Mon, 24 Jul 2000
"Matt Nute" <mightynute@home.com>
Moonlight and Shadows (Rogue/Colossus, R [language, mature scenes])

DISCLAIMER: This story takes place in current X-Men continuity. All characters mentioned are property of Marvel Entertainment Group, and are used without permission nor intent to infringe upon copyright. No profit is being gained by their use, save for the warm fuzzy I get from feedback, which all you readers may distribute to nutesfist@aol.com. This story contains mature scenes and language, so be advised.


Moonlight and Shadows

Matt Nute

 

Moonlight makes everything look the same, she thought. Cold silver light spilling through the bay window, filtered through tall pine trees and sparse midnight clouds. The borders of the bedroom were blurred by shadow, giving a dichotomous sense of simultaneous freedom and claustrophobia.

Rogue sat up in her bed, lazily wrapping her arms around her knees. Shivering a bit at the chill coming from the open window, she reached for the cotton sheets bunched around her feet. Tugging, she could draw only enough of the fabric to cover her calves. Scowling in mock annoyance, she looked at the form sleeping soundly next to her, wrapped nearly head-to-toe in the white sheets.

"Bed piggy." She mumbled in amusement, gracefully sliding off of the four-poster bed. She leaned out towards the window, looking over Spuyten Dyvil Cove, seeing the dim lights still on in the boathouse. At this hour (3:37 am, by her bedside alarm clock, she noted), the Saturday night poker game was likely to be slowly winding down into a lazy "finish the beer" rally and nostalgia contest. Gambit had taken up residence in the boathouse not long after Jean had chosen to move back into the mansion, and oddly, Cable had joined him as a de facto roommate/chaperone only a week later. The two men had never shown much in the way of friendship, but apparently they found much in common.

"Solace in sharing misery", Hank had said. Rogue had filed that away in the back of her mind until she had learned the specific details. Cable's on-again, off-again "girlfriend", Domino, had left him a few months back in a vicious argument, and recently had become possessed by some entity and attempted to murder him. Remy, on the other hand... since his powers had radically increased, had chosen to distance himself from Rogue and their previous relationship.

Rogue had first tried to blame herself for the rift between them, and then tried to blame it all on Remy. Lately, though, she realized that it didn't matter at all who was at fault. They were no longer together, and that was that.

A grunt from the bed caught her attention, bringing a small smile to her lips. She turned her head to see Piotr Rasputin roll over in his sleep, wrapping another roll of the sheets around his slumbering form. Rogue thought back to the first time they had touched without activating her power. There, up in that space station weeks ago. Whether it was due to a change in Peter's powers, or in hers, they could touch, make contact without her stealing his powers and memories.

Which was fine by her, Rogue thought, since Petey wasn't half bad in the sack. She immediately blushed at the thought. "Lord, I sound like Momma..." she whispered to herself, ears burning. It wasn't as if she had the most experience, she told herself. She and Remy... well, she tried to put that out of her mind. She had loved him, true. And he had been sweet. But given the circumstances, and the secrets, and the lies...

She did not love Piotr, that much she was certain of. He's a good man, she thought. But... no. They found mutual comfort in each other, and salved the wounds left by previous heartbreak. Between the two of them, there were no promises, no whispered dreams, no future plans. Just the here and now. Especially when the here and now became the "Here?" and "Right now!". Rogue giggled at the memory of almost being walked in on by Kurt and Ororo in the Danger Room, and then the frantic race to erase the "training log" they had been keeping. Purely for educational purposes, Piotr had insisted.

Her stifled laughter roused Piotr slowly from his sleep. He grunted as he tried to stretch his arms, finding them bound and tangled in the bedsheets. Attempting to extricate himself without tearing the blankets, the large Russian sat up, smiling. His admiring gaze reminded Rogue that she hadn't thought to grab a robe, or even a flimsy negligee after getting out of bed. Sleeping clothed didn't have to be an issue with Piotr sharing the bed, for once in her life. Even in her teenage fantasies, she'd never been able to wrap her mind around the concept of being that totally open to someone, physically, at least. She reached for his discarded flannel shirt that lay on the floor, then felt his hand close around her arm.

