Title: No Secret at All: A Change to Color
Codes: Rogue, Scott/Rogue, Logan/Jean, Logan/Rogue (Scott/Jean), Ororo,
Rating: NC-17 and pretty explicit. Angst. But look! Plot!
Series: Companion to No Secret at All, owned by Sare. She just let me
borrow the sandbox. There are flags. Can I have one now?
Summary: Yeah, so you know how the story ends, right? What you may not
know is why. Marie takes a trip through how messy adult relationships can
Archiving: Lists, yes, otherwise ask.
Dedication: This story is a testament to how I can be manipulated and how
I can learn to like it. I can say this honestly--if Sare hadn't been in a
constant state of enthusiastic encouragement (also known as blackmail), it
never would have gotten past the intro of four pages. So darling, this is
for you. To Sam, Jennifer Hallmark, and Magdeleine, who did a lot of
hacking, hand-holding, and general fussing so I'd do this right. Donna for
reading through and telling me it worked. Thanks, ladies.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I abuse them. We're good, right?
Feedback: appreciated and smiled at over really good apricot tea.
Recommended: Bencheley. Black currant isn't bad either.
* * * * *
He left me a lot of things. Reflexes I never had before and still don't
quite know what to do with. Jacked up senses--oh, not at his level, but
trust me, I notice when someone comes in the room and I can identify anyone
at ten feet from smell alone. Nightmares where I get to enjoy the
privilege of being a government-funded human guinea pig--Jean still wonders
why I hate her lab so much. A few peculiarities like a taste for bourbon,
an unhealthy interest in cigars, and more than a small obsession with red
meat. Small things, that in the scheme of things don't mean much.
He also left me with a crush from hell and a sex drive that tops the
charts. Goody gumdrops, as they say in elementary school. Those are the
things that matter in the scheme of things. Ended up mattering, anyway.
I'm not sure what I expected when he came home each time--maybe notice that
I'm not seventeen and not his long-lost daughter--maybe notice some certain
physical changes that I made every effort to assure would be visible.
Really visible. Maybe--maybe notice me. Marie.
And three years is three years--so I figured, at twenty, I'd just either
have to give up or take matters into my own hands--after all, this is Logan
and he does have a thing for aggressive chicks, so hell, why not try? So I
counted the days on the calendar in my room and hoped for the best.
Then it all just fell apart. I mean--literally. Right in fucking front of
* * * * *
If you ever wanna know what split them up--I honestly don't know. And if I
had even a touch of telepathy--trust me, ethics would not have gotten in
the way. But it happened and the whole school knew it and I went from
hoping Logan would come home soon to hoping to God he didn't come home
yet--give 'em time to cool down and do whatever it is Destined Couples do
when they gotta follow the True Path or whatever crap you believe in,
because admitting that they might *not* get back together wasn't something
I was prepared to handle. They were Scott and Jean and I'd be damned if
they'd screw this up for me.
Then Logan came home. Too damned soon.
I got to watch from thirty feet away. Thirty feet, thirty miles, didn't
make a fucking bit of difference because they never saw me. Jean walked
out, didn't even bother to say a damned thing, just slid up to him while he
was still sitting on the motorcycle, doubtless taking in how good she
looked all in red and trying to figure out why the hell she was comin' out
when that'd always been my job. She looked up at him, kind of smiled--then
slipped her arms around his neck and kissed him and whatever questions he
was coming up with were gone for good---this was Jean and a fantasy come
Me in the yard, Scott in the mansion, and both of us standing there
watching this fucking melodrama unfold right before our eyes and neither of
us having the balls to do a damned thing about it.
Scott saw me come in--run in--and he didn't stop me or anything, but came
up to my room after a discreet interval and knocked--pure Scott, courtesy
when the sky fell. I ignored him for a bit then reconsidered the situation
and let him in. He took a careful seat on my desk chair and asked if I
wanted to talk about it.
"You're kidding, right?"
He had to be kidding.
Head slightly tilted--Scott is the past master of absolute, perfect
control. Having that mutation of his helps, of course--but it's all that
discipline that goes into being the Fearless Leader--and you kind of forget
he isn't even thirty yet and has held that particular title for a hell of a
long time. You kind of forget that because he's so fucking Leaderish all
the time in public--whatever Jean sees in private is different.
Whatever she *saw* in private, that is. Shit, shit, shit.
"You looked upset."
"And you aren't?"
Maybe a slight shudder, but as I said, he's been doing this longer than I
have. He let himself sit back a little, watching me throw things around in
a holy fit, generally acting like the kid I claim I'm not. When I wore
myself down, I just collapsed on the bed and considered what kind of
trouble I'd get in if I put Jean in a two week coma.
Because maybe then I'd be her.
"We're talking about you, Rogue." He crossed his arms and suddenly I
wanted to grab him and shake him and ask him where the hell he got off
pretending this is just my problem, why the hell he could take it so coolly
when I felt like I was falling apart.
"Maybe." I wanted to hurt him, see pain in him that reflected what was in
me--screw control. "Tell me how great it feels to know Jean is fucking the
daylights out of Logan down the hall, Cyke." I paused deliberately, then
added, "and I can hear them, if I listen."
