Title: Child's Play
Category: Logan POV. Logan/Rogue
Rating: PG-13 for Language
Summary: Logan. Rogue. Kids. Carnival. Silly foof.
Disclaimer: X-Men and its characters belong to Marvel, Stan Lee and some
other people. Not me, though.
Distribution: Just ask.
Dedication: To Cheryl, for threatening to break my legs if I didn't finish
this. Fear is a great motivator! Hope you like the ending.
I should've known something was up when Scooter came to talk to me.
Voluntarily. About an "important matter."
An important matter. Shit. I should've smelled a rat right there.
See, Summers and I had been playing practical jokes on each other for
months. I'd like to say he started it, but frankly, I can't remember. All I
know is, I should've been on guard after I managed to trick him with the
Shaving Cream Incident ... but that's another story.
So like I was saying, I should've been immediately suspicious of him, and I
was, until he used the Magic Words: Rogue needs help.
I hate to do it, but I've got to give the guy credit. He played me like a
freakin' violin. Any rational thought pretty much goes out the window when
Marie is in trouble. And he did a great job, too. The perfect look of
Fearless Leaderly concern, a trace of reluctance in coming to me behind her
back. Giving me few details, just that Rogue had a mission, she didn't think
she needed backup ... he disagreed. He thought maybe she'd accept help from
OK, I know what you're thinking. That should've raised the ol' red flag
right there, eh? Sure, normally his little cloak-and-dagger would've raised
a whole freakin' field of red flags. There'd be red flags coming out of his
ass, if it hadn't been for one little thing.
Things between Marie and me had been really strained recently, and I wasn't
sure why. Outwardly, we still kept up our beer-drinking, hockey-watching,
joking-around buddy relationship. But something was different. Marie was
different, and that was a problem in a few ways.
She was just barely 21, and one day I looked at her and finally realized
that she was a woman. I mean, I'm not that dumb. I saw how beautiful she was
when we first met, and I noticed it from time to time along the way. But,
you know, she was a kid. And then, one day, she wasn't.
I started having dreams about her. Then daydreams. Then I would suddenly
find myself staring at her, thinking some very X-rated thoughts, at random
times of the day. The worst was when she'd catch me staring. She'd send me
this little curious smile, and I'd feel like the biggest perv that walked
Then there was her attitude. For a long time, she seemed to really look up
to me. Like I was a hero or something. I guess because of all the shit that
went down on the Statue of Liberty. It was hard not to be flattered by that,
and perhaps I took my perceived role of protector a little far. But I always
meant well, and it's not like that Remy kid's broken bones wouldn't heal or
anything. But again, that's a different story.
The protector role was pretty comfortable for me, and I was a little thrown
when Marie started to reject it. She started with rolling her eyes. Not even
behind my back; she did it right to my face. Then she'd add the sigh.
"Lo-gan," she'd say, drawing it out. "I can take care of myself."
I can take care of myself. This became her mantra.
I hated it.
I knew damn well she could take care of herself. I mean, who taught her how
to flatten an opponent twice her size without breaking a sweat? Me. That's
right. Me, damn it. And now she didn't need me anymore, and it pissed me
So, I had no problems believing Scooter's little tale about Miss
I-Can-Take-Care-Of-Myself refusing backup on a mission. And, just like he
knew I would, I went charging right into the line of fire without all the
A tactical error.
"Marie!" I caught up with her outside the library.
She turned and smiled at me, and a part of me wanted to cry. A tiny part.
Miniscule. I mean, I am the Wolverine, damn it. But I missed the *real*
Marie smile. The one that reached her eyes and lit up her face. I hardly
ever saw it anymore. I wondered again what I'd done to screw up our
relationship. It had to be my fault. Maybe she got tired of some old guy
leering at her all the time?
"Hey, Logan," she drawled. "What's up?"
I don't believe in wasting time. "I heard about your mission," I said.
"My ..." She smiled again, this one a little warmer. I should've been
suspicious of that smile. "My mission. Uh-huh. So?"
"You need backup," I said.
She giggled, a sound to warm my heart. Yeah, OK, sappy, but there you go. My
brain wasn't functioning at peak levels. "Um, Logan. There's only five of
them. I think I can handle it without backup."
*Five?* "Five? Damn it, Rogue, you can't go alone," I said. "I'm going with
you. End of discussion."
Now, normally, that was the kind of statement that would earn me the
eye-roll, the sigh, the "Lo-gan ..." This time, it got me a brilliant smile.
The final warning sign. The nail in my coffin, so to speak. I would
literally jump off a building for that smile.
"Logan, that is so sweet!" she gushed. "I can't. ... You would do that for
me? I know you don't really get along with kids that well."
It took much longer than it should have for her words to sink in, my mind
still pretty much dwelling on the smile. Then, one word jumped out of the
rest and bit me on the ass. *Kids?*
Hold on. Rewind. Huh?
"What kids?" I'm told I'm pretty fierce when growling like that. Of course,
it's never fazed Marie. She just laughed.
"I figured you didn't know what you were volunteering for," she said. "It's
OK. I can do it by myself."
By that time, I had finally caught on to the fact that One-Eye'd pulled one
over on me. Hadn't Marie told me earlier in the week that she'd be spending
a lot of time basically baby sitting a few of the kids at the mansion? But,
like I said, Summers had me right where he wanted me. He knew damn well I'd
never back out of helping Marie with anything. He knew, and he banked on it.
"Hey, I said I'm in. What are we doin'?"