"Don't." he murmured, tugging her back to the bed. Rogue squealed quietly, thumping him lightly on the chest.

"Not again..." she whined sarcastically. "Ah just want to get some sleep. We've got plans tomorrow." Piotr shrugged, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her towards him, resting her back against his chest. Rogue attempted to resist, then settled into the embrace.

"You're pensive." He mumbled into her hair, rubbing his fingers across her stomach. Rogue twitched. Sometimes the giant's artistic sensitivity could be a bit overbearing.

"Was just antsy, that's all. Tomorrow we leave t' go fight the Neo, storm th' castle, and rescue Kitty. Big day. Ah suppose Ah was just a little nervous about leading th' team into that." Rogue sighed. "They took the other team apart last time, Petey."

Piotr shrugged his massive shoulders again, sending a shiver down Rogue's back. "And we shall take them apart and win the day. We are X-Men, that is what we do." He sounded so confident, Rogue thought, like it was a simple matter of fact for him. Perhaps that was why she was drawn to him; the way he could make anything simple.

"Is that the only reason you are hesitant?" he pressed. Rogue blinked, twisting around to look into his eyes. She studied his face, the lines and curves outlined in the moon's light.

"What do you mean?" she questioned, pulling away slightly. "Ah'm worried that we're gonna get our butts handed to us, that we're not gonna get Kitty out of there, or worse. Ah'm worried that Ah won't cut it as leader in the field. Ah'm worried we'll lose someone."

Piotr paused, as if searching for the right turn of phrase to voice the thought obviously brewing in his head. "It is not, then..." he slowly asked, "because of Kitty and I?" His face was drawn, as if the question itself was painful.

"What?" Rogue was taken by surprise. "No, not at all... should it be?" she riposted, immediately on the defensive. The moment the question passed her lips, she regretted it. 'This is gonna turn nasty', she realized. 'But it's been coming.'

Suddenly, the closeness between the two lovers vanished, and both sat on opposite sides of the bed, not facing each other, the mattress between them like a defended border. Rogue looked out over the cove, seeing the lights turn off in the boathouse. The last thing she wanted was an argument that would wake the whole mansion, not now, not with the mission tomorrow.

"You know that I loved Katya, more than life itself." Piotr finally said. The pain was evident in his voice, as if admitting that fact was like salt in a wound. And to him, perhaps it was. Losing Kitty had changed him irreparably. Perhaps, Rogue thought, what she and Piotr were sharing was a bandage to that wound. Or a knife reopening it.

"An' you know Ah loved Remy. But that's the past, Ah'm not with him now. An' Kitty's moved on with her life. Have you?" Her words came out with more bite than she'd intended. 'How much of this sounds like Momma?', she wondered. But she didn't take back the words. This was more than an argument now, this was an obstacle, and it would either be bypassed or broken.

Piotr rose, pacing the room. "It is not that I have moved on, or not. Life has a way of moving on, whether you wish it to or not. Katya is no longer mine, and that is that. I accepted her with the Englishman, eventually."

"Before or after he left her?" Rogue jabbed. "Is that it? Are you just waiting for her to come to her senses and come back to you?" She whirled on him, absently grabbing a robe to cover herself. Suddenly, she felt more naked and exposed than ever.

Piotr tensed, his knuckles audibly cracking. Blue energy flickered as his body transformed from flesh and bone to organic steel. He turned, his solid grey eyes impassive as a statue's. "You have been inside my head, Rogue. You know I could not turn her away, if she would ask."

"An' me?" Rogue darted back, slipping on her gloves. "What if Ah asked? Would you take me in, like you would have her? Because Ah can say Ah have closure with Remy. We've been through this enough. Can you say the same?"

