Disclaimer: The usual, I don't own anything. But if I did, believe me; things would have turned out differently in the movie.

Warnings: This chapter may contain scenes not appropriate for the prim and prudish. Enough said.

Dedication: This one is for a great Ryro author, our beloved Randa Beth, who has delighted us with many of her fics. Thank you for helping me with this chapter.

Author's Notes: This short story comes from a phrase I wrote for another fic, worth a thousand deaths. This idea began to develop in my head. I couldn't let it go... or was it the other way around, the idea wouldn't let go of me? Either way, from it was born this little ficlet. I hope you like it. Please, be so kind to let me know.


Secret Rendezvous

OoOoO

Don't let the anger of your tortured soul

Blind you to what could be;

A love that's as fresh as rain-drenched rose

This love can happen between you and me.

I may not be the one you had chosen

And you're not the one I would claim

But sometimes life deals us a hand

And we play it to stay in the game.

So what may now seem hidden or dead

Like the roses waiting for spring,

If given the chance love can bloom too

When it's time for roses again.

A Time for Roses by Joyce Jackson

-XxXxXxX-

How in the hell did he always manage to end up like this? He, the hardened, selfish, resident jerk, couldn't resist her. No; it was like fighting against a tidal wave. And that's what he was feeling in this very instant as she roamed her gloved hands over him, a tidal wave creating in him a turmoil of devastating emotions.

The situation was preposterous, to say the least. John Allerdyce was having trouble believing what they were doing. Hidden from prying eyes, more precisely from Bobby's prying eyes; he had her in his arms, every curve of her luscious body molding to his. Eyes closed, he allowed himself to be dragged down to this bottomless pit of desire. And that was putting it mildly. His body was throbbing from the sheer pleasure of having her near, her mahogany and soft curtain of hair all around him, her head resting in his shoulder.

It was a delicious torture to have her like this.

"Johnny?"

He hated it… except when he heard it in that melodious drawl.

He didn't open his eyes. "Huh?"

"Why do we keep doing this?"

Yes. Why?

"Because we want to?" He flinched inwardly; was that his voice? It was a hoarse whisper with a painful quality.

"Is this what you want?"

"I'm not sure; let me think on it a few minutes. In the meanwhile, take your time doing what you're doing now… Ouch!"

She has hit him hard in his chest. "What the fuck was that for?" He grumbled.

"For being such a jerk. Answer my question smartass."

He sighed, annoyed. "Why do you want to complicate things?"

"Aren't they already complicated?"

He shrugged, nonchalantly. It was true they had been doing this for quite a while behind Bobby's back. In the midnight hour he would steal himself to her room and lay beside her in the bed. He was never scared of her nearness, letting her do whatever the hell she wanted to do with him. He didn't care if he died; only that she touched him like she was doing right now. Her fingers running along his neck, down his chest following the path to that ticklish spot on his stomach.

"He's your friend, you know." It was barely above a whisper.

"And?"

He knew he had made her angry, her delightful body had stiffened. Pulling back a little, she stared at him, her brown eyes giving him an accusing glare.

"What?"

"Nothing."

He smirked. The blame couldn't solely lie on his shoulder; there have to be two to play the game. She rested her head on his shoulder again.

"John."

"Rogue." He mocked her.

"Why do you keep coming?"

Oh, fuck! When she bit down on something she would not let go. She wasn't going to give up. "What is it you want me to tell you?" And feigning a dreamy voice, "Oh, Rogue I like to be with you and hold you in my arms, feel you beside me, that womanly body of yours awakening this deepest, hidden feeling that I didn't know was inside of me." Then he added in a chillingly unemotional tone, "I'm not the fuckin' walking popsicle."

The irony of it all was that every single word he said was true. He wanted to deny it. He didn't want to feel this vulnerable around her. He was fuckin' Pyro; he wasn't allowed to feel, much less for this pitiful heap of a mutant girl who constantly whined of her God given gift.

He fell to the floor with a painful thud, never guessing she had it in her. He saw her face hovering over him, her body balancing precariously over the edge of her bed. "Did I hurt you?" He should have felt suspicious of that question.

"No."

With graceful swiftness, she got off her bed and kicked him mercilessly in his gut. "Now, did I hurt you?" Her voice didn't have any hint of guilt.

