Disclaimers etc. in Part 1.
< > indicates thoughts
// // indicates dreams
~ ~ indicates telepathic conversation
His return this time came with no fanfare, no killing of the
proverbial fatted calf. He had run away, pouting like a spoiled child
whose feelings had been hurt, and they treated him that way.
He found it easy to slip back into old routines. Like staring
wolfishly at Jean, making her blush, when all he really wanted to do
was sling Marie over his shoulder, carry her back to his bed and make
love to her until neither of them could walk.
He also reinstated his habit of visiting Marie almost nightly. She
would chatter on about her day and he would sit in silence, since he
would never be mistaken for a conversationalist. But now, when the
conversation petered out and they sat looking at each other in the
darkness, they both unknowingly wished for the same thing, though
neither spoke of it.
She would occasionally catch a glimpse of something in his eyes --
they were darker, hotter -- as he gazed at her, but she attributed it
to the moonlight or her imagination. Those looks were reserved for
Jean, she told herself. <Don't get your hopes up. Things haven't
changed.> She had learned to keep her love for him hidden deeply and
stripped of any hint that she wanted more than his friendship.
The holidays came and went. Soon spring was on the way. Preparations
for the wedding intensified.
They were being fitted for their bridesmaids' gowns when the
professor called. ~Jean, Ororo, please return home immediately. We
have a situation.~
In a frenzy of taffeta and pins, the women removed their emerald
green gowns and rushed back to the mansion.
Rogue wondered if she would be going out this time, and if Logan
would be, as well. It would be the first time they'd worked together
as equals, and she wanted to show him everything she'd learned.
Professor Xavier, however, had other ideas. Logan was going, but she
was to stay home and wait. "It's too dangerous, Rogue. Sabretooth is
on the loose, and he's holding a bus full of children hostage, trying
to get the government to release Magneto."
Logan felt a chill run down his spine, though nothing showed on his
face. He did *not* want Marie anywhere near that psychotic freak.
"Yeah, kid. Let the experts handle this one," he said.
"I've been on a bunch of missions-- " she began hotly.
"Rescue missions," he replied dismissively. "This is different. We're
not picking up scared kids being chased by a mob. There's fighting
"Scott's been training me." He growled at that. Rogue didn't mean to
sound like a whiny child when she said, "You're taking Bobby." But
obviously that's what everyone thought, though at least the professor
should have known better.
"That has nothing to do with you, Rogue," Jean said. "Bobby's skills
may be necessary to help save the children. The bus is currently
teetering on the bank of a partly frozen river up in North Dakota."
"Don't patronize me, Jean." Scott looked from one woman to the other,
but before he could say anything, Rogue went on, "Just forget it."
"Enough," Xavier snapped. "Scott, you need to get started. Rogue, you
will wait here with me."
As they walked toward the locker room to get changed, Logan muttered,
so only Rogue could hear him, "We'll talk about this when I get
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Don't want to get in the way."
"Just go, Logan, all right?" her voice rose slightly and Scott looked
back, concerned. She gave him a slight shake of her head and he moved
on. She blinked rapidly, willing the tears burning her eyes to go
away. Then she turned to Professor Xavier and said with false
brightness, "So what do we do now?"
"We wait. Sometimes it's the hardest job of all."
And so they did, for hours. The professor kept in touch with the team
telepathically, and it was close to midnight when they finally got
word that the mission had been successful, the children were safe,
and the team was on their way home.
"Go to bed now, Rogue. They'll be home in a few hours." He hesitated
slightly, then, "I understand your desire to be seen as an adult, and
as a full-fledged member of the team. But arguing during briefings is
not the way to go about it. Scott and I make decisions about who goes
or stays based on a number of factors, but favoritism is not one of
them. I think you know that."
She looked down at her hands. "Yes, sir. I understand, it's just
that--" she broke off, feeling uncomfortable discussing her romantic
flights of fancy, and her irrational jealousy of Jean, with him.
He smiled kindly. "I know things seem difficult now between you and
Logan, but I'm sure you'll figure something out that will make you
both content and won't interfere with our work."
"I hope so," she murmured doubtfully.
He took her hand and squeezed it gently. "Now go to bed. Tomorrow
you'll have to go back to the bridal shop for your fitting. I don't
want to see dark circles under those lovely eyes, my dear."
She smiled wistfully and went to her room.
