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FIC: Close Your Eyes--A For Now Coda: 2/2: PG-13: Rogue, Logan, Jean, Xavier, L/R

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  • Jenn
    2/2 Jean and I chatted three days ago {You re so young, Marie.} Did you tell him I m too young? It really stuck in my mind--the one thing that, ironically, I
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2001

      Jean and I chatted three days ago

      {You're so young, Marie.}

      "Did you tell him I'm too young?"

      It really stuck in my mind--the one thing that, ironically, I hadn't
      expected, not anymore Of all the impediments, in mind and in reality, at
      twenty-one, I thought I'd gotten beyond that one problem. At seventeen, at
      eighteen, at nineteen, at twenty, it meant something. At twenty-one, it
      doesn't mean diddly. Or maybe I never expected it from him, that he'd let
      something like age stand in his way---he'd screwed his way across every
      continent known to man and my memories don't include him askin' around for
      ID either.

      She didn't look surprised by my question, and faintly, I remembered seeing
      Logan standing in her office, walking out and slamming the door shut behind
      him. Ducking behind a plant so he wouldn't see me, waiting until he'd left
      the hall before staring at the door.

      Five days before. Couldn't be the same thing.

      Something in me began to pulse, hard, looking into her eyes, seeing the
      truth mirrored there that I needed her to confirm. Part of it was guilt,
      written in clear green--but most of it was certainty. Hell, she may have
      even thought she understood. Everyone thinks they know what's best for me,
      the eternal child, to be petted and wrapped in silk and loved. My vote
      doesn't count.

      "He didn't need to be told. Sit down, Marie."

      I grabbed the back of the chair, staring down at her.

      "I haven't been young since you met me, Jean. You can pan that crap off on
      anyone else--what the fuck did you say to him?"

      I wanted to blame her. I wanted to blame the school, Jubilee, the X-Men,
      Scott, God. I didn't want to blame myself. That would mean I could have
      done something right along the way and that would mean that I actually did
      do something wrong.

      And she studied me--Jean's all about control and cool composure. You just
      can't buy her kind of personality in stores, though I would if a good
      brand-name tried to market it.


      "He wants me. I want him. What the fuck is so wrong with that?"

      Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. Maybe when I joined up, in fine print it
      said I couldn't be an X-Man and have a social life, though I didn't
      remember seeing that in the contract. Maybe it's just--

      "You're not wearing gloves."

      And that startled me, so I stared down at my hands, a little surprised, and
      automatically began to put them behind me. And those cool eyes watched
      every movement and I locked them on the back of the chair, feeling the wood
      begin to give under my grip.

      "I forgot." I'd left them in my room and suddenly, I was naked, exposed,
      the ends of my scarf trailing against my chest. And the feel of wood under
      my fingers was like something new and I found myself taking in the cool
      grain and smoothness. How foreign it was to have sensation on my bare

      "How long has it been since you touched anything without gloves, Rogue?"

      I knew she was trying to distract me and that just pissed me off.

      "Tell me what you told Logan or I'll rip it out of your fucking mind,

      And that startled us both--green eyes go wide and dark and I saw her
      fingers twitch on the desk, auto defensive reflexes waking up to the fact
      that just because I'm a student doesn't mean I'm not a threat. The back of
      the chair gave out in my grip and I jerked back, too surprised to speak,
      dropping the wood on the floor, landing in a clatter that was indecently
      loud in the quiet room. We stared at each other several seconds, neither
      of us breathing.

      Something in me woke up--Logan was gone, and I was here, and I wasn't
      wearing my gloves. I was twenty-one and in love with someone I couldn't
      have--not because he didn't want me, but because I was afraid. Now this,
      on top of everything else--other people felt the need to fuck with my life
      more than I already had.

      Screw that. The last thing I needed were more obstacles.

      "What was that?" she asked softly, and I couldn't be sure if she's talking
      about my threat, the chair, or my bare hands. I blinked, trying to pull out
      of the rage that took over so suddenly--and I realized whose rage it was.

      I realized how much I meant to say that. And it could scare me, how much I
      wanted it, how much I needed to lash out at someone, anyone. God knew,
      just once, I wanted to hurt someone besides myself.

      "What did you tell him?" I whispered. "Too young, too inexperienced, too
      stupid, too naive? Too dangerous, too foolish, too much a kid? Did you
      offer yourself in my place? Make the sacrifice?"

