2913FIC: Touch and Other Unnatural Phenomenon: 2/?: NC-17: Rogue, L/R, others
- May 26, 2001Title: Touch and Other Unnatural Phenomenon 2/?
Series: Sequel to Instinct
Author: jenn (jenn@...)
Codes: Rogue, Logan/Rogue, others
Rating: NC-17, light humor
Summary: The first four months with a new baby and other scary and
Author Notes: Instinct didn't really need a sequel and I never seriously
thought of writing one. But my darling Sare weeks ago wanted a pick-me-up
and I'm SUCH a sucker for her being cute and writing Liquid!Sex (go ahead,
ask. <g>). Foof. Serious foof in saccharine quantities, with tiny bits
of angst sprinkled through to make a good mix. Think stew.
Dedication: Sare for the beta, Beth, Ally, and Ann, for support, Molly for
everything she wrote that reminds me of just how wonderful L/R can be
(specially the latest that I haven't feedbacked yet, sorry). Thanks.
Archiving: Feel free, just tell me where.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, just play with them. They're always
returned in the same condition I found them in--though probably tired out.
Sorry 'bout that.
Feedback: With soda, accepted happily
One month after James was born, my parents reappeared in my life.
Now, I won't say that they have an instinct for grandchildren--but does
anyone besides me find it all too convenient that, after four years of
silence broken only by highly stilted biannual phone conversations and the
occasional curious question as to if I was 'cured' yet, they show up a
*month* after my son was born?
The last time I'd talked to them had been well before I became pregnant--I
think that backs up my grandchild-instinct theory pretty damn well. I was
in the garden with Logan and James and glanced up--and there they were.
Ten feet away, the Professor just behind them.
Four hundred and forty four thoughts chased through my head all at once and
I couldn't settle on a single one. Shit, I wasn't ready for this.
Years of memories flooded me with that voice, heard live and in full color,
so to speak, for the first time in years. My mother's voice in the hall,
arguing with my father what they were going to do about me--night after
night while I curled up in my bed under layers of blankets and a half a
dozen pajamas and shirts and sweaters and gloves, wishing I could just die.
I took a breath, trying to think of something to say--anything,
really--when Logan looked up from another long contemplation of James'
endlessly interesting characteristics (infant growling, kicking his feet,
gas, things Logan finds amazingly absorbing entertainment. Double hmm).
Caught the unfamiliar sounds and scents of approaching people, tensed
automatically beside me.
Still in mission-mode. Not a good start.
It took him less than a second to identify them--I looked a lot like my
mother. Hazel eyes narrowed for a moment as he took their measure,
instinctively evaluating them for potential threat. I could have told him
my physical well-being wasn't the issue--my emotional, however, was falling
to pieces around me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, my voice just a little too high to
really be anywhere near being mistaken for casual and my body, all of its
own accord, began to press backwards. Logan's hand closed over my thigh
before I could fall over him and James trying to retreat, and both my
parents froze as they came from behind the wealth of bushes and flowers to
get an unimpeded view. Which, granted, had to be just a little surreal,
since Logan had just returned from a mission and was still in his uniform
pants and boots, though the top was hanging over a convenient bush. Large,
slightly growly, sweaty, hairy male in a t-shirt and leather pants playing
with a one month old--yeah, okay, so I could see their point. I'd even
taken a picture and the camera was beside my leg.
Ah, those Kodak moments.
My father frowned at Logan, at the gloved hand that still rested on my leg.
Just like old Dad, focus on the small and insignificant to play down the
significant. Why on earth would it matter if there was someone touching
"Who the hell are you?"
Under normal circumstances, this would have degenerated quickly. But James
sighed and gurgled something (gas again?), instantly reminding Logan of his
presence. With a glance at me, he slowly sat back and waited for me to
handle it. Stand-by rather than full alert, so to speak.
This could have been one of those times I wouldn't have minded if Logan
handled it for me. Being a grown-up and equal and all that crap really
"Hi, Mom, Dad." Thinking, I'm married, this is my husband and son, why the
hell are you here, the biannual phone call really was plenty of contact,
thank you very much. The Professor had always thought I should mend my
fences--Logan was against that, and I understood his reasoning completely.
