So you roast the place.

It feels less pathetic than feverishly jerking off, although that's probably something you're going to do too.

What the fuck was that?

Whoosh, go the magazines on the floor, their slick pages coiling into black.

You turn the trash to ash, all of it up in smoke and leaving powdery dove-gray hills it'll probably take you another week or two to scoop up and throw away.

You kick at some CD cases and they skitter across the room, slam into the wall and break. You resist the urge to chuck something at the windows, still itching to throw yourself down on the mattress and work out your frustration another way.

What the fuck was that?


Underneath you.

Writhing… gasping and moaning and…

You shoot a ball of flame at a cardboard box that may or may not be empty. You've been here for over six months and are still basically squatting like a homeless person because you're too lazy to unpack.

You stop to watch it burn and you tell yourself you're not embarrassed she's seen this, what you've been living in. It's not like she doesn't know you're a slob – she's been in your room before back at the institute, it's not like she doesn't know who you are, that you're not the type to take a girl out to dinner before feeling her up. That you're never going to buy flowers or light candles. Or clean. And it's not like any of that makes a difference anyway because that type of shit is not what she wanted you for.

You know what she wanted you for.

Teach her something. Like with the smoking on the roof last year.

You didn't really think she was going to let you have her. You knew she was just trying it out, the messing around thing. You just wanted to see more of her, touch more of her. You wanted to make her feel good.

You feel a flash of smugness that you've touched her first, and simultaneously realize how hypocritical it is to gloat when you're pissed she did it in the first place, "fixed" herself when there was nothing wrong with her.

You weren't under any orders to destroy the clinic. You'd taken it upon yourself. With Mystique out of the equation you were poised to become Magneto's Second and you wanted to make sure he thought you were worthy instead of just convenient. You wanted to show him that you could handle it, that you weren't some dumb kid, some random lackey. You wanted to show him that you could do what needs to be done. That you were ready. And you were.

But then there she was.

She was making her way through the crowd, head down, arms wrapped around herself, trying to make herself invisible. You couldn't see her face, but even without that streak of white in her hair you'd have recognized her anywhere.

You saw the asshole who lobbed the rock, you saw it hit her and before you knew what you were doing you were pulling her out of the way when you should have left her alone, should have waited until she was clear, pretend like you never saw her, and then blasted the shit out of that clinic. But she pulled you from your purpose. She made you pause.

It occurred to you, standing there in the dark of the alley, alone with her for the first time in you have no idea how long, that you almost killed her. If you had been a few minutes earlier she would be dead now. It's not like you had been lying in wait for your moment to strike. You had been pushing your way through that crowd with your hand aimed and smoking and had only changed course when you recognized her and decided against your better instincts to follow her. To protect her.

Even as you were doing it you knew that by Magneto's code protecting her was the last fucking thing you were supposed to be doing.

You gave her a chance to deny it.

You wanted her to say she went in there but she changed her mind. You wanted her to tell you that she realized how perverted the whole thing was and that she left before they could put the poison in her, before they could make her ordinary.

But she told you it was done, showed you her arm where they stuck her, all defiant and unrepentant, and not for one second did you think she was lying about it in order to trick you into thinking she was vulnerable, powerless before trying to take you down before you finished what you were there to do. Because Rogue doesn't lie. You don't think she can. Those eyes give everything away.

It feels like a lifetime ago since you last saw her, since you left her and Drake on the Blackbird, just sitting there and choosing to stay at the kid's table.

You wanted to ask her to come with you then. If Drake hadn't been there maybe you would have. You remember looking at her, meeting her gaze head on and you've never forgotten those eyes. As much as you've tried, you've never forgotten.

And now you will never forget her skin, how soft and warm it was under your hands, your mouth…

It wasn't good, being on the receiving end of her power – you've been beat up more times in your life than you can count, have broken bones, and still you've never known that kind of pain. You can admit to yourself that you had been using everything in you to not run the fuck away when she came towards you all willowy and white and beautiful because you still remembered too clearly what it felt like.

