Remy hung around me like a bad odor and Scott--well, Scott was Scott, and
he didn't wince when he saw Jean and Logan together anymore. And if I
hadn't known him, if he hadn't changed so much in my mind, I never would
have saw the signs of stress around his mouth and the way his smile never
seemed quite as natural as it once had been.
If no one else would ever guess what it cost him every day, I did. And I
knew better than to ever let him see I knew.
That night, we took a pillow and two blankets outside--and what was it with
me and the Great Outdoors, anyway?--and he made love to me under the moon.
"So you ever going to tell me exactly what drew you to Jean?"
I think we were pretty damn healthy, actually. These were Adult Discussion
Topics. We just happened to be mostly naked and post-orgasmic when we
"You mean you're not going to accuse me of falling for her looks?" Scott
lifted himself on his elbow to look at me and I blew a breath out in
"I know you better than that."
"Hmm. Well, actually, it was a lot of things--her calm, for one." He gave
me a rueful smile. "I wasn't always--as stable as I am now."
I got the oddest images of Scott in black leather on a Harley, something
from 'Rebel Without a Cause'. Then shook my head quickly. The
unlikelihood was astounding.
"Well, despite popular belief that I was artificially grown, not raised, I
had a relatively normal childhood."
"Until the change."
"That's a very diplomatic way of putting it, Rogue. I'm impressed." He
shook his head. "Anyway, when I got here, Jean was here too." He slid
onto his back, staring up at the sky. "I don't know--it was everything
about her, I guess. Not one thing or even all, because she annoyed me
too." A twitching of his lips. "We fought a lot."
I tried to imagine that. And while the leather and motorcycle were amusing
but unlikely, Scott fighting with Jean was something I couldn't even
comprehend. Absently, I traced the line of his arm with one finger,
I started a little.
He smirked--he does a very passable smirk--and caught my hand.
"Tell me about Logan."
Oh damn. Well, I walked right into that one.
"I don't know." I'd never actually sat down and quantified my
emotions--that's not something I do. When you're carrying around extra
memories, examining your emotional reactions is secondary to controlling
them. And the three men who inhabited my head hadn't exactly been the most
in-touch-with-their-feelings people I'd ever run across. "Because he
cared, I guess. No one had in a long time."
By the look on Scott's face, that wasn't going to cut it. I rolled on my
side, tucking my arm under my head, and prepared to take a trip through my
"When we met--I guess you know about that, right?" Scott nodded and I blew
out a breath, half-wishing I could just retell that and let him make
something out of it. "He didn't leave."
I reconsidered the statement under Scott's curious gaze. As if he was
really interested. As if it was important to know.
"It was--I felt safe." The utter disbelief was written on Scott's face so
clearly I hit his shoulder. "Don't look like that. I didn't even know him
and I felt completely safe. And--that wasn't natural for him, what he did
for me. Not then--maybe even not now. But he did it. And there's the
whole saving my life bit, which I guess would lead to a definite rush of
"That's gratitude, not love."
I snorted softly, caught a piece of my hair to twist nervously.
"Isn't it? It's--it's just him." What the hell was it? Two years ago
Scott had made us all write essays on love sonnets and I'd worked on mine
for days, trying to define something that no one had successfully defined
in history, wondered why the hell he thought a class of mutants could
manage what a few thousand centuries of human civilization had not. "The
way he can smile when he wants to, the way he tries so hard to break out of
what he's been all these years." Thinking of all the things that annoyed
me about him--his temper, his lack of patience, his intense, almost
pathological need for control, his arrogance--and he was among the most
arrogant people I've ever met. That perfect surety he carried like a
cloak--I looked at Scott for a minute. "Just everything. Even the things
I don't like."
I couldn't explain it any better than that--because he was the first person
to voluntarily touch me, because he talked to me, because I knew him like I
would never know anyone else--because he'd given me something that no one
else ever could, ever thought about, ever wanted to.
Acceptance. Perfect, unasking acceptance, of who I was, of what I was, of
everything I'd ever be. Because with him, it was always enough that I was
Scott nodded slowly, maybe understanding the things I didn't say, that
didn't translate into words. Maybe not.
"I can see why you two don't get along," I tossed out, just to see him jerk
"Besides the obvious?" There was an edge in his voice. I simply grinned.
"You're a lot alike.
I had his full attention and Scott sat straight up. I also had genuinely
shocked him, and that was fun as all hell. And I laughed at the expression
on Scott's face.
"That's not true."
Sometimes Scott doesn't see colors either.
"Arrogant, strong, confident, demanding, not easily cowed, not easily
impressed, reserved--do I need a categorical list?" I couldn't stop my
smile--Scott was torn between looking offended to looking just--well, like
someone had taken a hammer to his skull. I'd guess behind the glasses
there would be that deer in headlights expression.
What was really getting to him was he really couldn't deny any of the
similarities--once they were sitting in front of him. But he was trying.
"He's rude. He's violent. He's--"
"Logan. The product of a different kind of life." I considered the man in
front of me, coming to an interesting conclusion. Best keep that to
myself. "I'm not saying you're twins, Scott, so cool down. I'm just
wondering if most of your problems stem from the fact that you are so much
alike. You just channel your--characteristics--differently, that's all."
