fic: "Trying" (1/1) "Unspoken" RR, Rogue/Scott [adult]
Summary: Rogue and Scott. Before every beginning there must be an
ending. RR #24
Notes: This takes place almost directly after Vic's "Unresolved,
before Jenn's "As the Mutant Turns" and about the same time as Jenn's
"Reaction Shot." I could kiss Jenn for that story. Great minds
think alike? <g> This is what Kitty saw. Jenn, I changed this just
a bit from Kitty's report. Couldn't make the conversation go quite
that way, but close. The lyrics are from Mary Chapin Carpenter's
"The Better to Dream of You." This sucker got *long*.....
Warnings: Some very frank sexual discussion here folks. Definitely
in the adult range.
"Fool you once, you are forgiven / Fool you twice, you're just a fool
/ You fear the future's all been written / By the past, and what
didn't last .... "
Scott had never really understood why people drank hot tea. It
tasted bitter, thin, without the body of coffee. Iced tea was just
fine, but hot tea was something he put up with when politeness
demanded. Ro had spent seven years trying to convince him that it
was good for him. And he'd spent seven years trying to convince her
that "I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them,
Sam-I-am." It had become their private joke. "Would you like them
in a house? Would you like them with a mouse?" "Not with a mouse,
not in a house, not in a box, not with a fox . . . . " At least with
Ororo, he wasn't constrained to pretend . . . about a lot of things.
"Is she sleeping with him?"
Bent over a French tea maker, pouring hot water into the glass
container to mix with loose tea and seep, she did a double-take.
"You heard me. And you know what I mean."
"No, actually, I do not. Which 'she'? Jean? Or Marie?" Scott
looked away, suddenly not so sure himself. "In either case, I am not
the one you should ask."
"I need to know," he said.
"No, you want a guarantee. Life does not come with one. If you want
to know, you should go to the source."
"Fuck." He slid almost bonelessly into a chair at one of two small
eat-in tables. Once meant for staff, these days, they were used by
the mansion teachers and students for late-night snacks and grousing.
A moment later, a bottle of beer appeared in front of him. "I think
you need that, more than the tea," Ororo said. Leinekugel's Red.
Thirsty, not just angry, he drank half the bottle at once. Ororo
raised an eyebrow. "*Chugging*, Scott?"
He just laughed and set the bottle back down. "We used to have to do
it, for hashing."
"Hashing?" She'd brought the tea maker over and placed it on the
tabletop between them, then sat down herself. He stared at the swirl
of tiny leaves in the water.
"Hashing. Running. I used to go hashing, back in college. It's not
as popular any more as it was in the 90s. Bunch of people would go
out running through neighborhoods, five miles, ten miles, something
like that. When you were done, there was beer." He grinned. "Lots
of beer. And the new runners had to be hazed. Drink a whole can of
Fosters in one shot, or you got it poured on your head. Stupid
She rolled her eyes, then glanced at what was left of his beer. "And
at your hazing, did you drink yours, or wear it?"
"Drank it." And picking up the bottle, he finished what was left, to
prove his point. "I had an interesting college career."
She grinned, quick but real. "I remember. At least, what we *heard*
of it. And I am quite sure there was a lot that we did not hear,
He smiled again and played with the empty bottle. "You'd be right."
Then he got up to fetch another, opened it by the fridge and leaned
back into the counter, drank half the new bottle. He was starting to
feel a buzz, faster than once upon a time perhaps, but he didn't
drink much these days. He'd been a social drinker, had never really
drowned his sorrows in a bottle. He handled sorrows by not thinking
about them, keeping himself busy. What point in worrying a sore
tooth? Xavier had told him once that it wasn't good for his health.
All those little disappointments and pains would curl up inside him
like a cancer, eat him away from inside out. One day, something
would come along that would release them all in a great tidal wave.
'Grief will out, Scott,' he'd said. 'Either in tears, or in illness.
Feelings are no less real for being intangible. Learn to cry.'
But he hated to cry. It made him feel weak, and stupid. He'd never
dealt well with his feelings, had he? Typical American male. Part
of what he'd loved in Marie had been her passion for life. Denied
physical touch, she'd compensated with a generosity of emotion. And
he'd lived vicariously through her: her laughter, her passions, her
hates and angers. She let it all out. And he was just an emotional
God, how could he live without her? He'd messed around with
delusions of Jean, but Jean had gone to Warren, of course. Warren
was everything Scott wasn't , and had everything to offer. No wonder
she'd pushed him away at the cabin. She might *desire* him � her
little projected fantasy had proved that -� but Warren was just as
good looking. Better looking in fact, since half his face wasn't
eternally hidden behind glasses. And Warren had charm, class,
breeding, and a bank account with a nine digit balance.