      Her eyes narrowed. She can look dangerous when she wants--suddenly, she
      wasn't just Jean Grey, she was a telekinetic and a telepath with some
      mightily destructive power at her disposal under the right circumstances.
      But no one matched me for sheer fear--I can kill with a touch, take
      someone's life in a breath, take their abilities in a heartbeat.


      "You want him that badly?" It was four years of thinking, of watching
      them, of watching her. I could never hate her. But I could try. All my
      other choices sucked. "You want him, Jean? Panting after you like a dog,
      helps your ego, your pride, you like to know you're first and only?" A
      pause, and she never looked at me like that before, as if seeing me for the
      first time. Hell, maybe she was. "He's mine. Make this a competition and
      I guarantee you'll lose."

      Her head tilted, green eyes narrowed.

      "When you won't touch him?"

      "And you will?" Shit, what the hell is wrong with me, this was going
      places I'd never stepped foot before. "Or did you already and figure out
      you liked it? *What the fuck did you tell him, Jean?*"

      She looked down at her desk briefly, and I knew she was talking to the
      Professor. A slight frown, looking up, and she began to rise.

      "Let's discuss this--"

      "Answer the question, Jean. What did you tell him?"

      She stared at me, a thousand thoughts running clearly across her eyes, in
      her mind. A thousand reasons and justifications and maybe even a couple of
      realizations. But not many and not enough.

      "The obvious. What you're showing now. What you are, what he already
      knows and only needed confirmed." She took a step and I felt the hair on
      the back of my neck rise, a soft growl in my throat. "You're not ready."
      A pause. "Xavier wants you in his office. Please go, Rogue. Talk to
      him." And she reached out, fingers brushing my sleeve, being Jean Grey and
      compassionate even when I'd threatened to suck her mind through her skin,
      and I bit my lip and turned away, leaving, knowing I could learn to hate
      her for telling the truth. I turned to the door, throwing it open with all
      the maturity of a three year old denied a sweet. Most three year olds,
      however, don't have the dangerous luxury of getting what they want through
      a simple act of will and a lack of scruples. That should scare me.

      I'm okay with that, though. I have lots of reasons to be scared of myself.

      * * * * *

      I'll bet you never saw Logan laugh.

      It's a brief battle--he's trying not to smile, trying not to look anything
      but annoyed and harassed by girls wanting to wander around in rainy weather
      minimally clothed, but he finally sighs and strips his jacket, dropping it
      on the ground (it's probably seen worse). Gives me a curious look, and
      he's fighting it, hard as he can.

      "There's this great thing called roofs--created to keep out of stuff like
      this. For a reason."

      "Be a man, sugar, take a little water." And I skip the four steps that
      separate us, my hair getting in my way again, and his gloved hand smoothes
      it back from my face, brushing my skin. "You're not getting the full
      effect--get out from under that tree."

      "No fucking way."

      I get both his hands and start pulling. And while, yeah, he outweighs me
      by a few hundred pounds, in shock he tends to just go with the flow. The
      rain hit him straight on and he shakes his head roughly, then frowns.

      "What the hell is with you?"

      "Life. Rain. Greenery. You ever dance in the rain? You've missed
      something special, lemme tell you." Though I'd guess the people that
      passed us must have assumed I was a recent escapee of some conveniently
      close insane asylum. Still grinning, still feeling that utter freedom of
      bare arms and bare hands, I pull away, kicking mud over his jeans. He
      jerks once, pulling me close enough to look in my face, and his hand slips
      under my shirt, against the bare skin of my waist.

      It feels good.

      "What are you doin'?"

      I stare up, my mouth twitching.

      "Being Rogue. You like it?"

      It's a long moment, and I feel the smile slip away, and he studies me
      again, looking for something. A look I've seen for four years, a look I
      can define now because God, I do understand. I do.

      He looks like he found it.

      "You're getting filthy." It's a soft voice, almost a rumble of approval.

      "What's wrong with gettin' dirty?" I drop, picking up a handful of mud,
      and smear it across his shirt. He lets go and I dance back, hearing my own
      laugh again--and damn, when is the last time I laughed like this?

      "You threw mud at me." Blank shock that only set me off harder.

      "Smeared it." Let's be accurate here, though the look on his face is worth
      every second I'm gonna suffer when he gets to me. "Whatcha gonna do,

      And there it is--a slightly predatory grin, narrowed eyes.

      "You really wanna know?" He drops into an easy crouch, fingers pressed to
      the dirt by my cloak

      "You'll have to catch me first." I skip backward another step, muddy water
      splashing across my chilled toes. And he laughs.

