Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men. Whilst I feel that this totally bites, I think Wolverine, Rouge, Pyro, Jean, Cyclops, etc., are in great hands with Marvel and whoever else owns them.
Summary: Set between X1 and X2. Did she have "Trying to Kill Myself" stamped across her forehead? Marie is entertaining a fatal plan, until John shows her the consequences of such an action. RyRo, slight RoIc. (What can I say? I love Rogue and Bobby, but Pyro, man. He just rocks.)
Notes: Over-used idea? From moi? You've lost your mind. I took a constantly-used time-line and twisted it with my own ideas. Cliché? Me? You should know better.
Warnings: AU, language, thoughts of suicide, mention of attempted suicide, and, once again, me as the author. If this isn't your ideal ship, I'm afraid your going to have to jump off and swim to shore. See, we've already set sail, and there are no life boats. Oops?
Haha. Enjoy the story, y'all!
It'll Be Alright
For the first time that she could remember since arriving at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the night sky was not clear and twinkling with starlight. All that greeted her inquisitive, intense gaze was pitch-black darkness; there was not a speck of moonlight to speak of. Nor did there promise to be, if the harshly pounding rain and howling winds were anything to go by.
It was as though the weather had broken free of Ororo Monroe's ever-present stronghold just to share in her painful misery.
Marie D'Ancanto, more commonly known as Rogue to her peers and teachers, sat alone on her bed in her quaint dorm room. Her chocolate brown eyes were in an odd shape – a cross between a severe frown and an expression of extreme sadness. There was no sparkle of happiness in their dark depths – the kind that could usually be spotted in the eyes of any other average teenager. Instead, they were vacant; void of any and all signs of emotion. The tears that formed around their edges were traitors to the indifferent mask she had worked to create, and though they remained unfallen, their large size signified quite clearly the grief that was racing through every vein in her body.
Rogue had been at "Mutant High" for a little over eleven months. Supposedly, it was the school for mutant children. It was meant to teach, nurture, and protect the future generation. It was also one of the precious few places in the world where any mutant could feel completely, utterly safe. One of the precious few places where they could feel one-hundred percent accepted for who, and what they were.
It wasn't a place that Rogue belonged in at all.
From the moment Storm and Scott had saved her and Logan and brought them here, Rogue knew that she would still be different. Even by mutant standards. So far, the other mutants she had come across had powers that they could be proud of – powers that they could flaunt and control with the ultimate of ease. Storm could command that weather; Jean, telekinesis; Scott (Cyclops), had red optical blasts that were strong enough to blast through mountains. Her boyfriend, Bobby, could produce and manipulate ice, and even Logan, whom she had placed upon a tattered, imperfect pedestal, had amazing regenerative abilities, and three sharp adimantium claws per fist.
Rogue, on the other hand, had the wonderful mutation of ripping the life-force away from anyone who was unfortunate enough to grasp her bare skin.
She had not had any physical contact in over a year.
She knew that her schoolmates were scared and wary of her and her absorbing powers. Despite her daily wardrobe of jeans, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, gloves, and even scarf, there were few who would dare approach her. And even some of them were uncomfortable with being so close. The rest stayed away, content with avoiding her. And though she couldn't find it within herself to blame them, it still hurt like hell.
Rogue felt as though her heart were now made of fine glass – glass that was slowly beginning to shatter into millions of sharp, tiny shards. The pain of her constant loneliness was beginning to kill her.
A forlorn sigh escaped her lips as she watched the rain form patterns on her window.
She had no friends here. At least none that she could count on. Logan was gone, gone in search of his past, with a promise to return, but none of when. Jean, Storm, and Scott, though she had worked with them, were fans of keeping up the student-teacher relationships, leaving no hope of any kind of friendship. Xavier was much too proper for to feel anything other than a parental pull for. Kitty, Jubilee – they barely spent more than an hour in her presence a day since the tragic incident at Liberty Island. And she couldn't remember the last time she had really spoken with Bobby.
Sometimes she wondered if she would have been better off not sneaking into the back of Logan's trailer in Canada.
Slowly, Rogue stood from her position on the bed, bare feet lightly tapping the carpeted floor as she made her way to her slightly fogged window, arms wrapped protectively around her exposed arms. The scattered campus lights bathed the otherwise dark grounds in a warm, dim glow. The other students in her grade and above were on a weekly annual trip to the mall tonight. As usual, she had not been invited to join them. She didn't know if she would, anyway. She was emotionally exhausted from all of the flinching.
There were times she honestly considered ending it all.
A sharp, gleaming blade to her poisonous, cursed skin. A victorious end in her mind. Or, perhaps, a slip from her window that would send her falling eight stories before slamming into the paved ground below. Maybe even too many of the hyperactive Kitty Pryde's sleeping pills.
Anything that would cause her vision to fade to a merciful black. Make her heart stop its strong, steady beating. Something that would allow her life to slip through the tough confines of her body, to see solace elsewhere.
