Title: Illusions Part I: Sometimes
Author: jenn (jenn @...)
Codes: Logan, Logan/Rogue (implied), others
Summary: Sick relationships make the world go 'round. Angst and pretty
Author Notes: No clue what to say about this one. Apologize, maybe? To
Ann, Chris, Beth, and Magdeleine, who rock my world and encourage sick
Archiving: List and if I've given permission before. Otherwise, ask.
She smoked with the same intensity she did everything else--in his
remembered life (a joke if there ever was one), he'd never met anyone like
her. Everything and anything in her range got all that rush of energy
exploding through it, be it fighting or playing or sex. Blowing the smoke
aggressively, like she expected it to come back and attack her if she
didn't get it far enough away--but she always held a cigarette like a
cigar, and that was endearing in a twisted way.
"Problem, darlin'?" he asked, sitting on the step next to her. A strip of
white hair floated over her forehead and she pushed it away impatiently
with a silk-covered hand, pressed it down behind one ear, recently dyed
auburn hair her own petty revenge that she still thought could hurt him.
"Remy and I are over." A glance from chocolate-colored eyes, shifting to
look anywhere but at him. "Don't ask and don't bother stayin' unless you
brought beer, sugar. I'm piss-poor company tonight."
"You're always bad company." But Logan did bring something, reaching
behind him for the ice chest he'd taken from the kitchen. "Get your ass up
and I'll get you so drunk you won't even remember his name."
"I didn't remember his name this last time, which was the problem," she
muttered with a glare in his direction, accusatory, but she stood up,
waiting for him to follow.
"You fuck up your men, Marie. Never get why you do that."
He only called her Marie during these nights--when she was twenty-one and
seventeen at the same time, waiting for him to find her on the doorstep and
remind her why she was here and not back on the streets of Chicago getting
drunk and fighting every chance she got, why she wasn't dead outside
Laughlin City because she picked the wrong trucker, why Magneto hadn't gone
ahead and killed the rest of her when he tore apart her mind, why the
razors on her eighteenth birthday had failed. Dragging her back here the
fifth time, he'd gotten her promise to stay. A grudging promise that
locked him here too--and admittedly, Logan had been about as tired of
moving by that point as could be and dropped his bag in the room when he
deposited her in front of Xavier's desk. Avoiding Jean and all his
mistakes had become less important than seeing Rogue get past her twentieth
"It's all in the southern charm, sugar," she shot, picking the trail to the
lake with easy familiarity, the sound of her boots soft on the rock trail.
"You got beer in there or something harder?"
"Your liver will be shot at this rate. Whiskey." A wolfish grin. "It's
that kinda night."
A twisted smile, and he could see in the moonlight the track of her tears
written in blurred mascara beneath her eyes, hastily rubbed away, and if he
looked, there would be wet black stains on the blue silk covering her
"You know me too well."
"Yeah, so it seems. Come on." He took one of her hands, pulling her
behind him, hearing her take another drag before dropping the butt on the
ground and rubbing it dead with the heel of one black boot. Then a lift of
her body and she skipped ahead, energy sparkling through her, and he
wondered if she missed being seventeen and still able to feel. Everything
else in her had burned out years before, replaced with something he no
longer wanted to acknowledge. On nights like this, he called it failure.
"How do I look to you?" she demanded, turning, fingers gripping his with
all that strength and maybe some desperation.
Dark hair shot with white. Flawless cream skin. Dark eyes. He'd heard
her called beautiful. Sometimes he agreed.
"Too old." Too young for black liner and red smeared lipstick and the
patterns of eye shadow that took more from her than they gave. That made
her smile and he liked that at least--that he can make her do that when few
others can. He'd learned to count his successes in terms of little things
that made a day livable.
"That's the God-honest truth, sugar, and don't you forget it. Come play
with me." She skipped backward easily, knowing the trail like the back of
her hand. Giving him another bright smile like a gift. "I'll get drunk
and try to fuck you and you can hold my hair when I throw up and cry
"Yeah. One of our usual nights. Ready when you are, darlin'."
It was different when she was seventeen and still had something in her eyes
that didn't hurt to see, when she looked into the future and saw hope. He
saw her first in a crowd from a cage in Laughlin and thought she looked so
young. If he'd known then what he knew now, he never would have let her
stay here, dragged her on the road with him before they'd even finished the
introductions. He didn't blame the X-Men and when he looked at them over
the stretch of a conference room table, he remembered that.
