“Why are you leaving, Rogue?” Pitor asked as he watched her fold another pair of jeans from the door way of her room. “Really? This is your home. We are your family.”
“I know that, Pitor,” Rogue whispered softly, trying to hide the emotion in her voice. How did you explain something like this? This feeling on discontent she felt with everyone and everything around her. “It’s something I have to do. There are things that I need to know and loose ends I have to tie up.”
“And Magneto? You can’t go head to head with him, you know,” Pitor quickly reminded her. “He’s too powerful. And he’ll know you and Logan are alone. He’ll be looking for you.”
“I know, Pitor. I know,” she took a deep breath, turning to look at him. He stepped in through the door, understanding that what she said was private. “Carol didn’t know what he was told by the blind woman. He kept that information to himself, and she was his newest right hand man. Mystique got her abilities back, but he doesn’t trust her anymore. Not after she handed all that information. But he still didn’t trust Carol enough to give her everything.”
“What did she know?”
“Something big enough to scare him. And we both know that man doesn’t scare easily. Something that would make him throw caution to the wind and come here, even though he already knew what I was capable of. Carol thinks it’s his death, but I’ve got the man in my head and death isn’t something he’s afraid of. He’s seen to much and been to close to it. He knows he’s not immortal and he accepts this.” She turned to look her friend in the eye, wanting his full attention. “He’s afraid of a few things, Pitor, but there are only three things that stand out more than anything. He’s afraid of being captured and enslaved again, like he was when he was a little boy and ripped from his parents’ arms during the holocaust. He’s afraid of being turned human again, and loosing his gifts. But, above everything else, he is afraid of being wrong. That this whole war idea isn’t going to benefit anyone in the long run. That humans and mutants can coexist peacefully without prejudice.”
“And you’re going to prove this to him?” Pitor asked skeptically.
“Nope. If he is wrong, then nothing he does or says is going to change it. Nothing I do or say will either. I’m not an important political figure, Pitor. No one will listen to me, and, with all the people in my head, no one should,” she sighed, grabbing the bag she packed earlier and the one she just finished with, ready to take them both down and store them in the double cab truck she and Logan would be taking with them along with the bikes. “I’m just going to show him that, no matter what it is he thinks he knows, I will not go down with out a fight and that I am not going to wait around for him to come to me. If he wants a fight that bad, I am not going to stay here and let him use you and the rest of the school against me. I’ll go to him and take him on under my own terms. There is no way in hell I will let the rest of you put yourselves in danger over some vision a blind woman had. I wouldn’t even let Logan go if I could stop him. But I think it would be more dangerous if I left him here. Who knows what he might put those kids through. I’d come back and find a bunch of Mini Logan’s running the school like it was boot camp.”
“And if I follow you?” He smiled, knowing that she would say no.
“Try it if you want, but, just remember,” she replied as she flashed him her own smile and put her free hand on her hip, “with our healing factors, we can probably go for a week without much sleep. And you don’t have enhanced senses, which mean that you don’t have the nose for tracking.”
“Yeah, but I did learn how to hunt in the snow, remember? I bet I could do it.”
“You’re needed here, Pitor. Me and Logan are out of here, which means you are going to be the best fighter they have. There is always a chance that Magneto will send his people back, and, if that happens, they’re going to need you.” She smiled at him softly. “Besides, I’m a big girl now. And I need to do this by my self. I’m already going to have a hard time explaining Logan to the folks. And, we kind of need this time to ourselves, to know that we can both do this, without everyone giving their two cents about our relationship.”
“I understand. I’m just going to miss you, Rogue.”
“I’ll miss you, too. But this is something I have to do. Now, if you will excuse me, Logan and I are leaving very early, and I want to get my things into the truck tonight so that I don’t have to worry about it.” She moved to walk past him, stopping at his side for a moment. “We will be back, Pitor. I promise.”
She felt him before his sent hit her. It wasn’t a sent easy to mask, although he seemed to have bathed in cologne before coming to find her. He smelled of coldness, of an icy morning. She knew his sent hadn’t been this strong before, that it must have developed along with his abilities. “You all ready to go, then?”
She could feel the garage temperature drop a little, as if his presence brought along a cold front. She couldn’t help but exhale deeply, wondering if she would see her breath with it. She closed the double cab, noticing that Logan had already gone ahead and strapped their bikes to the truck’s bed. “Did you need something?”
“Got everything you need?” He asked back, avoiding her question. He came to peer into the window over her shoulder. “You better stock up on junk food before you go. It’s going to be a long drive.”
“What do you want, Bo…”
“I just…” Bobby cut her off, turning to look at her. Her eyes connected to his, and she could see the wanting he once had for her again. But it didn’t do the same things to her that it used to. “I just wanted to apologize, Rogue. For hurting you.”
“You’re forgiven, now, if you will excuse me…” She turned to walk away, only stopping when she felt his icy hand grab her arm. “Bobby, I have things that I need to do before we head out.”
He pulled her to her, regardless of her protest. She could see the pleading in his eyes, and knew that this was something he felt was important.
“I’m sorry, Rogue. I shouldn’t have done what I did. I shouldn’t… I should have been better to you.” He released her then, but she didn’t move, her curiosity piqued. She realized that she wanted to hear what he had to say, that nothing he could say would make everything better, but that it might be important for her to have this for closure. Maybe, one day, they would be able to start over and rebuild the friendship they once lost, without the romantic pull they had felt while they were children. “I loved you, you know. I mean, as much as a seventeen year old boy could.”
