Title: Return to Innocence
Author: Diebin
Email: diebin@hotmail.com
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: PG-13
Series: Compass Points: Epilogue  http://www.geocities.com/mistressdiebin/compasspoints
Setting: 2 years post movie
Category: Jean's POV
Pairing: Logan/Rogue
Disclaimer: Disclaimer
Archive: Sure thing, dude
Notes: Thanks to EVERYONE who has been so kind to me after this story tunred to a series turned to a soap opera . . . this is the last one for now . . . I think I need a break from angst before I strain something in my head. :)
Anyways . . . yeah. Don't shoot me!

It's hard, being a telepath around the school this morning.

Scott tried to convince me not to leave the room--he's a sweet fool about me sometimes. He knew I couldn't just hide in my room--but he tried anyway. I appreciate it. It means someone else understands what I'm going through.

Not that hiding in my room would help. I'd have to be six feet under and ten years dead to avoid the crackling tension in the air right now. The pain and the hurt and the agony and the rejoicing and the jealousy and the fear and the hope and the anger . . . gods, I don't know what is coming from who anymore.

All I know is that the entire school is watching the scene unfolding on the front steps. I don't think there is a window in this building that doesn't have one or two pair of eyes peeking out from behind it, some misty eyed, some calculating . . . one or two hopeful.

I wish I could think I was better than them--but I'm not. I can't tear myself away from it. I'd like to think I'm watching for her--so after he's gone I can help her heal, help her move on.

Out of all the emotions roiling around the campus today, there are a few that are crystal clear.

Bobby. He's this strange mix between fury and joy--like he's angry that Rogue is getting her heart torn out . . . but he's so glad to see Logan go. All I know is that he'd better shield those feelings carefully, or he's not likely to see much of Rogue anymore.

Scott. God bless him--I expected the same from him, but it seems that his annoyance with Logan has mellowed. Maybe he grew up a little. All I can feel from him is worry--worry that this will break Logan, that it will break Rogue, that it will break me or the Charles or the team as a whole . . .

Charles. That is a soul in torment if I have ever seen one. He was the one who had to rip Logan out of her head . . . had to tear them apart and hurt them both in ways they'll never recover from. My poor, dear mentor . . . he's suffering horribly, and no one seems to even notice it, because we're all tied up with . . .

Ahh, they've moved now. For the longest time they were just standing on the steps, staring at one another. Logan's so stiff I swear I can see the metal skeleton through his skin. Rogue just looks old. Older than me, older than Ororo . . . older than anyone I've ever seen.

Logan lifts a hand up--reaches it towards her, and stops.

I swear, I can feel the entire campus holding it's breath. We're really very sick voyeurs, to be watching this. But I won't turn away--I can't.

No one is close enough to hear what they say. It's probably better that way, from the feelings I get from them . . . I've never seen a man look more ready to claw the Powers That Be to shreds.

The emotion on the campus jumps another notch as one of Logan's fingers dips into his pocket, pulling out that chain that every girl on campus has memorized, and I'm sure a few of the boys as well. Much as she thought she hid it, no one missed how Rogue had that chain wrapped around her fingers during class, or tucked in a pocket . . . she never wore his dogtags around her neck . . . but she never put them down, either.

Only there aren't any dogtags on the chain now. There's just a small, silver circle . . .

And suddenly I wish I couldn't hear them, as Rogue's voice raises to a shrill scream. "You think this makes up for it?"


"You're running!" One gloved fist strikes Logan in the shoulder, and the man winces.

The emotion on campus lurches again--and I think I'm getting a headache.

"Marie, you know I can't--"

Rogue snatches the chain out of his hand and throws it to the ground, and I know that everyone is holding their breath as they see the flash of light as the sun reflects off of that ring that isn't just a plain old ring . . . but a ring with one of the most impressive hunks of jewel on it I've ever seen.

"Go away, Logan. Go run." She's shaking and shivering, and I can feel the anger that is Bobby, a few windows away and a story down--anger that rises as Rogue wraps her arms around her body and glares. "Run, Logan. It's what you do best."

He looks like he's going to kneel down for a second and pick the ring up, but he doesn't. His shoulders just get stiffer, and he clenches his jaw and spins away towards the road, hefting his bag and starting to walk away.

I can see him from where I'm watching . . . and he's got tears running down his face.

He doesn't look back, so he doesn't see what we all see. He doesn't see Rogue drop to the ground and scramble around with her gloved hands until she has the small, silver chain clenched between her fingers.

He doesn't see her lift trembling hands to slip the chain over her head.

He doesn't see her pull one glove off to clench bare fingers around the ring.

She stares after him until he's gone, her face so unreadable that no one could possibly guess what she's thinking.

No one except for me . . . and Charles, wherever he is. We're the only ones who know that behind the mask, behind the pain and anger and fury . . .

She is at peace. She hurts, but it isn't the horrible depression I was afraid of. She's hopeful--almost determined. Determined to have him.

And it gives me hope. She'll forgive him, and he'll come back--and maybe next time we can do it right.

But my heart does go out to her as she walks inside, her back straight and her face cool as if she isn't aware of the fact that the entire school just watched her heart break. She was a woman for a night--she had a man who loved her and wanted her and needed her . . .

And now she is a child again. The woman no one can touch.

The innocent.