Disclaimer: Not mine, just borrowing.

No. Absolutely not. No way in hell. I'd rather be mauled by Sabertooth ... or gutted by Logan...

No, should have been her answer, proclaimed with absolute finality, leaving no room for argument.

But in reality, she had hesitated. And taking advantage of her momentary weakness, he had uncovered his secret weapon: a timid, boyishly alluring smile that had replaced all her misgivings with a spark of warmth that melted her insides.

Awww hell...

He needed her ... and she could help him ... She couldn't have refused him, never had a chance to even consider it, not when he smiled at her that way. One simple touch, performed once, was all he asked for ... What harm could it have possibly done?

A harm equivalent to getting to getting rammed by the X-Jet going at supersonic speeds, that's what.

Yet, at the time, his request had seemed reasonable, almost inevitable, and part of her had wondered why he hadn't approached her sooner.

"I'll do it."

"Are you sure? I know you don't like to touch people if you can avoid it, and I really don't want to pressure you Rogue ... I'd hate to cause you any discomfort just to satisfy my own -"

"I said I'll do it," she had said, infusing the words with her signature irritability, "When you're stupid enough to actually ask for a dose of my death touch, it's not me you should be worried about," she had lied.

"But - "

"Shut up already before I change my mind."

"Okay ..." Scott had exhaled, and she imagined that she could see an enormous weight being lifted off of his shoulders by some invisible giant. But, he was always atlas, shouldering responsibility people twice his age would normally shy from. She had always wanted to help him. Maybe this would alleviate some of the weight, and maybe then he would smile more, he would smile at her ...

Scott ran a nervous hand through his hair, and as he did, his trepidation seemed to fizzle away as the possibilities of what they were planning to do began to manifest itself in his widening grin. His gait became almost giddy, and he excitedly clasped her gloved hand: "You won't regret this Rogue! I'll owe you big time. You can make me do anything you want. Anything!"

But Rogue wasn't listening to him, not really. She was too busy quelling the compulsion to stare at where his fingertips grazed hers, ignoring the urge to relish the innate warmth flowing towards her through their connection, and trying desperately to slow her heartbeat down when he gently squeezed her hand. What the hell was wrong with her? Since when did holding hands cause anyone to hyperventilate? She shot a nervous look at him wondering if he could tell. But he still was talking about owing her something, and she could only drink in his refreshing excitement, content that this sincere display of happiness was payment enough.

But she would never tell him that.

" Well," she had sighed with an air of mock exasperation, "I suppose you can take care of the cooking detail on Wednesday. Oh ... and helping Kitty pass her driver's test."

His face blanched instantly. Taking his reaction as her cue, she turned around and began walking away, grinning only when she was certain he couldn't see her.

They attempted their "experiment" the very next day.

Her fingers trembled slightly, as they sat poised above his prone face, his eyes pressed shut in anticipation, and his ruby-quartz glasses sitting awkwardly on the bridge of her nose, just in case. Yet, despite her protests and suggestion they choose a more private space, Scott had insisted on doing this outdoors, in the lawn before the mansion.

And here she was, wishing she could ignore the blatant cringe displayed on Scott's face as he awaited her life-draining touch, wishing she could gently trail her fingers across his delicate eyelids, his lips, his chiseled jawline, consequences be damned. He was so close after all ...

But instead, she took a deep breath, steeled herself, and let her fingers momentarily brush the top of his forehead.

A burst of red exploded behind her eyes, and in her mind.

And suddenly, she was falling into a boundless sky ... she was on a dank floor nursing a bloody lip, a towering figure looming over her ... she was in a darkened room, lying on a bed with a cloth bound tightly around her eyes ... there was darkness ... there was pain ... self doubt ...

And then there was Jean, always, eternally Jean.

She nearly choked on the intensity of that emotion ...

"Wow, I had forgotten that blue could be so ..."

Rogue blinked, mentally reaffirmed her identity, and willed her mind to focus on the person in front of her. Her eyes fell upon Scott's upturned face, the effects of her touch clearly visible in the strained lines around his mouth, gazing intently at the sky. It wasn't until he turned back towards her, that she could see the elation twinkling in his hazel eyes, hazel eyes that she had never seen before, that were now doused with brilliant sunlight, yet glowed with a luminescence entirely of their own making.

Her own eyes smoldered behind the ruby-qaurtz glasses he had given her, and she blinked repeatedly in an attempt to quell the burn. No matter, she had felt this before when she had imprinted him, and besides, their little experiment had worked after all, hadn't it?

"So what?"


Rogue caught herself smiling before she realized that his childlike happiness was infectious.

"And your hair..."

"What's wrong with my hair?"

She hadn't expected Scott to reach out gingerly, his fingers brushing away the silvery bangs from her face. She felt herself blush deeply, her face becoming nearly as hot as her eyes.

"Nothing, it's just ... captivating," he breathed, clearly awed.

He never even gave her a chance to answer him, or even think about what he had just said, because the next second had him jumping to his feet, and pulling her up after him. She watched him amusedly as he strolled around the garden, picked up leaves, flowers, and grass in his hands and examined them, followed the flight of a butterfly with his eyes, and winked at his reflection in the fountain. She watched him inhale the vibrant colors of the mansion like a breath of fresh air. She found that she liked to to see the world through his eyes, him drinking in everything around him with a curiosity that matched that of a newborn lion-cub.

Nevertheless, Rogue shouldn't have allowed herself to forget that his current state would always be short-lived. Scott had nearly eviscerated the fountain with a burst of fiery optic energy, before she had the sense to snap out of it.

"Rogue!", he shouted urgently, dropping down to his knees, and forcing his eyes shut again "My glasses!"

She rushed over to him, and knelt beside him. Yet, when she tried placing his glasses back onto his face, she found that her hands were shaking and she fumbled with the glasses. Scott startled her when he grabbed her arm firmly, took the glasses from her, and completed the job she had failed to do with a slight air of impatience.

When he finally opened his eyes, Rogue was close enough to see the resigned acceptance seep back into them behind his glasses, along with a tinge of sadness. His lips had become a thin line.

"Well, you can't say I didn't warn you. You should have listened to me when I said we're going to need your spare glasses" She admonished, trying to lighten the mood. But Scott's face remained unchanged.

"How long?" he asked.

She looked at her watch.

"About six minutes, give or take a couple of seconds."

"And you touched me for?"

"Two seconds."

"Ok ...", he said mirthlessly, straightening up. He roughly brushed the grass off his jeans, "I'll keep that in mind."

Rogue found that her mouth was dry, her heart leaden. What the hell was wrong with her? Parading the one thing Scott couldn't have before his eyes, just so that it could be whisked away from him in an instant? She should have said no ... God, she felt like an idiot.

But then, his hand was on her shoulder, and his face and tone were suddenly gentle again.

"Thank you ... for this."

In an instant, the warmth he had kindled within her flared up again. She tried to brush him off, to come up with a light-hearted retort, but words failed her. At last, she could only muster a lame reply:

"You're welcome, Scott."

Later that night, her dreams were dyed crimson.

A/N: Alright, a little off canon in terms of Rogue's abilities and their effect on others. Not sure when I'll have time to update, but I'll try to do so soon. Please review, I'd love to hear what you think. For those of you wondering, no ... this is not a Scogue story. Coming up next: Scott and Rogue push their experiment a little further...