Choices

I sleep with thee and wake with thee
And yet thou art not there;
I fill my arms with thoughts of thee
And press the common air.

Thy eyes are gazing upon mine
When thou art out of sight;
My lips are always touching thine
At morning, noon, and night.

I think and speak of other things
To keep my mind at rest
But still to thee my memory clings
Like love in woman's breast.

I hide it from the world's wide eye
And think and speak contrary,
But soft the wind comes from the sky
And whispers tales of Mary…

-To Mary by John Clare

Rogue thrived to survive; just like every other living creature. She ate, slept and did whatever was required from her. She even found it in herself to smile, and nobody was the wiser. Only she knew of the emptiness and pain that she carried inside.

Though, there was a tiny aspect of her routine in the mansion that she hated with all of her guts; that stupid gloating smile on Miss Grey face. It would be so delightful to erase it… forever.

Rogue didn't regret her choice. Yes, it was painful. She was proud, nevertheless. It was better to live in the truth than to walk blindly in a path full of lies. The day after John's departure, Rogue had talked with Bobby. She told him everything, and a saddened Bobby accepted her reasons. She never doubted he would be able to hear her out; she was more scared of breaking his heart. Bobby was a good boy and he behaved like one, even offering her his friendship.

One month had gone and she never showed any sign of her hurting heart. And hell would freeze first before she showed 'Miss Almighty and Proper' that his departure was tearing her apart inside. Only behind her room's closed door did she allow herself to break down and cry; away from snooping eyes. She wished to hate him; she wanted to despise him. But, standing on the brink of madness and tired of his presence lingering in her, all she desired was to die. Not even sleep gave her the comfort of oblivion. Her dreams, or rather her nightmares, belonged to him. They were filled with the fire of his kisses, his burning stare, and she falling, falling in an eternal pit where the flames tried to engulf her. She would wake up breathing quickly, covered in sweat. She truly wished to hate him… but couldn't.

Rogue tossed and turned in her bed one night, denying sleep. She got out of the bed. Walking toward her window, she rested her warm forehead on the cool crystal pane. A soft knock on her door startled her; it was nearly dawn.

"Yes?"

"It's me, Dom. Can I speak to you?"

She went to the door and opened it. She was surprised to see him carrying a backpack. "I'm leaving."

"Oh."

"But I couldn't leave without saying goodbye and explaining some things to you."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "Sorry, Dom, but if you're here to excuse what John did…"

"I'm not. But maybe this will help you understand him." Dom paused for a few seconds, "John cares deeply for you."

She snorted. "Nice way to show it."

"He's an asshole, Rogue." He grinned. "Assholes are prone to act like assholes, haven't you heard?"

Rogue couldn't suppress the small smile. "Yes, maybe I'm expecting too much of him."

"John's been planning very carefully for his departure from some time now. Did you know that he writes?"

"I've seen him on various occasions, but he never told me what he was writing when I asked him."

"The Professor has been helping him. He arranged for some local paper from Salem to accept some of John's articles. One thing lead to another and this guy from a big newspaper asked for him."

Rogue's breast swelled with pride.

Dom kept on talking. "I'm betting things must have gone great for him; he hasn't come back… He called once, though."

Her heart stopped beating for several seconds.

"He asked if you were okay."

She was left breathless.

"He does care about you, Rogue." He pulled back the sling of his backpack. "I just thought you should know. Bye, Rogue. Take care of yourself." He turned to leave and stopped with a sudden movement. He just stood, stalling. He looked at her. "You know, I've overheard some of the students talking about us, among others; they said… that we were broken. And maybe they were right. I thought about you two. What if you're broken and each one of you has the piece the other is missing to complement each other?"

He winked at her. "Do not give up on hope, sometimes we scoundrels do find redemption."

Rogue looked silently at his retreating back. "Bye, Dominic." She whispered. "Take care of yourself."

For one week she mulled over Dom's words. Were she and John broken? Whenever she walked through the school's halls, she felt like a sea opened to let her pass. Nobody dared to get too close to her; most of the time she was lonely. John, on the other hand, sought out to be lonely.

Now, she wasn't lonely; she was lonesome. Ironically, when he was around her, she could breathe. He stole her pain away. He held her high because she felt lighter. She was never broken with him.

She was staring at the ceiling in the shadows of her room, again trying to fight sleep and thinking if maybe Dom was right, when all of her senses were alerted. From her opened window she heard the distinguishable sound of rustling. She had left it open because the night was a bit warm, in hopes that it would cool her room. She had never thought of the possibility of this place being robbed, much less of the thief deciding to enter her room. Frantically, she looked around; there must be something to help defend herself against the intruder. The night lamp; it should suffice. She gripped it tightly. Heck, this must be the first time for the thief; he or she stumbled with her window's curtain. This gave more confidence to Rogue. She realized the thief was a he when she heard him swearing softly. Her heart pounding quickly in her ears, she ran at him and hit him forcefully.

"Fuckin' shit!"

She gasped, immediately recognizing that deep baritone voice.

"Fuck, Marie! Did you want to fuckin' kill me?" He nearly shouted.

Oh, dear God! He was there in front of her. Internally scolding her betraying heart, she answered coldly. "Not a bad idea."

They stared at each other. She held back the urge to hit him with the lamp again. The asshole had the gall to look just fine when she had been living in hell this past month.

Through her gritted teeth, she hissed. "What are you doing here?"

He didn't answer, only giving her a menacing glare. And, just as she hadn't spoken to him, he silently walked toward her closet. Opening it he began to rummage through her things.

"You didn't leave anything in there, asshole."