"Penny for your thoughts." Ororo said from the table.
He shook his head. "They're not even worth that. I really fucked up
here, didn't I?"
Ever tactful, she didn't reply, just wated for him to go on. But he
didn't feel like talking right now. It was time to do. Maybe there
was something to salvage here. Finishing his second beer as quickly
as the first, he tossed the bottle in the recycling bin and went in
search of his fiancee. He ex-fiancee.
He caught her coming down the hall from the location of her new room.
She was toweling her hair dry. "Marie."
She stopped, glared. "What?"
He opened his mouth, shut it, opened it again, then let out his
breath in a hard gust and rubbed the back of his neck. He was
starting to get one of his headaches. Automatically, acting on years
of habit, she tossed the towel over her should and came to rub his
neck for him. It felt so good. He let his head drop forward and
tried to think past the fuzz of two beers in less than twenty
minutes. He still had one burning question, and Ororo had told him
that if he wanted to know, go to the source. "Did you sleep with
The gloved hands stopped for an instant, then dropped away and he was
being turned around. Her mouth was wide open. She shut it with a
snap. "I'd slap you for that, but it's such a cliche. Where in
*hell* do you get off, asking me that?"
"I need to know."
"Why? Jealous, sugar?" She held up her left hand in front of him,
covered by fine silk that might have been black, or maybe dark blue
or chocolate brown. Once, the third finger had sported a ring that
she'd always worn outside, so all could see. "Nothing there," she
said. "I don't belong to you any more, mister. And you don't belong
to me. *So it's none of your goddamned business* where I sleep. Or,
more to the point, who I fuck."
"I think I at least have the right to know. We've been together
seven years, Marie. We were *engaged* for Christ's sake. But you're
out of my bed for less than a week before you're into his? You even
went swimming with him, after I asked you -� no, *begged* you -�
EVERY freakin' summer for the past seven years! But no! You
wouldn't swim with me. You'd marry me, but not swim with me! Jesus
God! Did it all mean so little to you? Did I mean so little?"
He was suddenly, and unexpectedly, on the verge of tears � Cyclops
who never flinched, never lost his cool, and sure as hell *never*
cried. He wanted to blame it on the alcohol, but knew that wasn't
the reason, or even a real excuse.
But she must have been able to tell whether or not she could see his
eyes. Her expression softened from anger into something calmer. Not
sympathy, but something. Reaching up, she cupped his cheek. "You
meant -� and still mean -� a great deal to me, darlin'. But which of
us let his eyes wander first?"
"I didn't *do* anything. I avoided her, Marie. *You* were the one
who called off the engagement. NOT me." He thumped his chest, then
pointed back down the hall. "You were the one who was laughing with
the new guy in the den. I haven't been laughing a whole lot lately."
He squeezed his eyes shut but it didn't help. Closing his eyes just
let the tears sneak out without being disintegrated by his power.
They slid down his cheeks. She brushed them away. "Oh, hon, look at
me." Obediently, he opened his eyes. She had tears in hers, too and
her face wore that flushed, crumpled look that meant she was about to
lose it entirely. He reached out to her, and then they were holding
each other, hugging tight. It was about comfort more than desire,
but it felt right. The world had settled in to spin on its axis
again and Marie was back in his arms where she belonged. And he just
wasn't going to think about Jean, or what she might be doing with
Warren. Or what she might not be doing because maybe, just maybe,
she'd prefer to do it with him.
Oh, hell. He couldn't not think about it.
Needing to prove something, maybe to himself, maybe to her, he let
his hand slide up her back to find the ever-present scarf around her
neck, pull away to draw it across her face. Then he kissed her
through thin gauze.
And she let him; she even kissed him back. Her arms came up around
his neck and she held on tightly, twisting ever so slightly to dig
the edge of her hip into his groin, rub against him, and his body
reacted immediately. It had been almost two weeks since he'd last
had sex �- two weeks since Jean and Logan had shown up on the mansion
doorstep and Jean's handshake -� bare palm to bare -� had sent his
neatly ordered life crashing down around him in a mess of dusty
rubble. He hadn't been able to touch Marie after that, not honestly,
not without thinking of someone else, so he hadn't initiated sex at
all. Then she'd moved out and there had been nothing but his own
Now, he pushed her back against the wall and kissed harder, slid his
tongue along hers through the annoying interruption of fabric.
