Title: What the Hell Am I Doing?

Author: verdant quest

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: X1, X2, and X3

Pairing: Rogue/Pyro

Summary: Standing in line for the cure, Rogue contemplates her life and her decision.

Author's Note: I was watching a deleted scene from X3. At the end of the movie Rogue tells Bobby that she didn't take the cure, because she has accepted who she is. I couldn't help writing a response story. I am really happy with how this turned out. Please read and review! a href" Scene /a

x-posted

'What the hell am I doing?' Rogue stared out at the angry crowd of protestors and felt like crying. So many people hated them for cuing up like sheep waiting for slaughter. The protestors were right of course, the X-gene wasn't a mistake, and their mutations weren't diseases to be cured, but rather a new wave of human development.

Someday everyone would be a mutant. Someday no one would hate any of them for having these powers. It was a gift to be among the first chosen, even if it didn't always feel like it.

Rogue hesitated. 'I should be out there, across the picket line, yelling at these sheep to not give it all up. Hell, I should be with the rest of the team, fighting for what I believe in, not standing in this line trying to change something about myself that isn't always convenient. This is me. I am Rogue, not just Marie. I'm not going to make another mistake, not for a boyfriend who is messing around with a teammate. Screw this shit.'

Rogue was suddenly furious. At herself, and at all these other people in line, at Bobby, and definitely at Kitty for letting Bobby romance her, but mostly at the weakness inside her that still thought of her mutation as some kind of flaw.

'Well, it isn't a flaw. It's a strength. How many times did it keep me from getting raped while I was on the run? How many times has it saved people?'

She remembered all too clearly when Pyro's anger at the police for holding them up at Bobby's house in Boston and for shooting Logan had gotten out of control. She had been the one to stop him. Not Bobby, not the police, certainly not Logan, but her, Rogue. She had had the strength to use her gift for a noble purpose and it had saved lives.

'What was I thinking? Giving that up for what? BOBBY? Well, fuck this!' And with that thought Rogue strode away from her place in line and headed directly for the barricade.

She pushed past the officers and into the mob of protestors. A few people congratulated her for making 'the right choice' and a few others looked at her like she was a traitor to mutant kind for even considering 'the cure'. Rogue ignored them all and pushed through until she found a place of her own.

'If I can't fight this war on the frontlines, I'm damn well going to do my part somehow!'

"Well, well, well. If it isn't my old pal's best girl; here to get cured, Roguey? Seems like the sort of stupid shit, you'd do.'

Rogue gasped inaudibly in the din at the all too familiar voice of her erstwhile friend, John Allerdyce, now known only as Pyro.

"How about you, Johnny boy, what're you doing at a cure center? Had a change of heart and decided to actually fight for mutant rights by adhering to the legal system?" Rogue mocked.

John looked astonishingly pissed and squeezed a fist by his side. For a fleeting moment Rogue wondered if John actually intended to hit her.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing here, Rogue? Do you want to turn traitor? You are too powerful to fuck it all up. Why are you still whining about your mutation? You are better than a human, why would you give that up?'

Rogue knew instinctively that this impassioned speech was not simply designed to change her mind, but was also a hidden plea to understand what people who wanted the cure, to something John considered his best personal trait, were thinking.

"It's hard to be different from your friends and family, John. You should have some idea of that. Some people can't see how special, how valuable, our mutations are. I guess that some of these people are scared of their gifts. It can be frightening. I should know that, of all people. I don't see how you can blame them, when most of the media is dominated with anti-mutant sentiment, and society is set up to be prejudiced against them. When you can't hold onto a job, when your family leaves you or kicks you out, when you can't find any friends and your neighbors are scared of you, when you're told that you're a freak why would anyone want to keep their powers when there is an alternative option? Some people can't see any other choice, John. It's up to us to prove to them that they don't need to give up their gifts because the majority feels that they are abnormal. We're the ones that have to set the example of how to live with your gifts happily, John. It's up to us."

Her eyes begged him to understand even a piece of what she had said.

"You aren't here to take the cure?"

John's words were cautious and anxious.

"No." Rogue sighed unhappily.

