Title: Tears & Chocolate
Summary: Betrayed and dejected, Rogue finds solace in the arms of the timid Colossus. (RIOTR)
A/N: Post X3. This is a Rogue/Colossus fanfic, which I affectionately call a "Riotr." I've never heard a technical term (i.e. Romy, Rietro, Ryro, etc.) for that specific pairing, so if one already exists, please let me know. I know this pairing is a bit out of the ordinary, but I'd like to see how far it goes. Also, once again I am addressing the Bobby/Kitty relationship from the third film (although I know that there was nothing definite of it in the film…the cut scenes are another story). No matter how I look at it, I can't bring myself to like either of those characters in movie-verse. Let's just say it's a sensitive issue for me.
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men.
Piotr "Peter" Rasputin watched the drama unfold as Rogue's hand struck the side of Bobby's face in a loud slap that echoed throughout the foyer. Her expression was a combination of hurt and rage, and the way she firmly set her jaw suggested that she was in the midst of battling the oncoming tears. Bobby's head snapped to the side, her handprint already glowing an angry red on his cheek. Having anticipated the strike, he didn't look at her as she stood there trembling in unconcealed fury, her hands curling into fists at her sides.
"You should have just gone ahead and broken up with me," she growled through clenched teeth, piercing him with a glare of pure hatred. "I wouldn't have been as pissed off, Bobby. It wouldn't have hurt this much."
He only let out a helpless and remorseful sigh. "Rogue, I said I was sorry. It…it just happened–"
"Please, spare me," she interrupted venomously. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath to steady herself before continuing. "Since you are so obviously dissatisfied with our relationship that you have to go fucking someone else, I think it's fitting to say that it's over."
A crowd had begun to form around them as passing students grew interested at the explosive fight between the star-crossed lovers known as Iceman and Rogue. Most everyone at the institute had known for weeks that this inevitable confrontation was coming. It was no secret that Bobby had been fooling around behind her back with Kitty Pryde; only, no one had actually caught them in the act before to prove it.
Peter towered over the others as he witnessed the look on Bobby's face change from guilt-ridden to alarm. Judging from his expression, it was apparent that he had been under the delusional hope that he would somehow be able to salvage and continue his relationship with Rogue. How wrong he was.
"Rogue, can we please talk about this?" he asked desperately.
Her short laugh was mirthless and hollow. "Talk, Bobby?" she said incredulously. "Sure, let's talk. Let's talk over a goddamn cup of coffee and act like this is no big fucking deal. In fact, let's skip the talk and I'll go right ahead and forgive you like the pathetic sap you take me for. That's what you want, isn't it? And while we're at it, I'll even proceed to befriend your new girlfriend, ask her to be maid of honor at my wedding, and make her the godmother of my firstborn child!"
The words were dripping with heavy sarcasm and abhorrence. Bobby flinched as the volume of her voice rose with each syllable, the pitch growing sharper as all her detestation and outrage poured into her tirade. The spectators were wide-eyed and silent, unable to overcome their astonishment at the normally sweet and composed Southern belle displaying such vocal anger. On the other hand, no one could blame her.
She then turned her back on him and muttered, "Have a nice life, Drake." With that, she pushed her way through the horde of viewers, still determinedly holding the tears at bay.
Bobby looked after her forlornly, the shame eminent on his face, but made no move to go after her. Once the crowd began dissipating, the whispers started as the event was swiftly converted into gossip ammunition. Why had Rogue waited this long to break up with him? Why had they started dating when Bobby had always had a thing for Kitty? Why hadn't Bobby just asked Kitty to be his girlfriend in the first place?
Peter knew exactly why.
Fuck you, Bobby Drake. You lowly bastard, Rogue fumed silently as she stomped to her dresser, grabbed hold of all the picture frames displaying photographs of her now ex-boyfriend, and flung them one by one out the window. The distant crashes of the frames shattering to thousands of pieces on the cobblestone below were her only satisfaction.
She, along with the entire student body, had always questioned the authenticity of his fidelity. He had always made himself out to be the compassionate and faithful sort, yet his actions strongly contradicted that conviction. The number of times she'd caught him in compromising positions with Kitty–holding hands, embracing, touching–had set off alarms in her head. She wasn't so stupid that she hadn't noticed the mutual attraction between the two, even though she hadn't seen anything depicting a full-fledged affair for herself. And being benevolent by nature, she had given them the benefit of the doubt. She was not the type to make accusations without concrete evidence, and she had foolishly clung onto the hope that her boyfriend hadn't outright cheated on her.
