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What You Owe Me

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Sheer desperation had led her to this point. Well, desperation and anger.

Well, desperation, anger, and a little bit of despair.

And a whole lot of petty need for vindication.

And as Rogue stared at her, clearly waiting for a punchline, or for Kitty to say “like, obviously, I'm kidding” she felt those emotions crescendo and she couldn't hold herself back from the words that came next.

“Please? I'll pay you!”

Rogue blinked. Then her brow furrowed and Kitty thought

Oh. This is it. I said the wrong thing and I'm going to be the most pathetic person I know.

“Am I that bad of a friend?”

“What? No. Just,” Kitty dragged her hands through her hair and felt all of that doubtdespairangerdesperation well up into her eyes and oh, hell no.

She was about to cry.

In front of Rogue . She tried to force the emotions back down into a dark corner of her mind so that she wouldn't have to think about them.

“It's just that,” She began, and she knew her voice still sounded thick and desperate, and that knowledge kept her staring at a tree over Rogue’s shoulder instead of making eye contact with the girl herself. “It's that...”

It was so many things. That was her problem. It was that Lance had dumped her. It was that he seemed to be perfectly happy with his decision. It was that she was perfectly miserable and perfectly angry and she wanted to show Lance that she could move on, too. It was also partly that she'd never been dumped before so this totally sucked .

It was also that prom was less than two months away and she wasn't going to wait around to see if he would have a change of heart in time to take her, because, again, she was angry . He did this too often. He would get distant and cold and while she got it, he was afraid of hurting her, he would also lash out and try and get her to leave him or whatever to prove his twisted point.

She never asked what that point was because she liked him and she liked being with him, but she had a guess.

For some reason, Lance Alvers was convinced that she thought she was better than him.

Right now, hurt and feeling vindictive, she wanted nothing more than to prove him right.

“It's just... Lance.” She finally said, and Rogue’s eyes widened, like she got it. Kitty's shoulders drooped.

It took full days of arguments to get Lance to understand what she was trying to tell him, sometimes, but Rogue had understood what she meant from one word.

Rogue led her over to one of the lunch tables. Kitty realized that at some point the courtyard had emptied, which meant that they were both late for classes, but Kitty couldn't bring herself to care. Rogue sat her down and turned so that Kitty was looking her in the eye.

“Kitty, I know you're upset that Lance dumped you,” Rogue began, clearly choosing her words very carefully, her accent thickening with the effort that she was taking. “But I need you to think about this for a second.” Kitty had thought about it. That was what brought her to Rogue in the first place. Kitty hadn't realized that she started to shake her head until Rogue gave her an amused look, and drawled, “Let me finish. Kitty, you're asking me to pretend to be your girlfriend. Which, for starters, I didn't even know you liked girls,” It wasn't exactly something that Kitty advertised, per se. Back home everyone had found out because the one person she'd thought she could trust with her life wound up being the absolute last person she should have told. If she told anyone in Bayville that she was bisexual, then she wanted it to be on her terms. No one else's.

And this, these were her terms. There would be no anti-homophobia assembly because all of the kids followed the lead of one or two.

She pushed down the memory with more force than she'd shoved away her feelings and looked away from Rogue. It was hardly a second. Barely more than enough time to furiously blink her tears away, but she could see Rogue’s concern and her skepticism when Kitty turned back to her with a fabricated teasing smile.

“Well, I wouldn't expect you to. I haven't told anyone.”

“Kitty-”

“If you don't want to, you don't have to, honest, but I just, I thought I'd ask, you know?” Her voice sounded cheerful, and she could hear her father's voice in her head, telling her to fake it til she made it.

He'd be proud of her, right now.

“Kitty,” Rogue still sounded uncharacteristically earnest and Kitty bit her cheek to stop from screaming. Or crying. Or begging. “listen, what happens when Lance decides he wants to get back together with you?”

“I'm not going to do it. If he didn't trust me not to leave him to find someone better or whatever his excuse was, then he isn't worth my time.” Kitty spat the words out like poison.

Fake it til you make it, Kitten.

She'd believe it. Eventually.

Rogue drew her attention back up by placing one glove covered hand over Kitty's. The motion was soothing, and the fabric of the glove was soft against Kitty's bare skin.

Kitty was pretty sure that this was the nicest Rogue had ever been to anyone, ever.

“You're upset right now, and I just don't want you to do something you're going to regret next week because you couldn't stop yourself from making a rash decision.”

“I'm not just jumping into this. He broke up with me three weeks ago, and I need to move on. More importantly, I need a better date to the prom than him.”

“And you think that a fake relationship with me is going to help you get over your real ex-boyfriend?”

The honest answer was no. She knew that getting over Lance would take time, but she also knew that focusing on another person helped as well. Sometimes (once) that other person was her, but mostly having someone to pseudo-rebound on helped her.

Problem was, she'd never had this many friends before, and she didn't want to hurt anyone by asking them out as a rebound for real.

She knew that Rogue wouldn't be bothered, because Rogue knew the ugly truth about all of it. It was part of the reason she'd picked Rogue in the first place.

Rogue had been the one to find her ugly crying behind the professor's rose bushes once the break up had sunk in. Rogue had stayed and listened to her rave about what an ass Lance was. Rogue had comforted her as best she could, considering they weren't exactly what anyone would consider friends.

But that was what made this plan even better.

