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Generous Palmstroke (1/1, R)

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  • Jengrrrl
    I sent this last night, but it hasn t gone through. If you get it twice, I apologize in advance. Title: Generous Palmstroke (1/1) Author: Jengrrrl Rating: R,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2001
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      I sent this last night, but it hasn't gone through. If you get it twice, I apologize in advance.


      Title: Generous Palmstroke (1/1)
      Author: Jengrrrl
      Rating: R, for subject matter
      Category: implied slash (okay, not so implied); O/R (yes, you read right)
      Summary: Rogue finds more than touch
      Disclaimer: Not mine. Nope.
      Archive: Disquieting Muses (http://www.wolverineandrogue.com/muses)
      A/N: Okay, this is my first x-fic to stray from W/R. Be gentle with me. The
      title comes from a Björk song.
      FB: Much needed, always. bjorkfan@...



      ------------



      I can specifically remember going on a date with a boy name Michael during
      which I was acutely aware of my "problem". We had gone to see a movie - I
      don't remember which - and we were driving home. Now, the entire time we
      were in the theater, he kept his hand on mine. Right over my glove, of
      course, but I could still feel it - warm and heavy. In the car, he continued
      holding my hand, occasionally glancing in my direction.

      It's kind of funny to think of now, but then I couldn't feel anything but
      his hand on mine. It was like all of my nerve endings were concentrated on
      that one spot. I kept my eyes on the scenery as we drove back to the
      mansion, but all I could feel was that hand.

      If he'd kept his hand on mine, I might not be telling this story, but he
      didn't. About a block from home, he pulled his car over to the side of the
      road, switched off the ignition, and slowly moved his hand from its place on
      my hand over to my thigh. Now, Michael was aware of my "problem"; he lived
      at the mansion. He was a mutant, so he very well knew what could happen if
      he touched me.

      We sat like that for a really long time. His was hand on my thigh - I was
      looking out the passenger window, he was looking straight ahead, pretending
      he wasn't doing what he was doing.

      Michael wasn't a very smooth operator because the next thing he did required
      a bit more decorum than he put into it. Without much warning, his hand sank
      from my thigh onto a place only I had ever touched before. I was shocked.
      This wasn't something that happened every day. Or ever. There was no
      preamble, no kiss or hug - he didn't feel me up or stroke my hair. Of
      course, few of those things were possible, but he should have known a girl
      doesn't usually give something like that up easily. This was our first
      date, an occasion normally marked only by a good night hug and a promise to
      "do this again sometime".

      My problem was, I liked it. From the time he first put his hand on mine, my
      entire body thrummed with excitement. The shock of that hand on my most
      intimate of places wore off so quickly, it's embarrassing to admit. I was so
      stimulated I almost went into convulsions. It didn't matter that Michael was
      clumsy, that when he moved over to push my seat back he accidentally elbowed
      my chest. It didn't matter that when he lay above me, his body was so heavy
      I had trouble breathing. I liked it, all of it. I was feeling so much it
      was overwhelming and beautiful at once.

      I let him touch me and it mattered not that he didn't know what he was
      doing. Back in my bedroom, after he dropped me off, I reached down and
      remembered the weight of his hand and his body, and the smell of his hair
      ever so close to my nose, tickling it. I expertly did what he could not, but
      it seemed cheap and fake, and not nearly as good as the real thing.

      I knew Michael's fascination lay in the myth of the untouchable girl, and
      that once he realized I would let myself be touched he would lose interest.
      But he kept coming back, and I loved it. I made sure I got as much as I
      could from him, short of being dangerous. That I gave back very little didn
      't seem to bother him. Being with me must have acquired him such bragging
      rights, it didn't matter that he wasn't getting lucky at all. When it
      finally did matter, when he realized he could do much better, I didn't
      complain. I smiled and hugged him and wished him the best.

      It wasn't all that surprising that the boys started looking at me a little
      differently after that. Few approached me, but the ones that did were
      zealous in their pursuit. I learned a lot about myself through them. I
      learned that I craved what they desperately wanted to give me.

      No one ever got hurt. It never went that far. No clothes were removed, and
      no fancy positions tried. No, everything was above clothes and I realized
      how much can be accomplished that way. Frustrating and achingly sweet at
      once, that. The boys probably thought I was a tease, but they never said
      anything, not once.