To her utter surprise, she saw him take her duffel bag and begin to throw her things inside, not really seeing what he was taking. He took some jeans and blouses, then proceeded to her chest and took a bunch of scarves and gloves. She was totally shocked, staring numbly. What in the hell…?

With a cool stance, he glanced her way. "Anything else you need to bring?"

Rogue suddenly remembered she had a tongue. "What in the fuckin' blazes are you doing?"

He arched one eyebrow. "Packing your things."

"And where am I supposed to be going?" She asked too calmly.

"To my place."

She smirked, letting out a soft 'Ha!'. "You must be kidding."

"I'm not fuckin' kidding."

She needed to look away from him, opening her mouth with a grimace of incredulity. She glanced back to him. "Do you honestly believe I'll go with you?"

She sent him a glare worthy of a lightning bolt, all the while trying to silence this little voice inside of her that kept repeating, He came back for me. But hell, she had pride. He had stepped all over her, not caring if he hurt her in the process, and then he left, disappearing from her life just like that.

"I'm not asking, Marie, I'm telling you to come with me."

"Is that supposed to make me fall into your arms and feel grateful that you are here to get me? Think again, asshole. I don't down-shift that fast."

His strong features hardened, his eyes cold. "Yeah, you should feel grateful. Now let's go." He grabbed her by the arm.

She abruptly loosened her arm from his grip.

"Do not make this more difficult."

"What if I do?"

She should have thought first before saying it. From past experiences, it wasn't a good idea to threaten John. As if she was light as feather, he grabbed her by the knees and rested her over his shoulder like some kind of potato sack.

"Let me down this instant or I'll…"

He prompted her to finish as he walked outside of the room. "Or what?"

"Or… or… I'll scream my lungs out."

He sneered. "You don't have the fuckin' guts."

"Eek." That was pathetic of her, she knew. Mice could be louder than that, for heaven's sake!

"Shit, Marie. That only proves one thing; you want me to take you away."

She lost all temper; she could easily discern the smugness in his voice. She really didn't know how she accomplished it, just that she did. She made him fall over to the floor. And that's when the struggle for control truly began. She bit, she kicked, and she even pinched him; all this time sprawled on the hall's floor, making so much noise scuffling and rasping on the floor that it was a miracle they didn't wake up somebody. All the while, she heard him hissing. "Fuck!" "Bitch!" Then she recognized that she had reached the last straw with him when she heard a very heartfelt "Motherfucker!"

But he had the upper hand; his strength. She finally stopped, and that was only because he grabbed both of her hands over her head while the lower half of his body pinned her down. They were both panting.

"I hate you." She hissed.

"The feeling is mutual, babe."

Now, why in the fuck did that remark in that husky tone made her shudder?

"You have no idea how much I've been fuckin hating you, Marie."

Mesmerized, she kept her gaze glued on his eyes.

"I hate you because you never leave my head."

She closed her eyes as that mouth came down on the curve of her neck. He kissed her with a strange mix of savageness and tenderness. His lips came slowly up and murmured on her skin. "I fuckin hate you because every morning when I wake up I want you near me on my bed." And he kissed the underside of her chin. She let out a whimper and she despised herself for it. It was a sound full of lust. She felt that delicious pout hovering over her lips. He whispered softly, his breath giving her a tingling sensation. "And most of all, I fuckin hate you because the memory of your skin is poison running through my veins, killing me slowly because every night I want to taste it again and again…" He touched her lips to add in her mouth, "and again."

His kiss was ravishing. She groaned wantonly as that mouth had a full taste of her, touching the farthest recesses inside her. It was so fuckin' good; all month she had been in desperate need of feeling him again. He let go of her mouth.

"You're coming with me, like it or not. I don't even care if you're deeply in love with the ice prick. You're coming with me and I'll chain you to my bed if I have to ensure that you'll stay with me."

"Do you have any idea of how pathetic you just sounded?" She smiled softly.

"Yeah, I know, and I don't care."

"Let's get something straight here. Are you asking me to come with you so we can fuckin hate each other at night for the rest of our lives?"

"Damn right."

Her smile grew wider. "Well, can I say something first?"

He arched one eyebrow.

"I also fuckin' hate you." She said hoarsely, "Truly and unconditionally fuckin' hate you."

He kissed her again. A kiss that brought tears to her eyes; it was the most delightful, loving kiss John had given her.

"Are we ready to go home?" He asked and he bit her lower lip. It was an electrifying shock; home.

"Home?" A plea so full of hope.

"Yes. Ours."

She was broken.

He was broken.

Could it be possible for them to take the wrongness and make it right? Could they bring all the fractured pieces of their lives together and make it whole? Her thumping heart answered for her; she felt truly alive in his arms. She raised her hand and glided her fingers along his silky light brown hair. "Yeah, let's go to our home."

The next day the school had another tidbit; Rogue had left them. Some said she was following that creepy guy with the name of the Wolverine. After all, a few of the student would swear that she had a sick relationship with the older man.

Two days later, Miss Grey received a certified letter from a UPS guy. Inside were four photographs, the ones you usually take in a photo booth. Her face reddened, if from outrage or envy, no one ever knew for sure. The first one displayed Rogue in her black nightgown, her finger gesturing toward John's face; the second had the both of them kissing; in the third one, Rogue was smiling a big gloating smile; and in the last one… they were both rising their middle finger.

Jean just didn't know what to do with the unique message; she only admitted that Rogue had the guts to follow her heart.


A/N: Thank you, Randa Beth, for helping me again with this chapter. You're awesome!

Please, I'll be delighted if you let me know what you think of this ficlet. I just hope it was an enjoyable reading.