But sometimes, he hated them.
She dropped onto the dirt at once on entering the clearing, inches from the
edge of the water, crystal clear and dark blue under the full moon and he
sat beside her, pulling out the glasses from the chest, picking up the
"Good stuff," she said, looking down at it.
"Chuck stocked up after the last time." He opened it, pouring the shots,
throwing his back while she lifted hers, staring at it with cool
concentration. Then closing her eyes, raising it to her mouth, and he
watched her take it. Stared at him afterward.
"There's a lot I can't remember anymore." Her voice was soft and she dug
into the dirt with her heels. "What touch is like on bare skin when I
ain't usin' it to kill. I got up this morning and realized that I don't
know. It scared me, Logan."
"That what precipitated you droppin' Remy like a pair of used underwear?"
"Somethin' like that." She lifted her glass and he poured again, her left
hand skating over his jean-covered thigh. "Maybe just sayin' that I don't
want 'im anymore did the work for me, though."
A soft sigh and he shook his head when she drank her shot, staring at the
water. He wondered if she remembered the rope burns on her ankles and
Bobby freezing the surface in a path so they could drag her out. Marie's
concept of gratitude left much to be desired.
"You screw with their heads too much."
"You do one-nighters like they're goin' out of style. Don't play vicar
with my social life."
"I don't go back for seconds or fifths or tenths with the same ones either.
You get three nights under your belt, that's relationship territory." He
poured them each another, then sat down the bottle. "You wanna play it
that way, your call. But don't act so fucking surprised when they expect
more than to be told to strip and perform on demand."
Sometimes, the dark tricked him and he saw more than was there in her--the
arch of her throat, the slow smile, the fingers plucking at her shirt, the
tilt of her head when she was thinking. Painfully familiar. Sometimes,
even, he could be fooled into believing Marie was in there somewhere
beneath layers of bitterness and disillusionment and all that rage that
nothing had ever been able to clear from her mind.
Once, so many nights ago the memory shouldn't be so fucking vivid, he'd
been fooled in his own bed, the feel of her through a silk bodysuit and
black gloves, whispering that she loved him. With a soft drawl and a smile
and all that experience grafted into her mind, knowing more than he'd ever
guessed. A hot night in a strange city with the windows open and sweat
drying on his back, taking in the scent of her body underneath him,
imprinted so deeply into his mind that he would remember it probably until
the day he died. He'd been first and he'd never forgotten that. He'd
never forgiven himself either--he couldn't be her father and her lover,
even if that's what she wanted, and she didn't want to give either one up.
His choice, the only one he'd made that he could have regretted if he'd
ever allowed it.
"I wouldn't need anyone else if--" and she stopped herself deliberately,
shaking her head, giving him a bright smile. "Tell me you love me, Logan."
"You know I do, Marie."
"Not Rogue?" A soft pout, taking the shot, staring into the water. One
hand slid down to the grass and she leaned back, kicking one foot idly.
Sometimes he hated Rogue. Rogue was the one who'd fucked him and called it
"Thankin' God I left, most likely." A long sigh and she put her glass
down, trailing her fingers over her thigh.
"He cared about you." They all did, God knew why. Sometimes, they looked
at him after and he knew they wanted to ask him questions, like he knew
what the fuck went on in her head. Like even if he did, he'd answer.
He knew what they thought, though, when she grinned over breakfast in the
morning and slid a gloved hand down the back of his neck with easy
"I know." Another stare into the water, then at him. And fuck, she looked
seventeen right now, getting over her first break-up, and he refilled her
glass. "I didn't want that."
He filled his own too. "You never do."
* * * * *
Rogue was passed out in his bed and he watched her sleep before leaving,
knowing it would be hours before she woke up. Found Jean downstairs,
perched on the end of the last step, feet planted on the floor. Never
lifting her head. It'd been a bad night. For all of them. Once in
awhile, he cared when he chose to notice.
It didn't happen often.
"It can't go on like this, Logan."
Three years ago, the smell and sound of her was enough to arouse him, make
him look at her and wonder if she screamed or moaned, if she liked it
against a wall quick and dirty. When Rogue said she didn't remember touch,
he could say he didn't remember love. He knew he'd loved Jean once. What
it felt like was a mystery
"Fuck with me tonight, Jeannie, and you won't see sunrise with those pretty
She looked at him without rancor and he walked by her, staring at the front
door with sharp longing, coming to a stop on the rug before he just
continued his way out. From the corner of his eye, he saw her frustrated
stare, the twitch of the hands clasped over her knees.