Dammit, just *once* he'd like to feel smooth flesh inside her mouth,
the slick enamel of teeth, not gauze, or silk, or any other medium
that kept her from sucking the life out of him, not just the breath.
He squelched that complaint the same way he always did: he was sure
she'd like to see his eyes just as badly. But these were the
realities they lived with. Cloth and ruby-quartz. And if they loved
each other, it shouldn't matter, right?
He drew back to catch his breath, run his hands up and down her arms,
touch his forehead to hers. "You want to go in and get out of the
hall?" he whispered.
"Yes," she whispered back, and moved so he could open his door.
Their door. He ushered her inside, his hand at the small of her
back. As he did so, he chanced to glance up the hall.
Logan was standing there in the middle of it, watching them. His
face was stone, but Scott was a master of concealing emotion himself
and what the face didn't tell the body did. Logan's jaw was tense
with hurt and betrayal. For a second, their eyes met, then Scott
looked down and slipped inside, shut the door behind and locked it,
wondering how long the other man had been there. He really hadn't
meant to put on a show or hurt the other man, however angry he might
have been. He just hadn't been thinking much. And that *was* the
Marie was waiting in the middle of their floor, arms wrapped around
herself, no longer looking quite so sure -� the same way he was
feeling. No longer quite so sure. Was this the right thing, or a
very bad idea? But shouldn't they try? They really hadn't tried.
They'd been running from each other, in anger, in fear, in hurt.
They hadn't tried.
He came over to her and rubbed her arms again, as he had in the hall,
bent to kiss her -� brief, brief brush of lips to lips. Real skin.
He needed that, thought maybe she did, too. He let it last a little
longer than he should have, enough to feel the dizzy soul-pull start
. . . enough to let her take from his own head the fact that he
really did want to try. Then she had the scarf up, and was getting
him out of his shirt. "Bodysuit?" he pulled away enough to whisper.
"Already on, sugar."
He might have asked why -� she didn't wear it all the time -� but
decided that he just didn't want to know. If they were going to try,
there were some things it was better if they each didn't know -� like
what her plans had really been for tonight, or what he'd almost done
in that cabin with Jean. Trying meant forgiving.
"Gloves?" she asked him then after another long kiss. He went and
fetched them from a drawer by their bed �- shell-thin, not like the
kind he wore around her most of the time. These were 'sex gloves.'
Sheer enough that he could feel through them. Sometimes all he wore
in bed were the gloves, his goggles and a condom . . . and that was a
measure of just how bizarre their sex life had to be. But mostly, it
wasn't something he stopped to think about. It was necessity, and
they both knew all about necessity.
He exchanged his glasses for his night goggles while she stripped out
of her own clothing, down to nothing but the bodysuit. The white
one, thin Egyptian linen sheer enough to show the dark patch between
her legs and the pink of her nipples, even moles here and there on
her alabaster skin. It was as close to nothing as she could get and
still touch him. He'd seen her in truly nothing, too -� in the
shower, or getting dressed, or one or twice, when he'd talked her
through sex. His voice, her hands on her own skin while he'd gotten
off watching. Kinky perhaps, but he chose to see it as a measure of
mutual trust. She displayed herself before his eyes, touched herself
in place of his hands, and he verbalized what he wanted, what he
wished he could do with his own hands and mouth. Mutual
vulnerability. He wondered if he could get her to do that now, then
discarded the idea. It would be a long time before they could reach
that level of trust again. He wondered if they ever would.
Don't wonder, he told himself. Trying meant not doubting.
He undid his khakis and stepped out of them. "Socks, too, sugar,"
she said with a smile. "I'm not making love to a man wearing gloves
*and* socks." Smiling, he ditched the socks as well, but not the
underwear yet. Seeing her in that bodysuit after two weeks going
without had made him very ready, and he had a personal dislike of
walking around bobbing erect; it felt ridiculous. She cricked her
finger at him then, to come closer, and he obeyed, let her run her
palms over his chest and belly to the S-curve of his hips, slip her
fingers beneath the waistband of his underwear and her hands back
around to cup his ass, pull him against her. "I've missed you."
"Ditto," he whispered. His eyes had dropped to her breasts and
dropped down to kneel in front of her, get his mouth over her left
nipple through fabric.
