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Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Marvel and Fox.
Dedication: Written for aphrodite_mine in xmmficathon 2007, but it is horribly, terribly, inexcusably late. Character/pairing request 1: Kitty/Rogue (or Rogue/Kitty) Specific request: kitchen, not so much canon of X3

Bobby lays his arm across the back of the couch. He’s subtle, there’s no big yawn to cover it, but Rogue notices. Of course she notices, she’s aware of every movement around her. She doesn’t have a choice.

Even when there’s not one inch of skin for him touch, even when everything’s covered by a turtleneck and long sleeves and gloves, she has to know where he is in relation to her. She has to know where everyone is, always.

Like right now, Bobby’s safe, his arm just above her shoulders. When he shifts his weight, he catches the ends of her hair, tugs it a little. She leans closer, puts her hand on his thigh. There are two layers between them, his jeans and her cotton gloves, but it still feels like a daring move.

Someone’s watching them.

She can feel the weight of the gaze and follows it across the room. Kitty’s sitting with Jubilee, John, and Peter, a board game on the table in front of them, but she isn’t paying attention to it. Instead she’s staring at Rogue and Bobby.

Her face twists, and Rogue realizes why. Her hand clenches against Bobby’s leg, clutching his thigh. He’s the only thing normal in her life, the flirtation between them, the way he leans close and listens to the things she has to say.

Kitty isn’t going to take him away. Rogue’s new to this dating thing, and she’s not had the best of luck at it, but she’s certain she can win, if it comes down to it. She’ll find some way.


“We’re going to the mall,” Jubilee tells Rogue just before they walk out the door to catch the bus. “Want to go with us?”

Kitty looks away. Rogue is sitting alone in the media room, reading a book. Bobby’s off with the guys with Mr. Summers, watching a ball game. Typical bonding experience, trying to give the freaky mutant kids the semblance of a normal life. The girls usually went out with Dr. Gray, but she’s off at some big meeting.

“Sure,” Rogue says after a second, and sets aside her book. They’re not supposed to leave things laying around, but practically no one takes the time to run things up to their rooms. Rogue would get away with it, even if everyone else got in trouble. The teachers go easy on her, Kitty sees it all the time. They’ll start to say something when Rogue makes a mistake, then they’ll look at the white streaks in her hair and they’ll shut their mouths, they’ll change what they were going to say.

It’s not fair.

Kitty makes sure to sit as far from Rogue as she can on the bus, which isn’t all that far. She scrunches up against the window, which is cool through her sleeve, and stares outside. Jubilee is chattering away about something, maybe John.

Rogue shifts in her seat, and Kitty glances over. Rogue tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, smoothes it off her face. She’s wearing white cotton gloves, a pale blue shirt, and no make-up. She looks fresh-faced and wholesome, not at all like a potential killer.

She looks beautiful.

Kitty turns away.


The food court is crowded, and Rogue obviously uncomfortable. She crosses her arms and quirks her lips. It makes Kitty want to put an arm around her, steer her away from the mobs, protect her from the too many people. It’s a ridiculous want, and she knows it, but that doesn’t make it go away.

She doesn’t say anything to Rogue while they wait for the others to get their food and sit down. She can’t. She can only chew on a french fry and stare off into space, studiously avoiding looking at Rogue. Once she starts, she can’t stop.

Kitty doesn’t want to stop. She wants to lean over and brush her thumb across Rogue’s lips and ask her to ditch the others and go to the movies, where they can hold hands and make out in the darkness.

As if that would happen.

As if Rogue, like Kitty, is more than just a mutant. As if Rogue, like Kitty, is also a freak.


Jubilee sleeps like the dead. She never wakes up even when their alarms go off. Kitty has to shake her awake or she’d be late for class, and even then, sometimes she sleeps through the first few shakes. It’s a good thing they’re not at war or anything, Jubilee would be a horrible sentry.