"You like this?" Her fingers spread, taking in the silent mansion, the old
smells of death and betrayal and the things they did when the sun set that
no one knew about, dressed in black and wishing for one morning where they
didn't wake wondering if this was the last day they had.
"I wanna smell the Pacific at dusk and feel sand under my feet. I wanna
remember how it feels to wake up alone and not give a fuck. I joined up
and I lost those things. And you're askin' me if I like this." He gave
her a disbelieving stare. "Get off it, Jean. You aren't the only one that
knows what it's like to lose."
She waved a hand away. Another mistake, another night.
"He's waiting for you."
Xavier was awake, waiting, staring off into space. No surprise--the nights
after missions always went one of two ways. Usually this way, with Logan
in that chair that had become depressingly routine, making his perfunctory
"Let me take her."
Once a week, it was simple and inanely predictable, one hundred and
twenty-two times. One request, one denial, like clockwork, and Logan
wasn't sure if he even meant it anymore. He'd meant it on that pay phone
in Chicago--he knew that much. He'd meant it in Phoenix while she slept in
the back of the car, blackened eyes and scars crisscrossing her wrists and
forearms in unhealed crusted reds and dingy brown, smiling as if she'd just
come home from Disneyland. He was sure he'd meant it then.
But then, he'd also trusted and believed and shit, how many people had he
been before he got to this? Go figure.
A soft sigh.
"What can you do that we have not, Logan?" And he seemed truly curious,
and the break in routine was enough to surprise him, and he didn't know he
could be surprised anymore either, so that was new.
"I don't know." Though he had known, in Chicago on hot asphalt, in Phoenix
standing in two inch snow--or was it the other way around? He'd known he
could do something. But then, he'd hadn't touched her for the first time
and let her fuck with his head like she fucked with them all.
He'd still been nothing more than her friend.
A long time ago, he would have picked her up and taken her and not cared
what the fuck Chuck thought. But that man had a lot of other things too,
like his freedom. Like his own life. He hadn't had much of a conscience,
but really that was beside the point, because that man hadn't wanted one.
Congrats, win the guilt lottery, your prize is right upstairs. Check her
out. All yours for as long as she lives, baby.
"Six months. No contact. No Cerebro." He knew this part by rote as well,
though Chuck had only asked for details once and refused him in an
afterthought, with Scooter leaning over his shoulder and Jean nodding in
the background, like they knew what the fuck they were talking about,
therapy and care and some sort of crap about needing family. That it was
all about her age and adjustment when he could tell them it wasn't that at
all. But who the fuck was he, after all, only the one guy who could find
her, bring her home. Only the one they called thirteen times in two and a
half years--and when did he start remembering numbers so fucking well?--to
handle what they couldn't. He didn't know shit.
Only Ororo had stood still and listened to what he said, what he found,
what he knew. Or believed. Or understood. Or something. He wasn't sure
of that--but then, he wasn't sure of a lot of things, like the names of the
women he fucked because they were always Marie and what the skin of a
woman's hands looked like because he always made them wear gloves.
"I'll give you access to all the accounts." Silence, then he looked up,
and Logan wished, with more surprise, that the man didn't look so calm.
Maybe everyone reached limits. Or maybe Chuck didn't want to hear request
number one twenty-three, which might have included Logan tossing his
uniform and finding a bar so far away they could never call him again.
Maybe. But then, request number fifteen was going to be that and so far he
hadn't managed to say it yet. "Six months. I'll respect your wishes. No
An incline of the head and Logan was standing in front of Jean again before
he realized that he'd been given permission. And another man--and had he
been that man?--would never have waited for it, and somewhere, he was sure
he should be disgusted that this was who he had become.
"Bye, Jeannie." And he took the stairs two at a time, hearing her rise but
not move, hearing the catch of her breath, her soft question that he would
have stopped for three years ago and listened to. Maybe even answered.
Heard her feet as they crossed the foyer to the Professor's office, then he
was in front of his door and pushing it open and shaking Rogue roughly
awake and staring into her eyes when he told her they were leaving.
Something flared in him that years ago, a different man would have
mockingly called hope.
* * * * *
"Why?" she asked. Sitting half-up, eyes blurred, long hair a mess around
her face--he'd stripped her of her filthy clothes hours earlier and seeing
her in stretch lace beneath an unbuttoned flannel shirt was normal enough.
