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FIC: A Change To Color 2/7: NC-17: Rogue, multiple pairings

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  • Jenn
    2/7 A very correct triple-tap at the door of my room. Rogue. I closed my book and placed the essay in a folder before I turned to the door. Come in. Scott
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2001

      A very correct triple-tap at the door of my room.


      I closed my book and placed the essay in a folder before I turned to the

      "Come in."

      Scott always asks. Sometimes annoying, sometimes not, it's him and I even
      began to think I understood him.


      He shut the door behind him with impeccable courtesy and took a seat on
      Jubilee's desk chair. He's always so neat--hair perfectly cut, clothes in
      perfect order like he just stepped out of the proverbial bandbox. He could
      pose for a Fearless Leader doll--that's the air he emanates. You instantly
      trust and respect what you see before you.

      I also took a moment to notice he was wearing boots. Riding boots,
      recently polished to a dull shine.

      "Did you go riding?"

      He grinned--a comfortable grin--and I noted that he had his gloves on, well
      worn--and his glasses were more securely fastened than normal.

      "I'm about to. I didn't see you at downstairs and thought you'd like to go
      with me."

      I remembered, suddenly, that it was Tuesday, when he usually goes. I knew
      he hadn't gone riding on Tuesday in a long time. As I sat there and did
      some reflection, I realized he always used to go with Jean.

      So I can replace her. We're not a healthy bunch at the Mansion. But on
      some sick level, it appealed to me and I nodded, pushing from the desk to
      go to my closet.

      "Give me five minutes."

      * * * * *

      Scott helped me mount Bender (I didn't name the horse), then followed me on
      Trickster (still not my idea). Nervously, I adjusted my gloves and tried
      *not* to remember the Riding Incident that left me with a broken leg a year
      or so ago.

      I'd grown. And this horse was famous for its sheer boringness. I
      appreciated that.


      He turned a little in the saddle, letting me catch up.

      "You okay?" His eyes followed my slightly weaving form as I adjusted to
      horseback after a year of studious avoidance. Ah, he remembered too. I
      appreciated that even more.

      "Fine, thanks." I adjusted my seat again and absently ran my fingers
      through my hair before getting my death grip back on the pommel. "You
      haven't ridden in awhile."

      "No, I haven't." No explanation. None needed. Relaxing, I let Bender
      break into a comfortable trot and blanked my mind out, enjoying the feel of
      the breeze and the steady, even, comfortable lope of Bender under me.

      "Rogue, she's not what you think."

      Blanked it would not be. I slowed Bender and half turned in the saddle to
      look at him.

      "You're going to defend her too?" I couldn't even find it in myself to be

      Scott didn't answer for a moment, readjusting a strap on the horse's
      shoulder, then checking his glasses to make certain they were secure.

      "No." Quiet, and he took hold of the reins again, pressing Trickster to
      catch up with me.

      I waited. Maybe that was all he would have said, if I hadn't brought
      Bender to a screeching halt--almost knocking myself out against his neck in
      the process. And Scott, being Scott, stopped as well, giving me a curious

      "Go ahead." I set my feet in the stirrups and waited.

      "Go ahead what?"

      I shifted uncomfortably.

      "Tell me I should understand or something. Tell me how I should just
      accept it. Defend her. Go right ahead. You fucking know you want to,
      Scott, so go right ahead."

      How any human on earth manages the calm Scott does is beyond me.

      "No. I'm not." He shifted and his horse took off in a comfortable trot
      and I heeled Bender before I could think better of it and followed.

      "You can't do that."

      "Do what?"

      I struggled to put it into words, and he shook his head slowly, bringing
      Trickster back to a walk.

      "You want to see things in black and white, Rogue. It's not that
      easy--trust me, I've learned the hard way that blank categorizations like
      that are comfortable, but extremely inaccurate."

      "Don't you hate him?"

      Scott looked genuinely surprised by my question.

      "It doesn't matter."

      "Then what the hell *does* matter?"

      It was so sudden, so completely unexpected, that I gawked a little when
      Scott dismounted, leading the horse to a tree and sensibly leaving enough
      length for Trickster to roam. I didn't have any better ideas, so I
      followed him down, and he steadied me as I touched my feet on the grass.
      Then he tied my horse and took me by the arm, gently leading--not pulling,
      leading--me into a walk.

      "Why'd you ask me out here?" I asked softly. "Replace Jean?"

      "No, though I can see why you would think so." He glanced back at the
      mansion, then at the trees surrounding us. I wondered what he was
      searching for. "Jean moved out of our room---I should have done it, but I
      wasn't really--thinking clearly when it happened. I'm two doors down from
      Logan." He stopped and I thought I saw him bite his lip, but his voice was
      casual. "I wanted to get out for a little while."

