Story Title: Lesson Learned
Pairing: Pyro/Rogue
Part: 1/1 (Unless it's liked real well)
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Set during X-Men 2: United, and loosely based off the video footage from X-Men.
Summary: Rogue sits outside alone at the mansion on the bench near the basketball court, writing down her thoughts and worries inside her journal. When soon she gets an unexpected, and uninvited visit from someone she'd rather not have around her. But to Rogue's astonishment, he's smarter than he looks.

It's a windy, warm day at Xavier's School for the Gifted. Rogue is sitting on the bench outside near the basketball court writing in her journal, as she did every day. It's always relaxing for her to sit outside, get some fresh air, and have some alone time. She'd listen to the kids playing, the basketball smacking against the pavement, there would be laughter and chanting.

She doodles in the margins of the pages, drawing mindlessly, before reading back to herself what she'd written down.

'May, 29th 2003

Dear Journal,

Today it failed…again. Another test the Professor has tried and still nothing. I'm starting to think he's just playing with me – letting me down easy, yet giving me some kind of hope that something out there can actually cure me.

And Bobby's no help. He says he loves me, yet most of the time he can't stand to be too close to me because he's afraid of what I'll do to him... I can't really blame him.

The Professor wants me to try and control it. Control my so-called 'ability' as he calls it. It's more like a curse, but nobody's willing to say it out loud. So, I sit here...

Bobby and I got into a fight, making me feel worse than I already do. A fight caused all because of my mutation. They always seem to bring out the worse between us. I know he doesn't accept my powers. He gets frustrated all the time whenever we try to do things and work around it. He gets mad, wondering when the Professor can find a cure for me. I myself am wondering... I know things can get better between us, I just know it. All I need is for my power to disappear and I know we both can be happy.

Jubilee was talking to me the other day, mostly just girly talk, but she did say something significant: that if Bobby really did love me, he'd accept me for who I am. He'd love me no matter what, even if most of the times he can't physically show me. I really hate to even think this, but I wonder sometimes about him and his feelings toward me…

I love him. I really do but he just gets me so angry and sad sometimes.'

She read to herself, trying to decide if she should just end it here or continue on. Lord knows she could write a novel with all her thoughts and feelings. Not to mention all she'd been through in her life thus far. The whole thing has been like a rollercoaster, never stopping from happy to sad times then all around and in between.

"Good job," a voice says from behind. "Although if you want your drawing to be more realistic, the flames should be higher. Fire manifests faster than you think."

Her head snaps back in the direction of the voice, completely surprised when she finds out it's John standing behind her with his hands inside his pockets, hovering over her. She turns her attention back to her journal, finally noticing that he had been commenting on her drawing of flames and symbols on the page. She quickly closes it, hoping he hadn't read any of her private thoughts.

"Thanks for the advice," Rogue scoffs, pretending to be disappointed by his mere presence.

Rogue only really knew John because of Bobby. She would see John in school, but they'd never really talked. It was only until Rogue met Bobby that she finally met John. Now they're sort of, kind of like friends, but they'd never been alone together without Bobby as a buffer. Rogue wouldn't consider him annoying. She just didn't get him because most times he'd be so inconsiderate and always speak his mind, which always was something rude. He'd be so sarcastic with everybody. Rogue hated it. She's still a good Southern girl at heart and thinks a guy should always have the best of manners around her, or anyone else in general for that matter.

John flicks the lid of his Zippo open, spinning the wheel and igniting the flame. Rogue didn't really know what to do, so she opened back up her journal and flipped quickly to an empty page to draw on it, trying to look busy. John watches her, pulling out a packet of cigarettes from the pocket of his brown leather jacket. He takes a cigarette out, putting it between his lips and lights it deftly with his shark Zippo. He closes the lid with a click, taking a few puffs and putting the Zippo back into his pocket.

Rogue stares down at her still blank page, not being able to think of what to draw. She knows she wants to think of something to make herself look busy, but she's distracted by what he was doing behind her. Could he be watching her? Maybe he's catching onto the fact that she's been sitting there with a pencil in her hand, not drawing or writing anything for the past few minutes.

He walks to front of the bench, glancing over at her as he sits down in the middle of it, not caring to sit on the other end that was farther away from Rogue. Under his gaze, Rogue feels uncomfortable so she continues looking at her empty page, not daring to see if he's still staring at her. He grips the cigarette from between his thumb and index finger, taking the cigarette away from his mouth and exhales, blowing out the smoke.

"You gonna write something, or what?" John asks, smirking a little because he knows that he's making her uncomfortable.

Rogue looks up at him then towards the disgusting cancer-stick softly cradled in between his fingers. She glances back up at him, letting him know exactly what she thinks about his cigarette.