      No one did say anything, but Ororo observed me sometimes, out of the corner
      of her eye. I could see her doing it, but I pretended not to. Once in a
      while, she'd come up to me after class and ask how things were, was I doing
      all right? I always smiled and told her things were excellent. Better than
      I'd ever hoped for. She seemed to buy that, for a while.

      One summer afternoon, however, as I sat on one of the benches, pretending to
      read, she came up to me. She was wearing her serious look and I knew I was
      in for a long talk. "Can I sit down?" she asked.

      "Of course," I replied, moving to give her room.

      "I've been meaning to speak with you for some time."

      "Oh?" I almost batted my eyelashes, but really, I was scared to death of
      what she might say.

      "I'm worried about you, Rogue."

      That surprised me, a little bit. I thought she'd be angry that I was going
      out with so many boys, that I flirted with anything that walked. "Worried?
      Why?"

      "You've been here close to a year now, haven't you?"

      I nodded, wondering where she was headed.

      "And you've made many friends. That's good."

      I tried to smile but I'm sure it looked plastic. "I try," I remarked
      tightly.

      "The thing is," she said, and now she wasn't looking at me directly anymore,
      "there has been a lot of talk, from the boys. Idle gossip, maybe, but I
      wanted to straighten it out."

      I knew that much. I knew they were talking about me. And it didn't bother
      me or, until now, occur to me it would get around to the others. "What kind
      of talk?" And it was my turn to let my eyes wander.

      "Rogue," she said, her voice forceful enough to bring my gaze to meet hers,
      "I need to know what is going on."

      "I don't know what you mean."

      "No?"

      "No." Though I didn't sound all that convinced.

      The next thing Ororo did surprised me. She took my hand in hers and squeezed
      it, as though trying to reassure me. I didn't know what to make of it at
      first. I just stared at her hand in mine. I think I felt tears, but I held
      them back. "Does this bother you?"

      I shook my head.

      "Has anyone wanted just to hold your hand, Rogue?"

      I squeezed my eyes shut but this time I could feel the wet, hot tears
      running down my cheeks. Her arm came around my shoulder and I sank into it,
      pressing my face against her blouse, unable to hold back the torrent that
      escaped from me. I couldn't remember any of the boys I'd been with hugging
      me. Not one of them comforted me, or held my head as I cried. The last
      person who'd cared enough to do it was long gone.

      It took some time for me to be able to breathe properly again. Ororo didn't
      seem to mind though. She just held me until the shaking of my body subsided.
      "I'm sorry," I said as I pulled away and saw the spot I'd left on her
      blouse, evidence of my breakdown.

      She offered a slight smile and replied, "It can be washed."

      "I don't know what came over me."

      "I know," she said with a sigh, "that we haven't been there for you. As a
      group. It is hard to monitor each student; every one of you is so special
      and needs attention. I just hoped that you could come to us with your
      problem."

      I shrugged. "It's not that I didn't want to. I just didn't see it as a
      problem, I guess."

      "Do you want to tell me about it?"

      I thought about it. I thought about what I might say, could say. "Not right
      now."

      She nodded slowly. "That is fine. I just wanted you to know, that we are
      here for you, and ready to listen when you want to speak."

      The conversation got me thinking and I started feeling like I was selling
      myself. I was selling the idea of Rogue - sexy, flirtatious, easy - in
      return for touch. It was depressing. I stopped going out. I stopped
      flirting with all the men in the mansion. I began to act like the girl who
      didn't know that a man could desire her so much he would be willing to give
      his life up for her. I had that offer. One actually told me that he would
      be willing to die if he could just kiss my lips once. I called him a
      precious fool, but let him kiss my breast over my top anyway.

      A week passed, then two. And then a month and I was still keeping myself
      sequestered in my room. Some of the boys came around, wondering what was
      wrong - wondering why I wasn't going out. I told them I wasn't feeling well
      and left it at that. They didn't ask any more questions.

      In class, I found myself even more wary. If Storm was teaching I'd be
      especially vigilant, keeping advances at bay.

      I wasn't made to be a monk, though. My room was beginning to feel like a
      cell, and I couldn't handle it anymore. I started going out alone. At first,
      I found myself wandering around, driving until it got late - I just wanted
      to be out of the house, away from the stares and the whisperings. What I'd
      never minded before suddenly seemed unbearable. Sometimes I went to the
      movies, sometimes to the public library. I could blend in there. Just
      disappear.

