Mind Games

Rating: M

Pairing: Rogue/Pyro

Spoilers: X2

Song: "One" by U2

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame

She kept playing mind games with him. Hot and cold, always an enigma, he never knew what she was thinking.

"How long are we going to play this hide and seek game?" He asked between flicking his zippo.

She sat at the vanity, brushing her long brown hair, seemingly ignoring his presence on the bed, but at his inquiry she turned around and her shoulders slumped just a little bit, signaling resignation and fatigue.

"I don't know what you're talking about John." She feigned innocence, although they both knew she understood his question perfectly, and exactly what it meant.

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night

His frustration was evident as he flicked the lighter and played with the flame in his palm, manipulating molecules to form different, miscellaneous shapes. At times, those were the only indication to Rogue of what he was feeling. Right now, she didn't need them to understand but did not want to own up to her awareness just yet, so she kept brushing her hair.

"How long are we going to meet secretly and screw behind everyone's backs?"

She should have been indignant at his rude blatancy, but being accustomed to it for some years now it made no difference what diction he used. It only mattered that he was right and she was the coward.

"You don't have to be so crude St. John." She, once again, diverted the subject and could see it exacerbated the frustration in Pyro's eyes.

"By all means, I'm not a saint so stop calling me that." He returned quickly, flicking his lighter more often now and with more intensity. She glanced at him at that moment and put the brush down, dissatisfied with their proximity.

He swallowed visibly, knowing he couldn't be upset with her or even be logical when she crawled up behind him and he could feel the softness of her skin beneath his scorching fingers. He was still shocked at her control over her mutation and thought back to the day when he found out her secret. One she hid so well…

One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

The first time he saw Rogue after betraying the X-men had been serendipitous to say the least. He remembered the rainy night and the smoky club, infested with seedy customers and excellent music. He remembered ordering a scotch neat and turning around to watch the less than pure dancing going on in the middle of the bar.

He definitely remembered the shock he experienced when he saw his former classmate making out with a tall, considerably handsome man. It didn't even occur to John that this man was not Bobby Drake; he was so mesmerized by the vision of the woman in front of him. He had not seen her in six months and now realized how much he'd missed. John recalled another foreign emotion pulsating in his brain at seeing Rogue kissing a stranger.


Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

The rest of the night professed to be interesting as he impatiently waited for Marie to make her way to the bar and part with the obviously drunk gentleman, until he grabbed her hand, ignoring the softness of her skin, and pulled her out into the cold October evening.

She didn't seem fazed by his impulsive behavior; in fact she seemed to welcome the distraction.

"Long time no see St. John." She emphasized his human name and he would've retorted had he not been so overwhelmed by what he'd just seen.

"What the hell-…"

"Just happened in there?" She asked smugly and flipped her hair uncharacteristically over her shoulder.

"Yeah, I mean how-…" "How can I enjoy a man's company without killing him?" She interrupted again. John noticed she seemed so nonchalant about his discovery and decided to stop her the next time she decided to interject.

"C'mon, I'm a bit cold, let's go to my car, I'll tell you all about it." She motioned him towards the direction of her car, and he followed mutely, but not before grasping her hand and running his thumb over the alabaster surface.

Too late
To drag the past out into the light

If she was taken aback by his touch, she didn't lead on but John did notice slight rouge spreading over her pale complexion.

Later that night, over the sounds of Bob Dylan in Rogue's car, she filled John in on the last six months, about her condition as a lab rat for Xavier and Storm, who after four months of therapy and brain scans were able to detect the source of her mutation, and assess how volatile it was. This led to her own better understanding of her power and her ability to control it. She never once mentioned Bobby, but John didn't need to know that she was still with him for appearances, in fact he didn't want to know about anyone else but her. He was so overwhelmed with this new information he never got to ask her many questions in the duration of their meeting and the next morning when she dropped him off at Magneto's lair, he'd been disappointed to part.

A few hours later, he found a note in his pocket, specifying when and where they should meet again. Now, another six months have passed and they still kept meeting here in between fighting a war against one another…

Have you come here for forgiveness
Have you come to raise the dead
Have you come here to play Jesus
To the lepers in your head

"John?" Rogue curled herself against his lying form, basking in the constant heat he radiated.