He got up quickly from the floor; too quickly for her peace of mind. He was mad as hell; he was on the brink of committing murder.

"Why in the fuckin' hell did you do that for?"

"For being such an arrogant asshole."

"I was being honest."

"Honest." She hissed, her drawl interlaced with sarcasm. "Is that how you are behaving, coming to my room in the nick of the night and keeping Bobby unaware of what we're doing?"

"You should know; you're his dearest girlfriend." He snarled with viciousness.

Those beautiful, soulful eyes turned to liquid caramel, glinting with unconcealed fury. He immediately caught on her intention. He stopped her hand just inches away from his face. He seized her other hand and drew her against his body with violence. Her face was mere inches from him, her eyes glittering with fire. She breathed through her parted pink lips; John felt her breath slowly caressing his face. God, she had the image of a woman aroused and his anger was turned on himself for letting all these erotic visions cross his mind. He knew she was still furious and that only added more fire to his sinful yearnings. No; it was more than yearning, he craved her.

He didn't care if he died; he would gladly fall into death's embrace if he could taste that mouth. He longed to loose himself in her sweet moistness, to drown himself in it. She held him with her inscrutable eyes for what felt like an eternity, he was mesmerized by them.

Sliding his arm around her waist, he drew her hard and close as he eased his other hand over the back of her head, gently tightening it around her nape, drifting upward, entangling his fingers in her hair. Her eyes were wide and growing wider by the second.

"John." She managed to whisper, anger still lingering in her voice and feeling suspicious. "You mustn't."

Hell. Didn't she know him yet? The mustn't, the shouldn't, the ought not to, the couldn't, all of them meant nothing to him. For a brief moment she resisted him, her body rigid and her eyes a peculiar mix of fear and anger. He bent down and breathed in her ear. "Marie."

She gasped.

He nuzzled the soft skin along her jaw, smelling her scent, full of all her womanly secrets and promises.

She melted against him.

He kissed her, tentatively at first, a brush of his mouth on the corner of hers, then a slow, easy glide of his lips onto hers that were trembling and were far softer than he'd imagined. She groaned. The sound made him go over the edge and take immediate advantage, taking absolute possession of her mouth. He felt the pull of her mutation expanding throughout his body, relishing the pleasure and the pain it awoke on him. He didn't want to stop, not yet. She was responding hungrily to his kiss, pressing closer to him, parting her lips eagerly to allow the plunge of his mouth against her. The warmth and sweetness of her wetness was intoxicating.

He pulled away. He was breathing hard, if from the reaction of her mutation or from the desire cursing through him, he didn't know and he didn't care. Nothing mattered to him except having her like this. Her face was all flushed, her lips swollen. She could barely hold herself upright, her hands grabbing his shirt to not fall down. He saw when those eyes began to clear, reality crashing into her. Before she could say something or deny him anything, he kissed her again. He received the same fervent answer from her. He left her lips, running his mouth down her chin and along the soft curve of her throat. God! She smelled good and tasted of honey and strawberries. He heard her whimper; making this low, keening sound that drove him insane. The desire to take her there was growing every second. She buried her hands on his hair, bringing him closer.

Again he pulled back, trying to chase away the dizziness. Suddenly, he cupped her in his arms. He no sooner laid her on the bed that his body came down to pin her there, reveling all those soft and feminine curves and pressing into her intimate places. Taking one of her hands, he began to slip off her glove.

"John." She protested.

He snapped his eyes to her face and brusquely replied. "What?"

She let out a muffled cry. "Your eyes…"

"What about them?"

"They're…" She hesitated. "Nothing."

He followed with her other hand, no protest leaving her mouth this time after he threw away the glove. He was aware that all logic had fled him as surely had all reason abandoned her, allowing him to do whatever he wanted. Then, lifting his torso, he took of his shirt.

"This is dangerous, John." She warned him. Even though she was fearful he could easily discern that she was enveloped in a haze of pure desire.

"Don't fuckin' tell me." He said in a slow, deep voice full of sarcasm. Then in a more serious tone, "Hell, Marie, when haven't I been in the mood to play with danger? I play with fire, for crying out loud."

