Disclaimer, etc., with prologue
Something was obviously going on, and Jubes didn't like being kept out of
the loop. Rogue and Jean, who hadn't even been speaking before the previous
night, were suddenly whispering and giggling in the corner of the dining
room by themselves. Jubes never thought she would witness the elegant and
brilliant Jean Grey giggling, but the number of strange things happening
just kept piling up lately.
Jubilation Lee wasn't one to waste time, or words.
"What's up with you two?" she asked, dropping down on the bench next to
"What do you mean?" Jean asked.
"You're being all ... giggly. Let me in on the secret," she demanded.
"Sorry, Jubes," Rogue drawled. "You're not part of the club yet. Or *are*
you?" Rogue and Jean exchanged a Significant Glance.
"Which club are we talking about here? Narcotics Anonymous?"
"The Drunken Sluts Club," Rogue said, laughing.
"Well, technically, I wasn't drunk," Jean said.
"Neither was I," Rogue said. "But Tipsy Sluts Club doesn't have the same
ring to it."
Jean laughed. "Good point." She looked at Jubes closely. "I don't suppose
last night you crawled into bed with a certain cute guy we all know?"
"No!" Jubes blushed, which was downright annoying. "Why would you think I
Now Rogue was blushing. Jean was just smiling smugly. Jubes glanced around
the nearly empty room. "You guys got laid last night! No wonder you're in
such a good mood this morning. Way to go."
"Uh, thanks, I think," Rogue said.
Jean suddenly froze, staring across the room. Scott stood in the doorway,
grinning at her. Without a word to the other two, she got up and joined him,
throwing her arms around him. After a moment, they headed upstairs. Jubilee
was glad that they'd worked things out, but geez. Couldn't they keep their
hands off each other for a couple of hours?
"Welllllll," Jubes drew out the word. "Lotta sex going on around here last
night, eh? So."
"So?" Rogue looked at the ground.
"C'mon, chica. This is Jubes you're talking to. Details, girl! I want the
dirt. Was it, you know, mind blowing? Was the Wolviemeister worth waiting
for all this time?"
Rogue grinned, then bit her lip. "I don't kiss and tell, Jubes. I'll just
say ... wow."
Jubes threw an arm around her. "Wow sounds good. I'm just ticked off that I
missed out. You know, I pride myself on being at the forefront of trends. I
guess I'm losing my touch."
Rogue hugged her closer, and it was great to not have to be extra careful of
her friend's skin. "Can you imagine what Alyn would've done if you'd shown
up at his room last night?"
Jubes laughed. "He'd probably have asked me to tell him about hockey or
cheeseburgers again. I'm like his Google.com, his Encyclopedia Jubilanicca,
Rogue pulled back and smiled at her. "I don't think so, Jubes. I've seen the
way he looks at you. There's definitely possibility for a Thing. I think he
asks you all those questions just to have an excuse to watch you and listen
Jubilee shrugged. "I don't know. I just think ... he's so different from the
guys at home, you know? Like, not everything is about sex. He really wants
to get to know me. That's kinda cool." Still, she added silently, it was a
little insulting that he'd never even tried to kiss her or anything.
"Very cool," Rogue agreed. The front door opened, admitting Sidre and Logan.
He turned and aimed a cocky grin at Rogue, who blushed again. "Though
there's certainly nothing wrong with sex."
"So sayeth Drunken Slut Number One," Jubes laughed.
Rogue stood up and smiled down at her. "Just let me know when you pass the,
um, initiation. We'll let you in the club."
Jubes watched her friend walk to Logan. She smiled at him but spoke to
Sidre. Logan ran his hand over Rogue's shoulder and back before draping his
arm around her waist. It was like he was just reassuring himself that she
was there and she was OK.
For a moment, Jubilee pictured Alyn standing beside her, touching her that
way. She sighed. She wasn't quite ready to join the Drunken Sluts Club yet,
but she sure wouldn't mind a damn kiss.
It was a long day, on top of very little sleep. Sidre was like a drill
sergeant, ordering people around right and left. Supplies had to be
purchased, organized and packed. Messages had to be sent. Fighting had to be
practiced. Rogue had to work on controlling the strength of her power.
Everyone, even Logan, rushed to comply when she gave orders. Logan caught
Rogue yawning sleepily from time to time, and the wicked grin he'd give her
worked like a jolt of electricity, keeping her going most of the day.
They planned to leave the next morning and travel to someplace called the
Pendrell Valley, which was just outside the city of A'Mirion. There, they'd
meet with the leaders of a group of soldiers and others who were in
opposition to Deven Maron. The makeshift army would engage Deven's troops in
a battle while their small group entered the city.
Rogue would absorb the Gifts of her companions and go to face Deven alone.
Logan's arguments against this were largely ignored, by Rogue and by Sidre,
but Rogue could tell he hadn't given up yet. She faced the possibility that
she might have to use her power to knock him out before the fight. But she
didn't want to think about that yet.
After dinner, most everyone headed up to bed. They would be getting an
early start the next morning, and it would take several days to get where
they were going. Rogue was staring into the fire and tapping her fork on the
table when Logan sat down beside her on the bench and pulled her close.
"Come to bed," he said gruffly, kissing her neck.
"In a few minutes," she said, turning to smile at him. "I want to talk to
Celeste for a few minutes first, 'K?"
