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Author's Chapter Notes:
disclaimer: Characters belong to Marvel and Fox.
dedication: To Sarah, for always encouraging everything I do, and Karen for making me love this fandom.
series: Truth Beneath My Skin story one
spoilers: Through the second movie
Jubilee convinced her that going out was always better than staying in, and that was where the trouble started, Rogue realized, back when everything lined up just so, and they’d all thought something special was brewing, even if none of them realized they were witnessing—they were creating—a beginning and an end.

It was hard to say no to Jubilee when she flopped backward onto her bed, drummed her heels against the wood frame, and begged for company at the movies or for a partner-in-crime on a shopping trip. It was harder still to explain why she had to say no, even though it was obvious—she couldn’t touch, not anyone, not ever, and clothes shopping just wasn’t any fun when everything you bought had to be long, and boring, because she already got enough attention when she wouldn’t show any skin, and wore gloves even in the summer. And it was awkward, trying to eat popcorn while wearing them, and what was a trip to the movie theater without popcorn and a large soda, big enough to be a bucket?

But Jubilee just didn’t understand, or pretended she didn’t, at least, because she sure understood at night, and pulled her covers up to her chin, just like Kitty, because Rogue wore a loose white nightgown, and no stockings, no scarf, no gloves, and they had three extra fans in the room just so the girls wouldn’t get too hot. Just so Rogue could feel something on her skin besides her clothes, even if that something else was only cotton sheets and cool air. Jubilee simply didn’t accept Rogue’s explanations, and it was hard to say no, every time, all the time, and harder still after the first time, because it was fun, going out with the other kids, even just downtown, even though they had to take one of the professors with them, just in case.

“Just in case,” Bobby would say, as they crowded around a table in their favorite café, though Rogue didn’t get to crowd quite so close, and always had an end seat, and Bobby always put himself next to her, John to his right. “Just in case I forget it doesn’t snow in New York in the middle of August, and decide I want to show off for a pretty girl.” He grinned, and offered Rogue a taste of his ice cream, and she didn’t need to be a mind reader to know who he was talking about. She didn’t need to be smart, perfect Dr. Grey to make someone smile at her, and to know what he wanted, and to know he wanted her.

She put her mouth on his cone, her tongue tip first and then the rest, and that set the tone for everything she’d ever do with him. He watched her close, eyes on her lips, and she tried to forget what happened the last time she’d kissed a boy, because she wasn’t kissing Bobby, she was kissing his ice cream, and the sweet snack and bitter comparison melted all together under the heat of her crush-lust, just plain desire to be wanted—either that or the fire of John’s glare.

That was back in the beginning, and they had created something great together, or so she thought before she’d walked into Bobby’s room without knocking, found him kissing John, his body iced up so it melted and steamed wherever John touched him.

Rogue backed out, and they didn’t even know she was there, and she made sure she never touched either of them skin to bare skin just in case the trick went the other way too, and they would know what was in her mind just like she would know theirs for that one long moment.

She could always ask Logan, but he was mostly called Wolverine around the school, and he was almost never there.

Bobby still held her hand, and when he touched her gloves so carefully she knew it wasn’t because he was afraid she would hurt him, or even afraid he would squeeze her fingers too tight, he was really thinking about John, and she was his normal, his cover-up, his goddamn proof he liked pussy not cock, except it was all fake.

She gritted her teeth whenever he came near and wanted to chomp on cigars, something she thought she got over weeks after the Incident at the Statue of Liberty. It was always capital in her head, the Incident, when her hair turned white and she very nearly died and Logan gave her parts of himself for a second time, willingly.

No one else had ever done that, or probably will ever do that, never touched her knowing what she would do, knowing what she would take. She knew some of the others thought she had a silly little crush on him, but it wasn’t like that at all. Rogue loved Logan because she was Logan, because she had pieces of him inside which no one else would ever be able to touch.

She knew it wasn’t unrequited, either, he loved her, she knew it in her very bones, in her blood, in her body broken down into cells into the nucleus of all existence.

Their story wasn’t a fairy tale, they didn’t get a happy ending, she was too young and he was a little crazy and obsessed with finding his past. She saw the way he looked at Dr. Grey and she knew Logan always got what he wanted, except when it came to knowledge, so even though Mr. Summers was still around and in love with Dr. Grey, she was sure that wouldn’t stop them.

But she was certain his infatuation would pass, and anyone Logan met on the road wouldn’t know him the way Rogue did. No one ever will, because he wouldn’t let them in. So she was safe in what she did have of him, and someday maybe she’d get a little more.

She broke up with Bobby when she couldn’t look at him without picturing John, and Jubilee and Kitty didn’t understand why. Rogue never told them, she knew how to keep secrets, and eventually they stopped asking. Kitty giggled more often, mostly whenever Piotr smiled at them, and Jubes jumped from one guy to the next. Neither of them knew when Rogue started making eyes at the new guy. He was a couple of years older, and he should be done with school, except he had it rough, part of his mutation was so obvious, so he never got along in a regular school. Rogue thought his red and black eyes were nice, and she really loved the way he talked.

One night she caught him near the pool, after everyone else was inside, and he offered her a cigarette. He even lit it for her, the quick click and swish of his lighter just a little bit too much like John’s constant fidgeting for her taste, but he didn’t say anything, just leaned against the wall near her, casual, and let her enjoy the silence.

They met there every night for awhile, and Rogue didn’t want to admit it was on purpose, but after the fourth time, she realized she watched the clock and as soon as the youngest kids went to bed, she slipped away from the others.

The fifth night he wasn’t there when she arrived, and it was hard to swallow her disappointment. She twisted her toe on the ground, tried not to look like she was waiting for him, but when he strolled up from the gardens, thumbed two cigarettes from the pack, and lit hers first, Rogue could feel a silly smile stretch her lips.

“Thought I’d missed you, sugar,” she said, and tried to tease him. Remy’s smile was slow and wicked, and he leaned one arm against the wall so he was right next to her. He looked her up and down, twisted his head, and blew a perfect smoke ring.

“Can you teach me to do that?”

Mon ami, I’ll teach you anything you want to learn.”

Jubilee had it all wrong. Staying in was so much better than going out with the whole group, and pretending to be normal. Rogue took a deep drag on the cigarette and blew a steady stream of smoke out into the night.

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