But she was restless. After pacing for a few minutes, she slipped
down the hall into Logan's room. Settling down on his bed and burying
her face in the pillows, which carried his scent, allowed her to feel
closer to him. She finally fell asleep.
Logan was exhausted. Rescuing the kids and routing Sabretooth had
been more difficult than they'd expected. The local police had
"helped," mainly by getting in their way. But the kids were all safe,
even if the furry psycho had escaped again. All he wanted to do was
take a shower and fall into bed.
He stopped outside his room, senses alert to every sound and scent in
the dark hallway. Someone was in his room.
*Marie* was in his room.
He closed his eyes, willing his body to calm down. He wasn't sure
he'd be able to resist the temptation to take her in his arms and
plant a kiss on those soft but deadly lips.
He opened the door and took in the scene. Marie sleeping soundly in
his bed, her white locks glowing in the moonlight.
It was all too reminiscent of the first dream he'd had of her. He
must have made a noise, because she stirred, stretched and opened her
"Logan?" she asked sleepily.
He fought the urge to unsheathe his claws -- the pain would help him
focus, prove he *wasn't* dreaming.
"You all right, sugar? I was worried," she said.
He was breathing heavily. "What are you doin' here, Marie?" he asked
"I was worried," she repeated. "I couldn't sleep." She dropped her
head and he could tell she was embarrassed. "Sometimes, when you were
away, I would, I used to come in here when I couldn't sleep or when I
had nightmares. It helped, made me feel like you were still around."
She had no idea how close she was to being ravished. He kept himself
tightly in check and said, "Go to your room, Marie." It was one of
the hardest things he'd ever done.
"Get out, Marie," he growled.
She rose from the bed and reached out a hand. He didn't think he
could hold himself back if she touched him.
He saw the pain in her eyes as she rushed from the room, choking back
He sat wearily on the bed, hating himself for hurting the woman he
loved. Tomorrow he'd explain to her. He hoped she'd understand.
That night, for the first time in months, he dreamt of killing her.
Rogue rocked back and forth on her bed, arms wrapped around her
She was still in that position, eyes dry and hollow, the next morning
when Jean found her.
"Rogue," the redhead pushed open the door, "we're ready to go."
"Go without me," the brunette replied dully, not turning around.
Jean knew the younger woman wasn't sulking over her exclusion from
yesterday's mission. Something must have happened with Logan, she
thought. Only he could reduce Rogue to this state.
She tried again. "I'm sure if you talk to Logan, everything will work
out. But you really need to get fitted -- the wedding is next month."
Rogue laughed, but there was no humor in it. "Things will never work
out with me and Logan. He still wants you. And you're marrying Scott.
Why'd you have to get Logan, too?" She knew it wasn't fair, but she
couldn't help it.
Jean took a deep breath. Rogue was hurting and didn't need to be told
that she'd never encouraged Logan's advances beyond some harmless
flirting. <It's not like she'd listen,> she thought ruefully.
"Rogue," she said, reaching out a hand to stroke the girl's hair.
Rogue was off the bed like a shot. "Don't touch me!" she shouted,
moving to stand against the wall, arms crossed protectively over her
Before Jean could speak, Logan burst through the door, wild-eyed,
claws out, flecks of toothpaste on his face. He was only half-dressed.
"Marie, you okay?" he asked, bewildered to see it was Jean, and not
some dangerous enemy, in the room.
"Don't call me that," she cried.
Logan and Jean exchanged glances. Jean rose. "I'll leave you two to
work this out," she said. "We'll be at the bridal shop for a while,
Rogue. You can meet us there." She left, closing the door behind her.
"Go away, Logan."
She walked deliberately toward him and reached out a gloved hand. He
took it and pressed his toothpaste-stained lips to its back. She
"You're mad at me, kid. Don't take it out on Jean." He sat on the bed
and pulled her with him, still holding onto her hand. "Just like last
night I was -- angry that Sabretooth got away, and I took it out on
you." <Okay, so that's not one hundred percent true,> he thought, but
he hadn't worked up enough courage to tell her how he felt, and he
didn't think this was the right time. "I was afraid that if I let you
touch me last night, I'd hurt you." <That's closer to the truth.>
"And the last thing I ever wanna do is hurt you, Marie."
