by Nancy Lorenz.
Rating: R. Sorry, forgot about the bad language. Some violent,
Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all ya gotta do is ask.
Classification: General, slight L/R UST, S/J content.
Series: Manus Mortiferum
Spoilers: The Movie.
Synopsis: Continues on after the movie. The Mutant Situation is
worsening and Erik Lenscherr escapes from prison. Rogue suffers
a terrible mishap during the mission to stop him that shakes the
foundations of her psyche and changes her life completely.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox.
Feedback: Enjoyed, responded to, adored and worshiped. Respond
to the email above :)
Author's Note: This is beta read, but not to the fullest extent
that it can be. Some comma and semi-colon confusion occurs. Does
that really bother you? I figure it's only fan-fic, and I have a
comic to ink so I don't have the energy to break my back over
this thing. But I did get rid of the spelling mistakes and the
grammar mistakes. Most of them anyways :) Very big thank you
to my Betas - JennyEdu, Jennifer Hallmark, Shaz Nolan, and I
swear there must be someone else. I can't remember right now.
E-mail me, smack me up the side of the head and I'll rectify it
in the next chapter posting. Love ya's alls mates! Oh - and I
know I said I'm releasing it a chapter a day, but I'll forget to
do that I think, so I'm just doing it bunch by bunch :)
Dedication: To the WRGrrls. You've been around for over a year,
and the fandom is still going. That's majorly cool. Without
your support, your enthusiasm and love, I'd be nowhere. This
tenacity and companionship has helped me improve the crafts that
I want to take into a career. For that, I thank you and love you
always. Thank you girls.
Xavier's face was drawn in concentration, his frame curled over
the sleeping form of Marie. He was deathly still, his fingers
folded together and in his lap. Logan was set vigil behind the
two-way mirror, never budging in the observation room. He
would not move, his brow pressed down and shrouding his eyes in
shadow. He barely twitched as the door to the room opened.
A steaming cup of cocoa was slid in front of him on the desk in
the room, the skid of a pulled chair and a heavy sigh
Logan glanced to the taller man next to him, nostril twitching as
the smell of the chocolate drink teased his senses. Scott
pointed to the mug, red lenses gleaming in the dim light of the
"It has a marshmallow in it."
Logan looked down to it, "Really..."
"Old Summers recipe, like my Mom used to make," he added, and
took a sip of his own mug.
Lifting the mug to his lips gingerly, Logan took a small nip of
the frothy-topped drink. Well, damn, Cyke made good cocoa. Who
knew? "What do you want?"
Scott sighed again, "You have barely left this room in the past
three days, Logan."
He shrugged, "I showered."
"Yeah, but you haven't eaten."
"Logan..." The drone from Scott was one of warning, and Logan
threw a look of disregard to the man.
"They haven't moved for two days."
Tilting his head a little, Scott gazed at the telepath and the
"You know, when Jean first got here, she was pretty much in the
same boat as Rogue."
He glanced to the Fearless Leader in surprise, "She was?"
Cyclops nodded, "Hell yeah. At first she was distant, cold, and
then when her power grew stronger she was as disturbed as Rogue."
Logan clenched his jaw, eyes roving over the melting marshmallow
in the mug warming his hands to a tingle.
Scott shrugged, "Xavier trained her. Every day he spent hours
with her, teaching her everything he knew of mental
discipline." A little smile flashed on the younger man's face,
"And I spent pointless hours in here waiting and watching on
Logan glared at the bespectacled man, hands tightening around the
Scott smirked, patting his shoulder gently, "Friendly warning,
comrade. Enjoy the cocoa."
Logan kept his eyes set on Marie as Scott strolled from the
room. He'd seen the dedication and damn near sickly-sweet
rapport going on between Cyclops and Jean. God shoot him down
in flames before that ever happened between him and the Kid.
She was exactly that - a kid. Barely eighteen and only kissed
by adulthood. Why did her eyes have to be so old?
He put away those thoughts, frowning and watching the Professor
at work. Not the most exciting spectator sport, considering, but
right now he'd not be anywhere else. He couldn't help the waves
of disappointment that crashed through him on occasion. Not
that it was an egotistical thing, but he wanted to help her.
The fact that he apparently had no power to caused a terrible
ache in him.
He didn't want her hurting, and he could smell the ache all over
her. The tears, the tension, the anxiety. It didn't have a
place on Rogue, not in his mind. All he was allowed to do was
wait, and he'd rather impale himself than interrupt whatever
Xavier was up to. He sipped at the cocoa in his hands, hoping
that his time here waiting wouldn't be too much longer.
He wasn't sure if the school was taking turns at "Let's get Logan
out of the Ob Room" but there was another set of knuckles
wrapping at the door. He gave an audible grunt and sighed.
