A/N: One shot, in honor of those of us who favor Rogue/Wolverine. You know who you are.
She walked across the lawn that framed the school, feeling her heels sink into the earth, still quite damp from the rain they'd had the night before. Eyes taking in the panorama of students, sprawled on the grass with the wet slowly seeping into their clothes, the more intelligent ones perched primly on the benches that dotted what was laughingly referred to as the campus, waiting for their lounging companions to upright themselves so there could be a good laugh had at their expense. Nothing unfamiliar; nothing she hadn't seen before. She concentrated on brightness paired with darkness, brightness of sun and normalcy and common behavior, brightness that paled somehow as he walked through it. Walked through it and tinged it, colored it, changed it all with his presence and his begrudging smile.
Bobby was somewhere, waiting for her to meet him for lunch.
She swallowed hard and put that knowledge to the very back of her mind.
Bobby would wait; he always waited. That was the good thing, the thing she appreciated, about him. He was content in a way that she had never been, he was patient, he was good. She was in search of something different, just at the moment, she was hunting something other.
She tried to make her feet stand still; she tried to make her heart stop beating so loudly. Her body refused to acknowledge her increasingly irritated prompts, and took off on its own, moving slightly unsteadily towards the man in the distance, across the lawn.
He stood with his arms folded, one eyebrow raised in that classic expression that became well-known (and often imitated, though he didn't know it) so soon after his arrival here. He was watching the students as they studied and, more often, didn't study, as they horsed around and laughed and got their trousers wet. She bit her lip and wondered absently if he'd had that at some point in his life, that normalcy, that everyday brightness. She thought perhaps he hadn't, and hoped against hope that he had.
Her footsteps were soundless against the grass, but he turned anyway, and she, she alone thus far that morning, was granted a rare smile.
"Cutting class?" he prompted her.
She shrugged her right shoulder and smiled dizzily, her nonchalance definitely strained at the edges.
"What are you doing?"
"Ah—" He gestured dismissively back the way he had come. "Apparently there was a scratch on the bike; I was blamed. I always get blamed for these things, did you notice? Fixed it."
"Ah," she said, and fiddled nervously with her hair, her gaze creeping back up from the ground to fixate on his face. He wasn't looking at her then, and she allowed her eyes to remain, staring, drinking him in. A split second after he looked back at her, her eyes skittered away and focused half-heartedly on a group of students nearby. She chewed her tongue and tried to think of what she could say about bikes with scratches on them, or bikes in general, or scratches in other contexts, scratches on— people? She'd scratched herself the other day, on accident. Was this relevant to the conversation? Would he get bored and move on with just a curt nod, move on and go, go stare at Jean or something—
"Did you eat lunch?"
She's shocked, startled, surprised, taken aback, by his abrupt and unexpected continuation of the conversation. He didn't do that too often.
"Yes?" she said, squeakily, though in fact she hadn't.
"Just on that way myself."
And there went a stellar opportunity to insinuate herself into his lunch plans...
"Try the chicken," she randomed haphazardly, digging herself deeper in this imaginary conversational hole, this completely pointless imaginary conversational hole, "its pretty good. I mean, I liked it. You're a meat eater, anyway, aren't you? You look like a carnivore."
The reaction to this could go two ways; she held her breath till, thankfully, he took the amused route and gave her a tiny quirk of a grin. No comment. Just the grin.
She liked the grin.
It made her say, "I'm glad you're here."
And he looked surprised; but in a good way.
"I'm glad I'm here too," he said, and she thought that could be it, and started to turn away. "And you. Rogue." A gruff and unexpected admission, but it made her turn all the way back to him, all attempts at nonchalance gone, a sudden smile beaming forth with all the strength that she could muster. She never smiled like that at Bobby.
She had a sudden overwhelming urge to throw what little caution was left to the winds.
She raised a hand to her lips, and kissed the fingertips of her glove, then pressed it to where she could reach: just above his jawline.
"Try the chicken!" she said. "If there's any left! Eat some for me."
Again, the amused route. He laughed a little bit, tweaked the streak of white hair at the front of her bangs, and went on his way, darkness tinging the light, an uncommon man in an uncommon world. Perhaps he never had that normalcy and that everyday brightness. She'd missed out on a lot of that herself.
The substitute, however, was far more than acceptable.