1744FIC: A Change To Color 3/7: NC-17: Rogue, multiple pairings
- Jan 2, 20013/7
I knocked on Scott's door at ten that night.
He might have been asleep--but I doubted it. I could hear them in my
room--and why the hell hadn't Jean's voice gone out yet? He opened the
door, a little surprised to see me, but merely stepped back politely to let
me storm in. I took in the white shirt and pajama bottoms--plaid, navy
It was the first time I saw him out of his normal clothes and it threw me
for a loop and my black-and-white world had a new color and Scott
officially moved into a nebulous set of categories that included man.
"Hey." It was weak but the best I could do.
He nodded and I noticed that his radio was on, playing something depressing
and country-sounding--never knew he had a thing for country music. The
blonde hair was still neatly combed and I glanced at the desk and saw the
essays spread out and then at his hands, which still held a red pen, and
the smear of ink on his forefinger.
Oddly--and I just realized it as I was standing there--I'd never been in
this room before. A quick glance confirmed the almost painful
neatness--all Scott, no laundry on the floor, the rug parallel to the wall,
And though I'd never been here before, I could feel the absence of Jean
like an ache. How he could stand to be in here I had no idea.
"You busy?" It occurred to me--rather belatedly, admittedly--that maybe he
wouldn't want my company. But he shook his head and took the pen back to
the desk and pulled out a chair. I glanced around the room, taking in the
hospital-cornered bed and wondered when the last time he slept in it was.
"Are you okay, Rogue?"
Screw hospital corners. I sat down on the bed--but I did feel a little
guilty disturbing the carefully tucked comforter and could almost swear
that the sheet beneath actually bounced me a little it was so tight.
"Can't sleep." And I couldn't face Remy's room tonight, even if it was a
floor away from the sounds coming from Logan's. Prostituting myself was an
art form and maybe I didn't feel that artistic tonight.
"Me either." A hint of a smile, but God, he looked tired. And that's not
something the light of day would ever see, I knew. Without meaning to, I
reached out, touching his arm. I almost expected him to jerk away, but he
didn't, only nodded a little before covering my hand with his. "I'm sorry,
He had nothing to be sorry for. I did. I was the bitch fucking Remy so I
could live my own fantasy life. Scott sat in his room and did things that
were productive and worthwhile and useful.
"You wanna talk about it, Scott?"
That brought a smile this time, a little sad, but more real than anything
I'd seen in so long, even on my own face, that it made me smile back.
"That's my line."
"I know--but I thought maybe--" Maybe I could be what you are to me. He'd
already shifted in my perceptions--and I got the feeling, though silly and
unlikely and maybe even egotistical, that he wanted to talk to me.
We were in the same boat, after all.
"Maybe I needed it?" he finished with a slightly self-deprecating turn of
his mouth. "I really must look bad." He laughed softly and I didn't move
my hand. His skin was warm through the gloves I'd pulled on before coming
"No--just tired. I didn't know you liked country music."
Then he laughed and it was real and there was no bitterness at all.
"It's relaxing. I used to take Jean dancing--before we were together.
Gave her a sense of normalcy she didn't get anywhere else."
Maybe my face showed my surprise, because his head tilted.
"I can talk about her." Funny, how I couldn't talk about Logan yet.
"She's not a strong telepath, but she didn't have any shields at the
beginning and crowds were hell for her. When she learned to tune out the
background noise, I took her to this little bar and taught her to dance.
She'd never done it before--isn't that odd? She didn't like being in
crowds, so she didn't go anywhere she'd learn how to dance. And being
touched scared her." He smiled a little at my surprise, growing
thoughtful, lost in a memory. "Touch emphasizes her power. Before she had
shields, she'd pick up things from anyone who came in contact with her,
with or without clothes barring it. When I taught her to dance, I had to
be so careful to keep calm and not broadcast what I was feeling. I didn't
want to scare her." A pause. "I wanted her to trust me."
I tried to dismiss the image of an eighteen year old Jean being scared of
"She likes this music." His voice was a little wistful and despite myself,
I sighed. So I wasn't the only one torturing myself. That was actually
I listened to the song for a few minutes. I'd only danced once, and never
to this kind of music. Another song came on and Scott saw me glance at the
"You've never done it either, have you?"
Yeah, you'd think growing up in the south, I would have. But that hadn't
been trendy at school, and like all teens throughout the ages, I'd been a
slave to fashion.
I snatched my hand back.
"Be productive. Learn something new." And he picked up my hand from my
lap and gently pulled me to my feet, walking with me to the center of the
room. And he was tall--I knew that, but suddenly, when you're only inches
away and not a foot or so, it was definitely noticeable.
