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1741Fic: The Ties That Bind 2/2 (Rogue, Bobby, Logan, others)

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  • victoria p.
    Jan 1, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Disclaimers [and god knows there were a lot of 'em] etc. in Part 1

      ***

      You don't want nothin' that anybody can touch
      You're so afraid of being somebody's fool
      Not walkin' tough baby, not walkin' cool
      You walk cool, but darlin', can you walk the line
      And face the ties that bind

      ***

      Over the next few months, Ciel and Bobby invited Rogue to hang out more and
      more, though he’d since moved on from his infatuation with Ciel and started
      dating one of the girls in his American History class.

      One day, Ciel invited Rogue to go shopping. “We never get together without
      Bobby. I adore Bobby, but listening once again to how great Karen is would
      drive me around the bend,” she confided.

      Rogue laughed. “You could have had him, but you didn’t want him.”

      “I’ve got relationship issues,” she replied.

      “Don’t we all,” Rogue said, sighing.

      “Well, you can tell me all about it at Bloomie’s.”

      They met up at Bloomingdale’s and spent a day shopping and laughing a lot.
      They decided to take in a movie, and since they had time to kill, Ciel
      suggested a trip to the Gypsy Tea Kettle, a tarot-reading place.

      “I don’t know, Ciel. It’s a little creepy, no?”

      “You live in a house with two telepaths, a guy who can’t take his glasses
      off, and a guy who’s covered in blue fur, Rogue.” Ciel apparently had no
      problems with mutants whatsoever. Rogue strongly suspected the girl was a
      mutant herself, but Ciel had never volunteered any information, and she hadn
      ’t felt comfortable asking. Rogue harbored other suspicions as well. Ciel
      was still talking. “A tarot reading is so far from creepy that I can’t
      believe you’re not gonna do it.”

      Rogue sighed. “Okay. What do I have to do?”

      “Nothing. You pay fifteen bucks, they let you shuffle the cards, they ask
      you a bunch of questions and tell you stuff that could apply to anyone.”

      “If you don’t believe in it, why do you want to do it?”

      Ciel shrugged. “It’s fun. And we’ve got time to kill. You got a better
      idea?”

      Shortly after, Rogue found herself sitting in a dingy room on the second
      floor of a building overlooking Lexington Avenue.

      The woman who read her cards had a thick Russian accent. Rogue sat at the
      little table and tried not to look startled when the woman handed her the
      cards. “Shuffle,” she said, tapping the deck. “Think about what you want to
      know.” Rogue shuffled and thought about Logan. Lately she hadn’t seen much
      of him. There’d been a spate of anti-mutant activity recently, and he, Scott
      and Ororo spent a lot of time flying around, rescuing the persecuted. There
      were more new students at the school than Rogue had ever seen in her three
      years there.

      “There’s a man, yes?” the fortune-teller asked, breaking into Rogue’s
      thoughts.

      At the next table, Ciel snorted. “There’s always a man,” she muttered. Rogue
      and both fortune-tellers glared at her. “Sorry,” she said with a smirk that
      indicated she wasn’t sorry at all.

      After their fifteen minutes were up, including the obligatory suggestion
      that they return soon for a more in-depth -- "More expensive,” Ciel
      whispered -- reading.

      They still had about an hour to kill before the seven pm show, so they went
      to grab a bite to eat at a nearby coffee shop. Ciel was in rare form,
      snarking at everyone and everything. Rogue wondered what the fortune-teller
      had told her.

      “I want a cheeseburger deluxe,” Ciel said, “and I want it rare. And a
      vanilla shake.”

      “Hon, you know we’re not allowed to serve rare hamburgers. E. coli--"

      “I’ll worry about my damn digestive tract,” Ciel snapped. “You just make
      sure my burger is bloody, okay?”

      The waitress rolled her eyes and turned to Rogue. “Grilled chicken Caesar
      salad, please,” she said demurely.

      “That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna eat?” Ciel was still annoyed. She
      fidgeted in her seat and played with the salt and pepper shakers. Then,
      “Sorry. You eat whatever you want. I’ll be quiet.”

