DISCLAIMER: None of it is mine. Don´t sue me. Por favor. Oh, and the song is "3 Libras" by A Perfect Circle. It's pretty cool. Mucho angsty. Forgive me.
DEDICATION/EXPLANATION: Okay, it was like this... We were in chat, and there was very little chatting going on. Nace was staring at his cigarette, Diebie was drawing on her arm, and I was messing around with my new watercolor brushes. And then *this* started happening. Don't ask me how. LOL I finished it during an emotional crisis and insomniac event. Woohoo. I've been having enough of those these days.
"Art is expression," Ororo said, "and we all need to express ourselves once in a while."
And so the daily ritual began Ororo had made her set aside half an hour in late afternoon, when the sunlight slanting in the window was a lure even the most studious of teens would be hard-pressed to fully resist. The last dregs of daylight were slipping into evening, and the last place Rogue wanted to be was in the solarium with an easel, a handful of brushes, and a paint-smattered smock.
But there she was, staring at her blank paper.
In the weeks since her arrival at the school, she'd been through a dizzying whirl of emotions - relief, happiness, and security...
She missed Logan. It was one thing she could admit. Not to the others, of course. Only to herself. She missed a man she'd known only for a matter of hours, really, and how logical or healthy was that?
When Ororo suggested "art therapy," the Logan in Rogue's head was torn between cringing and laughing. Rogue was just glad he was still there.
She knew the Professor was worried about her. She hadn't adjusted as well as he had expected, this she knew, and it troubled him. So he and Jean were working with her, trying to psychoanalyze her when she wasn't paying attention.
Which was often.
She didn't even have a canvas, because Ororo, in all her infinite wisdom, had given her watercolors.
She sighed, then loaded a brush up with thick, wet black, zig-zagging it across the paper half-heartedly. The stroke started out heavy and dark, then began to fade into a sickly grey before disappearing altogether in a dry swipe of bristles.
Rogue blinked, then tried it with another color.
Intense crimson faded into fragile pink, then nothingness.
Blue, green, brown.
Frowning, she tried to saturate the bristles of the brush so that the wet color wouldn't fade, at least not until she'd drawn it clean across the white expanse of the paper before her. But, no matter how much pigment dripped from the brush, it never worked.
It never worked.
The next day, she was up at dawn, dragging her supplies out of a cupboard.
She tried a larger brush, and the strongest color she could find, the familiarly stern authority of black. It almost worked. The brush was not dry at the bottom of her stroke, but the line was pale, faint, a thread of grey skipping off the edge of paper.
She discovered something that morning, but it had nothing to do with art.
Rogue discovered she didn't like grey. She didn't like one bit. To her, it was the loneliest color of all.
Again, she tried others.
In the end, she was left with a paper criss-crossed by wounded lines, every color of the rainbow, and a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. A feeling that told her it wouldn't be long before the traces of Logan that were left in her faded just like the paint.
She didn't want to be alone.
She heard the Professor and Jean talking about her one day.
She was walking past the Professor's office on her way to history class, but she heard her name and stopped short. She listened, just outside the door, and she became angry, because they were both *telepaths*, goddammit; how could they not know she was *there*?
"Rogue's power... It seems to be a sort of psychological parasitism," Jean was saying, and Rogue didn't hear the older man disagreeing.
Rogue ached, and she didn't stay to eavesdrop on the rest of the conversation.
In the past year, she'd given herself plenty of labels. Poisoned. Cursed. Unlucky. Evil. But she'd never thought of herself as a *parasite*.
Shaking legs took her to the library, where she dragged a heavy dictionary from the shelf. Sinking into a chair and flipping through the volume, she quickly located the entry she sought.
"An organism that depends on another for existence or support," she read aloud. "One who lives at the expense of others without giving anything in return."
So that was what she was. A walking injury who took and took and took, without ever giving anything back. Without *having* anything to give.
She rose on steady legs and walked to the solarium. She skipped her class altogether and didn't try to paint bright, clear lines. Instead, she mixed so much water with the paint that the bristles tore through the heavy paper, and ghostly shades bled together in a symphony of color.
The faded hues didn't seem so bad anymore, and neither did the fact that the Logan in her head wasn't quite *there* any longer.
It was better that way.
If the Professor wondered at her newfound calm, he must have decided to keep it to himself. He never commented, and Rogue didn't volunteer any insights into her soul. After all, what would she say? That hurting others was nothing she would have chosen, only something she could choose to never do again?
She would get used to faded.