He'd never forgiven them for throwing me out on my own. This attitude was
formed long before we became 'we', the very first time the Professor
mentioned that I might be interested in re-establishing connection a few
weeks before my eighteenth birthday, when his one letter to my parents (by
my consent, in case they still cared I was alive) was answered.
The Professor thought I should try and mend the fences, placing the
envelope before me like a talisman, proof of my former life, of
possibilities I'd given up on.
It was one of the few times Logan actually went flat against the
Professor's recommendation and meant it. I'd seen them argue before, of
course, over all manner of silly and not-so-silly things. From the
mundane, such as whether or not I should live at home or get my own
apartment in the city when I started college (Logan--home, security, fewer
idiots, better food; Prof--apartment, independence, experience, closer to
school) to the theoretical (my first mission, Logan insisted on going on as
my mentor and basically watchdog; the Prof wanted to send Scott).
Never before or since, however, had it been a non-negotiable,
no-talk-it-through-for-an-acceptable-compromise--the Professor would *not*
tell my parents where I was until the second I was ready. Not an address
or a phone number, not a way to trace me or find me. His words, verbatim.
Simple result of breaking that was a Marie-and-Logan disappearing act for
keeps, and the Professor understood that wasn't a threat at all. That was
a completely sincere promise.
I'd sat in the big easy chair in the corner while they hashed it out and
nodded along, and Logan took me out for ice cream and asked me for the
first time what happened during the months I was on the road before finding
him. And for the first time, I wanted to tell.
After I finished high school and in my first year of college, I used a
campus phone to call them, using the number the Professor had given me,
eyes shut against the noon sun and hunched into the booth, my heart beating
so hard it was a toss-up as to whether I'd be able to hear anyone's voice
if the phone picked up. My mother answered and for some reason, I'd almost
started to cry.
I was getting that feeling again.
"Fuck," Logan murmured, eyes flicking to me briefly. So Logan had no
enthusiasm for seeing my parents show up. The softest of warning growls,
the hand on my thigh tightening briefly, before he gave me a long look that
said more than anything he could have told me that it was my decision.
But he'd never forgive. Never. Doubly so with James now laying inches
away, proof of what parenthood was to him. He'd kill and die for James
without even a thought. He didn't understand, couldn't understand.
And looking down at James, neither could I.
"Marie." My mother's voice was soft, and her eyes went back down to the
James--I followed her gaze and saw Logan tickling James' stomach while he
waved tiny hands in the air, growling cheerfully.
My father was still looking at Logan. I reached down, covering Logan's
hand with mine. Took a long breath. I could do this. I wasn't sixteen
"Why are you here?"
They were staring at Logan touching me--couldn't imagine anyone wanting to,
not with what I was. I could read it in their eyes.
"You--you're cured?" Edged with hope, with happiness lighting their eyes,
maybe their daughter was finally normal, maybe they could finally admit
they had a daughter, maybe she wasn't a freak of nature--*fuck*.
It hurt to see that light die.
I wanted to say--look, see, I'm not so terrible, not so horrible, am I?
Screw you for not wanting me, he did, they did, everyone else here did.
But a breath, a moment to recenter myself, and I was back in control.
James reached up tiny hands towards me, and I leaned down, carefully
supporting his head as I picked him up, remembering Logan showing me the
illustrated guide to baby care that described--in detail--the proper way to
hold an infant.
I needed those memories to remind myself who I was now.
"He's tired," I said softly--maybe my parents heard or not, it didn't
matter. The silky-soft cheek was pressed against mine, and the wide blue
eyes were crinkling closed as I rocked him. Curling a hand under him to
rub the small of his back, I shut my eyes tight and tried to think.
I didn't want James here for this, that was for certain. No way on this
side of hell.
Jean's sensitivity to emotion was perhaps what brought her out--or maybe
the Professor gave her a heads-up and Jean's perceptive as hell anyway. I
could only be mutely grateful. Taking the edge of the blanket, I curled it
around my hand so I wouldn't brush her accidentally and Logan helped me
stand up. Gently, Jean took James and cradled him close, eyes fixed on
"He's sleeping," I told her unnecessarily. She nodded, feeling everything
I couldn't say, understanding.
