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Remembering

By Victoria Paape

Other / Romance

Chapter 1

The brisk winter breeze ruffled his silver white hair as he walked carefully on the frozen ground.

'What are you going to do on the day you’re not fast enough?'

'Never gonna happen.'

They had joked about that often. Witty retorts that were shot back and forth. Sometimes they could be a bit crass, but they enjoyed it that way.

'Does your girlfriend even feel anything Speed Demon?'

'Does your's mind being celibate?'

They had laughed, always laughed, even when she left for them. Their secret relationship here could never be touched. It was a safe place for them. Some place where the barriers they erected could rest, at least or awhile.

He ran his gloved fingers over a frost covered tree as he stared up at the x-mansion, its dim lights glowed softly through the falling snow. He leaned ever so slightly to the side, as he stared up at the imposing mansion. He huffed a short breath into the cold air and watched as it clouded up. Pietro had sworn he was never coming back, not since that last day.

'Do you ever wonder what would happen when we die?'

'Nah, I'm too fast for death. It'll never catch me.'

She had smiled with him. She never smiles with them, it's a special secret meant only for him. Forever with him.

That's the way he had wanted it, forever. Even when he saw those stories, saw the smoke and planes. Those horrible pieces of metal...

'I'ah don't think I'll be back for a while. The Professah wants meh tah go to New York this week.'

'Why?'

'Some conference for Dr. McCoy. He needs an assistant and I'ahm the only one available.'

'He asks too much of you X-geeks.'

She had smiled at him, that secret smile that only he could see. He could still see that smile sometimes; A faint ghost of the beautiful creature he called friend.

'Are you fast enough?'

'Are you strong enough?'

'Pietro...'

He ran as he always did. He ran to escape the people, places, feelings... he just ran to escape. He could never out run his memories though. They seemed to run faster than he ever could. They would always haunt him of the beauty, the freedom, they had experienced together.

He flew from the mansion, its warm glow fading quickly in the distance. He closed his eyes for a moment, trusting his instincts as he ran again; trying to distance himself from the memories that threatened to burst from within.

The dust had barely settled from the first attack. People were screaming and scrambling from the falling debris. The panicked crowds felt a hot wind, breeze whip around them and a tortured cry mixed with the echoes of others in the early morning wind. He had skidded to a halt, barely acknowledging the working firemen and police officers. He did spy out for a moment a blue furred demon stepping out of the smoke.

"BEAST!" His voice was gravel against his ears and the older mutant didn't hear him at first. He seemed dazed and a head wound was bleeding profusely. Pietro stumbled against the crowd infuriatingly slower than he wished.

'I'ah was wonderin'... would you go to the senior prom with meh?'

Why did he have to laugh? He didn't recognize the look in her eyes for what it was, but now...

"Pietro?!" Beast started at him for a moment, a dazed far off look glazed over his eyes and Pietro had to shake him to make him focus.

"Where?" He was panting now, holding the fear at bay. He knew it wouldn't take long for it to spill over.

"42nd but Pietro..." He didn't wait, couldn't afford to. These were precious seconds she couldn't lose.

'One day things will be different. You'll see Rogue.'

'Yeah... right'.

The building shifted around him as he stumbled over the falling concrete and glass. Metal creaked and groaned under the stress from above. He barely slowed as he dodged falling debris and the few remaining souls still inside. He turned and raced up the stairs counting the blurry landings.

'Hey skunk head! Ever satisfied a man before?'

'Leave meh alone Duncan.'

'What's a matter? Big scary goth afraid?'

They didn't notice the wind. They didn't even notice the snickers until a draft of wind made them look down at the pants that were around their ankles.

'Well Duncan, find meh a man and I'll satisfy 'em. All I see are... little... boys.'

He would protect her. Silently and carefully he would keep her from harm. He wasn't sure if she knew, though she most likely did, and a part of him did not care.

"Hey kid! You crazy idiot, come back down here!"

"Shut it human." He breezed past the fire fighter on the 20th floor and continued to climb. The smoke was growing thick and his lungs burned with the poisonous fumes.

"ROGUE!" He coughed and choked as he continued up the stairs. The metal creaked around him and he wished fervently that his father was here. Pietro rushed passed a particularly destroyed conference room when the sound of a cough echoed in his straining ears. He skidded to a halt and turned towards the gaping room.

"ROGUE?" He didn't receive a response right away and Pietro felt his heart stutter against his chest.

'What are you going to do on the day you’re not fast enough?'

'Not today... please not today.' A roaring sound echoed above him and the building began to quake.

"Pietro..." His ears perked at the faint voice and he scanned the destroyed room.

"Come on beautiful, say my name again. Rogue? ROGUE?" The thunder echoed louder as dust and debris scattered around them room.

'Do you ever wonder what would happen when we die?'

"Pietro..." The voice was fainter and he could feel an unpleasant pressure build in his chest as he rushed around the room.