Rogue wouldn't expect anything to come of it. Rogue barely even tolerated her until a couple of weeks ago.

So a fake relationship? That wouldn't work.

A real friendship being built disguised as a romantic relationship? That would be just enough to make sure that Kitty Pryde never ugly-cried about Lance Alvers in anyone's rose bushes ever again.

And, because she was batting about a 0 right now as far as keeping up appearances in front of Rogue, Kitty told her as much. Rogue sat back, leaning against the edge of the table and staring at some point past the parking lot.

“Please?” She repeated, quietly. “I’ll do something for you, too!” A thought occurred to her. “I can teach you how to control your powers!” Rogue shook her head slowly, not quite the no that kitty had expected, but not the yes she was hoping for.

“Hypothetically-entirely hypothetically-if I said yes, what would your next move be?”

Okay.

So maybe Kitty hadn't thought it through nearly as much as she said she had.

Rogue breathed out a sigh when she realized that Kitty wasn’t responding because she didn’t have a proper answer.

“Well what would you do, then miss smartypants?” Kitty huffed, the tips of her ears turning red. Rogue ‘hmmm’ed and thought for a moment.

“I’d take you on a date.” She said at last. Kitty felt her cheeks heat.

“Y-yeah, that’s actually a good idea.” Rogue rolled her eyes.

“It’s been known to happen.” She hesitated, another question lingering on her lips. "Why me?" Rogue asked, and for a moment Kitty wondered if that was some weird southern colloquialism, because the question made no sense.

"Why you what?"

"Why did you ask me to do this?" Rogue clarified, but Kitty was just as confused as she had been a moment ago.

"Because... Because you're the only person I feel close enough to to beg for this weird favor?" Rogue ducked her head for a moment, hiding whatever it was that had shown up on her face. When she looked back up, though, her eyes were clear and bright, but she had a wry smile on her lips.

"Phew, I thought it was because I was literally the only gay girl you knew."

"Hey, I have dated before, you know." Kitty quipped. She didn't specify whether or not she'd dated girls . She'd wanted to, but she grew up in a small town, the reaction to her being bisexual hadn't exactly been sunshine and roses, or left much room for dating the few other people she knew who were also on the spectrum. Rogue would be the first girl she'd dated. The thought filled her with warmth.

Fake dated, she reminded herself.

The feeling disappeared.

"Okay, so I try and help you control your abilities, and you pretend to date me?" Kitty wheedled. Rogue rolled her eyes at Kitty's outstretched hand, but took it all the same.

"You know, I would have done it just 'cause you asked, Kitten." Rogue said and Kitty felt her stomach swoop. Because of the suddenness of the nickname. Clearly.

"Really?"

"Well, since you offered-" Rogue was offering her a way out of her end of the deal. That wasn't going to fly.

"Fair warning, I have no idea how it's going to work." Rogue laughed.

"I had a feeling."

For the first time in almost a month, Kitty felt something like hope.

 

"So!" Kitty declared, bouncing down on the bed, across from Rogue, "We're going to do the opposite of what I do to make sure I don't fall through the ground." Rogue blinked.

"What?"

"Oh," Kitty hunched her shoulders inward a little, embarrassed. "It's, like, there are days when it's totally impossible to stay tangible. Some days I wake up early because I fell through the bed." She laughed, but it sounded tinny and forced, even to her. "So the Professor had me doing exercises. Like, I meditate and imagine myself putting on a second skin to ground myself." Rogue blinked.

"I had no idea you had to deal with that." Her voice was quiet and Kitty couldn't meet her eyes. Kitty shrugged.

"Yeah, it can be a bummer, but of all the side effects to have, it could be worse."

"Could be like mine, you mean?"

"You, yeah, or Wanda, or heck, have you ever been shocked by Ms. Ororo? She has to deal with that all the time . Tripping and looking like a total klutz because I couldn't grab onto anything is no big deal."

"Until you fall from the top floor of a parking garage." Kitty glanced back up at Rogue and shrugged again, letting the silence stretch.

"Yes, well," Kitty chirped, plastering a grin on her face. "Let's hope that doesn't happen." She reached out and brushed her fingers against Rogue's gloved ones, surprised when Rogue curled her fingers around Kitty's.

"I'm sorry you have to worry about that," Rogue murmured. Something in her voice made Kitty want to simultaneously retreat and lean closer to Rogue. Instead, she broke the... whatever it was that was happening between the two of them. She pulled Rogue's hand closer, cradling her hand in both of Kitty's own.

"Focus on your hand," Kitty said, dropping her eyes to their twined fingers. "Feel your mutation. Imagine that it's an energy field around you, like an extra glove, or a second skin." When Kitty looked back up, Rogue's eyes were shut. Kitty didn't feel bad for letting herself take a moment to stare.

Rogue looked tired, the circles beneath her eyes almost as dark as the eyeshadow she wore. Kitty knew that Rogue had nightmares. Kitty often woke up to the sounds of whimpering in the bed across the room, and no amount of shaking or begging on Kitty's part could pull Rogue from the throes of her nightmare.

She couldn't believe that there had been a day where she hadn't trusted the Professor's judgement in having her room with Rogue.

Rogue's eyebrows were drawn together in concentration, and her lips were pursed slightly as she tried to do what Kitty asked.