      The image of Scott calmly dressing while listening to the crap going on in
      Logan's room was enough to shut me up for a few seconds. It hurt, almost
      as much as seeing them together hurt me. And I was surprised.

      "I'm sorry." And I meant it. Scott shrugged slightly. His hands were
      clasped neatly behind him and I took in the image of him in his plain shirt
      and jeans, the carefully polished boots, the gloves that were worn and
      faded from use. "It's just--sometimes I forget that--"

      "That I'm a man as well, not just the guy that made you rewrite your
      English essays three times before you turned them in?" I could see the
      slight smile turn his lips. "Yeah. I sometimes forget that too."

      It was suddenly disconcerting to be walking with him--because he wasn't the
      Leader or my teacher or--well, anyone I was vaguely familiar with anymore.
      Just a man, walking with me on the estate. And maybe he felt the
      difference too, because he turned to look at me again.

      "I know you're angry. It's not easy to sit back and watch someone you love
      make a mistake."

      I started, looking up at him.


      "But it's not something you can do anything about, either."

      "Talk to them." Yell at them. Plan dirty tricks. Whatever worked. I
      wasn't picky.

      "And tell them what?" He shook his head slightly. "That I love her? She
      knows that, he knows that. It's not a secret."

      No secret at all, really. Which made it all so damned unforgivable. And
      what would he say, exactly, that hadn't been said in the privacy of their
      bedroom the day she moved out? That hadn't been looked or thought or
      yelled during those nights that seemed like a dream, nights before I knew
      that this was more than a squabble with a good happy ending. That stumped
      me too--after all, I hadn't found the words either. Even if Logan had been
      around to hear them.

      "It's--" I stopped, realizing where this was going. That if I continued, I
      wouldn't ever be able to look at Scott and sit him in the category of
      Leader and Annoyance. He was letting me see someone else completely.
      "It's getting cold."

      I wasn't ready for that yet.

      He didn't answer and we walked back to the horses.

      * * * * *


      "I'm busy, Logan."

      I fingered my chain, saw his eyes fix on that a little and wished I'd taken
      it off. But I hadn't---maybe I wouldn't have even if I'd expected to see
      him, but I can't be sure of that. Hell, I couldn't be sure of anything

      "We haven't talked since I've gotten back." He shifted slightly and I took
      in the view of him--a little thinner than I remembered, even more restless
      if that was possible--or was he nervous?


      "Yeah." I'd been avoiding him--but not exactly. I'd been avoiding with
      the half-hope he'd find me. Or at least make the attempt. Of course, he
      had better things to do, if the look on Jean's face in the morning was
      anything to go by.

      I was beginning to resent Scott's ability to compartmentalize his life so
      well and avoid black and white.

      "Let's go for a ride."

      Something in me twisted--it was an old treat, candy offered to the little
      kid that followed him around with worshipful eyes. Take me for a ride,
      show me how to hold the handlebars, look infinitely amused by my
      uncertainty. He'd taught me everything he knew, directly or indirectly.

      Remy was a testament to just how well I learned my lessons. It was enough
      to make me wince.

      "I'm busy." I twitched my gloves back into place--not that they'd moved
      much more than a millimeter since I put them on--and looked around, hoping
      desperately for someone to show up and give me an excuse to leave. "I have
      to meet someone for lunch." Remy, usually.

      I couldn't go with Logan now. I wanted it too badly.

      "Marie--." He took a step toward me and I wanted to pull away--there was
      the smell of Logan, of Jean, of--oh shit.

      Go fuck your girlfriend, I wanted to tell him, yell at him, suddenly hating
      him for coming here still smelling like her. And I didn't want to go,
      didn't want to be anywhere near him. "Look, maybe another time--"

      "Fuck it, Marie! You've been fucking avoiding me for long enough!" A
      tightening of all the muscles in his jaw that denoted his own private way
      of cooling down. A pause, then finally, voice low, "Okay, I'm sorry,
      Marie. I know I've been distracted--but--"

      "Now it's suddenly convenient? Sorry--*Wolverine*--I don't live for your
      convenience." I turned on my heel, skirt swishing with possible dramatic
      effect that I probably would have appreciated more if I hadn't been so

      A hand caught my elbow and swung me around--and I should have sort of been
      prepared for that, but you see, having my interesting condition means that
      when you storm off, people are sort of wary to try and touch you to drag
      you back. Up to and including Remy. But not Logan. He wasn't scared of
      me--hell, I have no idea if he's scared of anything. But my skin? Pshaw.
      He's survived it twice and Logan is the ultimate risk-taker.

