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Fic: Untouchable Face - 5/? [L/R, L/J]

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  • victoria p.
    Disclaimers etc. in Part 1. { } indicates POV Untouchable Face Part 5 *** {Rogue} She just sat there and said, plain as day, that they were getting married. I
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2001
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      Disclaimers etc. in Part 1.

      { } indicates POV

      Untouchable Face
      Part 5

      ***

      {Rogue}

      She just sat there and said, plain as day, that they were getting
      married. I felt my stomach turn over. He was marrying another woman. And
      not just any other woman, but *her*. I managed to smile and congratulate
      them, but inside I was dying. I hated the fact that he was getting
      married. Hated the fact that it was to her. But most of all, I hated
      that I'd had to find out like that, that he hadn't pulled me aside and
      warned me. I mean, we haven't been like we used to be, but after the
      night of the wedding, I thought things were okay with us, that we were
      friends again. I guess not.

      As soon as I could, I got up and walked away. I went out to the garden
      for a while, trying to figure out a way to stay there and watch him be
      married to someone else. I knew how big a step it was for him, and that
      made me even more sure that he'd never loved me. The part of him still
      in my head didn't have anything to say.

      The meditating in the garden thing wasn't working, so I went to Plan
      B -- driving. Driving at night is just so calming. I don't know if that
      comes from him, or if it's a mix of him and me, but I love being out on
      the road after dark, with the moon overhead, the white lines slipping by
      and the radio playing.

      I drove for a while, until I saw a neon sign on the horizon, rubbing
      elbows with the moon. It was the kind of place where people like me,
      people who can't sleep or can't think, end up. A place where the deep
      fryer is always on the gas and the radio counts down the top twenty
      country songs.

      I sat at the bar and nursed a beer, since I wanted to be able to drive
      home. I knew when he walked in. I didn't want to see him, not after what
      had happened at dinner, but I had no choice. There really wasn't
      anywhere to hide.

      He sat down next to me and said, "Hey, kid. Can I sit here?"

      I shrugged. "It's a free country."

      He sat on the stool next to me and called the bartender over. "I'll have
      a Molson."

      The bartender put the cold, wet bottle down and popped the top off. Then
      she looked at me. "You ready for another?"

      "Not yet, thanks," I replied.

      I rubbed my hand along the bottle I was cradling, feeling how warm it
      had gotten. I knew I wasn't finishing it. I got up to walk out, but his
      hand on my arm stopped me.

      "I ain't gettin' married," he said flatly.

      "You sure about that, sugar? 'Cause Jean certainly seems to think so." I
      couldn't keep the bitterness out of my voice.

      "We talked about it, is all," he said. And I realized that maybe she
      wasn't as confident in him as she appeared. That maybe, just maybe she
      was nervous because I was around, and I was available again. He never
      had been known for being commitment-friendly. She of all people should
      know that. I mean, when he was with me, he yearned for her. Wouldn't it
      be ironic if the shoe were on the other foot now?

      I looked at him. "You don't owe me an explanation, Logan."

      "Yeah, I know. But I just wanted to tell you, Jean and I ain't gettin'
      married. We're goin' on vacation, is all." He took a long swig of beer
      and I sat back down. "That beer looks mighty tired," he said. "I think
      you need a new one."

      I nodded and he called the bartender back over. She was flirting with
      him and giving me strange looks. I took the bottle she put in front of
      me and drank. There were so many things I wanted to say, but I couldn't
      think of any of them. "Pool?" I asked finally, jerking my head toward
      the back room, where there was a table.

      He gave me that half-grin that always makes me melt into a little
      puddle. "Yeah, okay."

      We got up and headed for the pool table. It was surprisingly unoccupied,
      and he put the money in while I chose a cue stick. I'm not as good at
      pool as I'd like to be. It's all that geometry. Every guy I know, and
      Ororo -- you know she can whip everyone's ass, except Scott's -- has
      tried to teach me, but I just reached a certain level and stopped. I'm
      much better at poker.

      Anyway, he racked the balls and I broke, and we enjoyed a quiet game of
      pool for about half an hour, the only sounds the tap of the cue and
      crack of the balls. Then he said, "You wanna talk? I know you got
      something you wanna say."

      What did I want to say? Oh God, the things that ran through my mind.
      'Leave her and take me back.' 'I love you, why don't you love me?'
      'Let's hit the road and never go home.' I wanted to say, 'Fuck you. I
      can't have you. Stop making me think I can.' But I just said, "Nah.
      Just, you know, you guys deserve to be happy. But marriage isn't easy.
      It's work." And I took a long drink from my beer before I said anything
      else.

      He gave a brief bark of laughter. "Yeah. I guess. I never thought about
      it. It was the wedding. Jean's --"

      "She's jealous that 'Ro got Scott to the altar in less time than it's
      taking her to get you there," I blurted. He blinked. I clapped a hand
      over my mouth, but it was too late to take it back.

      "Marie--"

      "I'm sorry," I whispered, dropping the cue stick and rushing toward the
      door.

      He's pretty fast for a guy with a metal skeleton, though, and he grabbed
      me again. "Marie, baby, please," he said, and I hadn't heard that tone
      in a long time. He was sorry, too. He'd never say it, but he was. I just
      couldn't tell what he was sorry about. It was strange, not being able to
      read him.

