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Fic: When I Close My Eyes

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  • bdrakesgurl
    Title: When I Close My Eyes Author: JenN Rating: PG-13 (just to be sure) Disclaimer: Mine, all mine! Or... not mine. So close, and yet so far... Pairings:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2002
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      Title: When I Close My Eyes
      Author: JenN
      Rating: PG-13 (just to be sure)
      Disclaimer: Mine, all mine! Or... not mine. So close, and yet so
      Pairings: Bobby/Other, L/R implied.
      Summary: Post MRA. A videotape from the edge
      Feedback: I crave feedback like a PMSing woman craves chocolate. *G*
      Send to BDrakesQT@... :)

      Author's Notes: Okay, first thing's first. This was completely and
      utterly inspired by the amazing fic Darkstar wrote me :) Mucho thanks
      to her for the inspiration, along with all the little tidbits of
      advice she gave me along the way! *hugs* Thanks, chica! Also... this
      may seem a little random in places, which is mostly because it's
      stream of consiousness, so... yeah. And secondly, I apologize that it
      isn't completely L/R centric, but I tried to get them in here a
      little bit, so I deserve some credit for that, right?

      ~Shortly after the video camera has been set up, the lone young man
      sits in the midst of the room...~

      So… I'm just going to talk then, and you can… I dunno, listen I
      guess. Or not listen, it's your choice.

      I like to play chicken. But you probably already knew that. I never
      used to really, more often than not I'd be the responsible one who
      tried to discourage others from putting their lives on the line like
      that. I never understood them… couldn't comprehend the idea that life
      to them was little more than a poker chip in the overall gamble known
      as existence. Of course, none of them had loved either. Johnny
      Allerdyce, for example… he'd always been an orphan, drifting from
      place to place, well practiced in the art of feigning honestly. I was
      fooled at first, I mean, his charade was painted thick and seemed to
      reach his soul. Almost. But over time I picked up on the rare
      occasions when he'd falter in his act. A smile that was a little too
      forced and seemed at any moment as though it would shatter his stiff
      features. The corners of his lips would tremble slightly, as though
      the force of having to hold up such an apprehension for so long was
      wearing away at the hold he thought he had on his life. He still
      managed though, for a while at least. And when he no longer could, he
      began the game I continue to play to this day. It was Johnny who
      taught it to me in the first place, even though at the time I'd been
      interested in neither the rules nor the objective. Rather I shook my
      head, burying hands into my pockets and looking the other way as he'd
      walk past me, tossing keys into the air before catching them, sending
      a look my way even if I chose not to acknowledge such.

      I even went with him one time, joining him on this fanatic obsession,
      his own personal escape from reality. Not because I wanted to
      understand. No, I was merely convincing myself, or trying to at
      least, that I could fix this problem, or at the very least that I had
      tried. I guess I figured that if Johnny didn't listen, well… then I
      could legitimately wash my hands of him. Shake my head like so many
      people years older than I am do at me now, and give a shrug of my
      shoulders. 'At least I'll have tried.' Just like they say about me.

      But I wasn't helping. Really, when I thought about it, I only added
      to the fuel that ran him. I was his best friend. I should have tried
      harder. I should have wanted to know what the matter was, I guess,
      but when it comes down to it I really didn't have the desire to carry
      another person's burden on my shoulders. I was happy. Sure, the world
      had changed since the day I arrived at the school. We'd survived a
      lot, and not just the scuffles between the X-Men and the Brotherhood.
      Compared to the Mutant Registration Act, and the establishment of the
      Sentinels, those were nothing. Mere training sessions, and for the
      beginner, at that. It wasn't long before technology took a turn for
      the worst, to a point where even the creators were baffled as to what
      to do. Our resident blue genius, Hank, he tried to stop them, but he
      couldn't manage it before they'd completely destroyed whole cities.
      Manhattan as we knew it once no longer exists. It's now the charred
      remains of a battle field, no longer allowing any part of it to be
      bathed in light. Rather it's always dark, and nearly empty, aside
      from the criminals who'd always lurked in the corners, and the anti-
      mutant organizations that had continued to grow despite the obvious
      warning that genocide would not be tolerated on Earth. The failure of
      the Sentinels should have clued people into that… but it didn't.