He put me into position, like a moveable doll, and placed a hand around my
waist. He ignored the way I stiffened, even now, at the contact. "It's a
four count. Just follow me--trust me, it's easier than it looks. Look at
me--don't look at your feet or you'll confuse yourself. Okay. Ready?"
No, I was most definitely not, shooting a panicked look at him, but Scott
was already pressing me to move and--
And that's how I learned to dance.
I stepped on his foot once and he spun me too hard so I collided with the
desk and at some point we both started laughing and couldn't stop. Then he
moved a little closer and we turned together and I stumbled against the
door and he caught himself from falling against me with a hand on the door
beside my head.
And maybe Scott's world got a new color too. I'm not sure. Mine did,
staring up at him, aware of how close he was and the feel of his hand on my
waist, warm through my cotton nightgown.
But sometimes, you can deny that if you try. I had. So did he. He
stepped back and he was the Fearless Leader again in pajama bottoms and I
smiled and said good-night and went to my room.
Found Logan's tags in my dresser and poured them into my hand like water
and stared at them and still refused to cry while my stereo continued to
play in the background.
* * * * *
It would have made everything easier if I'd just remade my world into black
and white and tried to stop seeing Scott's damned colors. If I could hate
Jean cleanly instead of seeing her at eighteen being afraid to dance
because she didn't want the emotions of others filling her. Not wanting
It's hard to see someone else as yourself. Harder to hate it.
Logan unexpectedly asked me to lunch when I forgot to avoid him and we took
a picnic into the Great Outdoors and I mused on the fact that I was getting
to know the woods way too well.
We chatted about something and I didn't smell Jean on him, which made my
conversation a hell of a lot better.
"Did you like your last trip? What did you do?"
It could have been last year, sitting with him and asking about his life
outside the mansion, the life I wasn't going to get to have. He could. I
couldn't. Possibly not ever. Logan leaned on an elbow and told me.
"Fought." A wolfish grin and I laughed. "Nothing interesting. Just
I finished off my sandwich and wiped my fingers on the blanket, reaching
for the thermos I'd absconded with from the kitchen.
"You know why Ororo's so pissed?"
Wow. Just like him, though--throw it out like a bomb and wait for the
reaction. Studied indifference, like it didn't mean a damned thing, but
since he hadn't asked why half the school was avoiding him, I knew it had b
othered him. A lot. And I reviewed what I knew to date and just smiled a
little. Ororo was Jean's friend first, but that maybe didn't mean she
couldn't go in the Marie-category of friends too. And I laughed to myself
that I was blurring the lines again.
My world would never be black and white again.
"I'll talk to her."
He bristled, which I should have expected.
"I don't need you to fight my battles for me, darlin'."
I remembered the first time he called me that, how the chill had gone down
my back and I wanted to hear him say it again. And my smile faded when I
remembered seeing him in Jean's lab earlier that day and heard him call her
Jeanie and saw her smile.
"I'll tell her that too, sugar." He looked startled suddenly and I
wondered why. I checked my watch and realized it was my turn to feed the
horses and I was late. "I gotta go, Logan. I'll see ya later, okay?"
"Yeah." He was still ruminating something--maybe Jean's latest lingerie,
who knew--and I started packing up. He helped, which was unusual, but the
brush of his hands against my gloves still sent a tingle through me and I
disliked myself for that.
For some reason, I thought of what Ororo had said to me days before, about
Jean, about Logan--and something caught my tongue.
"Do you ever think about the future, Logan?"
It was on the edge of my mind, twisting into inevitable color, the thing I
didn't want to think about.
Logan would hurt. He'd hurt a lot. I stared into the friendly hazel eyes
and tried to catch my breath. Hell, I wasn't sure how I'd feel when it
happened. Happy? Ecstatic? That didn't sound right in my head, like it
"Not really." That steady gaze was still fixed on me, but I couldn't
concentrate on it, on anything but the painful swirl of understanding
coming to life inside of me.
He loved her. Not just sex or attraction or even some sort of twisted need
that would burn itself out given time. I had him in my head, all of him,
all those complex and endlessly frustrating feelings, but it was genuine
and the real thing and--and he'd hurt.
And if what I wanted--them apart--if I got my wish--God--
"Have you?" he asked, and his complete attention on my face startled
me--but not enough to dispel the thoughts that were all so new. All
yellows and sick greens edged with grey.
"I have," I whispered, staring at him. Taking in the face, the lean body,
the general good humor that she brought out in him. Began to talk
again--about the future, I guess, I'm not sure, I just needed the words. I
pushed everything back in the bag and got to my feet, a little unsteady.
