Fic: Beer and Pretzels: 1/1: Scott, Rogue, Unspoken #39
- Title: Beer and Pretzels
Author: Victoria P. [victoria_p@...]
Summary: Scott tries for some closure with Rogue.
Rating: PG-13, language
Disclaimer: All X-Men characters belong to Marvel and Fox; this piece of fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool; RR index at Jenn's Indulgence
Feedback: is better than beer and pretzels
Notes: Thanks to Jen, Pete, Dot, and Meg.
Beer and Pretzels
Scott climbed the stairs slowly, dreading the coming confrontation, but knowing he had to get through it in order to get on with his life, wherever it would take him.
Knocking on the door, he said, "Open up, Rogue. It's me."
"I'm serious, Scott."
He closed his eyes, muttering, "God give me strength." Then, louder, "Please? I just -- I want to see you, make sure you're okay."
A harsh sound that might have been a laugh. "I'm fine, sugar. Just ducky."
He sighed. "I'll be right back. I'm not giving up, Rogue."
Her "Whatever," followed him down the hallway. He went downstairs, found what he was looking for, and came back quickly.
"Let me in, Rogue."
"What part of 'Go away' didn't you understand?"
"You know me, Marie. Testa dura."
She snorted at his use of one of her affectionate insults for him. "Stunod, more like."
"I've got beer and pretzels," he wheedled.
The door swung open. "I'm only letting you in because you bring food. 'Ro brought me dinner, but--" she indicated a tray on the dresser. There were some unrecognizable vegetables that looked as if they'd been steamed to within an inch of their lives lying on a bed of something that might have been rice.
"She cooked for you, didn't she?" he said, not bothering to hide his grin.
"She means well, but..." He could tell Rogue was struggling not to smile -- it never failed to amaze them how Ororo could make a mess of even the most simple dishes. Rogue had tried teaching her, Frank had tried, Frank's *mother* had tried, but the weather goddess seemed fated to fail at cooking, much the same way Rogue failed at anything resembling math.
"I bet you need this, then," he said, handing her a bottle of beer and tossing a bag of pretzels on the bed.
She looked at it for a moment before twisting the cap off and taking a long sip, but said nothing. He shrugged. He didn't want to discuss the fact that someone -- most likely their Canadian guest -- had stocked the fridge with Molson instead of Scott's preferred Leinekugel Red.
He sat cross-legged at the end of her bed, watching the graceful arc of her throat as she drank deeply. He knew she was just trying to avoid talking to him. He considered it a major victory that she'd even opened the door.
"So," he said after a long silence, broken only by the sounds of Rogue tearing through the pretzels with abandon. She'd always liked her salty snacks. "You and Growly -- what's up with that?"
She shook her head and took another long pull off the beer. "You don't get to be concerned with that now."
"Oh, I think I do." He leaned forward and grabbed her hand. She was ungloved, which was unusual, but he was always prepared. He'd worn his just in case. He rubbed a thumb over the back of her hand, noticing the fine, slim shape of her fingers and the light pink polish decorating nails no one ever got to see.
As always, she was able to follow the direction of his gaze. Five years together had given her a lot of practice. "Vanity, thy name is Rogue," she intoned with mock-solemnity.
"You've never been vain, Marie, though God knows, you have every reason to be."
She pulled away, using the pretzels as an excuse. "This isn't going to be a lecture, is it? Because I thought breaking the engagement got me immunity for at least a month," she said around a mouthful of food.
He forced himself not to grind his teeth. "Let's start over. Hi, Rogue. How are you?" He raised his voice to a falsetto. "I'm fine, Scott. Thanks. How are you?" She bit her lip to keep from laughing as he continued, "I'm okay. My two best friends hate me because I betrayed one of them and didn't trust the other. You?" The falsetto again. "Well, I almost killed the new guy, and I've been forced to eat food the Geneva Convention would consider cruel and unusual punishment, but hey, all in a day's work here at Mutant High."
She couldn't help it, she let loose a gale of giggles that had her rocking back and forth on the bed. He knew she'd begin crying soon, but that was okay. Even if he couldn't let go, she shouldn't be forced to always keep her emotions in check. He'd assure himself of her emotional health before he broke down.
"Tu sei pazzi," she whispered, but there was affection in her tone.
He nodded. "I am. I really am. I fucked up with you, and I fucked up with Warren, but at least I can still make you laugh."
She regarded him thoughtfully for a moment. "No, I think it's the beer going right to my head," she said, holding up the empty bottle and opening another. "But hey, a hangover headache is better than one from crying all the time, right? At least it can be cured with aspirin and water."
"Rogue." There were a thousand apologies that would never be said in his voice.
"I know, Scott. I know. We -- " she broke off, taking a drink. "Did you know that the Professor and Erik were lovers?"
He choked on his own beer at the easy way she said it. "Yeah," he finally managed.
She nodded. "I always thought there was too much passion between them for their falling out to have simply been over philosophical differences, you know? But when he touched me -- *God*, I've never felt anything like it." He dropped his gaze. Even if it was the truth, it hurt. "I should have known then. Even if I didn't clue in until Logan forced me to, I knew that what you and I have -- had -- didn't compare with what Charles had with Erik." She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around her knees, her thumb circling the lip of the bottle in her hand.