      Even Westchester is different. Once a beautiful school and mansion,
      now a veritable fortress to ensure the survival of all living within
      its walls, and anyone who might seek shelter along the way. It's
      always grey around here, too… but once you've lived in that kind of
      darkness long enough you adjust. You know that there are only two
      things you can do; survive, or die. I chose life. I chose it because
      it came with love. A love I was foolish enough to believe would
      withstand anything. Even another war. But I was wrong. With wars came
      the necessity for soldiers, and when the usual recruits were
      continuously going out and being cut down at an unbelievable rate,
      Xavier began looking for volunteers. Anyone willing to die to ensure
      the freedom of a breed of people who mostly hadn't even been born
      yet. We would never be free, anyway… the constant wars between humans
      and mutants seemed as though it would stretch on forever. I'd done my
      part, or thought I had… helping to run the school while Xavier dealt
      often with Cyclops on battle strategies and contemplated peace talks.
      But it wasn't enough. I knew it wasn't, and I felt guilty, but I was
      in love. And I wouldn't leave her behind… not to go out and die and
      never see her again. But she beat me to the chance, signing up for
      the next load to be sent into the city. Didn't tell me 'til the day
      she was supposed to leave. God… it still hurts. I just remember the
      way she tried to explain it, and all I could do as she tried to hug
      me and kiss me goodbye was glare. And pout. And push her away from
      me, too bitter and angry then to realize it might be the last time
      I'd ever get the chance for those things. I should have seen it
      coming, but I hadn't, and now…

      Sorry… I just… I don't want to talk about that. Not now. Not so soon.

      What was I saying before? Oh, right. About Johnny and his game. He
      started it the earliest… right after the first war had broken out and
      continued til just after my fiancée died. I may have learned the
      point eventually, but when the late night car rides first began, I
      knew something was up, and I decided I'd do what I thought Cyclops
      might do in a situation, and see if I couldn't play God long enough
      to fix John's problem. So I decided to play hero and help him out.
      Reach down into the pit he seemed to have fallen into and pull him
      out again. Make myself look like the strong one. Little did I know
      the addictive seed was already being planted long before it would
      ever bloom.

      We got into his car. A brand new one he bought, not that I know where
      or with what money. Now a days such luxuries are in short supply.
      Anything and everything is going to help out "The Cause." But he'd
      gotten his hands on one somehow, and I certainly wasn't about to
      complain. He started it up, and I opened my mouth to begin
      the "bonding" session that might clue me into what was going on. But
      before I could, his hand reached out and flicked the radio on. For a
      second, bloodshot eyes looked up, and I could feel my own widening
      just that much when they made contact. Just as easily, they seemed to
      glaze over, as Johnny sent me a chilling grin before putting the car
      into gear and heading out, onto the long stretch of road that
      eventually lead into the City. Something told me we weren't really
      headed there at all, but I didn't want to say so, didn't want to look
      afraid, so I attempted to relax into the leather seat and watch in
      silence as he maneuvered the car around a curve, his head just
      faintly nodding to the music, acting what might be considered casual
      if not for the fact that he clutched tightly to the steering wheel.

      Before I really knew what was going on, St. John stepped on the gas.
      The menacing grin on his face seemed to grow as though he thrived
      from the danger that he was beginning to put us both in. "Johnny…" My
      lips moved but I didn't seem to hear the words that were coming out
      and the relaxed appearance I'd held was quickly melting away, being
      replaced by tension that ran along every muscle in my back and held
      my lungs so tightly I thought they would burst. A quick look at the
      speedometer showed that we were going 90 miles an hour. I managed to
      reach back and pull my seatbelt on just in time to see the headlights
      of another car peering over the horizon. A panicked glance to my left
      told me that Johnny had noticed the car too… but that did little to
      quell my fears for in his eyes a glint grew and a second later he
      stepped further on the gas, pushing the car to over 100 miles per
      hour. I wanted to look away. To simply close my eyes and promise
      myself that what I thought was happening wasn't really and that I was
      stupid to be afraid at all. Johnny saw the car. He would know to stop
      or at least slow down before we even got close. Or at least I thought
      he would. But he didn't. As the car drew nearer the entire world
      around us erupted in the ear splitting sound of a car horn. And while
      it terrified me it did little to subdue the confidence in St. John,
      who grinned and looked for all the world as if only he existed, that
      everything else around him was a mirror of another life and that they
      each co-existed without the others notice.