"I'll lay him down with Nathan." A glance at my parents, then a slightly
raised brow, before pulling the blanket over James' eyes so the sun
wouldn't wake him during their walk. With another smile, she left the
garden as quietly as she had come.
My mother's eyes followed her, and there was something in them that made
the knife twist a little deeper.
She wanted her grandson.
Somewhere in me, I was sixteen and unwanted and tossed out of my home,
because I was no daughter of theirs. Shit.
"What do you want?" I asked firmly, and Logan's gloved fingers laced
through mine, silent support for whatever I chose to do--though I got the
distinct impression that if I wanted to throw them out he'd cheerfully hold
open the gate. Taking a breath, I thought again--hard.
The question might very well be, what do *I* want? Damned if I had an
"We--we wanted to see you, sugar." I shivered at the endearment.
Flat silence--I supposed they remembered my note on the bedside table, the
hasty, wet scrawl of a cross between a good-bye and raw rage translated to
paper, the name signed at the bottom. I looked between them, trying to
read them, define their motivations, something--but my brain was shut down,
too shocked, too angry, too afraid. I couldn't do this now. I simply
couldn't. And call it weakness or childishness or anything you want, but I
wasn't ready--I needed time. Logan knew it, felt it in the grip of my
fingers and turned us both so my back was to them, touching my face
"You don't have to do this." Voice soft, pitched for me alone. I shut my
eyes, leaning briefly against his shoulder. God, he understood. "You
don't need to do this. You can walk away."
There's nothing on earth like your unwanted past coming back to haunt you.
Nothing. Staring up at Logan, at a man who wanted his past so badly it
kept him up at night--it couldn't have been easy to say that. But he
believed it. For me.
"Marie--" My father, and my eyes burned--oh God, I was going to cry. Too
much. No, not here, not in front of them, I couldn't do that, I didn't
want to do that. Logan's hand dropped from my face, resting on my hip for
a moment, looking down at me for a long moment. Then the slightest nod,
before he lifted his head.
"Tomorrow." Flat voice, no compromise. "You wanna stay until then, talk
to the Professor." And he took the decision out of my hands and turned us
both toward the garden gate.
"Who the hell are you to speak for her?"
Logan turned briefly, and I'd never heard him sound like that before this
moment--not when he went against Magneto, Sabretooth or Mystique or any
anti-mutant idiot. No one.
Carefully, I opened the door, peering inside, waiting for my vision to
adjust to the lack of light.
Shit. Logan was asleep.
Now, given, the danger of actually being impaled had diminished over time.
Logan had taken in my scent for long enough that his unconscious mind never
interpreted me as a threat, even during the worst of his nightmares that I
woke him from. When I went to sleep right beside him, that is.
Things got trickier when he went to sleep and I wasn't there at the time.
Not that anything like mortal wounding had ever happened--but the danger
factor was still around. And James *wasn't* in the room, which meant my
restless little darling was quite asleep. So getting Logan up was going to
be difficult. I couldn't just yell--I had to be sneaky.
Logan slept lightly, most of the time. But the last months since James'
birth (not to mention the utterly tension-filled three months beforehand),
had worn down even his energy level, and he was likely to sleep harder now
than before. On the upside, he rarely had nightmares when he was truly
exhausted. A nice boon we'd noted early on in our relationship--a lot of
sex before sleeping also seemed to have a positive effect on his sleep
On the downside, it might take some serious planning to get him awake
without rousing James, the school, or most of the state of New York.
That's okay--I'm an X-Man. I can plan.
First things first--shower. I had Sabreblood on me, not exactly prime
Logan-arousal scent--at least, not the kind of arousal I was going for.
There was also the off-chance that the sounds of the shower would wake him
up. Good to go. I stripped my boots at the door, pulling off my top and
pants as I walked, then my socks, putting them all in the laundry bag in
the bathroom and flipping on the hot water.
Bra next (what, you think I grabbed panties before I left? Ha.), then
stepped inside and grabbed the nearest bottle of shower gel. Melon.
