Title: Seasons of Growth
Chapter 20: That Sweet Dress
Author: November Tuesday
Summary: "When you walked in everyone turned to stare at you,
including Mr.Tall Dark and Hairy who hasn't blinked since."
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: is the meaning of life.
"I want you hard in my arms,
So soft on my bed.
You got the key to my heart
Oh when you wear that sweet dress..."
Marie sat in her vanity in her underwear. She put on berry red
lipstick, blotted it with a tissue. Her lips were lush, almost
obscene. She dusted on shimmering eye shadow.
She thought about the attention she was giving her appearance and
blushed. She was glad that Jubilee wasn't around to see her. The
teasing would never stop.
The Xavier School Christmas Party was an annual affair. Everyone who
didn't have a place to be over the holiday break, staff and students
alike, attended. In addition Xavier invited many of his closest
friends from outside the school, so the party was always an
interesting mix of young and old. Every guest, however old, received
a gift from Xavier, and by evening on Christmas eve, the huge Douglas
fir that dominated one end of the ballroom was shimmering with
decorations and surrounded by a pile of gifts several feet high.
Maggie was sitting in front of the TV watching The Grinch raptly,
hair curled angelically and tied back in a gold bow. Her gold dress
hung on the door, pressed and ready to wear. Rogue had the sense to
wait until the last minute to dress her.
Rogue started removing the hot rollers from her hair. Each lock of
hair came out curling softly. She shook her hair out upside down and
then misted it lightly with a hairspray. While her hair wasn't big,
at least not by the standards of a southern girl, it was curly and
soft looking and still somewhat natural. The while streaks added
interesting definition to the loose curls.
She stood up in her bra and panties and slid into her dress, a gauzy
pale pink cocktail dress. She added the rose quartz choker that Kitty
had given her on her last birthday.
"You look pretty, momma."
"Thank you sugar. We're gonna be going in a few minutes."
She buckled her silvery strappy shoes. Checked out the low back of
the dress in the mirror. The taut strong muscles of her body were a
perfect counterpoint to the softness of her dress.
She marveled at her appearance. She looked glamorous, like a model.
What would Logan think when he got an eyeful of her like this?
Excitement tingled slowly up her spine.
Because Maggie tripped and skinned her knee, they were fashionably
late. The party was in full swing, with champagne and hors d'oeuvres
circulating. The windows were all trimmed with fresh greens and
candles and Nat King Cole was playing. Every head in the room turned
to look at her. She whispered something to Maggie who went over to
the professor with a small gold-wrapped gift.
"She looks like an angel," Jean whispered from behind her. Rogue
grinned. She was unaware of Logan, who was standing at the other end
of the room. He was staring at her with a wanting so strong that
everyone who saw him had to look away.
"Merry Christmas, Jeannie."
"You too, Rogue. Tonight is certainly going to be interesting."
"Because when you walked in everyone in the room turned to stare at
you, including Mr. Tall Dark and Hairy over there who hasn't blinked
She glanced in the direction Jean indicated, and saw Logan standing
by the fireplace with a drink in his hand and lust in his eyes. She
blinked when she saw his concession to formal wear - black pants and
vest over a blue silky top. He looked solid and fine and-
"Rogue, care to dance?"
Bobby also looked dashing in his suit. "I'd love to sugar," she
handed her evening bag to Jean and took his hand.
Four partners (Bobby, Carter, Hank and Scott) and five dances later,
Rogue was somewhat thirsty and ready for a break. She had glanced
several times in Logan's direction and every time his eyes were on
her, not with the jealous fury she'd have expected, but with a quiet,
waiting, open sort of gaze that was still full of longing.
She wasn't actively trying to make Logan jealous but she was enjoying
the attention. For a beautiful woman who had needed to shield the
world from her skin for so long, she felt entitled to join the human
She drank a whole glass of punch down and went over to the
professor's table. He was wearing a tuxedo with a Santa hat. Only
those who didn't know him could say that the man had no sense of
"Good evening Rogue. You look stunning this evening."