      I was getting lonelier and I wondered how much longer I'd be able to pretend
      I was a good girl. Maybe, all I could get were crude caresses in the back
      seat of a car, but so what? Wasn't that better than nothing? And what else
      could I expect anyway? I wasn't going to have a normal life, so I should
      make sure I got what I could.

      The longer I went it alone, the more I started thinking about my
      conversation with Ororo - the more I resented it. Who was she to make me
      feel like a whore? She'd offered guidance and support, but she hadn't been
      able to keep away the overwhelming solitude. I remembered what she'd said,
      that I could speak to any of them - the team - that I should go to them for
      help. But I didn't want to. I didn't even know them really.

      I started going to a bar not too far from the school. I got in with a fake
      ID one of my beaus had been kind enough to procure. He used to like going
      to clubs in the city and that was the only way we could get in. I kept it
      as a souvenir, not thinking I'd ever need it.

      It was a small place, dark and smoky. It wasn't seedy, like some of the
      dives I'd been to during my eight months on the road. It was clean and
      quiet. The people who frequented it were more of my sort - looking to
      disappear and drown their sorrows in a mug of beer. I went there when I
      could, my personal retreat from the mansion.

      So, imagine my surprise when my two worlds collided.

      Ororo Munroe walked in while I savored a very dry martini. I almost choked
      on the olive when I saw her. The more surprising part of the whole affair
      was that Ororo was not alone. A very handsome and smartly dressed man
      accompanied her. I hadn't ever seen him before, that I remembered. I
      watched from my shadowy corner as they made their way to a small table. A
      waitress went and took their drink order.

      The man probably knew Storm pretty well, because he held her hand at every
      opportunity, and he sat as close to her as possible. I remembered when she
      had held my hand, and was surprised by the rush of warmth that coursed
      through me. She had been my friend and I had pettily resented her advice.

      It was getting to be well past the time I normally left, but I could not
      without being spotted by Ororo. So, I sat and waited. And I watched. I
      watched as they drank and laughed - funny how strange it was to watch Ororo
      laugh. It was as though I had never seen the sight of it. I probably hadn'
      t.

      The opportunity to leave finally presented itself when Ororo left to the
      ladies' room. I sped out of the joint and didn't look back. I was back in
      my room within the hour. Still, images of her with her friend presented
      themselves to me. I didn't sleep very well. It was as if a whole new person
      had been introduced to me, displacing the old, tilting a world I had barely
      come to understand. Wasn't Storm supposed to be rational, cold, and
      distant? Until that night, it had seemed that way. That wasn't true. That
      day, the day she held my hand, that was the day Ororo seemed different..

      Michael came around not too long after. He knocked on my door and smiled
      and hugged me. It was nice. So nice, a warning bell went off in my head. I
      knew if I started down that road again, it would be near impossible to stop.
      I missed his touch - all touch - and I might do something stupid to get it.

      "Want to do something tonight?"

      "I thought you were seeing.?" I blanked on the girl's name.

      "Monica," he supplied. "That's through. I guess no one competes with you."

      I smiled. I'd forgotten how Michael could make me smile. "All right."

      "Really?"

      "Yeah. What do you want to do?"

      "Dinner and a movie?"

      I'm sure I almost laughed. That was Michael's perpetual date format and he
      never strayed from it. "That's fine. Sounds good." And it did.

      Once the nun left her cloister, the talk resumed. I know Michael was
      telling the boys he was out with me again. And they tried their hardest to
      get in with me too.

      So, Storm came around again.

      It was in the kitchen and she looked taken aback to see me. "Rogue. I was
      actually looking for you."

      "Well, here I am."

      I was eating cereal at the kitchen table - a small, round table that was
      situated right by a window overlooking the lake. It was my favorite place
      to eat. And I was choking on my Wheaties. I was doing that a lot lately.

      "How are you?"

      "Fine."

      "Are you?"

      "Yes."

      "I am glad."

      "Thanks."

      She actually got up to leave, got as far as the door and turned around. "I'
      m sorry. I thought I told you to come to us."

      I looked out the window at the shimmering water - calm but with an
      undercurrent, I knew. "Hmm?"

      "If you needed help. Or someone to talk to."

      "I haven't."

      "No?"

      "No." I was being stubborn, that much was obvious. A little bit rude, too.
      There was a flash of something akin to anger in Storm's eyes. It was
      unexpected and I enjoyed it.