"I've been mad at the world for so long, John. They hate me, and for the longest time I didn't even blame them. I saw my gift as a curse. I thought I had finally gotten past that, living at the mansion, being a member of the X-Men. I made friends, and found a support network. I thought that I was happy, but, John, I wasn't. I heard one news report about the cure and I made up my mind that I was going to rid myself of this albatross. I was going to be normal."

She paused looking around at the angry, screaming mob. She still felt like a dope for buying into the hype.

"Oh, I let them talk me out of it. I didn't go running out that day to take it, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. And then I caught Bobby kissing Kitty. It brought back all my fears about how I'll never have a normal life. I can't even fuck my fucking boyfriend. So I ran out and caught the first bus into the city, and stood in line with these poor suckers who think that they are freaks and that the government is going to save them from themselves. I stood there riding that wave of fear and self-loathing and then it hit me how much I LOVE being Rogue."

She started to cry and half sobbed that last line.

"So I asked what the hell am I doing here? And the only answer I could come up with was that I letting my cheating soon-to-be ex-boyfriend fool me into thinking I'm not good enough for him. Christ, John, I was going to give it up for Bobby! What the hell is wrong with me?"

She begged him to answer her.

He was looking at her as though he desperately wanted to give her a hug, but felt that he couldn't do that on the principle that it would insult his masculinity and that he was technically her enemy. Rogue almost laughed.

"Fuck, Rogue. You are messed up in the head. Why would you give up anything for Ice-prick? You were always too good for him. If he wasn't a fucking flirt, you wouldn't have given him the time of day. That oh-so-cute ice rose your first day in class and all the other cutesy, girly romantic junk he pulled. Go home and ditch him. You'll feel better and maybe you'll find someone who actually has a goddamn prick and who enjoys a challenge and has enough brains to actually try to get around lethal skin."

He grinned wickedly as he gave her this last bit of advice.

"There ain't nothing wrong with you, Rogue. You're good enough for any man, and too good for most of them. Don't let some idiot force you into making a stupid decision. You'll regret it, and he probably won't."

She gave him a smile. "Hey, St. John," she giggled slightly when he scowled at this old nickname, "when'd you get to be so smart?"

His scowl quickly became a very self-assured smirk. "I was always this smart, Roguey, it just took you a while to catch up with me."

She grinned back at him, wanting to hit him for being an ass, but then the enormity of their situation hit her and she sobered.

"John, are you really going to fight with Magneto?"

Rogue couldn't help the fear that gripped her as she thought about him going up against the X-Men and the military.

'He's going to get himself killed. Oh, God, John is going to die, isn't he?' Rogue felt like crying again.

John looked pensive, which for John usually meant that he was in the midst of some kind of internal turmoil.

"Rogue, I chose my side when I left. You know that."

She sighed. "I wasn't suggesting that you switch sides. I doubt the X-Men would accept you back."

John looked at her in surprise. Rogue's inner John told her that he was expecting that Rogue would be too optimistic to recognize any of this. Rogue found that vaguely insulting. She wasn't exactly the happy-go-lucky type.

"I only meant," she continued, "that people are going to die, John. I'd rather that you weren't one of them."

She smirked fleetingly, and added after a beat. "I'd hate to think that there was no longer a wise-cracking pyromaniac in the world."

John lips twitched briefly in response. "I've worked hard for this, Rogue. This has always been the goal: a chance to free mutants from the restraints of human society, an opportunity to give mutants the position in life that they deserve, and to finally claim respect."

She stepped forward and caught his hand in between hers. "I'm sorry, John. I wish that I could believe that that is a possibility, but it isn't. I know that it could be in the future, but right now your army isn't enough to beat back decades of prejudice and fear. This isn't the way, John. Not now, anyway. You'll fall, either to those cure guns," she gestured at the riot police pushing back the protestors, "or to another mutant fighting you."

She moved her hands up to cup his face and made sure his eyes were on hers. "I don't want you to die, because Magneto has jumped the gun. He is still a victim of the Holocaust, John, he's doing this out of fear of what humans will do to us. He's afraid of being human, and weak, and fear is a very incautious motivator, John. It will get him killed, and even if it doesn't, it will get his army killed. I can't let you walk into this blind. You have to at least know what exactly you'll be doing if you go, Johnny."

