Disclaimer: not mine
A/N: Ryro makes my freakin day.
She went there to think and to slowly get drunk. It wasn't the sort of place where she'd be disturbed. Whether it be by young frat boys looking for someone to take home with them or older, lonely men, too intoxicated and desperate to see how pathetic they looked.
It was quiet, never a bar brawl or drunken shouting match to be seen. It was just a regular bar with regular owners and patrons, a fairly new jukebox in the corner with somewhat new songs and a seemingly never ending flow of liquor. Scotch, in her case. It's a southern thing, she'd tell people when they shot her an inquisitive glance at her choice of beverage. It was really a Logan thing, just like her occasional burning need for a good cigar, a habit that won her even more inquisitive glances whenever she pulled one out.
Tonight she's thinking about the cure. Which, to be perfectly honest, was what she thought about most of the times she had come to this particular pub, that particular booth.
She had come there the night she and Bobby had broken up. Not from fights or conflicts or the even present 'Kitty Issue' but from good, old fashion simply not loving each other anymore.
She had come here also the night that Logan came back, and this time to stay. He announced to her, in front of Jean and Scott's gravestones, that he would now be a permanent part of the X-men, fighting the fight, fighting Jean's fight. And he had still called her 'kid.' She spent that night nursing beer after beer in the back booth, her booth, not out of sadness or loss, but simply to say good-bye to her childhood and the last of her childhood fantasies.
But tonight, this night, was decision night, just as it was every three months. To cure or not to cure. To touch or not to touch. The syringe was waiting on the table, next to her scotch neat, waiting to be used. Waiting for her to make her damn mind, yet again.
That's how he found her, a quarter to 12:00 on a Tuesday night, staring at the fake wooden table, slouched against the worn booth back. She looked small. She looked resigned. She looked like she had the first day he had met her: shaken and alone and very, very tired. He realizes, with a grimace, as he moves to buy a beer, that she looks like him now. Him with no more snarky comments and grand schemes and righteous causes. Both of them, drained from the fight, the everyday fight.
He slides into the seat across for hers, drink in hand, and chooses to not be offended when she lookes annoyed at the sight of him. Really, could she be blamed? No, he knew that.
"Marie," he states lightly, before swigging from his beer.
"Pyro," she respondes just as nonchalant. He drags the back of his hand across his mouth and rolls his eyes.
"We aren't in school anymore, Marie. We aren't fighting a war anymore, you can call me John."
"Is that supposed to be some goddamned privilege?" she hisses.
"No," he grounds out, "it's supposed to be a goddamned olive branch." He reaches into his pocket, running his fingers over the comforting planes of his lighter. He would need all the comfort he could get to survive this conversation unscathed. She looks up at him with sparks in her eyes and for a moment he let himself nurture the idea that she had his mutation, and not her cursed poisonous skin, that she was looking at him with flames and fire.
"Where you been, John? Last I heard about you, you were runnin' with your tail between your legs from Alcatraz, but that was five years ago, surely you've been up to somethin'."
He smiles snidely and pulls out his lighter, flicking to life a flame and letting it run subtlety over his fingers. "Oh, I've been around. But what about you? Last I heard you were waiting in line for the cure so you could finally make it with Drake. Too bad about it not being forever though, isn't it? How'd that play out? Did you start sucking the life out of Bobby while he was in the middle of fucking you?"
"That's enough, John!" she nearly shouts with barely checked anger. Her reaction surprises him and the blue flames that were licking their way across his palm jump before he folds his fingers into a fist, snuffing out the fire.
"Sorry," he mutters, taking another pull from the bottle, not really meaning the apology at all, knowing that she knows that too.
"How is the Iceman?" he asks after only a few seconds of quiet, and she would have smiled a little inwardly, remembering his well known hatred of awkward silences, if she wasn't still seething from his previous comment.
She pushes some of her hair behind her ear and considers her words before answering. "He's good," she eventually says, "He misses you, although I can't see why, you're still as much of as asshole as ever."
"He said that, that he misses me?" he asks, trying his hardest to sound disinterested and hoping to God that she'll play along.
"No, but, you know Bobby, he never was real good at hiddin' stuff. He doesn't have to say it." He peers down at her ring finger, bare, and notices the needle for the first time.
"You haven't married him yet?" he asks through a suddenly dry throat. He shakes his head to rid himself of the onslaught of sudden and unwelcome hopes. "Hm, maybe you like it when guys are assholes, that's why Bobby hasn't managed to drag you to the alter."
She purses her lips and chuckles a little bitterly and pulls a wedding invitation out of her purse.
"Huh, Kitty. Who saw that coming?" he says sarcastically. "He never was right for you," he adds as he hands back the cream colored paper. She refuses to take it.
"Keep it," she tells him, "I hear weddings are great places to extend olive branches." He nods, folds it half, and slips it into his pocket.
"Is it going to wear off soon?" he questions, glaring indicatively at the syringe so she doesn't have to ask what he's talking about. She doesn't really even have to answer.
"Are you going to take it again?" Again, no clarification is needed.
She merely swallows the remainder of her scotch with one harsh jerk of the arm and quickly injects herself while the burn of the liquor can mask the sting of the needle. He can read the meaning in her actions and expression. Take that, she's saying, take your fanatical ideas of purity and fuck off. But he doesn't appear upset or disgusted, as she expected he would, he just looks calm and a little bit like he's just proven himself right about something he's always wondered about.
He rakes his fingers through his now all naturally brown hair, and frowns.
"Do you ever wonder why Bobby wasn't enough for you, even after you had the cure?"
"No," she's being honest, he can feel it. It's the way she meets his gaze unflinchingly. This girl, no more mutation, no more natural defenses, still staring him down like she could remove him from her presence with the blink of the eye or a flippant hand gesture.
"Because he's not like you. He's not like us. Cure or no cure, we're still broken and Bobby's still whole. And that means he could never really touch you, even when he was."
"You're saying we're the same, you and me? You're saying you can really touch me?" He thinks it's supposed to sound haughty and facetious, but they can both hear the hope in her voice.
He jerks open his lighter again, ignites his hand, and reaches out to grab hers just as he extinguishes his. His touch is still hot and she fidgets with discomfort for a few seconds as his hold on her slowly loses it's heat, but none of it's intensity.
"I can burn you, too." he whispers. She thinks that his voice sounds like hot coals.
"Why are you here, John? What do you really want from me."
"You have that Plus One yet for the Iceman's wedding?"
"Not yet." Unflinching gaze and honestly again, he could get used to that.
"My place or yours?" he asks the question before he knows it's on his tongue.