Title: The Murder of One
Author: Diebin
Email: diebin@hotmail.com
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: R for darkness, sexual situations, and slash themes
Summary: Unreciprocated love leads Rogue down the path of betrayal.
Pairing: A sick kind of Logan/Rogue and an even sicker kind of Mystique/Rogue
Disclaimer: Song is "A Murder of One" by Counting Crows. Characters belong to their respective owners.
Archive: If you already have permission.
Thanks to: Shana and Spyke Raven, who told me it was okay to go reeeeal dark. And to Donna, who hates me now. Sorry, Donna. :)

Blue morning Blue morning
Wrapped in strands of fist and bone
Curiosity, Kitten, doesn't have to mean you're on your own
Your can look outside your window
He doesn't have to know
We can talk awhile, baby
We can take it nice and slow

All your life is such a shame
All your love is just a dream

Are you happy where you're sleeping?
Does he keep you safe and warm?
Does he tell you when you're sorry?
Does he tell you when you're wrong?
I've been watching you for hours
It's been years since we were born
We were perfect when we started
I've been wondering where we've gone

All your life is such a shame
All your love is just a dream

- Murder of One
Counting Crows

It started in the way that all things do, with a tiny step that didn't seem like it would lead to another. Falling in love with Logan was easy, and had she stayed on the path to love and love returned, it might have gone differently.

But just as easy as loving Logan was falling prey to discouragement when a year and then two went by, and he still ruffled her hair and called her kid and spent most of his time with the older women, joking with Jean and flirting with Storm when Scott's anger became too apparent.

Discouragement was only another little step from resentment, and for another year it was her constant companion. Resentment and anger and a great self-loathing that she wasn't pretty enough or old enough or smart enough to be worthy of the only man she'd ever wanted to be worthy of.

By the time she was twenty-one, she'd taken so many little steps away from the path of love and love returned that she couldn't even see it anymore, much less understand how to get to it from where she was. Love had faded into a twisted lust and hatred, discouragement and even resentment left far behind as hope twisted into need and she succumbed to the basest urge to own and possess.

She'd never know how Magneto understood what was inside her. It didn't matter anymore though, any farther than he had known, and he'd known what to do about it. He'd known somehow that as deep as she was in the pain and the guilt and the need, she'd do anything to make it all stop.

They found her at a bar, freshly legal and drowning her sorrows when she really wanted to be drowning herself. The first time she'd hoped Logan would come with her, hoped that seeing her drinking beer and shooting pool and acting all grown up would be what she needed to make him hers, and love be damned anymore.

She was sober enough to recognize the enemy when she saw them, but not sober enough to fear them like she should. And thus the tangled trap was spun, with Magneto offering her something she could never have on her own, and the man that suddenly shifted enough to look like Logan in the darkness wrapping a tight arm around her waist.

"You can never have him," the voice whispered in her ear as she flung her head back on the shoulder that she knew wasn't his. "You can never have him, but I can be him."

And the heat in her was like the heat in him--and it wasn't until later, far later when she was sober enough to hate herself even more for what she'd done and what she'd do again if just to fool herself for a few minutes that she had him--it wasn't until then that they whispered the other thing, the one that sent her spiraling downwards.

"I can be him . . . for a price."

Another thing Magneto had known was just how much the price had to be. So small at first, little things that didn't seem like they could be hurting anyone or helping them either.

But her need grew, and so did the lengths she'd go to get what she needed, even though it could never be what she wanted. Hatred came quickly on those nights, creeping back into the mansion before dawn with the feel of Logan on her skin, but not the smell of him because nothing could duplicate the smell, not even a woman who shifted form like thought.

She always waited until she was sure everyone would be asleep before she snuck back in, because she knew her flimsy excuses would never stand against the evidence of tears on her face and the haunted look in her eyes. And because she didn't want to face these people on the nights when she knew she had betrayed them--betrayed them for a cheap night of lust and make-believe that sickened her and made her feel dirty.