      "You get fifteen seconds, darlin'." Then the smile fades, replaced by
      something else entirely, and I know it, I choose it, I want it. "Run."

      * * * * *

      Yesterday I talked to the Professor

      "Tell me something I want to hear."

      I love Xavier. I do. He's the father that mine doesn't wanna be anymore,
      but better, because he doesn't remember me wearing diapers. Both hands
      braced on his desk, I had a thousand questions that he couldn't answer and
      he could feel every one of them echoing through my skull.

      He let me come in my own time, and two days of brooding was enough to
      convince me that it wasn't something I wanted to continue doing for any
      considerable length of time. I'm good at brooding. I can even growl and
      look mean. When I realized how good I was at it, I figured the time had
      come and I'd better get it out before I became a professional and Logan got
      competition on bad temper.

      "Rogue," he finally said softly, and I thumped down in the chair across
      from him and tried to get my bearings. "Nothing is that simple."

      "I've given up on simple. Give me endlessly complex, give me impossible,
      but give me *something*. Anything."

      He smiled then, nodding in agreement--or maybe he just picked up my near
      desperation and remembered that I was wandering around threatening other
      mutants. Which might mean he needed to intervene.

      "I threatened Jean."

      If anything, his mouth twitched.

      "Told her I'd suck it outta her brain." And I stared at him, waiting for
      him to give me a standard lecture on behavior.

      "It's rather encouraging that you're trying to pursue your own answers,
      Rogue. I think you've depended on others finding them for you for too

      Startled, I looked up at him, and then at his neatly folded hands. The
      world doesn't like mutants--but they certainly lost out when they lost him.
      His true calling was psychologist, no question.

      And he made my little breach of manner sound pretty damned good, and I'm
      all for having anything I do being celebrated in a positive light.

      "Of course, if you had carried through, we would be having a very different
      conversation. I hope you understand that, Rogue." And he looked stern
      then, and I nodded my understanding enthusiastically. "However, since it
      did not descend to that level, I think we can safely dismiss the subject
      and you can tell me why you're here."

      "Jean said you wanted to talk."

      An arched eyebrow and I sighed. Dealing with telepaths really does make
      you cut the crap a lot faster.

      "Logan will be back tomorrow, sir." I swallowed, remembering the gloves
      I'd dropped in his bag--a symbol he'd understand better than words. "And I
      don't know--" I stopped. I'd known for awhile he was at the point of
      actively pushing, that the nudging was over. And I really couldn't blame
      him for that, and when he came back, he'd want answers to everything, the
      stuff I'd hidden, the stuff I didn't know I'd hidden.

      And he'd want to touch me and that scared me as much as it thrilled me.

      Xavier nodded agreement with my every mental point--I love telepaths--and
      then slowly leaned back.

      "Tell him no."

      I straightened. This was going an odd direction.


      "Tell him no. Tell him you have no interest in pursuing a romantic
      attachment. Make it very clear, and trust me, Logan will desist in his

      "That's not what I want!" And I admit it, I yelled it, and damn telepaths,
      they got it all wrong. I was on my feet and the chair overturned, and he
      still watched me with that curiously cool expression that meant nothing and

      "Ah, then, Rogue--what do you want, precisely?" A pause and I brought my
      temper under strict control--it wasn't like I could throw myself across the
      desk and choke my father figure to death or anything--besides, I'd guess
      that he could hold me perfectly still with the strength of his mind alone
      while I flailed about. After a moment, I took a breath.

      "I love him."

      "He's a criminal."

      Tell me something I *don't* know--all of us are criminals in one or seven
      states. The only reason I don't have a rap sheet is because Marie wasn't
      on the street long enough to get caught. Even Jubes has some decent
      alleged felonies under her belt.

      "He won't stay here, Rogue. He will leave eventually."

      "He's not too fond of staying in one place. I know that. I don't have
      issues with it." Probably because I felt it myself sometimes--I can't
      imagine what it must be like to be him and have that drive all the damned

      "He's old enough to be your grandfather."

      "Have we actually proved that yet?" I knew his mouth twitched. "Don't
      really care, sir."

      I thought he wanted to smile, but that had to be my imagination.

      "Then what is the problem?"

      I began to sit back down when I remembered the chair was still on its back.
      Yeah, very smooth. Righting it, I sat down, looking across the desk at the
      Professor. It wasn't Jean or Jubilee or the Professor or the X-Men who had
      to do this, just me, and somehow, that didn't scare me as badly. He
      reached out with one hand, hovering over mine. Eyes wide, I stared back at
      him, my heart in my mouth, before the slim fingers closed over my covered

      "What is your instinct, Rogue?"