He laid back down and looked at me.
"And this is supposed to help me sleep?"
Before he could finish the sentence, I moved, slipping down on top of him
and pinning his hands to the blanket. Heard his breath catch.
"Who said anything about sleep?"
* * * * *
Ororo was in her office.
I'd been putting it off, not knowing what to say to her, since the last
time we talked--not sure if she could read on my face what I'd been doing
and considering how she felt about Jean and Logan--
--well, I didn't want to face her disapproval. I'm quite a coward, truth
"Why aren't you talking to Logan?"
Serenely, she finished typing up whatever the hell she was typing and
turned around to look at me. Still calm, still serene. Smiling gently.
"Perhaps we should have lunch." In a single graceful movement, she rose
from her chair, saving her work, and dipped her hand into a drawer to pick
up her keys.
Because I didn't have any better ideas, I followed her out.
It wasn't until we were comfortably seated in the car going down the road
toward town that Ororo spoke again.
"I think they have made a bad decision."
She wasn't the only one.
"It's their decision, Ororo." I sounded so wise--I wish I believed like I
preached. Ororo touched the signal to make a left turn and looked at me as
we paused at the stop sign.
"Yes, it is. That doesn't mean I have to approve of it."
I thought about that--that must hurt Jean a lot. She and Ororo were very
"Why not talk to Jean?"
Was I actually sitting here asking someone else to break them up? I bit my
lip. Damned colors. Ororo gave me a sidelong look that I forced myself to
"He's happy." And I shut my mouth tight, tried again to get it out and mean
it. "If they're happy--" Well then, if they were happy, fuck me and Scott
and how we felt and what we went through watching them and wondering if
maybe this would be the day we'd snap. "Well, that's all there is to it."
Her glance at me said more than words.
"You no longer have feelings for Logan?"
I winced and I knew she saw it.
"I love him." Softly. Staring straight ahead, not looking at her.
"And--and if I love him, I gotta think of him, right? So yeah, I'd dance
on the damned roof if he and Jean split up--but not if it's gonna rip him
apart for me to get that wish." With no guarantee he'd ever come to me
anyway--damn, that was a selfish thought. I shut my eyes briefly. Tried
not to imagine what would happen when it did happen. If it did happen.
"You and Remy have parted?"
Changed subject. Ororo and Scott have a lot in common.
"Yes." No explanation, just like Scott.
"Rogue--" A pause, and I felt her eyes on me, studying intensely, and when
I glanced over, I saw what she had yet to say reflected in her eyes. What
she knew, what Scott and I were doing, how damned dangerous it was,
screwing up an already bad situation. The stuff we were ignoring like
there was no tomorrow to worry about.
"What?" I waited--wondering what she'd tell me, wondering if she
disapproved, God, wondering if perhaps she'd tell Jean--not necessarily a
bad thing. But she did none of those things. After a moment, her head
turned and she watched the road again and I knew the subject had been
closed. For now.
For Ororo, she was practically chatty during lunch and I almost
forgot--almost being the operative word--that Ororo was rarely that simple
until we in the driveway of the mansion and I saw Logan and Jean standing
in the lawn.
"Damn." I didn't need this today and my cheer evaporated instantly. Ororo
must have seen it, because she slowed the car. They didn't even notice us.
"Jean's upset." That was the first thing I noticed, and really, it
shouldn't have suddenly elevated my mood. Fuck it, I'm human. Trouble in
that little paradise was something that even colors couldn't make me dampen
the sudden burst of sheer pleasure, and I didn't like myself any better for
"She's been--displeased--with the amount of time Logan spends with you."
There was something carefully neutral in her voice that made me turn my
head, wondering, and not for the first time, what was going on in her head.
Ororo was a mystery, no question. I gave her a disbelieving look. I
wouldn't think that, consider that, even try to examine it for all the
interesting nuances that could be dragged out of a simple sentence. Those
sort of thoughts led places I just couldn't stand to go anymore.
"Wait," Ororo whispered, turning the car into the garage when I began to
get out prior to a full stop, so many kinds of against safety, but hey, I'm
a poster-child for risk, so go figure. "Rogue--" she stopped short,
staring at me again with that intense dark gaze, as if she was looking for
something. "Watch what you do, child."
And that was all I got out of her. When I got in range, Jean was already
gone--interesting--and Logan turned once he caught my scent. He didn't
look particularly upset, smiling when he saw me, nothing shadowing his
A smile just for me and I warmed to it.
"Where've you been?" He came up beside me, an arm over my shoulders--as
per standard operating procedure--and I turned my head a little to see
Ororo walk inside--maybe following Jean, maybe not.
"Oh--Ororo wanted to grab some lunch. Sorry." I considered, looking up at
him with my brightest smile, trying to dismiss what Ororo had told me.
"Wanna go for a ride, sugar?"
* * * * *
My relationship with Remy ended privately about a month before it ended
publicly. And if you ask me the reason, I can't tell you--it wasn't that I
tried to hide it was over. It just never occurred to me--I'd been
distracted--and I'm not too good at facing things that I don't want to.