If Kitty has ever been upset over having to take care of Jubilee in the morning, when she’s the only one who wakes up for Rogue’s nightmares, she’s really quite glad for the deep sleep.

Rogue whimpers a little, and then cries out, a breathy, frightened sound like a small child. Kitty gets up, gathers her sheet off her bed, and crosses the room. There’s a lot of space between their beds, just in case. Lots of things are just in case, Rogue’s gloves and long sleeves even in the summer and the way Kitty pretends to like it when Peter smiles at her and draws her pictures.

Kitty just makes it to the side of the bed when Rogue jerks upright, gasping for air. Kitty touches her shoulder, careful to make sure her fingers brush the nightgown instead of bare flesh.

Rogue whimpers again, and Kitty can’t take it. She wraps the sheet around Rogue and climbs into bed behind her so she can put her arms around her. She’s tentative at first, but Rogue leans back against her, burrows into the sheet and the embrace, and Kitty lets herself enjoy their closeness.

In the morning, neither of them says a word.


It’s late, but no one is asleep. Jubilee is sitting cross-legged on her bed, painting her nails. Rogue is reading a book. Kitty is trying to study, but not getting very far. She keeps drifting off, watching Rogue tuck her hair behind her ear, remember what it’s like to hold her close.

She’s so distracted she doesn’t realize right away that Jubilee is talking to her.

“Well, do you?”

“Do I what?” Kitty asks, and hurriedly flips a page in her textbook.

“Like Peter.” Jubilee rolls her eyes and carefully draws something on her thumbnail with contrasting polish.

“Sure, he’s nice.”

“Well, duh. Do you like him though?”


“Well,” Jubilee holds out her hand and examines her nails. She’s evidently pleased, because she sets aside the bottle and turns her full attention to Kitty, which is just great. “He watches you. Plus, I saw his sketchpad the other day, and he’s drawing you.”

“He’s drawn a couple things for me.”

“No, I mean he’s drawing you. It’s pretty good, too, I didn’t realize he had so much talent.”

“He’s not bad.” Kitty looks down at her book. Reconstruction after the Civil War. Boring stuff, she’d much rather be working on her computer program, but anything is better than this conversation.

“So you do like him.”

Kitty shrugs.

“You’d make a cute couple.”

“You would.” Kitty didn’t even think Rogue was listening to them. “We could double date, you and Peter and me and Bobby.”

It sounds like hell.

“Sounds like fun,” Kitty lies, and flips another page in her book. “I guess. So, Rogue, when does Logan get back? He’s been gone awhile this trip.”

She’s just trying to change the subject, but Rogue glares at her, throws down her book, and leaves the room.


Jubilee’s asleep, but Kitty isn’t. Rogue isn’t, either, she doesn’t think, her breathing is too quick and she keeps rolling over.

Finally, she breaks the silence.

“Why not date Peter?” Rogue asks, and there’s an edge to her voice. Kitty doesn’t know what it means. She twists the blanket between her fingers and is glad the room is dark. She can’t think too hard about how Rogue knows she’s still awake.

“I don’t know,” Kitty hedges. “I just don’t like him like that. Too much metal, he might rust.” She forces a laugh, but the joke falls flat. Right away she feels guilty. Peter is a nice guy, and she’s just put him down because she’s scared.

They’re both silent for a minute, and then Rogue speaks again. “Is there someone else? Someone you do like?”

Kitty sighs and rolls over, putting her back to Rogue, even though they can’t really see each other. “I don’t know,” she hedges, and pulls up the covers. “I haven’t really thought about it.”

She’s pretty sure Rogue doesn’t believe her. She wouldn’t, in her place. It’s like there’s a neon sign flashing the truth. How could Rogue miss it?


Kitty’s watching them again, from the other side of the kitchen. Rogue scoots her chair a little closer to Bobby. He turns and smiles at her, and then goes back to his conversation with John. She puts her hand on his leg, and then sneaks a glance at Kitty.

It’s horrible, to love someone you can’t have.


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