Disclaimer: I do not own Scott or any of the other semi-mentioned X-Men are the property of Marvel. If I owned Scott... Well, let's just say that he wouldn't be moping around in this lame One-Shot, now would he?
A/N: This is the second story in the Satin and Shades Rogue and Cyclops series.
Garth Brooks - More Than a Memory
'Cause when you're dialing her number just to hang up the phone
Driving 'cross town just to see if she's home
Waking a friend in the dead of night
Just to hear him say, "It's gonna be all right"
When you find the things to do not to fall asleep
'Cause you know she's waiting in your dreams
That's when she's more than a memory
More Than a Memory
He tossed and turned, the sheets tangled around his sweating torso as his feet kicked at the obstructive object. The blanket went first, toppling over the side of the bed to land in a pile on the floor before the matching gray sheet followed suit. He threw himself forcefully into a sitting position moments later, chest heaving as he stared at the alarm clock on the night stand next to the bed.
It was almost four in the morning, and he had a class to teach at eight.
"I might as well get up," he muttered to himself, shaking his head at the mere thought of rising when his body was so fucking tired. And though he didn't mutter the obscenity aloud, he cursed in his head and threw himself backwards onto the small mountain of pillows.
The backs of his long legs and his sculpted back stuck to the sheets and all he could do was run his hands through his damp hair. The AC blasted cold in his direction, but it did little to cool his heated body. He stared up at the ceiling, disgusted with both the sight of it - and himself.
The hours ticked by slowly until his damn alarm clock chirped to life, a local Oldies station playing annoying music that may have brought a smile to his face once. Instead, he merely scowled at the red-tinted room around him as he pushed himself to his feet and staggered toward the en-suite bathroom. The mirror wasn't his friend, hadn't been for months, so he ignored it as he relieved his full bladder and washed his hands.
But, of course, that would-be-enemy mirror caught his attention as he lifted his hands to his face.
He stared at his reflection for a long moment, caught between disgust and anger and grief.
No matter how much time had passed or just how fucking terrible he felt inside, he hadn't changed all that much on the exterior. His hair was a bit shaggier and there was more scruff than usual on his chin. But, those fucking glasses still hid most of his pain from the world. The fucking glasses still hid all of the pain and suffering.
And they always would.
His morning routine passed by in a staggered blur. He ate a bowl of granola cereal topped by semi-fresh strawberries and checked his e-mail on his iPhone while ESPN gave the previous evening's highlights in the background. He even managed to dress with relative ease - then again, he'd lived as a color blind man for his entire adult life so it wasn't like it was hard to match a shirt with a pair of jeans, was it? He even managed to get everything gathered up and shoved into his shoulder briefcase and had his fingers wrapped around his favorite leather jacket when he caught sight of the rumpled bed in the bedroom.
His heart seized for a moment in his chest before he was able to pull the jacket on, albeit roughly. His jaw ached from the effort it took to keep from snarling as he hurried toward the bed and jerkily picked up all of the bedcovers in order to throw them onto the foot of the bed.
Her side of the bed caught his attention, as always. He'd taken to sleeping in the middle of the bed after - but it did him no good. The sheets and blankets had been washed dozens of times, but he could still smell her Goddamn perfume and her lotion and even her damn shampoo on everything.
The toe of his boot caught something at the edge of the bed and he looked down, surprised, and found himself looking at an old shoe box that clearly wasn't his. After a moment's confusion, he picked it up and sat on the edge of the bed roughly.
It was her's.
There was no mistaking the expensive box for anything other than one of her few, though precious, purchases. He thought he remembered the pair, the shopping excursion itself - and he couldn't help but remember how she'd modeled the sexy little slingbacks for him when they'd gotten home that night. He couldn't be sure, of course, as it was the same brand of shoes she worshipped, but he suspected it to be the same one he remembered.
But, as he pulled it open, he was surprised to find that there wasn't a pair of shoes tucked inside.
Pictures met his gaze unflinchingly, staring up at him with echoes of a past he'd rather forget but would always remember. His fingers touched the glossy polaroids gently, brushing over the face of the woman that had captured his heart with so little effort.