      My thoughts were on an entirely different track from St. John's. I
      was thinking about home. Not Port Jefferson… that hadn't been my home
      in ages, and the people that lived on the deserted road in the middle
      of that suburban life were not my family. No, I was thinking about
      Westchester again, and the family I'd left behind. The family I'd
      just begun to start. Sure, we were only nineteen but in a life like
      the one we lead today, there's no telling when the end would come. So
      I remembered the hazel eyes that looked fondly at me, and the red
      hair that tickled my nose whenever we finally were able to steal a
      few moments of silence to sleep. And I was afraid, because I had
      something waiting at home for me and St. John was about to ruin that
      for me before I had the chance to even say goodbye. And with that
      desperate thought it mind, I was lead to do what I did, which was to
      grab a hold of the wheel and turn it sharply to the right, drawing it
      away from the opposite car and entirely off the road. The car whizzed
      by, the driver still sitting on the horn and no doubt swearing up a
      storm in the process. Johnny slammed on the breaks, before jerking
      around to look at me, eyes ablaze. "What the hell do you want,

      'I want out of this car.' My entire life flashed before my eyes and I
      knew it flashed before John's too, but the only difference was that I
      had a life worth holding onto. In that moment I realized why he did
      it. Why they all do it. They weren't like me, then. And I wasn't like
      them. I had life… I had love, and I was going to cling to that with
      all I had. I'd chosen to survive. They… well, they'd prefer to fail
      than go on pretending to live a life that had ceased to be their
      own. "I want to know why you do it." The words seemed lodged in my
      throat and I swallowed for several minutes after speaking them,
      wincing as though they left a bitter aftertaste lingering on my
      tongue. It felt wrong, almost, to comment on a problem he had. We X-
      Men have always had trouble confronting the problems of our
      teammates. We prefer to let others pull the wool over our eyes and
      look the other way. I know I didn't have the courage to do it. To
      point out some tiny flaw that had managed to become engorged enough
      to take over his entire life and turn him into this mindless human
      being who so carelessly threw caution to the wind in favor of one
      last high before he met his end. But he never did, was instead forced
      to live for another tomorrow, another time when maybe he would be
      successful in the little flirtation he shared with death. "You take
      everything we've ever fought for… everything people die for, and you
      throw it away."

      God, it hurts so bad, y'know? I keep thinking about her. I mean,
      she's one of 'em. No… not the one with the games. She's one of those
      people who carried lives on her shoulders and now… now what does she
      get for it? Nothing. Nothing! They just… they looked at the gift she
      gave 'em, and they ignore it. Worse yet, they spit on it, every time
      they walk out that door and do what they do. And I… I'm right there
      with them, and I can't… I can't…

      I'm sorry… I shouldn't have mentioned her. I'm not ready. Lemme just…
      lemme talk about someone else, ok? I can tell you about Kitty, or
      Jubilee, even Marie or the Wolverine. What about Wolverine? Probably
      the worst of us all. I mean, he's got that healing factor and all, so
      he has to go one step further to get the same kind of, I dunno, high,
      I guess you could say, from what we do. It takes a lot to hurt the
      man, but you have to admire his resilience. Every night he does it. I
      can go a few days at the most but he… he can't handle more than a few
      hours at a time before the temptation is too great. So he draws
      himself to his full height, and he goes out looking for any kind of
      danger he can stumble upon. He used to take it out on Rogue. Used to
      beg her to let him touch her, just enough so that his life seemed
      almost gone. It's a good way to relieve things… just touch her skin
      for a few seconds and suddenly your memories are draining from you
      and you're being welcomed into this blanket of sleep. And it's nicer
      there, because you don't have to think… don't have to remember the
      things you lost or the things you'll never do again.