Always through fabric.
Don't complain, he admonished himself. Her linen, and his ruby
quartz. Once, the imposed physical barriers had made them closer in
other ways. They could let it make them closer again. They were
only handicapped, he'd told her before, if they lacked creativity.
All they had to do was try.
His hands found the remaining points of her erotic triangle: her
other nipple and the cleft between her thighs through the slit in the
suit. All her suits were slit there, and not for his convenience. It
was for the convenience of not having to undo her entire top every
time she wanted to use the bathroom. But he wasn't going to complain
about secondary benefits. She was making little cat noises and
pushing up against him, her hands in his hair. "God, that feels
good. You know just how to do it, slow hand. Now do it harder."
Laughing against her, he moved his fingers from a circular rub of the
whole vulva region to wriggle in between the lips and find the
engorged nub, stroke it firmly. Her little cat noises turned to
keening and she rocked against him, in time with his hand. The sound
set off bright flashes at the base of his spine and out through his
lap. He could feel her start to quiver, near to coming on her feet,
so he picked her up and dumped her on the bed, dropped himself on top
and kissed her through her scarf. She rolled his underwear off and
slipped a hand between their bodies to stroke his cock, cool fine
silk on hot silky flesh.
And something . . . something . . . .
Cloth. Always cloth. *Always* cloth in the way.
His erection deflated, startling him as much as her. She tried to
pull away but he didn't let her, just kept kissing her. It'd come
back in a moment. He'd never had any problems in bed before.
Except that it didn't come back. Their kisses grew fierce with
desperation, and her hand on him pulled too fast, a little too
frantic. It actually hurt. "Stop," he said between kisses, his own
hand going down to catch her wrist. "Just stop."
And he rolled off, lay panting, dazed.
What the hell had happened?
Well, secondary impotence had happened. Obviously. But he'd never
suffered from that before. He'd heard all the reports that it struck
every man at least once or twice in his life, but it had never struck
him, so he'd dismissed it. And of all times to be taken out by it,
it had to be now. Or maybe *now* was the reason. His body knew what
his head didn't want to believe. Secondary impotence was
psychological. It might stem from any number of causes from simple
fatigue to concern about performance to mild depression to . . . .
To what? To being in love with a new woman while trying to make love
to the old one? And where did he get off, calling it 'love.' It
wasn't love. It was lust. It was infatuation. It was some strange
emotional connection. But it wasn't love, or Jean wouldn't be at
Warren's penthouse, and probably in his bed, too.
But was what he'd been trying to do here any more right? He'd told
himself that he was 'trying.' Trying what? To be a good little
Cyclops? The one-eyed monster in his pants had other ideas. And now
what did he say to the woman beside him? At any other time, they
might have laughed it off, exchanged sex for a tickle fight or some
other expression of affection. At any other time, though, he
wouldn't be having this problem, at least not for the same reasons.
Marie lay silently beside him, not crying, not granting him
absolution, not making any noise at all. Thinking her own thoughts,
perhaps. Then she sat up, didn't look back at him, just dragged
fingers through her hair to straighten it a little, and standing, put
back on her clothes as he lay, hunting frantically in his brain for
words. Any words that wouldn't be trite, or stupid, or helpless. Or
cruel. Finally, dressed, she headed for the door. "Marie." She
stopped. "I'm sorry. I wanted � "
"Not badly enough, apparently."
He ignored that. "I wanted to try. I wanted us to try."
"Fuck you!" Turning sharply, she slung hair out of her face. Even
in the dim, he could see that her eyes were glistening. "I'm not an
"I didn't mean it like that."
"Then how did you mean it?"
"I meant I didn't want to just give up -� throw away all those years
we had. We're worth trying, don't you think? Please don't leave
tonight. Don't leave like this. Let's try again in the morning. I
had a couple beers, before coming down here. Maybe �- "
"Maybe nothing. We've fucked like bunnies when we were both drunker
than skunks. 'A few beers' is not the problem, Scott! The problem
has red hair."
Furious, he sat up. "Don't drag her into this. This is about *you*
and *me* -� clear? Are you really ready to just throw it all away
for the furball?"
"Now who's bringing in outside parties?"
"All right." He held up his hands -� still in the gloves. "We'll
leave them both out of it."
She shook her head, sighed. "We can't leave them out, Scott.
They're part of the equation here. They showed us the cracks. I see
that now. It's what I've been thinking about a lot in this past
week. They didn't make the cracks in our relationship, they just
showed them up, like dark glaze on a badly fired pot."