She made him happy. And I was the one who wanted it all shattered, so I
could have him myself. What the hell was I, to want to see him lose her,
lose this feeling, lose that happiness when he'd had so little in his life?
"I'll see you later." Logan got to his feet, looking startled, maybe even
worried, but I couldn't handle that now, not with this too.
I didn't like colors. I *hated* colors.
When I got to my room, I dug out the tags and stared at them in my hand for
a minute, shaking.
I left them on Jean's desk. She'd find them in the morning. Hell, maybe
she'd even know what they meant.
* * * * *
Scott didn't look surprised when I ambushed him that night. Green pajama
bottoms, clean white t-shirt that looked vaguely starched, without a
crease. Stood up when I came in and slammed the door behind me, pacing to
the center of the room, pinning him with a glare.
The radio was on country music again. Masochism at its finest.
"Fuck you, Cyke. I hate you almost as much as I hate them."
He regarded me calmly for a minute, then motioned me to sit. I stood,
childish, defiant, angry as all hell.
"I didn't want that! Why the hell couldn't you leave it the way it was? I
didn't want to--" I didn't want to know Jean wasn't evil, I didn't want to
know that Logan would be hurt, I didn't want to look at Scott and see a
person who could hurt as deeply as I could, even if he could hide it
Black and white didn't hurt this much.
And he understood. Without me even needing to say the words.
I didn't want to sit down on his bed and cry but I did. I cried on his
perfectly made bed and he sat down beside me and slid his arms around me
and held me, while I tried to gain some measure of control.
"Now you know why I won't say anything." A whisper and he stroked my hair
back, lifted my head to look in my eyes. "Everything we do has
consequences, Rogue. For someone else, not just ourselves.
"I don't like colors." I was a kid being comforted by the only stable
adult in my life. For the first time, I understood him. Understood where
all that control and that quiet strength came from--he didn't have a
"That's the difference between being a kid and being an adult. You don't
have the luxury of screaming about the unfairness when you can see why it's
unfair no matter what you do. And when you can see consequences and
realize you can't make it any better if you jump in."
"She'll hurt him." If she leaves, when she leaves, when she walks out as
easily as she walked in, having found whatever the hell she was looking
for. And she was eighteen and scared to be touched and Scott was trying to
teach her to dance and not let her feel what he felt, so she'd have one
person she wasn't afraid of, one person she could trust.
How can you hate that? How do you even try?
"And he'll hurt her, if he leaves. I don't hate him, Rogue. I understand
him--and it's easier to hate what you don't understand."
We preach that, we mutants. It bites you in the ass, though, when you
gotta apply it to your life and not to pretty theories at large
conventions. All that fucking understanding and looking past the obvious
and the crap we say and really believe in our hearts until the very second
we have to put it into practice. I shifted to look at him--really look
this time, to see the perfect, painful understanding on his face that what
we both wanted would rip apart the people we loved.
We stared at each other--and I felt my fingers untie my scarf, shaking it
out a little, and he took it from my hands, looking down at it. A moment
that it seemed enough to believe we could let go--just believe we could,
whether or not we actually would.
"In color," I said softly, and he understood. Lifted it up over my face,
leaned to kiss me, and--
--it was as natural as anything else--more natural than Remy or Bobby had
ever been, no awkwardness, no uncertainty.
It was so gentle--just pressure from the warm lips on the other side of the
material. Then a little more, and fingers laced through my hair and tilted
my head a little and his tongue brushed over my mouth, opening it softly,
easily sliding over my lip. A slow, gentle taste, silky smooth and I
forgot all about the fabric and the difference that I couldn't even
remember anymore when I began to kiss him back.
It wasn't anything more than that--this delicious, long, slow kiss that
took my breath and my thinking, and I wasn't worrying about him touching me
or if he'd dislike the feel of leather on his skin when I touched him. His
hands left my hair, going to my lap, taking my fingers in his. Lifting
them so I touched his face--and I did, tracing the lines of his cheeks, his
hair, thinking about all the power behind his glasses and not even caring.
Sliding my arms over his shoulders and sliding against him and he pressed
me back on his bed and the feel of his body was--
--it was so right.
He lifted his head, looking down at me and I stared up, fingers tracing the
line of his glasses against his head. Raising himself on an elbow, and I
knew I'd just blurred my lines again and he was a new color for me now, no
matter what. Then smiled, a different smile, and it was completely for me
and I'd made him smile like that--I meant something to him. Then leaned
down, tasting me again--kissed me until we both could barely even think and
he shook his head when I awkwardly thought I should leave and I went to
sleep beside him with while the radio played in the background.
* * * * *
--When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father