all about banked embers)
FANDOM: X-Men post X3
SERIES: UNVEILED (4/5)
RATING: PG (i think?)
WORD COUNT: about 1800
WARNINGS: some bad language, is all
PAIRING: (implied) Rogue/Pyro
SUMMARY: It also worries him, a little, because there's always been only one thing in the whole world that has ever managed to calm his nerves like nothing else - and it has always, always been fire. Just fire. Up until now, it would seem.
PROMPT: 032 doll
A/N: I know you probably want to throw sticks and stones at me for not getting this done sooner -- and when you find out this isn't even the smut part I promised but that it'll come next, well... I know, I'm sorry! Heh. It's safe to say I suffered from a huge writer's block and the fact I felt guilty about it, well, it didn't help. Anyway. Now we're again getting somewhere (for now), yay! So, anyways, Rogue will be in the next (and final!) part of UNVEILED, trust me on that!
Special thanks go out to both
· INFIE for coming up with the title and for being the divine ryro-vibe, as usual.
· GOBLIE for there's no better cheerleader in the world (not even in Heroes!) Plus, she spent like hours talking about the language of this fic and all sorts of weird grammatical stuff and for that, I owe her hugsDISCLAIMER: The characters you know from X-Men (both movieverse as well as the comics)? NOT MINE. The characters you don't recognize, at all (as in, Shelby)? Guess whose?
SOMNOLENCE (it's all about banked embers)
Click, click, click.
The metallic sounds echo in the dimly lit spaces, roam around the expensively furnished hallway and visit the small bedroom it's connected to. To think of it, the sharp noises can probably be heard through-out the whole flat, but John Allerdyce's not that concerned about it. At all, actually.
Well, shit, it is his flat anyways--
or it was before they took over with their hairbrushes and lipglosses and God knows what else.
And hell if he isn't entitled to do whatever the fuck he wants inside these damn walls just because!
The sooner the two ladies learn and memorize that small piece of information, the better for everyone!
He heaves a tired sigh while rolling his shoulders in another wasted attempt to release the strain and then, against all odds, simply lets the train of thought go. No doubt it's a battle he's determined to win, at some point, but just not in this red instance... Seeing as there's no one with whom to actually battle besides himself.
At least not awake, that is.
It's become a habit of sorts, one that she's entirely aware of though she never shows it. Every single time he leaves the flat, no matter what, he stops there at her door to look at her for a moment. Be it a fleeting second or a minute or two, he stops and stands and stares in complete silence, never saying a word. Never expecting a word, either.
On most occasions the kid ignores John on purpose and simply turns her back to the unwanted visitor continuing whatever it was that he walked in on.
Sometimes she's way stealthier than that - that's when she chooses to pretend she's asleep, clearly thinking her father can't tell the difference. But he can, easily. He's not sure why, or how, but he's smart enough to realise it's probably got something to do with the fire in their veins because in the most peculiar way, even the air around her feels different somehow when she's actually up and alert. Warm, fierce... electric.
The bedroom door is open, like he's noticed it often is and still – or maybe because of that, the little girl is sleeping as soundly as if there was no one there watching her in the dark. The fact that her deep slumber doesn't seem a bit bothered by his sudden presence or by the sounds his lighter keeps making, brings a proud, dare say, victorious smirk to his lips.
He whispers, "Good girl" to no one in particular, but what he really means to say is 'my girl' and those words are meant for her.
After a few minutes go by, he fidgets like only a nervous man does. And then, almost as if to test how cold the waters truly are, he tries something he hasn't before. Not ever.
John takes a hesitant step closer, cocking his head in anticipation but nothing happens. Then a few more, one, two, three, four or so, all the way across the room until he reaches the bed. He stops only when the wooden edge is so close it's nearly touching his legs. He waits, but his patience only lasts for a moment. A very short moment, too, after which he continues the same old routine of-
Click, click, click.
He's been doing it, clicking the lighter, right there in hearing distance for about five minutes now - perhaps even longer, he can't tell for sure. Truthfully so, he tried to keep track of time, really, he did, but managed to lose the count of the clock's ticks (and the clicks of his own making) awhile ago.
There's one thing he's sure of though, and it's that all the while he's stood there, hovered above her like a ghost in the night, she has not moved a muscle. Hasn't made a single sound or shown any signs of disturbance. Even the steady rhythm of her breathing has stayed the same ever since he first entered the room.
Or, you know, if anything, the rhythm has only got steadier, more even, more peaceful.
There's something warm and soothing prickling in the core of his spine and it takes a moment before he understands it's her.