"Thank you, you look kinda dashing yourself. Love the hat."
"Did Maggie give you our gift?"
"Yes, she did, and they're wonderful. In fact I put them on right
away." He lifted his tailored sleeve so she could see the X-shaped
"I'm glad you like them. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you Rogue. You`re the belle of the ball, I
"Stop." she was flustered.
"One certain X-man in particular can't keep his eyes off of you." His
eyes were twinkling.
Rogue bristled. "Well, that's his problem, isn't it?"
"Oh, I don't know about that. He's coming over here right now."
"You're an evil man, Chuck." She said incredulously.
Xavier laughed loudly. Rogue quickly walked away to avoid Logan,
glaring at the professor over her shoulder. She was irritated.
Everyone was pushing her at Logan - Jean, the professor, even Scott.
It was the last thing she had expected and it was just as annoying as
when they treated her like a child.
Rogue went to sit next to Carter. "Why are you so pissed?"
"I'll tell you later."
"That guy keeps staring at you."
"Goddamnit, I feel like I'm in a fucking fishbowl. If one more person
pushes me at him I'm gonna go postal."
"Who is he?" He had returned a few days ago from his great aunt's in
Des Moines. He hadn't been there when Logan came back.
"You don't know? That's Logan, the Wolverine."
"Ohh," he said, things clicking into place. "Isn't he the one you've
been in love with for like, years?"
"No! Shut up!" she hissed. A few of Xavier's friends turned to look
at her. "Keep your damn voice down, Carter!" The southern accent was
Just as quickly, her anger abated. "I'm sorry, sug. Yes, I have
been... I dunno. Have sort of had a thing for him. But right now I'm
pissed. I'll explain later."
"Okay. I'm sorry."
"Oh, sweetie, don't apologize to me. I'm the one who was being a
Maggie came up to Rogue. "Hey Blue. Where'd you get that candy cane?"
"Over there. Are there gonna be presents?"
"In a little while." Rogue ran her fingers through Maggie's hair.
"Can I go watch the Grinch with Alexis and Tyler?"
"Sure, honey." Maggie walked into the adjoining TV room.
Suddenly, Logan was in front of her. Dammnit, how does he do that?
"Hi." She glanced up at him. He looked so damn good. His hair was
brushed out long and silky, catching the lights, his face had just a
hint of stubble. The blue silk shirt he wore was soft in contrast
with his suede vest. The pants that he wore clung to his legs,
showing off the tight muscles.
It was his eyes, though, that stunned her. They were so open, so
needing, so gentle. She could see his naked soul and it was so full
of emotion. It blindsided her.
She hated herself for not having the heart to shoot him down. "Okay."
She followed him to the dance floor and the fact that she would soon
be dancing next to him, in his arms, made her spine hum with a tingle
of fear. She could feel every eye in the room on them as he put his
hand on her waist and she rested her hand on his shoulder. She glared
at Storm and Scott, thought ~Stop fuckin' staring at me!~ to Jean.
Jean merely grinned evilly. Rogue used the hand resting on Logan's
shoulder to discreetly flip her the bird.
He could actually dance. He held her a respectful distance away from
him but his hand was spread somewhat possessively at the small of her
back, just below where her dress ended and her skin began, and his
eyes kept meeting and darting away from hers. She could tell how much
he wanted her.
"You done with your finals for the year, huh?"
"Yeah. I'll be a junior next semester."
"You're so grown up," he smiled softly. She wondered how many people
had seen him smile that way in the last twenty years.
"Yeah, well. Are you settling in okay?" she asked, eager to get the
attention off of her. All the eyes on them were crushing her.
"Yeah, I am. I'm getting ready for my class."
"How many days a week?"
"That's gonna be a cool class."
"You're quite the ass kicker, Kid. I fought your sim in the danger
room last night."