“I know, Bobby. But… I think our relationship was doomed from the start. I loved you, too, but just, I don’t think it was the same kind of love. Not what we both needed.” She leaned against the truck, knowing that this was a conversation long in the making that needed to end before it festered. “Honestly, Bobby, I understand why you did what you did. I don’t condone it, though. You should have ended things before you moved on. But, I don’t think you are completely to blame. I was pushing you away a lot.”
“Yeah. I think it was starting to get to me, and, that a part of me might have known you were right. I mean, I should have ended things between us before it happened. Before Alcatraz and the cure. Before… before the others.” He looked away from her, and she knew whom he was talking about. All those that had died. “But I think that I thought I loved you too much, and that we could get past everything. But, I should have realized that, after that one kiss, you just weren’t ready. Why didn’t you break it off?”
“To be honest. I was scared, Bobby. You were one of the few people who weren’t afraid of my skin, you know,” she smiled at him, for the first time, feeling more at ease in his company than she ever had before, including the duration of their romantic relationship. “Anyone else who didn’t flinch when I made a sudden move… Well, most of them were teachers or Xavier. The only other person was Logan, but… But he didn’t see me in that light, and, really, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find anyone who could see past my specific mutation and not care about the whole no touching policy. I was afraid that my only other option was to either be with you, or alone, and no one wants to be alone forever.”
“But what about Logan? He’s always looked at you like a child. Why is now so different?” He leaned against the truck beside her.
“I think that, with Logan, I had to do something drastic. Something that wasn’t for him as much as for everyone. Something that I wasn’t doing for him to see me as a woman, but that forced him to see me in a new light. It wasn’t like he declared his love for me the day I turned eighteen and became legal. I honestly think he saw me in the same way, and probably still would if I hadn’t done what I felt was necessary. I think it was the fact that I took matters in my own hands and didn’t abandon him that opened his eyes.”
“We shouldn’t have left him. We should have been there.” Although they were no longer actually looking at each other, she could almost feel him sulk against the truck.
“No.” She shook her head in protest, not allowing him to feel sorry for himself. “You followed orders. You did what was expected of you and you followed your team. You did what you were trained to do.”
“But you were apart of that team, too,” Bobby replied defensively. “You were one of us.”
“I gave up my membership when I accepted my true nature and left to take care of myself.” She turned her head so that she was looking at his profile now. At twenty, he still hadn’t lost the baby face, his features still not as pronounced as that of an adult. Given time, he would be a handsome man, but, for now, he was still only a boy. She could only hope that he would remember the way he treated her at the end of their relationship and not make a habit of it. He would hurt the wrong person someday. “To be honest with you, I really don’t think I was ever a part of the team. I mean, in the end, I chose myself over everyone else. I was no good for the team. I never shared the same loyalty you and Kitty do. When I thought of the future, being an X-Men was never a vision. That’s why I’m the rogue, you know. I’m the wild card. It’s great to have me on your side, but I’m not something to be relied on. I make my own choices. Not for the benefit of the whole team and their needs, but regardless. I don’t play by the rules. Never really have, actually.”
“Do you think that, without Logan and Kitty, that if you could have controlled your abilities without doing what you did, that, just maybe we would have stood a chance?” He looked back at her and she could see the honest hope in his eyes, along with his feelings and his soul. He was laying it all out for her to see.
She knew that it wouldn’t be easy for him to take, but she had to tell him the truth. She had to clear the table before she left. She couldn’t leave him without a doubt in his mind to fester and twist. “No, Bobby. I don’t think we would have gotten as far as we did, to be truthful. I’m too much like Logan and, in some ways, like John. Too reckless. Too uncontrollable and selfish. My skin kept me from being who I really was. There was too much that I had to control, and it would make me sick. That’s why I jumped on the first opportunity that came along. I didn’t want that control anymore. I didn’t want that situation.”
“But what about the sacrifice you made when you killed Jean? You gave up your escape. Why would you do it?”
“Because I had to. Because I am a selfish person and I have selfish needs. Because I couldn’t stand the thought of Logan making that sacrifice and not surviving from it. It would have eaten him alive and I couldn’t stand by and let him do that to himself.” She looked away from him then. It was the first time she had admitted to anyone why she did what she had. The first time she had said it out loud.
“Would you have done it for me?”
She couldn’t help but smile. He was fishing for something now, some kind of sign that she still loved him. “The last time I saw you before I left to take the cure, you were kissing Kitty on a frozen lake. You hadn’t even come to check and see how I was doing. Honestly, I think I would have handed you to Phoenix on a silver platter and told her to go for it.”
He chuckled at that and she was happy to see that he hadn’t taken it the wrong way. She could have said it differently, a little more eloquently, but that would have gone against everything she had just told him.
“You love him, don’t you?”
“And he loves you?”
“Yes.” She let the word hiss out, almost as if to admit it set her soul on fire. He turned his gaze away from her, and she had a feeling that this was about to be the most important part of the conversation. This was what he had come to talk to her about.
“I love you, too, Rogue. I still do.”
“But you don’t feel the same way anymore.”
“No. I don’t think I ever felt the same way.”
“Alright.” He pushed softly as she pushed herself away from the truck, wanting to get out of the garage before she hurt him any further. She had forgiven him for what happened, and didn’t want to reopen any more fresh scars.
“Rogue?” She was half way to the door when he called to her. She didn’t turn around, not wanting to see the pain in his eyes anymore. “Do you think we can go back to before? To being friends?”
She paused in her answer, knowing that she was going to hurt him deeper than he had hurt her. But she had to tell him the truth, she wasn’t going to bottle her emotions up anymore just to save someone some hart ache, regardless of how they hurt her.
“No, Bobby. I can’t do that. There is too much between us. I trusted you once. I can’t do it again.” And she walked out of the garage, ready to find the man that loved her, the man she was willing to die for. The man that she was ready to spend eternity with.