Disclaimers etc. in Part 1
< > indicates thoughts
~ ~ indicates telepathic conversation
In Plain Sight
3. The Bug Fluke
It was such a small thing and it turned out to have such huge consequences.
He was waiting for her when she got home from the party. He could hear her
in the hall. And she had some bozo with her, who was too drunk or too stupid
to realize he wasnt going to get laid that night. He heard the jangle of
her keys and a giggle as the jerk murmured, Just a little kiss, Rogue. I
promise Ill leave after that.
"I don't think so, Tommy," she said.
"Then at least let me use your bathroom. I really have to pee."
She laughed. "We just walked three blocks from the Coliseum and you have to
pee already. Tiny bladder," she teased.
He stood as the door swung open, staring at Marie and her erstwhile suitor.
Youre late, he said.
She blinked. Logan! What are you doin here? Its not Wednesday, is it?
She turned to the boy who held her hand. The bathrooms right there,
Tommy. His eyes were wide as he took in the sight of the Wolverine, beer
in one hand, remote in the other, standing in Rogues living room. He knew
he wasnt getting any action tonight.
He came out of the bathroom and said, Well, Rogue, Ill see you in class on
Monday. His eyes darted nervously toward Logan, who was sprawled on the
couch again, and then he left.
Rogue closed the door behind him and gave her protector a darkling look.
Was that really necessary, Logan? He was too drunk to try anything.
Logan raised an eyebrow. Thats not what it sounded like to me, kid.
She flopped onto the couch next to him. She smelled of beer and smoke and
underneath it all, Marie. He loved the way she smelled.
Well, I appreciate the sentiment, Logan, but you cant be here every time I
bring a guy home. Youd kinda get in the way. She closed her eyes and didn
t see how he tensed at her words.
You bringing men home now, Marie? His voice was low and serious.
Her eyes opened the tiniest bit as she looked at him. Maybe, maybe not.
He got up and started pacing. The idea of her fooling around, of her having
sex, was disturbing. He wasn't quite sure why.
I really think, you know, he began haltingly, you should wait, Marie.
Wait for someone who loves you and isnt just looking for a quick fuck. Sex
is supposed to be, it should be special and --"
That woke her up. Her eyes were wide and she laughed. This is coming from
you, king of the one-night-stand? A little hypocritical, aint ya?
He scratched his chest. Yeah, he was. But this was different. Yeah, but
this is different. This is you were talking about Marie, not me. I got, I
ve done some things, Ive done a lot of things I regret. Its bad enough you
got me in your head, that you know all that shit. I dont want you making
the same kinds of mistakes Ive made.
She rose from the couch and walked toward him. Regrets, huh. She closed
her eyes for a moment, letting his memories rise in her mind, and rested a
hand on his chest. His breath caught at her touch. She opened her eyes and
said, Do you regret Tina in Las Vegas? Or Doris in Sault Ste. Marie? She
ran an elegant finger down to his waistband and circled his navel through
the t-shirt. What about the twins in Kalamazoo? Her eyes followed the path
her hand traced and she grinned as she felt his muscles tighten in reaction.
He grabbed her hand. Marie, he warned.
The grin disappeared. Her voice was sarcastic. Jean already gave us this
little talk, a long, long time ago. Along with the one about condoms and
HIV. Im twenty years old, Logan. What makes you think I havent had sex
Using her scarf as protection, he lifted her chin, forcing her to look at
him. Look me in the eye and tell me you have, and with who, Marie.
Holding his gaze she said, Its none of your goddamn business. She jerked
her chin defiantly out of his hand and walked to the bathroom door. Im
going to bed now, Logan. You know where the extra pillows are if youre
sleeping over. Good night.
She slammed the door to the bathroom and turned the water on. How dare he
lecture her on sleeping around. She was the one with the deadly skin, the
one no one could ever touch. What gave him the right to tell her not take
whatever normalcy she could get when it was offered? She fumed as she
brushed her teeth, working herself into a lather over his hypocrisy.
She and Bobby had had sex -- or tried, anyway. That was how he'd wound up in
a coma. It wasn't exactly her proudest moment, and she hadn't told anybody
but Jean, who'd been the one to find them -- Bobby passed out on his bed and
Rogue unable to stop crying icy tears as she froze everything around her.
She figured she was two for two -- first kiss, coma; first sexual encounter,
coma. She hadn't even attempted holding hands with anyone since then, except
with Logan. And that didn't count.