By fact that the person knocked tipped him off that it wasn't
Jean. Jean doesn't knock anywhere in her own damned
infirmary. And the blunt sweet smell of girl's deodorant hit
him, one he'd smelt before but never tried to pin on any one
person. As a dark-skinned girl in a gaudy yellow jacket toed
her way into the room, he gave a regarding twitch of a nostril.
"Hi," she said, her voice small, "Um..."
He cocked a brow expectantly.
"I'm - I'm Jubilee. Rogue's friend?"
"Right," he nodded, looking back to his cocoa, "She mentioned you
the other day."
Jubilee nodded, taking a seat next to Logan after closing the
door. It annoyed him a little that the girl assumed he wanted
her in there just because he acknowledged her presence.
The girl folded her arms, leaning on the table and sighing.
"How is she?"
Logan didn't move; his eyes were fixed to the sleeping form of
Marie. "The same."
A deep sigh fell through the girl, and she hugged herself. She
looked to Logan. "They said you've been here every day since..."
Logan glared at her, "So?"
"Oh," she shrugged, "I just - I thought that was really cool of
you. She needs someone - even if she can't see 'em."
He gazed at Rogue, pursing his lips, his brow crinkling
thoughtfully. "Everyone else has been telling me to get out of
"Sure. That's the exact thing to tell you to do if they want a
wrecked mansion on their hands."
She gave him a wry smile, "I sincerely doubt you could keep still
for too long."
He gave a gruff sigh, "For someone I just met you know an awful
lot about me."
"You kiddin'?" she snorted, "I'm Rogue's best friend! Duh! It's
like Logan this, Logan that, yadda yad-"
She stopped, looking through the corner of her eyes at Logan, who
sat stock still, eyes boring into her. She cleared her throat.
"Uhhh, not that she's that bad - yeah sure... oh crap," She
fidgeted, "Forget I said anything..."
"I didn't hear anything," he mumbled, the cocoa suddenly
fascinating to him.
"I didn't say anything," said Jubilee, shaking her head
adamantly, "God it's a pretty day."
"Haven't been outside to see," Logan said.
"Not surprising," she said, and pulled out a small packet of
chewy lollies that were readily available at one of the dormitory
vending machines. She held the plastic packet up. "Gummy bear?"
His eyes fluttered at the chewy sugar treats offered to him, and
he ventured to grab one, only because of his suddenly low blood
The thing squelched and bounced in his mouth, as if refusing to
be broken up by his teeth.
"This thing doesn't wanna quit," he grumbled.
Jubes popped one in her mouth and nodded blandly, "Yep. They
last and last and last. You can go a whole history class with
'Ro on four of these."
He glared at her, "I don't believe you."
She blinked at him matter of factly, "Try me."
With a huff he looked back to Marie.
"I'd rather not."
After a long moment of relative silence, both of them gazing out
the mirror (the noise of Jubilee chewing on a rather stubborn
gummy-bear filled it adequately to annoy Logan some), Jubilee
"Dude...Xavier is really boring to watch."
"Tell me about it..."
"Though..." Jubilee tilted her head; "He has this vein on the
side of his head that's kinda really throbbing..."
Logan tapped his teeth with his tongue and nodded, "Yeah... I
noticed that too."
"Wow... that's so grody..."
"Great," groaned Logan. Jubilee looked to him, blinking her
large black eyes at him expectantly.
He sighed forlornly. "Now all I can look at is the vein. Before
I could ignore it, but now..."
"Sorry," Jubes shrugged meekly, popping another gummy-bear in her
mouth before looking back to the Professor. "Wow... it's like a
Logan gave a sudden sigh, "Look - can we quit talkin' about his
"Geez!" Jubes cowered a little, "Fine sure! Whatever!"
She blinked at him and then looked to her own fingers picking
through the gummy-bears, "Jus' tryin' to make conversation."
"You're not very good at it."
Jubilee swept an unimpressed look to Logan. "So, you let Rogue
ride in your trailer, right?"
Mouth edging open in caution, Logan nodded.
"And she didn't jump out?"
"Didn't have to," he said, "She didn't annoy me by pointing out
something I had to look at for hours."
"You don't like lookin' at it then don't look at it!"
He grit his teeth, his patience fast running out, "I wasn't, not
until you wouldn't shut UP about it!"
Jubilee glared at him as his voice rose, a growl rumbling in his
throat, and whilst cringing, her bottom lip jut out slightly and
"I'm sorry..." she rasped.
Suddenly, Logan's anger seeped away some, enough to see the
cowering young woman next to him, hands clenched around a little
packet of gummy-bears, his own hands gripping the mug underneath
him with knuckles an interesting white. And one thought hit him.
I am such an asshole.