A place for her soul to rest, where it wouldn't be shied away from.
As if her body was in agreement with her mind, Rogue's pale hand reached out for the latch on her cool window.
Falling to death – to her death – had never ranked high in her recent suicidal fantasies. The pain that she was certain would accompany both the fall and collision was not exactly an appealing thought. And she highly doubted her mangled, busted body would be something the other students would be eager to see.
Still, her nimble fingers fumbled slightly to unlatch the lock, and the heavy glass flung outward, free from its suppressing, captive hold. With a morbid, hypnotized sense of curiosity, the tall brunette leaned over to look out, wincing as harsh, biting rain pelted her shoulders. It was a long drop. Perhaps too long. She wondered if her fall would be fast enough that the Professor wouldn't be able to stop her from meeting the ground.
With a sense of cautiousness, Rogue eased her slim, fit body onto the freezing windowsill, making it so that she was facing the door. A shudder passed through her as the rain quickly soaked her back and hair. She didn't want to see the ground as it came up to welcome her to oblivion. It would be like staring her impending death in the face, just as she had done with Magneto's machine on Liberty Island. That was not something she would be jumping to do again any time soon.
'Will this death hurt as bas the last?' She questioned herself silently. 'Or will it be merciful? Could fate truly be as cruel as to make me salvation so painful to obtain?'
Her eyes were closing now, just as she had hoped they would. Slowly, her body began to rock back and forth, held in place only by the tight grasp her hands had on the wooden pane. It might hurt, it might not. Even the most excruciating of pain would be worth it, just to never have to see those flinches and frightened looks again. And if it hurt, it would be over within in minutes. This time, Logan was not around. He couldn't bring her back to this awful place.
She would just fall, and fall, and fall . . .
Tap tap tap.
A tightly, albeit soft, knocking on her door jolted Rogue from her thoughts. Her eyes snapped open, bringing her back to visual reality, and she stared at the door with slightly scandalized brown eyes. The expression only increased when her offender entered without awaiting permission.
"Rogue?" The voice that called out was curious and uninterested at the same time, and the depressed mutant was instantly on her guard.
St. John Allderdyce.
Bobby Drake's best friend, and one of them most rebellious, dangerous mutants in the entire boarding school. A pyromaniac and notorious flirt. And now someone who was unfortunate enough to fid himself at the top of her "People I Wand To Absorb To Death" list.
"What do ya want?" She called out softly, tone uninviting in hopes that John would take the hint that his presence was not welcome. The sight of his glittering eyes told her he had brushed the warning aside.
"Bobby asked me to check in on you before I went to bed," he replied simply, keeping his eyes trained on her as he entered the room completely, shutting the door. He had yet to comment on her current location.
"A lemme guess where he is." Her words were acidic. "Out with everyone else, havin' a helluva time, not even regrettin' not invitin' his girlfriend along."
John gave a shrug of no commitment, leaning against her wall in his common "bad boy" stance. Rogue favored him with a distasteful look.
"Ya checked on me," she snapped, his ease annoying her greatly. "Ya can leave now."
It was the most obvious of dismissals – rude and harshly to the point. Any idiot would have taken it exactly for what it was. And any idiot with just an ounce of an I.Q. would have obeyed, if only for the sake of their own life.
John certainly had more than enough I.Q. to understand exactly what it was Rogue was telling him to do. He had heard similar words his entire life. Yet, he was intrigued. And whenever Pyro was intrigued, he had a tendency to walk a thin line where one misstep would throw him into the most dangerous of situations.
He pushed himself off the wall, his trademark cocky grin finally in place.
"It won't work, you know," he said amiably, motioning toward the window Rogue was sitting on. "Xavier's got this place monitored to a 't', not to mention the hold Dr. Grey has on it. You can try if you want to, of course. But you won't make it to the next story down before one of them stops you."
"Ah don't know what you're talking about," responded Rogue instantly, always quick with her wit. However, on the inside, she was reeling. How had her intentions been so obvious? Did she have "Trying to Kill Myself" stamped across her forehead?
John's smirk stayed firmly in place as his eyes rolled, and he took a few steps toward her. The younger mutant stiffened, watching the other with a wary gaze.
"Of course you know what I'm talking about," he chided gently. He was standing directly in front of her now, making it impossible for her to look away without being obvious. He moved so his face was beside hers, and she could feel his warmer than normal breath on her ear.
"You can't take it anymore," he whispered, and Rogue froze, attention captured. "You've tried – you really have. But you can't help but see your mutation – your power – as a curse instead of a gift. You will do anything to get away from it, to end it. To make your vision fade to black. To make your heart stop beating. To kill it, to free yourself from it."
He pulled away, smirk completely gone from his face, and stared into her eyes with such intensity, that Rogue was breathless.
"Am I right?"
