It was confusing after Logan left her her. So confusing. Everything hurt and nothing could make the pain go away. She laughed when all she wanted to do was cry. She brushed off their words of concern and hope. What need did she have for hope when he had made it clear he would never want her? Not poor little Marie, too young to pique the interest of the man she adored, the man she practically obsessed over. The days were growing increasingly dark for her when Scott came to her room. He hurt too. She knew he hid it better than she did. He smiled when he wanted to grimace, laughed when he wanted to scream and shout. The only difference between them was that people actually believed his artificial mirth. They all applauded the strength of their fearless leader, ever selfless as he took Rogue under his wing.
The first time he locked her room door she’d stared at him quizzically. Perhaps if she knew then what would happen she would have run? Or maybe not. Being needed was a strong motivator. He didn’t love her. He told her this plainly. She was a replacement but it was okay. Because he wasn’t Logan and she wasn’t Jean but they could still need each other. The first time they had sex it was painful and awkward as he cried into her hair. She’d cried too, knowing that Logan should have been her first, her only. But Scott was so apologetic as he shuddered above her and called a dead woman’s name. Rogue forgave him his weakness. She couldn’t imagine he was Logan, not when his hands and face were so soft, even as he pinched and grabbed and squeezed so painfully. She went into a place in her head when Scott got rough. A place where Logan could love her, where the hands that were touching her were rough but gentle. A place where the mouth bruising hers was covered in short, dark hair and his lips were gentle, rather than demanding. She lived in that place every night that Scott came to her room.
She learned to shadow Scott’s every move, to mimic every forced smile and feigned laugh. Soon they believed she too was healing. And maybe she was because the first time Scott slapped her she smiled. He said she deserved it and she believed. She wasn’t Jean and that was her fault, wasn’t it? She wasn’t Jean for Scott and she hadn’t been Jean for Logan. Both men she’d cared for loved the same woman. A woman that was dead and that she could never hope to live up to. So she endured Scott’s anger that so resembled her own. The first time he’d drawn blood with a punch to the face she’d laughed and hit him back. Roundabout was fair play. And he’d stared at her for so long after that, unmoving, that she was afraid she’d done something wrong. What did she do wrong? No one could need her like Scott did and the thought of losing that need scared her. She’d fallen to her knees and begged for his forgiveness.
Scott had smiled and told her to get up. He’d touched her lip where it was bleeding and then kissed her, almost gently, almost tender with his adoration. Red he told her, was the greatest colour in the world. Red was hope and love and pain and fear. Red was Jean and red was Rogue in that moment as her blood slid down her chin and coated his lips. Rogue understood then. She could be Jean for him in that moment. She could give him some semblance of peace, even if it cost her own blood to do so. From then on his hits were a little harder, his nips on the tender skin of her neck and shoulder and lips became bites. Anything to make her bleed that beautiful red that he loved. And Rogue was content. Logan would not love her, but Scott could need her. And soon she needed him. She needed the pain that let her know he was there, worshipping all that only she could provide. She needed his pain and his smiles, his fears that so mirrored her own. Never again would they be abandoned. Never again would she be alone.
Scott did his best to make up for all the moments that he forgot she was human and that sometimes the pain was too much, even for her. He was always tender after he pushed too far, hit too hard. He told her he loved her. He was lying but her heart always jumped when he said that, her mind imagining that it was someone else that spoke his words. She could never believe he loved her when he loved to hurt her so much but she was content in the knowledge that she was what he needed.
They said Logan was coming back. Words whispered when they thought I wasn’t listening or that I was too far to hear. But little did they know that my hearing had sharpened. Maybe it was a side effect of grief or maybe it was because I had to strain so hard to hear Rogue’s whimpered pleas for more. I was rougher with her than I should have been the night after I heard that rumour. She seemed to realize the moment I walked in that this night would be all about pain. Hers and mine. I would claim her in the only way I knew how, by spilling her blood. She wasn’t mine, no matter how much I demanded it of her. She was his and that night my rage could not be contained. That was the first time I heard her scream. It made me sick to my stomach but I couldn’t stop now. Not when we both needed this confirmation of our pain. I was broken beyond repair, shattered beyond recognition and I only wanted to be with Jean. Rogue would hate me if she knew that I had forced Logan to leave. That I had created this void in her than made her believe that only I could fill it. She would kill me when she realized Logan loved her as desperately as I loved Jean, loved her to the grave. So that night I tore her down, piece by piece. The next morning I built her back up with my words of need and solace, made her need me back as I told her that Logan would never love her like I did. He would never need her like I would. And she believed, so young and impressionable, so malleable when faced with my hate and pain. I told her that one day soon I would show her how much I loved her. And for the first time she smiled, a smile just for me, free of false hope and restrained anguish. She was the most beautiful person that I’d ever seen in that moment.