He gave a heavy sigh, patting Jubilee's shoulder roughly, if not
a little tentatively, shaking his head at himself.
"I'm sorry... I'm just -" He threw a hand towards the unconscious
Rogue, the gravity of the situation weighing heavily on him.
"I'm worried about her."
Jubilee sighed back at him, her hand on Logan's shoulder this
time, squeezing it.
"Look, mister... I know this might not help, but like - I've been
here since I was thirteen. That's like five years. And in all
that time, Xavier's never failed us."
A darkness grew in Logan's chest, and with a tightness in his
lips he scowled down at his cocoa. The marshmallow had melted -
all that was left was a sickly sweet puddle of gloop floating at
"There's always a first time, kid."
Jubilee left him with the ten remaining gummy-bears, hugging him
tightly before she went to defense night-classes. She'd stuck
with him all day, and she had announced herself a
comrade-in-time-passing-conversation. The brassy young woman
silently surprised Logan, as she was better company than she
looked. Despite the talking too much. It was when Jubilee was
having one of her more shrill discussions that he missed his
soft-spoken Marie the most. It was cruel that she was just
there, beyond the glass, in the small room asleep.
Whether it was light or dark outside, he didn't know, but the
watch on his wrist read seven o'clock.
Then the door was knocked upon again, an elegant gait of heels
that heralded Jean's approach. She gave a tired smile as she
walked in, foil-covered tray in her hands.
"Thought I'd bring you some food to eat. Apparently Jubilee got
you to have some gummy-bears but they're not really going to
sustain you after three days fasting."
"I wasn't fasting," Logan grumbled, head cradled in folded arms
upon the desk, his words being delivered into the formica
tabletop underneath him, echoing around the room. "I ate a 100
grand bar. And a few mini-quiches - Scooter was in here eating
"That's bound to keep a man of your size in tip-top condition,"
she muttered back at him dryly, unwrapping the meal and sliding
it in front of Logan. "Eat. Or I'll stick a needle in your arm
and force some sustenance into you."
"Wow," he said drolly, "Your bedside manner is getting better
with time, Red."
"I do what I can," she said, pulling up the chair next to him,
sinking down into it.
Silence drifted between them, the only sound being Logan picking
at the cutlery, unwrapping it from the cloth serviette they were
bound in. His hazel eyes lifted to her brown ones, and with a
visible shift in his expression, he let his hands drop on the
"Three days, Jean. What the hell is going on?"
Jean's eyes fluttered closed, and she sighed. "I don't know,
Logan. It's not my place to barge in and find out either. All
we can do is wait-"
"What are they doing in there anyway?!" he growled, "Is he
asleep? Are they both just sleeping or is something actually
Jean's eyes were suddenly cast to the scene beyond the two-way
mirror, a quiet awe in them directed at the Professor. "A lot is
happening in there," she said. "Nothing I'd like to guess on."
Logan cast her a tired look, then pushed the meal away, enfolding
his head in his arms. There was a slender hand on his shoulder
suddenly, it squeezed and comforted along with the smooth voice.
"The Professor is doing his best, you can be sure of that,
He didn't care. He really didn't care. It wasn't important to
him, and the touch on his shoulder was a burning cold that made
the quiet anger within him bubble. He wasn't sure why he was
angry - it wasn't Jean's fault. But Jean wasn't Marie. Jean
was fine, and Marie wasn't. Jean was assuring him, and he knew
- she had no idea how it would all turn out. She was as
uncertain as he was. With a grunt, he turned away, battling a
roughness in his throat.
"Just - just go, Jean."
Sliding her hand away, Jean tilted her brows up, the sympathy on
her features reaching him, but failing to make him feel any
He didn't pay Jean any mind as she left, and any appetite he had
before she entered was gone from him. All he could bring
himself to do was wait - wait for her. The small grey sparsely
furnished room, the strangely warmly decorated observation room
on the other side of the glass from him, and Rogue's sleeping
form were all he saw, all he put his mind to. Every bit of
will, every bit of hope, he poured into her. Guilt wracked him
mercilessly, if's and would have's haunting him.
They were thoroughly tiring, and often he found himself slumping
over in the chair, catching a moment's sleep against the desk in
front of him. He wasn't sure how many hours he'd spent curled
up over the desk like that; then again he wasn't sure of the
hours he spent awake either. Often his mind would leap in
anticipation and create a moving, animated Marie in it's own eye,
dreams that would cruelly bring his heart to the brim with
And he'd awaken. In the bed, Marie would still be lying, the
At least in those situations, it wasn't the dark dreams he had,
where the Professor was gone, and so was she. At least then,
the dark hopelessness didn't chase him around. Disappointment
was far easier to handle.
