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FIC: A Cup of Tea [2/3] [L/R]

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  • Anita Lorenz
    Disclaimers in part one Reminder: This is NOT beta-read. ... So we ran. Ran like the fucking wind. Then I remembered I could fly if I wanted, and attempted
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2000
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      Disclaimers in part one
      Reminder: This is NOT beta-read.
      ------------------------------------------------------------
      So we ran. Ran like the fucking wind. Then I remembered I could fly if I
      wanted, and attempted sailing down the corridors. I kept bumping into walls
      cause I wasn't thinking though, cause I've only been flying a little while.
      Logan kept bleating out my name every time I did it, and it took all my control
      not to tell him to piss off cause it was so damned embarrassin'.

      We reached the infirmary pretty fast and we burst inside, the trail of blood
      that had led to it clear as day.

      "JEAN!"

      I flinched as his voice rang out, bouncin' off the walls. There was a clatter,
      and we raced in, seeing the white medical coat wrapping the Doctor as she
      reached up to her tray, blood staining it with a vibrant hue. I could see
      Logan's eyes grow wet with pain, and I thought maybe he might keep this magazine
      for a while, for the articles.

      "Jean," he said, runnin' to her side, propping her up.

      "No," she croaked, "Don't touch me! Haem- haemorag- KEAH!" She coughed,
      "Pooh-mee down Logah, you'll hurh me."

      He nodded, laying her down carefully.

      "Get Scott. Now."

      Logan jumped to his feet, grabbing me roughly and pulling me over.

      "You look after her!" he growled.

      Without another word he raced from the infirmary, leaving me with Jean.

      The silence was daunting. I looked down to Jean, pulling back her coat and
      shirt, frowning through the fresh tears that had surprisingly sprung up on my
      face. I frowned, my heart lurching as I saw three deep gashes on her belly.
      Not too deep, but deep enough. I pulled her coat back over it again, gathering
      spilt gauze and pressing it over the wounds.

      "Good," nodded Jean, "Good."

      I smiled weakly at her.

      "I'm sorry."

      The words came as a shock to me, and I blinked, looking to Jean. "What on earth
      for?"

      "Doubting you, and Logan," she rasped, "Sometimes you have to look after the
      ones you love."

      I nodded, a sadness in my eyes. I watched her a moment, as her eyes fluttered
      shut, and a panic rose in me.

      "No, wake up Jean," I said, patting her face gently, "Wake up."

      "Hmm?" She twitched her head, eyes opening slowly, "Blood loss making me
      tired."

      "Ah know," I said, "You can't sleep sugah."

      A smile flitted onto the woman's face, and it warmed me somehow.

      "What were you doin' still up?" I asked her, trying to keep her awake, "Doesn't
      Scotty need you to keep him warm at naght?"

      A wry grin fell across the older woman's face, "I'm a doctor first."

      It said all I needed to know. Working late again. I jumped, the door bursting
      open behind me, the panicked steps of Scott skidding to a halt next to me.

      "Jean!" he gasped, cradling the woman's face, "Jean -"

      "It's okay -" she swallowed, "Get - ugh - get Hank."

      "He's here," Logan said, pulling in the sleepy blue haired giant by the ears,
      the man becoming a little more alert when he saw the injured doctor. He leapt
      over with athletic grace, seizing equipment from the scattered mess in the room.

      "Put her on the table," he said, "Scott - please get me her medical files."

      It was strange, seeing the huge muscle-bound blue guy work so deftly and fast on
      the doctor. He lifted her to the table, and stuck a needle in her arm. After
      handing Hank a file, Scott stepped forward, arms out against me and Logan,
      pushing us back.

      "You guys better let Hank get to work."

      I frowned, seeing the tightness in the lips of the fearless leader. He lead us
      out into the corridor, closing the infirmary door behind him and probably
      glaring at us. His voice was cold, hard.

      "Okay - from the top - that the HELL is going on?"

      "Sabretooth," I said softly, "He tried to come get us."

      Cyclops looked to the floor, where the trail of blood wound from under the door,
      down the corridor, in big clumsy footsteps. He nodded.

      "Right. Where is he now?"

      Logan crossed his arms, his face unreadable and aggressive. "He's dead."

      Scott's lips tightened, "Where?"

      "In Logan's room," I said.

      Scott looked between us, a deep frown on his face.

      "What are you doing up?" he said, pointing at me.

      "I thought-" I froze, glancing to Logan who looked terrified, "I thought Logan
      was in trouble."

      "You were told to stay in your room."

      "I did," I said, "I just heard a wierd noise down the hall."

      "So," he said, pointing to Logan, "Sabretooth stumbled into your room."

      Logan nodded.

      "And you killed him."

      Now Logan's eyes flashed wide and he nearly choked, "No way."

      Scott had no time for sneers or amusment. Just facts. He clenched his jaw,
      "How did he die?"

      "He was on his way out," I said, "I saw him!"

