Title: Seasons of Growth
Chapter 18: Not Now
Author: November Tuesday
Rating: Here there be naughty words.
Summary: "Can we talk? I owe you an apology."
Continuity: Series begins 3 years after X1.
Disclaimer: Marvel, Fox, Brian Singer yadda yadda yadda
Archive: Sure, and if it's someplace other than list archives, please
let me know.
Feedback: makes me a happy girl.
"Everything you swore would never change is different now
like you said you and me would make it through.
Didn't quite fall apart
Where the fuck where you?"
--Nine Inch Nails
It was Friday night. He had been back for two days.
He knocked on the door. He could hear that they were home. He smelled
pizza. Heard the TV.
He thought for a moment that she wouldn't answer the door, but she
She smelled like cloves. Her hair was pulled back and her eyes were
flinty. She didn't speak, just looked at him. He tried not to look at
Finally, he spoke, looked her right in the eye. "Can we talk? I owe
you an apology."
She blinked. He felt a momentary advantage. She hadn't expected that.
She didn't let him in. She shut the door, and leaned against the
wall. "Ok." She didn't say anything.
He felt like screaming or crawling the walls or running. He opened
his mouth and felt something like a stone in his throat.
"I'm sorry- I'm sorry I stayed away and I'm sorry I acted like a dick
last night. The idea of you with a kid really threw me."
Her features had softened just a bit, but with the last comment anger
filled her. He didn't think she could handle it. He didn't think of
her as anything but a kid herself. He wanted someone to play daddy
The glare of her eyes killed any words that might have come from his
tightened throat. And she wasn't speaking, just waiting. Letting him
give her the rope to hang him with. But he realized that she wasn't
being a bitch, just that she had nothing else to say to him.
"I want you to trust me, Marie." She opened her mouth and narrowed
her eyes. "But I know I don't deserve it. I want to earn your trust.
I want- I really want not to fuck up."
At least that was something. At least she was saying she heard him.
"Will you let me try?"
"To earn your trust. I really want- well, just for things to be
His eyes didn't move from her face. Her eyes narrowed angrily, ever
so slightly. Then, she looked down, and there were tears in her eyes,
a sight which drove a spike of pain directly into his heart.
"Marie-" He wanted to hold her like a ball thrown in midair wants to
fall back to earth. He reached for her and she recoiled.
"No," she said. "Not right now."
He respected her wishes, didn't move a muscle, but she saw the hurt
and disappointment on his face. "I can't right now. Later. Not now."
Her face was striped in silvery tears from the hall light. Her voice
was very small. "Good night, Logan." And the door was shut.
I went back and apologized. She accepted my apology, that was
something, but I asked her for another chance, and she said no. Well,
not no, but "not now." I know her friend just died. I know she's in
the middle of her midterms and she's got the kid and there's a lot on
her mind. But I'm just so damn afraid that she's never gonna give me
a chance. I can't say I blame her but I'm so afraid.
She's this woman now, and I have NEVER wanted anyone like this in my
life, not that I remember, anyway. That little girl softness is still
there, sometimes, like with the kid, she's so sweet, but she's tough
as nails too. That attracts me more than anything. A little minxy
spitfire with this body that makes me hard. I'm totally thrown for a
loop here. NEVER have I wanted anyone like this. I'm gonna go crazy.
If I have to jerk off five times a day, oh well. `Cause I promised
myself something, I'm not gonna freak out and bolt out of here like a
wuss. I'm gonna stay here and suck it up and be a man and make her
trust me again.
I WILL make her trust me.
On Thanksgiving morning Rogue took Maggie to the kitchen. Essie was
there, with the staff cooks and Scott. He was sitting in a
wheelchair, recuperating from the mission that had taken Kitty. The
cooks were chopping bread and celery and mushrooms for the stuffing.
Scott was making pumpkin bread.
Rogue set Maggie up on the huge industrial grade counter with
coloring book and crayons and pulled on an apron. She pulled out the
mass of pie dough the cooks had prepared the day before and began
Scott and Essie were teasing each other, in a heated argument over
how to make sweet potato pie, when she looked up and saw Logan in the
doorway. He had been watching her. She met his eyes for a few
seconds, just allowing herself to feel the emotions that surged, then
looked back down. He was walking into the room.