The dreams had taunted him so that when he awoke this time, when
he saw Marie turning her head, redness and tears in her eyes but
a ... a lighter look to the sadness there, he thought it was
another dream. But the Professor moved his chair, wheeling out
of there weakly, weaker than he had in Logan's visions, and Marie
curled up and was just a frail looking slip of what she usually
was... and the dream didn't end.
For the first time in days, Logan felt tears spill down his face,
and he raced from the room, heart thumping wildly.
He didn't wait to tell Jean, he just ran, slamming open the door,
half toppling over Charles Xavier trying to leave the very room
Logan was struggling to get into. The frantic younger looking
man stuck a toe into the chair and launched himself over the top
of it, the Professor ducking in slight alarm. There was no
mistaking the tired smile on his face, however.
Logan didn't notice. His vision was fixed to the sleepy girl
before him, her eyes calm - sad, and calm. At the scuffle and
grunting in front of her she looked up, and a soft smile fell on
her face. Her voice was a breath, rough from lack of use and she
leant forward in the bed.
He pulled her forward into his arms, hugging her tightly, not
caring if they accidentally brushed skins.
He leant back, dipping his head down to look into her eyes, and
she nodded lightly.
"Yeah," she said, "I think so..."
He swallowed, ignoring the wetness on his cheeks, searching her
features. "You were a little shaky for a while there..."
She met his eyes with a dry look. "Logan... I was out of my
He nodded, clenching his jaw. "I was worried."
"Yeah," she said, gloved hand scruffing the hair behind his ear,
"I know. I saw."
Uncertainty splashed his features then, and he looked up to her.
"I'm sorry, Marie."
She frowned at him in confusion. "What for?"
"If I'd handled that bitch better, I swear I could've--"
His heart clenched slowly as her eyelids fluttered, her
fingertips settling to his chest as she shook her head.
"No, no Logan," she said, "No... no blame. We're X-Men, this is
our life. It's our life."
Her gentle words were barely any consolation, not when he could
see the scars this ordeal had left in her soul. Her eyes were
tainted. He sighed, sinking his head into his hands, feeling a
shake from the lack of food. It bit at him, feeling weak like
that, feeling helpless now.
"I just wish I could have helped you. I said I'd protect you,
and I didn't. I didn't keep my promise."
Gloved fingers slid down his face, lifting his face up gently.
"You tried," she said, "And you never left me. That's
protection enough for me."
"You still got hurt," he mumbled, "In ways that are too hard to
He could see her tensing up, and he didn't want this. He didn't
want her upset or angry when she should have been sleeping and
calm, resting. She narrowed her eyes delicately.
"What're you sayin'?"
He looked up at her, wringing his hands together.
"I don't think you should go on any missions anymore Marie."
"No," he said, cutting her off, "I didn't intend for you to go
out there, suckin' up the minds of every loser jerk with the
Brotherhood, you got that? The only reason I wanted you on the
team yesterday is because you're all we have against Magneto."
Every word that fell out seemed to cut at Marie more because at
every word she recoiled a little, winced, anger drawing her brows
down. She said nothing, and he wasn't sure whether it was upset
or anger that made her so silent.
"I can't let you get hurt again," he said, "Not because of me."
She just smiled then, resting back in the bed, gazing up at the
ceiling. "Always lookin' out for me is my Logan."
He watched her. He wasn't sure if it was Carol that seized her,
making her say such a thing, or whether the experience pulled out
a dry sliver of humour from within her. It wasn't unsuited to
her, merely unexpected. He just shifted, looking up at her.
"And how do you feel about that?"
Blinking, she met his gaze, and she sent a smile in his
direction. "Does it matter? We both know that you're lookin'
out for me, whether I want you to 'r not."
"It does matter," he said finally, letting a tiny smile tease the
corners of his mouth, "And yeah... I can't help but keep an eye
out for you. Need someone there in the afternoons to make my
room all cozy."
She smiled drily, "I'll be there with muffins and jam."
A sudden thump interrupted her lazy smile, and when the door to
the observation room burst open, it only served to widen it.
Jean strode in, the lines of stress that had been on her features
over the past few days lifted, auburn hair billowing about her as
she plugged her stethoscope into her ears.
"The Professor just told me," she said, her voice a huff from her
rushing, "It's good to see you awake."
"I'll say," Logan agreed, squeezing Rogue's hand.
It was at that moment Rogue squeezed back.
"AAH!" Logan bent, half-sliding off the bed as the pain ripped
through him and he grabbed the wrist of his other hand. Rogue
had dropped the hand and she wriggled, fear and horror twisting
her usually light features.
"Logan!! Oh mah God!"
Logan winced, holding up his hand, "It's okay Kid, it's okay...
ya just bruised me... a lot... ow..."