      Rogue laughed. The other girl’s moods changed so rapidly sometimes, you
      could never be sure what kind of response you’d get. She indicated her
      gloves. “Best not to eat anything too messy in public.”

      “Oh. Yeah. I forgot about the deadly skin thing.” She shifted again. “So
      tell me about this man you’re gonna meet. Is he tall, dark and handsome?”
      she teased. “Will he take you away and make you his wife?”

      Rogue blushed. “I, he, it’s complicated. He’s a lot older than I am. He
      almost died to save my life. Twice.” Her eyes were wide and dreamy. “She
      said he’d cause me great pain, but eventually he would bring me great joy.
      That there’s a time for everything and we’ll have ours someday.”

      “You think she’d come up with some original material. ‘Joy and pain,
      sunshine and rain,’” Ciel sang softly. “And also, ‘to everything, turn,
      turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose
      under heaven.’” Then she rolled her eyes. “Generic bullshit. She told me I
      had to let go of my anger and open my heart. Embrace the past because
      without it, there is no future.”

      She stopped as the waitress placed their food on the table. “Thanks,” she
      said sweetly, her earlier snit forgotten. “Anyway,” she continued as the
      woman walked away, “I’m twenty-two years old. As sad as it is to say, I don’
      t exactly have a dark and mysterious past, you know?”

      “Are you from here?” Rogue asked.

      “New York? No, not originally.” She leaned in close and her voice dropped to
      a whisper. “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m --" she paused dramatically and Rogue
      wondered if she was finally going to reveal her mutation, “Canadian.” She
      sat back, looking smug. “Shocking, ain’t it? Not from bumfuck or Moosejaw or
      anything. I was born in Vancouver, then my mom moved to Seattle for work,
      and then we came here when I was about one. I don’t remember living anywhere
      else. I’ve got citizenship and everything. But I’ve got grandparents up
      north to prove it.” She fell silent, eating her fries contemplatively.

      “So what else did she tell you?” Rogue pressed. “Any tall, dark and handsome
      strangers in your future?”

      Ciel shrugged a shoulder. “Nah. She said family is our greatest strength and
      that a man from my past will reappear.” She took a bite of her burger and
      chewed savagely. “But except for my grandparents, I don’t have any family.
      Well,” she revised, “I have an aunt and uncle out on Long Island, who I
      lived with after my parents died, but we had a falling out. I suppose I
      should make it up with them. But they’re not technically blood relatives.”

      “How's that?”

      “Oh, my dad’s sister and her husband. My parents didn’t meet and get married
      ’til after I was born.”

      “So you never knew your real father?”

      “Sean Powell *was* my real father.” The anger in her voice shocked Rogue.
      “The bastard who knocked my mom up was nothing more than a sperm donor. He
      got her pregnant, went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. A
      turkey baster could have done the job.” She closed her eyes and took a deep
      breath. Her lips moved silently and Rogue guessed she was counting to ten.
      “Sorry. I’ve got a bit of a temper. Never quite finished the anger
      management classes.” She crossed and recrossed her legs, then, “You’re from
      down south, right?”

      Rogue nodded, swallowing a mouthful of chicken. “Yeah. I ran when my
      mutation kicked in. To Canada, strangely enough. I put the first boy I ever
      kissed into a coma for three weeks.”

      “Shit.”

      Rogue smiled sadly. “Tell me about it. But he’s alive and I found a place to
      live. I still miss my mom and dad sometimes. They were just scared, I
      think.”

      “You’re more forgiving than I am,” Ciel said, stating the obvious.

      “So if you had a chance to meet your biological father, would you take it?”
      Rogue appeared to be asking idly, but Ciel could sense her tension.

      She was vehement. “No. Why bother? Screw him. That’s what he did to us.”

      “But what if something bad happened, like he was kidnapped or something?”
      Rogue insisted. “What if he didn’t really want to leave?”

      “What is this, X-Files? He was abducted by aliens and experimented on?” Ciel
      snorted. “Rogue, please. The only thing knowing who he is would do for me
      would be to eliminate him as a dating prospect. I want nothing to do with
      the man, and he clearly wants nothing to do with me, or he wouldn’t have let
      twenty-two years pass without a word.”

