h a n g







Rated PG-13
Genre: Angst/AU
Summary: It only took five seconds to know what she has been missing.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Marvel. The title and the lyrics belong to the Matchbox Twenty song,
"Hang." I get no profit out of this except a refreshing breath from a busy schedule and a delayed homework.
Thanks: To cschoolgirl and jjblazer for their input, beta and kind words.

Extra Thanks: To cschoolgirl for the wonderful artwork she made for this story. To see it, click here.


And she knows
She's been here too few years to feel this old

It only took five seconds.

Five seconds to know what she has been missing. Five seconds to yearn for what many years ago she
couldn't have, and make her realize she still wants it. Five seconds to want other options. Five seconds to
reconsider what she has, and if she wants it still.

One night. A gathering. An accidental brush. Nothing that would leave him holding onto dear life, and nothing
that would leave her with anything but a few minutes of an icy feeling in her hands.

Nobody even knows, except for them. There is no need for anyone to know, anyway. It was so brief a touch
that no one noticed, and they didn't consider there was any reason to tell. Besides, it's not like she hasn't
touched anyone before.

But he stuck in her head. She never told him, but she dreamed about him that night. She had never touched
anyone so young and vivacious, so full of life and refreshing. So... unsullied. He looks at the world in such a
way as she never had a chance to, or any other personality in her head has been able to.

He swims in her thoughts, infecting her with fresh desires and a want of a carefree life. He makes her look at
that part of her life that she never had a chance to live, because it was stolen when she gained so much
experience, too much for her young age.

He left her wondering what it would have been like if she had chosen him.

But she can't tell him this, because she knows how he feels about her. She would only be giving him false
hopes. She can't tell him, unless she decided to be with him.

But that is out of the question, because she has already chosen

She stirs in her bed, their bed, and turns to look at him. He's sleeping with his back turned from her. She
stares for the longest moment at his back; his muscled arm casually placed over his waist, stretched all the
way to his hips. She can hear him breathing; his rhythmic, calm breathing always so soothing to her. Raising
her head a little, she can only see the side of his face; his strong, rough features peacefully still in his slumber

He rarely has any nightmares anymore, not since she moved in with him.

No, they all belong to her now.

She loves him with all her heart. He is her friend, her savior, her guide, her knowledge, her strength, her rock.
He is all she ever wanted and more.

And still, her mind keeps going back to what five seconds left her of a young man. A man that barely knows
what he wants, but that, somehow, is all Rogue thinks she's missing.

Finally, she decides to put her restless mind at ease. She has to make a choice.

With a tear sliding down her cheek, she slowly sits up, and carefully as not to wake him up, she kisses him


And he knows
She's been here too few years to be gone

He stands by the window, and flicks the ashes of his cigar in the ashtray on the night table. It takes a while for
him to realize the cigar isn't lit anymore; he didn't even notice when he finished it.

He feels the need to go for some air, maybe take a walk down the back garden, but he restrains himself. He
can't handle the looks all those people give him. Pity looks, he knows. Looks full of sympathy, of concern.
Looks that make Rogue's absence all the more real.

It has been three weeks since she left. He had locked himself in his -their- apartment, needing a few days to
brood and afraid her scent might soon fade away from there. He came back to the mansion when he couldn't
stand the loneliness their place offered him. He had drowned his sorrows in each and every bar he knows. He
had been enraged with Rogue, furious that she'd left. He had taken it out on everyone, and he had blamed
himself endlessly.

He's done with that.

He just walks around, like a vagabond soul, wrapped up in his own world. He knows what they think of him. He
knows they think he's given up, that he's given her up. He knows they think he doesn't have any energy left in
him, that he just can't care anymore.

They'd been together for two years, and they had lived together for almost one. It is the longest relationship
he's ever had. Hell, it's the only real relationship he's ever had. Still, it had been too short. Too short for the
plans they had. Too short for the time he thought they had.

That time has been cruelly cut short. And yet, somewhere inside him, he always expected this.

He's not angry anymore. He doesn't blame Rogue for whatever reason she had, and he doesn't blame himself
for not being able to stop her. Mostly, he doesn't blame himself for probably giving her a reason to leave, not

But he waits. He waits for her. They don't have to tell him where she is. They don't have to tell him who caught
up with her just two days after she left. He doesn't care when they tell him to move on. All he cares is what he
knows, and that he knows *her*. And if time is what she needs to find out what she wants, then he'll give it to
her. He despises the irony that time is all he has, because she doesn't have as much.

But he knows that, sooner or later, she'll be back for him, just like he came back for her, many years ago.

And we always say it'd be good to go away, someday
But if there's nothing there to make things change
If it's the same for you I'll just hang.