- Title: Expatriate 2: Ex Post Facto
Rating: PG13ish currently
Notes and Disclaimers in Part One (Though I think I forgot the I'm getting no money from this one. So...ahem... I"M GETTING NO MONEY. There.)
Ex Post Facto is latin for After the Fact.
Would love some feedback on this...cough cough ahem..cough.
This is his favorite part of the Terminator 3. The part where the girl kicks everyone's ass and even though she doesn't save the world, that's enough for him. No one really saves the whole world, they just kick a little ass. He's waited all day for this part. But he's out of popcorn and double cheesy spread is calling his name, so he gets up and ducks out the swinging doors, trying to hold his breath so the dust stirred up won't get into his throat. It's not nice to cough in movie theaters he believes.
"Could I get a refill please?" The redhead behind the counter checks him out and puts a little more swing into her hips. He watches a while, but something catches in the corner of his eye and he spins around even before he registers what it is-
SLAM! Gasp, "Ooooow!"
"Rogue!" He glares at the girl pinned up against the bathroom door, hair in a messy bun coming out behind her ears. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Just watchin a movie." She smirks at him and he lets her down, slowly sliding over some particularly nice parts. Hmm. She's been working out.
"Bullshit." She's almost smiling at him now, almost as if in triumph, almost as if she caught him at some game, almost as if she'd been hunting him- It puts the glare back into his voice. "Quit following me." He drops her from the wall and turns back to get his popcorn from the wide-eyed clerk. There went that option.
"I'm not following you-" he raises an eyebrow at her, "-I mean, well not like that. I mean, I just wanted- look, why don't we go have some coffee somewhere?"
"No dice, I'm fine here. Without you." He turns away again, but slowly. "Go back to the X-Geeks." She sighs, biting back the response that he used to be one of them. Before she even thinks it, there is a voice inside screaming never; he was never one of them. He's made that infinitely clear to Wolverine who was still mad at him for singeing his claws. Rogue remembers Logan's fury that most of all he'd been extending his arm in peace, asking St. John to come back. "No dice," he'd said. She holds out a gloved hand and touches him on the shoulder. She's never touched him before.
"Please Johnny, I just wanted to see you." He glares at her for a moment, the hair pulled back in a twist, the shapeless black overcoat, the brown boots too big for her. Pushes her away and stomps out on the street.
At the door he pauses to look back at her over his shoulder. "Well come on, I haven't got all day." She follows after him with a soft half-smile.
"So...how's life?" Tentative, like it's the first time she's ever spoken to him.
"Are you still in school?"
"What are you my mother or something?" He's walking so fast she has to half jog just to stay with him.
"I thought you would have been in Canada." There's a coffee shop down a block from them filled with nice warm seats and bagels. A week from Christmas and the streets of Manhattan are still already packed more than Rogue thought could have even imagined. She doesn't usually like crowds, but away from the mansion with Johnny she feels invisible, unnoticeable. She likes that feeling.
"Uh-uh, babe. Ask me another one." They turn the corner and she can see people going into the coffee shop, fleeing the icy chill.
"You never asked me about..." he glares at her and she trails off. She's thought about seeing him for a week now, ever since he sat down in front of her in that Starbucks. And after all that wandering around hoping to catch a glimpse of him, all that following and sitting through 3 stupid action movies, after practically begging him to see her she finds she doesn't know what to say to him. "Why did you give me your lighter?" she blurts out.
He gives her a smile. Shrugs, "Cause it's Christmas."
"But it's your lighter-"He stops so fast she almost bashes right into him, nose to nose.
"What are you doing here Rogue?" She takes a step back, but it isn't a retreat. Oh no, she just wants enough room to stick her nose up in the air at him. Maybe room to kick him in the balls if he gets annoying enough. Hmm... that sounded suspiciously like Logan.
"I know why you left," she says.
"Really?" he asks. "Enlighten me."
"You don't believe in Magneto anymore than I do."
"I don't believe in much of anything babe. But I do believe in making the best of situations and Magneto's definitely the best of situations. Why, are you going to tell me that we were family and I should have been more loyal to family?"
"It was more family than you've ever had Johnny-boy." It's her turn to sneer. "I saw the way you looked at Bobby's pictures. The way you looked around his house, you wanted it so bad you could taste it."
"No babe. That's you." He puts his hands in his pockets so she won't see them shaking. Just breathe, just be cool, never let them see you shake, never let them smell your fear-
"I'm sorry. I didn't come here to argue-"
"Then what did you come for?" he mutters harshly. The question grates on the air between them, on everything between them.
"To say I understand."
"You understand what?"
She taps the side of her head slightly and cocks it to the side. "I understand why you're so angry. Why you wanted to be Bobby's friend so much, because he had such a perfect family, because Xavier promised you would have a real family. The only reason you're with Magneto is because he's a loner just like you. Mystique is a loner just like you. But you're not alone."
"No, I can join the team...whoopee." It's dry, like dust. A whisper because she's right and he doesn't know what to say.
"It's why I took the lighter. We're not so different you know." Not so different. The peculiar way she said it, the hint of an accent, reminded him of Magneto. "Nobody's ever really cared about just you, have they? Magneto wants your fire, Charles wants to keep you off the streets, Bobby wants to save you..." He spits onto the pavement and glares at her.
"Don't follow me anymore. It's not safe." Turns to go, starts walking again.
"Wait!" He looks back over his shoulder. She's holding something out to him, something purple...two somethings-oh.
"You're giving me your gloves?"
"You gave me your lighter." He walks up to her and reaches out, takes the glove and traces his fingers over her unflinching hands, watches the set of her clenched jaw for a shudder. She's offering him the only thing she has left to offer him that is truly hers, the only thing that he can't spin off. Her trust. Silky, purple colored trust. He stares at her hands and licks his lips. He's never seen her bare hands before, and somehow it's more exciting than if she had stripped right there and then.
She has beautiful fingers, long and graceful. Sky blue nail polish. Why bother? There's a small scar by one of her pinkies. One of her index nails is suspiciously longer than the other ones. Her thumbs are stained from black ink, the signs of a habitual writer. Johnny's were the same and he rubs his thumb and forefinger together in his pocket. Suddenly he has a million questions for her. Suddenly he really, really wants to talk to her. "Come on, I'll buy you a mocha. I know it's your favorite...Marie."
She smiles at him and it's the most beautiful, most welcoming thing he's ever seen. He carefully slides her gloves into one of his pockets and offers her his arm in a rare gesture. She squeezes it with her bare hands and they go into the shop together escaping the icy chill of the world outside.
~ fin ~
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