There were only twenty or so pictures in the shoe box, but it also contained a few movie ticket stubs, an empty bottle of perfume, and a soft piece of lace. Memories fell over his vision unwanted, capturing him in their powerful riptipe and carrying him under to a place where he was completely weak and vulnerable.
He wasn't even sure how he found himself staring down at his phone, her name and picture displayed and his thumb hovering over the "Call" button. He blinked a few times and glanced back and forth between the box of nearly forgotten memories and the phone that kept him tied to the present.
Instead of dialing that number - as he knew it would be fruitless and only result in even more heartache than he could handle - he cancelled the number and pressed the speed dial for the only person that could ever possibly understand how he felt.
"What do you want, Scooter?" was the only gruff greeting he got when the other end finally picked up.
His tongue seemed to tangle in his very mouth as he struggled to find the words. A bit of time passed, no more than a minute or two, before the man at the other end of the line released a sigh that shook him out of his stunned stupor.
"I found a box," he explained limply, ignoring the sigh on the phone. "I found a box and it's filled with - it's filled with stuff."
"I reckon most boxes are usually filled with stuff," the other man muttered in agreement. "What's in it?"
His fingers danced over the items that had occupied the box - he had them spread across the bed with only the empty bottle of perfume remaining in the box - and frowned. "Pictures, mainly. Momentos. I don't know where it came from, Logan."
"Well, I'm guessing it was her's then, you dumbass." Logan grunted under his breath. "Listen, Scott, it's gonna be a'right." And how strange was it, Scott wondered, to hear Logan, of all people, try to comfort him? "Time heals all wounds, y'know."
"We weren't all blessed with the same healing ability as you, Wolverine."
There was a chuckle at the other end of the line that made Scott's lips tremble in an effort to smile. "At least you still got some spunk, kid."
It was as much a compliment as Logan was capable of, Scott knew, but he took it with a grain of salt. The conversation was halted, no doubt awkward because of the topic. After a few minutes, Scott disconnected the call after a brusque goodbye and began carefully replacing all of the items into the shoebox.
Everything went in but a single picture.
Scott stared down at it for a long moment, his chest aching and his heart racing like it had every time he'd looked at her.
She was beautiful - long thick hair and lashes, an amply curvy body and a smile that had stopped his heart more than once. Her voice had been laced with honey, rendered perfect under someone's gaze. He thought about her silky smooth skin, how her lips had tasted, how she'd moved under him as they'd made love countless times.
He wondered, not for the first time, how in the hell it had come to this.
She wasn't just some part of his past. She'd always be more to him than just some segment of his life that had happened. It wasn't like their love, their relationship, would just be chalked up to something less than what it was. And he knew what it had been: fate.
She wasn't just some bad memory, some nightmare, that haunted him with every waking and sleeping moment of his life. She was more than a memory, more than just something that was stuck in his head.
They kept telling him to get on with his life, that someday the pain would magically be gone and that time healed all fucking wounds.
But they didn't know what it was like to stare at the wall, to stare at anything that might not remind him of her so that he didn't just want to hurl his beer at the fucking wall. Nobody knew what it was like to do something, anything, to avoid sleeping - because she was always there, always ready to haunt him and remind him of every single fucking amazing thing about her in his fucking dreams.
Nobody knew what it was like for him; drowning his sorrows in any bottle he could find, taking on any physical project around the Institute that cropped up, slowly renovating the Lake House that they'd worked on so hard together. Nobody knew what it was like for him - waking up sobbing in the middle of the night, reaching for her and hoping she'd tell him that everything would be alright.
"No," he murmured to himself. He tucked the polaroid picture of her, in all of her beautiful glory, into the frame that sat on the nightstand. The frame itself already contained an older picture of the two of them, but her smile wasn't quite as bright as it was in the polaroid. "I miss you," he added, weakly rising to his feet.
No matter what anyone said, she'd never drift away in his mind, his soul, or in his heart. No matter what anyone wanted to believe, she'd always be more than a memory.