She stomped out of the bathroom and into the bedroom, making noise so he'd
know she was upset. Reaching for the light switch, she felt something
skitter across her hand. Jerking reflexively, she turned the light on and
shrieked when she saw the roach. It was about two inches long and it had
just crawled over her hand. Her bare hand, since she'd taken her gloves off
to wash and brush.
Logan was there instantly, claws out, ready to kill anything that attacked
her. She couldn't speak, she was so freaked out. "Bug," was all she was able
to say. "Over there." She pointed as it ran across the wall, trying to
He picked up one of her shoes -- there were more than he cared to count
scattered across the floor -- and went after it. She followed him with
tissues, trying to help. The bug went splat and Logan went tripping over a
pair of boots and sprawled onto the bed. His long legs kicked out and caught
Rogue behind the knee and she landed on top of him, too stunned to move.
They rolled, and he pinned her, laughing. "Dammit, Marie, that thing was
more afraid of you than you were of it," he said, looking down at her, a
rare smile on his face.
"I don't care," she replied, firmly. "I don't want 'em livin' with me." She
shifted her hips and slipped her hands beneath her butt so she wouldn't be
tempted to reach out and touch him. He was so close, and she was only human,
even if her crush had fallen by the wayside.
He growled when she moved, bringing her groin in close contact with his and
rubbing him just the right way. Her eyes caught and held his. He felt
himself falling into their velvet depths. Without thinking, he pulled the
scarf around her neck over her lips and kissed her, hard. She tasted like
toothpaste and Marie. It was a heady combination.
She responded eagerly, her tongue meeting his and then boldly exploring his
mouth through the thin material. He slid his hands down her body and began
rocking his hips into her, instinct taking over. "Marie," he murmured
against her lips, moving to kiss her jaw and neck through the soft and now
She couldn't think, the heat of his mouth a thousand times better than
anything she'd imagined over the years, the rhythm of his hips against hers
driving her crazy, making her ache for more. There was a thought trying to
force its way to the surface of her kiss-addled brain. She tried to push it
way, but she had a feeling it was important. His tongue traced the delicate
swirl of her ear, which tickled and she laughed, wishing she could return
the favor. Aimée had told her -- dammit! Taking him completely by surprise,
she shoved him off.
"You have a girlfriend!" she gasped, jumping up off the bed and wiping the
back of her hand across her mouth, as if to erase their kisses.
He sat up and looked at her, shaking his head as if to clear it. The touch
of her lips, the feel of her body against him, was electrifying. It was as
if, in kissing her, he'd just woken up from a deep sleep and was feeling
things for the first time. "Marie," he began.
She was pacing back and forth, fretting at the scarf. "It was an accident. I
swear. Aimée doesn't have to know." She looked over at him, sitting on the
bed. "Dammit, why'd you have to go and do that? I finally learned to like
Aimée and now I feel like we betrayed her. Cheated on her. I'm over you, I
really, really am."
"It was a kiss, Marie. We didn't run off to Rio and shack up." She looked
really upset, so he said, "You're right. It was a mistake. I'm not going to
say I'm sorry, because I enjoyed it too much. And I ain't gonna feel guilty
about it. Aimée doesn't ever need to know. But you're right. We can't do it
again. " He got up and put a hand on her shoulder, looking down into her
eyes and threading his other hand through one of the white locks that framed
He enjoyed it. She hugged that to herself before she remembered she was over
him. "Okay, we're agreed. It was a mistake, a horrible, horrible mistake and
we'll never... do it... again..." her voice died away as she swayed toward
him, her eyes locked on his lips. He growled and pulled her body tight
against his, using one hand to move the scarf into place and the other to
press her hips against his.
His lips were soft as a whisper against hers, and she had a moment of
clarity; she knew she could continue to kiss him and embark on an affair
that would probably burn her up and leave her broken at the end, or she
could stop it now and salvage the friendship they shared, and her
self-respect in the bargain.
"I can't do this, Logan," she murmured, pulling away. "This is wrong."
He sighed and let her go. "You're right. You're right." He repeated it a
couple of times, but he didn't believe it. <How could us being together be
wrong?> he wondered. She felt so good, so perfect in his arms -- she fit
like no one else had ever fit before.
He ran a hand through his tousled hair and said, "Good night, Marie."
"Good night, Logan," she said in a small voice. "Thanks for killing the
After she went to bed, he sat up for a while, thinking. He'd never looked at
her that way before. Oh, yeah, he'd let the thought cross his mind
occasionally, as he did with any beautiful woman he'd see, but-- <She really
is a beautiful woman,> he thought. <Young,> he reminded himself, though no
longer a child. Feeling how her curves molded to the hard planes of his body
convinced him of that.