      What do I see when I'm there? Her, of course. My love, my heart, my
      life. I always see her, even when I'm awake. I've only ever done that
      once, by the way. Touching Rogue, I mean. Right after my fiancée
      died. She'd come up to me, let me rest my head on her shoulder as I
      cried the life right out of me. We didn't say anything… I really
      didn't have anything left in me after that and she didn't really
      think anything she had to say would be of any help, so we let the
      silence do the talking for us. And then I was looking at her face.
      She has the same eyes as the one I've lost. Brown, though. But filled
      with as much pain and hurt and emotion all the same. Anyway, I don't
      know what it was about the moment but before I could think or act or
      anything really my hands were coming up on either side of her face,
      and I remember seeing her eyes grow wide as I pushed them into
      contact with her cheeks, my own eyes closing the second I felt her
      mutation kick in. She'd struggled… and God, I feel so guilty now,
      forcing all that into her. But I needed release. Needed to get rid of
      these feelings inside of me. I never did it again, not after the way
      she avoided me for weeks on end. Not with the stares I received from
      everyone else. Because there were people left at the School that
      didn't understand our hidden obsession. Couldn't possibly fathom the
      idea that we hurt so bad death was considered a comfort. I can't
      really hate them for it… I mean, I was once one of them. Ignorantly
      unaware and judgmental. Now… now I probably carry the game further
      than I ever have before.

      Tell her I'm sorry. Tell her I didn't want to do it... Tell her I
      didn't see any other way...

      I went off track again, didn't I? I'm sorry. I just… my mind's pretty
      scattered like that. Especially now, considering… Anyway, it'll go
      off at the slightest word… the tiniest inclination or insinuation to
      a past event. Back to the Wolverine. He does anything that'll put
      himself down and out for as long as possible. He's sort of decided to
      test his mutation, to find some limit so that later on, when testing
      his limits grows less amusing, he can find new ways to push the
      limits. But yeah, his first few stunts were with Rogue. Just a few
      seconds of touching her was all he wanted. She didn't like to do it,
      but he begged, so she obliged. She loves him. She'd do anything for
      him then, and she still does everything she can to make him happy
      today. So she'd let him touch her. Let him throw his memories into
      her for a few hours so that he could have blissful silence within his
      head. It took him a while to catch on to the fact that he was hurting
      her. That he was giving her the bad with the good, when all he'd
      wanted was a way to bring himself close to the edge of death and, at
      the same time, share what he felt for Rogue when words weren't
      capable of expressing emotions correctly. No… he's not a very verbal
      guy. Witty repartee is not his strong point, and he's no Romeo when
      it comes to declarations of the heart. (No offense, Logan.) So he
      had to find his own way to key her in to what he was thinking.
      Unfortunately, he picked that way.

      Finally, he realized he was hurting her, and that was enough to drive
      him to another mode of pain. I know, before, I said that I was in
      love and that I couldn't see the bad in things because of it, but the
      Wolverine and Rogue, they aren't like me. I've lead a pretty good
      life, these past few memories aside. I grew up in a fairly loving
      home, with a semi-dictator-like father who was only trying to do what
      was best for me and a mother who coddled me to the point where I
      wondered if I'd ever need to bother living my own life. Rogue, she
      almost killed the first boyfriend she ever had when her mutation
      kicked in. Her parents sent her packing and for eight months she was
      on the road, looking for some group of people that might take her in
      despite her differences. Lucky for her she ran into Logan. Wolverine.
      He let her tag along and the two bonded. I guess they're kindred
      spirits in a way. How? Well… They're both broken. You know about
      Rogue and her past. Wolverine… he really doesn't have one. Not one
      that he can remember anyway. A bunch of guys from some government
      organization tore into him pretty good. His healing factor made him
      the prime candidate for a bunch of experiments and I guess they spent
      a good long time digging into him, trying to make him a sort of ideal
      weapon for their own private uses. Things like that… they really
      don't shape you into the most formidable of people, personality wise,
      y'know? Not to mention emotionally.

