Title: Big Time Hard Line
Author: Shana Nolan
Email: aericura@micron.net
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: strong R (implied sexual sitches, language, violence, drug usage)
Summary: to quote a line from a later part: "the year from hell"
Series: Perfect Ring of Scars #4
Category: angst!! (J,L,S,R)
Disclaimer: Fox and Marvel Entertainment Group have the X-Men and their movie. Stan Lee, I worship at your feet. I don't own anyone and I don't intend to sell this. no money, no sue, no powers. but my CB handle was Phoenix (great, date yourself, why don't you).
Archive: the usual suspects, and others will ask first
Comments: are welcome. Flames, however, are only accepted from a mutant named Pyro and even he knows better.

"no new tale to tell, twenty six years on my way to hell, gotta listen to your big time hard line bad luck fist fuck"

The natural inclination of beings with souls is to seek the solace of company when the pain of solitude weighs down the mind. All too soon it had become too much for her.

Logan had disappeared from her range of metaphorical touch. The one woman that she could slightly relate to was in raw shambles in some dark upstairs room. None of the other students truly understood.

So she went to the next best person.

He had been his normal self since the break up, except for the smile that used to curl up his mouth. He taught his classes, kept his team in line--minus the obviously missing member-- and largely kept to himself.

There was no reason for him to share what he was going through. Clearly everything with eyes and ears knew what had happened and were gladly theorising on the next set of events.

He couldn't let himself care.

And neither could the well-covered girl that was making her way to his door.

The amount of convincing she had done to get herself to the door in the first place was amazing. It was as if she were convincing a pauper farmhand to face the fire breathing dragon.

And she was the pauper. The reality of it all lingered in the shadows of her mind, teasing her with truths she didn't want to hear and her meandering thoughts about what really happened.

Was it true that a dream, a simple dream, had destroyed a perfectly happy couple? And now with the phantom activities of Logan, the unwitting destroyer in the unsealed triangle, she couldn't stem back the fears that whispered to her. What was really going on? Was everything all right? Had Logan done something no one told her about? Was she losing Logan? Was either Scott or Jean in real pain and no one knew?

But the questions silenced themselves when she knocked on the door of Scott Summer's room, replaced with the urge to run. To avoid the truth that she could be told in the next few moments.

To face what she wanted so desperately wanted to deny. Denial was healthy in some cases, it kept those who fed on it alive...

Except maybe in this case.


The voice didn't connect at first. She knew it well, she had heard it in use with sternness and prodding tones, but the way the surprise infiltrated how he said her name, it was different.

As if she were an equal, and not an unwelcome one at that.

"Scott. I--I was wonderin' if we coul' talk, or maybe jus'--"

The door opening the rest of the way, he gestured her in quickly. "Come on in."

The room of a man with nothing left is occasionally a testament to the human-- or mutant in this case-- inclination to shuck the material off for the spiritual void. As if an empty room could equal the empty soul, and the bleak, faded colours of wrinkled bed sheets could physically personify the remnants of his former life.

"Scott, I've been worryin' about you. You've been so--"



His hands were held out in a slightly helpless gesture. "I won't deny it. How have you been?"

The girl with brown and white hair sat down heavily, the rumpled blankets an uneven seat beneath her. "I've been better. You probably don' want to hear about it though."


"'Cause I'm referrin' to Logan."

The silence that fell over the room resembled a mausoleum's. Quiet and deathly. Forcing a shrug from his body, sloppily clad in pants and a polo shirt that had yet to be tucked in, Scott Summers sat down next to the girl and examined her as if he hadn't seen a woman in years. "Say it."

"He's not around anymore. I think somethin's wrong, but I don' know what."

"You think he's left you?"

"Was there anythin' ever between the two of us to justify callin' it 'leavin'?'"

Experience surfaced old memories in his mind. First date, first meeting, first touch, first time he saw Her, wanted Her, needed Her. There were some relationships that were, from the start, strong enough to justify parting ways as leaving one another.

Both of them suffered from those kinds of relationships. "Yes. It hurts, doesn't it?"

"Not as much as the thought of the him findin' someone else."

"I know that."

"You don' think--"

The glasses blocked the large part of his expression. He could already hear Rogue's words slipping from her mouth before she said them--

"You don' think they're together, do you?"

--and they lanced into every pore of his body. Sure, he had wondered it from the start. Wondered how long the loneliness would eat at her until she couldn't resist her subconscious. Wondered how long it would take either of them to forget the promises of loyalty for the sake of survival, of happiness, of hope.

No one deserved to live without love.

"Do you want him to come back, Rogue? Even if he is with her, or another woman?"

She felt like a girl suddenly. Jean was a woman. So was Ororo. She, on the other hand, was on the border of being one, virginal in nature and untouched as a lily beneath glass. Logan could have anyone he wanted, and he seemed to be exercising his right. No one tied him down, not her, not any other woman...

And that ripped her up good. "Yes. I need him. I wan' him. He's the only one I can trust."

"He's the only one that's touched you."

"And I wan' him to do it again."

His sigh was a heavy one. He knew that need all too well himself. Different party, same kind of attachment. "Even if he doesn't ever again, that want will always be there. It can eat you alive."

"Like Jean not bein' here is eatin' you alive?"

He didn't even bother to speak. Why voice the truth when it needed no words? "Yes."

"Why don' you tell anyone, or her?"

"Because it's doing the same to her."


"It's over, and I can't do anything about it, okay? I-- maybe we-- need to go on in life and not let this stop us. The world isn't going to end."

"But it did," was her whisper.

The spirit fled him. Rogue was right. "So we go on."

"An' hate them for it."


"Even though we shouldn't."



"I don' like this."

"Neither do I, Rogue, but if it's all we have, it's all we have."

In the mind of the most bestial of the four, thoughts of murder drifted through his sleep. He couldn't be blamed, not really. They were his dreams.

In any other situation, in any other time or place, they could be shrugged off.

But not there. Not when it was dreams that had started the dark chain of events.