      They were silent for a few minutes, but Rogue couldn’t leave it alone. “What
      does the L. stand for?”

      Ciel raised an eyebrow. “You’re awfully curious today, Rogue. What’s going
      on?” She had her own ideas where this was leading, but she wasn’t going to
      volunteer any information. Her family history -- or lack thereof, on her
      father’s side -- was nobody’s damn business.

      “Nothing. You just, you never talk about yourself.”

      “There’s really nothing to tell. The L. is for ‘Loser’.” It was Rogue’s turn
      to raise an eyebrow, and Ciel grimaced. “The sperm donor’s name. I don’t
      want to talk about it, okay?”

      Rogue decided she had pushed enough, but her suspicions were confirmed, in
      her own mind at least. Cecilia Powell was Logan’s daughter. She was sure of
      it.

      She said something to Kitty, who was home for Spring Break, a few days
      later. “Remember when we first met Ciel, I thought she looked familiar?” she
      asked.

      Kitty rolled over and opened an eye. “I don’t remember much from that night,
      Rogue, except I will never *ever* drink Wild Turkey again. My whole face was
      numb, and I phased through the toilet seat when I went to pee.”

      Rogue giggled. “You never told me that!”

      “Too embarrassing. So who does she remind you of?”

      “Logan.”

      It was Kitty’s turn to laugh. “She reminds you of *Logan*? I swear to God,
      Rogue, next you’re going to be telling me Ororo’s cat reminds you of Logan.”

      “No, seriously, think about it. Bobby says she always knows when it’s him at
      her door, before she opens it. And she drank way more than any of us that
      night, and since then we’ve gone out, and I’ve seen her drink enough to
      floor almost anyone, and yet she’s still standing -- *still able to
      drive* -- afterwards. Who else do we know who can drink like that? And she
      told me she was born in Vancouver.”

      “So? Millions of people are born in Vancouver, Rogue. It’s a big city.”

      “A big *Canadian* city. In the northwest. That’s where I met Logan. That’s
      where he woke up after the experiment. She’s *from* there. Her biological
      father went out for cigarettes one night and *never came back!*” Rogue felt
      a little guilty revealing Ceil’s secrets, but the girl hadn’t made her
      promise not to tell. “And last but not least,” Rogue played her trump card,
      “her middle initial is ‘L.’ She wouldn’t tell me what it’s for, just that it
      ’s his name. How much do you want to bet she’s Cecilia Logan Powell?”

      Kitty was still skeptical. “That could be anything, Rogue. Louis or Lawrence
      or Latrell. I think you’re jumping to conclusions. So she’s got a hard head.
      Maybe she wasn’t really drinking as much as we thought.” Rogue snorted, and
      Kitty softened. “Why don’t you invite her here, get them together and see
      what happens?”

      Suddenly Rogue backed off. “I don’t know,” she said uncomfortably. “It’s a
      little weird.”

      “Well, when you decide what to do, let me know. If nothing else, it should
      be interesting watching them drink together.”

      ***

      Rogue thought about Kitty’s suggestion and almost went to Jean to discuss
      it, but she felt bad about revealing Ciel’s secrets to Kitty. She didn’t
      want to bring anyone else into it. She decided to talk to Logan instead.

      She went to his room a few nights later. “You busy?” she asked when he
      opened the door.

      He shrugged. “Not really. What’s up?”

      She walked around the room before settling on the bed. He sat next to her,
      their legs stretched out, pressed together. She brushed nonexistent lint off
      her gloves and kicked her shoes off. He went back to his book. If she wanted
      to talk, she’d let him know.

      “You ever wonder if you have kids somewhere?” she asked.

      His head shot up. “What?” She repeated the question. “Not anymore. My life
      is here now.” With you. The words hung unspoken between them. But that
      wasn't what she wanted to know.

      “But what if you did?”

      “What ifs don’t mean jack shit, Marie. You know that. You can waste your
      whole damn life torturin’ yourself with ‘what if’ and I ain’t gonna do it
      anymore.”