"Yeah, babe." He rarely called her pet names or anything besides Marie, but at times it felt good to be a part of something normal, and Rogue relished in the moments when he let his guard down and acted as a normal boyfriend.

"I don't want to tell anyone about us because I don't want it to be spoiled, that's all. It's not because I don't want to hurt Bobby or because I think Logan and Ororo will think I'm a traitor. I don't want questions and I don't want anyone jinxing anything. It's just that I feel when I am with Bobby people expect certain things from us both and I don't want that kind of pressure on us." She sighed against his chest, hoping he would understand.

"I feel like you play games with me." He replied simply, in true John nature, and with his own bit of attitude to boot.

At that Marie rose and looked him in the eye, trying to figure out what he meant although like always she knew all too well what he meant. He looked down at her and couldn't resist the tightness in his chest as she leaned forward and he met her kiss with fervor that surprised them both.

We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again

It was ludicrous that six months were not enough time to consummate a relationship based on unresolved tension, but neither cared as a greater force than strife willed their bodies.

She writhed beneath him, eyes glazed over but fully concentrated on not allowing her mutation to take over. Looking up, she marveled at John's complete confidence in the fact that she wouldn't kill him. At times, his trust empowered her and she felt uninhibited when she touched him. This had other side affects, for example it seemed as if she was unable to control her power as well with Bobby or anyone else, which was ironic because she was the most intimate with John, but had the least reservations.

For a moment, John became still and looked at the twisted locks gracing the white pillows.

"What's wrong?" Rogue asked worriedly, afraid she'd let her mind wander too much and now John was suffering the consequences. Literally.

Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl

"Nothing." He smiled, claiming her lips, his need returning along with his mirth, "It's just I'll never understand girls. They spend all this time brushing their hair, but they know it'll be ruined the second their ravished." He said jovially.

Rogue let out a raspy chuckle between shallow breaths, ignored sensations overtaking her body once again, "I guess you'll never figure out the opposite sex St. John." She said mockingly and he reciprocated with a tentative kiss…

Later when they were saying good-bye, Rogue watched John flag her down a cab back to the mansion, and considered asking him to come along but then thinking logically she realized she couldn't do that, be that rude and arrive at the school with a traitor.

Meanwhile, John watched the night sink down on the streets and impatiently observed how many cabs just raced by his extended hand. He was careful not to look at Rogue, leaning against the hotel wall, smoking a cigarette; he always performed this ritual when they were parting. He refused to look at her for the fear of his uncontrollable desire coming back, prolonging their visit and blowing their cover.

And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

He was pissed they never got around ending their conversation, and attempting to resolve any of the pressing matters, but he couldn't lie that the alternative was so much more enjoyable. Finally he was able to get a cab and as Rogue put her bag into the car, he pulled her into an embrace, careful to avert her lips.

"Call me as soon as you're safe ok?" He breathed into her hair but Rogue merely laughed and pulled back to look him in the eye.

"I'm safest here St. John."

With that she got into the cab and sped off, leaving John sated but alone; however, not for long. A few minutes after the cab rode off, another car pulled up on the curb besides John. The occupier of the black Lincoln pulled down the window and John recognized Magneto's soft wrinkled face and white tresses.

"St. John, your chariot awaits." The old man said whimsically.

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should

John was overcome with conflicting emotions, familiar emotions, engulfing him every time he parted with Rogue and met Magneto and Mystique back for business. As much as he thirsted for the rush of fighting for recognition of mutants, in these moments, standing the remnant of their latest tryst, his thirst for normalcy, for love, for Marie overpowered that adolescent thrill for battle.

Begrudgingly, John got into the car, embracing his alter ego Pyro, a fighter for retribution, or a recalcitrant traitor of the X-men, depending on whom you asked.

Magneto seemed to sense John's ambivalence, "St. John the rest of the world is waiting for you."

Besides him, Mystique smirked and John bubbled with anger, "Yea sometimes I wish it would leave me the fuck alone."

Silence fell upon the car, and it was evident that no pressing matters were plaguing the Brotherhood and for the remainder of the ride, John sat quietly looking out the window and playing with the note in his pocket, eager to find out when he can put the world on hold again.

One love
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other