      Glancing back to the closed infirmary, Scott clenched his jaw again, then
      grabbed me and Logan by the shoulders, hustlin' us towards our room.

      "Come on," he said, "I got a body to see."

      --------------------------------
      He pushed open the door, pushing us in roughly, and I nearly tripped over
      Sabretooth as I staggered into the room. I winced, the sight of the shredded
      belly of the man not exactly appetizin'. Scott tilted his head as he stepped
      over the man, noticing the beginnings of gangrene in some of the man's
      extremities. He frowned, lifting a hand of the beast-man, looking under the
      claws.

      "Blood, and skin," he said, voice still and controlled. He stopped. I looked
      to him, and he was looking at something. It wasn't anything on Sabretooth.
      It was something crumpled and sitting next to Logan's full length mirror. It
      was little and it was pink and it was obviously not Logan's. The jaw clenched
      again, and the leader stepped over with wide tense steps. Picking it up, he
      flapped it out, and he sighed. My baby-tee.

      "Didn't you wear this to class today Rogue?"

      My jaw dropped open, but before I could say anything he threw it down, shaking
      his head darkly.

      "Personally, I don't care, I don't wanna know." He walked over, looking to me
      and then to Logan. "However - your little shared headspace thing has resulted
      in this." He pointed to Sabretooth. "And now Jean is badly injured."

      Logan grimaced, anger bubbling within him. He stepped forward, bearing his
      teeth.

      "This wouldn't have happened if y'all did what I told you to and get rid of him
      nice and humane the day he showed up here."

      "It's not even the point!" I said, stepping forward, "Ya can't blame this on us,
      Scott. Jean doesn't."

      His head flicked to me, jaw tight. "You're a good Kid, Marie. If you knew
      what was good for you, you'd stay away from him."

      He didn't even look at Logan as he turned and made for the door.

      "You'll be having a good long talk to Professor Xavier in the morning," he said
      suddenly before slipping out of the room. I leapt forward, sticking my head
      out of the door.

      "Aren't you gonna get rid of the body?"

      He glanced back, "Logan can do something about that."

      I heard claws pop behind me. Oh great.
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Pain washed through me again, about a great many things. Scott was angry with
      me. I'd grown to respect Scott a whole lot in the past year, especially when
      Logan was away. Him, and Storm, and Jean and the Professor - they ruled my
      world. They were amazing people, and it was all I yearned for to be amongst
      them. I guess you could call it childish, but they were my heroes, in every
      sense of the word.

      And now they were angry at me again.

      I kicked at the wall of the corridor, the light sounds of one of the shop
      students fixing the gouges in the walls echoing around me. I could hear Logan
      breathing beside me, his body perfectly still, but always poised. I stole a
      glance at him occasionally, but he didn't look at me.

      Maybe he thought it was his fault. Maybe he loved Jean.

      We'd been waiting for ages, and I hadn't slept at all since Sabretooth came
      staggering in. Neither of us did, even though Storm tried to get us to. She
      was sweet and careful, but guarded. I think she was more worried about Jean
      than anything. Storm never took sides. She just was, and things happened
      about her. She'd retreated to her own room to wait. Maybe that was her way,
      but I couldn't do that.

      The door to the infirmary slid open, the wheeling frame of Xavier rolling out
      slowly. His face was expressionless, but the eyes were light.

      "She's going to be fine," he said gently, "It was only a superficial wound, with
      some damage to the muscles of her abdomenal wall. It should heal perfectly in
      time."

      I glanced to Logan, watching him grind his teeth. I swallowed nervously,
      looking to the Professor.

      "Do ye think this is our fault?"

      He looked a little surprised, his brow rising, "No, not at all. I do believe
      that the both of you have behaved rather less than admirably during this
      situation, however."

      I slumped a little, nodding.

      "However," he said again, and I realised that I'd stopped listening to him, "I
      don't blame either of you for your actions. Perhaps I've been a little too
      hard on you, for trying to protect the ones you love. You must understand
      though, that we were all outcasts once, and it was only through the endless
      kindness of strangers that you found your way."

      Oh wow. How did he do that? I was feeling perfectly righteous in my support
      of Logan's will to kill until right then. Not that it mattered. Jean's words
      had clung in my mind, and I felt a yearning to see her.

      "When can we see her?" I asked.

      Xavier smiled, "She's resting now. You can see her in a couple of hours. I
      suggest the both of you get some yourselves."

      "Um," I toed the ground, rolling a lip, "Are ye angry with me, Professor?"

      He shook his head lightly, his voice gentle. "No, Rogue, no I'm not."

      I nodded, still acting bashful. "I'm - I'm sorry I disappointed you. I was
      just - I was angry. I didn't want anyone to hurt my family."

      I dunno why I said family. I guess it just slipped out, but the light that
      sparkled in Xavier's eyes was something I'll never forget. It was then I
      realised how much I adored this man. I knelt, a little nervously, and wrapped
      my arms around him, hugging him tightly. He smelt of fine simple cologne and
      old books. I could feel his hands pat my back tentatively. I know he wasn't a
      huggy type, but damn I needed this. I leant back, smiling, the blur of tears
      rimming my eyes. He gripped my hand, meeting my eyes a long moment.