"John, this is a school. You're not allowed to smoke here," she answers instead, using the school rules as a hint that she wants him to put it out.

"Really?" he asks, taking another puff and blowing the smoke in the direction of her face. The smoke barely reaches her nose before it disappears, but Rogue can still smell the sickening scent of burning nicotine lingering in the air.

"Can I?" Rogue asks, motioning for him to pass her his cigarette.

John is a bit surprised, narrowing his eyes with curiosity while turning his head slightly. He arches his eyebrow, wondering what she's up to. So, he does as she says and passes her his cigarette. She grabs it, putting it close to her mouth while looking at him as he looks back at her, somewhat impressed. Then she sarcastically smiles at him, throwing the cigarette onto the ground and grinding it out with her shoe.

"Should've seen that coming..." John says, disappointed and a little pissed.

"Yeah. You should've," she replies mockingly. She looks back down at her journal, hoping he'll take a hint and leave her alone.

He mischievously smiles, taking the packet out of his pocket again and grabbing another cigarette just to tease Rogue and ruffle her feathers. He puts it in his mouth, watching as Rogue looks back up at him.

"You're an asshole, you know that?" Rogue says, clearly irritated.

"Mmm-hmm," John agrees, nodding his head. He lights his cigarette with his Zippo and takes a puff, exhaling the smoke out with a satisfied smile. "It's my downfall," he continues, gloating and still smiling.

She looks at him and then down at her notebook, shaking her head and closes it, gathering some of her books she has beside her feet and getting ready to leave.

John notices she's annoyed and rolls his eyes. "Sit down, goody-two-shoes. I'm putting it out," he says, not at all happy another cigarette has gone to waste.

Rogue sets down her things and glances back at him while throwing herself back onto the bench. She sighs loudly and crosses her arms in front of her chest. "What do ya want?" she asks, completely pestered by him as she glowers his way.

The school bell rings, signaling that it's lunchtime. They both turn away from one another, seeing the others spill back inside, not daring to miss lunch. Rogue stares down at the ground as John gazes at her. He never answers her question, which Rogue notices but didn't say anything further. He scoots closer to her, resting his arm on the back of the bench, almost around her shoulders. Rogue starts to get nervous, scolding herself that she should have left when she had the chance.

He observes at her, glancing down her short-sleeved top to where a little patch of skin on her arm is bare, a patch of skin that the gloves couldn't quite cover. She slowly looks over towards him, not making eye contact but just looking near his lap, still being able to see him in her periphery. He moves his hand close to her skin, centimeters away from touching her. Rogue, of course, notices and jerks back.

"What are you doing!?" Rogue asks furiously as her head pops up, pure aggravation etched on her face.

"You'll see," he answers, moving his hand back towards her bare skin.

"John, stop. I mean it!" she says, filling up with indignation and fury.

"Shhh," he silences her, slowly moving his hand toward her. She could feel the warmth of his hand as it hovers above her skin. He moves his fingers, teasing her with the thought of an actual touch. Rogue could feel the hairs on her arm rising, feeling almost as if he were really touching her.

"Seriously, stop! You're gonna get—" she tries to get out, but he interrupts her.

"Shhh!" he says, getting further annoyed by her constant knack of talking at the wrong moment.

She's terrified. She wants to jerk her arm back and leave as quickly as possible. But she's more afraid he would accidentally touch her if she moved.

"John, you're gonna—" Rogue tries to get out but once again, but he interrupts her.

"Do you ever shut the fuck up?" he practically snarls, glancing back up at her and now seriously irritated.

She looks at him with resentment – furious and astounded at his tone. Who the hell is he to tell her to shut the fuck up? She now wishes he would touch her but, at the same time, she's still scared and trying her damnest not to show it. She looks down at her arm, watching his hand hover above it so daringly. Why is he doing this to her? And furthermore, why is she allowing him to do this?

"Look at me," he orders. She snaps her head back up at him very quickly, meeting his gaze. He could see the fear in her eyes. With his hand moving farther from her arm but still hovering above her skin, he leans closer to her making her gasp lightly. His face gets closer and closer to hers, making Rogue shake.

"John, sto—" Before she could protest any further, he interrupts her again.

"Are you nervous?" he asks, inches away from their lips touching. They could feel the warmth of their breath tickling each other's lips.

John breathes in through his nose, getting such an intoxicating scent of Rogue's cinnamon sticky bun shampoo, mixed with the sweet smell of her perfume that smelled like flowers. Roses, he thought. Rogue nervously swallows, trying to ignore his beautiful brown eyes that she'd never admit to finding attractive. They were so brown, almost black. But the real beauty of them is that they have a small trace of hazel around the iris, which she found quite charming and fascinating because you wouldn't ever see it unless you were this close.