      * * * * *

      I'll bet you never won even when you lost.

      It's an unequal contest, but that's the story of my life. Winning is
      subjective in the extreme.

      It's grass against my bare feet and I could be at home in Mississippi,
      running through the wet lawn, though Mamma never let me play outside in the
      rain. It's darting behind trees, knowing the rain will wash away my scent
      but not enough for him not to be able to pick it up. It's my hair trying
      to cling to my face and the back of my neck and it's the sheer power of the
      moment I choose to live.

      It's all about freedom, the one thing he couldn't teach me that I had to
      learn all on my own.

      Far behind me, I can hear him, probably checking my trail, how I
      doubled-back on myself, dragging every trick he'd ever used from my mind,
      and trying like hell to stop laughing because it's slowing me down bad.
      And damn, I'm the hunted, I shouldn't be so damned amused that every time I
      draw a breath, it comes out in a stuttering laugh that he's gotta be able
      to hear.

      He tackles me outta nowhere and I can't even get the breath to giggle, when
      he cushions my fall with his body and I stare down at him, hands braced on
      either side of his shoulders. He's muddy and wet and looking as if he's
      been through a major natural disaster--mudslide maybe--and he smears dirt
      on my t-shirt and jaw with a gloved hand when he cups my face.

      "I think you won," I tell him, my hair tangled in wet strings falling over
      us both, and he rolls me on my back, raising himself slightly on his
      elbows, his weight pressing me deeper into the ground.

      "I think so too." A breath against my lips. "Close your eyes."

      "I don't trust you. You gonna rub mud in my face?" There's mud in his
      hair and a smear on one cheek and he frowns, apparently considering the
      idea. "You wouldn't."

      "I might. Take it like a man, baby. Close your eyes."

      And I stare up again, meeting unreadable hazel, and then shut them tight,
      feeling the drops of rain falling on my forehead, fingers relaxed in the
      dirt beside me. Something soft slides over my face--something light and
      cold and wet, smelling vaguely of earth and life--then warmth against my
      lips, soaking through the scarf.

      "Trust me."

      God, he's kissing me. He got my scarf. My body reacted, wanting to curl
      away, wanting to stiffen and push him off and scream how badly I could hurt
      him, I could kill him with a twitch, but I tamped it all down, until my
      mind was silent and my body still and I accepted it.

      Until I feel it in every nerve of my body, a warmth that reached into me,
      merging fantasy and reality into something better than they could ever have
      been alone.

      "Trust yourself."

      It's the smell of dirt around me and rain and grass, and the lightest brush
      of lips that changes when he twists his fingers in my hair, tilting my
      head, my lips opening for him, my fingers digging deeply into the dirt that
      surrounds us, mud sliding up under my nails. When he pulls my scarf down
      to my throat, I stare up at the rain in wonder, the tingling running
      through my body with all the power of the lighting overhead, something
      that's meant to be and never was supposed to happen.

      It's touch. It's everything. And he grazes my collar with his teeth, then
      lifts his head, grinning down at me.

      "Say it," I whisper. Because I never let him say it before, not wanting
      to believe, wanting to keep my fantasy. With mud soaking cold into the
      back of my shirt and into my jeans, all the reality in the world grounding
      me into real life, the way I could make it the way I wanted it if I only
      tried. Gloved fingers turn my face up, shielded from the rain by his head,
      dripping water onto my ears and shoulders.

      "I love you."

      Yeah, I know. For so long that I forgot. Yay for me and my overanalysis
      and my fear. I lock my arms around his back and start laughing and can't
      stop, even when I feel his forehead pressed to my shoulder, knowing he's
      smiling as well.

      "What changed?" he asks softly and I feel the warmth of his mouth against
      my shoulder, the brief cut of teeth through the tank top and skin. I draw
      my nails down his back, over wet cloth and hard muscle, and thunder shakes
      the ground again, rippling through my body and his.

      Staring up at the sky, I shake my head.


      The End


      --Hi, My Name Is Jenn, and I have Serious Issues with Marie wearing gloves
      to bed. On Principle.--Sare on "Evil Plot Bunny #1: The Evil Sare
      Tortures Jenn Via AIM One Night"

      --Yeah, it's like being in love with hospital gravy.--Nacey on Jean's
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