Reluctantly, she let go of Rogue's hand. She had never felt like this while holding hands with Lance, like there was a part of her that never really wanted to let go. She wondered what it meant.

"Now, take off your glove, and visualize taking off that second skin with it."

Rogue cracked open one eye suspiciously, hooking her thumb under the edge of the glove of the hand that Kitty had just been holding and started to slip her hand free.

"Are you... Sure about this?" She asked, clearly nervous.

"Yes," Kitty said, knowing Rogue wouldn't do it if she said otherwise. She was almost completely sure about this. She hoped she was right.

There was a buzzing feeling that had erupted in her chest, one she couldn't quite place.

Well, she thought that maybe she could place it, but it didn't make sense. Her romantic feelings for Rogue were purely performative. And they hadn't even begun to execute their plan, yet.

But she'd never been this excited (or nervous) to hold hands with someone. And it wasn't just the fear that Rogue  might not let go in time and would kill her.

It really wasn't that.

Rogue had one hand bared between them, the discarded glove clutched in her other hand. Her fingers were shaking slightly and Kitty could feel her concentrating.

Kitty reached out and brushed her fingers against Rogue's palm, reminding herself that if she needed to, she could just phase her hand away.

Her fingertips brushed the warm, smooth skin of Rogue's palm, and she mimicked Rogue's position earlier, curling her fingers around Rogue's.

Nothing happened.

She tipped their hands up and laced their fingers together, her heart beating wildly. She glanced at the girl across from her.

Rogue had bitten her lip to the point where it had bled, and her eyes were locked on their joined fingers as if she didn't look away, she wouldn't lose control. There was a part of Kitty that was suddenly, intensely distracted by a yearning desire to lean forward and kiss her friend.

She ignored that part of herself resolutely.

She glanced at the timer that she'd set on her phone. How could it be that barely thirty seconds had passed? And, on the heels of that, how far would her concentration stretch?

Maybe Kitty could indulge herself, just a little. She adjusted her grip on Rogue's fingers again, and brought the backs of Rogue's knuckles to her lips, for the briefest moment.

Rogue squeaked, and Kitty felt it the second that her sheer force of will failed her. Her fingertips went cold first, and Kitty let Rogue's hand phase through her own.

Rogue fell through the bed and hit the ground below. Kitty forced back a giggle, phasing her torso through the bed, too and held out her hand.

Rogue hesitated before taking her hand again, but let Kitty help her stand and phase away.

"I think that was a good start!" She chirped, solidly ignoring the way her heart kept pounding.

Her lips tingled, but whether that was an after-effect of Rogue's abilities, or something else, Kitty couldn't be sure.

 

“I gotta say, I’m surprised.” Scott said one morning, a few weeks later, as Kitty and Rogue announced that they wouldn’t be attending Jean’s soccer game because they had a date. With each other

Rogue leveled a dry look at Scott.

"What, you thought, because I'm from the south, I'm homophobic? Gay people live everywhere, Scott.” Scott sputtered and Kitty rolled her eyes at him. Really, he deserved this. “And anyway, I have two moms." Kurt staggered into the kitchen and made a beeline for the coffee machine. Kitty saw the exact moment Rogue decided to pull Kurt in, a mischievous glint appearing in her eyes. Rogue nodded at the boy staring at the coffee machine like it was made of magic. "He has three." Kurt waved in their general direction, grabbing a mug about the size of Hank's head and filling it almost to the brim. He might as well have just drank it straight from the pot. "Call your mom." She added, because Raven had been leaving her pleading messages from a blocked number.

"Make me." Kurt grumbled, plopping down on Kitty's other side. Rogue leaned back to adjust to looking at her brother from across Kitty, her elbow resting on the edge of the chair, her fingers coming up to play with Kitty's ponytail.

"Fine, call my mom."

"That I can do." Kurt conceded. "Irene likes me, and you're all out of the good coffee."

"I'm gonna make her send real tea next time, instead of the coffee. Maybe then I'll actually get to drink it." Kurt made a wounded noise. "Focus on your liquid breakfast," Rogue said, standing and reaching her hand down for Kitty to take.

"'Real tea'?" Scott asked, clearly unprepared for the mysteries of the south. Kitty and Kurt made simultaneous "CUT IT OUT" motions across their throats. A dangerous smile made it's way across Rogue's face and Kitty stood quickly, taking her girlfriend's (fake!! Fake girlfriend!!) hand.

“We have to go!” Kitty cried, turning Rogue bodily to the door. “We have a date to plan! And school, which starts in thirty minutes! Don’t be late, Kurt!”

Kitty let her hand twine with Rogue’s again, and she felt a grin overtaking her features. She really was enjoying spending time with Rogue, and the thought of the date they were planning sent a thrill through her. And Rogue was getting better at controlling her abilities. Kitty only had to jog in place for twenty minutes to get feeling to return to her limbs if she kissed Rogue on the cheek in the hallway, now.

It was progress, anyway.

“So,” Kitty said, wishing that Rogue’s gloves were better suited for holding hands, because Kitty wanted to hold hands more than she cared to admit. “Date night?”

“Hmm,” Rogue confirmed. “I was thinking of the movies? It’s a classic. I mean, I know we can’t sit in the back row and make out for several obvious reasons.” Kitty’s mouth went dry at the thought of doing more than kissing Rogue’s cheek, but it wasn’t in a bad way. It was in a very very good way.