Jean held the hand, turning it over and pressing at the flesh.
"Bruising yes," she said, "Deep bruising, bone dislocation.
Logan, come with me, you're going to have to get these reset."
Logan groaned, the lady doctor pulling him up from the bed and
towards the infirmary. He looked to Rogue, the girl's arms
wrapped around her knees in an upright foetal position. Her
eyes were on him, round and full.
"I'm sorry, Logan," she breathed.
"Not your fault, kid," he said before Jean dragged him out of the
Jean dug through cupboards, and for a moment Logan felt like she
didn't even know he was in the room. Were he in less pain he
could have enjoyed the way her hair looked in the cool light of
the room, soft and liquid, but all he wanted was relief from the
crushing aches in his right hand.
"It'll heal in a minute," he said, "I don't know why you're
Jean eyed him as she placed bandages and ice down next to him on
the examination table he sat on.
"The swelling still needs to be controlled," she said, grabbing
the cold packs and pressing them to his hands. She looked up at
him as he hissed, the cold biting him. He could see a slight
tension in her features, but no puzzlement, not the wild
confusion he was feeling as to how the hell this happened. He
"You know somethin' about Marie? That you're not tellin' me?"
She glanced up at him and shrugged, "It's only a theory."
"Then spill it. How the hell did she do this?" He nudged his
injured hand up.
Jean pulled the ice pack away, beginning at bandaging the hand,
and as she applied the stretchy material, long lashes blinking,
"You know what happened when she absorbed Magneto's energy."
"It took two days for that to wear off, Logan. Two days for his
mutation to fade in her body's energy patterns."
He frowned, "What about my mutation?"
"Thankfully," said Jean, "She never exhibited any evidence of
subdermal claw formations in her forearms... maybe your mutation
wasn't around long enough for them to grow, I don't know. Your
personality stayed with her though, for just as many days. You
mentioned that this mutant-"
"Carol," Logan said, "Marie said her name was Carol."
"Carol," amended Jean, "Was unusually strong-"
Horror fell through Logan, the pain subsiding slowly and
forgotten, his only worry now the well being of the girl in the
other room. "You're not saying she's got the powers for keeps
Jean opened her mouth but a snort from Logan kept her silent.
"You mean she has to get used to a new set of powers all over
again? Like she doesn't have enough on her fucking plate?"
Jean sighed, "We can't be certain till I do more tests-"
"This is all my fucking fault," he grumbled, jumping up and
pacing. "All my fucking fault, cause all I wanted to do was get
back at that bastard Magneto and Rogue was the only way to do it
and I was too fucking pissed to see that it'd just get her hurt
again!" He swiped at a stack of freshly sterilized test tubes by
the sink, the lot of them smashing on the floor. Jean flinched
as the tinkling smash resonated through the room, her lips
"Logan, she's alive and well," Jean said, "And for now it seems
"She just had four days having her head read Jean," Logan said,
"That doesn't seem anything like 'fine' to me."
The plaintive cry, soft and almost mewling, halted the roaring
anger that was bursting from him. He blinked, and as if looking
at the woman for the first time, he realised Jean was withdrawn,
arms crossed, face firm with defense. Turning, he met the brown
eyes of a weak looking Marie, leaning in the doorway and pursing
her lips at him.
"Don't be mad."
Logan breathed evenly, nostrils flaring, his hands fisting at his
"Ah told you, it's not your fault."
He glared at her for a long moment, and could almost see that
innocence in her, the reservoir of it that was left under the
cognitive swaths of Erik Lenscherr, of Carolyn Danvers - of
himself. He sighed, shaking his head.
"Yeah, but you were my responsibility."
He could hear her sigh, the girl looking down at her naked hands
that peeked from the flannel sleeves of her rumpled nightgown.
Looking down like that, lips soft, eyes averted, she looked
impossibly young. Then she looked up at him, met his harried
gaze. There was a strange yawning in his chest as he saw the
calm, the pain, and the wisdom there. It was as if, during the
touching of minds, Rogue took in some of the ageless Professor's
wisdom and made it her own.
"Ah'm okay," she said softly, "Please... don't feel bad anymore,
not for me."
The words lifted the anger from Logan's features and slumping a
little, he shook his head. "I can't help it."
Rogue blinked slowly, looking away. Jean stepped forward,
wrapping long fingers around Rogue's flannel veiled elbow and
pulled her towards the examination table.
"We're gonna finish this exam," she said with a small smile, "Up
on the table."
Before she could pull herself up, Logan's hands were at her
sides, depositing her on top of it. Marie blushed at him.
"I could've done it myself."
It was now the older man's turn to grow rosy in the cheeks.