The realisation wipes off the malicious smirk, completely – and while he's too busy to notice it, the dying smirk leaves only a gentle smile in its wake. Naturally, if he did notice, the smile would be gone in the matter of seconds... but it doesn't change the fact it's there, now.
Not knowing what to do, how to proceed exactly, he goes with the only option he can come up with. A careful click followed by a short pause. The kind of pause during which he tilts his head again, observing, wondering, and another round of clicks cut the air. Just in spite. Just to see. To know for sure.
This time she lets out a muffled sound, something that could be defined either as a snarl or a purr (or a bit of both) and he's tempted to laugh aloud. Instead, the smile only softens.
Twenty minutes and counting. Or more, whatever, what does it matter anyway?
With no plans for the evening he's in no obvious hurry and she's, as proven, fast asleep. It's the middle of the night, later even, and there's nothing and no one expecting him, nowhere.
Well, just Scarlet, maybe. That, however, is no cause for worry; has never been. He knows her and the way her mind works, and she sure as hell knows him. Knows him better than to stay up and wait for an appearance that might or might not take place at all, depending on his stormy mood. He's slept in her bed for six nights in a row, there's no denying that, but somehow he doesn't feel like leaving the kid alone… nor Rogue. Not tonight, anyway.
Why not, John? Nothing's changed. So, why the hell not?
He'd like to think it's just temporary, just for tonight. Maybe it is.
Who cares, honestly? He growls at himself, frustrated as hell, because fuck, no one cares, absolutely no one and hell-
Only, damnit, it's a lie and he can tell. It sucks, really, but he does care.
Moreover, realising that, it irritates him and makes his skin crawl; the tension headache is already there, eating its way from the back of his skull to the front. He's John Allerdyce, Pyro for fuck's sake and he of all mutants, he's not supposed to care or worry about stupid, irrelevant things-
Because even when it's not known to all, there's still a war raging between the different stages of evolution and in that struggle, there's no place for such a thing as caring. It's a damn character flaw, a weakness, that's what it is... and he cannot afford those.
So, yes, it's freaking him out, the fact he sort of does care (even if it's just a little), and he doesn't want to think about it more. So, don't. And he tries not to.
The mutant lets his eyes focus on the sleeping figure to try and keep his mind from dwelling upon those highly unnerving thoughts. She's put herself in a somewhat odd position, at least he thinks she has and if he wasn't so damn afraid of waking her up, he'd move her a little. Just enough to ensure she won't cut off her own blood circulation or something.
Well, she's a kid and they are known to be idiotic, at times. In other words, anything is possible.
He figures it's a reasonable worry since she's lying on her right side, stiff as ever with fingers laced together and placed underneath her chin in a (what he thinks to be) rather self-protective manner. He's pretty sure her back will kill her tomorrow but then, she is a kid so, maybe not. Half of her cheek is covered with brown locks of bushy hair as the side of her face is resting against the pillow - on which, he notes with a hanging smirk, there's also something that looks a lot like a small pool of drool.
But the amusement doesn't last for long, as in the next minute, the sight actually summons back a nearly lost memory.
That one night years and years ago, the first and only night, that is how her mother looked when he woke up next to her. That's exactly how she looked when he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers, careful not to wake her up. And she remained the same while he gathered his wrinkled clothes from the floor and left her to greet the morning on her own.
The kid, he has to admit, she's as beautiful as her mother has always been - but then, he likes to think his genes have got something to do with it, too, and that it's not all her. Well, she's got his gift, does she not?
And in the aftermath of that one simple thought, his shoulders relax, the headache disappears and the air, it flows all the way to his lungs and out again, free of all restraints. Such a simple thing and yet, he's missed that. A lot.
It also worries him, a little, because there's always been only one thing in the whole world that has ever managed to calm his nerves like nothing else - and it has always, always been fire. Just fire.
Up until now, it would seem.
But maybe, he concludes with a knowing grin and a quick quirk of an eyebrow, maybe it's all 'cause in the end-
she was born from fire, wasn't she?
It's an hour and half (and lots and lots of clicks) later that he decides it'd be best to give up on staring and just go to bed. It's not like she wouldn't be safe and secure if he left the room, or even the building. Hell, he could even leave the country if he wanted to and be sure of her safety... It's not likely for his men to make the same mistake twice, so.
Yet knowing all that makes no difference and even after he's ordered his body to move (several times), commanded himself to get out of her room and go to his own, a moment later he's still right there beside her bed like a statue, watching.
(For another hour and half.)
A lot later, when John finally does move, it's only because he knows that when she wakes up in the morning, she'll wake up to find his lighter standing on her nightstand and she'll understand what it means--
even if he doesn't.
Still, for now, it's enough.