Desperation colored her words and flooded her eyes. 'Please, hear me, Johnny. Please, don't die on me. I've lost too many friends already. I can't loose you too.'

John's eyes had gone ice-cold and then burning hot at various points while she talked, but he had said nothing, and now he seemed troubled, though not angry.

His eyes fell from hers and seemed to focus on some point part way down her face.

'Is he staring at my mouth?' Rogue wondered puzzled.

"Do you know what you're asking, Roguey? Do you? You're asking me to believe that this was all a pipe dream, and that I've wasted a year of my life on a project in which I will not be participating."

Her heart jumped in her chest. 'Did he just say that he WON'T be participating in the battle?'

"I just need you to tell me that you know what you're asking of me. 'Cuz I'm thinking you'll owe me for the rest of your natural-born life if I go along with you on this one."

Rogue felt herself blush faintly. He was flirting. 'I know he's flirting, he has to be. He only says things like that when's he's teasing.'

"John, are you saying that if I accept responsibility for you, you won't fight?"

His lips twitched again, this time in obvious amusement. "Yup."

Rogue lowered one of her hands from his face to pinch the bridge of her nose in irritation. 'This is so fucking typical.'

"And when I say 'responsibility', what do you imagine that will entail?"

His grin became quite pronounced. "Well, now, let's see, for starters I think you'll need to expect me around for the next sixty or so years. So get used to having me underfoot. And I think if I were you I'd start buying a boat load of body stockings from adult catalogs, you'll need those, once I move into your room. You've only got room for one bed, you see. So we'll need to share. And of course we'll probably need to buy condoms by the truckload. And—" John broke off as Rogue slapped him upside the head.

"Don't press you luck, pal. You've got a lot of explaining to do when we get back to the mansion. I imagine Storm won't be too impressed with your plans to move into my room, even if she does let your sorry ass back in."

John grinned and pulled Rogue in toward him, meeting her eyes squarely, "If I had known you'd cared at all, Rogue, I never would have gotten into that helicopter. I'd still be at Xavier's, fighting the good fight, and still waiting for you to wake up and realize that Bobby is never going to make you happy, but that I'd be more than willing to try."

Rogue's mouth fell open in astonishment.

"You know that isn't very flattering. I thought you knew. I mean I made that fireball for you on that first day."

Rogue gave him an incredulous look. "I was supposed to know that you wanted to be with me, because you were playing with fire in class? John, you play with fire everyday. What made that fireball so special?"

John frowned as though he'd never considered this line of reasoning before. "Oh, well, now that you mention it."

He winced and looked sheepish. "I suppose constantly ignoring you and making cracks probably didn't make you think I was gagging for it either, huh? Oops."

"Oops?" Rogue glared, "Is that all you have to say? You mean I gave into Bobby for no reason? I thought that since the guy I liked obviously wasn't interested in giving me the time of day, I should at least say yes to the guy who was interested."

John looked at her as if she were the sexiest creature he'd ever laid eyes on. "You wanted me? Not Ice bucket?"

She sneered. "I would have thought that had been obvious by now, Johnny—" She was cut off by the intense, delighted kiss John was pressing onto her mouth.

During the several seconds it took for the mutation to pull at her, Rogue considered how much more satisfying this was than any kiss she had had, something to do, no doubt, with a long unresolved sexual tension that she had undergone for two years while John was still living at the mansion.

John pulled back reluctantly as the pull started to drain him. He was breathing hard, but seemed un-phased by her mutation's attack on his system. He smiled down at her as though she was the most wonderful present he'd ever received and one he had every intention of making his favorite toy.

"Come on, Roguey. Let's get out of here. I expect to be moved into your room by tonight. Oh, and Rogue?" He paused for her to catch him up. "Do you plan to change your name to Rogue Allerdyce, or would you prefer the more traditional Marie Allerdyce to appear on the marriage license?"

Gawping inelegantly, Rogue allowed John to drag her by the hand out of the crowd and toward home.

Fin.