Everything else in my life seemed to be doing some really strange things,
so it hadn't exactly taken top priority.
Logan met me for lunch on a daily basis, and something was up with him and
I couldn't figure out what the hell it was. And it wasn't his behavior
exactly--it was the way he watched me. And sometimes I'd wonder if he
could get the scent of Scott off my skin or something, and I'd squirm and
he'd jerk his gaze away, frowning, then return to normal, or close to it.
And Jean looked less and less happy and I noticed that her eyes weren't
just on Logan anymore--they were on Scott.
And sometimes, they were on me. And that confused me most of all.
Scott, who damn him could have calmly gone on teaching mutants and being a
good administrator even if the world suddenly erupted into fire around him.
Probably look at it calmly and then coolly tell us to get in a line and
walk to the nearest shelter. Not run, because then we might trip, and no
shoving and no pushing.
But the thing with Remy--well, it took backseat. Because I thought I'd
been clear and relatively calm and--well, I left the necklace and I said
the right things, or the clearest things in the right way. But he didn't
get it--or at least, that's what I finally pried out of Scott that
afternoon, just after Remy came in the kitchen to announce I was cheating
on him. Loudly.
Ororo, Bobby, and Jubilee were the only witnesses. Only Bobby looked
surprised. Jubes, as my roommate, was not. Later, Scott told me my face
was the perfect color for a scarlet A. The wit of the man.
Luckily, the gods who watch over idiot mutant girls were kind and Logan and
Jean were off doing something--and for the first time, I was utterly
grateful for that fact, even if it hurt to think it. I remember leaving
the kitchen, running into Scott and knocking him against the wall, and I
My own little mess came back to haunt me. Everything in Remy's eyes, all
that betrayal and anger and hurt that stuck straight down into the
bone--that could be Logan. God.
I remember being put to bed and told to stay there, Scott running a calming
hand across my hair before walking out. And I remember being so glad that
he was going to handle it so I wouldn't have to face the looks of my two
best friends, the questions, or worse yet, the sudden comprehension that
probably one look at my face would bring.
"So it's you."
I woke up instantly to the sound of her voice, cool and utterly
expressionless in the silent room. Pure Jean Grey all over again. In pure
hindsight, it took a suspiciously long time for Jean to figure it out, and
that, I think, is significant. For a lot of reasons, not the least of
which was the fact that Logan still hadn't told her and to this day I have
no idea why.
I think it was denial, on both their parts. Pure and simple.
I looked up from bed, saw from behind swollen eyes Jean sitting at
Jubilee's desk. Beautiful, utterly composed, watching me from behind
unreadable eyes, years of experience and control coming off her in waves,
things I'd never have. And it took a moment to process, because nothing
showed on her face and I felt the brush of her mind and all those
theoretical lessons didn't work when you'd never used them--or even had the
good sense to start using them *before* your mind had been touched. Lying
was not an option. Or even close to an option. Even in the same city as an
option. She watched me, probably saw the run of emotion across my face.
I didn't bother to answer, which was enough answer in itself.
It's funny, how your mind works--because that was the question I'd never
really asked myself. The question with one obvious answer.
"Why do you care?"
Jean didn't answer and I hated the look on her face--I hated it because I
remembered it on mine, what you had to feel like to have it, the way it
twisted you inside. That she was beautiful and perfect and I couldn't hate
her for it because she was as hurt as I was--maybe more. In ways I
couldn't be--in ways that were foreign because I'd never had anyone to
lose, I'd only had a dream that broke.
"I don't know."
Something in me--in that selfish part, in the part that wasn't quite as
grown-up, quite as mature, quite as sensitive to color--something there
twisted. Something that lifted its head in interest. Filed this memory
away for future analysis.
No, no, no. I wouldn't think like that.
"Rogue--" she stopped, and her voice--God, it hurt to hear it. "Was it
Revenge? For Scott, for me, for screwing around with the status quo and
making life so damned complex, in a way it'd never been before?
She relaxed a little, but only a little, and I tried to read her face,
tried to reach through the control she was still able to keep, find out
what drew her here, besides knowing what was going on with me and Scott,
besides perhaps some ex-fianc�e angst over seeing the man you once loved
with someone else--
Why'd you do it, Jean? I wanted to ask her, yell it at her, get up and
just scream why she wanted it this way, when it didn't have to be. The
part of me that was still too young and didn't understand anything except
black and white. The part that wanted to believe so badly that one day,
Logan would see me and want me the way I wanted him.
She stood up, and suddenly--and it was so unexpected it froze me in
place--I wanted to run up to her, like I'd been able to before all this,
tell her how many ways my life was screwed up. About the nightmare with
Remy downstairs and the anger I felt that he'd done that and the guilt that
I'd used him as a substitute and a way to take the pettiest of retaliations
on a man who didn't want me--
But before I could do anything, say anything, she was gone, and I knew I
saw her eyes were wet before the door closed.
When Scott sat on my bed an hour later and tried to understand why I was
crying, I couldn't tell him, because I didn't know myself.
* * * * *
--When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father