      She rested her head on his shoulder. That didn’t sound promising. She
      sighed. Maybe Kitty was right. She’d have to get them in a room together and
      see what happened. Maybe Logan would remember something. Maybe Ciel had
      something that had belonged to him, or a picture of him, or, or... the
      possibilities were endless. He gave her a searching look, knowing she was up
      to something, but not quite sure what. She dropped the subject and he tried
      to forget she’d ever brought it up.

      ***

      You sit and wonder just who's gonna stop the rain
      Who'll ease the sadness, who's gonna quiet the pain
      It's a long dark highway and a thin white line
      Connecting baby, your heart to mine
      We're runnin' now but darlin' we will stand in time
      To face the ties that bind

      ***

      Eventually, spring turned to summer and Rogue didn’t have to set her plan in
      motion. Bobby did it for her. He invited Ciel up to the mansion for a
      weekend of swimming and barbecuing. She hugged the girls and John nodded at
      her, still embarrassed, until she chucked him on the shoulder and laughed.
      She shook hands with Scott. Bobby introduced her to Jean, Ororo and Hank,
      who asked, sotto voce, if she were Bobby’s new girlfriend, since Karen hadn’
      t worked out. “I don’t think so,” she replied in the same soft tone. “At
      least, he hasn’t asked me out since February.” Bobby heard and blushed.

      Xavier welcomed her and told her she didn’t have to sleep in the room with
      Kitty, Rogue and Jubilee if she preferred a room of her own, since some of
      the students, those still in touch with their families, had gone home for
      the summer.

      “Nah, it’s cool. It’s like slumber party or something,” she replied. “But
      thanks.”

      The guys looked at each other, already forming diabolical plans, while the
      girls laughed and went off to change into their bathing suits.

      Kitty wore a white bikini and Jubilee a yellow one, of course.

      Rogue smiled as Ciel came out of the bathroom in a black two-piece with a
      tank top and bikini bottoms, wrapping a red and black batik-patterned pareo
      around her waist.

      “You swim?” she asked, surprised, looking at Rogue in her black one-piece
      with the sheer material across the shoulders and midriff.

      “No, but I sunbathe.”

      “Coulda fooled me,” Ciel replied. “If I hadn’t just seen you in the sun, I’d
      have sworn you were a vampire.”

      Rogue laughed and picked an old terry cloth robe that had seen better days.

      “Here,” Ciel said, pulling the cover-up off her own waist and moving in to
      wrap it around the other girl. Rogue flinched back and Ciel said, “Take it
      easy. I’ll be careful.” She tied it like a sarong, then stood back and
      admired her handiwork. “Perfect. Much nicer than that ratty old thing.”

      Rogue whirled and looked in the mirror. “It does look nice, doesn’t it?”
      Without waiting for an answer, she continued, “Do you need flip-flops or
      something, Ciel?

      “No. I hate wearing shoes. Why am I going to put on shoes at the one place I
      ’m *supposed* to walk around barefoot?” And she was barefoot, toenails
      painted gunmetal gray.

      “That’s an interesting color choice,” Kitty said.

      “Usually they’re black,” Rogue piped up. “But she went light for summer.”

      Laughing, they made their way downstairs, stopping off in the kitchen for a
      pitcher of iced tea and some cups.

      “Damn, Scott forgot to buy paper cups again,” Jubilee muttered. “Glasses it
      is.” And they each took a tall, slim glass out to the pool.

      Rogue sat in a lounge, her pale, lethal skin covered by the sheer material
      of Ciel’s pareo. Everyone else sat far enough away that accidental touches
      were unlikely, but still close enough to include her in the conversation.

      Ciel climbed out of the pool and flopped into the chaise next to Rogue. “God
      that feels good,” she said, sipping on her iced tea. Then her nostrils
      flared and her brow furrowed. Head cocked, she breathed deeply, an
      expression of puzzlement on her face.

      Rogue didn’t notice. She was too busy staring at Logan as he strutted to the
      pool, tight jeans and white t-shirt damp with sweat and clinging to his
      muscular body. He also had that searching look on his face, as if he’d
      caught a scent that was familiar, but couldn't place it.

