Empathy

Summary: Rogue disappears, and leaves a letter for Bobby
Fandom: X-men
Pairings: Bobby/John, Rogue/Bobby, John/Rogue
Warnings: Slash
Disclaimer: They all belong to people with expensive lawyers. I'm just screwing with them for my own twisted amusement
Author's Note: I think this is possibly the strangest thing I've ever written, but it popped into my head one day and refused to leave me alone until I wrote it. And remember – feedback is crack for fan-fiction writers!

Dear Bobby,

It's been a month since John left, and you'd think that he'd never been here at all. Now that he's "the enemy", no-one seems to want to talk about the person we knew before. If he's mentioned at all, he's branded a traitor. Always the traitor now. You never hear anyone talking about the smart-ass who got big laughs when he made his wisecracks in class, or the wary, haunted-looking kid who turned up on the doorstep years earlier.

I thought that you at least would miss him. But no, you've got a new room-mate, and a new best friend. And it's you more than anyone else who I want to slap when you make some remark about 'that turncoat'…because you're the only person apart from me who should know why John left.

Yes - you, Bobby. Do you have any idea how badly you hurt him? You used him, even though you were supposed to be his friend. He perfected the tough, indifferent face he presented to the world, but did anyone other than us know about the horrible nightmares he had? That he cried after everyone else was asleep, muffled by the bedclothes so no-one would hear? You did that to him, Bobby. When the 'good guys' are capable of such cruelty, is there really a right side to be on?

I used to hate him – strange, isn't it? I was jealous, I suppose. Any girl would be jealous if her boyfriend was cheating on her with his best friend. Isn't it odd how I didn't hold it against you? I mean, most teenage boys are permanently horny, and I certainly couldn't do anything about it. But I was insanely jealous of John for doing everything I couldn't.

I don't think that any more – and I can pinpoint to the second when I changed my mind.

It was the middle of the night – so late it was almost early – and I couldn't sleep. I generally pretend I just wasn't tired, but if you caught me in an honest mood, I'd admit that I'd been brooding over the whole screwed-up situation. After hours of lying glaring at my bedroom ceiling, I gave up and headed for the kitchen. There's always someone in the kitchen – the odd wandering insomniac, or someone after a midnight snack. As such, it didn't bother me when I heard movement. But it wasn't until it was too late that I registered the familiar click-whirr-whoosh of John's lighter.

I hesitated for a moment in the doorway before steeling myself and walking in. I couldn't turn around and walk out – he'd already seen me. And I didn't like to be too obvious about hating people. And yes, I am aware of how bitchy that sounded.

I glanced surreptitiously at him as I fished a soda out of the cupboard. He was gazing blankly into a cup of coffee, hair falling forward to hide his face. Nothing moved except his right hand, flicking the lighter on and off. There was something different about him, something I couldn't quite place. In hindsight, it was his manner. Gone was the cocky confidence I knew so well. He look weary – defeated.

I sat opposite him, prying the lid from the soda. He glanced up at me warily, and I was shocked to see the redness around his eyes. Had he been crying? And I really mean shocked, not surprised. Crying is just not what John does. He's the kind of person that hates showing any sort of weakness.

"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Nothing," he replied – obviously lying. He continued before I could press the matter; "What's wrong with you?"
"What? I…" I was going to say nothing, but I could hardly justify being annoyed with him for doing that if I did the same thing, "You. Bobby. You and Bobby."
"Oh." He pocketed the lighter and walked around to stand next to me, looking expectant; "Why?"
"Because you can touch him and I can't. Because he's going to someone else for what I can't give him!"

I expected an argument. I expected taunts. What I didn't expect was for him to laugh bitterly and lean in close till our noses were almost touching.

"You're jealous?" he said. I nodded defiantly. Different emotions warred across his face – his lip curled while his eyes grew haunted; "He could leave you but he doesn't. He loves you. I'm just a random slut." And that was the moment I felt the beginnings of self-doubt creep in. I was confused by an unfamiliar emotion before I realised I was feeling guilty.

That was two days before the attack on the mansion. Just over two days before the first and only time I touched him, and the moment I found out what an emotional wreck he was beneath that tough exterior. Three days before he left us forever.

I can never forgive you for what you did to him, Bobby. He loved you, and you treated him like shit. I can't live with this guilt – I have to do something to make amends. Maybe I'll see him again. He was a good friend if you could get past the walls.

I wonder if you even tried.

I can't stay with you in good conscience, not when I'm dreaming of someone else. It's amazing how much difference one touch can make to someone like me.

Maybe if we'd been born human we could have had a chance
You won't see me again
Rogue

PS- Don't try to find me. You will regret it if you do.