It worked for two months, and then Logan elected to come back to the mansion. With him, he brought shades of life she hadn't even thought of in weeks. He was everything - the red of passion, and the brilliant green of self-assurance, with an inner strength like the depths of a stormy sky at sunset.
Colors she hadn't felt in a long time, and then only through him, only *as* him.
But she'd already gotten used to pale, and so she avoided him on all but the most superficial of levels. She chatted with him, but never really said anything; she smiled, and it never reached her eyes.
And he shouldn't have known her well enough to see what the others hadn't.
But he did.
And if there was one thing Logan wasn't afraid of, it was the angry magenta of confrontation.
"You gonna tell me what's up, Marie, or are we stuck playing twenty questions?"
His tone was deceptively lazy, and she could have shrugged it off, laughed it off, or even reached down in the depths of her *parasitic* soul for something so wounding he wouldn't give a shit about her anymore. But it was Logan, and she'd already sworn to herself she wouldn't hurt him again. Never again.
She played dumb. "What do you mean, Logan?"
Then Jubilee passed by with a smirk and a glib, "Hey Roguey, good to see your boyfriend's back." And it took Rogue a few seconds to control her embarrassment, to prepare herself for the disgust she'd find when she chanced a look at Logan's face.
She couldn't have prepared herself, after all, because what she saw for a fleeting moment was the yellow-green of *guilt*, and what would he have to feel guilty abou--
Her breath halted under a flood of realization.
She left him standing there in the hallway.
Somehow, in the span of less than a dozen weeks, Rogue had gotten used to washed out. Pale suited her. Color... It scared the hell out of her, and what she'd seen on Logan's face wasn't just color. It was life, and joy, and everything she wanted but couldn't have. What she wished for, yet couldn't handle.
For *her*, even though she was toxic, could only hurt if not kill him. Not just with her touch, but with the confusion that slithered in every corner of her mind. She could never just be Rogue; she would always be little pieces of a handful of others, and how could a man want that sort of cacophony?
It took her two days to figure out that Logan might be scared, too, frightened of the tints and shades that painted them both. And that made it better, because then they could go slowly, could take it step by step. They would uncover everything piece by piece, and they could get used to it, to the darkness and the light.
It didn't have to be so damn terrifying.
It was what she *wanted*.
Couldn't she have it?
It took her another two days to walk down the hallway to his bedroom.
He stared at her for a long time.
"Show me, Logan," she whispered, and the look in his eyes *was* terrifying, after all. It wasn't the look of a gentle man whose dreams had just come true; it was the hunted look of a man trapped.
"Go back to your room, Marie." It was unsteady, but a command, all the same. "You shouldn't be here." Quick steps took him across the darkened room, and he grabbed a sweatshirt from a chair. He slid it over his head as she watched, dumbfounded.
"You don't want me?" In another place or time, she could never have been so direct, forward. But Rogue had already decided that she could handle color again, if it was part of Logan. He was all she'd ever needed, and she wondered why she hadn't seen it before.
He growled something she couldn't hear, then rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. "Go back to bed."
She moved closer. "Is it my skin?" Whispered, but she needed to know if he was frightened of her. "I know I--"
He was on her in a flash of cloth and muscle, gripping her arms and staring down at her. "I don't give a damn about that, Marie. You know I don't."
The she was off her feet and...heaven. It was heaven, being pressed between Logan's warm body and the crumpled covers of his bed. His hands didn't touch her, not really, just held her there while she gasped and saw colors she never had before. They decorated the backs of her eyelids, and it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.
Then his mouth was on her shoulder, biting through thin cotton and into skin. Again, he whispered words she couldn't quite catch, and she raised her head, touched gloved fingers to his jaw.
"Tell me, Logan."
She could never have anticipated his words.
"Keep it a fantasy, kid." Hot eyes roamed her face. "Reality's never quite as good."
Then he was gone, standing by the window, and she couldn't have spoken to him if she'd wanted to. Instead, she stared at him for long minutes, at the stern line of his profile in the moonlight. Then she left silently, walked back to her room and into the shower, where she let grey-white billows of steam prop her against the warming tile.
It made sense, a twisted sort of sense that made her laugh and cry with its irony.
Logan wasn't afraid of the colors. He had never been one to back away from terror or danger; he threw himself into both with a single-minded nonchalance most people found idiotic. But it was Logan's way, and it was that simple.
He wasn't worried about the colors.
Rogue laughed as tears streamed down her face.
He was afraid of the fade.
well I threw you the obvious
just to see if there's more behind the
eyes of a fallen angel
eyes of a tragedy
here I am expecting just a little bit
too much from the wounded
but I see
see through it all
and see you...
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