      “Logan!” she shouted, catching his attention and waving him over.

      She heard the glass shatter and saw the bright red of Ciel’s blood before
      the girl dropped the glass. Everyone stopped and looked.

      “That’s why there isn’t supposed to be any glass by the pool,” Kitty said.

      Ciel swung her legs off the lounge carefully and leaned down to pick up the
      broken glass. “I’ve got it, not a problem,” she said, her voice slightly
      shaky. “Everybody move along,” she continued, gathering the shards into a
      napkin. “Show’s over. Nothing to see here.” She stood up, poised to flee
      when Rogue’s gloved hand grabbed her arm.

      “You got cut.”

      “No, I didn’t.”

      “I saw the blood,” Rogue insisted.

      “And I can smell it,” Logan said quietly, from behind Ciel. She jumped,
      startled. “Who the hell are you?” His face had the same puzzled expression
      she had worn a few minutes earlier. He took the napkin from her hand and
      opened her palm. There wasn’t a mark on her. Her eyes darted rapidly as
      everyone gathered around, including the teachers who had been sitting in the
      shade of the patio.

      Rogue looked from one to the other. “Logan, this is Cecilia.”

      “The resemblance is amazing,” Jean breathed.

      They both looked at her and then at each other. He knew her scent because it
      was his. She was his. His daughter? Was this what Rogue had been talking
      about? He fervently wished he could remember; he wished it more than he ever
      had before.

      “‘Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily,’”
      he sang softly. “Do I know you?”

      She blinked and tried to pull her hand out of his grip. “No,” she said, her
      voice harsh. But she could tell, she could smell it on him; he was her
      father. It was a comforting smell, leather and motor oil and just *him*. She
      fought against the tears that flooded her eyes against her will. This was
      *not* happening. This was the dick who’d left her mother, three months
      pregnant, without a word.

      With his other hand he traced the curve of her cheek. She jerked away from
      his touch. “Let me go, you bastard.” Then suddenly, there were three bone
      claws extending from her knuckles and everyone gasped. He dropped her hand
      and she fled into the house.

      ***

      Rogue didn't get back to her room as quickly as she'd have liked. Everyone
      had questions and though she wanted to walk away, she couldn't. Finally,
      they began quizzing Bobby and let her go. Just as she put her hand on the
      doorknob, the door flew open.

      "You really are his kid," she drawled. Ciel was dressed and on her way out
      the door, backpack slung over her shoulder. "Always runnin' when things get
      tough." Ciel said nothing. Her jaw was set; she wouldn't look Rogue in the
      eye. "Don't you at least want your skirt back?" Rogue plucked at the fabric
      wrapped around her waist.

      "Keep it," Ciel said tersely. "Would you mind getting out of my way?" she
      asked when Rogue didn't move from the doorway.

      "Yes, I mind very much. What are you gonna do, hit me?"

      Ciel's eyes narrowed in a way that was shockingly familiar, but she didn't
      move. "Never been much of a fighter," she answered. "Not since Sheila
      Simonetti knocked three of my teeth out in third grade."

      Rogue blinked. "Don't tell Logan that. He'll teach you to fight if you want.
      That's what he does here -- teaches self-defense."

      "I don't want anything from him, Rogue." There were tears in her voice.

      "He's your father."

      "No!" Ciel was emphatic. "We share some DNA. That's all."

      "He doesn't remember," Rogue said desperately. "You know how you joked about
      the X-Files? Well, that's closer to the truth than you realize. He was
      kidnapped and experimented on. Those pretty bone claws you whipped out?" At
      that, Ciel put her hands behind her back. "His are covered in metal. It's
      bonded to his whole damn skeleton. He only remembers the past twenty years
      or so of his life. He didn't screw your momma over. He just didn't know."

      "And you're in love with him." It wasn't a question.

      "That's got nothing to do with you."

      "Is he in love with you?" Her tone demanded an answer.

      "I, I don't know. It doesn't matter, Ciel. Give him a chance. He's a good
      man, and he's your *father*."