Oh, dear. This was not a part of her plan.

“Movies would be nice. And as nice as kissing you would be, I’m sure a second date would need a better venue than my funeral.” She teased. Rogue snorted and reached for Kitty’s hand, easy as anything.

“Oh, and hey, if Kurt says anything to you about me at any point today, just ignore him.” Kitty looked over at Rogue, whose cheeks were tinged a slight pink.

“What you think he’s going to give me the shovel talk?” Rogue didn’t answer, and Kitty tugged on her hand, turning Rogue to face her. “We can tell him what this is about, if you want? I know he won’t spill the beans, and if it makes you uncomfortable, like, he’s your brother. He should know, I guess?” Rogue smiled at her warmly.

“Nah, we can let everybody stew.” Kitty turned back to walking, ignoring the smile that she knew wasn’t going away anytime soon. Rogue squeezed her fingers gently. “Thank you, though.”

They walked a little further, Bayville High coming into view on the horizon. Kitty wanted to say something. She wanted to say anything. Something about how she wasn’t sure what she felt for Rogue was just friendship, anymore. Something about how she hoped Rogue felt the same way. Something about going on a real date.

“Focus,” Kitty said instead, her code word to warn Rogue when she was about to initiate physical contact, because “hey, go ahead and use that technique so I don’t, like, die” was a bit wordy. She leaned up and pressed a kiss to the corner of Rogue’s mouth, fully aware they were in view of the school, now. It was the barest brush of skin on skin, but Kitty’s heart was hammering, her palms sweating enough that she was glad Rogue had the gloves. She knew what Rogue’s mutation felt like, now, and the way her lips were tingling had nothing to do with it.

But Rogue’s blush was worth the risk.

“See you after school, Kitten,” Rogue said, drawling the nickname with a teasing smile.

“Not if I see you first!” She called out, knowing it was stupid, knowing she probably looked ridiculous, but not caring in the slightest.

As she had been warned, there were no back row makeouts. But Rogue did lift up the arm of the chair between them to let Kitty curl up against her side. Kitty didn't care enough to point out that no one could see them, here. They didn't need to fake anything, here.

But Kitty wanted it to be real. She understood that, now, so by gum she was going to pretend. At least, she was going to pretend until Rogue stopped letting her.

As they left the theater, a voice called out to them.

"Kitty!" Lance cried again. Kitty sighed, but turned. His face was carefully blank. He stopped in front of her, a Todd and Pietro at his heels. Todd looked intrigued and Pietro was looking at Lance like he'd just swallowed something rancid and it was all Lance's fault.

"C'mon, dude-" Pietro began, but Lance waved him off.

"Is it true you're dating someone?" Kitty felt herself tense.

"Yes." She replied curtly. "What, did you expect me to wait around fro you to change your mind?" Lance scoffed, Todd hid his face, and Pietro let out a full-blown smile. It was clear that she had just been expected to wait around.

"Who are you dating, then?" Lance asked, sounding smug, like he'd already won, or like he'd expected her to make something up.

"Rogue." She said, her voice ice. She gestured with their joined hands. "Obviously." Lance's smirk got wider.

"Funny," Lance said, Pietro made another noise, and Todd shifted uncomfortably. Lance ignored them both. "I think that you just picked the perfect cover." Kitty froze, going still enough that she wondered if Bobby hadn't followed them. "Pick up a lesbian lover to show you're over me, sure, but make sure you can't even touch her." He nodded, slowly. "Makes sense."

Kitty felt a wave of rage rise within her. She knew why he was doing this, she knew better than to rise to the challenge, but she couldn't think past being mad . How dare he? How dare he come here and decide who she was, after the shit he'd pulled?

She couldn’t help but remember all of the people who had decided they’d known who she was better than she had.

She couldn’t help but remember the jeers and the hateful whispers just before Xavier had come to her rescue.

It all came tumbling back to her at once, encapsulated by the rage that Lance had lit. She felt angry tears prick at her eyes, and she glowered. If looks could kill, Lance would have spontaneously combusted.

It was that feeling, that all-encompassing rage that made her turn to Rogue, without a plan or a warning, and pull her down into a dangerous kiss.

A fire spread, white hot, through her body. It originated in her lips and filled her chest with a warmth almost too intense to bear. Every inch of her skin tingled, and she vaguely recognized that as the effect of Rogue's mutation.

But Rogue's lips were firm beneath hers, and Kitty didn't want to stop kissing her.

And then she couldn't, because she could no longer move.

The fire extinguished, leaving ice in it's wake, and she wondered again if Bobby had followed them.

And then her limbs went slack. Rogue got over her surprise and shoved Kitty away, breaking the contact of their lips. Kitty's vision swam, her heart beating erratically in her chest, and she stumbled, her knees no longer wanting to support her weight.

"Shit!" Kitty heard someone say, but that was quickly overwhelmed by Rogue's voice, much closer.

"Kitty?" Rogue caught her swaying form in careful, gloved hands and lowered her to the sidewalk. "Kitty, honey, look at me-" Of course Kitty was looking. She couldn't look away, even if she wanted to, and she really didn't want to. There were tears brimming in Rogue's eyes, Kitty noticed. Rogue's voice got tinny, overwhelmed by a ringing in Kitty's ears, one that she desperately tried to blink away, but after closing her eyes twice, she couldn't seem to find them to open them again. Her head swam.