"You should," she fluttered the hand unencumbered by beer, unconsciously flicking salt all over him, "go after Jean. That kind of connection you two have? That's, that's not something you see every day, you know? You should find out if it's something real, something more than just random hormones firing in the right sequence."
"Hormones don't fire," he corrected automatically. "That's synapses."
"Whatever. Don't be a martyr. Tell her how you feel. Jesus, don't waste time -- she's with Warren, and you know what *that* means."
"They're not sleeping together," he insisted. He found he actually believed it now, after speaking with Candy.
"Yet," Rogue replied cynically. "But if he's there and you're screwing around here, she's going to think you're not interested. And you never know what could happen -- we live dangerous lives, Scott. Never forget that." The sad look was back in her eyes, and he knew she was thinking about last night's adventure with Logan.
"Whatever happened out on the lake," and he repressed his resentment over the fact that she'd never gone swimming with *him*, "wasn't your fault. Logan's a-- he's a selfish bastard for even trying to touch you."
"I touched him." It was barely audible. "I thought --" she ducked her head, hiding behind the curtain of her hair, the newly silvered streaks reminding him of Logan's unselfishness where Rogue was concerned, despite his own wish to believe otherwise. "I've been working on my control with the Professor." He nodded, though she couldn't see it. "I *wanted* to touch him. I wanted him and he wanted me. I needed that after, after--" She broke off and he looked away, his throat tightening at the recollection of his own failure in that area. He hadn't mentioned the mess he'd found in the garage the next morning, his favorite coffee mug shattered and his tools strewn about. Wrecking his things was the least he deserved after showing her so blatantly that he didn't want her anymore.
"You're feeling guilty, aren't you." It wasn't a question.
His mouth curved in a half-grin. "Aren't I always?"
"Pazzi," she said again.
"So, you want him and he wants you. What's the problem?" he asked, abruptly changing the topic. His guilt was something he needed to wrestle on his own -- it was bad enough having a telepath around; he didn't need someone who knew him as well as he knew himself to start analyzing him. Not now, when he needed to act decisively if he wanted to salvage something good from the whole sorry mess.
She reached out a bare hand toward his face. He didn't flinch. He'd been living up close and personal with her for five years. She stopped a hair's breadth away from his cheek, so close he could feel her warmth, smell the sweat and salt on her palm. "I can never touch him."
"But if you have control--"
She shook her head. "No. I hurt him. It's all I seem to do. Hurt people, one way or another."
"So you're just going to lock yourself away in your room, giving up on the possibility of finding that love you discovered--" he couldn't bring himself to say Magneto's name, especially not linked with Xavier's that way, but she knew what he meant.
She nodded. "I made a deal with God. If Logan lived, I'd give up on men." She spread her arms wide. "See the results?"
"Fucking A, Rogue, that's the stupidest thing I ever heard!" he exploded, uncoiling from the bed like a spring. "First off, you don't even *believe* in God. And secondly, you had nothing to do with Logan surviving. He's got that damn healing factor, remember? He can survive almost anything. There's so many things *wrong* with that statement." He paced the small room angrily. "And you've got the nerve to tell *me* not to be a martyr? Fuck. Get down off the cross, St. Marie! Somebody needs the wood."
Her eyes narrowed and she hefted the bottle in her hand. He tensed, wondering if she'd actually do it, but instead she laughed again. It was the same bitter sound he'd heard before she'd opened the door. Full circle. Shit. That's not how he wanted this to end.
She closed her eyes, then, and took a deep breath. She gnawed on her lower lip for a few silent moments, and he waited, frozen, fascinated.
After a little more time had passed, she said, "Go away from me. Go see your little redheaded girl, Charlie Brown. I'll be all right. Really."
"You're just saying that," he accused.
"Yeah, but if it gets rid of you--" she left it hanging. He sat back down on the bed. "But obviously, it's not working."
"I'm like mold, baby, I just keep coming back," he said with a bad attempt at a Humphrey Bogart imitation. She hit him with a pillow. "That's it, Marie. Come on, I know you wanted to throw that coffee mug at my head instead of the garage wall."
She stopped, blushing. "Shit. Sorry about that."
"No, you're not."
"You're right. I'm not." More lip-chewing, then, "We know each other too well, Slim. You think at the end of this we'll be friends again?"
"'Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life,'" he quoted.
She smiled genuinely, her eyes glossy with tears, and said, "Okay. Soon. Now go, before I have to hurt you."
He leaned in and kissed the top of her head. "You're a good woman, Rogue-Marie. Don't go giving up on my whole gender just yet."
Her smiled turned into a wry grin. "I'll reserve judgement," she said.
"That's all I ask," he replied, opening the door. "I'll send Bobby up with some real food before I leave. Eat, take some aspirin, and get to bed. Otherwise, you're gonna have a bitch of a hangover." She nodded and he cocked his head thoughtfully. "Though I suppose you could get Hairy to heal that right up for you."
"Scott!" She flung the pillow at him again, but he was too quick, slamming the door behind him.
<One door closes,> he thought, <and another one opens.> His step was remarkably light as he headed back out to see Jean and tell her how he felt.
Testa dura means "stubborn" - literally, "hard headed"
Stunod is Southern Italian dialect for "stupid" or having one's head in the clouds and not paying attention, from the Italian "Stonato" which means, "out of tune"
Tu sei pazzi [pronounced "duesy patz" by Italian Americans everywhere <g>] means "You're crazy"
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