      "You will always be one of us, Marie."

      I nodded at this, gripping his hand in return. His gaze shifted to Wolverine.

      "You too Logan."

      Logan seemed to be startled out of his calm gaze, and he nodded with a
      thoughtful pout. "I'll make a point of adding you to my Christmas card list."

      The Professor gave a humoured grin and nodded. Logan smiled slightly, pushing
      himself off the wall.

      "I'm gonna go get a coffee."

      He loped off down the corridor, and I watched him for a moment, a frown on my
      face. I looked down to the Professor.

      "Cyclops was angry with us," I said, "I'm worried about him. He's not usually
      so bitey."

      "He was worried about Jean," the Professor said, "I don't think you need to be
      an empath to understand that."

      "I know," I said.

      "He's with Jean now," he continued, "I'm sure he'll be fine. You should go
      rest, like I told you.

      "Okay."

      I squeezed the Professor's hand a last time then started off down the corridor.
      I glanced back.

      "Thanks Professor."

      He just nodded, turning around and going back into the infirmary. I could tell
      this whole thing with Jean had taxed him. They were real close, and it
      showed. Guilt still plagued me though. Why did I have to be so damned ready
      to buck the system? Well, it didn't help having Logan in my head, but I wasn't
      about to blame it on him. Not all of it anyway. I growled as my thoughts
      wandered back to Logan. I was such a puppy. Followin' him around, droolin'
      and fawnin'. Heaven help me if my Mother saw the way I was behaving. First I
      think she'd kick Logan's ass into next week for being within three feet of her
      'precious angel'. Then she'd probably tell him to go after someone his own
      age. Yeah, that'd be a real stretch for the poor bastard.

      I turned the corner to the kitchen, and felt myself lurching to a stop in the
      doorway. Logan was there, staring darkly into a mug, wincing as he took a sip.
      He glanced up, spotting me, his deep hazel eyes a glower. I hated having that
      disapproval thrown in my direction. What the hell was he looking at me like
      that for?

      I walked in silently, opening the fridge and digging around. I felt his eyes
      on me, and I glanced behind me. Wow - I hadn't realised I was sticking my butt
      up in the air. I tried to hide a grin - Logan kinda flinched when I caught
      him starin' at it. He growled.

      "Didn't the Professor tell you to go to bed?"

      "I'm hungry."

      He grunted. He always does that, but it's not a piggish grunt. My Ma had and
      old tom she called 'Sugah'. He was a rough old bag of fur, but always so
      soft. He slept on the chair on our front porch, always. Whenever you patted
      him, he'd do this little grunting noise. A gruff little "ruff" noise. I never
      knew what it meant, but I recognised it when it came from Wolverine's throat
      when he was unhappy about something.

      Sugah was a mean old bastard too, when he wanted to be. I also remember him
      being incredibly sweet when the situation suited him. I sighed, pulling out
      some cheese and bread and digging into the margarine. I glanced to him, a
      firmness in my lips.

      "What bug crawled up your ass anyway?"

      "Excuse me?"

      Well. That certainly pissed him off. I shrugged, spreading the margarine on
      the bread, concentrating on the menial task, trying to ignore his eyes fixed to
      me with fiery persistence. I closed my eyes, biting back a sudden rush of
      tears. This was all wrong, and I suddenly felt as if everything between me and
      Logan had been a bad mistake, one that we had to rectify. I looked to him,
      trying to hide the fact that my lips were quivering, that my eyes were red.

      "Ah'm sorry."

      He glanced up, eyes flashing. "What for?!"

      I shook my head, slapping a slice of cheese on the bread, turning around to face
      him and leaning on the sideboard.

      "The way Ah behaved tonight. The last thing you need is some teeny-bopper
      chasin' after ya when you're trying to make a new start in ye lahfe."

      I dunno what made him angrier. The bug up the ass comment or this apology.
      He clenched his jaw, pointing at me around the glass he was holding.

      "Now listen here-"

      A throat cleared itself suddenly, knuckles wrapping on a door frame. We both
      jumped, looking to the door. Scott stood there, his mouth hanging open a little
      contritely, perfect white teeth framed in luscious lips. He pursed them,
      glancing to us a moment.

      "Uh - I'm not disturbing anything am I?"

      "No," I said, Wolverine glaring at me.

      "Right..." He was quiet a moment as he rubbed his hands, letting out a long
      sigh. "Look guys - I'm - I'm really sorry for the way I reacted to you
      earlier. You were right, Rogue, this isn't the fault of you two. In
      fact..." He swallowed, looking to his feet then back up at us, "If it weren't
      for you guys, Sabretooth could have probably done a lot more damage than he
      did."

      I shrugged, looking to my feet bashfully, Logan hiding his face in his mug.