Taking Logan's place in front of Rogue with a patient smile, Jean
pressed the flat of the stethoscope to Rogue's chest. She
pressed it here and there, asking her to cough. Whilst Jean
fussed over Rogue, the girl watched Logan. He stood with arms
crossed, face drawn, concern and concentration etched on his
hawk-like features. She smiled softly at him as he glanced to
her face, and he nodded back. Her affection didn't quell his
worry. Jean's examining lasted a good ten minutes, and after
finishing, she put her face in her hands, a wrinkle of thought on
"Well?" Logan asked.
"Everything seems perfectly normal," she said, "But I'll need to
take more tests. I'll have them set up for tomorrow - um-"
Tapping her lip, Jean looked to Rogue, "I think it's best if you
stay here for more observa-"
Grabbing Rogue's hand, Logan growled.
Rogue jumped a little, blinking.
"She's had enough time in that room," Logan said, pulling her
from the table and to him, "I think it's time she got to sleep in
her own damned bed!"
Tilting her head, she looked to Jean.
"He's right," she said, "I just wanna sleep in a bed that doesn't
bend in the middle."
Sighing, Jean nodded.
"Fine," She looked to Rogue, "But be back here at four tomorrow.
I should have everything ready by that time."
Gathering her up in his arms, Logan pulled Rogue off the
examination table, shepherding her towards the door. Logan
didn't want to focus on Jean's worry, or even what could possibly
wrong with Rogue. All there was was Rogue, walking, alert, if
not a little drowsy, and a bedroom to take her to.
They stood in the elevator to the mansion levels, the blue shiny
walls muffling their words.
Large brown eyes blink slowly. "Yeah."
"It's - shit. It's 11:30. I'm gettin' you to bed."
Rogue gave him a weathered knowing look. If she had more
energy, she'd probably have bothered to get offended at his
mothering of her, but right now she needed a hand.
"You been sleepin' for days," Logan said, the edge of worry in
his voice, "Why you so tired?"
Her eyes rolled around under their lids, and she wavered a
"My body slept," she said, "My mind didn't. I'm exhausted,
With a crease of worry in his brow, Logan pulled her to him
wordlessly, cradling her head in the centre of his chest, his
chin resting on the top of her head. "You'll be sleepin' soon."
Without much incident they reached the large corridor of the
dormitory wing, Rogue's bedroom one way and Logan's another. As
they grew closer to Rogue's shared room, Logan could see her lips
tense, feel her hands clench tighter around his. She glanced to
him with implore, a quiet askance in her features, a resistance
as she looked towards her room. He didn't have to be psychic to
see she didn't want to go there.
"You okay, Kid?"
She sighed softly, tilting her head, squeezing his hand hers -
gently this time.
"Logan," she breathed, "Ah don't wanna be alone."
He pointed towards her room. "Well - you got your friends-"
"No," she said, "No I - I don't want to be alone with my
thoughts. Not yet."
Logan nodded silently, pulling Rogue to him, turning around and
heading for his room.
"You can stay a little while," he said, "Till you get sleepy.
Then you gotta go in your own room, kay?"
She nodded back at him, wrapping herself around his arm. "Thank
He gave her a long look, a quirk of a smile in the corner of his
mouth. "Don't worry about it."
Guiding her in, he flicked on lamp on his side-table, gorging
himself on the sensations of Rogue being up and about - her
smell, the sound of her moving, sensing her body and its heat in
the room. Glancing at her, he caught her roaming brown eyes,
something new and haunting in there as she looked back at him.
It scared him a little, but something in him knew it was for the
better. She looked older than before, as if she knew something
she didn't earlier. He shoved thoughts of this away, pulling
back the blankets on his bed and fluffing the pillow roughly.
Without a word, Rogue stepped over, still dressed in her
nightshirt and leggings. "Logan..."
He stared at her expectantly.
"Ah really need a shower."
His face fell. Crap. He'd forgotten about that.
"You can use mine," he said, "I'll get your things from your
"They're in the infirmary..."
Looking back at her he nodded. "Right. Be right back."
The trip to get the bathing supplies was uneventful, if not
educational. Strawberry soap, mango shampoo. White musk bath
salts... no wonder she always smelt so damned good. Upon
entering his room, he saw the curled up figure of Rogue on his
bed, clothed in soft flannel, her hair tumbling around her, long
eyelashes curled upon pale cheeks. Pursing his lips together, he
shuffled on the spot, debating whether to disturb her or not.
She looked so relaxed, so content. Gripping her bath things, he
walked over to the bed, nudging her side.
With a little moan she smiled, rolling onto her back. "Your bed
is comfier than mine."
It was moments like this he wanted to hug her and not stop. That
was the sort of girly thing Ice-boy would probably do, however,
so instead he waggled the pretty bag he had filled with her
She opened her eyes a crack, and sighed. "Thank you."