The previous day changed everything.
It had started with Warren taking an innocent trip down to the kitchen for a midnight snack two nights ago. Consequently, he had passed by Bobby's room along the way, and the noises he'd heard from inside firmly abolished the prospect that Bobby was sleeping or alone. A quick visit to Rogue's room confirmed his suspicions that she was not the female keeping Bobby company for the night. The word had spread like wildfire by the next day, Rogue being the only individual who remained unaware because no one else had the heart to relay the news to her. This morning, Warren had taken pity on her and informed her of her boyfriend's definite infidelity. Upon cornering Bobby to demand if the rumors were true, he had confessed the affirmative.
Rogue sighed once she finished chucking every single picture of Bobby outside and slumped down on her bed. So now what? Leave the institute? It was a tempting prospect, especially since she had taken the cure and was no longer classified as a mutant, but the fact that she had no money and nowhere to go stopped her. Could she just lock herself in her room for the rest of her life? That option was more likely to happen, but to her dismay, the image of Logan dragging her out and forcing her to rejoin the ranks of the living flashed in her head. And he'd do it, too. So what was left? Continue on like nothing had happened? Ignore Bobby and Kitty and go about her merry way?
She ran a hand down her face and groaned at the idea. How would she be able to stand it? It would be too painful to see just once how Kitty had replaced her at Bobby's side, much less every day. But what else could she do?
A soft knock at her door disrupted her thoughts. Immediately swelling back up in anger, she bit out, "Bobby, if that's you, you have ten seconds to get the hell away from my room before I come out there and–"
"Um, Rogue? It's me, Peter," an uncertain voice said from the other side of the door.
Confused and a little surprised, Rogue hopped off her bed and strode to the door. Opening it slightly, she meekly peered outside. Peter stood there holding something behind his back, a shy and sympathetic smile on his face. She just stared up at him in bemusement. What was he doing here?
Before she could voice those exact words, he looked down and said, "I…um…I just thought you might want some company. You know, after that whole scene and all." His right foot was lightly brushing the floor back and forth in a nervous manner, and his smile was replaced by a marring of his eyebrows as he suddenly looked unsure of himself.
The sight tugged at her and, despite herself, she smiled genuinely at him, touched by his thoughtfulness. She had never really talked to Peter before this, just a few greetings every once in a while or discussing battle tactics at Danger Room sessions. Now that she thought about it, he seemed like the quiet and loner type, usually seen sitting by himself as he worked on his drawings in the garden or the rec room. That was why it was so startling to find him here, standing outside her room and offering her his companionship.
"Sure. Come on in," she said, stepping back and opening the door wider in invitation for him to step inside.
His apprehensive expression changed into one of relief and as he came forward, he brought his arms out in front of him and presented her with a big pack of…
Her face positively lit up at the giant chocolate bar. "Is…is that for me?" Given her luck lately, it almost seemed too good to be true.
"Yes," replied Peter, amusement evident in his voice.
She timidly took it from his hands, gazing at the wonderful treat that would undoubtedly distract her from her sorrows. Prodding the door shut with her foot, she dazedly followed Peter further inside until he stopped in the middle of her room, glancing about the tidy space in interest.
Tearing her eyes away from the chocolate, she asked him, "How did you know that milk chocolate was my comfort food?"
He smiled at her crookedly, turning a bit red in the face. "I remember you telling Jubilee so when you first arrived here, and I just happened to be in the vicinity and heard…"
The chocolate almost fell out of her hands as she gaped at him. "You remembered that? But it was so long ago."
"Well…I guess I have a good memory."
She studied him for a moment more before gesturing toward the armchair sitting next to the dresser. "Please, have a seat."
When he did, she undid the wrapping and broke off a chunk of chocolate and offered it to him. At his polite refusal, she popped it into her mouth and savored the milk chocolaty goodness. Ah…much better. She fought the urge to devour the whole thing right there.
"So…are you going to be okay?" he asked hesitantly as if expecting her to snap at him.