He stared down at her, his gaze locking with hers. "Do you still want to know why I keep coming? For this." And taking her hands, he rested them on his back. Very tentatively at first, she glided her fingertips along his shoulder and down his spine. He arched, closing his eyes, sure an expression of pain and pleasure was crossing his face. He didn't give a damn if she saw his vulnerability. His waist was between her legs, the intensity of what he was feeling overriding all his arrogance. Her hands began again to trail down his back, the electrifying surge of her mutation leaving him weak and exhilarated. His chest was caressed by the satiny material of her nightgown.

He slipped down one of her straps and gave her shoulder an openmouthed kiss. The warmth of skin on skin; it surprised him how warm she was, expecting her skin to be cool under his touch. Going down, his lips closed on a turgid mound over the material of her nightgown to suck it deep in his mouth. She shuddered under him. She held his head in her hands and he threw to the air all sanity as he heard her soft cries. It was so consuming, and a sensual shock.

He reared back then, straightening his arms to brace them on either side of her, embedding himself even deeper between her legs. He paused, waiting for her to open her eyes. He was rewarded; her eyes stared back so intense, her brown eyes shining with lust.

"This is why I keep coming. And you can't imagine how much I've wanted this; I've wanted you."

A small smile spread on those pouting lips and he began a slow, sensuous thrusting. He lowered his head, his lips grazing her softly. Her mouth covered his, her fingers entangling in his hair.

"Oh, God." She gasped.

The tension began to mount as she moved against all of his thrusts. He plunged deep, grinding into her, his eyes never leaving hers. He saw it in her eyes; that sense of expectation suddenly becoming wondrous discovery. Her rosy lips parted to cry his name. Tremors racked her body. Their eyes still locked, he emitted a low, animal sound of pure pleasure and then whispered in a low mumble full of worship:

"Marie."

His heart was slamming against his chest and he took several deep breaths. Brown eyes stared at him glowing with a beautiful quality, brimming with fulfillment. John moved to pull the cover over her. He felt exhausted and sated and all he wanted was to rest beside her, to feel her beating heart next to him. She turned around, her back towards him and he snaked an arm around her waist.

"John…" She began to speak.

He stopped her. "Don't say a word, Marie… please." He was afraid she would say something that would shatter away the beauty of their shared moment. She complied with his wishes, keeping her mouth shut. After a few minutes, her breathing turned into a deep rhythm telling him she was asleep. He raised his head to look down at her beautiful face. An angel was sleeping beside him.

"Do you want to know why do I keep coming? Because your touch is worth a thousand deaths." He said barely above a whisper.

This sweet, small smile appeared in her luscious lips. He could swear… No; it couldn't be. She was too deep in sleep to have actually heard him. She must be dreaming….

When did she become so important to him? It would only make his decision more difficult to do.

-XxXxXxXxX-

Rogue stared at what she scribbled on the page of her notebook. She was supposed to be listening to Dr. Grey's dissertation of atoms and molecules, but her mind was elsewhere. The whole damn morning her mind had been wandering, somewhere on cloud nine. And now she read the strange phrase. Your touch is worth a thousand deaths. It had been repeating itself in her mind…ever since she woke up this morning feeling cold and alone.

Did she dream all that happened to her last night? If she did it sure as hell was the best dream she'd ever have. But his presence still lingered inside her, answering her doubts of what transpired between them in her bedroom. Gloominess came over her; she haven't talked to John, let alone seen him. Was he avoiding her? Now, why couldn't Bobby follow his example? Lately, his presence had become more and more insufferable; proving to be difficult to bear his niceties and charming ways. If he had caught on to her sour mood perhaps she shouldn't have snapped at him. Lifting her hands, she covered her face ashamed of what she'd told him.

Stay the fuck away from me.

That definitely proved that John was with her last night. He would've said something like that, not her. Never her. Heaven help her. What was she going to do about these rendezvous encounters? It was wrecking her whole life.

"Rogue could you please list all the noble gases and their atomic number?"

Annoyed at being interrupted in her musings, she snapped, "List them yourself."

As soon as she said it, she regretted doing so, her lips making a grimace. All eyes were on her. "I'm sorry." She whispered.

Jean looked her intently. "Are you alright, Rogue?"