      "If you two hadn't have found Jean so quickly - well - you know."

      I looked up to him finally, narrowing my eyes tenderly and nodding. Wolverine
      snorted.

      "What is this? The X-Men have turned into a fucking 'Sorry' brigade."

      Cyclops' expression froze, and stayed that way till Logan waved a gruff hand.

      "Doesn't matter. 'Pology accepted."

      "Okay," Cyclops said, smiling at me briefly, "I better get back to Jean - get
      some sleep you two."

      We nodded, watching the handsome leader stroll from the room. He seemed
      relieved more than anything. I felt Logan's eyes boring into me again, and I
      glanced to him, frowning.

      "What?"

      "I wasn't finished before," he said. He pointed at me. "Don't you ever feel
      sorry for what you feel, you got that Kid?"

      I nodded, trying not to drown in the empassioned gaze he gave me.

      "The second you do, you're open to being fucked over. Even the Geeks nearly
      got you killed cause they disagreed with you. They need that. They need
      us. So don't feel sorry. Ever."

      I nodded again, fiddling with the butter knife in my hands. "Okay."

      He dug around in his pocket, nodding, and he pulled out a hand-rolled
      cigarette. Shoving it in his mouth and lighting it, he regarded me silently as
      I turned around, cutting up my cheese sandwiches. I kept glancing back at him,
      just to check if it was my imagination, or was he starin' at me again.

      "Logan..."

      "Hmmm?"

      He looked up at me over the hand that covered half his face, cigarette wedged
      between the first to fingers. I brushed my hair over my shoulder, glancing at
      him again.

      "What if - what you feel - what if it gets in the way of someone's life?"

      He rolled his tongue a moment and shook his head, "You're not in the way Marie."

      I looked back down to my sandwich quickly, shuddering all over. Damn, he drove
      me insane. I heard his footsteps approach me, the wafting of cigarette smoke
      curling around me. Something sank into my hair, I assume his fingers, and
      clutching it gently, I felt the warm tender press of lips to my head. My eyes
      fell shut, my soul soaring, wallowing in the sensations he gave me, the
      contact. I felt him sigh against my hair, a possessiveness as he lay a hand on
      my shoulder and squeezed.

      "Good night, Marie," he said, "Get some rest."

      I turned, meeting those flashin' hazel eyes of his, a small smile on my face as
      I gave a coy dip of my head. He smiled a little, caressin' my hair one more
      time before lopin out the door. He waved once over his shoulder before he
      disappeared into the dark corridor.

      My whole being collapsed with exhaustion as he left, and looking down to the
      sandwich in my hand I wrinkled my nose. I didn't feel like it now. I just
      wanted sleep, oblivion for a few hours. I took a few bites, but quickly
      wrapped the sandwich in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Hopefully no
      one would eat it.
      -------------------------------------------------

      Bobby ate my sandwich. How I found this out? I'd slept barely four hours and
      Jubilee started with the chattering and the music and the opening of nail polish
      bottles which promptly stank out our room and nearly made me high. Now, boy was
      I ever hungry. So I loped through with a glare of death, and upon entering the
      kitchen, there was Bobby Drake, chowing down on a cheese sandwich in plastic
      wrap. I didn't growl, I just sighed.

      "What's the time?" I said.

      "Um - 2pm. Wow - you slept in real late. Lucky there were no classes this
      afternoon."

      I glanced to him. "What?"

      He nodded, blue eyes bright, "Yeah - Storm filled in as much as she could but
      with Jean down - well - they decided to let us have the afternoon off."

      "Oh..." I opened the fridge, surveying the contents. Hmm... fruit salad.

      "So did you hear about Sabretooth?"

      I looked to Bobby. "Yes."

      He frowned, "Oh - did Jubes tell you?"

      "Something like that," I said, sinking down onto the table in the middle of the
      kitchen, watching Bobby eat my sandwich.

      "You want some?" he asked suddenly.

      "No," I said, "It's okay."

      I felt like shit run down, and I must a' had the worst bags under my eyes. I
      decided to go with the fruit salad, and once I'd eaten a bit, I thought a walk
      might do me some good. Bobby offered to go with me, but I really needed alone
      time. That boy was far too sweet for his own good. I didn't do much that
      day. I wandered around, the innate urge to destroy things bubbling inside of
      me. I don't know why. These days, when life gets a little too hard to deal
      with, my fists ball and rage just courses through me. I blame it on Logan and
      his mind floatin' around in my head. Him and Miss. PyschoMuscle. She's
      rattlin' around today, encouragin' me to break shit. It sucks, suddenly being
      schizophrenic. It's good to know that I'm not crazy though, that it's
      someone's brain patterns in there interrupting with mine. I just do the
      breathing that the Professor taught me.