A quick scrub, and since I was in the shower anyway (and on the off-chance
Toad-vomit- scent clung), I washed my hair, then quickly rinsed off and
climbed out, grabbing a towel from the rack and drying myself as I emerged
from the bathroom, pulling my hair up in it when I was done. No more
Sabreblood or sweat or Toad-vomit (ick, yes, but GOD it was fun to watch
him squirm!) or anything else, just me.
And no Logan awake, pantingly eager to resume Sex Night. Damn.
Now for my equipment of seduction. Not that technically I needed it--four
months, for God's sake, he'd gotten seriously turned on watching me try on
shoes earlier that week--but I was all for making marriage full of the
unexpected. Bustier first--nice, left an inch of skin exposed between it's
edge and the tights. Check. Black reinforced silk tights. Check. Black
gloves. Check. One box of condoms--check--hmmm, better make it two.
Black heels. Oh yes, check. New black scarf, wrapped around throat
He was going to like this. I just had to wake him up enough to enjoy it.
Or at least enough so I could enjoy it.
As I walked out of the closet, I took in the sight of my sleeping lover.
He looked so much like James when he slept. Same crinkled eyes, flat on
his back, bonelessly relaxed in deep sleep. He's the only person I'd ever
met who still could sleep like that.
Note--don't think of son while trying to decide best way to waken husband
for Great Sex.
Carefully, I drew the blanket away. Grinned when I noted he'd gone to bed
naked. Good man. Very good man. Very convenient too.
Slowly, I pulled off my scarf.
Even a feral sleeping Logan couldn't consider oral sex a threat.
Logan had strong opinions on what to do about the parent situation. Very
strong. Perhaps even edging into adamant, without compromise or recourse.
Such a surprise.
"Tell them to leave."
I shut my eyes, laying back on the bed, drumming my heels against the
frame, staring up at the elegantly tiled ceiling for inspiration. This
wasn't going to be easy.
"It's not that simple, sugar--"
"It *is* that simple." He was pacing--and God, he was actually jerking
when he moved. Beyond angry. Beyond pissed. Beyond anything I'd ever
seen in him--and I sat up to watch him, fascinated despite myself.
"Logan, they're my parents. I can't--"
"They abandoned you." Flat condemnation. Nothing else needed.
"They threw you out--shit, baby, you could have died out there and who the
hell would have known? Eight fucking months alone--you were barely sixteen
and you weren't--"
He turned to look at me. mouth set.
"I don't want them near you, near our son, period. That's it, Marie.
That's the short version."
I didn't even want to hear the long. Logan has a fabulous memory--give him
a few hours, I could probably hear the entire re-telling of my life to this
point and every single situation I had been injured in or could have died
in marked out with special attention to circumstances and ways it could
have been avoided.
"I didn't die."
"You could have." Arguing this was going to be pointless, I could already
"Logan, I'm not saying I want them at Christmas or to visit regularly or
Shit. This wasn't going to work, and why the hell couldn't he listen to
"You don't control me."
Oh dear *God*, that was the wrong thing to say. That was *so* the wrong
thing to say, so much so that I knew the second the words escaped my mouth
that this was jumping to worse. He turned on me, dropping onto the desk in
a single motion, and the hazel eyes fixed on mine with an intensity that
He'd never looked at me like that before.
"I've never tried to. Ever." Eerily quiet, controlled. Pre-rage. When
he was doing his ultra-control thing, when somewhere in his head he was
carefully chanting his mantra before he became seriously destructive. When
Wolverine would make an unscheduled appearance and pretty much end anything
resembling rational conversation.
"I know--" Appeasement--
"I've never tried to run your life. I've never tried to force you into
anything you didn't want to do."
--was not going to work.
"I never thought I had the right to decide what the fuck you do with your
life. I never even fucking tried."
Logan had never seemed particularly sensitive either about the age
difference or the fact that he was, for all intents and purposes, my
protector long before he was anything else (the Mansion's efforts
notwithstanding). A good thing or our relationship might have had some
serious issues along the way.
But it *was* a sensitive spot, apparently, and hell, I'd never even
guessed. Yay for me, I'd managed to screw with his head on top of him
having to see the two people he blamed for the fact that I currently hosted
two extra personalities in my head. Great. Just great. Real good, I was
going to end up in divorce court the way I was going here.