The question cut through her short-lived delight as she bit her lip and sat down at the edge of her bed across from him, still holding onto the chocolate. "I'm not sure, really. To be honest, at the moment I feel like I want to die." The smile she sent him was small and sad.
He gazed at her with an expression she could not identify. It felt very odd having him here in her room, speaking with him minutes after her breakup with her boyfriend. He was not the person she would have imagined confiding in, and the very fact that he was the one who had been the first to present his support was rather strange. Still, there was a peaceful aura about him that calmed her down, and she found herself grateful for his presence.
"It will hurt less if you just let it out," he told her softly.
She made a sound that sounded suspiciously like a failed attempt at a laugh. "Somehow I feel like I deserve to hurt as much as possible. Part of this mess was my own stupidity."
He frowned at the undertone of bitterness and self-loathing in her voice. "That's not true."
Signs of an oncoming disagreement alerted her senses and automatically put her on guard. She was entirely too exhausted to participate in an argument with him, and she rushed on to avoid the commencement of one.
"I mean, it was my own fault for being in denial this whole time. All the signs were there, right? I just chose to ignore them because…well, because I thought I wanted it to work out. I did want it to work. I really…really…" Her voice cracked as unbidden tears began to well up.
Oh no. I can't cry now. Not with Peter here. I can't…
The chocolate fell from her hands to land on the bed beside her as she desperately forced them back. Her fingers gripped the covers tightly, knuckles turning white from the lack of blood circulation. Perhaps if she continued talking…
"That relationship had meant so much. At least it did for me…"
No! Stop sniveling, goddamn it, her mind screamed. Save it for the bar downtown! You are planning to become very acquainted with the shot glass tonight, remember? You can cry your heart out when you're nice and drunk!
"I seriously thought that Bobby and I would be together for a long time, you know?" she babbled on, ignoring the protesting voice in her head. "Call me naïve, but I believed it. He was the first guy who gave me the light of day since I got my powers, and he even stuck with me through all the hard times. But in the end, I guess I was no match for…for…for her…"
It was too much. She placed her hands over her face as the grief she'd held inside and out of Bobby's sight burst forth, racking her body with sobs and raining tears down her face. Her chest constricted painfully as something very close to anguish and despair invaded her emotions and twisted her stomach into tight knots. She was vaguely aware that she was failing royally in attempting to muffle her cries behind her damp palms. It was of little concern, however; she was rather preoccupied with trying to figure out how to breathe between each continuous wave of aching misery that washed over her, tensing every muscle in her body. She felt out of control, drowning in her sadness, inconsolable and gutted.
Was this what heartbreak was?
Peter was considerate enough to allow her a few minutes to carry on as such, courteously diverting his eyes to the floor so as not to embarrass her further by staring. No doubt people who were passing by her room knew exactly what was causing such agonizing sounds of melancholy from within.
Eventually, her weeping slowly ebbed until it was reduced to soft sniffling. Still teary-eyed, she smiled apologetically to Peter.
"I'm sorry you had to witness that," she murmured, face flushing brilliantly.
God, I can't believe I broke down like that. In front of Peter, of all people!
"I'm sorry you had to go through it," he returned gently. Reaching into his back pocket, he fished out a handkerchief and offered it to her.
She accepted it gratefully, quickly using it to wipe away the wetness from her cheeks and nose. How humiliating. Now that she was thinking clearly again, she was positively appalled at herself for such an outright display of shameless bawling. Unsure of what she could possibly say next to recover from her discomfiture, she let the silence linger on as she racked her brain for some miraculously clever comment that would hopefully allow her to laugh good-naturedly at herself. If that was even possible.
Peter saved her from her futile search for words by speaking. "Did it help any?"
"Yes, it's a very efficient handkerchief–"
"No, I meant you letting your emotions out. Did it help?"
"Oh," she said, cheeks reddening even more. "I guess a little bit, but…" It still hurts so much inside.
He stared at her for a long time, seeming to read into her thoughts. As the seconds passed, she inadvertently began studying his features. She had never really noticed before, but there was a certain allure about him. He was handsome, yes, and very well built, but there was also a softness in his dark eyes that seemed to spur feelings of serenity and peace inside her. Even now as she stared back at him, she could feel a weight lifting from her chest, her nerves settling and her muscles relaxing. It took a while for her to discern exactly what it was that resounded from his being.
Finally, he blinked and glanced down at his hands loosely clasped together between his knees. "Tell me how to make it better," he said quietly.
