Misery Set to Music

Fandom: X-Men

Category/Rated: T

Year/Length: 2005/ ~1290 words

Pairing: Logan/Rogue

Spoilers: Set after the Golgotha Arc

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

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There is a slow, sad, Loretta Lynn song playing, and it is the only sound in the room audible to human ears. It is soft and smooth, flows into your gut and your soul and pulls at every scab from every failed love. It's not trying to be fancy or bittersweet, or a reminder of good times gone. It's simple misery set to music, and as far as that goes, it could be the anthem for the X-men. The problem with that idea is that most of the X-men have no taste in music, and half of them probably don't even know who Loretta Lynn is.

Beneath the ballad there is another sound, and he hears it because he's not human. There is breath, long deep breaths, and beneath that a heartbeat, and beneath that, so faint even he can barely hear it, the jump of a muscle in her eyelid. It is a woman's breath, and a woman's heartbeat, and a woman listening to one of the saddest songs he's ever heard. There will be many more sad songs to follow, because the woman has an entire mp3 full of sad country songs.

Every now and again he hears her murmur a word or two with Loretta, and eventually he realizes that he's been standing in her doorway for a really long time. He wonders if he's going senile, and if that's even possible. He walks into the room, and around the bed till he sees her, lying on her side, curled into a little ball, wearing a shirt of his that he thought he'd lost years ago, and looking a perfect picture of misery.

He grunts, quietly so as not to disturb the music, and sinks down beside her. He rests one big hand on her shoulder, and she looks up at him, her eyes all big and earnest in alarm. She opens her mouth, a protest heard so often he could probably quote it on the tip of her tongue, and he places a hand over her mouth. Her hands creep up, wrap around his fingers, pull them away from her mouth. Both of her little white hands engulf his, as she holds it before her eyes, and examines the soft leather of the glove.

She says, "Ya didn't have to."

He says, "Ya wanna talk 'bout it?"

In the background Loretta sinks to a finale, and the Man in Black starts up. Rogue stares up at him, sniffles, and flops an arm across her eyes. Her hand lands in his lap, but he plays a gentleman and doesn't complain. After a moment she takes a deep breath, and when she speaks her voice is thick and southern, "It's mah fault. Ah always get to pushy." He figures it's her that needs to be talking right now, so he squeezes her shoulder just a little to let her know he's listening, and she continues.

"Ah jus' wanted to talk 'bout the things that was said, an he tried to tell mah that they didn't mattah, and that it had all jus' been craziness. But ah know that's wrong," she pauses, slides her arm away from her eyes, and stares up into the ceiling. Her next words are real soft and careful, like she's testing them out inside her head before she speaks. "Ah was in yer head, ah know the things ya said and did were the truth." She pauses, and then rushes on, "An that means that the things he said was truth too. Ah jus' wanted to talk about it, to see if there was anythin' that could be done ta make us happier..."

She sighs, rubs her temples, and is silent for a moment as Johnny Cash fades away, and some newer song he's not familiar with springs to life. He squeezes her shoulder again, just to let her know he's still paying attention. Another sigh, and then, "He said that if ah knew it was all true then ah knew there wasn't anythin' to be done. He said he was tired of having to deal wit me an then not getting any love in return." She trails off, and he can smell the tears that are lurking behind her eyes, and knows that whatever got her so upset is coming next.

She says, "He told mah ah could touch him if ah really wanted to, an that ah jus' didn't wanna." She chokes on the last few words, and twists away from him, and to her feet, and he could stare at those legs every second of every day and not get tired of looking at them. For now he rises and steps towards her, envelopes her in a hug, and she shakes against him. "Ah threw some books at him and he said he wouldn't be back if God himself told him to come." She falls silent save for a few wayward sniffles, and the song changes to Patty Kline.

"I can kill him fer ya, if you want." She chuckles softly, but doesn't protest, and he thinks that this might be the worst fight he's ever seen Remy and Rogue have. There is only the music, as they stand there, and after a while he is aware of the slow spread of wetness across his shirt. She's crying, silently, and for several long moments he seriously considers how easy it would be to gut that Cajun bastard, if only he weren't so pleased that they'd broken up.

After a few songs she says, "He was kinda right, ya know. There are ways we coulda touched, and didn't." She lapses into silence again, and he basks in his own ideas of just how he would touch her, if she'd let him. "Maybe ah knew all along that once we touched it'd be all over." And then she chuckles, and says in a sing-song voice, "Well, he's certainly never gonna get any now." And then she bursts into sobs.

Men, in Logan's experience, cannot stand to see a woman sobbing. He's seen some vile, evil monsters hesitate in the midst of murder or rape when faced with a woman's tears. He's seen good men risk anything and everything to stop those tears, seen normal men remake themselves as heros just to make those sobs stop. It's some instinct that can't be explained, some trigger that says 'Make it better', that they're powerless to resist. He doesn't really believe himself to be evil, or a good man, and he's definitely not normal, but the trigger works on him just as well as anyone else.

He strokes her hair, rubs her back, rocks her gently back and forth to the music. She gasps in a breath, expels it in a series of deep wracking sobs, and drags another mouthful of air into her lungs. "He said ah was 'emotionally stunted' cause ah couldn't touch. That ah could never be a real woman." Her hands are spastically closing around his shirt, but she seems to be calming down just the slightest bit. Her words are still a blubberly mess, and he can feel her shaking. She sniffles loudly.

He says, because this seems like an obvious response to the bastard Cajun's accusation, "Yer touchin' me."

And she goes still and silent for a long moment. He can smell her breath change, and her heartbeat stays fast and hammering though she's no longer sobbing with quite the same abandon. She pulls back from him, just enough to look into his face. Her eyes are red and puffy, as is her nose, and her tear tracks are traced with the black of smeared mascara. She's beautiful. She says, "If ah asked ya to stay, would ya be afraid?"

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