If anything about his life could really be considered normal and not the
bad punchline to a lengthy joke. Sheet pale around her waist, trying to
blink her way into comprehension, her body blanched to black and white in
If he'd known why, he may have considered telling her. But he didn't--call
it instinct or just naked need, he wasn't sure and cared less. Everything
was violent rapid movement, as if he paused for even an instant and thought
about what the fuck he was doing, he might realize that he was finally
losing his mind. But fuck it, sanity hadn't done much for him yet and when
they whispered he was unbalanced in the dark corners of the Mansion, they
were more right than they'd ever guessed.
He had a duffle bag packed in minutes and the car keys he'd snatched from
the edge of Xavier's desk in his jacket pocket. Credit cards shoved into
his wallet, his own reserve of cash pulled out and counted. Shit, when was
the last time he left this godforsaken place? One year, fifty-four days,
get the minutes, bub, and you can just check yourself straight into an
loony bin on your way out.
"Anyone in your room?"
Narrowed eyes, uncertain balance when her bare feet got under her, flannel
licking her bare thighs. She was still drunk.
He breathed a sigh of relief--he knew he wasn't up to it tonight. Fuck, he
hadn't been up to dealing with that crap in a long time. Getting the bag
settled on one shoulder, he slid an arm around her waist, feeling her
fingers close on his wrist.
"Where are we going?" Liquid dark drawl, Mississippi thick in her voice.
"Your room. Walk."
Because she was Marie tonight, she obeyed, and it would have been easier to
just pick her up and carry her, but he'd been doing that for a long time.
"Move." Fifty-two steps to her room--he had it memorized, they'd taken
this walk before. Pushed the door open, dropped her beside the door, went
to her closet.
"Don't talk." He went through her clothes expertly--God, how many times
had he imagined doing this? Chose what she'd need, threw them on the bed,
giving her a glance, checking the glaze of her eyes. She'd be out of it
for a few hours yet. Good enough.
"What do you need from your bathroom?" Girl things--brush, scarves, he
stared at the variety and felt a little out of his league, got what he
thought she'd use, threw it on the floor behind him. She jerked, staring
at him, and he shook his head.
"Fuck it. We'll get whatever you need later."
Under her bed was her bag--he pulled it out, found the drugs he'd always
known she kept, spilling them on the comforter. Packed her clothes and
then threw it at the door beside her and flushed her pills.
"Those are mine."
"You just lost your last crutch. Get up."
Eyes narrowing again, but she braced a hand on the wall, getting her feet
under her, letting him dress her in jeans like the kid she sometimes
pretended to be. He grabbed her jacket, tucking it under the strap, then
slid an arm around her again, feeling her lean against him, and the brush
of her hair against his cheek.
"Where we goin', sugar?" Gloved fingers against his face,
whiskey-thickened voice he sometimes heard in his dreams.
"For a little ride, baby."
* * * * *
She was passed out in the passenger seat when Logan saw Scott enter the
garage. Seatbelt secured, seat leaned back, her cheek resting on one hand.
She probably wouldn't even remember leaving, which was just as well, since
Logan had a couple of ideas how he was gonna handle this.
"You think this'll work?" For a surprise, and this was the day for them,
no rancor, no judgement, though shit, even Logan considered three years
enough time to do the penance Cyke had put on him for fucking Jean.
"You got a better idea?"
A tilt of his head, eyes unreadable behind red-tinted glasses, leaning
against the door. Better ideas were old and used-up and they failed so
spectacularly that if Scott was even trying to lay down a line, Logan'd run
him over and forget this place even existed.
"No." It was failure, and it felt pretty fucking good to hear, and Logan
grinned without meaning to, getting raised eyebrows for his trouble.
"Talk to Remy," he said before locking the trunk and opening the driver's
side door. A nod but Scott didn't move. "See ya."
She whispered something when he got in and he turned the key, and he gave
her a long look. Ripped his glove off with his teeth, running a bare
finger through her hair, against creamy skin that had stopped being deadly
for him a long time ago.
"This'll work," he told her softly, and only now, when she couldn't see it,
couldn't feel it, would he touch her like he wanted to every second of
every day. "Marie comes back or neither of us do."
End Part I
--When I watch that scene I do not think "Oh, he's such a good father
--It was incestuous pity weird surgical glove wearing sex.--Reasonable