There, under a tacky promotional sign and a steel support beam was a white and auburn haired girl. Her eyes were glassy with pain as he slid on his knees next to her. Her lips twitched slightly in pain, or maybe in a smile as she focused on his face.

"You look like shit skunk head." He grabbed her limp hand and squeezed it lightly.

"Your no better yourself speedster." Pietro glanced at her waist and felt his heart break. Legs weren't supposed to look like that. Another rumble echoed from above them and Pietro leaned over her to protect her from the falling embers. His eyes squeezed shut in fervent prayer.

A light touch on his cheek made him look down at the bloody, dirty face.

'Do you ever wonder what would happen when we die?'

"Pietro... would you go to prom with me?" Tears splashed onto her cheeks and for a moment he was confused.

Prom was ages ago... she doesn't remember...

The realization caused the pressure in his chest to grow as more tears fell onto her cheeks. He rocked on his knees and squeezed her hand to his chest. Brushing her dirty hair aside he nodded.

"Yeah, of course... only you... always you, my southern belle." His answer was met with emptiness. Her eyes were gazing over his shoulder and in his loneliness, Pietro sobbed openly. He cradled her limp hand to his chest screaming to the Gods for this injustice. He looked into her blank face and carefully wiped away the fallen tears.

"Rogue... Rogue please don't go... I need you here... please." The building quaked and rumbled again and he knew he was finally out of time.

Shakily he leaned forward and kissed her still warm lips before bolting from the collapsing building. Smoke billowed around him as he escaped to the safety of the streets. In the distance he could see the X-freaks crowded around the bandaged Beast. They watched in horror as the building crashed around him. His heart was cold to the horrors around him as he remember her glassy stare.

'He asks too much of you X-geeks.'

Pietro stopped as he felt a tentative hand on his arm and turned a blank look towards the petite brunette.

"Get our while you still can... he'll kill you all."

"Pietro..." The Professor tried to go to him but stopped when Pietro sped to his side. A sharp blossoming pain radiated up his arm, good reminder that he had just clocked the Professor.

"If you come near me, I will kill you." He jerked his arm from Kitty's grasp and ran. His legs ached and his lungs burned but he still ran.

He ran as he always did. He ran to escape the people, places, feelings, he ran to escape. He could never out run his memories though. They seemed to run faster than he ever could. Finally he stopped, snow had started to fall again and it was eerily quiet in this part of town. The church in front of him had fake candles in the windows and he could barely make out the hymns of Christmas Eve. Moving more slowly, the frozen ground crunched under his feet as he weaved his way past the cars. He scuffed his shoes against the cement and lingered for a moment before proceeding into the cemetery. Pietro had never been to a funeral before. The sea of black clothes and bowed heads had made his eye twitch. He hadn’t joined the small crowd, the x-men were there, and he was sure the small old woman in the back was Mystique. He stayed hidden, hiding his shame and tears.

He couldn’t hear the service, he hadn’t wanted to, empty words from a priest who knew nothing of his friend. The X-men had cried, Kurt had held a sobbing Kitty while Lance rubbed her back absently. Jean and Scott stood stoically next to the Professor. He had been slightly proud of the blue and purple bruise that was just under his eye. Even now Pietro felt swamped by his memories. He couldn’t breathe some nights from the weight of it all. He could still smell the burning wood and fuel. The Brotherhood house had been quiet for days afterwards. Mystique had stayed, she directed them to chores which they did without complaint.

He had gone to school the next week, slowly trudging with the mass as the gossip whispered over his ears. He had felt a burning in his throat when he passed her locker. A mass of candles and pictures were plastered on the wall. Fuzzy teddy bears were propped up next to cards of sentiments. He had raged when he saw that. Shouted and stomped, no one knew Rogue! If they knew Rogue they would have known she hates candles, and teddy bears were so not her thing. People stared at him, pity and understanding in their eyes. Scott tried to talk to him when he had calmed down, but Pietro had just ran. He ignored the stares and whispers, he ignore the tears running down his face. He ignored everyone and everything for a long time.

Now as he slowly made his way to a short stone slowly getting covered in snow, he wished he could run fast enough to escape time, to escape the reality that the world has forced him into. He was close enough now to see her name, a poor representation of the person he grew to know and possibly love. He knelt and placed a flower corsage against the multiple bouquets that still resided. Not caring about the snow, he turned and laid down, resting his head against his arms and stared up at the night sky, The snow was falling heavier now, he watched as the white specks danced against the black sky. The church bell started to chime the hour in the distant and he breathed deeply before closing his eyes for a moment.

“I never really said it before and I’m not really saying it now but, I miss you. I think I’m always going to miss you, don’t forget about me, ok? I won’t forget you, and when I’m old and tripping over my own feet I know you’ll be there like always, I know you’ll look at me and smile.” A flash of her smile briefly clouded his mind and he had to open his eyes. He smiled into the dark before grabbing his iPod, adding a random shuffle and hummed quietly in the night.


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