"Logan, I know that. I've always known that. I'm sorry--that came out
wrong." I stood up, shakily crossing the room before gingerly sitting down
on his lap. A pause, then he slid his arms around me, pulling me
--my parents had reminded him how many times he'd almost lost me. Shit.
I'd managed to really wreck things.
"But this time is different, Marie. This isn't just you either--you bring
me and James along on this one."
I sighed, turning my head into his shoulder, trying to pull something
together. Because, and this was the kicker, Logan *was* a parent, so he
saw things from that point of view and couldn't understand. But he didn't
*have* parents, he couldn't remember being anyone's son. The whole concept
was foreign to him.
"Logan, I want you to listen. If--" I took a breath, let it out, making up
my mind. "If you feel the same after I'm done, I'll do what you want,
okay? I'll tell the Professor to send them away and I'll never contact
He tensed beneath me briefly, weighing the options in his head, then
relaxed, stroking my hair back.
A pause, while I gathered my thoughts. Then I sat up, resting a hand on
his shoulder, meeting his eyes. He needed to see this as well as feel it.
"What they did is unforgivable. I know. I can't--can't forgive them
either, not yet. Maybe not ever. Not completely. Not--not for keeps.
But--" I took a breath, thinking of James. "They're still my parents. I'm
not--I'm not saying that they should be around all the time, or that we
visit weekly, or phone calls every day. I can't handle that, not from them.
But this is part of my past, sugar--I can't turn away from that and think
I'm doing the right thing. They--they get tomorrow, okay? I'll go alone--"
Oh. Not alone. Okay.
"With you, just me and you and them. That's it. They can talk. And I
can--I can think about what they say after, okay? Give me time to think
about them, what they want to say, if they're--"
"If they're sorry for almost getting you killed a few times?"
I bit my lip.
I needed this. God, I wished they hadn't come, that they hadn't suddenly
decided that this was the moment they needed to reappear in my life after a
good MIA stretch. But they *were* here. He had to understand how
important the past could be. He had to.
"I need to know why. Why me being a mutant made them hate me. Wh-what was
so wrong with me, that it was enough that--if--if being a mutant was all it
took to hate me so much." I drew in a breath--even to my own ears, my
voice was getting shaky. "Wh-wh-why they stopped loving me, so I know what
Funniest thing, until that moment, I never realized how very many ways this
little visit was going to screw with me.
"God, baby." He drew my head back down, sliding his fingers through my
hair. "There's nothing wrong with you. They were--shit, baby, you're
"You always say that."
"I'm right, too."
"You're a little prejudiced."
I burrowed into Logan's shoulder and he pried me up, holding my face
between his hands, staring into my eyes for a long time. I should have
known I couldn't hide this from him indefinitely.
"What are you afraid of?"
"I need to know so much--I need to know these things." I felt myself begin
to tremble, tightened my hold on his shoulder. "I need to know that it
wasn't my fault--"
"That there wasn't something wrong with me, that made me--"
"Shit." He got it, I could see it reflected in his eyes and I wanted to
hide. "You think one day I'll walk on you? This is what it's about?"
They had me sixteen years before I manifested--how could they hate me just
for that? Sixteen years versus one single episode, one change. I couldn't
understand that and I needed to.
"No." Maybe. "I--but one day, maybe--I mean if even my parents hated what
I am so much, how do I know one day you won't--you won't start hating what
I am too? I don't--I know you'd never leave me, but--but I don't want you
to stay because of obligation either." I took a breath, let it out slowly.
"I know I'm being silly, it's knee-jerk, you know? It's just--"
"I understand." Logan looked thoughtful, then traced my face with a
finger. "And you're right. We'll talk to them tomorrow."
Wow. That was extremely unexpected. I stared at his chest (great view, by
the way), wondering what he was thinking.
"You don't have to--"
A slow, wolfish smile.
"Oh yeah, I do."
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--Then he moves his lips next to my ear and tells me how he wants to die.
Marie, take off your gloves.-- Darkstar "Save the Last Dance For Me"