      My rages led me out past the wrecked green where Logan had chucked a wobbly the
      other day, past the neat cut hedgerows to some shade near the bench I usually
      have lunch at. There's grass there, and I lay back, letting everything flow
      out of me. I do these rage exercises that Jean showed me. She said the
      property was so big no one was gonna care if I did them outside. So I laid
      back on the grass, and began screamin' my lungs out. Yeah, shoutin'. Angry
      shouting, like I'm yelling at someone that's made me mad. People probably
      think I'm a mental case, but I always feel great afterwards. Cause you change
      the noise. In the end, I was always laughing.

      It was while I was in my most passionate of rages that a scruffy face looked
      over me, framed in the tree canopy, cocking a brow at me.

      "You havin' fun there Kid?"

      I close my mouth, frowning at Logan, then I look back to the sky, past him.

      "In fact I was, but you interrupted me."

      He twitched his brows upwards, amusement on his features. "I heard you wailing
      like a banshee, I thought you were in trouble."

      "Nah," I shook my head, "Doing my rage exerci..." I propped myself up on my
      elbows, frowning at Logan. "You know - you should try this."

      His brows just lifted slowly now, and he looked around himself, shifting in his
      leather jacket. "What?"

      "Ventin' your rage vocally," I said, "Jean taught it to me."

      The mention of her name makes his face flutter with something - I dunno. He
      shook his head though, turning away. "I'll stick to beatin' the shit out of
      people."

      "You scared you'll enjoy it?" I called out.

      He stopped, mid-step. His head turned, back still to me.

      "You said not to feel sorry for what you feel. Let yourself feel angry. Once
      you do, once you feel how angry you are... it makes it easier."

      He looked down, scuffing a shoe on the ground. I smiled.

      "It's fu-uuun!"

      A long sigh fell from him and he turned around, loping over to me, pulling off
      his jacket. He laid it out on the ground next to me, rolling up his sleeves,
      and with a bit of shifting he finally got settled, laying back on the ground.
      His head wasn't too far from mine, and I looked to him, smiling. He swallowed.

      "I'm only doing this cause you want me to try it, you got that?"

      "Sure Logan, whatever."

      He growled. "What do I do?"

      "Just - yell."

      "That's it?"

      I twisted my lips, "Well no - it's a certain kind of yellin'. What you say is
      important too. Like it has to be constructive. You can't just say 'Fuck the
      world', you know?"

      He twitched as I swore, then glowered. "What if that's how I feel?"

      "It maght be how you feel, but it's not going to make you feel better."

      He wriggled his shoulders, pouting at the sky, "It'd make me feel better."

      "It won't," I said, "I tried it."

      He glanced to me long, his eyes warm but guarded. I patted his hand that laid
      next to mine.

      "Come on, we'll try the first chunk of shouting. Now, you gotta shout stuff
      like 'my feelings are valid' and 'I'm allowed to be angry'."

      Logan winced at me like I'd told him I thought one of the boys from N'Sync was
      cute. "My feelings are valid?!"

      I sighed, bangin' my head on the grass in frustration, "Just - try it."

      He sighed back at me, pursing his lips a moment.

      "Ready?"

      He nodded, "Kay."

      "One... two... three-MY FEELINGS ARE VALID!!!"

      "YOU FUCKWITS!!"

      I glared at him, "Logan!"

      He blinked at me, "What?"

      I couldn't contain it. I burst into laughter, shaking my head.

      "You nutcase! You're not supposed to swear!"

      "But it's how I feel," he frowned, "And my feelings are VALID!"

      His shout caught me off guard and I clamped my ears, "Ow!"

      "Sorry," he frowned, "Did that hurt?"

      "Yes," I nodded.

      "Well, that's VALID too!" He chuckled, a lopsided leer on his face.

      I smacked him, rolling on him a little and giggling, "You're not trying this
      properly!!"

      "Well this valid stuff - it's for pansies."

      I sighed, "I know, but it's reaffirming a positive message in your mahnd, ya
      know?"

      He nodded, staring at the sky. He glanced to me, and in the bluish light his
      eyes looked green. His face seemed to soften suddenly as he gazed at me.

      "Can we try the 'Fuck the World' thing? I think it could work."

      "Oh my GOD!" I laughed, covering my face in my hands, "Okay okay. You big
      baby."

      "Right," he nodded, "Readysetgo - FUCK THE WORLD!"

      I laughed, his voice roaring into the previously idillic scenery, birds taking
      off around us. "FUCK THE WORLD!" I hooted.

      "FUCK THE WORLD!"

      And we repeated it.

      "FUCK THE FUCKING FUCK FUCK WORLD!" I shouted.

      "Now we're getting creative," he mumbled, then let loose, "FUCK THE WORLD!"

      "FUCK THE WORLD!"

      "FUCK THE WORLD!"

      "FUCK THE-" he sniggered, then sighed, "Fuck the world..."

      I looked to him, wondering why he stopped. He was just starin' at me again,
      eyes just fallin into mine. I could have sat there all day, just looking at
      him. Such a rough haggard shell, and the wondrous soul within it. All that I
      felt for him, I'd hidden, been ashamed. He propped himself up on one elbow,
      his face suddenly serious.