Logan phoned me the next night and told me that he was coming back for her. That he believed that he had paid enough for his sins and that maybe he was worthy enough for his Marie. I burned when he said that. His Marie? She was Rogue and she was mine, not Logan’s. I had mumbled a reply that had seemed to appease Logan. I hung up with a burning in my chest. An ache I dimly realized was fear and maybe the beginnings of heartache. I hadn’t meant to and I puzzled over it. When had twisted need and anguish turned to this sort of love? It wasn’t pure or soft or tender. It was dark and harsh and painful but it was still here. I loved her but she would leave me when Logan came back because I would do the same in a heartbeat if Jean appeared at my door. No matter this love that I felt for Rogue. It was dark and twisted
and belonged in the shadows. So I made up my mind then. They all thought I hated Logan for being able to tempt Jean for even a moment. I didn’t. I envied him his ease with woman, especially with my wife. I had never felt anything greater than fear when faced with the obstacle of conversing with woman, not until Jean. Only then had I actually been able to master my fear. Love was stronger than fear. At least I believed so. So I envied Logan and for me that was greater than fear. I was a man destroyed. Why should he get what he wanted when I had lost everything? Why should I let him take what had become mine? The honourable man I had been was gone, replaced by this ruined visage of envy. He would know my pain and I would take Rogue’s away. So I grabbed a knife on my way up to her room. I felt lighter than I had in days. Soon I would be gone from this life but I wouldn’t be with Jean, wherever she was. I was no longer good enough for her but at least where I went, Rogue would follow and I would have someone to share eternity with.
Marie was waiting for Scott with bated breath. Logan had called him. She’d heard what the professor had said to Ms. Monroe. Logan had called Scott. And soon he would be coming to her. Soon she would know the truth behind the rumours.
When Scott entered her room, her gaze was instantly drawn to the knife in his hand. It sparkled so brightly under the fluorescent glare of the lights overhead, almost like diamonds. She giggled at that thought. Scott said he would show her just how much he loved her and instantly her mind was carried along to wedding proposals. Theirs was not that kind of love. She would always be his maiden in the shadows, his secret to hide from the world. When she looked back into his eyes she realized that this wasn’t a normal night. His eyes were intent on her, whereas usually they were directed somewhere behind her, pretending she was someone else. Tonight she had his full attention. She was enthralled.
“He’s coming back.” Her heart almost stopped at his words. There was no need to clarify who he was. “He’s bringing his wife with him.”
All the hope and unsuppressed joy she had felt at his first statement crumbled at his second one. Logan had a wife. Logan loved someone else. Logan was never going to be hers. She almost collapsed at that moment but suddenl y Scott was there, holding her close. He was her dark knight, her haven from the emotional pain that welled up in her. He was safety and he said he loved her. How could she do any less than love him in return? Even if his love was merely an illusion to comfort her.
“Rogue, I don’t want you to hurt anymore. I don’t want to hurt anymore.”
He brought the knife up for her inspection and she nodded, understanding and almost painful relief filling her. This was the end then. This was the end of the story that was her pathetic life and he was willing to share it with her. She was grateful.
“I told you I love you and I want to show it to you Rogue. I need a kiss from you. A kiss for me and no one else.”
She nodded easily. And breathed in deeply. This would be her last breath, her last chance at life and she gave it up easily. She nodded again, firmer as her resolve hardened. If she had ever believed in God and hell she had long lost that belief. This way she would at least be with Scott, wherever the hereafter took them.
“I love you Rogue.” He smiled as he shoved the knife into her stomach with the utmost of tenderness. She merely smiled. Pain was nothing new. She kissed him one last time and as she felt his life and hers receding and the black void overtaking them she knew one thing. His last thoughts weren’t of Jean. He hadn’t lied. Scott loved her after all. And the rest was lost as the world faded behind her. Scott loved her and that was all she knew.