      "I'm sorry." His voice was lower and he kept that grip on my arm.
      "Look--" Again, a pause, and if I'd been able to pity anyone except
      myself, I would have acknowledged how hard this was for him. "You're my
      family, okay? More than anyone else in this goddamn place. I've missed

      I swallowed in a dry throat and tried to keep my expression neutral.
      Everything in me acknowledged what he said was true--and in a way, it felt
      good. Felt really good, and it felt like hell, because that's what I was
      to him--not a potential lover or a woman, but family, little sister,
      surrogate daughter, niece.

      Stale bread. Not what I wanted. But something.

      "Logan, I have to--"

      "Please, Marie. I just want to talk. Anywhere you want to go."

      And I know that what I was seeing was right on the edge of pleading--hell
      and damn, with everything in me melting at the look on his face, the clean
      sincerity--the fact that he was taking time out of his busy sex life to
      find me and argue with me and practically beg--damn, damn, damn.

      "All right." So I'm a weak female--I'd live with it. I needed to change,
      and pulled away from his hand. "I'll meet you down here."

      * * * * *

      "So how're classes?"

      Logan made small talk and I tried not to notice that light scent around
      him--I could recognize Jean anywhere, and there were days almost forgotten
      that the scent would arouse me and I'd hated the feeling--but I'd give
      almost anything to have that again, even arousal over the sick envy and

      It was awkward where it'd never been awkward before--between us.
      Uncomfortable as we began our search for old footing under new

      "Okay." I picked at my jacket and felt him pace me as we left the bike
      against a tree--apparently, I'm a bigger fan of nature than I ever believed
      possible; I seem to be spending the majority of my time with trees.

      That's something he gave me.

      "Is anything wrong?"

      Okay, admittedly, that shocked me out of silence and self-pity, because I
      do love him, but I also know him. Logan just isn't perceptive under normal
      circumstances. And having Jean had lowered the quotient even
      further--hell, he probably wouldn't have noticed the mansion being attacked
      by Magneto in a pink tutu at the beginning. And maybe it was a sign that
      the intense early heat was diminishing and maybe he was getting bored or--

      --I'm perfectly willing to admit right now that denial is my specialty.

      "Everything's fine." I kicked a stone and wondered if I told him the
      truth, would it change anything. Well, yes, it would. And so I wouldn't.
      I had my pride.

      He taught me that too.

      "You're quiet." He kicked something in his way--rock, small animal, who

      I used to chatter to him about everything. That's true. About Bobby,
      about Remy, about school, about my frustration with my inability to control
      my powers, about how great it was to graduate, about the fucking grass if I
      couldn't think of anything else--anything to keep his company, anything
      that would qualify as conversation.

      Anything at all. But I ran out of words this time and he hadn't been
      around to hear them anyway.

      "Are you and Remy okay?"

      No, not really. At least, not on my side, but it was dandy on his, and if
      he noticed that I shut my eyes and I didn't say anything when I came
      because something in me knew I'd say the wrong name--well, he wasn't
      talking about it. Maybe getting laid and laid thoroughly on a daily basis
      was enough.

      Maybe you and I could compare our lovers. You tell me how Jean screams and
      I'll tell you how Remy begs in French and I get distracted trying to figure
      out exactly what it is he wants me to do.


      He mused on that. He didn't believe me, but as I said, Logan isn't the
      type to start some sort of Deep Conversation.

      "Are you happy?"

      Dear God, the entire earth must have shifted, because Logan just *isn't*
      this type of guy. He's a normal guy--feelings aren't discussion topics.
      Feelings are a murky place you avoid whenever possible and when you get
      stuck in the swamp of them, you try to figure how to get the hell out, not
      the whys and wherefores.

      This is Logan channeling Scott. Rather disturbing, truth be told. I liked
      black and white--putting in colors just messed up the mix.

      "Yeah." And I tried--with some success--to channel some enthusiasm into my
      voice, make it bright and happy and utterly not-caring about him or Jean or
      what they were doing behind his closed door so loudly until two in the
      damned morning every night.

      He stopped me, another surprise, and his fingers on my shoulder turned me
      and I winced without meaning to--and he pulled back and maybe there was
      hurt in his eyes, I didn't know.

      I didn't care either. I didn't fucking care.

      Somewhere, I found something to talk about, and I started rambling--to this
      day, I have no idea what I said or how he responded or even if he did--but
      time passed and I could still smell Jean on him and it screwed with my head
      worse than anything else. And finally, I could look at my watch and act
      surprised it was time for dinner and he took me back and if he noticed that
      I bolted off the bike on the pretext of extreme starvation, he didn't say
      anything--or maybe I just didn't give him the chance.

      I didn't know. I didn't fucking care either. So screw it.

      * * * * *


      --When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father
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