"That so old man?" she smiled. "Who won?" Her eyes glittered
"No one. I was interrupted."
"What a shame."
"Also, Scott and I are teaching the intermediate self-defense class."
"You and Scott are teaching together?" She stopped dancing for a
"Yeah, I know, who'd have thought?"
"Well I wish you the best of luck in not killing him."
He laughed and she thought that he was so beautiful that it
hurt. "Naw." He said, and met her eyes. "I'll be good."
She forced herself to look away, smiling weakly.
"So how long have you had your little girl?"
"Year and a half."
"She seems like a neat kid."
Rogue smiled the first pure smile he'd seen since she
returned. "She's the best."
He was quiet. After a few seconds of dancing quietly she looked back
up at Logan. His eyes were intense on her and she felt as if a
powerful light was shining down upon her. She looked away, unable to
withstand his scrutiny for more than a few seconds. He was holding
her a bit closer. The song was ending.
"You're beautiful," he whispered. She could feel his breath on her
ear and the intensity of his desire. The sound of his voice made her
feel flushed and restless.
She reared her head up and looked at him, disturbed and naked,
hurting and reeling and speechless. She felt the urge to say
something, anything, but it was too much like her wildest dreams to
comprehend. But she was afraid to say anything, to give him anything,
because she feared what he could do to her heart. And it was just as
well, because she was speechless.
Finally she looked away and said "Thanks. That's kind of you." She
knew that it would hurt him, because kindness had nothing to do with
it. The guitar of a fast song was playing and immediately she
recognized Bono's voice "It's Christmas... Baby please come home..."
and he felt her tense completely. Then she pulled away.
"I gotta go."
She saw the hurt in his eyes and she felt the tears begin in her own.
He pulled her close. "Marie, please, I didn't mean to say the wrong
thing, I'm sorry."
"No, no that's not it. You didn't say the wrong thing. I just - I've
got to get out of here."
She broke away from him and walked out of the room to the crescendo
She took the elevator down to the lab levels. It was the only place
where no one would go. She went into a stairwell and sat and let the
sobs take over.
She thought of those Christmases and all the anger and betrayal was
so real. Each year had been a Christmas in which the holiday came and
went without a card, a letter, a call. Now he was here, and so real,
she just had no place to put the pain. And she wasn't ready to let go
of it just yet.
She returned to the party a half hour later. Logan was standing by
the fireplace with a drink in his hand talking to Hank. He watched
her with hurt and concern in his eyes. She didn't look at him.
Rogue walked to the bar and downed a glass of champagne. She didn't
drink often and the alcohol warmth smoothed her rough edges, fell
heavily and warmly down her throat.
It was time for presents. Jean, Scott, and Xavier helped hand them
out. Rogue sat on a sofa next to Carter with Maggie on her lap.
"Every year we have a tradition, and we start with the youngest,
first. So this present is for Miss Maggie D'Ancato." The small gift
floated over to Maggie. She squealed and squirmed and nearly tore
"Say thank you," Rogue whispered.
"You're welcome, Maggie."
Logan looked at Rogue and Maggie. Rogue was aglow. He could see that
her eyes were a bit red and smell that she had been crying, but now
the smile on her face was radiant, full of love. He felt a stirring
of some kind of pain within him. He couldn't remember his own mother.
At the same time, seeing her so happy gave him a vicarious joy he had
never known. And oh, what he wouldn't give to have her look at him
He looked around and tried to reign in his feelings. There were
telepaths and he didn't really care to be projecting his thoughts at
Everyone was opening gifts, including Xavier. "Logan." Scott said. He
handed him a rectangular red-wrapped gift. The card said "To Logan
from Charles." He looked at it, somewhat shocked. He had never in his
life received a Christmas present. At least during the part of his
life he could recall.
He slowly peeled off the card and opened it. It was written in
Xavier's slanting hand "We're so glad to have you back. I don't know
why, but I think you'll really like this. Merry Christmas, X."