The request took her aback. What?
Now she did laugh, albeit it was void of all humor and mirth. "Peter, it's not your burden to try and help me out of this. It's something I have to deal with myself."
He shook his head firmly, eyes locking on hers once again. "No. You shouldn't have to."
The unusual intensity of his gaze unnerved her. Why was he being persistent? She had half a mind to inquire about what had compelled him to seek her out and want to help her when they had barely spoken more than a few words to each other in the past. They weren't friends, they only bordered on acquaintances, and to be honest they really had nothing to do with each other except as teammates in the X-Men, which she was no longer a part of. So…why?
Taking a steadying breath, she unconsciously started to wring the wet handkerchief in her hands. "Peter. Really, don't worry about me. It was very nice of you to come by and visit me for a little while, but you have nothing to do with this and I don't want to bring you into it. I don't understand why you'd willingly volunteer yourself–"
"I can't take seeing you like this," he blurted, immediately biting his lip as soon as he said the words.
The declaration halted her thought process and paralyzed her. She gaped at him in utter bewilderment, surprised more than ever at the way he had made it sound so personal.
"I beg your pardon?" she asked hesitantly.
A blush that rivaled her own crept up his face as he suddenly found his shoes most interesting. Fidgeting a little, he told her, "It's just…you know…I can't just leave you to cope by yourself. I mean…um…well…"
The difficulty with which he was trying so hard to explain was…rather endearing. Rogue started to see his charm for the first time. His shyness, his warmth, his polite personality…
"I don't want you to get the wrong idea. But it might be the right one. But not right now, at this moment. Uh…" He was clearly growing agitated with himself, his eyebrows furrowing again in vexation.
She began to get the drift. Swallowing with difficulty, she said hoarsely, "Just say what you need to say, Peter."
He ceased his rambling and nodded. Looking straight at her, he said, "I've been interested in you from the beginning, Rogue. I've always had feelings for you."
Getting the vibes did not lessen the impact of the confession. She felt herself growing numb from the conflicting emotions battling in her psyche, her mind weakening even more. It really was too much…
"But," he quickly added, "I'm not here to play on your feelings. I wouldn't force you to go on the rebound to suit myself. Truthfully, I just want to help you. That's all…"
"However." His deep voice took on a sharp note of anger as his thoughts turned to her ex-boyfriend. "I can't guarantee the purity of my actions when I think about what he did to you. You deserve better, Rogue. So much better…"
To her horror, she felt the tears well up again, the pressure in her chest returning. Before she knew it, she was crying all over again.
This time, though, he stood up from his seat to kneel down in front of her, his large arms resting on either side of her on the bed and his eyes looking up at her earnestly. She had brought the handkerchief over her face as she frantically tried to get a hold of herself. And then…something happened.
His arms came up to engulf her in a warm embrace. She found herself being crushed to his solid chest, her ear pressed against the strong beating of his heart. His chin rested on top of her head and he brought one hand to stroke her long hair as her tears drenched the front of his shirt. Through her crying she was dimly aware of his forwardness…as well as how pleasant it felt being held in his arms. A sense of security overcame her as she buried her face in his chest, wanting to stay like this for a long time.
As her sobs subsided, he brought both hands to cup her face and gently draw her back so he could look at her. She blushed again under his scrutiny, fully aware that her eyes were red and puffy, her cheeks were soaked, and she was still sniffling like a child. His eyes were understanding and sympathetic, and there was something else that shone in them that she couldn't recognize. It was both unsettling and intriguing, disquieting and captivating. But she was sure of one thing.
Bobby had never looked at her with eyes like that.
"I'm sorry," he said throatily, his gaze roaming over her tear-streaked face. "I know I said I wouldn't force your feelings. And I won't. But you'll have to forgive me…"
"For what?" she asked curiously.
Somehow it didn't astonish her when he smiled at her and then pressed his lips against hers softly. She closed her eyes and succumbed to the rush of new emotions that made their way to the forefront of her brain. Her hands snaked up his chest to wrap around his neck as she timidly returned the kiss. For this moment she felt carefree, content, and warm. So warm. It was the safest she'd ever felt in her life, and this kiss was the sweetest one she'd ever experienced.
It tasted of tears and chocolate.
A/N: Thanks very much for reading this!