"I do not want closure." Piotr growled. "And you know that you and I are... different. I believed we had an understanding."

"We have sex, Peter." Rogue spat. "We go to bed, we screw, we fuck, whatever you want t' call it. Ah don't pretend t'love you, any more than you pretend to love me. But Ah don't take you into mah bed when mah heart's still pining for another!" Her eyes squinted, trying to hold back tears of disappointment and anger. "Petey, Ah thought both of us were stronger than that."

"Are you truly over him?" Piotr demanded. "Would you not take him back, knowing what he has done, who he is? Tell me that you harbor no secret desires for him, even after the lies and the betrayals."

Rogue could hear faint voices down the hall, her teammates being roused from sleep. Inwardly, she cursed, but admitted to herself that she just didn't care anymore.

"No, Peter."

"You say that you do not have feelings for Remy?" Piotr's voice sounded surprised. Rogue met his surprise with venom.

"No, Ah mean that Ah don't have to tell you. Mah heart isn't yours to read like a book, Piotr Nikolaevitch. And this may come as a surprise, but Kitty's ain't either." She snapped her fingers in the air. "D'you think us sleepin' together is gonna solve all our problems just like that? Petey, we're two messed-up people. All Ah wanna know is, when you're with me, inside me, who am I? Who do you want me to be? Rogue? Kitty? Nereel? Zsaji? Who am I to you, Peter?"

With painstaking slowness, Colossus turned towards the door. "Perhaps," he whispered, "I do not know anymore." He took a step to leave.

"You walk out that door, Piotr, you keep walking. You want to stay, we finish this, we put th' cards on th' table. Ah'm not hidin' anything anymore." Rogue put her hands on her hips, standing her ground. She heard a waver creep into her voice. Was she really asking for this level of honesty from him? Was she willing to risk that much openness? Or was it now simply another fight to be won out of pride, a little bit of emotional ammunition to be saved for a later battle?

"Perhaps we have made a mistake, Rogue." Colossus sighed. "Perhaps we should end this."

"End what, Peter? Ah want to hear it from you. Stop sharing a bed? Stop talking as friends, as lovers?" Rogue didn't attempt to hide the pain in her voice. "Could you do that? Or would you be back at mah door in a week if we don't get Kitty back? What then, Petey? What then?"

Piotr looked at the floor, unsure of how to respond. Slowly, he raised his gaze to Rogue's, the energy crackling around him as he resumed human form. "I never intended to hurt you, Rogue." He insisted. "I always assumed you understood."

"Ah understood Ah wasn't your one true, Peter." Rogue whispered. "Ah just didn't wanna have to know Ah was second fiddle, some 'replacement' for Kitty in your eyes."

"You could not replace her, and I meant no slight to you by that, Rogue." Piotr reached down, pulling on his boxers to cover himself. "I love her, and I will fight tooth and nail tomorrow to bring her back to us. Perhaps to me, perhaps not. I am willing to see where fate takes us all."

"And where's that leave us, then?" Rogue sighed, sitting back on the bed, kicking her legs over towards Piotr. She hugged herself into a small ball, looking up at him. "What happens to what we've got going here?"

"I cannot say. I wish that I could." was his only answer as he turned for the door. Rogue bit her lip, then reached out a hand.

"You don't have to go..." she whispered. "We can just see where this goes."

Piotr closed his eyes, then exhaled. As he turned the doorknob, he looked back one more time. "Yes, Rogue. Yes I do. Tomorrow... tomorrow, we shall see, da?"

"Tomorrow..." Rogue echoed, watching him leave. She heard muffled conversation in the hall, Kurt's voice questioning, Ororo's words soothing. She rolled over into the bed, pulling the rumpled sheets over herself. Blinking away the pain, Rogue tried to sleep.

The moonlight coming through the window cast longer shadows as the dawn approached.


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