Title: Splinter Me Filter
Summary: Rogue finds obsession in dreams with a man thirty years gone.
Archive: The usual suspects.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Except a big rock on my finger because I got
proposed to. But this story is not about the rock. Therefore, I own
Dedication: First to Shaz, for helping nurse the plot from a song to an
idea to a story. Then to Jenn for telling me that it needed to continue.
Finally, to Victoria, because I tried to make her cry.
Author's Notes: http://www.mp3.com/silentiris
Listen to them. Love them.
Write from them.
Splinter me filter
Through the toes of life
Through the month of everlasting lust
Hunger rips at the edge of me at the side
At the heart of my glance
Come into me
Take me as you want me
Come onto me
My god, how dry my tongue can be
In the early eve of morning
As I rise I think of you
Long for you
Night whispers spinning on my neck
No other like this
-"Night Whispers", Silent Iris
She was a prisoner in occupied Poland.
She was always herself. Always a young woman with brown hair left long to
hang in dirty tangles around her shoulders. Always fresh faced and sixteen,
even when she wasn't the same on the outside.
She was a prisoner in occupied Poland, and sometimes she had to cover her
nose with the sleeve of her jacket, because otherwise she couldn't breathe.
The stench wasn't just that of dirty bodies, kept in quarters too close. It
was the stench of fear. Often of desperation. Always of hopelessness.
And once in a while, she saw him.
She always recognized him, in his dirty tattered coat and his shock of dark
hair. A boy with eyes too hollow, cheeks too gaunt. A boy who looked little
like the man he would become, a boy outcast and reviled, even among those
already outcast and reviled.
A boy who was different.
He reached out a hand. "I'm sorry."
Rogue wrapped her fingers around his, and she managed to smile. "Can we go
forwards? Just a little?"
"Not yet." The boy pulled on her hand, and they started to walk. One
finger, far too thin and covered in dirt pointed. "That's where it
"I know." The pair stood in front of the battered gate, examining the
inexpert mending job. "At least you didn't hurt anyone."
A slight shake of his head, and she swore the boy was about to cry. But he
never did. "I wish I had."
The dream began to blur around the edges, and Rogue couldn't help but
breathe a sigh of relief. She was fond of the boy, but at night, when she
retreated into dreams, it wasn't the solace of the boy she sought.
It was autumn, in New York, in an empty street. Although their minds
supplied the smell and fear and people to fill an entire concentration
camp, somehow they always left New York empty.
It was their place, if only in dreams.
She was still facing away when the arm slid around her waist, fingers
splayed on her waist. They fit, somehow, her head just under his chin. They
fit like they belonged.
It was strange to feel the progression of relaxation as it crept through
her body, releasing tension from muscles she'd hardly known were coiled. In
sleep, she thought, she should at least be relaxed. But she never was until
these moments, when she was cradled like something precious in the empty
New York of thirty years past.
She felt his breath against the side of her face, and waited. Waited for
the words that he whispered every night, the mystical incantation that
thrilled through her while cutting with the knowledge of things that could
never be. "I would have loved you, you know."
Rogue turned in his arms, looking up at a face that had not existed in
reality for longer than she'd been alive. "You would have loved me," she
agreed, and then she smiled, impertinent and mischievous. "If I'd been my
He laughed, and she rose on tiptoe to kiss him, because he was adorable
when he laughed. Young, and vibrant, and passionate--
"Rogue!" And it was Jean, shaking her shoulder gently but urgently. "Rogue,
you've been sleeping all morning!"
Rogue's eyes opened on a world where the man she loved no longer existed.
She taught history. Storm had never been fond of it, and Rogue showed an
almost uncanny knack for recent European events. Her descriptions of the
horrors of World War Two sent her students to bed with nightmares for
weeks, until finally Charles asked her to be a little more considerate of
the children's mental state.
She taught history, but she didn't fight with the team. Other students had
graduated and been trained, but Rogue hated it. The excuses she gave were
feeble, but more than enough to satisfy Logan, who didn't want her in the
middle of danger in any case.
They all knew she was terrified of meeting Erik face to face again.
They all thought they knew why.
They were all wrong.
Scott watched Jean impatiently as she went through the medicine cabinet for
the third time. "I thought you said you'd come upstairs."
The small furrow between her eyebrows was distinct, and one of the things
Scott loved about her. She was beautiful, with her hair thrown into a
sloppy ponytail and her eyebrows drawn together as she puzzled over her
She'd be more beautiful out of her office and on her way to their bedroom.
"I'm missing medicine." Jean's face look worried. "I'm almost /positive/ I
haven't made a mistake." For a moment more she chewed on her lip, and then
shook her head. "It doesn't matter, it's nothing dangerous. Just sleeping
pills, but I hate to think I'd misplaced them somewhere."
Wanting to see the worry clear from her face, Scott tried for a joke.
"Especially if Rogue's lecture on the holocaust is coming up anytime soon.
We'll need all the sleeping pills we can find."
Instead of lessening, Jean's frown deepened. "She might as well be a
survivor of it, you know. I wish I could find some way to pry that . . .
that /parasite/ out of her head . . ."
