the coldness from her eyes. "It
did help. Feeling useful is the only thing that's stopped me from flaying this
damned skin off my body some nights."
Scott couldn't be grateful for her concession, because he knew she was being
completely honest. It frightened and angered him that what he'd done in the
name of helping Rogue had accomplished that... while damaging her more at the
same time. "So... all of this...?"
Her voice dropped to a sad whisper. "It keeps 'em quiet. Makes 'em shut up for
a while so I can have some peace."
Her contemplative look disappeared under a bright smile. "Let's save it for
another day, 'kay, sugah? Take me home. I think I can sleep tonight."
Scott couldn't push. It was too soon. She wasn't ready, and he couldn't force
her to be. But it was a start.
It would have to be enough.
He turned the key in the ignition and reached for the gearshift. Rogue's gloved
hand landed on his forearm, and he glanced over at her. "Can we take the top
Scott smiled at the silly excitement lighting her face. He opened his door and
she squealed with glee, bouncing slightly in her seat. That moment made him
realize that she just might be wrong about one very important thing.
Maybe Marie wasn't dead, just buried inside Rogue -- the brightest part of the
amalgamated personality that she'd developed. Despite the massive number of
residents taking up floor space in her head, Scott couldn't imagine any of the
others reacting that way to the idea of riding in a convertible with the top
down at four forty-two in the morning. Moments like that almost made Scott
Maybe one day, Rogue would believe too.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
With the hard top secured in the back of the sports car, Scott returned to the
driver's seat and shifted into reverse. He backed out of the parking spot and
headed for the gated exit. Once they were out on the street, Rogue looked over
at him. She felt a strange lightness in her head. The voices were so quiet
now. She barely heard them at all -- only faint echoes of whispers inside her
head. God... it felt like freedom. "Can we go fast? I want to feel the wind
in my hair."
They'd just gone past the last traffic light. The stretch of state highway
spread before them into the darkness, lit only by the car's headlights and the
occasional street lamp. Scott grinned, pressed down on the clutch, and shifted.
"Put on your seatbelt."
She did, and the car shot forward on the dark road. Rogue's happy cry echoed
through the air as the black Ferrari shot off into the darkness. She flung her
hands up toward the sky and closed her eyes. She was going to enjoy the ride.
Maybe she was going nowhere, but she was going nowhere fast. Somehow, that made
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