He realized why he was unnerved by the idea of her having sex. It was her
having sex with someone who wasnt him. <Dammit,> he thought. <Stop thinking
like that. She could be your daughter, for Christ's sake.> But she wasn't,
and he knew it. He started wondering what she would be like in bed, how
she'd look and sound, and how many different ways he could make her scream
<What the hell am I going to do?>
He stopped coming over, spending his Wednesday nights watching TVLand in the
living room at the mansion, growling at anyone who approached or tried to
change the channel. He decided that he couldn't do anything with Marie. She
was too young and he didn't want to complicate her life. His own life was
complicated enough -- he was with Aimée and he was trying to make that work.
For the first time he could remember, he was working on a relationship. She
didn't ask for much and he was getting laid regularly. It was everything
he'd ever wished for in a relationship, until he looked at Jean and Scott
and wondered if he and Marie could have something similar.
That thought sent him fleeing from the mansion. He started going out
drinking Wednesday nights, trying to drive the taste and smell of Marie from
his brain. But she was imprinted on him, she was somehow part of him, the
way he'd become part of her when she'd absorbed him that night on the Statue
He'd stumble home early in the morning, smelling of smoke and whiskey and,
occasionally, blood. He'd grab Aimée and they'd fuck -- even he wouldn't
dignify what happened during those nights as anything more than that -- and
he'd fall asleep. Aimée never looked happy on Thursdays, her mouth pinched
and her eyes shadowed. Everyone in that wing of the house could hear them
shouting at each other and they wondered what had soured the happy couple.
4. Guilt and Jealousy
It was silly, really, Rogue told herself. She dreamt of being on stage,
being an actress. With her gloves and her scarves and her inability to
touch, how could it come true? But she didn't let that deter her from
studying theatre. Among the millions of eccentrics wandering around the
streets of New York, she fit right in. She was excited when she was cast as
Desdemona in _Othello_. She went around quoting Shakespeare at anyone who'd
She was at the mansion for the weekend, since Kitty and Jubilee were home,
and they had gotten tired of her constant rehearsing. She cornered Scott in
the living room.
"I wish I could play Iago," she said dreamily. "He's so evil and opaque."
Scott laughed. "You'd make a great Iago, Rogue. No one would ever believe
for a moment you were double-crossing Othello. Which makes you perfect for
Desdemona. You have that air of innocence that will make people think
Othello would *have* to be crazy to believe Iago's story. No one would ever
peg you for a cheater."
She tensed. "Do you ever wonder why people cheat? Does it ever mean more
than just seizing the moment?" she asked.
He sensed the change in her demeanor. "Is there something you'd like to talk
She fluttered her hands and laughed nervously. "No, no. I was just thinking
about the part. You know. Acting is my life and all."
He looked at her intently. Did she know something about what had happened
between Aimée and Logan? She was closer to him than anyone else. He sighed
and let it slide, but kept her question in the back of his mind. "Do you
want me to run lines with you? I know the play by heart, practically. I
teach it every year."
Her eyes lit up, nervousness forgotten. "That would be so great, Scott.
Everyone else thinks I'm crazy. Just let me go get my script. I'll be right
She got the script from her room and ran back down the stairs, almost
colliding with Aimée in her haste to get back to Scott.
"Sorry," she said, "Shakespeare waits for no one."
Aimée smiled. "Shakespeare is it?"
"_Othello_," Rogue replied. "Scott's helping me rehearse."
"Would you mind if I joined you? That is one of my favorite plays."
Rogue shrugged. She'd been uncomfortable around Aimée since The Incident in
her apartment, and had gone back to avoiding the woman whenever possible.
She heard the rumors that something was wrong and she prayed her name
wouldn't come into it.
"It's amazing how jealousy can make one irrational," Aimée said as they
walked to the living room. "You tell yourself that it's nothing, but when
someone's behavior changes so markedly..." She trailed off and stopped
walking, turning to face the younger woman. "You're close with Logan. Has he
said anything to you, anything at all about why he's so -- distant lately?"
Rogue laughed nervously; it sounded false even to her own ears. "That's just
him. He never stays in one place long."
"He never stays in one bed long, is what you mean."
Rogue shrugged and tried to ignore the guilt she felt. It was just Logan's
way. It had nothing to do with the kiss. "He doesn't like to be tied down."
She lifted the script. "What with rehearsal and all, I haven't seen him much
lately." <Keep telling yourself that's why, and maybe you'll believe it
someday,> she thought. The kiss had ruined everything.