He gingerly opened the gift. It was a book, a big color-illustrated
coffee table book called The Art of War. It was full of paintings
with martial arts themes. Xavier had been right, he did like it. He
He wondered if Xavier knew about the painting. Something told him
that he didn't, at least not on a conscious level. Maybe, however, he
had put two and two together on a subconscious level.
He looked at the dwindling pile of presents under the tree. Scott was
picking one of them up now.
"This one says `to Rogue,' but not who it's from."
It was a long flat box, the kind ties came in. It was wrapped in
silver paper and tied with a striking violet ribbon. She looked
In the box was a pair of black silk opera gloves. They were
embroidered exquisitely in every color of the rainbow. She gasped and
pulled them out. There was a note lying between them.
I got these for you in Alaska. There was a one-eyed pipe-smoking
Eskimo woman who was sewing these amazing things and I bought them
about three years ago. That was before I knew you could touch, but I
hope you like them anyway. Logan.
She looked up and saw him staring at her. "Thank you," she mouthed,
and smiled a tiny, tight, sad smile.
"Here's another one for Maggie," Jean said, handing a box to Rogue.
It was wrapped in the same silver paper, with the same vibrant violet
ribbon. Rogue glanced up at Logan. He was leafing through his book.
Maggie tore open the paper and opened the box. She pulled out a plush
stuffed horse, purple, with soft glittering white wings.
"Pretty! Look Momma."
Marie gasped. "Wow, Blue, he's gorgeous."
"I like him."
"He's beautiful. A horse with wings is called Pegasus."
"This one's called Winnie the Pooh."
Marie laughed. "Okay, Winnie the Pooh. Does it say who it's from?"
"See that man over there with the blue shirt?"
"Why don't you go over and thank him?"
Rogue watched as Maggie walked over to Logan, hugging the horse, one
of its wings sticking up between her head and shoulder.
She tapped him on the knee and he looked up. He blinked, a bit
surprised to see her. He was getting soft in his old age, or maybe
her childish scent was disarming.
"Thank you for the horse."
"I'm gonna call him Winnie the Pooh."
"Isn't Winnie the Pooh a yellow bear?" Logan wondered how the hell he
"Yeah but this horse is Winnie the Pooh too."
"Oh." Logan was panicked, having no idea what to say to a child, but
then he realized that interacting with children was easier than with
adults. They were more honest, more primitive.
"Well I'm glad you like him."
"I like him. He's pretty and sparkly. Where did you come from?" He
noticed that Rogue had stood up and was walking over to him. Oh, god,
her legs in that dress, those hot little shoes-
He turned his attention back to Maggie. "Up North, where it's cold
and snows all the time."
Maggie grinned suddenly. "Did you see Santa?"
"Well - yeah, I did." He leaned conspiratorially down toward her.
"Yeah, one night I was in this bar... near the North Pole, and Santa
was there." Rogue stood there behind Maggie, smiling.
"And actually, now that I think about it, he did mention that he was
gonna come to Westchester and bring a bunch of presents for this
little girl named Maggie."
Maggie giggled, knowing that he was pulling her leg. Rogue watched
this interchange, simultaneously horrified that Logan was charming
Maggie so easily, and amused at the idea of him in a bar hanging out
"Maggie, did you thank Logan for the horse?"
"Thank you. The gloves are gorgeous."
"Glad you like them," he said. The simplicity of his words contrasted
with the complexity of emotion in his eyes.
Rogue was exhausted.
"Ok, Mags, it's time for bed."
"I don't wanna."
"You've gotta sleep so Santa can come." Marie picked her up. This
caused her dress to ride up a bit and Logan blinked, forced himself
to look away.
"Night, kid. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," Maggie said.
"Night, Logan." Marie said. He tried not to watch her walk away. He
The next chapter is up at novemberotica.com