Bitter Unrequited

by Jane Westin


Summary: Marie・s POV. Sequel to ・A Conflict of Interests・ and companion to ・And It Is Bitter.・

Disclaimer: I don・t own any of the characters, as usual.

Author・s Note: Sorry this has taken so long! I took your suggestions and wrote a piece from Rogue・s POV. And by the way, it・s angsty. You have been warned. Hope you enjoy it!


He tries to speak to me, but I am silent.

He tries to touch me, but I flinch away.

Every inch of me screams for him, reaches for him, but I can・t make my body uncurl. His pleading apologies are meaningless. He・s attempting to soothe me, but succeeds only in sickening me.

His presence in the room is suffocating me. I can・t breathe. My chest hurts. I can・t breathe.

Get out, I cry silently. You・re killing me. Get out. Get out. Get out. Get out.

He・s moving away. My heart is coming apart at the seams.

I can・t breathe.

I can・t breathe.

Oh God, don・t leave me! You promised you・d never leave me!

My nails are digging into my palms. I can・t breathe. I・m dying.

・You said you・d protect me,・ I whisper.

The door clicks.

LOGAN!

***

I don・t know how long I・ve been here. My muscles are screaming; I haven・t moved in an eternity.

My throat is raw.

My hands hurt because they are clenched around my long hair and pulling. My head should hurt too, but it doesn・t. It is numb from the pain.

So is my heart.

I unfold my legs and get up from the chair・Jubilee・s chair. Her shit is everywhere. The room reeks of Jubilee.

Hate flares up, sudden and crimson and violent. I knock over the chair with a sweep of my arm. I want to destroy every trace of Jubilee in the room. I want to wipe her out of my life.

Hate you, hate you, hate you, I chant in my head as I rip her posters off the wall. My vision goes blurry around the edges and now I・m only seeing fragments of reality: a rainbow of techno CDs clattering across the dresser, a yellow teddy bear bouncing off the wall, Heath Ledger・s toothpaste-commercial grin split in two. I hadn・t even realized I was sobbing. Hate you, hate you, hate you.

My feet tangle in the ratty quilt I・ve ripped off Jubilee・s bed, and I sit down hard on the floor. Through a thick haze of tears, something silver catches my eye. I reach for it.

Logan・s dog tag.

My muscles turn to water and everything goes black.

***

I am vaguely aware of someone talking, but I can・t understand anything they・re saying. I want to tell them to be quiet so I can go back to sleep. They・re shaking my shoulder. They won・t leave me alone.

I open my eyes. Everything・s a blur. I make out a green shirt, red hair. It・s a woman.

It・s Jean.

・Rogue,・ she・s saying. ・Rogue.・

Where am I?

・You passed out,・ I hear her say.

Did I say that out loud? My brain feels like it・s turned to oatmeal. Why am I on the floor?

Then it all comes back to me, and I moan and close my eyes again.

・Rogue, get up.・ Doesn・t she understand that I・ll never be able to get up again?

She・s got her hands under my arms. She・s pulling me upright. I try to fight her, but my muscles feel like they・re made of lead. How is she lifting me? She・s not that strong.

Then I hear another voice. ・Rogue, you must get up.・ Ororo. What are they doing here?

・Leave me alone,・ I mumble.

But Ororo・s putting one of my arms around her shoulders and Jean has the other one. They・re walking me down the hall・I notice that my feet are stumping clumsily along and am surprised. I thought feet weren・t supposed to walk without the permission of the person to whom they・re attached.

Now they・re taking me into a room. I recognize the precise d・or. It・s Ororo・s room. Why are we going in here?

They・re sitting me down on one of the twin beds. I lean forward and put my head in my hands. I feel a migraine coming on.

・Rogue, what happened?・ Ororo asks me.

I shake my head violently. No. No. Nothing happened. Everything is fine. Logan loves me and everything is fine.

・I want to go to sleep,・ I say.

Then I lie down on the bed and let the darkness take over.