"Yes, you're busy. That's nice." Aimée let the subject drop as they entered
the living room.
Scott raised his eyebrows when Rogue returned with Aimée, and he sensed the
girl's tension around the older woman. Rogue obviously did know something
about the recent strain and it made her uncomfortable. <Is it possible that
*Rogue* is the reason for Logan and Aimée's problems?> he wondered. <No. It
can't be.> He listened with only half an ear as Rogue slipped into the role
of Desdemona, wondering why her husband had suddenly turned on her. <She's a
beautiful girl, and she and Logan are closer than most people ever get. They
spend a lot of time alone in her apartment. Or they did, anyway,> he
thought. <Maybe it *is* possible.> He resolved to talk to Jean about it and
see what she thought.
5. Scott & Jean Make a Plan
"Do you think Logan and Aimée are going to break up?" Scott asked his wife a
few days later. The other couple had just had a screaming match over his
seeming inattentiveness lately, which had resulted in Logan tearing off on
Scott's bike, bound for who knows where.
Jean rolled over and looked at him. "It wouldn't surprise me," she said.
"He's not exactly Mr. Commitment, now is he?"
"Do you think he's cheating on her?"
Jean was quiet for a few seconds. It was no secret that Aimée thought that
was the case; she had practically screamed the house down. She *was*
surprised at her conclusion. "Honestly, no, I don't. At least not
Scott nodded. "Rogue."
"You lost me there, Scott," Jean said. "He doesn't even go see her anymore,
from what she's said lately."
Scott told her about his conversation with the girl and Jean tapped her
lower lip, thinking. "When does the play open?"
"What do you say we all go see Rogue play Desdemona?" Jean asked.
"We were going to anyway," he said.
"Yes, but let's take Logan and Aimée with us. Maybe Aimée will see that
she's letting the green-eyed monster get the best of her."
"Or maybe Logan will see that he's letting the love of his life slip through
his fingers," Scott murmured.
"You're such a romantic, Scott. I don't think Aimée is the love of his
"Who said anything about Aimée?"
6. Logan Has An Insight Upon Watching Rogue Play Desdemona
He shifted in his seat. He couldn't believe he'd allowed Red to talk him
into this. He had planned on seeing Rogue in her play -- he always managed
to, without making it a big production -- but he hadn't figured on Jean
wanting to make a night of it. He'd had to dress up (which for him meant
black jeans and a black button down shirt) and drive the car -- he wasn't
letting Scooter drive -- and worst of all, he had to sit in the audience and
watch Marie while Aimée sat next to him. That meant he couldn't indulge in
the fantasies about her that he'd been prone to lately, the ones that sent
him off in the middle of the night looking for a bottle of bourbon and a
jackass to fight.
He slumped down in the chair as the lights dimmed and the curtain rose, lost
in thought and barely paying attention to the action on the stage.
He hadn't meant for it to happen, hadn't expected to spend hours dreaming of
Marie while he did his work around the mansion. He was content with Aimée --
she was experienced, she didn't try to rein him in, she just expected him to
be with her when they were together. But more and more, he wasn't. He closed
his eyes as he moved in her and saw Marie's face, heard Marie's voice. It
was damned disturbing. And Aimée had picked up on the change. Where he'd
once been fierce and relentless with her, now he was perfunctory. He knew
she thought he was cheating -- hell, the whole school knew, she'd shouted it
loud enough for Rogue to hear her in Manhattan -- and he knew that, The
Incident aside, even though he'd been physically faithful, in his mind he'd
betrayed her time and time again.
And in doing so, not only had he lost her, but he seemed to be losing Marie
as well. He'd kept well away from her after their kiss, knowing she was
right. This was why he'd avoided relationships for so many years. A quick
fuck was much better, cleaner -- get laid and get out. Now there were all
sorts of expectations and accusations. He didn't want to hurt Aimée, and he
really didn't want to hurt Marie. When he and Marie got together --
<Goddamn, when did that become "when"?> he wondered -- he wanted it to be
untainted by his past entanglements. He didn't want her to think it was some
strange rebound thing. And he certainly didn't want it to be a clandestine
affair, conducted in secret, hidden from the world. He wanted to let
everyone know that she was his.
He closed his eyes put his head in his hand and thought about how to
extricate himself from this charade. Having to stand by and congratulate
Marie as a friend while what he really wanted to do was take her back to her
apartment and make love to her 'til neither of them could walk. He stifled a
groan at the thought, and then realized that, even if he was free to do so,
there was no guarantee Marie would want him. She'd said she was over him.