      "Mah..." I shuddered, swallowing, "Mah feelin's are valid."

      He nodded.

      "Ah'm allowed to feel..."

      He twitched a brow up.

      "To feel... what I feel."

      I shook like an autumn leaf when I felt the warm firmness of his knee slippin'
      between my legs, his fingers diving into my hair again, tousling it with
      dedication. He just gazed at me, takin' me in, as if examining me with a quiet
      wonder. How I could live with this, I wasn't sure. Each time I just kept
      tellin' myself - it's all me, it's all me.

      "What're you feeling?" he said in a rough breathy tone, his face achingly close
      to mine as he curled around me.

      "Ah-" I shut my eyes, gulping, then whispering, "I can't say."

      "Why not?" he said, rising a brow, "It'll make it easier."

      I pressed my lips together, smiling awkwardly, "I don't know if it will."

      "Try me."

      God, I felt falling. Every inch of me falling. He was over me, against me,
      one hand caressing mine and the other harmlessly running through my hair. I
      sighed, closing my eyes a moment to gather courage. I was scared... so damn
      scared!

      "Ah'm-" I gulped, "Ah'm allowed to feel..."

      Opening my eyes, I saw, finally in those eyes... he was scared too. So I said
      it.

      "Ah'm allowed to feel in love."

      He closed his eyes suddenly, squeezing my hand, and he dropped his head down,
      kissing my head tenderly. He pulled my body against his, embracing me tightly,
      his lips against my hair always.

      "What's your affirmation?" I asked him suddenly.

      "Fuck the world," he grunted, a low chuckle lifting from him suddenly, and I
      glared at him till he added, "I got my girl."

      His girl. I smiled up at him and blushed, the words fluttering through me. It
      was a quietening thought, that of all the women around, I was the girl that made
      it into his heart.
      -------------------------------------------
      I did tell you this is my life we're talking about here, didn't I? With the
      incredibly good comes the inconveniently bad. First more of the good, cause
      it's great. Hank is one excellent doctor, and I don't think the Professor and
      the gang fully realised till he stitched Jeannie up a dream and he says he can
      use this salve he was workin' on that minimized scarring. So hopefully, Jean
      won't be havin' those scars for too long. As a result, the Professor is
      pullin' Hank out of trainin.

      Hank is one funny guy. Most call him the 'Beast' or just 'Beast' for short,
      and I don't think Wolverine mahnds someone taking over that department. Funny
      thing is, Hank is so damn SMART. It's painful sometimes, especially when he
      starts with his science stuff. My brain spins. Not that I'm a dummy mind
      you, I mean I get a lot of A's. Hank is just - VERY smart.

      He always finds a way to piss off Logan. See, Logan is a man of simplicity on
      the surface, and Hank is a guy who likes to look at life as a spectrum. So
      went Logan starts mouthin' off, Hank runs circles around him with one simple
      comment that'll get Logan all steamed. And if there's one thing I like seeing,
      that's Logan hot under the collar. Ah don't know why, it just excites me.

      Jean's been down for two days now, and things have been hectic. So damn
      hectic. All my classmates have been treatin' it like some damned holiday. I
      been takin' shifts sittin' next to Jean.

      I don't know what happened as I held her when she'd been injured. Something
      changed in my view of her. I'd always been so jealous, so guarded. When she'd
      been hurt, I saw she was fallible. That changed something in me, something
      big. Maybe I looked up to her more than I thought.

      This morning, I kept watch whilst Cyclops rallied the kids into a class of
      Physical Education. He seemed content to let me keep Jean company, and as I'd
      done so in the past two days, we got to learn a bit about each other.

      When Jean was fourteen, she had braces. At night, sometimes she'd have bad
      dreams about the kids teasin' her cause of them, and she'd dream about ripping
      them off. In the mornin', the insides of her mouth were cut and the wires of
      her braces were torn loose.

      Her brain was far too powerful.

      "Must a' hurt," I said.

      Jean gave a thin smile, picking at the meal in her breakfast platter, "Cost a
      lot of money too."

      I sighed, closing the book in my hands.

      "I'd get voices in my head, too," she said, lifting a fork loaded with egg to
      her mouth, "I thought I was going crazy."

      My soul rang at the familiar sentiment.

      "How did you deal with it?"

      She narrowed her eyes, regret flashing in her brown pools, "I didn't. I locked
      myself up in my room, played loud music and wore a lot of dark clothing."

      My jaw dropped, "You were a goth?!"

      She laughed lightly. "No! I was trying to be solitary. It didn't work
      though. The noises of other peoples minds could only be dealt with through
      control, not ignorance."

      She talked like a scientist. I smiled, looking down to my gloved hands. "At
      least you can control your voices."

      Jean was quiet for a moment, watching me as I fiddled with the edge of my
      dog-eared novel. Heart of Darkness... we were reading it for class. Her
      elegant hand slid to mine suddenly, and she squeezed it tenderly. And then
      she spoke, softly.