But then when she was right there, so close you could smell her skin, a soft scent of vanilla and lilac, some kind of perfume that made your heart clench just a little bit because she always smells like this and you had forgotten… in that moment when she was right there looking up at you, the pain of being psychically ripped open seemed worth it if it meant for those few seconds just before, she was touching you, and you were touching her, feeling her….


You've been with girls. Lots of them.

But this… it was different.

Or it could have been.

You like her.

You found yourself wanting to give her something instead of just taking what you want. Which was new. And – surprise, surprise - not fun.

What a fucking pussy apologizing like that when you were the one who was used…

You kick at a kitchen chair, splintering the wood.


You light it and it crackles.

You look at the one remaining chair standing next to its partner that's just been reduced to kindling still feeling like shit, and you're tempted but if you keep going you're not going to have anything left.

You're already not getting the security deposit back.

You kill the flames. The air is soupy with heat.

You're still horny.

You sit down on the mattress, fall back and catch her scent in your sheets.

Your hand wanders down your stomach, your fingers unbuttoning your jeans.

You wonder if she knows you've done this before and thought of her.

You wonder if it's why she chose you.

You close your eyes tight.

You're not good enough for the real thing and you know it.

You've always known it.

You stepped back and let Bobby have her. You heard her story and figured she didn't need anymore shit in her life and you are good at shitty.

You probably would have kept away entirely if you hadn't been roommates with Bobby, which had led to what Bobby had thought was friendship and what you had always considered more of a stalemate. You two were the oldest. And Pete, but Pete wasn't big on doing anything but scribbling in his art pad and ogling Kitty. At least Drake could hold his own at Halo. So yeah, you hung out with him.

And then you hung out with her.

You'd sit under the stars with her, watching the wind blow her hair back, that white streak that you know she hates but you think is pretty. You'd watch her lips close on the same cigarette you'd had in your mouth moments before and then look away before she caught you.

She knows now. You think that's how it works. She touches you and she knows everything… every thought every wish, every pathetic and dirty thing you've ever felt, you've ever done.

But she let you touch her. She let you crawl on top of her and kiss her neck…

"God…" you groan at the ceiling, you give yourself over to it, to the sense memory of her under your hands, your mouth, your body, and it's so much better than any fantasy you've come up with because the reality of her is so much better… than anything you could have imagined… the heat of her that made your fingertips and palms pulse in recognition wanting to draw it out, bring it to you. The feeling of her legs wrapped around you and urging you closer, closer, God, and those little gasping breaths that made your heart pound…

You wanted her to say your name, whisper it, gasp it, moan it, in the heat of it, the thick of it. You want to be able to close your eyes now and remember that moment, "John…" trembling off her lips and making you believe it's because she wants you… and that she wasn't here just because you were at the right place at the right time.

You shudder and lay limp on the sheets that smell like her, spent and loose limbed, liquid with a heart that's still throbbing insistently in your chest matching the pulse of your blood churning, more, more, more

You clench your fists. The urge to burn, to turn everything to cinder coming on like a tidal wave of rage as you hear her voice say "not with you…"

And you think of her standing there, the flush of her skin, those eyes… you see her hand at her chest, a half closed fist over her heart looking startled and upset and you get that she didn't mean it to go that far, you get that she didn't mean to lead you on. It's not her fault. You should have known better. You do know better.

So you let her off the hook, you let her go. Back to Bobby who will get everything he wants because Bobby is good and you are not.

You're just a punk with a burnt out apartment and a crush on a girl you're probably never going to be alone with ever again. At least not in the way you tell yourself you want to be; naked and shivering.

You think you'd settle for just holding her.

You just want to feel her again.

You want her to choose you again. You want her to use you again.

You want to set yourself on fire, and you want her to be the match.