"Kitty? Kitty, no, please-" Rogue's voice was nice. It was soothing in her ears. She had always thought Rogue's accent was sweet.

Rogue tugged her closer and twined their fingers together, and Kitty felt it, in a vague way.

And then she didn't. She was lost in the lullaby of Rogue's panicked words.

And then she was lost to the world.

Chapter Text

"Kitty?" Rogue asked, her voice going flat. She wanted this to be a joke. She wanted this to be some horrible, cruel prank that Kitty and Lance had set up, but she knew that wasn't true. She could feel the bubbly warmth of Kitty's life energy swirling inside of her, could hear Kitty's memories in her mind, showing her things she never wanted to think about, not under these circumstances.

She didn't want to know that Kitty liked kissing her, even though it was the last kiss she'd ever have.

Someone else dropped down on the ground next to them, and she saw Lance there, his face pale and horrified.

"I- I didn't mean- Kitty, I didn't mean it-" Kitty's rage at the words that he'd spoken rose and mingled with her own, combining into a cacophony of emotion that Rogue almost couldn't contain. She looked at the boy kneeling across from her and wanted nothing more, in that moment, than for him to trade places with the girl in her arms.

This was his fault. His fault that Kitty's body was heavy and lifeless in her embrace. His fault that she knew that Kitty liked dating her-even just fake dating her-more than she'd ever liked Lance. His fault that she'd never be able to tell Kitty how she felt, because now she'd lost her chance.

"Get out of here." She said, her voice low, icy. He looked up at her with a sneer, and she leveled him with a look that she'd learned from her mother, stopping whatever remark that was about to drop from his lips. "Before I kill you." He jolted back, as if suddenly realizing that she wasn't about to let him continue his behavior. His actions had consequences, and if it weren't for the fact that she didn't want to put Kitty's body down, didn't want to let her go, Rogue knew he'd be dead already.

He turned and fled, and she turned back to Kitty, allowing the full weight of what had happened to sink in, and finally let herself cry.

Chapter Text

Kitty woke in her room, like she did every morning, but her limbs were heavy, and her eyelids almost refused to open. She heard shifting and the sound of familiar boots on carpet and she smiled. She blinked her eyes open and saw that Rogue was... packing. She must have made some noise, some indication that she was awake, because Rogue turned back to her. At seeing her eyes open, Rogue's face filled with clear relief.

And then her eyes went stony, and her face expressionless.

For a moment, Kitty was hurt.

And then she remembered what had happened.

"Rogue-" She said, her voice raspy.

"You've been asleep for three days. No one knew if you were going to wake up." Rogue said, refusing to hear her. Kitty forced herself to sit up.

"Rogue-" She tried again, wanting to apologize.

"I'd ask you what you were thinking, but I already know." Fear struck Kitty down to her core. Of course. She'd forgotten that Rogue's mutation meant that she got the memories of the person she'd touched.

She knew that Kitty did it because she wanted to hurt Lance.

She knew that Kitty did it because she loved kissing Rogue, even though there was every possibility that one day it would kill her.

Had already almost killed her.

She knew that Kitty had feelings for her.

Ice slid down her spine.

"I could have killed you, Kitty." Rogue said again, her voice low enough that Kitty couldn't hear the emotion in her words well enough to place it. "I almost did kill you." She continued, somehow softer still. Kitty opened her mouth, and then closed it again, tears of shame welling in her eyes. "I'm going home for a while. Ma says that people may as well have forgotten that I was part of that big scandal. That might change, but at least I don't have to worry about killing the one person I care about."

"I'm sorry." Kitty whispered, as loud as her voice would let her.

"I know." Rogue replied. Kitty knew that she didn't mean it as a reminder, but that didn't stop it from being one.

She snapped her suitcase shut.

"I'll go let the professor know that you're awake on my way out." Kitty went to say something else, anything else. "Please don't." Rogue said, sounding defeated. "Don't say anything else. Don't ask me to stay. If you asked me to, I would, of course I would, but I need- you need-" Rogue took a shaking breath, and Kitty wanted to cry at the look on her face, the defeat, the pure self loathing in her beautiful eyes. "Every time I look at you," She shook her head, discarding that sentence as well. "You kissed me to prove a point. And it almost killed you. I think you need to figure out what it is that you want."

With that proclamation, Rogue left, and the room seemed to be impossibly colder.

Kitty ignored every aching muscle in her body, and the fact that the moment her feet hit the floor, it took more concentrated effort to stay solid than she'd ever used in her entire life. She stumbled to the door, fully intending to follow Rogue, to beg for forgiveness, to beg for....

Well, an answer.

She wanted to know whether or not Rogue returned her feelings. Whether or not Rogue ever could, after this.

She ran right into Kurt, who raised one eyebrow at her, his lip quirking in a smirk that meant he knew she was going to try this.

"You might be my best friend, Katzchen, but Marie is my sister. You don't get to go after her yet." There was a dangerous glint in Kurt's eyes, something protective that shone through more strongly than Kitty had ever seen it. He took her by the elbow and turned her back to her room. He guided her to her bed and sat them both down.

She could barely feel the sheets against her legs.

"What happened?" She asked, because she couldn't resist.

"Before or after you were an idiot?" Kurt asked, his voice barely resisting anger. Kitty sighed.

"Obviously I meant after."