Her hands were covered in flour and it felt like silk between her
fingers as she kneaded a piece of dough. She rolled it out thin with
a flour-dusted rolling pin. She felt like that dough, being worn thin
under his gaze.
When she looked up again, Logan was talking to Scott and Essie. The
TV was between Rogue and the group and over the noise of the parade
and of Maggie's chattering, she couldn't hear what they were saying.
She did glimpse, however, Logan dipping a finger into the batter of
Scott's pumpkin bread. He brought the dripping finger up to his lips
and sucked his finger. She looked away.
Marie heard Essie laugh and she could tell she was flirting with
Logan. Marie felt a tiny smile on her face. It was cute, the little
old woman flirting with Logan.
She dusted the surface of her dough with flour and lifted it into a
pie pan. She could feel him approaching. He was on the opposite side
of the long counter. She pressed the dough into the pan and started
fluting the edges with her fingers.
"Where'd you learn how to do that?"
"My Momma taught me." It was impersonal and polite.
"I'm hungry. It smells good down here."
"This is your first Thanksgiving here. By dinnertime you can smell it
all the way to the ends of the estate."
He didn't move his eyes from her face. She finished that pie crust
and pushed it aside. Started another one. She was so cold, so
"How'd your tests go?"
"Guess who's teachin'?"
She wasn't sure if he expected her to be surprised. She wasn't.
"Intro Martial Arts."
"That's cool." It was a new class for Xavier's. It would make a nice
addition to the course catalog.
Scott rolled over, curious about the exchange. He tickled Maggie and
she giggled prettily. Marie just watched and smoothed flour over
another piece of dough.
"We never had an intro martial arts class. There was a Tae Kwan Do
class when I started, but never an intro class," she said
"Did you take it?"
"No, I took the X-Men training curriculum. It did incorporate some
Karate and Jujitsu but it was a little broader."
"So you're an X-Man now?"
"Not on the A team."
"The A team, as in Mr. T?"
"The A team, as in the most combat-ready first-defense X-men. I'm on
the B team. We provide back up support, recon and intel and data
gathering on missions. Also rescuing casualties. Jean's made me into
sort of a medic."
Scott interjected. "This girl broke my heart. She was the number one
draft pick for the A team and she shot me down. She can kick ass
seven ways from Sunday."
Marie rewarded Scott with a dazzling smile. Logan felt tight and
angry. "True, Scott, but I don't wanna put on leather and play
"I know, I'm just joshin' ya. But seriously, Logan, you should see
this girl kick ass. She's phenomenal."
"She's amazing. You two should spar sometime."
"Yeah, maybe," Logan said.
Rogue shot Scott a look. Wondered what he was up to.
"What time's dinner?" Logan asked. He pinched a piece of dough and
"Cool. See you guys later."
Marie put her floury hands on her hips and stared at Scott. "What the
hell was that?"
"What? Just thought you two should spar."
"I'd love nothing more than to kick his ass seven ways from Sunday,
as you put it. Why the ringing endorsement?"
"Hey, he should know you're not a little girl anymore."
Marie hugged him quickly. "You're sweet. But I really don't give a
tenth of a fuck what he thinks about me. He can go to hell."
Scott pulled back and glanced at where Maggie sat, coloring. "Easy,
"I don't care, Scott."
Thanksgiving that year was tempered with the sadness of Kitty's loss
and the celebration of her sacrifice. At dinner they still enumerated
the things they were thankful for.
Some traditions were less formal: the guys again brought sofas into
the ballroom and they watched football. men and women, boys and
girls, teachers and students, they were all lying around watching the
"Rogue, Logan keeps looking at you," Jean whispered. Rogue glanced
over at Logan. He smiled at her and turned his attention back to the
"Let him look."
"Don't be so hard on him, Rogue. He's projecting like crazy. Give him
a chance, if no other reason than for the sanity of the resident
"What about my sanity, Jeannie? I can`t deal with him now."
"Okay, if you insist."
"I do. Let it go."
He wondered if she knew he could hear every word. It hurt him to
think that she did. She had absorbed his heightened senses once, at
least partially. She knew what he could do. Perhaps she didn't
Logan got up and left the room. No one noticed him. He went for a
walk in the snowy gardens, snow falling in his hair, catching in his
The next chapter is up at novemberotica.com