I could. But the talking and the Breaking of Fragile Things were drowning
it out pretty nicely.
The muscles in his jaw went completely stiff and I knew I could've slipped
a knife in his back and hurt him less--but I really didn't care much
because this was all his fault. Why the hell had he and Jean broken up
anyway? Why the fuck did they have to do it when I was finally ready? Why
the hell now?
I almost thought he was going to get up and leave. But this was
"I don't think about it--though thanks for the visual. I needed that
today." So cool, like we were talking about something else completely, two
different people altogether. Then a soft sigh, which meant that he forgave
me for being a bitch, and I didn't want forgiveness. I wanted him to fix
this and when he stood up, I did too.
"I'm sorry," I told him. I meant, get your ass down there, haul her out of
his bed, and tell her you can't live without her or whatever sentimental
bullshit works on her, because the scheme of things just went straight to
hell and we have to fix it right quick.
I'd be damned if destiny was going to screw me over now.
"It's okay." He sort of smiled and then turned for the door and it hit me
just about the second he got it open--and I slammed it shut with one hand
beside his shoulder.
"No--Scott--I'm sorry." His back was to me and I leaned my head against
him--just like always. And I wanted him to turn around and I wanted him to
give me a hug and say everything would be fine and then walk off with that
authoritative stride that hadn't been seen in awhile around the Mansion.
"Rogue. It's okay. I understand." Still quiet. But he let me pull him
over to the bed, where I sat him down, and we looked at each other thinking
the same basic thing--what the hell do we do now?
"Come on," he said finally, and grabbed my jacket off the chair. In the
quiet, I heard what could be Jean--and from the jerk of his shoulders,
Scott heard it too. "Let's go into the city--I'll get you some pizza or
* * * * *
The worst part wasn't that day or even that night--despite the fact that my
improved hearing required keeping the stereo on all night, otherwise I
could have given a blow-by-blow description of the sex life of Logan and
Jean. It was every day after. Because it's one thing to get a kick in the
gut that hurts like hell but then fades. It's quite another to get a
regular, softer, yet no less implacable kick every few minutes every single
day. You don't get used to it, either. And for some reason, I thought I
And I thought Scott might.
And neither of us did.
If I hadn't been involved in this little farce, I probably would've been
damned amused by the sheer level of civility going on around the
mansion--because under the best of circumstances, Scott and Logan weren't
exactly friendly, and now they almost tiptoed around each other. No biting
commentary thrown in each other's direction like rocks, no little jabs, but
instead a quite frightening courtesy that was worse than any of the
explosions we'd all been witness to over the years. Sort of on the order
of seeing a tree grow upside down--it wasn't *natural*.
And there was Jean, who I learned not to just envy or be jealous of, but
actively hate with that special intensity I'd saved for Magneto. Staring
at her during the meetings I couldn't avoid, I'd plot in my head how to get
them apart with maximum damage to Her Grace.
*Soo* grown-up. I should be proud of my maturity.
Remy got his chance, finally, and after one night I lay awake in his bed
staring at him sleep and actually took some time to consider the fact that
I'd just prostituted myself. Very thoroughly. All I cost were some sweet
words and a pretty gold chain and two mediocre orgasms.
I'm cheap as hell. And that's something to admire.
Scott met me at an early breakfast the next day. I'd taken to the six
thirty variety around the time that I noticed Logan didn't do early
mornings--probably the delights of early morning fucking keeping him too
occupied. Scott sat down beside me and ate a sensible bowl of oatmeal with
a glass of milk and I picked over my pancakes.
We ate in silence for a few minutes.
"Nope." I looked at my pancakes, now resembling the scene of a massacre,
syrup pooling in shapes that resembled weapons I knew how to use. Damn, I
was becoming a psychologist's dream. "You?"
He smiled a little before taking a drink of his milk.
"Are you finished yet?" Nicely avoiding the question. He was good at
that. The pancakes were scrapped and I wasn't hungry.
He finished his oatmeal, neatly wiped his mouth with one of the starched
napkins that the mansion has in rather disturbing abundance, then stood up,
picking up his tray.
"Let's go. I've got some things to do in town."
We pretended it was all about me--but he needed to be away worse than I
did, and in the car, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I could try
really hard and think of someone besides myself. Because maybe losing
something you didn't get a chance to try was one thing--but losing
something that was already yours was another thing altogether.
He glanced at me briefly.
"Why don't you just beat the shit out of him and be done with it?"
Ignoring for a minute that Logan outweighed Scott by at least a few hundred
pounds and was unparalleled in a purely physical fight.
"I'm serious. Maybe it would help."
"Only one of us would walk away, Rogue." A little smile that wasn't really
amusement--hell, I don't know what it was. "If I played fair--he'd win. If
I didn't--he'd have about five seconds tops."
"You'd play fair." I couldn't imagine Scott doing otherwise. And another
twist to the lips before he hit his blinker--well ahead of the rapidly
approaching stop sign.
"You're sure of that?"