Scott rescued the keys from Jean's hand, locking the medicine cabinet and
slipping the key back into the drawer on her desk. "Come upstairs, Jean.
You've solved enough of the world's problems for the day."
"Not nearly enough." But she smiled, and by the time Scott had gotten her
up the stairs and distracted her with idle news for the day, she'd almost
forgotten about the missing medication.
Rogue was already in bed when Logan slid between the sheets behind her, one
hand sliding over the curve of her hip in a less-than-subtle invitation.
The book she'd been reading sat open on the bed beside her, and she'd
almost claimed sleep when his touch pulled her back to the real world.
"Hey baby." That voice, low and rumbling, was mere inches from her ear.
Too low. Too rumbling. Too . . . Logan.
She wasn't wearing gloves, so she couldn't push him away. But the rigid set
of her spine was indication enough to the man who'd lived with her for two
years. "Not tonight, Logan."
He pulled his hand back as if he'd been burned, flopping over on his back.
"Not tonight, Rogue?" he repeated, his voice a slow drawl.
"I'm tired." It was formulaic by now. Two and a half months without the
slightest intimacy, but they still went through the motions of discussing
"Aren't you always?"
A break in the routine, and Rogue managed to find the energy to turn over,
staring at him with a frown.
Logan bared his teeth. "Shit, Rogue. If you don't want me in your bed, I'd
think you of all people would have the guts to say it to me. Drop the tired
shit and say what you mean."
Looking him straight in the eyes, Rogue smiled. "I'm tired."
She watched him leave the room, and wondered if she should be worried that
all she could find inside herself was a vague sense of relief.
She was tired.
Her eyes drooped, and as sleep stole over her, she smiled.
They skipped Poland this time. New York rolled into sight, an empty street
coalescing around them like special effects. Rogue smiled, and her young,
handsome lover smiled back. Dark hair hung just into his eyes--the same
brilliant eyes that were the only thing about him that never changed.
An eyebrow quirked up, and one finger landed directly between her eyebrows.
"You've been frowning."
"I've been awake," Rogue countered. "I'm always frowning when I'm awake."
"I know." And he smiled, the finger tracing down her nose and across her
check, fingers sliding into her hair to tug her towards him. "I'm there
too, you know. I just don't want to distract you."
He did distract her. He was handsome in a way she had never imagined he
could have been, with strong features and broad shoulders and a ruggedness
that came from having survived the worst that his fellow man could think of
to do to him.
Sometimes she wondered if he had ever really looked like this, or if he had
changed from his own self-image. Sometimes she thought it would be
interesting to ask Charles.
Not so interesting to explain why she wanted to know.
She was just snuggling into him when she felt the pain, her arm and then
her cheek exploding in heat.
Logan had slapped her once, his eyes wild with terror. He reeked of
alcohol, and something else, something she thought might be sex. His hand
was clenched around a bottle that she recognized with her sleep addled
mind, and for a moment she felt a thrill of panic.
And then she felt sleep dragging her down again.
The heat exploded across her face again, and this time she felt a tug as
her mutation grabbed greedily for his life, feeding on him as it fed on
anyone foolish enough to touch her. Not much, but enough to give her a look
at his panic and worry and guilt and confusion . . .
Sleep cleared from her head, and she looked at the bottle again. His
intense panic seemed irrational until she realized the bottle was nearly
empty, and he had no way of knowing how full it had been. "There weren't
enough in there to kill myself, if that's what you're worried about."
The energy around him didn't calm. "You were hardly breathing."
"I was /sleeping/." She rubbed at her face with one hand, feeling the
imprint of his hand. "Did you finally find enough alcohol to scramble your
He spun on his heel, the bottle still in his hand, and this time when he
left the room Rogue knew he'd be going to find Jean.
She sent a fleeting thought of apology to the man lost somewhere inside her
mind, and rose to get dressed.
She already knew what she was going to say.
"Nightmares," she repeated, refusing to look at Logan. "The . . . the
experiments. The things they did to him . . ."
Charles glanced towards him, but said nothing. "And you say they started
"A few months after we became . . . intimate." She'd had the lies prepared
for ages, hating herself but knowing which of the men in the life she was
better prepared to lose. Logan could handle himself. Logan was strong.
/He/ was trapped. He had no one else. It even sounded a little warped in
her head, but Rogue didn't care.
"Why didn't you come to me?" Jean's turn now, and Rogue turned obediently
to face her friend, the lie on her face reflected in her eyes.
"I couldn't sleep," Rogue said softly, still refusing to look at Logan.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you, Jean, but I wasn't ready to loose--"
She trailed off and stared straight ahead, and it was everyone else who
turned to look at the man in the corner, the man whose lover had written
him out of her life.
It all hinged on Logan now. Logan's honor and Logan's love for her.
Logan didn't disappoint.
Logan just left.
New York of thirty years ago was beautiful at sunset, and Rogue let herself
feel the warmth of him behind her as she stared out over the ocean that was
of her own imagining.
It was a lie, but neither would recognize it.
*runs to hide*