She sighed and answered with blunt honesty, "No."

"Would you care to go outside and have a word with me?" It sounded like an order, not as a request. Rogue just nodded.

"Excuse us, please."

Jean closed the door to the classroom to give their conversation some privacy. Rogue couldn't hold back the defiant stare. 'Oh, thank you very much, John.'

"That wasn't you answering, that was John. Do you care to explain me what is going on between you and him? "

Rogue cringed inwardly. Was it so obvious? Oh, Lord! She hoped not.

"Nothing is going on." Rogue no sooner said it, than John's voice reverberated throughout her head, 'And besides is not of your fuckin' business Miss Almighty and Proper.'

'John, shut your freakin' mouth.' She admonished him mentally.

'Why? That question sounded accusing enough.'

Yes, it had.

Rogue noticed the arched eyebrow. She prayed she wasn't projecting too loud.

"Nothing?" Jean asked, crossing her arms across her chest.

Great! She did project.

"Can I give you some advice?"

'No.' Said John in her head.

"Please, do so." She could almost feel John glaring inside her.

"Bobby is a very good boy. He's the boy every girl should have a stable relationship. He's loyal, kind, thoughtful…"

'Oh, for fuck sake! Who is she trying to convince, you or her?' John interrupted Miss Grey diatribe.

Rogue, doing her best to listen to Miss Grey advice, had to concede that John's psyche was right. To her mind came a certain Canadian with adamantium claws. Mm? If she was Miss Grey and she had to choose between Scott and Logan, who would she select?

Ladies and gentlemen, in this side of the cage we got Scott; cute, serious beyond reason, trustworthy, boring, honorable, boring, Mr. Goody Two Shoes, boring. While in this other side we have Logan, extremely handsome, an interesting mix of savageness with tenderness, yeah, exciting, and very possessive and protective of what he claims as his. And the winner is no other than the Wolverine, still King of the cage!

'Finished already?'

Inwardly, she smiled impishly. John's psyche sounded disgruntled. 'Yeah' Suddenly this realization dawned on her. 'Oh, my God! John…'

'What?'

"Rogue, have you listened to anything I've just said?"

She nodded vigorously, "Yes, Miss Grey."

A big know it all smile spread on Jean's mouth. "Good. I'm sure you'll know what to do and that you will choose wisely."

"I must thank you because you showed me what I won't do. I'm supposed to follow all this reasoning and go for this supposedly right guy. But we are truly cowards when we won't listen to our hearts. My heart has already chosen the right guy and I'm not afraid to follow it. Perhaps, Miss Grey you should do the same."

Turning around, she walked away leaving behind an open mouthed Jean, her chin almost touching the floor. Her steps were brisk, she needed to find John. She didn't care if not going back to classes would get her in trouble.

Last night, she kept bugging him with her questions and Miss Grey had opened her eyes. All that interrogation wasn't for him, well, mostly. It was her who had to answer them. Why did she allow him to keep coming to her? Why did she wait for him every night? God! How could she be so blind? She's only been doing what everybody expected of her. Be the sensible girl; do not dare to choose John. He is the screwed up boy. You should go for Bobby, the nice boy.

Wasn't the screwed up boy allowed to love too?

Every night, John lay beside her, never flinching away from her touch. He was never scared, always caught up in the exhilarating moment of having her next to him as her hands glided throughout all his body. Bobby only dared to hold her hand… Yes, Bobby was scared of her. He had tried to kiss her but he stopped himself every single time she asked him not to. However, John never stopped.

'Your touch is worth a thousand deaths.' It repeated again in her head.

Rogue knew that John was a very guarded guy. His arrogance wouldn't allow him to be any other way. He loved to display this hardened, careless and nonchalant side of himself and everybody thought him to be like that. Very much like her wolf. At fist, Logan showed to be this selfish asshole who didn't give a damn about anyone except himself. He proved her wrong. Logan was capable of loving just like every next door guy… maybe even more.

Just like John. Oh, yes, she was sure as hell that he felt something for her.

Hadn't she heard many times that the eyes were the window to your soul? Last night, John let his guard down and his eyes… Rogue never stopped marveling herself with his beguiling and hypnotizing eyes. They had a very peculiar color; nor blue neither green. As he pinned her down on the bed, his eyes had taken the deep color of green, shining like the purest jade. Her heart had stopped in her chest, mesmerized by them. It was… in that instant, in those eyes she could discern his love for her.