She beamed at me, and immediately I felt better. I mean,anything would be
worth spending time with a smiling Marie, right?As if on cue, five little
kids ran out into the hall, yelling indecipherable things and jumping around
"We're going to the carnival," Marie said, and the kids started chanting
"car-ni-val" and hopping up and down like members of some kind of psycho
cult. "It'll be fun."
Fun, my ass. *Fun* was Marie, beer, a comfy couch and a great hockey game.
*Fun* was Marie, beer, a pool table ... naked Marie on a pool table ...
One of the kids, a blond girl of about 8 or 9, stopped hopping. She stared
at me, tilting her head to the side. "Who's Marie?"
Marie frowned. "Why do you ask?"
The girl pointed at me. "That guy was thinking about Marie and --"
Marie interrupted the girl, and I wanted to drop to my knees and thank God
right there. "Caroline, what did I tell you about reading people without
permission? It's rude."
The girl crossed her arms over her chest and glared at me. "It's not my
fault," she said. "He was practically shouting it. Who's Marie?" she asked
"I'm Marie," she shot a curious glance at me. "Nobody calls me that anymore,
"Oh," Caroline said, suddenly smirking at me. "Ohhhhhhhhhh."
Shit. Just my luck. A telepath kid.
Marie glanced at her watch. "We've got to get going. Um, kids, this is
Like trained seals, they all yelled "Hi, Logan." All except Caroline, who
was still smirking at me. I sent her a little thought.
<Stay out of my head, kid.>
She rolled her eyes. What is it about young girls these days? Don't they
have the sense to be afraid of the Wolverine?
"Logan, you've ... um, met Caroline. She's telepathic." She pointed to the
oldest-looking kid, a boy of about 10. "This is Chad. His gift is that he's
able to breathe underwater."
The kid nodded to me, and Marie moved on. "This is David. He's 8 years old.
And his brother and sister, Sam and Madeline, are twins. They're 5."
Even I knew about those three, the children of a couple of former X-Men who
were visiting the mansion for a few weeks. None of them had "gifts" so far,
but with two mutie parents it was a good bet they'd have them eventually.
All three of the kids had dark hair and dark eyes. The girl, Madeline, was
staring at me, eyes wide. I wondered if that's what Marie looked like when
she was a kid.
"What's your gift?" the oldest kid, Chad, asked.
"Logan is a super-healer," Marie explained before I could answer.
None of the kids looked that impressed. I felt vaguely offended. I mean,
being able to heal from anything is a pretty kick-ass gift, if you ask me.
"I heard you have claws," Chad said.
"Chad!" Marie scolded him. "Don't be rude."
Just for the entertainment value, I popped the claws. All the kids gasped,
and Marie glared at me. "Logan, put those away."
"Cool!" The two oldest boys rushed over to get an up-close look, ignoring
Marie's warning to be careful. Caroline rolled her eyes again, but I could
tell she wanted to get a better look, too.
Like I said, I am a badass.
The youngest boy, Sam, rushed over to Marie, crying. I felt kind of bad
about that, but the kid was going to have to get used to some weird shit,
with his parents being mutants and all.
Madeline stared harder at me. If possible, her eyes got even wider. Good, I
thought. At least there was *one* girl in the world who had sense enough to
be scared of me. But before I could finish that thought, she came closer and
smiled at me.
"Mister Logan, will you carry me?"
"Maddy, I've told you. You're gonna have to walk. You can't have people
carrying you around all day," Marie said. "Guys, let's get to the van. We're
gonna be late."
"How can you be late to a carnival?" I asked as the kids rushed toward the
"Um ..." Marie blushed. What the hell? "Not late, exactly, just ... you
know, we'll have more time if we ..." She trailed off and followed the kids.
By the time I got to the garage, the kids were all buckled in, and Marie was
getting in the driver's seat. I climbed into the passenger seat, plotting
ways I could get back at Summers. Oh, he was clever, but he was coming up
against the best. I would think of something just as bad for him.
"Fasten your seat belt," Marie told me, starting the engine.
I just glared at her. Hadn't we been through this before?
"You hafta do what Miss Rogue says," Sam said seriously, echoed by the rest
of the kids.
"Yeah, Logan," Marie said, leaning closer to me. Her breasts brushed up
against my arm, and my mind went blank. Well, not blank, but it definitely
went somewhere else. Marie leaned even closer, grabbing my seat belt and
fastening it, her hand brushing my stomach on the way. "You have to do what
Was that just me, or was there some innuendo in that statement? But Marie
just smiled a little half-smile at me and returned to her seat.
She put the van into gear and started out of the garage, slamming on the
brakes when a screeching "WAIT!" came from the back.
"What is it, Madeline?" Marie asked, turning around. Her voice was calm, but
she had a panicked look in her eyes. I like knowing I'm probably the only
one who would pick that up.
"Music," the little girl said. "We need music."
Then, God help me, they all picked up the chant. "Mus-ic! Mus-ic! Mus-ic!"
What were they, X-Men cheerleaders or something?
"OK, OK," Marie laughed, fumbling for a CD. I braced myself, expecting some
Disney crap to pour out of the speakers. I could take it. Even the freakin'
Chipmunks would be better than listening to those kids.
But to my surprise, Marie was blasting Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." I
turned around to see all these little kids jamming in their seats, and
playing some decent air guitar. I turned to Marie, raising my eyebrows.
She grinned. "It's our favorite oldies CD," she explained.
With The Coasters, The Flamingos and Buddy Holly serenading us, the drive to
the fairgrounds wasn't half bad. Watching Marie laugh and sing was worth
putting up with anything.
Or so I thought at the time.