      "Very well," she said. "I'll leave you then."

      Putting the bowl aside, I stood and said, "No, don't go. Look, if you have a
      minute maybe I can discuss it with you?"

      Her face softened and she nodded. She walked to the table and sat across
      from me. I took the cue and took my seat again. "I'm seeing Michael
      again," I said.

      "That's not a problem though, is it?"

      "Not really, no." I laughed but stopped when I realized Ororo didn't get the
      joke. "I like him, Storm. And I like the other boys too."

      "Then you are happy? The way they talk about you." She frowned. "You do
      know they talk about you?"

      I shrugged. "What do they say?" I knew exactly what they said.

      Ororo's back straightened even more than normal. "They say," she cleared
      her throat, "that you are quite liberal with your affection."

      "No," I replied, shaking my head. "I'm quite good at receiving. They do all
      the giving." A hint of pink colored Ororo's tan skin. "Don't worry," I
      added. "I'm always very careful."

      "I thought you were unhappy."

      "I'm unhappy when I'm lonely."

      Her hand twitched. I saw it from the corner of my eye. The long fingers
      were stretched against the table top, reaching. For me, I thought. I moved
      my own, gloved hand but a millimeter and waited.

      "Tell me about your friend," I said. I knew I was giving myself away,
      giving away my secret hideout. Somehow, it didn't matter. I wanted to hear
      one of Ororo's secrets.

      "Friend?"

      I leaned back in my chair, laying both my hands on the table. "Yeah, from
      the bar. I saw you there with a tall man, curly hair. Very nice suit.
      Expensive, shiny shoes."

      "You were there?" She didn't sound surprised so much as wary.

      "Yes. Who is he?"

      "A friend, like you said."

      I smiled. "Kind of chummy."

      "That is what friends are."

      My smile broadened. "I guess so." The skin on my face felt stretched beyond
      belief but I kept smiling. "What's his name?"

      "Antony."

      "Wow. Like _Antony and Cleopatra _?"

      "I suppose."

      My fingers were spread out like a fan and I started drumming them against
      the table. A rhythm-less beat. "How fitting," I murmured.

      "Rogue?"

      "Yes?"

      "If you crave affection."

      I looked up. Her eyes were locked on mine. "Hmm?"

      ".You don't need to exploit yourself."

      Ah, why did she have to say that? "Exploit myself."

      "You are better than that."

      "Of course I am." But I didn't really think so. The only way to get
      someone to hold my hand was if I later let him take that hand wherever he
      pleased. I knew that. Experience had taught me that. "Does your friend
      make you happy?"

      "I. Yes. He does." There was a look of expectancy on her face, as if I would
      continue with my discussion. But I didn't. I went ahead and shut up. Ororo
      sat stiffly in her chair and waited. I started tapping on the table again.

      Not surprisingly, I was the first to break the silence. "You have a lot of
      nerve," I said.

      She just raised an eyebrow.

      "You say you want to talk to me," I continued, raising my voice. "So talk to
      me."

      "I thought I was," she replied calmly.

      I knew I was behaving like a child, but I didn't care. "This friend of
      yours, Antony, what does he do? To make you happy, I mean."

      "I don't - " She seemed confused.

      "Why does he make you happy?" I pressed.

      "He makes me happy because he is. Just by virtue of being."

      I laughed. "The guy doesn't have to work very hard, does he?"

      "No. He is just who he is. That is enough."

      "My God." I stared down at my fingers, which looked big and swollen in the
      gloves. "Lucky son of a bitch."

      "You can have that too, Rogue."

      I kept looking at my hands because I knew I was on the verge of tears again.
      And I wouldn't do it. Not again. "Sure," I said.

      I saw them before I felt them, her slim, long fingers resting on my big,
      clumsy ones. "You can," she said.

      My eyes traveled up to her face. There was so much compassion in her eyes.
      The sight of them took my breath away. "You're so beautiful," I blurted out.

      There was a moment's hesitation before she replied, "Thank you."

      I curled my fingers into my palms and she took hers away, back onto her lap.
      "I get that a lot, you know. Right before a guy tries something, he'll come
      up with a lame line like that."

      "How does that make you feel?"

      "Are you playing shrink now, Storm? It makes me feel good. I like that
      boys find me attractive. How else would."