"Posterity." Kurt said with a shrug. He looked at Kitty's face (she was sure she looked totally miserable) and sighed. "Rogue finally got you off of her and then Pietro ran you back here. Lance drove Rogue back home, said something about you winning, almost got punched, and then left."

"Who almost punched him?"

"Well, Rogue already had, I almost followed her, Pietro absolutely did. Apparently he and Toad were against him confronting you altogether, fuck knows why." Kurt hummed. "Evan came close, but he was throwing spikes, not punches. And then mom swooped in and dragged him out by his ear. Proudest I've ever been to be her son." Kurt admitted. Kitty reached up and took his hand, squeezing it reassuringly.

"What else?" Kitty asked, when it was clear that that was all Kurt was going to say on the matter.

"We determined that you weren't dead and Rogue hasn't slept since you collapsed. She refused to stay in here, so she's been pretending to sleep on the couch, but I caught her in the Danger Room practicing evasive maneuvers at two a.m. yesterday. She needs time to get you out of her head, Kitty."

Kitty glanced out of the window and saw Rogue walking to a car, Logan was leaning against the drivers-side door, rolling a cigar between  his fingers, as if trying to decide whether or not to light it. The professor wheeled alongside her, and he looked up to the window, as if sensing Kitty looking. He smiled kindly at her and she turned back to Kurt.

"I'm such a bonehead." Kitty moaned, dropping her head into her hands. She could feel her stomach churning. Kurt wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

"Yeah."

"She hates me now, doesn't she?" Kurt sighed, a small puff of air that disrupted the hair that she knew had to be curly again. It didn't stay straight if she didn't straighten it daily.

"No, she doesn't hate you. But you did hurt her. She just feels used." Kurt pulled away from the half-hug. "She told me about your arrangement, though. She said that she signed up to be used as a fake date like that." Kitty didn't say anything, feeling sick to her stomach. "But it wasn't fake, was it?"

Slowly, Kitty felt tears start to roll down her cheeks. She shook her head.

"It was the realest I've ever been." Kurt nodded, as if the answer didn't surprise him at all. "She made me so happy, Kurt. And I ruined it."

"Nothing has to stay ruined, Kitty."

"She's leaving . She pretty much told me not to contact her."

"No, she didn't. She asked you not to tell her to stay. She asked you to let her leave and you let her." Kitty shot him a quizzical look, and he flicked his earlobe. "I hear everything."

"Should I not have let her go?" She asked, sounding small.

"Considering the fact that I was asked to stop her from coming back and stop you from going after her, I think the safe answer to that one is 'no,' kleine ."

"So what do I do?"

"Have you considered telling her how you feel about her?"

"No, because she already knows." Kurt raised an eyebrow, pulling away.

"Do tell."

"She has my memories. Like, that's a big part of her mutation. She gets my memories. She knows I caught feelings." Kurt shook his head.

"She doesn't," He said. "All she got from that was your emotions. A few memories of you with Lance. She knows you love him, she doesn't know anything about herself. And don't think she hasn't been hating herself even more for wanting to know if you still feel that way about Lance. She alternated between fearing for your life, being monumentally pissed at you and your shitty decision making skills-" He held up a finger, "Her words, not mine, and wondering if your feelings for him changed at all, or if you were thinking about him every second you spent with her."

Kitty's heart stopped for the second time that week.

She'd thought that Rogue leaving meant she was being rejected. Rogue was kind, for the most part, she wouldn't have told Kitty 'no' outright. Not just because of her memories. She would wait until Kitty actually said something and then rejected her.

"No." Kitty said, because it was the only thing left for her to say. She turned her tearful gaze to Kurt. "What do I do, Kurt?"

"How should I know?"

"Kurt, please, right now she thinks that everything between us was some sick game." Kurt nodded, not denying any part of what she said. The thought made Kitty's nausea return to her in full force. "I need to apologize for letting him get under my skin. I need to prove to her that she's more to me than winning my breakup."

"You need to get rid of Lance, Kitty. For good." Kitty curled closer to him, and Kurt let her. She nodded. He was right.

 

Lance looked at her like she was a goddess made flesh. He looked at her like she was the physical embodiment of a miracle.

He looked at her like he'd already been planning her funeral.

Kitty felt her eye twitch. Hurt and resentment rose up inside of her. Why couldn't he have just let her go? Why did he have to push the one button that he knew would make her overreact? Why did he have to question their relationship, not because of who it was that she was dating, but because Rogue happened to be a girl?

She sat without being invited to sit.

"We're over, Lance." She said, while he was still staring at her. He reeled back. "We've been over for months. You did that, if you recall," She pointed out matter-of-factly. "You have no claim to my personal life, you had no right to harass me the other night, and you had no right to question the validity of my relationship."

"What the fuck, Kitty?" He demanded.

"The fuck is that you hurt me. And then you expected me to wait for you to get over yourself and take you back. You expected me to be fine with you hurting me. You expected me to wait for you forever, and the second I start to move on, the second I date someone else and start hoping that it will go somewhere, you went and you tried to tear it all apart." She had a speech, but she couldn't remember the rest of it now. She realized, dimly, that her hands were shaking. She knew that Kurt was a few feet away, waiting and watching, in case things got ugly, but there was a much closer worry that she would start to cry before he could get to her. She didn't want to cry because of him. Not anymore. "You don't believe I'm bisexual?" She asked, winging it. "Your heterosexual bubble is too thick for you to understand that I might have taken that month after you left me and used it to get over you and fall for someone else? Fine. But don't come to my dates and decide that you want me back. Don't come to my dates and try to ruin them. Don't come anywhere near me." She stood. "That's all I had to say."