      "I already told you, I had a father. He died with my mother in a car
      accident seven years ago. I was fifteen. I walked away without a scratch. Do
      you understand what I'm telling you? I don't even want what I've already got
      from him." The claws popped out again. "Do you see this? Do you know how
      much it hurts, *every time*?"

      "I do." Logan stood behind Rogue in the hallway. "Marie, can you give us a
      minute?"

      She put a hand on his arm and walked away.

      He looked at her, really looked at her. She had his eyes, and maybe his
      cheekbones. Definitely his temper, and, apparently, the claws.

      He unsheathed his and she gasped. “I didn’t know they were natural,” he
      said, “until just now.”

      She reached out a hand and grabbed his wrist, turning it so she could look
      more closely at the metal. She ran a finger along the sharp edge and he
      didn't stop her. He knew she would heal up quick. “Somebody did this to
      you?”

      He let out a snort. “You don’t think I asked for it, do ya, darlin’?”

      “Don’t call me that.”

      “I call everybody that. It don’t mean nothin’, Cecilia.” He laughed. “I
      always did love that damn song. Never could understand why.”

      “Well, that’s nice, but I’ve got to get going.” She didn’t want to know him,
      didn’t want to give up the anger. He understood and moved out of her way.

      When she was halfway down the hall he said, “I don’t remember, but I wish I
      did. It’s all so hazy.” He began to sing hoarsely, “ ‘Well, now I’m no hero,
      that’s understood. But what redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this
      dirty hood,’” she stopped and turned as he continued, “‘with a chance to
      make it good somehow. Well, what else can we do now but say, roll down the
      window and let the wind blow back your hair.’” She was crying and singing
      softly with him, “‘The night’s busted open; these two lanes will take us
      anywhere. We got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on
      some wheels, climb in back, heaven’s waiting down on the track.’”

      “My mother said you always used to sing that to her.”

      He shrugged. “I’m sorry. I don’t remember. Just, something about your face,
      your scent, it makes me think of ‘Thunder Road.’ Can’t beat the Boss.” He
      walked to her and awkwardly put a hand on her shoulder. This was the real
      deal, and he didn’t want to screw it up. They sat down on the steps
      together.

      “I don’t expect, I’m not-- shit,” he said. “I don’t know what I want to say.
      I understand to you I’m just some asshole who screwed over your mother. And
      maybe that’s all I’ll ever be. But I think I’d like to get to know you. I
      mean, *damn*, you’re my daughter.” He let out a long low whistle. “I have a
      daughter.” She wiped her nose on the back of her hand and he sniffed a
      little himself. “And you’re in college?”

      “Grad school.”

      Another whistle. “Smart girl. Must take after your mother.”

      “That’s what she always said.”

      He laughed. “What’re you studyin’?”

      “Forensics. Gonna be a crime scene investigator. Make these damn senses you
      stuck me with useful.”

      “Marie says you deejay.”

      “Is she your girlfriend?”

      “No.” Pause. “Would it bother you if she were?”

      “No.” Then, “Maybe. She’s almost three years younger than I am. Weird.”

      “You ain’t even scratched the surface of weird, here at geek heaven,” he
      replied, getting up and cracking his neck.

      “Precious moment over, huh?”

      “Let’s leave that crap for the women, okay?” he said.

      “I am a woman.”

      “Oh yeah. I forgot. You’re not all girly. Do you like hockey?”

      “Rangers fan from way back.”

      “They’re never gonna win another Cup. You know that, right?”

      “They have just as much a shot as anyone. It ain’t like Pittsburgh’s so
      tough this year...”

      They walked down the hall together, chatting. He might not remember, and she
      might still be angry, but there was an undeniable bond between them already.

      It was a start.

      ***

      Now you can't break the ties that bind
      You can't forsake the ties that bind

      ***

      End

      One last note: Just so's ya know -- I don't approve of the whole bone claws
      business. I think it's a stupid retcon and I don't even read the comics. But
      it adds drama, so I used it.

      Also, I don't condone underage drinking, but I did a lot of it while I was
      in college.