And when I turned to look at him, that smile still lingered and I didn't
* * * * *
Ororo noticed. Of course she did--nothing, and I repeat this, nothing,
gets past her. Even very possibly the reason for this whole nasty
But she didn't gossip--she just unexpectedly sat with me at lunch on the
lawn one afternoon when I couldn't face the dining room and seeing them
together, even over a plate of mashed potatoes and roasted chicken. My
masochistic tendencies just weren't that strong.
"I don't need a babysitter," I told her. Chewed my sandwich with
determination, proving to her just how fine I was with the entirety of my
life to date. Even the Remy part. I saw her eyes on the necklace--I
figured if I was going to be a pet, I might as well wear a collar. Sold
property and all that.
She nodded serenely and took a chip from the bag with infinite grace, and I
wondered what the hell I'd done to deserve being regarded so
"Have you talked to him?"
Talked to him? What a unique idea. I hadn't thought of that--of course,
the fact he was in the process of drooling over the fucking Love of His
Life or whatever the hell she was to him had possibly lowered my enthusiasm
somewhat. My ability to cope is just that--cope and barely. I wasn't so
certain of my ability to cope while hearing how fabulous his life was now.
I just don't hate myself that much.
"No." Not really--two ten second chats do not conversation make, even if
it was Logan we were talking about.
How Ororo would get that information was pretty much beyond me, since, on a
marginal basis, I was aware that they weren't exactly the definition of
close. In hindsight, I remember seeing him look at me before I'd take one
of my desperate forays out of sight, before I'd have to see him and Jean
looking all fatuous--Logan fatuous, damn it---deep in the thrall of
Fuck, this wasn't something I wanted to think about, certainly not over
potato chips and fruit chunks.
"In between making Jean scream a few times a day?" I shot out and her
eyebrows rose slowly. I bit another piece off the ham-and-cheese and
decided to keep my mouth shut.
"Rogue--" she began, with the care of a soldier walking through a
"We talked a couple of days ago." I got a chip and used it as a missile at
a nearby tree. Burn, sucker. Unfortunately, chips weren't atomics and
that tree wasn't Jean. Damn Remy for that accidental brush, anyway.
"I know." Of course she knew--she's Ororo. "But perhaps--"
A long, gentle look of infinite and undying compassion and a part of me
wanted to bury my head in her lap and just cry about this entire mess. I
hadn't yet--sitting at my window holding those tags or indulging myself in
Remy's bed, those were my healthy ways of getting through this.
He was happy--happier than he'd ever been in his damned life, and the
version swimming around in my head that peeked out from time to time knew
this and liked to remind me every once in awhile.
"Did it have to be him?" I heard myself whisper, to my utter and complete
horror. I stared hard at my sandwich crust--when the hell did I become a
whiney female anyway? "She can have anything and everything she wants.
Hell, she does. But--but she has to have him too, doesn't she?" I look up
and my eyes are blurring and this wasn't happening. I fumbled for my book
and begin to rise when soft fingers cover my wrist.
"It's not that simple."
"Tell me how it's not that simple!" I jerked away, began throwing
everything into my bag, sort of ignoring the possibility of smashed
sandwiches and fruit that really wasn't meant to be abused like that.
"What can't she have? Anything? She has Scott and she has Logan and she's
beautiful and perfect and a wondrous telekinetic and Xavier's favorite
little student and we all turn on the fucking axle of what Jean wants."
Blinking hard, slamming the bottle of water down, hearing something shatter
into tiny pieces that later I'd try and put together on the floor of my
room. "You want me to sit around and understand her? You fucking
understand her--you're her best friend. I don't have to. I get to be
bitter all on my own and hate her, so don't fucking sit here and tell me
how she's suffered in the past or how this and that explain it, because
nothing does. Nothing can justify her."
Ororo's smile was gentle.
"It's never easy being a mutant, Rogue. Even for Jean."
"Fuck that, Ororo," I answered, dropping my book on top of the pile and
pulling the drawstrings closed. "I don't care how fucking difficult it is
to be her. She doesn't love him, she doesn't even fucking understand him."
I lifted my head then, the bag handle going slack in my hand. Everything I
believed fell around me in little slivers of broken dreams--because
believing and knowing and confirming are three very different things.
Delicately, Ororo rose and lifted the edge of the blanket and I moved
numbly onto the grass while she neatly folded it up, tucking it under one
"You're right." Her voice was thoughtful. "I don't think she does."
"But he loves her." My fingers shook on the strap and I dropped the bag to
the grass at my feet. Something in my head began to pulse, blurring my
sight. "He loves her."
Silence. And she watched me, tucking a strand of white hair behind her ear
that the wind had picked up, waiting for me to get something resembling
"She-she's--she's using him? For what? That fucking little--"
"I'm not sure." Silence. And she regarded me calmly, perhaps even with
that special trace of Ororo irony. "That's a pretty chain, Rogue."
My hand jumped to my neck and I flushed. Funny, how she can deliver a
lecture in a compliment.
Slowly, we turned to walk back to the mansion.
* * * * *
--When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father