      "What?"

      "How else would they ever want to get near me?" I stood up suddenly and
      grabbed my bowl. I tossed it in the sink and took my gloves off. I ran the
      water and let it soak my hands. "Don't worry. I'm not feeling sorry for
      myself." I took a sponge and swiped it across the bowl, pretending to wash
      more thoroughly than I really was. "That's probably enough talk for today.
      Don't you think?"

      "Of course."

      I didn't turn around to see her leave.

      ~*~

      "Which movie do you want to see?" Michael called from the bedroom. I was in
      the bathroom, changing for our date.

      "Does it matter?" I asked.

      "It might."

      "Whichever."

      I came out to find him sitting on my bed, fingering the edges of my quilt.
      "Hey. That looks nice."

      "Thanks. Ready?"

      He smiled and got up - walked towards me with a look in his eye, a look I
      knew very well. "It doesn't start for a while," he said. "We have some
      time."

      "For what?" I asked coyly, letting him take me in his arms.

      "Don't you know?" He ran his hands down my arms and back up, urgently,
      feverishly. He gripped my waist and pulled me towards him.

      "I don't think - "

      He pressed his face into my shoulder. "Huh?"

      "We should get going," I said, gasping as he dug his fingers into my flesh.

      "What for?"

      "We'll be late." I tore myself away and moved to the door. "We shouldn't be
      late."

      Confusion settled on his features. "What? Rogue - "

      I grabbed my purse. "Don't you want to go to the movies?"

      "No, not really," he said. I watched as he dropped onto the bed. "You do?"

      "Yes."

      "Why?"

      I shrugged.

      "Come here."

      "No."

      "Come on, Rogue. What are you doing?"

      "Nothing. I just want to go out."

      He stood. "What for?"

      "I want you to hold my hand."

      "Your *hand *?" he asked incredulously.

      "Yeah, my hand. Is that so hard to believe?"

      He shook his head and laughed. Then, he moved in my direction. "I'll do more
      than hold your hand, baby."

      I felt ill. My room was suddenly too small, there was nowhere to move and I
      couldn't breath. I looked at Michael and he was larger than life, too big
      for me, too big for my room. I didn't want him holding me. I didn't want
      him.

      "Please," I said. "I can't do this anymore."

      "What?"

      "Just leave. Please, just go." I opened my door.

      "What kind of crap are you trying to pull? I risk my life coming here,
      being with you and you throw me out? You think just anyone's going to put
      up with everything I have to put up with? All the gloves and the scarves and
      all the damn clothes?"

      "Leave," I repeated.

      He did. He moved past me, grabbed the doorknob and slammed the door shut
      behind him.


      ~*~


      The bar was half full on a Thursday night. I was having a Bloody Mary and
      sitting at my usual table. Through the haze of cigarette smoke, I saw her
      come in.

      She was alone and her eyes scanned the room until they came to rest on me.
      She was looking for me.

      I took a big gulp of my drink.

      "Hello," she said, standing by my table. "I was hoping I'd find you here."

      "Sit down," I said, pointing at the chair across from me.

      She did so, and put her bag on top of the table. A waitress came by to take
      her order. "I'll have what she is having."

      Nervousness was getting the better of me. What was Storm doing looking for
      me? I took the celery stalk out of my drink and bit down on it. "So."

      She leaned back, folding her hands across her lap.

      "What did you want?" I asked, signaling the waitress to bring me another.

      She shrugged. "To see how you were. I have been worried about you."

      Had she? "Thanks. I've been fine. I will be fine."

      "Are you still seeing Michael?"

      "No. No, he took off again." I paused as the waitress brought us our drinks.
      Once she was gone, I added, "Probably for the best."

      Ororo nodded. "It is hard for us, is it not?"

      I eyed her curiously. "Yours too?"

      Smiling, she said, "Antony lives on the west coast. We see each other
      infrequently."

      "Sorry." I took another drink. "Tough deal."

      "That is the way we prefer it. Like I said, Rogue, we are friends."

      I let one half of my mouth twitch up. "Nice. It's nice to have friends."

      There was intensity in her gaze. It unsettled me. "We are friends."

      "Are we?" I asked, my voice barely above a whisper.

      She shifted and extended her hand, putting it over mine. "Yes," she said.
      Her fingers stroked my palm, the action more soothing, more comforting than
      any I had felt in a long time.





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