It was three months to the day after the first time. Three months to the day, and three hours past midnight when she slipped her shoes off and stepped quietly down the hallway towards her room, tears marring her cheeks and a bruise covering the side of her face because she'd failed to get them the information they needed, and it had been rougher than usual.

And dirtier, too, when she found out how much better it felt when her illusionary Logan hurt her because it made it more real. Because the Logan she knew would hate her for what she'd become, and bearing his anger had felt good.

The tears started again and she paused to wipe them away with the torn edge of her shirt, and it was only when the door flew open and she saw him standing their, claws unsheathed and face puzzled that she realized she'd stopped outside his door.

He squinted at her and glanced up and down the empty hallway briefly, obviously looking for something. His eyes fell on her again, widening at the bruise--but it was as he took a step forward that he sniffed again and she realized what was going on.

And before he could say a word she was gone, crawling into the tiny shower in her room and scrubbing her skin with scented soap because she knew he'd smelled another person on her, and she knew exactly who he'd crashed the door open expecting to see.

Things got worse from then on. She was far too rattled to get what Magneto had requested the next week, and there was no longer the illusion of love or passion in the small room they met in. It was about pain, her pain, and making her regret thinking she could cheat at love.

And when she tried to get up and leave, that voice that sounded like Logan's whispered to her of betrayal--her betrayal--and all the ways that it could be revealed. The threat wasn't even veiled--it was blatant and it was real, and so she sank back to the floor and let the man who wasn't really a man do what he wanted to her. And this time she looked up into hazel eyes she'd loved once, and she prayed that he'd slip and touch her and die.

It was that night that they issued the ultimatum.

She would bring Logan to them, or they would bring proof of her betrayal to Charles. They didn't bother to say anymore, because she could picture his pain and his hurt in her mind all too well--as she could picture herself being expunged from the school like the traitor she'd come to be.

She washed three times that night, scrubbing herself off twice before going to the gym to work out for long enough to have an excuse for the various bruises spattering her body. And then she washed again, washing away the sweat and pain and tears as she curled up against the wall in the bottom of her shower and tried to figure out where to run to.

Running was the only option. Betrayal ran deep--betrayal and hatred and the twisted desperation--but nothing was strong enough to make her forget that it had started with love and a promise--her love and his promise--and that she could never, ever betray him any more than she already had.

The coat was where she'd put it the winter before, folded up in the back of her closet. And because she hadn't really grown much since she'd run away the last time, it fit well enough that she could wrap it around herself as soon as she'd managed to pull her clothing on to cover her bruised skin.

Trying to decide which note to write first was hard. But there wasn't much to say to either of the people she'd hurt, nothing that would ever repair what she'd done. So the scrap of paper addressed to Charles said simply, "I'm sorry."

She cried on Logan's, tears that blurred the ink where she'd written in a shaky hand, "I'm sorry--be careful. They're after you."

And because luck was with her for the first time in weeks, she managed to get out of the house before anyone noticed, and luck stayed with her as she flagged down a large semi bearing down on her and heading North.

North. She'd go North and this time she'd make it farther, as far as she could. She'd go North until she couldn't get any farther away--and then she could wake up from the dream she'd been living in.

And the shame. The shame ran deeper than the betrayal as she huddled in the side of the truck and ignored the puzzled glances the man kept giving her, and when exhaustion ran so deep that she couldn't keep her eyes open any more, she slept.

She dreamt she was in his arms, and he was touching her. And then she dreamt that he hit her, that his hands closed too tight around her arms and his hips slammed too hard into her own and that the bruises bled and his face turned blue and she didn't wake up in time to stop herself from dying in her own dreams.

Three trucks and two days later, she reached Laughlin city. And because it seemed fitting, because she was sure no one would ever look for her in the place where it would be easiest to find her--

She stayed.

And she hurt.

And she hated herself for killing her own dreams, for killing herself for lust and make believe--but at the same time, she was thankful that it was only one, only herself and not him.

Dead or alive, she hadn't killed him.

It was the murder of one.