She went outside to the mansion's grounds. She knew where to find him. He sometimes would like to hang around with this misfit from the school. She smirked; John wasn't the only resident jerk. Bobby was still his friend but since she arrived to the Institute, their friendship had become somewhat strenuous. In various occasions she had found him with this guy who, like John, disregarded all laws and norms. But, unlike John, he was a likable scoundrel once she got to know him.

"Hi guys." They were in the basketball court, smoking. That didn't surprise her. Her eyes went to John's friend. He was handsome, with a devilish look that had many of the Institute's girls sighing. Normally, Greeks were recognized for their good looks and passionate nature. She wasn't affected by him; her eyes were only for John and she would giggle every time the Greek dude would leave in his wake a bunch of dreamy eyed girls.

"Why aren't you in classes?"

That question raised her hackles; John sounded annoyed. She retorted back. "You aren't the only one allowed to skip classes."

John shrugged.

"Dom, can I take away your smoking partner for a while?"

"By all means, do so." Heck, he truly was a good looking devil, all his teeth flashing as he sent her this big smile.

"I'm in no mood for speaking." John grunted and exhaled a puff of smoke. He was avoiding her, all right. His eyes were locked on some point in the horizon at her back.

"Really, John, I don't give a damn if you aren't in the mood. Whether you want it or not, we're going to speak."

His eyes were on her; they had taken a metallic hue. A shiver went down her spine; he was angry. It was a cold and soulless stare.

"Can't you get a fuckin' clue?" He said under his breath, his voice in a chilling tone, "I've been avoiding you for some reason."

"Well, I'm an obnoxious bitch."

"Tell me about it." He muttered, angrier by the second.

Dom averted his glance toward the other direction. Rogue could tell he was uncomfortable witnessing their disagreement. She didn't know what to think of John's behavior. He usually was ornery and quite disagreeable, but this was going to the extreme.

"What is wrong with you?"

That seemed to trigger a strange reaction in him, before her eyes he stiffened, slowly rising from the floor. "Do you want to know? You are what's wrong with me."

She took an involuntary step backward; it was as if he slapped her in the face.

"John." Dom said, warningly.

"Stay the fuck out of this, Dom. It doesn't concern you." He snapped back at his friend.

His face hardened even more, if that was possible. "What is it you want from me, my undying confession of eternal love?"

"That's not …" She was virtually mortified.

Dom tried to intervene again. "John, why don't you tell her?"

"And I told you to stay the fuck out of this."

"Fine, have it your way, John. After all it's your fuckin' business not mine." And throwing away his cigar, Dom walked away.

Rogue stared back at John's eyes; she would not give him the pleasure of backing out of his furious glare.

"No? Is that not it? You don't say." His sarcasm was full of viciousness and he sneered, "Let me guess. I'm to slit my wrist and write on the floor, with my fuckin' blood let's not forget, that I love you."

A bird chirped in the tree and the sound of each chirping grew louder and louder in the stillness.

She was a fool and she was paying for it. What did she expect; that he would drop to his knee and profess his undying devotion to her, and because he loved her intensely he would do anything to have her at his side? God, she couldn't believe how naïve she was.

"Asshole." It came from deep within her.

"I've been called worse."

An uncontrollable urge to hurt him possessed her and she hurled herself at him, pummeling his chest with her fists. Horrified, she felt a wetness going down her cheeks. Now, she was furious at herself, for showing him that he hurt her deeply. To her utter shock, he grabbed her by the arms and that warm mouth came down on hers. The kiss wasn't tender; it was inflicting pain. Heaven forgive her, but she enjoyed the warmness of his lips and kissed him back. She recognized the kiss for what it was, angry and brutal, but she couldn't discern the reasons for it. He pushed her away with harshness. Losing her balance, she almost fell to the floor.

"I hope you have a nice life with Bobby."

She kept her eyes on his retreating back. What was that cryptic farewell?

The next day she understood what he meant. Running through the school's mill was the newest tidbit. John had left the mansion and, to top it all, with Scot's new motorcycle.