      Everyone seems to be messed up emotionally, though. Johnny was…
      especially right before he k-… before he died. It was an accident,
      you know? At least, that's what I keep trying to tell myself but it's
      pretty hard to sleep at night with the knowledge that you've gotten
      so good at lying to yourself you aren't sure what's the truth
      anymore. Wolverine and Rogue, they aren't so bad yet… I think if they
      sit down together and finally realize that they're meant to be a part
      of each other's lives, then the angst will stop. Listen to me, me of
      all people, sitting here, playing the part of Dr. Love.

      I bet I can guess what you're thinking right now. How, right? How did
      you not notice? How did you continuously observe me and not see
      anything besides the same kid you've looked at for a while now? It's
      easy. I played the role perfectly. Johnny was a good actor and all
      but after a while I could see through him. So I watched him carefully
      and I took pretty good notes, and after all that all I needed to do
      was push things one step farther and I was perfect. Not a single
      falter in any of my expressions. It's funny, y'know, to think that a
      person can be laughing on the outside and crying on the inside. Sort
      of a paradox or something, isn't it? I was never one for big words.
      You probably feel guilty too… like you should have known something
      was the matter and that because you didn't catch it in time, this
      entire thing kinda rests on your shoulders, huh? Well don't. I'm too
      proud of what I did, of how capable I was of keeping everyone in the
      dark to have you ruin that by feeling sorry for yourself for being
      just as fooled. You're a genius, after all, not a telepath. Not that
      that would do you any good. Even as a telepath you'd have to be
      suspicious of me to pick up on my little game. But I'm Bobby Drake,
      and Bobby Drake doesn't feel depressed or lonely or in pain… he's
      always smiling and cracking jokes, so he must be okay.

      It's all right to have fallen for it. Everyone else did.

      There's only one person I can think of who might have caught on. But
      she's the reason I'm doing all this in the first place. You remember
      her… the one who was able to look at me for no more than a passing
      glance before knowing every single thought racing through my head,
      almost before I did. God, I've talked about her so much already…
      except how she died. But you were there for that, you have all the
      sordid details. The way I actually had to hold her in my arms and
      watch her go… It seems so cliché, now that I think about it. You'd
      think Fate would realize that that scenario is a little overplayed by
      now… which is why I'm doing this while I can, while you guys are out
      and about defeating the bad guys and playing the heroes. You won't
      know where I've gone so you won't need to be there to see me go. I
      owe you that much.

      Love's a crazy thing. I think that's why Wolverine and Rogue are
      okay. Why they haven't really done anything this serious yet. Love
      can do that, I think. Sort of make a connection like Scott's and
      Jeannie's, only without the telepathy. You just know what the other
      person is thinking and know exactly the way to handle the situation.
      I dunno. Maybe I'm not making much sense, but it's hard to think when…

      I miss her. I really, really miss her. It's like… I'm not sure.
      Reaching for something you know will always stay one step ahead of
      you. Which is why I'm doing this. God, don't hate me later for it.
      You know this isn't me. The kid you looked at from across the table
      while you ate your breakfast. I haven't been me since the day she
      died. It's like, when I was with her, I sort of took all of me and
      gave it to her and once I lost her I lost me because she took a vital
      part of me wherever she went to. You're probably chuckling to
      yourself by now, huh? Little Bobby Drake playing the role of the
      tragic hero. But I'm no hero, not by any standards. If I were, I'd be
      able to hold my head high and say my lovelorn farewells and move on
      to build something better with the pieces I have right now. That's
      what Scott would do, I think. But I'm not Scott. And since I'm not
      Scott and since I'm Bobby I'm drowning, and it's driving me crazy.
      Just like love is crazy. So I'm crazy because I had love and I lost
      love and I need love back to survive. Only I can't survive if I have
      love because my love is dead and to get that love back I need to be…

      I just have to believe that when I close my eyes, she is still there.
      Is still waiting.


      The End.
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