She grabbed them, and with a sleepy waddle, traipsed into his
Logan took that moment to fall back on his bed, gazing at the
ceiling. Stunned. That's all he could say about how he felt.
Totally stunned. Bringing his previously injured hand up, he
flexed the fingers, curling and uncurling them, turning the palm
over and gazing at the back of it. He couldn't tell it was ever
out of shape. He dropped his hand to the bed, sighing, the
stress of the past few days releasing itself into his system,
washing over him, and he could feel his hands shuddering against
He had to keep telling himself - she was okay now, she was
okay. She was in his shower, up and about, seemingly fine.
A whiff of strawberry soap wafted under the bathroom door, the
delicious scent of clean wet skin mingling with it. He clenched
his teeth, battling the raging drive within him to take a glimpse
of the creamy, gleaming flesh hidden in the shower cubicle, or
even sample it.
He had to stop himself from whimpering when the smell of mango
shampoo joined the cocktail of alluring scents. No, no, he
thought to himself, nothing smells better than a wet Marie.
Realising what he'd just said to himself, he buried his head
under a pillow, growling quietly. Life was far too complicated
these days. Far far too complicated. Things were easier on his
own. Fight or die, that was it.
Then again, life on the road kinda sucked ass.
The door to the ensuite opened, and he heard the soft padding of
damp feet cross the carpeted floor, the stronger wafting of damp
skin and perfume curling around his senses, and a gentle nudge
touched his shoulder.
Her voice was as smooth and delicious as she smelt. He grunted
from under the pillow, and he could hear her laugh softly.
"Ah just have to get changed into some fresh jammies. Ah'll be
He nodded, and growled an "Okay."
For a few blessed moments her smell and presence didn't torment
him. She needed him though, she needed him. He would put away
his overgrown super-strength hormones for one night, cause his
girl needed him. He nodded resolutely. He pulled his head out
from under his pillow, placing it back, puffing it with a stiff
whack. It was as he did that that he heard his door open and
close, and turning his head he felt his throat catch.
She wasn't dressed in anything special. Just a lilac set of
pyjamas, first couple of buttons on the top shirt undone, gloves
on her hands, socks on her feet. Her hair was damp, in straggly
clumps, the platinum bolts a muted silver now, all of it pulled
back from her face with a small hair clip. The thing that
clutched his heart tightly was the way the flannel sat on her
body, loose as it was. By all rights she should have looked
twelve in that get up.
Oh, how she *didn't* look twelve. How very much her eighteen
years she appeared, curves and delicious damp skin wrapped in
soft cuddly pyjamas. She plodded over to him in a secure gait,
smiling briefly before sitting down on the edge of the bed. She
seemed a little nervous but even in her most uncertain of moments
she acted in confidence, as if it were a method of dealing with
such a thing.
He watched her trace circles on her own knee, humming to herself
lightly. With an affectionate narrowing of his eyes, he propped
his arms on his knees, leaning over to her.
"That mean you're feeling better?"
She glanced to him, shrugging.
"Ah dunno," she said. "Ah feel - nearly normal. Nearly just -
normal. Not great, not bad. Just existing."
"I never felt like this before. Then again I never had a
psychopath in my head before." She seemed to smile at this,
humour in her tone. He wished he could laugh with her. "It's
weird," she said, tilting her head, "I never been so relieved to
be on the under side of bored before."
A wrinkle sank in Logan's brow. "You're bored?"
"Kinda," she said, "It's hard to explain. I was so empty, so
dead inside for all that time and now... now I just feel like I
can't see anything wrong with my life - and I should. But I
don't. I feel listless."
The wrinkle deepened, and with some tentativeness, he reached
out, enfolding one of her hands in his. "I want you to feel
Her long-lashed eyes looked to their linked hands, and then
sliding up his arm they met his own orbs. "Ah know," she said
softly, "And I will."
He gave a tick of a smile, and nodded. At that she gently
squeezed his hand, a little smile on her face.
"Especially if ya keep this kind of attention up. I feel like a
Queen! All coddled and looked after!"
With a smirk he grabbed her, pulling her down onto the bed,
towards the pillows. She squealed, giggling and wriggling her
legs, and with a singular sweep of his arm he pulled the
comforter from his bed out from underneath her. He covered her
then, tucking in the sides of the blanket as he leant over her,
trying to ignore the proximity of her face, her lips, or the way
her eyes roamed his features in soft appreciation.
"You are good to me, Logan."
He nodded, sitting up a little. "Yeah, well - I care about ya."