      "You can control yours too, Marie. And I'm sure in time, and with
      determination, you'll be able to control even more."

      I looked up, meeting her gaze, a smile flitting onto her features. She'd used
      my name, promised me my dream. I could see why Logan was so taken with her. I
      smiled back at her, a sigh leaving me.

      "Thanks," I said, "I think sometimes I'd have gone insane by now without you and
      the Professor to help me out."

      "It's what we're here for," she said, getting back to her breakfast.

      I sat there looking at the book cover for a long moment, fiddling with my gloved
      fingers as Jean ate. I never realised how comfortable I felt around her, not
      until I'd thought about us losing her. I smiled.

      "I managed to get Logan to try those rage exercises."

      She chuckled, "Oh yeah?"

      "He kept wanting to swear. Didn't like the constructive mantras at all."

      "I wouldn't expect him to," she said with a smirk.

      "No."

      A quietness fell upon us again, and I knew. I had to tell her. Not that she
      cared, but I hadn't mentioned it, Logan hadn't mentioned it. I didn't know if
      anyone did, or if Scott told her about my baby-tee in Logan's room. I looked
      up, taking a decisive breath in.

      "Ah trust you," I said. She looked up, raising her brows.

      "Yes."

      "I just - I wanted to tell you cause I like you, and Ah like to share things
      with you."

      Jean smiled.

      "Since Mississippi, you're the closest thing Ah've got to a sister. You an'
      Storm."

      Her smile grew and she nodded.

      "Logan-"

      "Loves you," she said, "I know."


      I blinked, tilting my head at her with curiosity. "You - you just poked in his
      head an-"

      "No," Jean smirked knowingly, "I was talking to Scott the other night, he told
      me about the t-shirt and the kitchen."

      I frowned, "What about the kitchen?"

      She grinned, "Apparently the tension was so thick you could cut it with a
      butter-knife."

      "Hmmph." My brow descended in a Logan-esque scowl. "Ol' One Eye's not
      pyschic too is he?"

      "You don't have to be a mutant to be psychic," she said. "Let's just say he's
      observant."

      I nodded. "Ya know - this thing with Logan? I thought it was all in mah
      head. Some stupid fantasy." I laughed lightly, sadly, "I swore he had it
      bad for you."

      Jean half rolled her eyes, digging into some bacon. "You saw what he was like
      around me. I call 'denial'."

      I smiled, looked down to my hands with a warmth within me.

      "Jus' this week. I dunno. He's opened up somehow. Maybe all that crap with
      Sabretooth knocked something around in his head or whatever."

      "Maybe he just got brave," Jean said, gesturing with a fork, "Or you got older."

      "Or he got younger," I mused.

      "That too," Jean smiled.

      I only smiled a moment. Since Logan had eased our relationship into next gear,
      something shifted, and yet things were exactly the same as before. It confused
      me. I looked to Jean, wrinkling my nose in a frown.

      "Jean, don't you think - well - don't you think that this thing I've got with
      Logan - is a bit unfair?"


      She looked up from her plate and cocked a brow like I'd told her the sky was
      pink. "How d'you figure that?"

      I shrugged sheepishly, "I dunno, the no touch deal. I mean - you know what
      he's like. He's an animal inside, ya know?"

      Jean smirked now. "Well he's been perfectly fine the last year and a half
      without sex, I'm sure he can go on a little longer."

      "Jean," I sighed, nudging her, "I'm serious."

      She sighed back at me, placing down her fork, and taking my gloved hands she met
      my frightened eyes with a firmness I'd grown to greatly appreciate in my times
      of uncertainty.

      "Logan is a man of very deep conviction, am I correct?"

      I nodded. That was the understatement of the millenium.

      "Well, if he has made the decision to tell you how he feels, obviously he's
      gonna feel that way about you no matter what. He has always thought very highly
      of you. I'm sure he thinks it's unfair on you, dating an obviously older man
      when you have younger peers."

      My jaw dropped, "But I don't feel that way at all! I think he's beautiful!"

      A smile slid on the telekinetic's face and I blushed, realising I'd shot my
      mouth off again. She squeezed my hand.

      "Well, he is very easy on the eye, but he might not see things that way. Do you
      see where I'm coming from, Rogue?"

      I winced, "Ah'm not giving him enough credit, huh?"

      Jean tipped her head, taking up her fork again. "Probably not."

      I pursed my lips with determination. If people were going to know about me and
      Logan, they may as well know it with style. Opportunity wasn't far off. In
      fact it knocked on the door in the form of Scott Summers. He smiled, strolling
      over to Jean.

      "Hey babe," he said, leaning over and planting a soft kiss on her lips before
      addressing me. He nodded in my direction. I smiled a little awkwardly.

      "Hi."

      "Hey Rogue. Can you help me out? There's a soccer match being played on the
      main green-"

      "You mean there's one Logan hasn't ripped the shit out of?" I murmured to Jean,
      who grinned at me. Scott nodded and wound his jaw.