"Sure." He brushed a kiss across her forehead as he got up. "See you in a
Her smile faded as he headed up the stairs. After a few more moments of fire
gazing, she went upstairs to Celeste's room and knocked softly on the door.
Celeste pulled the door open and just stared. Rogue stared back. Her cousin
was wearing a long, white nightgown, and her blond hair was combed out of
the braids she usually wore. She looked different, younger or softer
somehow. It was easy now for Rogue to recognize the similarity in their
features. But still a little strange.
"Hey," Rogue said. "Can I come in for a sec?"
Celeste looked surprised but waved her inside. She shut the door and turned
to face Rogue, her hands nervously clasped in front of her. Rogue figured
she was itching to hold onto a knife or something.
Before she could speak, Celeste suddenly said, "I want to cut my hair. Like
yours." She played with the ends of her hair, which was past her shoulders.
Rogue was startled. "Oh. Well, be completely sure before you do it. It's not
something you can take back after the fact."
"You do not like your hair?"
"I ..." Rogue sighed and ran her hair through the short cut. It still felt
strange after years of wearing her hair long. "It took me ages to grow it
out, and I kind of whacked it off in a fit of frustration. I'm not sure I
really wanted it cut."
"Oh." Celeste went to the bed and sank down, seeming to relax slightly. "It
looks ... nice. And not always in your face. But, if you do not like it, I'm
sure it will grow out again soon enough."
Rogue sighed inwardly. It sure wouldn't grow out again before she died.
Though, she remembered reading somewhere that hair continued to grow even
after someone was dead. Shaking off that morbid thought, she sat down next
"I wanted to ask you something," she said. "When Deven's gone, who'll be in
charge of Sandoriel?"
Celeste looked startled. "You will be named queen," she said.
Rogue winced. "I mean, if I can't rule, who would be the next in line?"
"Why would you not rule?" Celeste stood up. "What is going on? Something is
not right, I feel it. And Sidre will not tell me anything!"
Rogue nodded for her cousin to sit down again. After a moment, Celeste
"I can't be a ruler here," Rogue said carefully. "I may have been born here,
but it's not my home. I don't belong here." True, as far as it went. Even if
she would survive the battle, she couldn't imagine staying in this place.
Celeste was quiet, staring at the floor. Finally, she said, "My father."
"Your father would rule?"
"He is next in line," Celeste nodded.
"Is he ..." Rogue paused. "Will he be a good ruler?"
Celeste met her eyes and smiled, only the second time Rogue had seen her do
such a thing. "He will be a great ruler," she said firmly. "He is smart and
strong, but he is also compassionate."
Rogue smiled wistfully. "Good. I wish I could have known him."
"He is one of the commanders of the soldiers," Celeste said. "You will meet
him in the valley."
"OK. Well." Rogue stood up and headed for the door. She didn't want to think
about leaving this forest, much less getting closer to A'Mirion and her
fate. "I need to get to bed."
"Before you go," Celeste said softly, almost shyly, "would you help me cut
Rogue smiled at her cousin and wished she could have had a chance to know
her better. "I'll cut it for you," she said. "But only if you tell me about
Celeste gasped. "I have no boyfriend!"
"Oh, come on," Rogue teased. "That archer guy that was guarding Fairfield.
The cute one. Thomas, I think? He was totally into you."
Rogue grabbed the scissors Celeste offered her. "He *likes* you."
Celeste blushed. "He is always saying silly things to me."
"He's flirting with you," Rogue laughed and pushed Celeste into the room's
only chair. "You should try saying silly things back to him."
"Oh." Celeste laughed a little. "I cannot even imagine what to say."
"Tell me what sort of silly things he says to you, and I'll tell you what to
say back," Rogue suggested. "You're smart, you'll figure it out."
Celeste sobered and grabbed Rogue's hand before she could start cutting. "I
am sorry I was so hateful to you at first," she said solemnly. "I felt angry
because my father deserves to be king. He has such dreams for Sandoriel, and
I thought you would ruin them."
Rogue blinked back tears, startled when she saw Celeste doing the same.
"Damn it," she said, pulling her cousin into a hug. "This place is giving my
tear ducts a workout."
Celeste hugged her back, tentatively at first, then harder. "I am glad you
came here, cousin."
"Me, too," Rogue said, surprised to find that she meant it. She wasn't that
thrilled about the dying part, but it was amazing to meet her real family
and to finally be with Logan. And, hell, at least she'd go out with a bang.
"OK, look," she said, pulling back. "We've got to get this hair cut before
Logan comes looking for me. And then, we'll be like twins."
Celeste grinned and nodded, sitting back down.
"What took you so long?" Logan growled sleepily as she crawled into bed. He
pulled her back to him and spooned her in his arms.
Rogue stared into the dark, feeling Logan's body warming her through her
nightgown. "You know," she said. "Girl stuff."
"Hmmm," Logan hummed, sliding a hand up from her belly to cup her breast.
"We should get some sleep," he said unconvincingly.
She laughed softly and arched into him, her rear brushing his erection.
"Yeah, I can tell you're real tired," she drawled.
"You could hardly stay awake today," he said. "You'll be exhausted
"Well," she said, rolling over and pushing him onto his back. "I guess
you'll just have to carry me, then."
She hiked her nightgown above her knees and straddled him, rolling her hips
into his, and was rewarded with a groan. "Is it a deal?" she asked.
"Deal," he said, laughing. "I'll carry you the whole damn way."
The Nightowl: http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000