He had no reply for that. Since Jean had arrived, he'd been so busy
chasing his tail that he hadn't really thought too much about
anything but what a fucked up mess his life had become. Pity party
for poor Scott. Leave it to Marie to see more clearly where the
heart was involved. When he didn't reply, she went on, "You can't
give me what I need, you never did, never could."
"What do you need?"
"Everything." She flung her arms wide. "Everything, Scott. I need
it all -� the whole you. But you can't give it, can you? Too many
demands on your time, too many commitments. Too many walls around
your heart, too. You've never let me all the way in."
"That's not true!"
"Yes, it is true."
"I've told you things I never tell! Not to anybody but you!"
"I don't doubt it, but that's not everything."
Frustrated, he ran a hand into his hair and pulled. Hard. "Marie,
don't be ridiculous. People can't *be* everything to another person.
It's not humanly possible. I'm not even sure it's a good thing! We
need our own lives. I thought you wanted that, too. You always says
you didn't want me to smother you, even complained when �- "
"Smothering isn't giving, Scott. It's controlling. You smother
people because you need to control them. But you won't give back,
won't open yourself up."
"You *don't*! You gave me a few secrets like dog biscuits to keep
your little bitch happy. I want more!"
Genuinely angry, he climbed off the bed to his feet. "And you think
the Wolverine is going to give that to you instead? Quit dreaming,
Marie! He's worse by a factor of ten! I've seen men like him.
He'll rip through your heart to get into your pants and then give you
high and dry with *nothing*. No secrets. No honesty. No
"You *are* jealous."
"I am not! I'm �- "
What? Angry, hurt, confused? Certainly. But jealous? Jealousy
wasn't there. He was *afraid* for her. Whatever else he felt or
didn't feel, he cared about her, and Logan No-name was going to hurt
her. She deserved better. "I'm not jealous. Not like you mean. I
just don't want you to run from me into a rebound with him. He'll
leave you with nothing."
"Like you did?"
"God! I didn't -� ! I'm not -� ! Dammit! I said I was *trying*."
She didn't reply to that, just studied his face a moment, then turned
and opened the door. "Good night, Scott." And she left him alone in
their room for a second time.
There wouldn't be a third.
It wasn't until she was a half hour gone and he was in bed trying to
sleep that his mind returned to her repeated accusations of jealousy.
A new thought wormed its way in and ate at him. She'd been *trying*
to make him jealous. Maybe not consciously; Marie wasn't a
manipulator. But that didn't mean she hadn't been playing the oldest
game in the book. All was fair in love and war. She'd wanted him
back and had orchestrated flirt and lure with the Wolverine to hook
him again and reel him in like a bass.
But it hadn't worked, and he wasn't jealous. He'd tried to take her
to bed tonight for reasons of his own, but the more he thought about
it, dissected it, examined it from every angle, the more sure he
became that jealousy hadn't been his motivation. Marie's
relationship with Logan worried him -� but *only* that. The story of
Scott and Marie was over.
His jealousies all concerned what was happening in a penthouse in
Yet if he couldn't make a relationship work with a girl he'd known
for years, a girl as middle class as he was, who suffered the same
constraints of uncontrollable power, shouldered the same
responsibilities for the same students . . . if *they* couldn't keep
it together, what made him think he had a prayer with Jean Grey?
DOCTOR Jean Grey, daughter of upper class privilege, educated,
classy, cultured, beautiful. He laughed at himself. "God, you're an
idiot, Summers." She'd gone right where logic said she should -� to
Warren, with his Harvard degree and golden looks, and money. Warren
could give her dinner in Paris and a vacation on the Mediterranean,
pearls and lace and a thirty-story view of New York. Scott was just
a math teacher with chalk on his clothes, a passion for planes and
permanent engine grease under his nails. All he had to give was
himself, and Marie had told him that he didn't even know how to give
that. Shut up inside his soul, shut up behind red, crippled in power
and crippled in heart.
The damn burst. The frustration of years, and all the little
disappointments, the taunting of fate, and the loss of a relationship
he'd built half his life around. It all hit him at once -� just as
Xavier had warned -� and he curled up in the big bed, cried until he
was sick, until his breath came in hiccups and his face hurt and his
limbs were as heavy as lead. He broke apart, and had no idea how to
put himself back together, didn't know if it could be done. "Jean,"
he whispered without quite knowing why. "Help me."
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