Even though she'd responded to the kiss, he'd noticed no other signs of
attraction. He let loose a growl that had both Jean and Aimée shooting him
dirty looks. Scott just grinned smugly.
His attention was finally caught by the kid playing Othello. He was good. He
strode the stage, pleading his case to the senators, explaining how he'd won
the fair Desdemona.
Logan thought how much he and Othello had in common. He was a soldier, built
to kill, and with little to offer in the way of romance. Marie was a young
woman who dreamed of being a star, who read romance novels with titles like
"Undying Passion" and "Temptation's Flower." He could give her the passion,
but not the flowery speeches that went with it. He shifted again, vowing to
watch the play and stop thinking.
He was fine until Marie entered. Dressed in flowing white, her platinum
locks braided into a crown while the rest of her hair spilled down her back,
she was a vision of innocence and beauty. He sat up straighter.
She spoke her lines softly, yet loud enough that everyone in the theatre
could hear. There were tears in her voice as she asked to accompany her new
husband to Cyprus.
Was it possible Marie could feel about him the way Desdemona felt for
Othello? He let himself think about what would happen if that were so, and
what he could do to find out. He sighed. First he had to break it off with
Aimée. It might be awkward, but it had to be done.
With that settled in his mind, he allowed himself to be drawn into the play.
Marie's part, though pivotal, was not large, and he savored every moment she
was on stage. She was good.
At halftime, "Intermission," Jean corrected him absently, he said as much.
"The kid's good."
Scott raised an eyebrow. "You sound surprised."
Logan shrugged. "I thought she was good, but y'know, I'm not exactly Pauline
"Pauline Kael?" Scott was really surprised now.
"Hey, I'm not completely uncivilized."
"Boys," Aimée intervened, taking Logan's hand and brushing a kiss across the
back of it. They subsided as the lights flickered, signaling the end of the
He was intent on the stage as Iago's evil plan built to its climax. When
Othello finally confronted Desdemona, Logan wanted to yell at him. Couldn't
the bastard see how much she loved him? He'd have fought every Turk in
Cyprus to have Marie look at him that way for real. And it was all Logan
could do to keep his claws sheathed when Othello smothered her. He was out
of the play now. All he saw was some asshole trying to hurt his Marie.
~Logan, calm down.~ It was Jean. ~It's make-believe, remember?~
~Oh. Yeah.~ He slid down in his seat sheepishly.
Jean grinned at Scott.
Rogue was surprised to see Aimée and Logan accompanying Jean and Scott when
they came to see her after it was over. Logan usually waited in her
apartment to grunt out his approval of her performance. Of course, since The
Incident, he hadn't been over at all. She'd missed him more than she'd
expected. She'd gotten over the crush, but the friendship that replaced it
was precious, and the kiss had made her wonder if more was possible.
She quashed those thoughts as the two couples approached. <He's got a
girlfriend. It was just hormones, it was nothing. You spent two years
getting over him and you are *so* not going there again. Plus, he's got a
girlfriend. And she's standing right here. But damn, he looks so good.> She
kept repeating to herself, <He's got a girlfriend.> It helped a little.
They all hugged her and Scott presented her with a bouquet. Logan growled.
He wished he'd thought of that.
She introduced them to her friends and Logan saved a special glare for the
boy who'd played Othello. Rogue slipped her arm through his and shot him a
"I suppose you're not coming back to the apartment," she said, looking up at
him through her lashes.
"Do you want me to?" he asked, hoping she'd say yes, intent on her. He
hadn't been back since The Incident. Aimée's expression was unreadable.
She laughed, her eyes holding his. "Anytime, silly." She wasn't going to let
one little kiss ruin their friendship. She'd forgotten how great it was to
see him and be comfortable with him. "But if you're not, I'm going to go out
with the guys." She gestured vaguely to some of the other actors, who were
pulling their jackets on.
"Guys?" he said, tensing.
"Guys," she confirmed. "It's pansexual, Logan. Includes both males and
He gave her a considering look. "I guess." He thought for a moment. "You
should go out with your friends." He raised his voice slightly, knowing her
friends could hear him. "Anybody gets fresh with you, Marie, you let me
know." He was rewarded with startled looks from the boys and a light smack
on the arm from Rogue.
"Lo-gan," she cried, embarrassed.
"Just lookin' out for ya, darlin'," he said, raising a gloved hand to his
lips. Then Jean was leading them back to the car and the night was over.
He'd made his decision. He just had to figure out how to make it work.
"Fool! said my muse to me, look in thy heart, and write." Sir Philip Sidney