      "Yeah well - he'll be fixing those don't you worry. We're short of a referee.
      Care to do the honours?"

      I sighed, patting Jean on the leg as I got up, "The lahfe of an X-Men is never
      dull, dear Jean."

      Jean smirked, chewing on her breakfast. "Take care, Marie."

      I smiled, joining Scott at the door. Most of the walk to the mansion levels
      was quiet, and it was killing me. Scott just smiled good naturedly, the sunny
      weather and the improving health of his beloved obviously contributing to his
      good mood. I twitched the corner of my mouth nervously.

      "Uhm - Scott?"

      "Hmm?" He cocked a brow.

      "You know me and Logan - Ah know you probably disapprove..."

      He frowned, his mouth pursing, "What gave you that idea?"

      I ground the floor of the lift with my toe, "Well you know - with the t-shirt
      and the kitchen-"

      "Rogue," he interrupted me, "You're eighteen now. It's not the business of the
      X-Men or myself if you decide that you would like to pursue a relationship with
      Logan. Unless of course it's going to hamper Logan in his performance as an
      X-Men is it?"

      I smiled, shaking my head, "I don't think so."

      "Exactly," he said, "So really - it doesn't matter if I approve or not."

      The lift opened, and we strolled out, the mansion mainly empty of children, most
      of them outside living up the glorious weather. I slowed, turning to him.

      "It matters to me, Cyke. You're my friend."

      The smile on his face froze, shifted, them calmed with a warmness that touched
      me. He nodded, wringing his hands.

      "You're right," he said, "I am."

      I shrugged, playing with the wrinkles in my gloves. "Logan's not that bad,
      really. He's an asshole sometimes Ah know but, he has this really wonderful
      side too. I wish he'd let you see it."

      "He will when he's ready," said Cyclops.

      That was true. I pouted my lips in thought, a long sigh leaving me. "So you
      don't hate this?"

      "No." Scott shook his head. "I just don't want Logan hurting you, that's
      all."

      I let a smile splash on my face and I nudged him, "Wahy, you're the best big
      brother a girl ever had!"

      He laughed, grabbing my shoulder and pulling me along to the front door. "Come
      on then, Sis, we got a soccer match to referee."
      -----------------------------------------

      When we got out there, the guys were half killin' each other. Bobby was
      shoutin' at Johnny and spats of ice kept shootin' off him as he threw his hands
      about and pointed wildly at the goal. Kitty just shook her head, examining her
      nails, Jubes next to her poppin' gum. As I ran towards them the girls looked up
      and I waved hello. Jubilee smirked, turning towards the sidelines.

      "Lookee who's watchiiiing," she cooed.

      I looked. On the sideline, Logan sat at a bench, his body sprawled on it
      lazily, a hand in his jeans pocket, the other laying over the back of the bench
      and a cigar wedged firmly between his teeth.

      "Oh," I said, "That's nice."

      Kitty snorted, shaking her head at a Jubilee in a cool smirk.

      A whistle blared, and the girls jumped, tugging on my sleeve with regretful
      smiles.

      "We gotta play."

      I nodded, trotting off to the sideline, eyes on Logan. He just looked at me,
      his face stony and saying nothing. Ha. Playing cool are we? I gave him one
      of my sweetest smiles, tilting my head coyly.

      "Hey there, Sugah," I cooed.

      His look froze, then melted to a quiet smoulder. I grinned, wiggling my bottom
      suggestively before facing the field. Jubilee's voice rang out like a police
      siren.

      "ROGUE! QUIT FLIRTIN' WITH THE OLD MAN AND WATCH THE GAME DAMMIT!"

      I span about, eyes flashing with anger. Old man?!

      "He's MAH OLD MAN!" I yelled, "And I'll FLIRT WITH HIM if Ah DAMN WELL LIKE!"

      Every kid in the field had skid to a halt, Bobby slidin' into Kitty with his jaw
      hangin' around his crotch. I felt myself burnin' up, and I thought oh NO.
      Logan was going to kill me. I turned, checkin' on him.

      He was grinnin' like a damned cheshire cat.

      Scott clenched his teeth impatiently. "PLAY ON!"

      Jubilee whirled about, "WHAT?! That was a FOUL!"

      I sighed with relief as the kids hurled themselves into the game once more, the
      distraction of my scandalous love life obviously not that engaging. Except...
      Bobby stood there, lookin' at me a moment. Damn. He looked so sad. All I
      could do was shrug, my lips pulling to a sorry wince. The colourful whirl of
      Kitty running past him tagged his sleeve, pulling him along with her, and he ran
      then, not looking at me anymore. It was one of the most awful feelings,
      knowing someone loved you, and you couldn't feel that way about them in return.
      -----------------------------------


      --
      Lifelong member of PETS:
      People for the Ethical Treatment of Scott!
      "Cause Poor Ol' One Eye deserves a BREAK DAMMIT!"
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