Title: Generous Palmstroke
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 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?
"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
"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." 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
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
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
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'
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."
"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?"
"I am glad."
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."
"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.
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?"
"Wow. Like _Antony and Cleopatra _?"
My fingers were spread out like a fan and I started drumming them against
the table. A rhythm-less beat. "How fitting," I murmured.
"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
"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."
"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?"
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.
I came out to find him sitting on my bed, fingering the edges of my quilt.
"Hey. That looks nice."
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
"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.
"We'll be late." I tore myself away and moved to the door. "We shouldn't be
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?"
"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
"Please," I said. "I can't do this anymore."
"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
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
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
"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.