***

I don・t want to wake up.

I cling fervently to unconsciousness, but it slips through my grasp all too soon and I find myself opening my eyes. The lights are off. I・m alone in Ororo・s room.

I・m clutching something in my hand. I pry my fingers open and realize it・s Logan・s dog tag.

Logan.

Pain knifes through my heart. Logan doesn・t love me. Who was I kidding? He・s loved Jubilee all along.

Suddenly I see Heath Ledger・s fractured smile in my mind, and I remember with horror what I・ve done. Shredded her posters. Ripped her bed apart. Scattered her belongings all over the room.

I lie on my back, staring up into the darkness, as tears spill silently down my cheeks and drip into my ears.

***

I don・t know how long I lie like that, but it seems like hours before Ororo creeps into the room. I know she knows I・m awake.

After a moment she sits down on the other bed. Her voice comes out of the darkness, quiet and calm.

・Would you like to talk about it?・

I am silent for a long time. She waits.

・I wrecked the room.・ I don・t recognize my own voice. It・s utterly toneless. Dead.

I wait for her to lecture me, to be angry with me, to hate me.

・Jean and I straightened it up.・ She doesn・t sound the least bit fazed.

・I wanted her to disappear.・

Why isn・t she angry? I ransacked all of Jubilee・s belongings. I destroyed Heath Ledger, for God・s sake.

・It is understandable.・ Still completely unruffled.

I begin to sob. ・He loves her.・

・I believe so, yes.・

Straight to the point, how very Ororo. She never beats around the bush.

Her acknowledgment breaks my heart. ・He doesn・t give a shit about me.・

Now there is a hint of admonishment in her voice. ・You know that is not true.・

・I told him I hated him.・ The tears won・t stop. ・I told him I wanted her to die.・

・Why?・

I begin to sob harder. ・Because・because・・ I choke. ・Because I want him to love me.・ I can・t talk. I just cry.

I know why he fell in love with her. I suppose I・ve known it all along・ that・s why it hurts so badly. To him, I・m just the skinny kid in the big green cloak, the little sister, the adoring tagalong. To him, I will always be fragile little Marie, always in need of protection.

But she・s not like that. She・s not afraid of anything, has never needed a protector a day in her life. She・s exactly what he would want・fierce, fearless, and independent. She・s his partner, his equal, and I want to hate her for it, because his equal is something I can never be.

But I can・t hate her, because she is my friend.

My chest hitches. ・I feel so stupid,・ I whisper.

・There is no reason to feel stupid,・ Ororo says in her matter-of-fact way. ・There is no shame in your emotions.・

Strands of tear-soaked hair stick to my face. ・I tried to make him jealous.・

・You went to Bobby.・ I am not surprised that Ororo knows about Bobby and I. I am sure the whole mansion must know by now.

I nod, my cheek rubbing against the damp pillow. ・It was a mistake. I・She thought I didn・t see her dancing with Logan, but I did, and I could have killed her for it.・ I rub my eyes. I・m so tired. ・I thought I could make him see that I wasn・t little any more. I thought if he saw me with Bobby he would realize that・・ A solitary sob escapes my lips. ・That he wanted me and not her.・ I slam my fist on the pillow, suddenly furious. ・Why can・t he look at me the way he looks at her, goddamn it?・ The tears begin to fall again. Why can・t he care about me?

Ororo・s voice is soothing. ・You are very important to him, Rogue. You know that.・

I don・t say anything.

・He only wants the best for you.・

I resent her for saying what I know is true: always the best for Marie, pretty little Marie with the deadly skin and brittle ego. Always the best, and with it, their pity.

No one pities Jubilee. She wouldn・t stand for it.

I try to fight it, too, but they just pat me on the head and smile with sympathy for poor, poor Marie.

Jubilee commands their attention. Jubilee commands their respect.

I・m just the object of their pity.

Jubilee has Logan.

I have no one.

・I know,・ I say, and the words taste bitter on my tongue.