She nodded, still looking at him in that way that made him feel
all warm and cuddly inside. Only Marie could do that, only
"Come on," he said, thumping the side of the bed and rolling over
to lay next to her on the bed, "You relax some now, that's why
She nodded silently again, and she sat up, pulling the clip from
her hair. Logan lay on top of all the blankets, arms crossed,
sock clad feet crossed at the foot of the bed. He was quite
prepared to not get comfortable, not get too into this sharing a
room thing, and once she got drowsy, he was prepared also to
march her to her room and get her into her own bed.
The woman stretched, and once she'd sorted out her hair, adjusted
her jammies, she pulled the blanket up, over Logan's shoulder and
snuggled to his side, just as she pleased. Logan blinked,
watching the girl get comfortable against him, one of her hands
curling around his elbow. She sighed contentedly, face buried
at his shoulder, her breathing slowly growing steadier. It both
troubled and touched him that she felt so seemingly secure and at
home by his side when he'd done such harm to her before in this
very room, though he was slowly feeling that nothing Marie did or
felt should surprise him anymore.
He tried very hard not to begin to feel comfortable in the bed.
He even made an effort to be grumpy and grumbly about the whole
affair, but upon seeing Rogue so content and rested for the first
time in days, he knew that moving the poor thing would be a
Then again, so would falling asleep in the bed with her.
Carefully sliding out from under her, he sank down onto the
floor, resting his back against the side of the bed, just for a
The room was dark, a single lamp reflecting off the whitewashed
walls and lighting their faces gently. They sat on either side
of the bed, gazing at each other. There was no hate in their
eyes, no anger. There was nothing.
The blonde had intoxicating lips that were painted ruby-red,
gleaming in the diffuse light of the room. Her eyes, swept up
and sharp, were heavily lashed and deep. Her smile was small,
knowing, and her hair tumbled down around her shoulders, almost
as liquid gold.
The mahogany and champagne tressed girl gazed back at the blonde
one. Her deep brown eyes were not as heavily lashed, though they
were as weighted and dewy. Her lips were chiseled, unlike her
counterpart's fuller mouth, and her face was rounder and
softer. From the nothing her expression was grew one of
compassion, and she brought her naked hand forward, covering that
of the woman's in front of her. Skin upon skin, flesh upon
flesh. No energy changed bodies - they were one now. When Carol
spoke, her voice was like honey, like lilies and the gentlest of
silks. It was low, melodious, and warm. Even as she spoke words
of conflict, she intoned them with tenderness.
"You want to fight me," said Carol. "I can feel it. You can't
fool a warrior with kindness."
Rogue frowned. "I'm not a warrior."
"You are," Carol said. "It lives in you. Your heart burns with
the fire of justice. We want it just as much, you and I. Unlike
you, I was willing to kill."
Rogue shook her head. "You don't have to kill."
Carol's look dropped to her lap, to the hand that covered hers.
"You've been fortunate, Marie. You found people that cared
before Death touched you." Carol shook her head slowly, those
knowing jeweled eyes gazing back at her. "I didn't." She
blinked slowly, languidly, gazing up to the ceiling. "I found
Erik, and Erik promised me an end. End to the pain, end to the
fear." Her voice slipped into a tone of poisonous edge. "He told
me I wouldn't have to be afraid of humanity any more. With him,
I was better than they ever would be. I was nature's
perfection." She glanced down, shaking her head, the poison
spent. "I was too filled with bitterness and the need to revenge
to know the difference."
"It's not your fault," said Rogue. "You didn't know there could
be another way."
Carol let her eyes meet Rogue's. Rogue took her hand away,
looking at the rumples in the sheet on the perfectly made bed on
which they sat cross-legged. "You tried to destroy me," she
said. "From the inside out
you wanted to hurt the Logan in me,
and then you wanted to take my body from me."
Carol's eyelids dropped a little, and she looked guilty. "I was
I was frightened. I was inside someone else
moving and yet-" She frowned. "I don't know what to do, Marie.
I'm dead, I can't change this. When I was alive, I had something
and I didn't know how precious it was." Her eyes grew a little
red, welling with tears. "When our minds touched
I was so
angry. Nobody told me that it could be like that, like it is
for people like us."
Rogue's eyes shot to Carol's.
"I understood you," said Carol, a childlike uneasiness on her
face. "I saw what this place was about. I'm still angry, Marie.
Still angry at humanity but..." She sighed, shaking her head.
"Now that I know that they didn't understand either, it makes all
that I did so wrong."
Rogue nodded, placing her hands on her knees, a soft puzzlement
on her sweet face. "What are we going to do?"
Shaking her head again, sadness in her beautiful features, Carol
looked away. "I don't know."
Rogue looked to the woman before her. For the first time, in the
days and hours of her battling her, she didn't feel hate when she
looked to her. She felt sadness, and a need to help her. Her
heart went out, and she knew what had to be done. She took
Carol's hands in her own, holding them tightly.