      I shook my head. "Logan." I took a deep breath and held up a hand. "I
      don't know that this is a good idea, Logan," I began, waving my hand
      toward the pool table. "I mean, yeah, we're friends, but I don't think
      we can really *be* friends anymore. We can't go back."

      "We can be family," he said, surprising me. "You're my family, Marie.
      Since the day we met."

      I laughed a little at that. A nervous laugh. Because what he said felt
      true. We were family, joined closer than almost anyone else could ever
      be. "I guess."

      "I'm sorry I wasn't what you needed," he said then, so low I could
      barely hear him, even with the nifty enhanced hearing he left me with.

      "Oh," I whispered. What could I say to that? He was *everything* I
      needed. And on some level, he needed me back. I just wasn't what he
      *wanted*. A lot of people confuse need and want, just like they confuse
      love and lust. And like the song says, "You can't always get what you
      want. But if you try sometimes, you'll find, you get what you need." And
      that's what he was giving me now. A chance to get him back in my life,
      to move beyond what we'd had to something different, and maybe better. I
      don't know. I don't know anything except that I needed him and he was
      offering to fill that need in the only way he could.

      "Yeah," he said, pulling me out of my thoughts. He drew me towards him
      and I didn't resist. I let him press my head to his chest and hold me
      for a few minutes.

      Then we resumed our game like nothing had happened, but somehow,
      everything had changed.

      ***

      Logan and I spent more time together than we had before, just watching
      sports and talking about cars. It was familiar, and the sharp pain I
      felt whenever I remembered he wasn't mine anymore receded to a dull
      ache. I learned to live with the whole Logan-Jean dynamic, and to ignore
      it when she tried to rub it in my face. I just thought about all the
      different ways I could kill her, slowly and painfully. I'd like to say I
      didn't project and kept my homicidal thoughts to myself, but I didn't.

      The Professor called me into his office one day to chat about it. He
      said I had to take control of my thoughts, learn to build up my shields,
      because not only was I harassing Jean, several of the younger students
      were picking up on my thoughts and getting scared.

      I felt like freakin' Winston Smith. Thought-crimes. I was being punished
      for thought-crimes.

      "You're not being punished, Rogue," Xavier said calmly. "I'm asking you
      to act like an adult. If that's beyond you--"

      I felt myself flush. "You're right, Professor. I'm sorry. I'm being
      childish." Four years with Remy hadn't matured me as much as I'd
      thought. He'd been just as immature, and neither of us had called each
      other on it until it was too late. I looked down at my gloves, too
      ashamed to meet his eyes.

      "Yes. But I know you can do better, Rogue." He hesitated, which was odd,
      because he's always so self-assured. Then he said, "Fear is a powerful
      motivator. It makes people do things they would not normally do. And
      people who act out of fear often make mistakes." I nodded. I hadn't
      expected a strategy lesson, but okay. "Fear can also be an indication of
      insecurity. Aggressive behavior is often linked to low self-esteem. The
      need to strike out before one is struck--"

      My head snapped up, then. He wasn't talking about X-Men stuff. He wasn't
      saying it in so many words, but he was telling me that Jean was scared.
      She wasn't as sure about Logan as she pretended to be.

      "You're right," I said, bouncing up out of the chair. "I'm sorry. It
      won't happen again."

      I don't think he expected my reaction. As a matter of fact, I can pretty
      much say he intended me to take away the exact opposite lesson from his
      little talk. He wanted me to empathize with Jean, but he'd just given me
      a powerful weapon to use against her.

      "Don't disrupt the team, Rogue," he said sharply as I walked to the
      door. "Things are fine as they are now."

      "I thought you wanted me to settle things with Jean," I said
      disingenuously. Lying to a telepath is stupid, but I did it anyway.

      He raised an eyebrow. "You know I prefer not to get involved in people's
      personal lives, Rogue. Don't make this a team matter."

      I turned back and put my hands on his desk. "Is your precious team more
      important than my happiness?"

      "No. But the happiness of two other people is also involved, my dear.
      You are not the only one with feelings, Rogue." His voice softened.
      "Would hurting Jean really make you feel better?" I sighed gustily.
      Yeah, yeah it would, or so I thought. I know he heard me, because he
      said, "Especially if you hurt Logan in the process?"

      I bit my lip. There was that to consider. "I have a lot to think about,"
      I said as I left.

      ~I know you'll come to the right decision.~ His thought followed after
      me. Damn telepaths. You never get the last word. I heard his laughter in
      my head as I went back to my room.

      I turned his words over in my mind that night as I lay in bed, and I
      decided to be grown up for once. Logan's happiness was more important
      than my own. If Jean gave that to him, I wasn't going to mess it up.

      I cried a little as I thought about letting him, and my dreams of a life
      with him, go. But it was the right decision, because I fell into a deep,
      dreamless sleep and woke up feeling better than I had in months.

      ***

      A/N: "You Can't Always Get What You Want" belongs to the Rolling Stones.


      victoria

      --

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      Ginger: "I don't think I care."
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