Well... this is it for now. I've begun the next part, but who
knows how long it'll take me to write. Not as long as this one,
I promise you :)
by Nancy Lorenz.
Rating: PG-13. Some violent, disturbing themes. Swearing.
Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all ya gotta do is ask.
Classification: General, 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, and Shana Nolan. Love
ya's alls mates!
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.
The sun was warm, beating down upon her swathed up body. Gloved
hands cradled a rose... if she didn't keep the gloves on, the
plant would wither, and she'd have dreams of bees and earth and
sunshine. Her eyes caressed the fleshy petals as her gentle soft
fingertips could not, and her shoulder-length, lightly feathered
hair fluttered about her face in a gentle breeze.
The earth beneath her was warm. She dug her toes into the damp
bouncy soil, gripping the woodchip-strewn peat under the pads of
her bare feet. It was a rare treat, walking bare foot, but she
needed the luxury. She enjoyed the sensations of the world for a
brief while, the warm fertile soil, the cool concrete, the
crystal waters of the main pond and the cool slap of the marble
surrounding it. For a brief moment it soothed the ache she felt
inside, the strange ache that was different to any other one
felt. It wasn't about small things... it wasn't about one's
self, or someone she knew... even though on some level it was.
It was about everything, about many people, about mass
suffering. It made her whole body seem heavier, and the ache
pulled at every inch of her body. She couldn't let it overwhelm
her though, because she had to be there, had to help others stop
She smelt him before she saw him, the vestigial gift of slightly
heightened smell his legacy to her from their brief bonding.
Today he smelt more of light soap and skin rather than cigars.
He'd been too busy to sit down and enjoy one, she guessed.
She looked up to him and smiled softly. "Hey."
He walked over to her, hands deep in his pockets, a pouting
thoughtful frown on his features as he watched her hands feather
over the rose in front of her. He looked nice for some reason.
Maybe she just appreciated everything more because of current
circumstances, she wasn't sure. His hair was a little fluffy,
his hair products not capturing all the hair. A few locks
bustled down against his forehead in the light breeze, and the
warm brown colour of them brought out the gentle hazel of his
eyes. Many times, she'd seen his features hard, aggressive. She
was fully aware not everyone got to see him like this, that it
was a secret treasure. His brow was smooth of any concern, and
his mouth was full and not pulled back in aggression. It was
slightly upturned in curiosity. He had his leather jacket on, a
nice shirt, worn jeans and his old shit-kickers. Yeah, he wasn't
wearing anything special, but he looked really good that morning.
"Why don't you take your gloves off and touch it?"
She looked down to the rose. "Cause if I do that, I'll start
thinkin' I'm a rose bush."
He nodded slowly. "Ah."
"Yeah," he said, looking to a rose that stretched up from the
bush next to him. "Just came back from the Professor's office.
A few of us were talking about the new patrol rosters, a little
meeting thing..." He shrugged, touching the rose in front of
him, his finger sinking into the petals. "I stayed back and uh -
talked to the Prof about you."
She rose her brows. Oh no. It was getting dangerous, and now
Logan didn't want her to be on the team more than ever. She bit
back a sigh, steeling herself up for an argument she knew had to
"I know you and I haven't seen eye to eye on this," he said,
hands back in pockets again. He looked to the ground, boyish
frown on his face, toe of his boot digging into the dirt. "I
just - after yesterday, I had a good think about things and about
the whole issue of you on the team, and considering the current
circumstances-" He stopped, sighing.
Rogue's stomach tied itself in a knot, and she frowned with wide
eyes. Just say it! she thought.
"I thought it'd be best if you came onto the team when you felt
you were ready."
She gasped, covering her mouth, brows tilting up. "Logan..."
"Lemme finish, Kid. Now, if it's sooner or later, it's up to
you, but uh..." He pressed his lips together. "You were
terrific out there, Marie. I know Cyke is worried about the team
and all, and it isn't the same without ya." He rolled his tongue
about in his mouth a moment in thought. "I still don't like the
idea of you on the front-line, but I saw you yesterday and I
think you were really doing something you were meant to."
Rogue felt a warm spreading sting in her eyes, and she ran her
hand up and down her arm, holding herself through the rush of
affection within her. "You mean that?"
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah I do. If it's something you wanna do,
then do it."