She couldn't respond to him, but only stare. It was as though he had read her mind, and if she didn't know his power, she would have accused him of it. But that wasn't his gift, and thus, it was like he had been the voice of her misery. As though all the pain she had ever felt had flowed into him, and he had spoken it all.
"How did ya know that?" Rogue finally managed to murmur. She regretted her words as she saw a flash of pain through his honey-colored eyes. But before she could voice an apology or dismiss her words, the pyrotic mutant spoke.
"I was thirteen when my mutation manifested," he informed her, pulling away slightly so that he wasn't crowding her. "It was Christmas Eve, freezing outside, fire going inside. My parents were fighting."
Rogue didn't notice that her body was no longer swaying dangerously back and forth, too captivated by John's words.
"They were fighting about me. My mom wanted me to be taken out of boarding school, and go to a public one so I could live at home. My dad wouldn't have it." John allowed himself a sigh before continuing. "He was drunk, as usual, and it was always a risk to argue with him when he had too much liquor. I can't tell you how many times he had hit me over the years because he drank too much."
Rogue's anger and sorrow were replaced with horrified sympathy. Again, she didn't notice.
"The fight escalated to my grades, and how "unsatisfactory" they were. And then it moved onto my "childish" behavior. Finally, he even dared to imply that I wasn't his. Mom exploded at that, and smacked him across the face." John gave a humorless snort. "He hit back, and I lost it."
"All I can remember was screaming, and then feeling really, really hot. Like I was on fire, except there was no pain. The last thing I heard before collapsing was my mother screaming. I woke up in a hospital room three days later, knocked out but not hurt, with Xavier standing over me."
"I was a mess when he brought me to the school. People avoided me, calling me "murderer" when they thought I couldn't hear. I had no friends, and a few months in, I tried to throw myself from the window of my dorm room." Pause. "Xavier stopped me half way down. He forced me to talk about it. I did. And all he said at the end was "It'll be alright, John."".
His gaze locked with Rogue's, and he stepped forward again.
"And he was right. I began to speak with my roommate, who, as it turned out, was avoiding me because he thought I was cold. Now we're best friends. Life got better."
Slowly, cautiously, John lifted his hands up to run his fingers through Rogue's now soaking hair. He didn't say a word as she tried to pull away, but moved so he was grasping her face gently, her hair the shield between their skins connecting, and simply stared at her.
"It will be alright, Rogue," he finally whispered, voice so tender it nearly caused her eyes to well up once more. "I promise, it will be alright. But only if you let it be."
Slowly, his hand slipped down to her waist, and in one swift, gentle movement, he lifted her from the window pane and down to the carpeted floor. Her hands had flown to his shoulders, startled by the sudden movement, and they now stood in a locked position.
"It hurts," she finally managed to get out, in one last, stubborn attempt to destroy his passionate argument. But John only smiled – not his cocky grin, but a true, honest smile.
"I know. And it will heal." He brought his left hand up to stroke her hair again, and as if determined to destroy her sudden change of heart, a little voice nagged in the back of her head.
'But no one can touch you. No matter how 'alright' it gets.'
Rogue acknowledged the voice with a painful throb of her heart.
"John," she whimpered softly, her unfallen tears beginning to break free. His expression was knowing, and before either could say a word, he gently placed his lips against her forehead.
Skin on skin.
A kiss. Fast enough that she didn't even feel her power surface.
And as though he were unable to help himself, he then grazed his lips upon hers. Another chaste kiss. But it silenced the voice in her head with a triumphant blow, and Rogue felt as though there were some hope in life.
Life that she had almost, quite literally, thrown out the window.
"I promise you, Rogue," John whispered, pulling away. He awarded her with an affectionate smile as he moved toward the door. "It's not too late. It'll be alright."
He opened the door slightly, squeezing through it so it wouldn't open all the way and squeak, and just as he was about to pass into the light of the hallway, Rogue called out to him.
"John!" She hissed. His head stuck back through, and he favored her with an inquisitive expression. Suddenly, and quite oddly, she felt shy.
She lifted her head, and for the first time in weeks, there was a smile in place. Her brown eyes were twinkling slightly with life.
"Thanks," she whispered. John returned the smile. And then, his cocky grin was back in place, a mask for the rest of the school as he prepared to return to it. With a final, understanding, and affectionate look in her direction, John disappeared, and the door latched.
Rogue was still smiling as she moved toward her bed.
Too absorbed in better thoughts to notice that it had stopped raining.
Well, I enjoyed writing it. But, the real question is, did you enjoy reading it?
I really hope so, 'cause I have a side-story and sequel planned. A sequel you couldn't see coming if you were a Seer. I'm excited about it. Haha. Yay.
News. Um, the next Avengement chapter is done, actually. The only problem is that it's on my other computer.
Which is 1000 miles or so away.
So you'll have to wait until Sunday or Monday to get it.
Along with the new X4 information I've managed to dig up.
Click review and talk to me!
Hasta la vista!