She sighed, tension leaving her body. He put his other arm around her
and carefully pressed her face -- covered by her hair -- against his
bare chest. Her breath caught, a different kind of tension filling
her. She tried to quash it as she said, "I'm sorry I was such a brat
yesterday. I didn't mean to be. I just wanted" <you to see I've grown
up> "to help."
"I know," he said gruffly. Then, before things could get out of hand,
he pressed a kiss to the top of her head and said, "If you hurry and
get ready, I'll take you to your fitting on my bike."
She grinned. "That's a deal, sugar."
He left, relieved that she didn't hate him.
She got ready, relieved that he didn't hate her.
They were content for the moment with a return to status quo.
Jean was in the gazebo, working on the seating chart for the wedding,
when Logan found her.
"You got a minute?" he asked, feeling awkward.
She smiled. "Maybe even two."
He gave her a half-grin that disappeared quickly. He paced back and
forth, obviously trying to figure out what he wanted to say. She sat
"I'm in love with Marie," he blurted.
She chuckled. "This is news?"
He stared, stunned at her reaction. "What?"
"Come on, Logan. Since you've been back, all you've done is stare at
her like she's a big drink of water and you're just back from forty
days in the desert." He opened his mouth but she waved a hand. "Don't
try to deny it. I'm not the only one who's noticed. Ororo and I both
think it's darling."
He was having a hard time forming words. "Darling?" he growled.
She nodded. "Darling."
He let it pass. "You don't think she's too young?"
"Logan, for all we know, you're older than dirt. At this point,
probably everyone is too young for you."
He laughed, then sobered quickly. "So how do I tell her? She thinks
I'm in love with you."
Jean rose and walked over to him. "Just look into her eyes and say,
'I love you.' Or, in your case, grab her, carry her back to your
and kiss her into submission." She surprised him again. "It's not
like the two of you aren't spending most nights together anyway."
He flushed. "You know about that?" He thought he'd been quiet,
sneaking down the hall to her room for their nightly chats.
She chuckled again. "Everybody knows, Logan. And nobody disapproves.
So go ahead, tell the girl you love her. You'll be amazed at her
"You think she loves me back?" He hated feeling unsure, like a kid
going on his first date.
She patted his cheek. "Doesn't matter what I think. Tell her and find
He smiled ruefully and took her hand, pressing a kiss to her palm.
"Guess you'll never know what you missed out on, Jeannie," he said
She laughed. "One of life's great mysteries. I suppose I'll live."
He leaned in close. "Don't tell him I said so, but you and Scooter
are good together."
He walked away, leaving her with a bemused smile on her face. Shaking
her head, she went back to her seating chart.
Neither noticed Remy watching from the garden.
It was late when he found her, reading in the den.
"Chere, can we talk?"
Rogue looked up from her book. "I'm kind of busy now, Remy."
He held out a hand. "We really need to talk."
She'd never seen him so serious. She put the book down and took his
He led her out to a bench in the garden. The moon was high and
bright, making it look like an enchanted forest. Rogue knew her fairy
tale wouldn't come true, though. She sighed.
"Rogue, you know I care for you, yes?" he began. "Remy's not one to
carry tales, chere, but you should know what I saw this afternoon."
He reached over and pulled the tags out of her shirt. "He was wit'
Jean. They called each other 'darling.'"
She pulled away. "I don't need to hear this."
"I think you do," he said, putting a hand on her leg, pinning her to
the bench. He was stronger than she expected.
"Even if he comes to you, chere, it's only because he can't have
Jean." He put his other arm around her shoulders. "Remy wants you for
*you*, petite. Not because he can't have someone else."
She looked into his red eyes, so strange and yet so compelling. Maybe
it was time to give up the dream, give up hope that Logan could want
her the way she wanted him. The way Remy wanted her.
"Shh," he said, pulling her scarf up over her lips and kissing her.
She let him, closing her eyes against the tears starting to form,
against the fact that it was Remy, and not Logan kissing her, and
against a future in which she'd never know the touch of the man she
He murmured tender, meaningless things as he dusted kisses along her
jaw and neck. She tried to think of nothing but him, and failed.
"Remy, I, I don't know," she whispered, pushing him away.
He reached for the dog tags again. "Put away childish things, Rogue.
You're a woman, not a pet."
"Even the devil can quote Scripture, Remy," she responded, before his
lips captured hers again.
He finally broke the kiss and said, "Remy be waitin' for you, chere,
when you finally wake up to reality." He got up and left.