She broke into a smile, stepping forward and wrapping her arms
around Logan. "Thank you."
He looked down at her, hand hovering over her head. "It's...
it's okay." He let the hand touch her hair, cradling her head
and holding her close.
He was warm, warm like the sun. The smell of soap from his
shower that morning filled her lungs, and the soft fuzz of his
flannel shirt caressed her face every time he took a breath. His
arms were large and strong about her, and even though she could
do a thousand amazing things with her strength, in that one
moment she was slight and small, harmless in his arms. She gave a
soft moan and a final squeeze, then pulled at him before letting
him go. "Come on, let's go get my shoes."
"Where'd you leave 'em?"
"By the main pond," she said. They walked in silence for a
moment, the sounds of the warm day filling the distance between
them. She glanced back at him. "Hey, did you see the news this
Logan shook his head. "Too busy plannin' how to bash the crap
out of people with the Professor."
She sighed, watching her feet pad along the concrete walkway.
"They're freakin' out in the White House. Demanding that Senator
Kelly take up his anti-mutant stance again."
Logan snorted. "Yeah, like that's gonna happen."
Rogue flapped her arms in exasperation, walking towards her
Doctor Martins as they reached the pond. "Things are getting
"Happens, before they get better."
Rogue glanced up at Logan, her boot in her hands, a look of
confusion on her features. "I didn't figure you for an
A smile, small and mischievous, touched Logan's face briefly.
"I'm not, but one of us has to be."
She nodded, stuffing her foot into a sock. "What do you think
Magneto's gonna do with the information?"
Logan shrugged. "Dunno. You're the one with the guy in your
head, what does he say?"
She blew a sigh through her cheeks. She really didn't want to
access that part of her mind, but considering that she was the
only one with such an understanding of him, it was a necessary
evil. She closed her eyes and winced. "Most of his jumble goes
on about countermeasures... recruiting..." Her eyes fell open and
she looked to Logan. "Necessary sacrifices." Logan frowned,
edging forward slightly, but before he could offer any comfort
she shook herself, stuffing her foot in one of her boots and
sighing. "I sit here and look around me, and everything's
nice... it's like it's not real." She glanced up to him, and a
sadness splashed in her eyes. "But I look at you, at the
Professor... all of you guys. You don't smile as much... and I
know it is."
He knelt down in front of her, taking her hands in his.
"Hey..." He tilted his head, trying to draw her down turned gaze
up. "We're all gonna try and do something about this." She met
his eyes, nodding silently. "The bastards ain't got us licked
She nodded with a smile. "I know, I just... I worry about
"Yeah," said Logan, "I know." He brought her gloved knuckles up
to his lips, pressing a kiss there. Although wrapped in fabric,
her skin could feel the warmth of them, the soft give of his
flesh. She smiled again.
Logan stood, ruffling her hair. "Don't mention it."
She grinned and ducked her head away. "Now you gone and messed
up my hair..."
"I know it's not like me to rattle out somethin' ol' One-Eye said
to someone else, but I think you've been hangin' out with Jubilee
The loud clunk of her boots replied to Logan as she stomped her
feet on the pavement, making sure that her boots were on right.
"It's okay. I got her sayin 'Y'all'. Soon I might get her
sayin' 'Howdy', and it's all fun and games from there."
Logan turned away from the pond, walking with her back to the
mansion. "As long as you don't start saying 'radical', I don't
She giggled, wrapping her arms around one of his and snuggling to
it. "No problem, dude."
He gave her a firm glare, hinted with a glint of laughter, and
she laughed again. It was a nice moment, a nice moment encased
in a shell of calm. Always, in the back of her mind, as she
laughed and smiled, there was that all-encompassing ache. It
roared back to life when the laughing stopped, and it made her
sigh unwittingly. She enjoyed his company, enjoyed the day,
because, although she didn't want to admit it to herself, not
now, not ever, it might be the last she'd live. Or very
possibly the last that Logan would live
or any of them.
They moved through the motions of preparation, and Rogue made a
place in her room for the notes she'd receive from the Professor
during briefings. Her friends made room in their schedules for
special training, and the television made room in their
programming for special bulletins on the 'Mutant Problem'. Life
went on, but it wasn't the same. That dull ache came back when
Rogue thought that maybe, it never would be.
Things were changing, and the war had begun.