As she turned, she heard Lance's chair squeak against the linoleum. She could see Kurt, she saw him start and then saw his eyes widen. She waited for a blow, or a hand on her shoulder that never came. So she glanced over her shoulder, surprised to find Pietro and Lance locked in a staring match, Pietro's fingers curled around Lance's upper arm. Fred had stood and was half blocking her from view. Lance looked defeated. He also looked monumentally pissed.

"You fucked up enough for one lifetime, bro." She heard Pietro say. "Quit while you're ahead."

And then Kurt was at her side, pulling her away, out of the danger zone.

When she breathed, it was ever so slightly easier.

 

Kitty spent more time near the common area of the house than she used to. For no reason, of course.

Just like there was no reason that she was the first person to answer the communal phone in the hallway if it rang.

No reasons there.

"Kitty, what happens if she doesn't call?" Kurt asked her one morning, perched on the arm of the couch, braiding her hair. She hadn't had the energy to straighten it again, not yet, so it kept hanging loose and wild around her face. Kurt insisted that he thought it looked better like this, but him saying that didn't stop it from getting in her face.

Kitty had called Rogue's mom's house, not surprised in the least when she got the answering machine. She knew what Rogue's mom's ability was. The ultimate call-dodging weapon.

She'd let Rogue know that she wanted to talk to her. Had let her know that if Rogue still wanted, Kitty wanted to take her to prom, and not as part of some stupid deal to help her get over Lance. As her date, instead. Or as just a friend. Whichever Rogue was more comfortable with.

It was the best idea she could come up with, short of stealing the X-Jet and going all the way to Georgia to hold up a boom box beneath her window.

"Then she doesn't call." Kitty said, ignoring the pain in her chest at the words. "And I have my answer."

Kurt didn't say anything to that for a moment.

"Will you still go to the dance?"

Prom was such a small part of this that Kitty couldn't believe that it was the main reason that it had started in the first place.

"I think so." She said, nodding slowly. "I want to go with her. I might not get to go with her, but it doesn't feel like such a big deal to go alone, anymore." Kitty wiped her leaking eyes on the back of her hand. "I wish-" She sighed.

"Not much point in wishes, Katzchen." Kurt said, "Tell me you have a scrunchie lying around somewhere." Kitty rolled her eyes. With an exaggerated sigh, Kurt let her hair fall, untied and un-scrunchied, to curl around her face again.

The phone rang. Kitty shot away from Kurt, through the wall, and skidded to a stop in front of it. It barely got through the first ring before Kitty snatched it up.

"Xaviers!" She chirped, trying to sound like her heard wasn't beating it's way out of it's chest, like it did every time it rang.

"Kitty?"

Kitty's heart shot up into her throat.

"H-hey, Rogue!" She said, aiming for cheerful, but her voice still wobbled. "How are you?" She made sure her tone was sincere, so that Rogue knew she meant this. Rogue's voice held a hint of a smile when she spoke.

"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Kitty laughed, a little breathless. She had no idea what to say. Deep down, she really hadn't expected Rogue to call.

"I'm glad you called." She said quietly, half-hoping Rogue wouldn't hear.

"I almost didn't." Rogue admitted. "I must've listened to your message a thousand times before Ma intervened. She said I couldn't keep dragging my feet and all." Kitty didn't know what 'all' was, and she wasn't about to ruin the first conversation she'd gotten to have with Rogue by asking.

But she came close.

"I miss you." is what slipped out instead, quiet and vulnerable. Rogue said nothing. Since Kitty was certain that by speaking at all, she'd already messed things up, she continued. "I'm sorry. I'm not sorry that I kissed you. I'd do that again if you let me, but I'd be more careful next time, if I got a next time. But I am sorry that I let you leave thinking that the only reason I kissed you was because Lance was there, and I'm especially sorry I let him get to me."

"I know why you did it," Rogue reminded her.

"Okay," Rogue said, a pleading note entering her voice, "If you tell me to fuck off and never bring it up again, I won't and we can go back to just being roommates, but I don't want to do that." She took a deep breath that was meant to steady her but largely failed. "I have feelings for you. Not Lance, you ." And I'd like to take you out on a date. A real one, this time, so that I can prove to you that I like you as more than a friend." Rogue was silent for another moment, and when she spoke her voice sounded thick.

"What kind of girlfriend would I be if I can't kiss my date without killing her?" Kitty's stomach swooped at the word "girlfriend"

"Almost killing," She said breathlessly, "the almost is key. And I don't need to kiss you. Yes, I liked kissing you, and yes, I wnat to do it again, but I also want to be able to hold your hand and take you on dates to cheesy movies. Kissing doesn't have to be included in the equation.

"I want to say yes," Rogue admitted.

"Then do," Kitty replied, trying not to sound like she was begging. "Go to the prom with me this weekend and we can take the rest as it comes."

"Are you asking?" A teasing note entered Rogue's voice. Kitty rolled her eyes and batted her lashes, even though Rogue couldn't see her.