John tears himself away from her eyes and looks down at her lips. She could smell his alluring scent as the wind blew towards their direction. A smoky firewood smell, mixed with Zippo lighter fluid. She could swear she smells a little hint of cologne as well. She notices him looking down at her lips and gets even more nervous. She starts breathing shakily; sadly knowing he could hear her panic. She fears he'll do something that they both will regret later when her powers activate. She watches as his eyes slowly move their way back up to her eyes.

"Control your breathing," he whispers, exciting her slightly with such temptation and sending chills down her spine. The physical attraction between them, that Rogue wouldn't think of in a million years they even had until now, just skyrocketed. She's trying so hard to do as he says, but she just couldn't. It's like telling someone after they've tripped, not to fall. Being nervous is all Rogue could do right now.

"Don't think of this moment," John demands.

She looks at him like he's crazy. What is he trying to do? How can she not think of this moment? He's not making any sense.

"Slow down your heart-rate," he says, looking down at her lips again before continuing. "Close your eyes. Concentrate on something else."

Rogue didn't know what the hell is going on. She hesitates at first, but then decides to just do it. She tries to think of something else. Anything… A memory. Something calm and peaceful.

Her playing in the sand at the beach when she was a little girl, alongside her parents… Seeing the beautiful sun reflect off of the water, as the waves came crashing onto the shore…

It isn't much, but it's all she's got at the moment. She tries again and thinks of being in a field of flowers, running through them, laying there and feeling the cool calm breeze tickle her skin as birds chirp merrily…

"You calm?" he asks, snapping her out of her state of mind as she opens her eyes. She nods her head.

"What are you doing?" Rogue asks softly in a shaky voice, knowing he probably wouldn't answer her – not with a straight answer, at least.

"Now I'm gonna do something. And when I do, you think of those thoughts. Got it?" he says, staring into her eyes, still inches away from their lips touching. He looks so serious, which scares Rogue even more and makes her more nervous. John has never been this serious.

She breathes in and out, choosing to close her eyes for whatever comes. She keeps thinking of those calm memories and thoughts again, just like he told her to do. Then suddenly, she feels the warmth of John's hand touching her arm. She lets out a moan of terror, worry painted all over her face squeezing her eyes closed, making it apparent to John who's never stopped looking away from her. He knows she's scared out of her mind.

"Shhh…" he tries to calm and comfort her.

He feels her warm, porcelain soft skin, tickling it with the touch of his fingertips. He moves his fingers, making lazy-circles on her skin. Rogue breathes in and out, still feeling his lips close to hers. She controls her breathing, calming herself. She opens her eyes, looking down and seeing him touch her skin and nothing's happening. She gasps a little as the full force of what is going on hits her.

Then suddenly, she feels the familiar pull that's haunted her for so long – ever since her powers manifested when she was a teenager. John can't breathe. He tries really hard, but his airways have locked up. He's paralyzed. Black veins start creeping up both of their bodies. Rogue finally is able to break herself away from John's touch before it gets worse, sending John collapsing onto her slightly. He quickly gains his composure, acting as if he's not nearly in as bad of a condition as he feels. He pants loudly, trying to catch his breath, and come back to life as the veins slowly disappear.

"Are--are you okay?" she asks, completely terrified and feeling so horrible for what had just happened.

John evens out his breathing, noticing he's still close to her face – not as close as they were before, but still pretty close. He simply replies with a devilish smile that only John could make.

"I don't know what all the fuss is about. You're not so untouchable," he says, looking into her eyes.

"What you did wasn't cool, John. You could've died," Rogue argues, still feeling a wave of emotions as John's memories flooded her. She tried her best to ignore those memories, as she is more concerned for his well being at the moment.

He lets out a soft chuckle in response to her words and then moves away from her, standing up and walking away, but he stops and turns back around to look at her.

"Oh, don't forget to write that in your journal," he comments, sending a little mischievous smirk her way just before turning around again and leaving.

Rogue could do little but sit there, stunned as he walks away from her, heading back into the school. She looks down, thinking of what he'd just said. Did he read her journal over her shoulder? After all, she didn't know how long he'd been behind the bench.

Then she thought… He'd touched her. He'd touched her for a while without her powers being triggered. The longest she's ever touched anyone. Did he just help her come up with a new strategy for controlling her powers?

She sits there all alone on the bench, completely dumbfounded and amazed at this new discovery.

NOTE: This was only intended for a one-shot but if its liked real well, i can try my best to go farther with it. Might be hard, but i could.

NOTE2: Special thanks to Susan, mediocrechick on LJ for being my beta. I really appreciate it!