"Pretty please?" Rogue let out a noise that sounded similar to a giggle, and Kitty wanted to scream at being the one to make that noise. "Rogue, will you go to prom with me? I'd play our song beneath your window with my dad's old boombox, but I don't know where you live." Rogue laughed again, sounding a little more open, and some of the tension dropped from Kitty's shoulders.

"What color is your dress going to be?"

"It's a light violet, almost a lavender?"

"So purple?" Kitty smiled, Rogue's tone was affectionate, teasing again.

"Yeah, a light purple."

"You promise this has nothing to do with Lance?"

"You can ask him if you like, but things are over between him and I. Forever."

"In that case I'll pick you up Saturday at six."

"Really?"

"Really. I like you too, Kitty, I have since before we started this and... I would really like to go out with you. So I'm going to. And I'm going to trust you not to pull anything like that again. You dying would be awful, but me being the reason that you died- I would never forgive myself, Kitty."

"I swear." Kitty said.

"So no more practicing with my mutation, no more kissing, no more skin contact period until we're sure I can control my mutation, deal?"

"Of course!"

"And that might never happen, either." Rogue warned her.

"As long as I get the chance to be with you, Rogue, it's worth it."

"Ah-" Rogue cleared her throat. "I'm gonna hang up now, before I say something stupid."

"I'll see you on Saturday." Kitty said, still only half believing it.

"Yes you will." Rogue reassured her.

 

 

Kitty couldn't help pacing, a million thoughts circling her brain like haywire butterflies as she paced around the room.

"I should straighten my hair." She said, for the hundredth time. Kurt, who had untied his bowtie again and was now lying facedown on her bed having a crisis of his own, scoffed.

"Don't you dare." He said, his voice muffled.

"What are you freaking out about?" She asked, to take her mind off of what she was sure was going to be her impending doom.

Kurt said a great many words, all of them in German. Kitty rolled her eyes.

"Okay, drama King. Get out before your sister gets here so I can pretend I look nicer than I do."

"Your hair looks lovely, Kitty." He said, his voice still muffled. "And I know Rogue will think so, too." Kitty sighed and flopped down next to him, albeit much more carefully, so as not to smudge her makeup or wrinkle the toile on her dress.

"Will you tell me later?"

"Only if it all goes horribly horribly wrong." Kurt said, cheerfully.

There was a knock at the door. Kitty's heart met the ceiling. She turned to look at Kurt in abject horror, certain that there would be some major flaw in her appearance. He grinned and disappeared in a cloud of smoke and sulfur.

Kitty's palms started to sweat and she considered phasing through the floor, but Amara roomed below her, and she knew better than to startle her.

Besides, if that was Rogue, then she wanted whatever future was on the other side of that door. She wiped her palms on the comforter on her bed and snatched up the box that she had set on the top of her dresser a few hours prior and forced herself to ignore.

She opened the door, hoping that her sheer terror didn't show on her face.

Rogue stood there, looking positively resplendent. Her dress was black, a loose flowing fabric falling around her arms before being pulled back securely around her wrists at the cuffs of her sleeves. The bodice was cinced close to her waist with a leather corset. and beneath the hat on her head, Kitty could see Rogue's lips curving into a shy smile, painted the exact same shade of purple as her dress. Rogue shfited and the entire dress rippled like water. Kitty almost went and laid back down.

Rogue coughed, and Kitty realized she was staring.

"You look amazing." She breathed, to break the silence, the truth in every hushed word. Rogue flushed at her words and waved a gloved hand as if to bat the compliment away. Kitty's eyes widened. "Oh! That's right!" She said, holding up the box. "I know corsages are more traditional, but I-" She felt heat rise up her neck and shoulders as the end of that sentence occurred to her. "I saw this and thought of you." She finished, despite her brain telling her that she sounded ridiculous.

Gently, Rogue took the box from her, awe on her face. Maybe that was the right choice of words after all.

"Can I open it now?"

"Well, duh!" Kitty said, poking Rogue in the side just to see her smile a bit more. "I want you to have it for the dance." Rogue's smile got somehow brighter and  she tugged at the ribbon around the box, lifting it open. Her eyes met Kitty's with a small gasp.

The week before everything had gone wrong, Kitty had insisted on going dress shopping, and she'd lost Rogue in one of the more crowded stores. It had just been for a moment, but when Kitty had found her again, Rogue had been staring wistfully at a pair of gloves, and a few minutes later Kitty had doubled back to the store to buy them on a whim. As Rogue said, she might have to live with her mutation, but that didn't mean she had to make it a burden.

"Oh, Kitty..." Rogue said, trailing off into silence.

"Please say you like them."

"I love them," Rogue said, and Kitty felt relief wash over her. Immediately she slipped past Kitty, to her side of the room, and slid off the gloves she was wearing, replacing them with the ones Kitty had bought her. She took a moment, twisting her hands around to check the fit, clearly also taking a moment to admire the handiwork and Kitty watched her face alternate between affection and clear joy.

Rogue looked up and caught Kitty looking, but this time Kitty didn't back down. Rogue held out a hand.

"Shall we?" Kitty beamed.

"We shall." She replied. Happiness surged up inside of her as she slid her hand into Rogue's again, Rogue a familiar weight at her side. She breathed a little easier as together, they left the mansion and walked toward whatever it was that came next, knowing well enough that nothing that happened would be too bad. Knowing well enough that they'd be in it together, and that was all that mattered.